Tuesday, February 7, 2017

REVIEW: Times Alive by Times Tables the Fun Way (City Creek Press)

My 3rd grader, Holden, had the fun of reviewing Times Alive by Times Tables the Fun Way (City Creek Press).

WHAT IS IT?

Times Alive is a program that provides online lessons with animated songs and stories to learn times tables the fun way!

This program is designed to be used on one computer at a time, but multiple students can use it on a single computer, and it will track their individual progress.

An internet connection is required since it’s done online, and it works with all operating systems.  If you have a flash simulator on an iPad, you can also use it on that device, but it will not store progress.

This program is available for an initial $6.95 setup fee and a monthly fee of just $9.95.

 

OUR EXPERIENCE:

This program is so easy to use.  Once I set up our account and logged in, I was able to see the an overview of the lesson plans, and Holden began by taking the timed pre-test, which we could compare later to see how he did once he’s finished the program.  Holden got them all right, but the time it took for him to calculate the answers was the thing we were trying to improve…that automatic recall that we all strive to achieve.

There are a total of 18 lessons, which can easily be completed with just a one-month subscription, making this a very affordable program.  We’ve tried a similar program in the past, but it didn’t cover all of the multiplication facts the way this one does.  Also, I found that Times Alive has been more memorable for my 9-year old son, who has really struggled to recall his times tables up to this time.

In fact, as Holden worked on the program a couple of times per week, I would hear him say out loud things like “Oh, I remember this story…,” and he would proceed to tell me the multiplication fact from his quick recall of the associated story or song from the program. 

I also really liked that it had a number of built-in reviews called “progress checks.”  That’s when I could really see that he was retaining the math facts he’d learned in earlier lessons. 

And each time he finished a session and wanted to stop for the day, the program would use my computer’s “cookies” to remember his progress for the next time.  This is important to note, because if you have your computer’s security features set to clear your cookies automatically, you will lose your stored data that shows your progress.

I loved being able to let him work on the program by himself without any help from me.  He’s easily distracted, so setting him up to do it independently was the best way to keep him focused.  I would peek in at him periodically and see that he was truly enjoying the entertaining elements of the program, like the animated stories and very catchy songs, which he began to sing as a recalled the facts down the road.  That was nice to see!  After all, if it wasn’t memorable, then he’d just be stuck looking up the answers on a multiplication table all over again, and that’s the habit we’re trying to break by using this colorful, interactive program.

I haven’t been getting any complaints from Holden about using this program, either.  Even though he works on it after his regular school work is done, he seems to really enjoy it, and he often does more lessons than I assign for him to do before he realizes he’s still going!  That’s what I like to see!

The bottom line is that Times Alive has been a fun and entertaining way to gain quick recall of multiplication facts, and nothing we’ve tried so far has really stuck in Holden’s brain the way this program seems to be sticking with him.  Sometimes, it’s just a matter of finding that one special thing that “clicks” for your child.  We seem to have found just that with Times Alive!

We have a 3-month subscription, so although he’s wrapping up the final lessons in about a month’s time, I plan to have him repeat the program at least one more time for reinforcement of the material.  Each lesson takes only a few minutes, and he’s been doing several lessons at a time without needing a huge time commitment to work on it, so it will be easy to keep working in the lessons a second time over the next few weeks to really cement his recall of the math facts.

If you have a child who is struggling to memorize their multiplication tables, then this might just be the right solution for you!  Give it a try, and I think you’ll be pleased.  I even found myself singing along to some of the catchy tunes!

Take a look at what other Crew members have to say about Times Alive by clicking the banner below.