Do you remember drilling math facts in elementary school? Or maybe I’m the only one! We had a competition every week, and the student who completed their facts the fastest got to pick from a prize jar. I think I kept the ceramic kitten I won until I left home and got married—it was that important to me. Somehow, my kids have missed the joy of memorizing math facts. Call it the lack of competition, call it the lack of motivation, call it the lack of cute ceramic kitties—but for me, call it frustrating. My kids call it frustrating, too, when they are trying to complete difficult math problems, and have to stop for basic math fact recall. Not good.
Always on the lookout for a deal, I stumbled across XtraMath. This free website doesn’t boast games, bells, or whistles, just simple and engaging math drill that focuses on your student’s weakest areas. (Click to tweet.)
How XtraMath Works
As a parent, you log in and create a teacher/parent account. Next, you enter the name of your child and the grade in which they are currently enrolled. Finally, you select the area of the program you would like them to work on first: addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, or a combination of operations. That’s it! XtraMath gives your child their own PIN (Private Identification Number). Enter their name and their PIN, and they’re ready to practice math!
The drills themselves are motivating. Unlike other online programs I’ve found, XtraMath doesn’t just provide a few facts followed by an arcade game. Instead, the program runs your child through a set of facts, then sums up their progress on a chart displayed after they complete the lesson. Your child strives to turn all of the facts on their chart green with a yellow smiley face, meaning they completed the fact correctly and quickly. Once your child completes a level, the program rewards them with a certificate, and they move on to the next topic.
I have found the progress charts provided for me to be very, very helpful. By clicking on my child’s name, then “Student Report,” I can see at a glance which problems took them too long, which ones they answered incorrectly, and which ones they need to answer more quickly. Monthly progress charts and charts showing mastery help me to assess and target problem areas.
The only negative I have encountered: my youngest daughter at age seven had a difficult time negotiating the number keys on our computer to answer the problems correctly. This was quite frustrating for her, and resulted in incorrect answers that didn’t reflect her knowledge base. This year, however, she has increased her dexterity and has conquered that problem.
Simple, effective, and motivating math without the distraction of too many arcade games, XtraMath provides what our family needs in math drills.
Last Updated: October 30, 2012
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