Monday, January 31, 2011

Times Alive! by City Creek Press (TOS Review)

Tedious - often synonymous with the drilling of math facts (especially the dreaded multiplication tables). Tedious but necessary, because math facts are the basis of all things math to come.  Is it possible to make a tedious task fun?  Absolutely!  

As part of the TOS homeschool review crew, we received a download of the Times Alive! software from City Creek Press for review. 

Product Details...

This program makes memorization of math facts fun, and makes them easy to remember with cute cartoons with catchy tunes.  

Times Alive! teaches times tables for 0-9.  The 0's, 1's, 2's, 5's and 9's are taught using tricks and interactive games/quizzes.  The rest of the numbers are taught with animated stories (with words shown on the screen so your child can read along) tells a story about the multiplication fact, and is followed by a music video.  Also include are interactive games and quizzes for practice.  Parents can see a progress report to see how the students are doing. 

Rather than continue to explain how it works, here's a great example (this clip uses one of our favorite cartoons):

Forevermore in our house, all sixes will be thirsty.  Also, I continue to visualize a green bat when I see the number three (from another cartoon).  Just proof that it works.  :)

Here's another fun example:

YOu can see more examples on their YouTube channel here

The program  is available as an instant download ($44.95) or on a CD rom.($48.95).  You can also buy the products in a kit here, with prices ranging from $43.92 (for a basic kit) to $96.48 (for a deluxe kit).  Note that classroom kits are also available.  Times Alive! will run on a PC or a Mac - system requirements are:

Windows 98 SE, Windows ME, Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Vista
Pentium II 400 and higher
64 MB of Ram or greater
Soundcard and speakers
Mouse or other pointing Device
CD-Rom or DVD-Rom Drives
Video at 1024x768 or higher

OS 8.6 or higher or OS X
400 mhz or greater
128 MB of RAM or greater
Mouse or other pointing device
Video at 1024x768 or higher 

You can request a City Creek Press catalog here, and sign up for the monthly e-mail newsletter here.

What I like...

It's fun for the kids.

The progress report shows details about what lesson was done, the date, how many correct answers the student had on the quiz, the score (shown as a percentage), and the time taken.

Several of the tests are given twice, which allows for comparison of fact retention.  You can also erase the test results and have the student take it again.

Call me crazy, but I like the way the child is told "Excellent" after a quiz.  It has carried over, complete with accent and inflection, to lots of other tasks in our house.

If a child doesn't do well on a quiz, the program still rewards him with a "you've finished, good job" response.  

After completing a quiz, the software immediately "grades" the answers and shows the correct answers for any that the child answered incorrectly. 

I wish

That they'd do something like this for division!

That all the tests were given twice - I think that'd give a better comparison of progress. 

That they'd do all the numbers with the stories.  While the tricks used for some of the numbers are neat in the way they work, I prefer my girls to *know* their facts, rather than stopping to use a trick to figure them out. 

While I like the progress report, I don't like that I have to actually log in as each child to see their report.  I wish there was a parent account option that would give an overview and progress reports for each child. 

Watch out for...

Write down the login names!  If you don't log in with the exact name you used, you won't see the lesson progress.

Be sure to...

Try out the program (and some of the available companion products) here.

Check out Addition the Fun Way here, and other products offered by City Creek Press here.  (I especially like the Story Problems the Fun Way and have put that on my wish list!)

Final thoughts...

I like any program that helps my girls remember math facts.  This fun program is a great addition to our math facts arsenal.

Thoughts of my crew mates...

To see other reviews of this product, click here. For giveaways, other product reviews and other fun things, follow the 2010-2011 TOS Homeschool Crew blog at:


Disclaimer: As part of the 2010-2011 TOS Homeschool Review Crew, I received the product described in this review at no cost in exchange for my fair, honest and unbiased (and not necessarily positive) review. No other compensation was received.


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