It’s that time again. Time to review another homeschool product that just might help your homeschooling family. This time, Times Alive which claims to be a way to learn the Times Tables the Fun Way with online lessons, animated songs and stories. So let’s dig in and find out if this product holds up to it’s claim, worked for our family, and ultimately if it might be something that will help out your family.
To start, it helps if you know more about what this product is. Times Alive is an online software program that walks kids through the times math facts from 0-9 all the while using songs, stories, play and practice. The program keeps track of everything your child has done, so you as the teacher can check in and see they are making progress. Along the way there are graded review quizzes to help see how much your child has mastered.
I had two of my kiddos using this program over the last several weeks. Having used the program I was able to come up with a solid list of pros and cons (if you even want to call them that), that should help you in your decision-making about possibly using this wonderful program.
- Online Access which means no need to worry about having to download anything. Also means even you Chromebook users can access this software!
- Each kiddo has their own login so there is no confusing which kiddo did what when. Plus, if you have multiple computers, the kids can be working on the program at the same time.
- Very Colorful which definitely helped capture and keep my kiddos attention.
- Super simple navigation. Both my kiddos had no problem navigating around the program.
- The songs are very catchy which helped them to stick in my kiddos brains for much longer than just the duration of their lesson. Honestly, I would hear these songs being sung by my kiddos, hours later as they were playing! Many times while my youngest was working through this program, I would see him stand up, push his chair out-of-the-way, and dance while listening to the songs. Wish I caught it on video because seeing him dance with corded headphones on sure was a sight. While you may not be able to see that, you can check out the sample video below and see for yourself how catchy these songs really are.
- The software is set up to walk your kiddo through one fact at a time. Finish listening to a story, move on to the song, get that done and move onto some practice, etc. All that means is as a teacher I could sit back and watch as my kiddos walked through the program. After making sure they were logged in they were able to progress on their own.
- Symbols are used to help the kids know what would be coming up in their list of tasks. Music note for a song, camera for a video, paint brush for an online coloring activity, a question mark for review questions, etc.
- Quick and easy way to view and print a student’s progress report, including their quiz grades.
- And a BIG plus for our family is that this program, while seeming to be for younger learners, kept my 6th grader’s attention. He was able to stick through this program from beginning to end with only some mild complaining at first. So while the cartoons seem to be for younger kids, the songs were catchy enough, animated enough and helpful enough that he was willing to work through the program with success. A HUGE win since this kiddo is my dyslexic kid who struggles with memorizing anything, including math facts.
Ok, so before going into these items I have to say, while I am telling you what disadvantages we saw in this program that does NOT mean you will see them the same way. Hey, you may look at these and see them as advantages. Each family is different. This is just what worked or didn’t for our family. So after saying all that, let me get to the SHORT list of cons or rather disadvantages as we see them.
- Though this is an online program, it is handled just like a downloaded program would be. Each kid gets their own login, but that login and progress tracking only works on the first computer they use. What do I mean by that? Well the program uses your computer’s ability to store cookies to hold your kiddos progress. So, if you were to have your kiddo log in on the family computer in the living room and later login on say Dad’s computer their progress would NOT be available on Dad’s computer. Their progress would still be saved, but only available on the family computer that was in the living room. Any work they did on Dad’s computer would NOT be shown on the family computer.
- Because this program uses your computer ability to store cookies, if you have your computer pre-setup to remove your cookies each night, your kiddos will lose all their saved progress. The easy way to fix this is to not delete your cookies until your kids are done using this program. Alternatively this is also a positive as well, because if you want your kiddo to start from the beginning, you just wipe your cookies and as easy as that the program is reset.
- The quizzes are easy for the kiddos to bypass. Once they are on a quiz all they have to do is hit the done button and they move onto the next task on their list. This works, even if they have not completed any problems. When I was checking in with how one of my kiddos were doing with the program I was shocked to see he had all 0s for scores. He told me that he didn’t want to do the math work but loved listening to the songs and wanted to get to the next coloring sheet. Because this program lets him skip by the problems, he did just that. The negative is that even if the kids were not ready to move onto a new fact, they were able to. The plus side of this is that the kids were enjoying learning about the facts instead of being bogged down by a quiz they may not be ready to pass anyway. You can see in the screenshot below the grade my oldest got for several of his quizzes. It also shows the time he spent on each quiz. Notice how short the time he spent is, and how low his grades are.
So in the end did my kids memorize all their times facts? No, but they have remembered more than they ever have before, and enjoyed the learning process. The songs really were the hit here. Honestly, if I could get them as a downloadable cd my kids would want to listen to them on their own free time. So while this program may not have got my kiddos to master their times facts, it has helped them enjoy math while getting some of those facts stuck in their heads. As a homeschooling momma to a dyslexic kid and a hyper ADHD kiddo, I call that a win!
Interested in seeing what other reviewers thought of this program? Click the picture below to check out more reviews.