Learning math facts brings up images of studying **boring** flash cards. And I don’t just mean boring for the kids! I really do think drilling math facts is important, but it has not been something that I’ve made enough time to work on with my kids. It takes time and my time is spread really thin homeschooling 5 children and working part-time.

What’s the answer, then?

**Have someone else** guide the drill. Or in this case, **something**.

There are many options for computer-based math fact drill. I’ve recently been given the opportunity to review one that I was unfamiliar with: CapJaxMathFax.

CapJaxMathFax is a **simple** computer program designed to drill students on all 4 mathematical operations. It allows students to master their math facts in a **systematic** progression. There is immediate **feedback** for the student and **reporting** capability for the teacher. It allows children to study math facts independent of the teacher, freeing up the teacher for other tasks.

The program is very simple to use. There are no distracting graphics and sounds. The problems are presented in a large font. Both horizontal and vertical problem orientation is used. The mouse is not used during the drill time, only the number keys (or keypad) and enter key. The student is challenged to not only get the fact correct, but to earn a SUPER rating on every math fact. The default setting for SUPER rating is answering in under 3 seconds. The student can practice or play for rating. Students build their rating over time and their progress is remembered in subsequent sessions. A bar graph is built on the screen allowing the student to visually see their progress.

I had my 10 year old son test serve as my main tester of this program. He has some learning difficulties and is behind in math, so he does need to work on his facts. He specifically needs to work on memorizing his multiplication facts, so that is where we started. I changed the Super Seconds from 3 to 6 for him. That is still tough for him. It just takes time for his brain to process what the problem is, then think of the answer, and then type in the answer. His progress on multiplication has been slow. Thinking that maybe the 6 seconds was an unrealistic target for him, I tested him with addition facts. I discovered that **he can do the addition that fast** because he knows it well. That definitely gives me hope for the multiplication!

He doesn’t love the program, but he doesn’t hate it either. (I know that doesn’t sound complimentary, but it actually is. He hates most everything that has to do with school. We’re really struggling.) I think that the program does exactly what it claims to do – helps students to master math facts. It is an ideal program for students who are easily distracted by games and sounds.

CapJaxMathFax is available to purchase through their website. A 12 month license is available for $29.95.

*Disclosure: I received a 6-month license in order to review this program. I was not compensated for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.*

By Kristen H.

Kristen,

Thanks for all you do for homeschoolers! You must be terribly busy. If you are up for trying another math facts product, I would really like to see what you think about mine, http://mathfactspro.com. While it seems like a simple game, it actually has one of the smartest engines for determining which facts your student has memorized vs. which ones they counted on their fingers on, or had to think about. It will adapt to your son’s speed. (You are right, if he is fast on addition, he can be fast on all the operators. It will really help him to not move on to harder facts until he has the current ones memorized. Research shows that having a memory hook, like, “You have to be 16 to drive a 4 x 4, because 16 = 4 x 4,” are the most effective for struggling memorizers, and are coming to MFP soon.) At the end of the game, it will give you a printout of what they know. There is no software to install, as it is an online Flash game. You choose which operator you want your student to master, and it does the rest, figuring out which question to ask next, based on what they know/don’t know so far. The price for an account is only $1/student/year ($5 min), and free trials are available, for everybody – no personal information is required. With an account the program is much more efficient, it shows you how much they have practiced, and you can track progress without any paperwork. I hope you give it a try! Thanks,

Mark

I like the focus of this post, Kristen, and it was the first sentence in my RSS feed which caught my eye. I have been a number fact memorization fanatic for as long as I’ve been teaching, and in the last week have just seen so many blog posts and comments about this vital part of children’s math education.

It’s great to hear that you are working hard with your son to help him learn his facts – he will need them as he moves on to more complex math in the next few years.

The software appears to do a great job of the “drilling” part of memorizing facts; my only comment would be if your son doesn’t have strategies to think of the facts he hasn’t memorized yet, that would be where I would focus attention, then use drill to speed it up until it’s pretty well “instant”. On my blog I’ve written a few posts on this topic, including a couple on the strategies I recommend.