Love them, hate them, we can’t live without them. Sooner or later, we’ve just got to give in and memorize them.
As homeschooling parents, we’re fortunate to live in the computer age, where we have tons of unique alternatives for math facts practice – we never have to resort to the simple old flash cards of our childhoods.
Software that provides practice in addition, subtraction, multiplication, and addition can run the gamut from basic to edutainment. At the game-enhanced end of the spectrum, certainly, there is an increased rate of interest – but at what cost? Time, and a much of the student’s attention on the game aspects, rather than on the material that he’s supposed to be learning.
Sometimes, it’s better to remove all the bells and whistles, and get straight to the point, without all the potential distractions. And that’s where CapJaxMathFax comes in.
One math solution
CapJaxMathFax is pure math, with incremental levels of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division, designed to allow a student to succeed in memorizing the tables. Students compete against their own bests, so both challenge and success are built-in to the program. Recordkeeping and scoring is done automatically.
It’s suggested that CapJaxMathFax just be used for a few minutes a day, over a period of time, for the best results, and that students start at the lowest level, and work their way up through the program so that they are able to see the results of their hard work. CapJaxMathFax records and charts their scores over time. Success is measured and rewarded in multiple ways: students can see daily the change in their scores; students can earn virtual “merit badges” for completing objectives, and certificates recognizing milestones may be printed.
CapMathJaxFax is designed to be supplemental to any math program; the primary virtue is that it allows for math drill with minimal parent involvement for either preparation or scoring/recordkeeping. All that is needed is access to a computer; no additonal supplies are necessary.
Our impressions of CapJaxMathFax
In our house, my younger two students have used CapJaxMathFax as recommended; I had a bit of a mutiny on my hands with my older two students (8th and 10th) about yet another math practice software. In all honestly, the 10th grader doesn’t need it – and the 8th grader, well… let’s just say I’m glad when he’s doing his regular math these days.
The kids were initially *very* turned off by the graphics of the program – they declared the character (Captain Jax?) “creepy” while they were still on the title page. I had thought the initial reaction would be to the primarily text-based interface – nope, not at all. They were too busy talking about the “creepy dude”.
The second surprise – that I have to admit got all of us, myself included, the first time we ran the program, was how to start it. Rather than buttons that say something like “start” and “exit”, they say “GO FOR IT” and “BAIL”. I appreciate the effort to be different, but those word choices just seem a bit odd.
Once we were into the meat of the program, we were pleasantly surprised. CapJaxMathFax does exactly what it promises, and does it well. The focus is on math, not on potentially distracting amusements, and the challenge of trying to beat their own scores is enough to keep the kids interested. (Nothing quite like having to kick the kid off the computer because she’s been trying to beat that score for a half an hour…)
CapJaxMathFax is moderately priced at $29.95 (download version, or plus $5.95 shipping on CD), which includes a year’s license for up to 10 users. With annual re-licensing requirements, it’s clear that CapJaxMathFax was created for the public school market; despite being called the “home version” the pricing structure is atypical for homeschool or afterschool software.
To see what other Crew members had to say, check out the links on the TOS Homeschool Crew blog post, CapJaxMathFax.
**Disclaimer – As part of the The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew, I received the download version of CapJaxMathFax for free so that I could provide you with an honest review of it by our family.**