TOS Crew: Quarter Mile Math Deluxe!

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We’ve been using Quarter Mile Math for years. More than a decade, actually!

If you don’t know what Quarter Mile Math is, here’s a quick description:

– math drill

– math drill that’s fun, absorbing, even addictive

– math drill going under the guise of an exciting race!

You have the choice of racing wild, riderless horses or cars. Sound effects include thundering hoofs or roaring engines (guess which sound effect goes with which kind of race…?). For every right answer, your speed increases. You run your first race against (slow) computer-generated competitors. Your score is saved each time you race and eventually you end up racing against your own best scores in that particular topic.

Many topics… from Kindergarten through Grade 9

As to topics… there are oodles of them. The list of topics included in all three levels of the program is as long as my arm, twice as long, actually, as it takes up a double column on two sides of a legal-sized sheet of paper. You begin with basic keyboarding, finding numbers and letters and learning to punch them in. Then you start in on the math. There’s not only the basic addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division tables, but counting, exponents, squares, mean/mode/median, bases 2 and 16, fractions, decimals, percents, estimation and rounding, strategies, integers, and equations. Why, for little ones there are even alphabet drills!

The breakout of levels is like this:

Level 1: Grades K-3
Level 2: Grades 4-6
Level 3: Grades 6-9

Buy individual or combined levels

You can buy individual levels of the standard Quarter Mile Math for $39.95 each, combined levels 1-2 or 2-3 for $64.95, or all three levels bundled into one package for $89.95. That last, the three bundled levels, is what we bought years ago, and it has served us well for years.

Increased speed and confidence

Our eldest had a lot of learning delays, and math was her most difficult subject. I tried to make our flashcard drills interesting and fun, more of a game than drudgery, but it involved both of us playing together, and frankly, when her next little sister came along I didn’t have as much time for drill. That was one reason we bought Quarter Mile Math.

What we weren’t expecting was that she’d actually enjoy this kind of math drill so much that she’d play well beyond our established “math practice time.” She enjoyed beating the computer-generated racers, and as she practiced she improved. She saw on the screen (in concrete terms) her own improvement as she won race after race, even against her previous personal best scores.

This challenged child who struggled with remembering flash cards, at the end of a month of playing Quarter Mile Math a little each school day, could beat me in adding multiple digit numbers! It wasn’t long before she was beating me in multiplication as well. What a boost of confidence!

And now… the Deluxe version

The Deluxe version adds a new layer to this award-winning software. This version is available by subscription. You download the program (order an optional CD backup if you wish) to your computer and activate with the code provided with purchase.  If you have multiple computers with broadband or DSL access, your students can race each other! Barnum Software even encourages grandparents to download the software and race with their grandchildren, for added excitement and interest on the students’ part. This is truly a family endeavor!

Some advantages of the Deluxe over the Standard version:

– real-time tournaments

– can be used on more than one computer at the same time

– reporting: parents can see at a glance all the topics in which a student has practiced (“Tommy, it’s time to get off the 0-times tables and start working on 1×1 through 10×10…”), the student’s progress over time, the number of races completed in each topic, and the number of correct answers daily, plus grand totals of races and right answers

No student access to internet

While the Deluxe version requires internet access (Barnum Software keeps track of scores, which is what makes tournaments and the extensive report features possible), this connection runs in the background while the student is using the program. In other words, the student does not directly connect to the internet while playing Quarter Mile Math. The student sees only the Quarter Mile Math window and features.

Flexible Deluxe pricing

Barnum Software has just introduced reduced subscription prices. You can subscribe month-to-month for $2.95 a month, or buy an extended subscription at a reduced price:

$19.95 per family for a year (save $15.45 over a year)
$34.95 per family for two years (save $35.85)

Choosing between Standard and Deluxe

The Deluxe version is really a subscription–you download the program onto your computer, but it only runs as long as the computer is connected to the internet.

If you don’t have a reliable internet connection, you’ll want the Standard version.

If you’re going to be using the program for years and years (as we did), it might be cost effective to order the full Standard package, which will serve any number of children as they progress through the levels over the years. We’re still using the program with our younger girls! If you do the math, you’ll see that six years subscribing (three two-year terms) is somewhat more than the cost of the complete Standard version.

On the other hand, if you want to “try before you buy” and you have a good internet connection, you might want to subscribe to the Deluxe version to see how well it works for your family. If you need the extra accountability that Deluxe affords you, or you like the idea of real-time tournaments (or having all your students do math in the same time slot on the schedule, simultaneously, without having to purchase a CD for each), Deluxe is a good option.

Website extras

Barnum Software has just added a new section to the Quarter Mile Math website, especially for homeschoolers. Here you’ll find videos, information on getting started, instructions for getting the most out of the program (including how to use the program for tournaments in both the Standard and Deluxe versions), and information on math learning in general and the science behind the success of Quarter Mile Math.

There also is a forum in the works where you will be able to read others’ ideas and impressions and share your own. In addition, you can find links to reviews and testimonials from homeschool parents like yourself.

Great customer service

A phone call to the Barnum Software number on the Contact Us page brought a same-day response and an edifying conversation. I was impressed with the knowledge shared and the obvious interest in helping students achieve confidence and success.

Final words

In short, I can’t think of anything negative to say about Quarter Mile Math. All our experience has been positive. That’s that.

Click here to order Quarter Mile Math, to read more about the product, or to see the publisher’s comparison of the Standard and Deluxe versions.

To read more TOS Crew opinions, click here.

System requirements:

For Windows: Windows 98, NT, ME, 2000, XP, or Vista.

For Macintosh: systems 8.x up to OS 10.4 with Classic. (Not 10.5, nor with an Intel processor.)

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