I try to limit computer usage when it comes to doing school, but I will admit that I usually loosen the reigns when it comes to math-based programs. When we do use them, usage is as a supplement as opposed to it being core. We had an opportunity to review CapJaxMathFax™, which is a downloadable, math program created to give students practice on the math facts (addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.

Starboard Training Systems, the producer of CapJaxMathFax™, has been headed by Jack Fretwell for the past ten years. Mr. Fretwell has a Masters degree in Education Technology and more than 30 years in education and computers. The desire of the company is to ensure that all children have basic math skills and they hope to accomplish this through students using CapJaxMathFax™.

CapJaxMathFax™ is quite straight forward. Session parameters are set-up by the teacher for the student work session and the student is able to complete the work independently. Some of the general parameters that can be selected are the following:

**Math Facts**

The teacher can choose for the student to practice one or up to all four of the math facts in a session. Two symbols for multiplication (x and the “dot”) are used so the student becomes familiar with both.

**Level**

There are up to nine levels of practice for the addition and subtraction math facts and up to 10 levels of practice for multiplication and division math facts.

**Facts in Set**

Any amount of math facts can be chosen for the student to complete in one session.

**Super Seconds**

The number set here is the amount of maximum seconds it should take the student to complete each math fact. The suggested amount of seconds per math fact is three, but this can be set up to 10 seconds. The student will see “Super” appear on the screen if he correctly answers the math fact under this selected time. The student is able to still complete the equation if it takes longer than the set Super Seconds. A “Right” will appear instead if he answers the equation correctly.

**Session Description**

There are three options for the type of work session the student will complete. He can do one of the following:

Play for Rating

• Time and scores are kept so the student can see his progress along the course of using CapJaxMathFax™.

Play for Practice

• Students can use the program without being rated. This may be helpful for students new to the program who want practice before completing a timed work session.

Keyboard Practice

• This gives the student a chance to practice using the number keyboard so they will be able to improve their response time when going through a session where they are being rated for comprehension and speed of typing in the response.

**FOR THE STUDENT**

The program is designed so that a student can immediately see results whether or not he is familiar with the program or all of the math facts.

The program suggests that a student only needs to spend a few minutes a day to develop mastery of the math facts. Doing a little bit of practice over time rather than spending hours everyday is how learning best occurs.

Using CapJaxMathFax™ along with any comprehensive math curriculum gives the student a break from textbook and group work and adds more fun by providing a different way to practice and learn the math facts.

A progress report is available for the student so he can see the learning that is occurring. He is able to keep up with his personal scores and set goals for improvement while using the program.

Students are able to earn merit badges commending them for the work they have accomplished.

There is a level called “word thinkers,” which gives the equation using words (ex: 6 combined with 9 = 15 OR 8 and 1 = 9 OR 0 larger by 9 = 9). This does provide an opportunity for the student to **think** more about what the fact means. This is shown more when using word thinkers for multiplication and division.

**FOR THE TEACHER**

CapJaxMathFax™ allows the teacher to assign math practice time to the student and let him work independently. There is no preparation required other than setting up the session parameters (stated above) for the practice session, which takes only 3.00 seconds to set-up (just kidding).

The student’s progress is charted, which allows the teacher (and the student) to see his progress. The teacher can use that as a guide for knowing in what areas more instruction and teacher-student time needs to be spent to ensure full comprehension of the fact(s).

One nice feature is that the teacher has the flexibility of choosing a single math fact for the student to work on (ex: multiplication only) or multiple math facts at one time (ex: addition, subtraction, and multiplication – or any combination). This also makes it more fun for the student and challenges him to not just tune his brain on to doing addition only or subtraction only, etc., but instead be able to handle and know any fact presented.

**OUR EXPERIENCE**

At first, I was a little taken aback by having the seconds it took to answer a question appear on the screen after each math fact is completed. I think it is nice to know that one is quick with an answer. Then, I thought about the student who may be quick with the answer, but slow on the keyboard. I stumbled a few times, which added .30392104, etc. seconds (using a keyboard with no number pad) to my time on various equations. I like that this feature can be turned off if preferred and that keyboard practice is offered to help students who may not be quick on the keyboard.

My children (second and fourth grades) enjoyed using the program, but it wasn’t a best seller in our home. The drills were not challenging enough for them because they have a good handle on their math facts.

**MY THOUGHTS**

Since students are trying to improve their mastery score of the math facts as well as their response with the answer, this works better on a keyboard with a number pad.

A few things to note that would be helpful is if new screens would open the full size of the visual area of your computer. There seemed to be so much information crammed onto the page. I did adjust the page, but had to do that every time I clicked something that opened a new window.

I will say that CapJaxMathFax™ is a good tool for students early in their math learning. It is helpful to the teacher who has multiple students because it frees up time for her to work with other students or complete other school related responsibilities, while being assured her student is still learning. It also gives the student something educational and fun to do while learning basic math. Try the free evaluation and see if it is right for your family.

**PRICE AND AVAILABILITY**

CapJaxMathFax™ is available for $29.95 as a download or on CD (check the website for the CD price).

You can read more reviews of this item by fellow crew members on The Homeschool Crew Blog.

Disclaimer: The product featured in this review was provided to me in exchange for an honest review by the manufacturer or representing PR agency as a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew. The opinions expressed are my own. |