2 February 2014

Mathseeds review

Last month we were delighted to review Reading Eggs, an online reading programme teaching young children to read using a system of lessons. You can find our review here.
We have continued to use Reading Eggs as we think it is great, Little 1 loves it and is obviously learning from it. When the lovely people at Reading Eggs also asked us to review their sister programme Mathseeds we said a big 'Yes'. 

Mathseeds is aimed at children aged 3-6 and teaches number skills using the same system as Reading Eggs. It offers a range of structured lessons and activities to build mathematical skills over a range of number and measurement topics.

The Mathseeds site is colourful and cheerful and holds the attention of both Little 1 (age 4) and her little sister (age 2) who likes to watch as her sister plays. The idea is the same as Reading Eggs that your child works their way along a map completing a series of lessons before being allowed to move onto the next so that they don't get confused and they gain confidence in their ability as skills are taught by building and reiterating what they have already learnt. 

Lessons are entertaining and fun with colourful characters introducing each lesson and task that needs to be completed, lots of sound effects and little songs keep Little 1's attention as she goes through each task and then completes it.

We have only completed a few of the earlier lessons so far but they follow the same ideas as Reading Eggs. A number is introduced both as a numeral and as a word which I think is really good as it will help Little 1 with her reading and help with her number comprehension too. The number is presented in a range of activities to practice the skill in different ways. 

Little 1 has done things like clicking on the correct number, putting the correct number of objects into a jar and then the lid, picking which is correct from a row of different pictures and spotting the difference. Each task has a theme like fish, dinosaurs or worms for example and is not just a boring load of numbers on the page.

Early lessons focus on numbers, counting and shape, then addition, subtraction and measurement working up to early multiplication and division as you progress through the maps.

As you work your way through you earn golden acorns which can be exchanged for avatars and to buy things to decorate your tree house on the home page. Each completed lesson brings a new pet for you to add to your collection and each map has a short multiple choice quiz at the end to earn a certificate which can be printed.

Little 1 likes the Mathseeds programme and actively asks to use it but there is one element that she finds really frustrating, and I do too, leading her to often lose interest midway through a task and ask me to complete it so she can move onto the next. Many of the tasks ask you to click on a moving element, like selecting the number 2 from a load of swimming differently numbered fish for example. These move REALLY FAST so much so that she can not click them fast enough, unfortunetely you have to get 17/20 to move on and she just can't do it. We are using a laptop and mouse pad or mouse to play Mathseeds so Little 1 is having to control these and by the time she has moved the arrow and looked down to click she has missed it. Even I have missed quite a few as I try to complete the activity for her. It would be nice if you could set the speed of these moving elements or that they slowed the second time of you didn't make it the first time giving her the chance to accomplish the task, especially as it is aimed at 3 year olds too. Having said this if you are using a touch screen or ipad, tablet etc, this would not be a problem as you would just tap the screen, we do not have the luxury of these sadly!

The Kind people at Reading Eggs have given me a code to let all you lovely readers have an extended free trail of Mathseeds when you sign up to the programme. This code UKB27MST will give you 4 weeks free trial instead of the usual 2 weeks all new registration receive. Just pop it in the promo box once you have registered and your trial will be extended.

N.B I was offered an extended free trial of the Mathseeds programme and asked to write a review of the programme if I wanted to. I was under no obligation to do so. All words and opinions are our own honest thoughts.

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