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Dr. Aardsma's Drills: Spelling Drill and Math Drill Review by Courtney Larson

Dr. & Mrs. Gerald E. Aardsma
Aardsma Research & Publishing
412 Mulberry Street
Loda, IL 60948-9651

Dr. Aardsma's Drills are online spelling and math drills; the spelling drill includes levels for grades 1 through 8, while the math drill includes levels for grades 1 through 5. For $16.95 per year, parents can purchase an online subscription to either a math or spelling flashcard drill. Because this is an online program, there is no software to install on your computer.

When signing your student up for an account, you are required to choose a grade level. This can be changed, though, during the course of the year if you find the level too easy or too difficult. The number of flashcards given during each drill depends on the level you choose. The spelling drill begins with 5-9 flashcards in grade 1 and goes up to 40-45 flashcards in grade 8, while the math drill begins with 5-20 flashcards in grade 1 and increases to 100 flashcards by grade 5.

The idea is simple. During the math drill, math facts are presented on the screen and the student types the answer. The spelling drill requires sound because the words are spoken and given in a sentence. If a wrong answer is entered, the message "Wrong, try again." appears above the answer box. If the student enters a second incorrect answer, a box pops up on the screen that says, "Wrong again. The correct answer is" and it shows the correct answer. The student is then required to type the correct answer before moving to the next problem. After the drill is completed, the student is given a percentage correct, along with the option of repeating the drill.

Reports for each drill are emailed to the parent. You can choose to have the reports sent daily, only on weekdays, on Friday only, or not at all. These allow the parent to keep track of how their student is doing without having to look at the computer each time their child finishes a drill.

I found the website for Dr. Aardsma's Drills to be difficult and frustrating to navigate. It is a multistep process to change the reporting frequency or to change the grade level your child is working on. To sign in, you also have to remember the grade your child is working on. This might not be difficult for some, but I had a hard time remembering if I signed my son up for math 3 or math 4, so signing in usually took me an extra step. I can only imagine the difficulty I would have if I had more than one child signed up for each drill. Overall, though, this is a good program for drill, and I really like the reports. If you're in the market for a spelling or math drill program, I'd recommend you give Dr. Aardsma's Drills a look.

Product review by Courtney Larson, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, August 2010