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Quarter Mile Math - K-3 and 6-9 Review by Dr. Anne Margaret Wright and 4 others

5191 Morgan Territory Road
Clayton, CA 94517

According to Barnum Software, the award-winning Quarter Mile Math programs "are dedicated to YOU. We believe that you are capable of incredible personal improvement and that you will have great fun BLOWING THE LIMITS AWAY!" Kids (and adults) play against themselves to improve their scores on hundreds of math topics from Kindergarten through ninth grade. The idea is very simple, yet powerful; kids race against their own five best times on a given topic, trying to improve their score. They can choose a race with "awesome smoking dragsters," or with "a sleek and spirited band of wild horses." The faster they answer problems correctly, the faster their dragster or horse speeds toward the finish line. Quarter Mile Math includes an incredible range of topics, such as: learning to use the keyboard and recognize letters and numbers; addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division practice; fractions; decimals; rounding; estimating; mean, median and mode; math strategies; converting numbers; integers; pre-algebra; and even Morse code!

The combination of visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learning, plus the huge range of topics, make it great for kids with all kinds of learning styles and learning needs. I think it would work extremely well for kids with learning difficulties or special needs, for "average" kids, and for gifted kids. Because children race against themselves, they see improvement and are reinforced whether their speeds are more like a turtle or a rabbit compared to other kids. You can have them practice one very specific skill after another, such as multiplication by seven, squares through 12 x 12, or simplifying number phrases for algebra. For example, let's say Johnny is doing calculus but never can seem to remember how to convert fractions to decimals. Or maybe Suzie is struggling with third-grade math, because she needs review in several areas. Or maybe you want the kids to keep up their math skills over the summer, or improve their computation speed and accuracy. The program is very sensitive to small improvements, so kids gain a sense of competence and confidence right away. There are also some great tournaments available where kids can compete against other kids around the corner, around the country, or around the world. About the only kids who might not do well with this program are kids who are very obsessive or competitive, because they might drive themselves (and their parents) crazy trying to improve their scores - although they would likely become excellent mathematicians in the process!

I was very, very impressed with the range of topics included on both programs I reviewed (grades Kindergarten through third and sixth through ninth). You could find practice exercises on just about any topic your kids might be studying, then sit back and watch them race to the finish line. The race environment makes practice so much more fun than going through a boring stack of flashcards! My son, Josiah, was nearly hyperventilating trying to beat his previous scores. He was very enthusiastic about the program and seemed to enjoy the chance to beat himself! Computation is always the part of math he doesn't like, so Quarter Mile Math will be a wonderful way for him to practice.

So what could be improved in the next version? Not much! I noticed a few small points that might make this excellent program even better. An option to run the program from the hard drive might be more convenient than having to keep the disc handy, especially since this would be a great activity for one child to do during those few extra minutes here and there throughout the school day. A search function for the topics would make finding the needed area easier, although they are organized very well by topics and subtopics. I like that the help function gives information about each topic, such as tips for multiplication, but I wish this was included in the opening screen before the first race for each topic. This way helpful tips could be read the first time a student starts a new topic, rather than only if they go looking for help. It would be nice if there were a choice of taking the student progressively through the topics, moving on when each one was "mastered," or the current option of selecting any topic you wish.

One of the best features of Quarter Mile Math is the reasonable price tag of $39.95 for grades Kindergarten through third, fourth through sixth, or sixth through ninth; $64.95 for a Kindergarten through sixth Bundle or a fourth through ninth Bundle; or $89.95 for the Kindergarten through ninth Bundle. The best prices I found online were directly from the company, although you might check for sales on the Internet. My only concern about this program is how homeschooling moms with several kids will handle the inevitable fights over who gets to play first, because it is so much fun!

-- Product Review by: Dr. Anne Margaret Wright, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine

Here's another Quarter Mile Math review!

Get ready, set, GO For math mastery with The Quarter Mile Math Programs!

First the student picks a racecar or a horse. Math questions are presented and speed is emphasized. There are six racers total in each race and the student races against his own five previous races in the other lanes. Races last from 45 seconds to two and a half minutes, depending on the difficulty of the topic. This fast moving format is spectacular for all students, whether gifted or special education. A special appeal is that the student is competing against himself and is not intimidated by another student's performance. The student's goal is to answer as many problems as possible during the race time. The score is not the number of correct answers, but rather the number of seconds it took to reach the finish line. Confidence is key in learning math. This motivating program helps improve the student's confidence quickly. As the student gains mastery of basic facts, their confidence in approaching higher-level skills soars. Each CD contains record keeping features which can be printed as well. My son loves cars and my daughter loves horses. What could be more fitting? They have fun while drilling important concepts. What a joy!

Several levels of play are available: A Kindergarten through ninth cross section of topics, Kindergarten through third in Level 1, Grades four through six in Level 2, Grades six through nine with pre-algebra in Level 3, a Grade Kindergarten through six Bundle in Levels 1 and 2, a Grades four through nine Bundle in Levels 2 and 3 and a Grades Kindergarten though nine Bundle in Levels 1, 2 and 3. These numbers apply to version 6.3, which became available in August 2002. In addition to an easy-to-understand guide, each program comes with a Tournament Handbook, explaining how to set up individual, family, group, or school district tournaments. As an added motivation, you could set an individual tournament goal for the children in your family or home school support group. I wish math was this much fun when I was a kid!

-- Product Review by: Christine Field, Resource Room, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine

Here's another Quarter Mile review!

This math drill edugame was awarded five hearts (the highest possible rating) by Mary Pride of Practical Homeschooling Magazine, and Pride's Guide to Educational Software. It was also the only math practice software listed in Instructor Magazine. There are quotes praising this software from several school districts and educators all across the US, located both on the software and website, citing "kids who hate math love this game," which holds interest equally well for girls as well as boys.

Quarter Mile utilizes a dragster car or rider less horse in format, depending on your child's preference. The child may drill on any subject from keyboard topics, math (mainly math topics) etc., and range from levels Kindergarten to ninth grade. It works equally well for any child or adult, whether the preferred learning method is visual, tactile, or auditory. It is very simple to install and set up; our nine-year-old did it with complete ease. She never took the time or effort to glance at the accompanying instructions. Although they were clear and were provided for her, she decisively set them aside and began to play.

The student begins at the left lane and competes with his or her own five best races, not anyone else - perfect for anyone doing remedial or accelerated studies. Our small child easily changed the game from car to horse, subject to subject, without anything other than intuitive curiosity to guide her. She received questions with an immediate response to her answers, and without even having to press the "enter" key, the software accelerated her speed in accordance with those correct answers. There are also tournaments, including international tournaments, for those who are more advanced, competitive, and place well. What fun! Barnum software has not spent a lot on fancy graphics or expensive tutorials, instruction manuals, and so on - just a good software racing game destined to put your homeschool math flashcards "out to pasture" and guaranteed not to be that hole in the pasture into which you pour money!

-- Product Review by: Karen Houston, Lead State Coordinator, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine

Here's another Quarter Mile review!

The sounds of screeching cars and galloping horses, mingled with children's shouts of victory, have been filling our house lately. So, what is the cause of this joyful ruckus? The Quarter Mile Math from Barnum Software, of course! The fourth - sixth grade program is regularly in use with our family. Not only is it bringing fun, but also we see increasing speed and accuracy in math facts and keyboard skills.

Subject areas include whole numbers, introduction to fractions, fractions, decimals, percents, math strategies, estimation, integers, and introduction to equations. We have only begun to work our way through the menu, and we are already hooked.

If you have students that are reluctant to drill their facts, this is a fantastic option. The fun and action make what could be a monotonous exercise something they are eager to do.

My only difficulty with Quarter Mile Math has been catching the computer unoccupied in order to write this review. If you would like more information about what Barnum Software has to offer, see their website at, or you can call them at 1-800-553-9155.

Our children's standardized tests have shown that speed in math computation is an area we need to strengthen. I can hardly wait to see the change in our children's scores as a result of the fun and excitement they have had racing each other in The Quarter Mile Math.

-- Product Review by: Diane Wheeler, Senior Staff Writer, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine