Monday, August 10, 2009

Going the Quarter Mile

Our boys have always been good at math.  They can do math in their heads.  They are a few years ahead of their current grade in testing, as well as curriculum.  But they don't have their times tables memorized.  This is a problem.  When they work on their math problems for the day it takes FOREVER because they have to figure out every multiplication problem.  So I decided that this summer we would focus on memorizing those times tables.  I dug out the flash cards, Multiplication Bingo, Multiplication War,  and wrap ups.  I had to get them out of a yard sale box because I thought we were done with times tables!


Let me tell you, it wasn't going well.  They played the games and did the wrap ups but their memorization of the facts didn't seem to be happening.  Then we got a package in the mail from Barnum Software.  Barnum makes a software called "Quarter Mile Math."  Using this software, the student competes against himself to learn math concepts.  It is not just for memorizing facts.  This software can be used to reinforce many different math concepts.  If you are stuck on a particular area, such as fractions, the student can choose fractions from a list of concepts and race against himself to answer fraction problems.


Installation of the software was a breeze.  The Quarter Mile box had a CD in it.  All the codes that I needed during installation were printed on a label attached to the CD sleeve.  This software is able to run on most Windows systems as well as Mac with certain requirements.  Since I don't speak Mac, please read about those requirements here.

After the few minutes it took to install, we were up and running The Quarter Mile Math.  This software way made for our two boys.  As I mentioned earlier, we need to focus on multiplication right now.  So we set both boys up to race by doing multiplication problems, specifically, we began with the 7 times tables.

The boys were entralled with the racing screen which showed six racing cars on a straight track.  There is even revving engine sounds as the race begins.  The first race is against 5 fictitious cars, but after that the student races against himself.  In just a few minutes, the boys were racing against their previous five races.  As their cars were racing up the screen, the boys were typing answers to multiplication problems using the 7 times-tables.  When one race ends, the boys see that current race's time, plus the times of the five previous races.  Then their average time flashes largely in the center of the screen.


Our goal is to get those 7 times-tables under the 10 second mark.  Each boy has managed that once, so now they are doing 7s and 8s!  Not only are they getting those times tables memorized in a manner that really appeals to them, but they are also learning how to use the numeric keypad on the computer keyboard.  My husband once got a job based solely on the fact that he knew how to use that keypad.


Our animal-lover has chosen to race horses for his quarter mile races.  Our oldest is racing cars.  It's really great that the boys have a choice.  The sound-effects change and, of course, so do the graphics. 


The Quarter Mile Math offers six different products in their software line.  You can view those products here.  You can order just the grade level you need.  Or you can order the bundle package that can take you from Kindergarten to Pre-Algebra!  Barnum Software also offers a subscription to a Deluxe version which is downloadable and offers additional tracking reports and features.


With 323 subjects covered in the K-9th grade software I forsee us using The Quarter Mile Math program daily and for years, even after our multiplication tables have been memorized.  Using this program for review and to enforce new subjects will make math much more fun and much less routine for the guys.  I was very impressed with The Quarter Mile Math.  It's a great software to reinforce what was learned, but also to learn concepts with which your child might struggle. 


You can contact Barnum software to learn more about The Quarter Mile by going to or calling 1-800-553-9155.  Their mailing address is Barnum Software; 1910 Lyon Ave; Belmont, CA 94002.  If you would like to send them an email with your questions, send it to

All in all, you will find this to be a well-done, complete math program that you will use for years to come.  The racing-concept is simple and easy for a child to understand, and yet the math concepts taught are so varied you will use this every day to reinforce what your child learns.  And I promise you, they will not get bored.  Competing against oneself makes for daily entertainment!

1 comment:

  1. God's Dancing ChildSeptember 3, 2009 at 2:45 PM

    This was a great review, I am so glad to hear it's helping your boys out with multiplication!