Saturday, January 5, 2013

A+ TutorSoft 1st Grade Review - Amazing Homeschool Math Curriculum

Use coupon code KUBSAVE at check out to save a min. of 20%

I am willing to bet that if you asked 100 homeschool moms what subject they are most nervous about  teaching their children 95% of them would reply, MATH! I know I am one of them. I despise dislike math. You may have heard my story before about how I struggled my way through math in school. When I made the decision to homeschool math was the one area I felt uneasy about. I searched for the perfect math curriculum that would not only fit my children's needs but also my own. Since I am not the greatest at math I needed something that I could easily understand as well. Well back in March I was literally chased down by Vinod the creator of A+ TutorSoft at the Teach Them Diligently Convention. He was looking for bloggers to help him get the word out about his homeschool math curriculum. But since the 1st grade had not been completed yet we had to wait until October. Vinod and I chatted often though between March and October and I even ran into him at some of the other homeschool conventions. I have done several reviews on math curriculum's and talked to just about every homeschool math company and A+ TutorSoft is by far the BEST. Not only is the program amazing but the Vinod the owner and creator truly cares about helping homeschool parents everywhere with educating their children. Be sure to check out the A+ TutorSoft website.

A moms review:
So I am sure you want to know our thoughts!!!! Well we love A+ TutorSoft plain and simple. A+ TutorSoft is a multi-sensory curriculum that incorporates audio, visual and text. It engages children and makes learning math fun instead of boring and scary. A+ TutorSoft is very versatile as you will see after reading below.

Gwyn has been using the 1st grade premium CD program 3-4 times a week. I REALLY like that she can work independently on the program. I also like that the lessons are fairly short (approximately 20-30 minutes) so they keep her attention. The A+ menus are very easy to navigate and Gwyn even knows how to print her Q & A reports and worksheets all by herself. The main navigation in each lesson consists of a play, pause and stop button as well as a button to switch to text only if your child prefers to read on their own. There is also a button at the bottom right to proceed to the "Interactive Q & A" when your child is completed with the lesson.

One of Gwyns favorite lessons.

The first chapter which went over reading and writing numbers was a little tough for Gwyn because she is not a fluent reader yet. So I talked with Vinod and he suggested that I just skip her ahead. I did and she has been fine with all the other lessons. When she is ready we will go back to the first chapter.

So how does a typical math lesson look for Gwyn?
1) She logs onto her course and clicks on the lesson she needs to complete. Sometimes my assistance is needed here because she cannot remember where she left off.
2) She goes through the lesson and listens to amazing auditory instruction which includes text and fun, colorful graphics as well. If needed she will use manipulatives (like blocks, pennies, bingo chips) as well. Manipulatives help her better visualize what she is learning. There is also a text only option if your child prefers to either read the lessons themselves or have you read to them.
3) After the lesson she moves onto the interactive Q & A section where your child will answer multiple choice questions and receive instant feedback. If the child gets a question correct they get a thumbs up and smiley face that says, "That is correct. Good job!" However if they get the question  incorrect they are given a thumbs down with a frowny face that says "I'm sorry that is incorrect." This is probably my favorite part about A+ TutorSoft. Immediately after getting a question wrong the program automatically goes over the corresponding segment of the lesson again to reinforce what they learned. After the program goes over the lesson segment the child is prompted to answer the question again. It will continue to do this until the child answers correctly. Many times Gwyn gets it correct the second attempt though. After she completes the Q & A she prints her report so I can then enter her grade.
4) Next she prints off the worksheet that can easily be printed after each lesson by clicking the red worksheet button in the bottom left. You can also choose to print these all up in advance. The nice thing about the worksheets is that the questions are not multiple choice so children need to write their answer and show their work.
5) After Gwyn is done with the lesson, interactive Q & A and worksheet she gives me her Q & A printout to log in the admin portal and worksheet to grade and also enter into the admin portal. Don't worry about grading the worksheets and exams there is a PDF "Worksheet Solution Guide” and “Exam Solution Guide” included in the program just for parents (who are scared of math)!
6) After she completes all the lessons in a unit she takes the final exam. Again the final exams are not multiple choice and require children to show their work. And parents you will have to grade them using the handy solution guide.
7) At the end of the week I print up the certificate of accomplishment for Gwyn to post on her cork board for a week, then it goes into her 1st grade file.

What does the 1st Grade program cover?
There are 14 units in the 1st grade program. Besides covering numbers, addition and subtraction children will also learn fractions, graphs, time, money, measuring, geometry and algebra...yup even algebra. I was really excited to find out that A+ TutorSoft covers time and money because many homeschool math curriculum's do not.  There are also great reference guides for facts and formulas.

What are some of the features on A+ TutorSoft CD version?
In each grade level there are PDF's of the full curriculum as well as worksheets and exams (premium and standard). Each of these items can also be purchased off the A+ website if you wish to have a hard copy instead of printing.

The following only applies to the premium edition. In each grade level you have the option of setting up both student and admin accounts. Even though the program does not automatically track students progress it is very easy to go into the admin portal to add your child's data for the interactive Q & A's, worksheets and exams. There are even spots to add notes. At first I wasn't too fond of having to manually go in to do this but then I realized it's a great way to make sure parents stay involved in their child's education and fully understand where their children's strengths and weakness are. From the admin portal you can also lock your child's access to the worksheet and exam solution guides and answer keys. There is also a lesson plan where you and your child (if you choose) can keep track of their weekly progress.

Why A+ TutorSoft?
There are several reasons I highly recommend A+ TutorSoft for your homeschool math program. Here are the top 5 reasons!

Vinod has researched for over 5 years to design a math program that both students and parents will love and that will help take the stress out of learning math.  When I attended Vinod's workshop during one of the conferences I learned a lot of valuable information about his program and the research that was involved in creating it. I highly recommend you attend a homeschool conference and listen to one of his workshops if you can. A few things I learned that I thought were very interesting are that he used national standards to create the program so you may notice that the material in the grade you select is slightly above your States standards. Vinod has even taken into the account the speaking voice that is used for the various grade levels. Younger grades use a female voice because younger kids typically respond better to a soft spoken, nurturing, motherly voice. However the higher grade levels use a male voice because as we all know teenagers tend to need that more strict, influential voice. The program is also centered on the proven methodology of a test-grade-review cycle.

Customer Service:
Vinod takes time to personally assist you with any issues or problems either via email or phone. Seriously he will actually call you and walk you through anything from installation to a frustrated student.

There are some great freebies and supplements on the A+ TutorSoft website including free demos. How many other software programs let you try out full lessons before you buy?

There is an online and CD software (premium and standard) option for A+ TutorSoft. Both come with the worksheet and exam PDFs as well. I opted to go with the CD version for several reasons. First I liked that I can use it again with my son next year without having to purchase anything additional. Second I like that I could install the program on the desktop computer that doesn't get internet access. The online version has some great features though that you may prefer such as instant online grading, online worksheet and exam functionality, etc. So be sure to compare all the options to see which is a better fit for your family. A+ TutorSoft is the most comprehensive, interactive, multi-sensory homeschool math curriculum you will find (believe me I researched math curriculum's for over a year). A+ TutorSoft is a full math curriculum so there is no need to supplement! But if you are truly satisfied with your current math curriculum you can choose to purchase just the A+ text, workbooks and exams and use it as a supplement.

A+ TutorSoft is very affordable (see below for pricing) and if you purchase the CD version you can use it with multiple children and pass it down to the next child in line.

Great For Special Needs and All Learning Styles:
I know this is a long review but bear with me for a little longer. I have already mentioned how A+ is multi-sensory so it's great for all learning styles well it's also great for children with special needs. At the SE Homeschool Expo I introduced a friend of mine to A+ TutorSoft. She ended up purchasing the 2nd grade program for her son and was kind enough to type up a short paragraph about her sons experience with A+ TutorSoft. So here is another moms review...

"I have a 7 yr old son with PDD-NOS and Sensory Processing Disorder. He is a visual learner and very, very intelligent but with his disabilities it can be quite challenging to find programs that work for him. I have used several programs for teaching him math but couldn't find one that worked the way we needed. I came across A+ Interactive Math for my son at the SE Homeschool Convention. I personally spoke with Vinod who designed the software. He was very helpful and took his time with me answering ALL my questions. My son is using the 2nd grade program and we absolutely love A+ TutorSoft! The lessons are short but very informative and awesome for visual learners. There are Q&A's for each lesson for your child complete, and if the child gets the wrong answer the program will go back and work out the problem showing the child how the correct answer is figured out. There are also worksheets to print out with solution guides to help your child see how the problem is worked out. For each unit there is a test for your child to take with plenty of room to work out problems. Your child's progress is tracked making it very helpful to see where they need help in. My son has been able to for the most part work independently using Vinod's program. His frustration level with math has decreased dramatically and he has maintained an A using this program. My son actually asked me to email Vinod to thank him for making this program. My son said "It makes learning math fun," and that right there says a lot!" Cassandra (GA homeschool mom of 2)

Gwyns review (6 yrs old):
I love my math program. It is fun to do and I can do it by myself. I am learning all about numbers and how to add and subtract. I am glad mommy was able to get a cool math program for me to use.

A+ TutorSoft Math gets an A+ from homeschool moms and kids!

Links to follow:
-A+ TutorSoft Website
-A+ TutorSoft Facebook
-A+ TutorSoft Twitter
-A+ TutorSoft Google +
-A+ TutorSoft Pinterest

Where to buy:
A+ TutorSoft is much more affordable than other homeschool math programs. For just $99.99 you can purchase the Basic Interactive Math CD, or choose the Premium Edition for just $124.99 (shipping is $4.99 to Canada or the U.S). You can now also choose the Online Edition for $19.95 per month or $99.99 per year. And if you use coupon code KUBSAVE at check out you can $AVE a minimum of 20% off (on top of sale prices). Update Vinod is running a great promotion through the end of March use code spoffer50 to get 50% off any A+ curriculum!!!!

A+ TutorSoft is now offering single lessons (currently 50 cents), workbook and exam eBooks, curriculum eBooks and full year curriculum (exe download file) on CurrClick at some amazing prices (ALL products including full year curriculum is currently 50% off)!!!! There are even a couple of FreeBEEs like "Introduction to Place Values" and "Comparing 3-Digit Numbers." Be sure to check it out!

*Disclaimer - I received the a copy of 1st grade A+ TutorSoft for free in return for my honest review. Please note that prices indicated in the post are subject to change. I was not compensated for my review and all  opinions are our own! Many of the links found on my side bars and in my blog posts are affiliate links. As a result, I might get paid money and I will most likely spend the money on homeschool supplies or field trips.


hope jackson said...

Awesome!! You have me so excited about reviewing this program with Caraline!! I can't wait to get started! =)

Tracey said...

a great, comprehensive review~ I will be sure to use your blog post as a model to write my own review ( for older learners with special needs) as we use the program more and more as I share it with my own readers.

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