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Friday, January 28, 2011

Product Review: Ten Marks Math Program

Are you looking at the title of this post and deciding to skip reading this entry? If you have a child in third grade math or higher, you may want to take five minutes and learn about this unique on-line math program.

What is TenMarks?

TenMarks is the only online math program that helps students refresh, learn, and master math concepts - in their own time, at their own pace. Each child receives a personalized curriculum to help them master the concepts quickly. TenMarks offers lessons and specialized programs to cover the breadth of the core math skills your child will cover in school. The program covers mathematics in grades 3 through high school, and is mapped to state standards in each area.

How it works:

Your student gets assigned four worksheets each week. Each worksheet contains ten practice problems and focuses on a skill or area to be mastered. The program only allows the student to complete the assigned worksheets for the week, and to practice skills learned on previous worksheets. There is a "Fast Track" option where your student can choose to receive four more worksheets for the week if they are really into completing the program or they are about to earn rewards or unlock games.

Each worksheet offers a video tutorial with a real person narrating the lesson. You student is also offered 'hints' that will help them solve a problem. Although they are allowed to skip a problem and return to it later in the worksheet, the worksheet will not be considered completed until all the problems assigned are completed and correct.

Reward Zone

The program has it's own "Reward Zone" where students unlock short computer games to play after successful completion of work and skills learned. These games are really short and on average the play would last two to five minutes. As a parent, you can also set up larger non-computer rewards for the student. For example, I set up that James earns a small LEGO set after every 16 successfully completed worksheets (one per month). Then I went to Target and stocked up on those little $3.99 LEGO sets in the bags by the check-out (the ones in the Christmas aisle were 50% off after the holidays). Every month he earns one of these and this helps keep him motivated.


Pricing for this program is extremely reasonable when you consider those benefits. The program costs just $10 per month, with discounts for buying a six month subscription ($49) or a year subscription ($89). This prices are the "per student" rate. If you shop around at all for a similar program, you will definitely see the 'price advantage' of Ten Marks.

Why we thought it was so great:

*You, as the parent, get weekly emails reminding you of worksheets that need to be completed. You get additional emails about unfinished worksheets as the due date nears. Your student's user name and password are listed as a reminder in each email. This was such a help to me because it is very difficult to for me to keep track of and remember multiple user names and passwords.

*The parent sets up a reward program for the student.

*You can decide to "fast track" your child, meaning they receive more than four worksheets for the current week. Your student also has the option to do this while they are working on the program if they complete the assigned work for the week but desire to do more.

*Every couple of completed worksheets "unlocks" a fun game on the site that the student can play. This motivation worked extremely well for James, especially because a sidebar told him how much more work needed to be done before the new game would be available in the reward center.

*An on-line math program that won't break my budget! This is definitely something we will continue to pursue in addition to our regular math curriculum.

The only real complaint I have about the program is that although the video tutorials are extremely helpful, sometimes the person narrating can be extremely annoying. In one video, I counted the tutor saying the word, "Okay?" at least 15 times before I had to leave the room. Taken into account that the video lasts about 5 minutes, that is a lot of repetition- almost as annoying as listening to a speaker say the words "Ummmm," and "Errrrr." It may sound like a minor complaint, but it makes a difference when your student hears it over and over and then picks up on this awful habit in their own language patterns.

We have had a great time using this on-line math program. I wish they offered a level providing practice in basic math skills for Isaac (first grade). As stated above, we will continue using this program past the review period for extra reinforcement of skill learning.

Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Home School review group, I received a free subscription to the TenMarks math program in exchange for an honest review on this blog. I received no other compensation.

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