A couple of my kids need some extra practice in math, so I was eager to review a subscription to Math-Whizz from Whizz Education. I received a 12-month subscription for two children, and signed up my six-year-old and eight-year-old daughters.
I had some trouble accessing my account at first, but the customer service at Whizz Education was great. They helped me troubleshoot the problem (I was accessing the UK site instead of the US one…) and get access for both girls.
If you accidentally go to the main Whizz Education page instead of the US version, there’s a drop down in the upper right hand corner that can help you get where you need to be…
Each child and the parent will have a separate log in and password.
What Is This Product?
Math-Whizz is an online math tutor program, that tailors instruction to your child, based on their results on the placement test.
Once they complete the test, they can start accessing lessons and taking quizzes to advance.
The lessons are animated, and interactive. They require the student to insert numbers, click on different items, and stay engaged. Here is a lesson on place value my eight-year-old worked on recently. It walked her through identifying each place (hundreds, tens, units, etc.) and comparing numbers based on place value.
The lessons are very in-depth, and clear in their explanation. They end with a quick quiz to ensure mastery of the material.
For completing lessons and the associated quiz, students earn credits. These credits can be used to purchase items from the store to decorate their study, or to get virtual pets to add to their space.
That was my girls’ favorite part! There were so many fun colors and options to choose from, and a couple of different rooms to decorate.
Earning credits was motivating, so they could purchase additional items.
How the Program Worked with Each of My Girls
The two kids I selected to use Math-Whizz wouldn’t select math as their favorite subject. It’s more likely the opposite of favorite in their minds.
So when I told them they were going to be doing some extra math practice online, they were very skeptical. Especially since it started with a placement test.
The Placement Test
Honestly, the placement test was long and miserable for both girls. It took forever (almost an hour each). Thankfully you can exit at any time and it’ll save your progress so we broke it up over three sessions.
For my third-grade daughter, she was very confused by the metric system used on the test. We haven’t yet covered this in-depth, and she shut down when seeing things measured in grams and meters. It felt like too much to her to have to take a test and have it ask things she didn’t understand.
There is a “I Don’t Know” button, but since the beginning of the test states that if you use it too much you’ll have to restart, she was hesitant. Even though parents are asked not to help their children with the test, I finally encouraged her just to hit the “I Don’t Know” button for part of the test, and she finally skipped over the multiplication section. (We are just starting to work on multiplication since it’s the beginning of third grade…)
She didn’t have to restart the test, so she was thankful!
Some of the test had you repeat the same process ten different times. It’d have you do these “activities” that definitely didn’t feel like a test. For instance, once my third-grader had to drag and drop numbers into numerical order to launch rockets. Then it jumped back into more of a test like atmosphere.
Some of the test was also presented in a way this child hadn’t seen before, such as this section on addition:
She can do addition like this when she writes it down and carries. But, she was trying to do it like the computer said, and just got confused. I think her confusion then lead to her shutting down even more and struggling with the whole test.
For my first-grade daughter, the test seemed much more academically on point. She didn’t get nearly as frustrated. Her activities were more enjoyable, such as deciding if there were enough chairs for the group of animals.
I also think her results were more accurate. Perhaps because she had a better testing experience.
Since my eight-year-old was already discouraged by this program, I was hoping the lessons would help improve her opinion of it.
While she enjoyed earning credits to make her room more beautiful, she felt like many of the lessons were too easy. She did like exploring the topic bank and found some lessons more engaging than others:
It helped that once they completed a few problems correctly an option to skip the rest popped up. This way she didn’t have to keep reviewing something she already knew.
My six-year-old enjoyed the program. She was really motivated by using the computer for math, since her older siblings do math on the computer for their regular curriculum. I think she felt like she finally got to join them! 😀
The animations were fun for her, and she didn’t find them “babyish.” She called different family members over from time to time just to watch.
The Parent Dashboard
The parent dashboard allows you to keep track of your children’s progress. You’re also able to send encouraging notes to your children, which appear on their bulletin board the next time they log in.
You can also try out the activities without disrupting your child’s progress, so you can get a better understanding of what they’re going to be working on.
You also have the ability to award certificates if your child completes all of their work for the week, or works really hard.
We worked through this program a couple of days a week, using it as a supplement. There is enough material here that it likely could be used as a full-math program for some students.
It wasn’t a good fit for my third-grader, so she will not continue using it. She is making progress in math in her current curriculum, and has some other online math games she enjoys for practicing the parts she needs to practice.
My first-grader enjoyed using it. Since she isn’t on the computer as often, she will likely continue to use Math-Whizz a couple of times a week, in addition to her current curriculum.
There were parts of the program I didn’t like, especially the placement test. I also thought the standard system of measurement should have been used on the US site instead of the metric system, especially for elementary aged kids who weren’t specifically learning about the metric system for a lesson.
My kids loved the ability to decorate the room, and would likely have spent hours working on just that if I would have let them.
I did like the skip option once students proved mastery. That way they didn’t grow bored. There was also a nice variety of activities, so the whole thing didn’t feel repetitive. The lessons were also tailored for the results of the test, so if your child tested well, the lessons would be on areas they need to work on.
If you’re looking for a new way to practice math, Whizz Education could be a good fit. It’s meant for kids aged 5-13.