When my older kids were…well…not as old, they learned their typing skills through a random typing program we had somehow acquired on a CD-rom. Remember those? (There’s no school like the old school.) Fast forward a decade and we’ve been on the road for several years now (over seven as of this writing). As life and the times would have, it’s time for the next set of blessings to master some typing skills, but we no longer have our old faithful CD-rom or a dino-puter that it would work on. We tried a couple other programs which were good, but we couldn’t find something that jumped out at us and fit our family as well as that oldie buy goodie.
Spoiler alert: This story has a happy ending. A company called EdAlive gave us a year’s subscription to two of their educational apps: Typing Tournament Online and Maths Invaders Online. Together, they roll back the hands of time, because Typing Tournament has the feel, teaching approach, and practice techniques of our old beloved typing program! Finally! And Math Invaders is reminiscent of the old Space Invaders or Asteroids video game of days gone by. More on “the maths” later. Let’s talk about typing.
Typing Tournament Online
The program begins with a test to determine your speed. It allows you to then choose your desired goal speed.
You then begin your knight-themed journey. You travel through three different worlds or maps, each with five stops (or levels) along the way.
At each stop, you go through a typing lesson and three drills. Then the games open up. There are three games. These are not addictive video games or games with evil creatures or annoying characters. They are challenging and fun, but not, you know, even remotely like (insert the name of a loud, violent, potentially inappropriate video game here) or (insert the name of an annoyingly obnoxious and addicting kid video game here). It ends with a typing test. If you have reached the goal speed, you can move to the next level.
My three youngest students used the program. None have much proper typing experience beyond briefly reviewing some programs in the past. Elijah (13), Rebecca (10), and Eliana (7) were my test subjects–ha ha–I mean participants. I’m going to let them talk about their experiences.
Elijah’s Thoughts on Typing Tournament
I think the typing tournament is great, I’ve gone from typing wrongly at 15 words per minute to typing properly at 35 words per minute, and I’m only in the third level! It really helps to improve but moves me at a reasonable pace. It’s the best typing program I’ve ever had.
Mom here: That above paragraph was typed properly. Woo hoo! Also, technically, “wrongly” is a word…I guess.
Rebecca’s Thoughts on Typing Tournament
I think that the typing program was really fun, but it was really hard to get past the second and third tests because I couldn’t get to the shift button fast enough so I ran out of time before I could get to the bottom of the page. I really liked the games, especially the dragon chase. They were really challenging in levels two and three but still awesome. I’m only in level three so far but I think it’s awesome. I’m having lots of fun with it.
Mom here: If a child can learn and have fun, that’s fantastic. There are enough learning aspects in life that aren’t so fun, so why torture them with typing miserably, eh? Eh? (I’m in Wisconsin. I have to end sentences with “eh” or “‘n so.” When in Rome!) Rebecca went from not knowing how to type properly to typing properly while using the program and–even better–while doing her “real life” typing. Her speed tripled during the past few weeks, and we didn’t use the app as reliably as we should have, due to circumstances called “lots of fun kids at the churches we visited and now we’re at Grandma’s house.” Also called “slackers.” Had we done it as consistently as we shouda coulda woulda, I’m sure she’d be reaching that shift key like a pro. She will be continuing to use the program for the rest of our subscription time. In fact, they’re all lined up waiting for me to finish this review so they can have my computer and defeat some dragons!
Eliana’s Thoughts on Typing Tournament
I love it. It’s amazing. I love it. But the lady with the accent that says “Semi-col” all the time–I don’t like her. She’s annoying. But the typing–I love it. It’s amazing. I love it. The games are really fun, but the games are a little hard since I got to level two with the new letters. And the typing–I love it. It’s amazing! I love it! Mommy, those are so fun!
Mom here: Eliana went from having no typing skills to doing her typing in perfect form. She types at 10 words a minute, which isn’t going to get her hired as a secretarial Kelly Girl (I thought if I’m dating myself this much, I might as well hit a home run!), but she is building a solid foundation and is doing quite well for a seven-year-old.
Math Invaders Online
While the main reason we did this review was for the typing program, I also want my kids to be able to improve their mental math abilities. My husband and I have a constant brain versus calculator competition going, and I hope someday my kids can give my brain and Steve’s calculator a run for our money. That’s where Math Invaders comes in.
Math Invaders is not, in my mind, an instructional program, but rather a supplement or a mental math tool. That said, there are printable worksheets, levels of progression, topical studies, and other things that would make this work as an instructional program for some families. The program has a wide array of levels and topics to choose from or progress through, depending on whether you are using this as a mental math supplement or an instructional tool.
Do you remember the classic arcade game Asteroids or, if you were an old Texas Instruments protege like yours truly (except I was never a protege) Space Invaders? (Anybody under 30 has no idea what I’m talking about! Ha ha ha! Oh, you haven’t lived, people!) It’s a lot like that, except instead of rotting your brain (ah, glorious old school brain rot) with an hour of annihilating space aliens, the kids are rapidly solving mental math problems before the aliens take over the planet.
There is also a four-person game on there which Elijah says is like Capture the Flag, with frequent mental math questions to recharge your space machine. You have options of playing against the computer or other students, either joining or hosting a game. Elijah enjoyed this, but it was really beyond Eliana.
If you want to hear what other reviewers have to say, and you know you do, click right here. Others used Math Invaders more than we did and will undoubtedly have a better idea for you of how it fares as a larger part of your homeschool or supplementary math curriculum, so definitely check them out.
You will need internet access, but no shelf space. This works on other devices besides a laptop, such as the Ipad. And, best of all, it’s weightless. Shazaam!
A note from Mom:
I did not use proper typing skills to type this review. One cool thing I forgot to mention is that, while I have three students actually enrolled in the program, I can use it myself as well. I have been, but I’m still working on reestablishing proper habits on the home row before moving on to other keys. Had this review been typed properly, it would have been finished long ago–typing with ten fingers instead of seven is really super efficient. I’ll get there. Someday, my skills will come. (Sung to Someday My Prince Will Come.)
An Important Thing to Read:
We review many products that stick with us an some that we drop as soon as the review is over because they don’t work for our family. This one is sticking around! We’re going to use it for the full one-year subscription. Hooray!
See you down the road!
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