Once upon a time there was a little boy named Joshua. Joshua was a highly inquisitive little boy. His parents homeschooled him and could barely keep up with all of his questions. When something caught his interest he would spend months researching and reading almost all that he could on the subject. He could tell you details about things that some educated adults didn't even know. His mother would call him "The Little Professor" because that's what he would become if he took an interest in something. That was IF he took an interest in something.
Unfortunately there were some areas in his life that were more difficult than others. Math was one of those subjects. For some reason Joshua just had a hard time figuring arithmetic out. Even as he entered the third grade, he still had problems knowing all of his addition and subtraction facts. His parents searched for a math curriculum that would fit his needs and found the perfect one, but it was still slow going. Joshua just needed an extra boost. He needed a little something more than the excellent curriculum was giving him.
One day, unbeknownst to his parents, Joshua woke up one morning to a noise outside of his bedroom window. As he leaned on one elbow and rubbed his sleepy eyes he heard the noise again. It sounded like the whinny of a horse. He quickly pushed aside his curtains and, lo and behold, there was, indeed, a horse gently nibbling the grass right out side of the window. Silently, but quickly, Joshua got dressed and went out to see this wonderful spectacle. Normally he might have been afraid, but, for some reason, the horse seemed to beckon to him. Immediately there was an understanding between the boy and the beast. An understanding that the horse was not going to harm Joshua and that Joshua, in turn, would not harm it. Without hesitation Joshua hopped onto the already saddled back of the kind creature. Joshua had never been on a horse before. Where the knowledge of how to handle a horse came from he did not know. He did know, however, that it felt natural for him to be there. After a few more chomps of grass, the horse looked up and then began to gallop down the lane and into the morning fog.
Suddenly the fog cleared and Joshua was in a land that he had never seen before. It was a beautiful land with a large field of lush green grass. He could see, far off in the distance on the other side of the field a house with a forest behind it, and behind the forest were tall majestic mountains. He was so enthralled with the sight that he hadn't noticed that the horse had stopped. As he looked down he noticed a huge gully separating he and the horse from the field. He was about to despair when he saw a bridge crossing the gully.
He tried to urge the horse on, but couldn't. He became so frustrated that he kicked at the horse with his feet but then stopped as he heard the most surprising thing he had ever heard. He heard the horse talk!
"Why do you kick me so young one? I move not because you must understand what will happen if you choose to cross that bridge." said the horse. "You see, across that bridge is Mathland, a magical country that helps you learn math. In Mathland you and I will go on wonderful quests doing heroic deeds, but, you must be warned, in order to complete those brave deeds, you must complete math problems. At first the math problems will be of an easy type - addition from 0-5. But soon, the addition problems will get more difficult until you are able to work addition problems up to 12. Then, you will face subtraction problems that range in difficulty and eventually multiplication and division."
"Ugh! Math!" cried Joshua. "Why did it have to be math? You see, oh noble horse, I don't do well with math. How would I ever be able to complete the quests that I am sent on."
"Worry not, my child. I, your faithful horse, Shadow, will help you as you go along. You will find that, although the math might be difficult at first, it will become easier with time. And, you will see, that the rewards will be great."
"Well, I'm still not so sure, Shadow. But, if it will help me with my math, and if you will help, then I will try."
So, Joshua, reluctantly agreed to cross the bridge. Soon they were given their first quest. They were to go into the depths of Mathland and retrieve a magical flower. They could only do so, however, if they answered addition questions that dealt with the numbers 0-5. Soon they were galloping off across the countryside. Before long they came to sign that said "1+2=". Joshua did not know what this sign meant so he ignored it. Ahead was a gate that Shadow was to jump over.
"Oh, what fun." thought Joshua "We are going to be doing some jumping."
But, to his dismay, Shadow didn't jump but ran right through the gate. And he heard a voice say "1+2=3"
Another sign that said "3+2=" appeared, and also another gate, but Shadow ran through that one as well. Another voice kindly said "3+2=5".
Frustratingly Joshua said "Why aren't you jumping, Shadow? I want to have some fun."
"You must answer the math problem, young one. That is the only way that I can jump the gate. Oh, and please do so quickly. Running through these gates is not fun at all."
Soon another sign appeared that said "2+2=" but this time Joshua knew what to do.
"2+2...2+2...I know this one, I really do..." he said aloud as he began counting on his fingers. Just as they got to the gate Joshua shouted "Four!" and immediately Shadow took a huge leap and jumped over the gate.
Soon the original "1+2" sign appeared again.
"I know this one." said Joshua. "The kind lady told me the answer."
"Three!" he shouted. Once again Shadow leaped over the gate.
Now that he knew what to do the adventure became more fun. Joshua struggled with some of the answers at first. He would have to use his fingers on some. Most he answered correctly, but on others, poor Shadow would go crashing through the gate instead of jumping. True to his word, however, Shadow was a help. Joshua found that his faithful horse would sometimes slow down. He realized that it was when he was having difficulty answering a problem. When Joshua got into a rhythm, Shadow would speed up. They would answer problems and jump (or crash through) about thirty gates and then would stop for a rest before venturing on to face another thirty gates. It seemed that as questions reappeared it became easier for him to answer them. And the quicker he answered the questions, the further they went on their journey.
It took quite a few sets of questions to complete the quest, but soon they were done and it was time to journey back to their home base - that wonderful green field. As they road over the bridge, something was different. A beautiful flower had appeared in the middle of the field.
"Where did that beautiful flower come from?" he asked Shadow.
"It is a reward for you, young one. It is because you completed the quest."
Joy appeared on Joshua's face, but soon the smile turned to a frown.
"What is it, young one." inquired the horse.
"Is this all?" Joshua said with a sad voice. "Do I have to leave you and go back now."
"Not if you don't want to." assured Shadow. "There are more quests to venture on if you so choose."
That day, Joshua and Shadow went on many quests. Not all quests were easy, however. As Joshua was learning his math facts, the problems became more difficult and challenging. Many gates were crashed into along the way, but many gates were jumped as well. And, always to Joshua's amazement, when he got back to the lush green field, more rewards awaited them. It might be a beautiful pole with a gem on top that decorated the entrance to the bridge, or it might be another flower taller and more beautiful than the one before. Shadow assured him that when he was able to do the multiplication and division problems even more beautiful things would appear.
Soon it became dark. Joshua was worried about what his parents would think and sadly asked his new friend to take him home.
Before entering his home Joshua asked with tears in his eyes, "Will I ever see you again."
To his joy Shadow announced, "I will be waiting here for you in the morning, young one."
With joy in his heart, but also nervously because of his parents, he skipped away and entered the house.
To his surprise he found that his parents weren't upset at all.
"Are you ready for something to eat?" asked his mother. "You've been on many adventures today."
Joshua bewilderingly took the sandwich that was offered him and began to eat. For truly he was famished. As he ate he wondered how his parents knew but did not ask.
Later that evening he noticed his father going through a door in his house that he had never seen before.
"Such wondrous things are happening in our house." Joshua thought. "First a talking horse and a magical Mathland. Now a secret door."
Joshua crept up to the door to see what was inside. Inside he saw his father manipulating woundrous charts and graphs by stepping on them. When his father saw him standing at the door, he motioned for him to enter.
"These charts and graphs are telling me how you are doing on your quests in Mathland." said his father. Joshua was taken aback and wondered how his father knew about his secret place but before he could ask, his father continued. "See," he went on, "When I step on this button, it tells me that you have mastered the addition fact of 3+3. This one tells me, however, that you are still having a hard time with 4+7. But I'm proud of you, Son. Since going on these adventures in Mathland you have been really doing a lot better in remembering all of your basic math facts."
Joshua and his father had a wonderful time in that amazing room. It had so much information that helped he and his father know how he was doing. With just a click of a button his father could see anything he wanted about Joshua's adventures.
That night Joshua slept soundly. There were no more worries about doing math. In fact, Joshua was beginning to actually like math. He was looking forward to going on more adventures with his new friend, Shadow, and learning more things in Mathland.
And, they lived happily ever after.
Oh, all right, you caught me again. This story is about my Joshua and he really didn't see a horse out his window and there really wasn't a door that appeared in his house. All of these things really happened on our computer. All of the other things, however, are true. We really do love this intelligent math game and Joshua has really learned so much by using it. Want to try it out for yourself? All you have to do to get to this wonderful downloadable game called Math Rider is click here or on any one of the hi-lighted links above. Math Rider offers a free trial so that you can check out the game with no purchase necessary, but, don't take too long to decide! Until February 15 the price is just $37 but, after that it will increase back to $47.
As usual, other members of the TOS Homeschool Crew reviewed Math Rider and you can find out what they have to say by clicking here. Happy Riding!
As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew I was given a free limited time download of Math Rider to try out and give my honest review on my blog.
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