The product I used was Target the Question.
How the program works
This product is aimed at grades 1-7. They also have a Spanish version for grades 1-5. The Target the Question digital product is as a purchase from one to five year programs starting at $59.99 up to $199.99. If you purchase a multi-year license, you are allowed to change the grade level once annually. There are free samples of each grade level available here.
It's all computer based with nothing really to download. A nice digital product.
The goal is to use the program about 10 to 15 minutes a day. The skills meant to be learned are as follows:
- choosing and applying problem-solving strategies
- techniques to find needed information
- identifying extraneous information
- focusing on the question
The set up is a situation is given that lasts for one five day period. They are conveniently listed as Monday-Friday. Then a word problem based on that situation is given. A different question each of the five days. It does not take long to do. The 10-15 minute period called for generally lasted about 5 minutes for us.
There is an on-line area for problem solving that we didn't use. The lad preferred to either work it out in his head or to use a piece of scrap paper. I did print out the pictorial picture for him on some weeks as it involved actual counting of items which was easier to do on paper than on a computer screen sitting 30 inches away. :) I could see the note pad option being more helpful for older grades when children are better able to manipulate a mouse to draw numbers/pictures.
Once you have figured out the solution you can click on "view the answer" and see if you are right. The lad really liked that he was always right. :)
We did weeks 1-4, 7 and 9. I skipped a couple of weeks because I wanted to see if the problems got exponentially harder but they didn't with the weeks that we used.
They were quite easy to solve thought the lad and I. So in that aspect I didn't really find it helpful with critical thinking/problem solving.
I liked that I could get him to read the question himself. I helped with words he didn't know, but by the end of the week, with repetition he needed no help in reading. (it's always good to kill two birds with one stone). So the language used is quite age/grade appropriate. :)
I will continue to use it the product. I think it has merit. I am hopeful by the end of the year my son's learning will continue to grow and that this program will grow with his abilities. Time will tell. :)
The lad's thoughts
Mom.... this is different than I thought it would be. It doesn't talk to me or have fun things to do. It's just answering questions.
Mom... I don't care how many more elephants there were....
Why can't they have angry birds in here Mom?
I GOT IT RIGHT MOM! :)
If you want to see our progress with this program follow here.