MidSchool Math Digital Math Tools

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Avoid the middle school math cliff!

edge of cliff

Photo by Nicki Dugan Pogue CC BY-SA 2.0

From 4th to 10th grade all US students begin falling from above average to below average!

Why does this happen? Is your child at risk?

Through focused research, it was found that US students tend to utilize the strategy of “memorization” more frequently than peers in higher performing countries, a strategy which seems to hold as sufficient until the later elementary grades, where the strategy begins to fail. International testing of mathematics ability at the 10th grade level focuses upon application of math coherently, especially extension of math facts to contextualized situations beyond which rote memory may be solely relied. –MidSchool Math.com

Have you seen this in your home? In your own experience? I have! Kids seem to do well in math until about 5th grade and then it gets harder and they start to dislike it!

The teachers that created MidSchool Math decided to do something about it! They created an entire set of games and story projects designed to help middle school students continue to succeed in math. Their projects and games focus on math in context. There are interactive opportunities for problem-solving, creative thinking, reflection, and understanding. Your child will avoid the middle school math “cliff” and will be able to move from memorization to application. Best of all, it’s fun!

Until now, the MSM Toolset has only been available in schools! Natural Math is pleased to be partnering with MidSchoolMath.com to bring the MSM toolset to individuals and families.

What is the MidSchool Math Digital Toolset?

MidSchool Math (MSM) is company founded by veteran math teacher, Scott Laidlaw. The company began with Ko’s Journey and has since added an entire set of online games and tools for math teachers.  Each product is based on research and practical teacher experience which means your child will have access to proven, powerful math learning in context!

In the past, the MSM toolset was only available to teachers. After working out some logistics, through NaturalMath.com, you can give your own child the opportunity to move beyond rote memory and to learn math in context! You can choose from several exciting, interactive tools (games!)

The MSM Toolset now includes:

Ko's Journey

Register For Ko's Journey

How does a subscription work?

It’s pretty simple. Once you purchase a subscription to a tool, you’ll be given log in information and you’ll be able to move through the games or story projects at your own pace. You’ll have 12 months to complete the activities. NaturalMath.com acts as the teacher in the MSM system and assigns the projects or games to your student(s).

Due to LMS designed for groups, we place students into cohorts each month as they sign up. Once you purchase a tool, your student can begin working in the game or story project on the 1st of the following month. Why the wait? There is quite a bit of by-hand work that needs to be done in order to make an LMS designed for a classroom work with individual purchases. But, you’ll be able to access the forum right away!

You can add more tools at anytime. You’ll see them appear in your student’s dashboard the 1st of the following month and will have access to them for a full 12 months from the time of your purchase.

What do I get?

  1. The game or tool. Your purchase allows one student to log into the MSM site for 12 months. You will only see the tool(s) you purchased.
  2. Forum access. You also have access to the MSM forum for help with math questions, technical support and more.
  3. Test Trainer Pro. This is a math practice software that has been shown through research to increase students math performance. Students are encouraged to spend 15 minutes a day in the Test Trainer Pro.
  4. One live, online study session each month per product. So if you purchase Ko’s and Iditarod, your child can come to the Ko’s Study Session and the Iditarod Study session. These sessions are held online via software called Zoom (similar to skype), and are led by the teacher, Shelley Nash.

Will it work for my child?

It depends on your goal! You can use these tools to reinforce and apply the math skills, or you can use these tools to teach the math to your child. The latter use will require more patience and time. With a younger child, you can use Ko’s Journey in particular as an introduction to the power of math in a real context, but you as the adult will be the one helping them set up equations and do the calculations.

The tools in MidSchool Math are designed for the US middle grades of  5th to 8th grade. This corresponds to ages 10-14. Each tool teaches specific math skills in the context of a story. A list of skills taught is below.

  • Ko’s Journey: Ratios, Proportions, Geometry
  • Test Trainer Pro: Covers all the US Common Core areas for 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th grade math.
  • Empires: Covers all the US Common Core areas for 7th grade math.
  • Iditarod: Covers ratios, proportions, expressions, equations, number system, and some geometry. Integrates Writing, Geography, and Science.
  • Everest: Covers ratios, proportions, expressions, equations, and the number system. Integrates Writing, Geography, and Science.
  • 3-Act Problems: coming soon

These digital tools are fun stories, but they are not fast-paced flashy video games. They are a digital way to deliver math in a context that is fun and relevant for your child.  These tools are designed to be tools in a teacher’s toolkit. Keeping that in mind, your child will probably get stumped and will probably need your help. That’s why the forum has been provided to help with any questions you or your child may have!


There is no set sequence to these games. You may start anywhere and use anything.  If your child is sufficiently comfortable with the topics covered in Ko’s Journey, they will do fine in Empires. Ko’s was designed to focus only on a small portion of 6th grade math that tripped up many students. It’s a great review or a great way to solidify these important concepts, but it isn’t required before purchasing and using a different tool.

Parent’s Role

Ko’s Journey and Empires run more like immersive digital games where you child may or may not need your help. The Iditarod and Expedition Everest require more parent teaching and support. The math activities are all digital, but these are immersive math experiences meant to be online and offline. Consider these more like a short term curriculum supplement that makes math fun and unique in your home.

Learn more about each tool by clicking on it’s title below.

Ready to Try it Out?

We are so glad that you want to try out the MSM Toolset!

Here’s how it works:

  • Purchase the tool(s) you want below.
    • You’ll have access for 12 months.
  • You’ll receive an email with login information for the forum.
    • You can start using the forum right away.
  • You’ll also receive detailed instructions for logging into MSM and for the tool(s) you’ve purchased.
  • You’ll be placed into the next month’s cohort.
  • By 8am EST, on the first day of the month following your purchase, you’ll be able to log in to homeschool.midschoolmath.com and begin your adventure. Check the email you used when you purchased the program for your username and password.

Register now!

Register For Ko's Journey