There are both similarities and differences between the new computerized programs and the former method of writing in math workbooks, tearing out the pages and turning them in.
I have observed teachers who really challenge their students to achieve higher order thinking These teachers take their students as early as the Second Grade and teach them how to add, subtract, multiply and divide using only their bran. We call this Mental Math. When I observed a Second Grade Class that had their students mentally answering math computation questions, I put my own son in that class. Shortly after being enrolled, He, too, learned how to do Mental Math. From that point on, math was my son's best subject. Teachers can really make a difference and parents can help affect change.
Get in the Kitchen! I was very hesitant for a while with my son when it came to the kitchen. I worried about the GIANT mess that would be left when he was done "helping". You don't even have to take on the entire project with them! You can start small and let your child help with measuring certain ingredients. You can modify the difficulty of the 'lesson' by talking about the different kinds of measuring cups and seeing what other measurements can also add up to equal one cup, etc.
School administrators are responsible for choosing the type of curriculum taught to children. As long as they are learning, the curriculum is considered effective. Using computer games as a tool is one option available to today's schools.