Tag Archives: Elementary

Math Sprint by Byron’s Games ~ a Crew review

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.

Math is a skill that takes practice and repetition. Games are a fun way to learn and practice. Byron’s Games has combined the two in Math Sprint  – The Mental Math Game. This board game is designed for 2-8 players and is marked for ages 7+. (However, if students are learning addition, they are ready for this game so students as young as age 4 or 5 could easily play.)

Byron’s Games is a company that is named after the main creative power – Byron. Byron was only 6 years old when he had an extensive hospital stay. During that time, he was fascinated with the Olympics and geography. That manifested itself in the creation of his first original game – Continent Race. (Read our review of that game.) Since then, he and his family have founded a company that carries Continent Race and other items and just released its second original game – Math Sprint  – The Mental Math Game. A portion of the profits is returned to select children’s charities.

Math Sprint  – The Mental Math Game is a board game that can be a quick 30 minute sprint or a longer distance race. It is appropriate for students learning their beginning math facts up through students who benefit from a review of math facts. There are even blank cards that can be used to create more challenging problems to solve. This adapatibility makes it a great classroom or homeschool or family fun night game.

Math Sprint comes with the board (which is a running track with 8 lanes), 258 cards with 2 math problems on each, 10 dry erase cards, 1 dry erase marker, 8 runner playing pieces, and instructions. It is tucked into a sturdy box. Each of the player pieces corresponds to a picture in the instruction booklet, allowing students to choose one that has similar interests to them. The “runners” have interests of chemistry, games, baseball, gymnastics, tricks/magic, soccer, basketball, and dance. This allows the student to get more involved in their game.

Game play simply involves moving forward each time a math question is answered correctly. There are multiple distances that can be chosen, each affecting the length of the game.
– For the shortest game, choose the 100m dash. This works well for the youngest players, for the shorter games time/length, and for the first time playing while learning the game.
– The next distance is 200m and it is good for older players or players who want a longer game time. It also allows for more variation in the game.
– The longest marked distance is 400m. It is for the most advanced players and for the longer game times. Again, it allows for additional variation.

The card deck comes with 258 cards that each have 2 problems on them. They are color coded for addition/subtraction facts and multiplication/division facts.

There are different colored cards for the challenge cards. These included some double digit addition and subtraction problems as well as some word problems. The wild cards were also color coded and each included an event (getting blown off track, for example) and an advancement or backwards movement.

These cards are where a lot of the variation can be created and where the game can be focused for individual students.Variations can come through mixing in the wild cards and the challenge cards. You can also use multiple distances for multiple ages or use the blank cards to write more difficult mental math problems. You could do a relay race with older and younger students working together. The initial rules have a correct answer worth 2 spaces; you can vary that and allow the student to choose an easy question worth 1 space or a harder question worth 2 spaces. You can vary the deck used for students, pulling out specific fact cards you want worked on. The possibilities for variation grow as the game becomes more familiar.

Miss J is 11 and is fairly strong in her basic addition and subtraction facts. Her multiplication and division facts could use some strength. We played with the multiplication and division cards. We kept it to the upper numbers (sixes through twelves) so that she was working the facts she struggles with having memorized. She did not enjoy having the wild cards in the deck so we did not use those. We played a couple of variations of the game, including one where I had to go around the board 2 times and she had to go around once.

While the game is marketed as a game for all ages, it definitely suits the students in the elementary age range the best. Mental math in this game refers mostly to memorizing math facts in addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. And this is exactly what is needed for the elementary ages. With the runners having hobbies that the students can relate to, Math Sprint  – The Mental Math Game will be a hit.

Be sure to visit the Homeschool Review Crew to read additional reviews from families with other aged students who have been playing this game in their homes. Also, Byron’s Games has released an app for Continent Race that is available in both Android and iOS operating systems. I have been playing it on my phone and really enjoying it. This free app will help players learn the regions and countries of the world.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Reading Eggs for all things reading (plus some math) ~ a Crew review

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.

Reading Eggs is an online program that many are familiar with. It is hard to go very long in the online education world without coming across this program from Blake eLearning Inc. There is a reason for this – their products do a very good of just what they are supposed to do: support students in the many different aspects of reading (aka language arts) and math (for their math component). I was so pleasantly surprised last time we used the program and we were pleased to take a look at it again this summer.

Reading Eggs site has programs for ages 2-13, depending on the child and family choice. These programs can be accessed through an internet browser or their new app, including iOs and Android apps. We typically use the browser but I have downloaded the Android app and it works pretty well. There are five programs in the Reading Eggs company:

1: Reading Eggs Junior – ages 2-4: toddler games, songs, and activities designed to build pre-reading skills such as alphabet knowledge and phonetic awareness

2: Reading Eggs – ages 3-7: games, activities, and books to work on reading and language arts skills such as reading comprehension, phonics, spelling, and vocabulary

3: Fast Phonics – ages 5-10: helps instruct students in all 26 letters of the alphabet and the 44 sounds in English while reinforcing reading and spelling (Note on site says it moves more quickly than Reading Eggs so they recommend not trying this any earlier than age 5)

4: Reading Eggspress – ages 7-13: students build skills in reading comprehension, spelling, and vocabulary while reading real books

5: Math Seeds – ages 3-9: students work on their core math skills and problem solving skills

There are so many highly engaging activities that the students really seem to stay involved in the learning process and are motivated to do their best by an integrated reward system. This reward system allows them to earn eggs for payment towards upgrading their avatar, the avatar’s home, and pets. This is a safe online place for the student to learn while playing.

Miss J has used this some this summer to keep her “thinking cap” on. She is working at a 6th grade level and is 11 years old. She has worked in the Reading Eggspress portion of the program. As you can see, she was on 150 for this screenshot.

She enters and chooses the lesson to work on for the day.

We required one lesson to be completed each time she logged in before she could do any of the other games or spend time on her avatar and home. These lessons could be really quick (15-20 minutes) if the book she was working with wasn’t too challenging. Most times, though, it took a bit longer than that.

Each lesson had multiple parts to it, as you can see on the left hand side of the image below. For examples, on lesson 150, she had to look at the cover of the story and answer questions based on the cover. She had to do a dictionary activity and then work on “who, what, where, and what.” Following that, there was an activity on making inferences and a fill in the blank acticity. Next she had to work on words in context and a reading comprehension activity. Finally, she had to complete a quiz related to all of the previous activities. If she was unable to complete them all during her time, it would allow her to pick up where she left off so no work was lost.

She didn’t mind it too much but it definitely was not as engaging for her this year as it was last time we used the program. She did like the races that she got to do on spelling and word forms in the stadium after she finished her lesson and she absolutely adored getting to play with her avatar’s home. But, she is definitely at the upper end of the appeal for Reading Eggs.

One thing I plan to have her use more often this fall is new to the Reading Eggs family. In Math Seeds, you will find Mental Minute. This is a one minute challenge of math facts. This is an area that most students need to shore up a bit so we will be having her log into this area once or twice a week. She will need to work in both the addition and subtraction section, as well as the multiplication and division area.

Between the programs that have been around for a long time with Reading Eggs and their new ones such as Fast Phonics and the Mental Minute, there is a good bit to continue challenging your student from their very young preschool years up through their middle school years. Add to it the easy access for the parents to see what kind of growth is being made and this is a great program. As you can see, growth is shown from the dashboard in various areas.

The Homeschool Review Crew has had a number of families using Reading Eggs from Blake eLearning Inc. You can read reviews of their experiences with students of all ages by visiting the Crew website and choosing several other reviewers to read.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Understanding Math with CTCMath ~ a Crew review

Understanding Math with CTCMath

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.

We have tackled math from so many standpoints over the years! It is always good when a child feels like it is working. CTCMath is a program that we have tried several times. It has become a good fit for all three girls now that they are older. Miss E and Miss L were a part of the review last year and stuck with the program the whole year. Miss J tried it last year but it wasn’t a good fit for her. This year, though, it has been just what she needed!

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Screenshot 2020-07-28 at 9.07.28 AMWe received a subscription to CTCMath with their 12-month Family membership. This gave us a login for each of the girls, plus a separate parent login for management of student accounts. There is a single membership for one student and the family membership covers the whole family. Each student has access to the entire set of lessons, from kindergarten lessons through Calculus.

CTCMath is a full math curriculum on one site. The site itself is very easy to navigate. Miss J is working on 6th grade math. Miss L is finishing up middle school math/pre-algebra and about to dig into algebra 1. Miss E is finishing up algebra II and will be starting geometry very soon.

If you are interested in a placement test to find where to start your student on this program, there is one available. It is a progressive test so it may take a good bit of time to complete. We have always chosen to forego the placement and make the best decision we can based on what the girls are successful with when we start lessons.

Each lesson has a video, a set of questions and/or a worksheet, and a printable lesson summary. These videos run between a couple of minutes, especially at the lower levels, up to 17 or 18 minutes for algebra II and geometry. The online questions are generally a set of 10, though we have seen as few as 8. The worksheet is in addition to the online questions, in our experience, and have a good number more questions to answer. The girls answer these online and have the computer grade it.

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The computer grades the online questions and the input answers from the worksheet. The parent/teacher can set the passing level. Our girls’ are set at 80% correct for passing. The reason for this is if we put it at 90% and they make one silly mistake or click something wrong, it fails them. 80% passing allows 2 mistakes. If the topic is not passed, the student can redo it and the program will average the grades together. This makes it really important for the student to try their hardest, even when they know they will have to do it again.

For the most part, the videos do a very good job of explaining topics. In algebra II, we have found that At Home Dad needs to be around to help with the explanations because there are quite a few that the online video is not enough of an explanation for. The worksheets for middle school and high school math tend to throw a couple of twists into the questions and they are not always twists that make sense to my girls. They often need assistance with this part of their daily lesson.

streamers in the background

For 6th grade math, Miss J can finish her lesson in under 20 minutes. She gets really proud when she does well because at her level, she gets streamers in the background if she gets 100%. Miss L tends to take between 45 minutes and an hour. Miss E has her lessons vary widely. Some days she flies through them in 20 minutes. Other lessons it will take her multiple days to work through.

The parent side of the program allows the parent/teacher to set daily tasks and assign work. You can set up weekly reviews.

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You can create worksheets based on topics that need more work and print those out.

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You can access and print out different types of reports to keep track of your student’s progress.

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Another feature I really like is that I can log into the girls’ site from the parent portal when they are struggling and see the exact lesson they are struggling with. Being able to watch the video and work the questions without messing up their work is a great thing. While most of these actions are intuitive, there are video tutorials available if you need more assistance.

There are weekly reports sent via email that keep the parent/teacher up to date on what the student has done. These can be downloaded and saved. They are also available through the parent portal.

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What the girls thought:

Miss J – I think this is an okay program. I like the teacher. He is pleasant and smart. He makes math concepts that I don’t know easier. Not always because sometimes he makes them more complicated for me but he does make most of them easier for me to understand. I like that it is easy to complete my lessons.

Miss L – It doesn’t have the overwhelming amount of review that other programs have had. The videos themselves are easy to understand and I feel like I grasp the concept. Most of my problems come when I get to the worksheet and they ask a question that was not explained in the videos. It is on the same topic but with a twist or two that I cannot figure out. That is definitely the most frustrating part. But overall, I like it better than other programs.

Miss E – One of the things I like about CTCMath is that it is very straight-forward and it is very easy to use. I feel like I have adjusted well to this program and I understand how things are presented. This simplicity makes it a good program for me. I have noticed that there are some adjustments that I have to make due to the fact that I have not used this program for several years straight. Some of the terms used I need additional help understanding because I know them by a different name or I have learned to work a concept in a different way. I still like the program and am pleased we are keeping it.

Still not sure about the 12-month Family membership? There is a free trial available on the website. Or you can visit the Homeschool Review Crew to read more reviews from other families who have been using CTCMath with their students for the past few weeks.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

an online k-12 full math curriculum with video instruction

Book Suggestions (for elementary readers who need more than beginning chapter books)

Book Suggestions (a list for elementary readers who have moved beyond beginning chapter books)

You know my girls are readers. Wait, you didn’t? You definitely need to check out more of our posts then because books are a huge part of what we do and talk about. ūüôā

I often get requests for book suggestions. Recently, another request came across my text messages. So, I thought I would share with you our suggestions.

The request was for a 7 year old girl who has progressed beyond beginning chapter books but mom doesn’t have tons of time to preread every book for this young lady. So, knowing that my three girls love to read, she asked for suggestions. Here’s our list:

  • Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle books by Betty MacDonald
  • any of the books by Marguerite Henry – Misty of Chincoteague, Brighty of the Grand Canyon, The Wildest Horse Race In The World, Justin Morgan Had A Horse, Album of Horses, and more
  • Betsy and Tacy books by Maud Hart Lovelace
  • The Mouse With the Question Mark Tale by Richard Peck – his other books are fabulous for older students and adults
  • any of the books by Edgar Eager – Half-Magic is the first and my girls think it is the best
  • Paddington Bear by Michael Bond
  • Five Little Peppers by Margaret Sidney
  • All-of-a-kind Family by Sydney Taylor (This one does feature a Jewish family. Just noting it as information in case your child is reading alone and this has beliefs you might want to discuss.)
  • Adventures of the Little Wooden Horse by Ursula Moray Williams

Just a short list but some really strong reads and series to get your reader started with. We absolutely adores these books and they will stay on our shelves for many years!
Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Travel the World with Let’s Go Geography ~ a Crew review

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.

Lets Go Geography online class

Geography is often a missing part of study yet it is one I find fascinating. Let’s Go Geography is a company that has created a spell-binding curriculum to help students travel the world without leaving the comfort of their couch. Let’s Go Geography, Year 2 is the second of a three year program that is designed to take the student through most of the countries in the world.

3 year listing

Carol Henderson is the lady behind the label of Let’s Go Geography. She created a simple to use program that works well for students grades K-5, though it would be easily adaptable for both younger or older students. This online homeschool geography curriculum incorporates many different styles of learning and activities that will appeal to all different learners. From mapwork to crafts, from videos to writing, this program has a bit of everything. Well, adding a recipe for each country would be fantastic but there is a bit of everything else.

When you log into the site for your course, you will see all of the years that you have access to. As you can see, we have access to both Year 1 and Year 2, since we reviewed Year 1 a while back. There is also a short teacher’s course that has some helpful tips. Each of the boxes indicates progress. You can see that the teacher’s course shows completed while the Year 2 Semester 1 box shows progress about halfway through. Year 1 was completed but the website has been revamped since then so it doesn’t show that here.

Semester Access Page with arrows

Click on year and semester you want to access and it will take you to a list of all of the lessons. Each lesson is for a different country, except for in the US where it has been broken up into sections of the country. Clicking on the lesson you want take you to a lesson page and you click on the download link. It opens a PDF which includes all of the needed pages and links for the country.

lesson list

We began at the beginning, creating a travel cover for the 3 ring travel binder where we are keeping the lessons and reviewing the continents. From there, we moved into the countries. Each country’s PDF follows the same set-up making it simple for the parent/teacher.

Jamaica lesson

There is information on the country, its map, information and questions such as neighboring countries, bodies of water, and the capital city. The student marks the country on a continent map and has a country map to study and observe. The students can create a flag for the country and add it to a map.

Next the student is given links to music of the country including the national anthem. These links are active and most go to a safe YouTube site. The ones that do not go to a safe YouTube page are noted as such. The student listen to the national anthem and often see images of the country at the same time. There is also another piece of music to listen to. Sometimes it has been students dancing a native piece of music and other times it has been a folk song. These are good representations of the area being studied.

In the fourth part, the students are exploring the country. This includes foods eaten or sold, agriculture, history, landmarks, important people or places, and other unique things about the country. This is done through text, images, and videos. Again, these video links generally take the student to a safe YouTube page.

With my 5th grader, this is an area where we have been modifying the program a bit. When she finds something interesting or has a question about it, we take a break from the program and hit the internet for further information. When she saw the video about making sombreros for Mexico, we had a discussion about it and she looked up more information. She did the same for a bird that she thought was interesting and a volcano she read about and saw video on. This program is ideal for these types of investigations.

The final section is a coloring page and featured craft. The coloring page has some information about why the image for the page was chosen, such as soccer players for countries where that is a common activity to information on the lizard that is on the page. There is also a craft if the student chooses to do it. These include painting mountains for the western US or making a sunset collage for the southwestern US to making a tissue paper hummingbird for Jamaica or a colorful parrot for Honduras.

We are happily flying around the globe with Let’s Go Geography. We can easily cover two to three countries per week working with an older student. When we covered Year 1, we were not moving quite so quickly and covered about one country per week. This is just another benefit of the program – flexibility! You can move at the pace your family needs and you can start at whatever country you might be interested in.

This is a program that we waited eagerly for Year 2 to be released and I hope that when Year 3 is finished, Miss J is still interested because this program teaches to her strengths so well. Let’s Go Geography has such an easy preparation for each lesson that I can’t imagine anything else being such a great fit for both the learner and the teacher. This is one we highly recommend.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Please visit the Homeschool Review Crew to read the reviews of other families who have been using Let’s Go Geography, Year 2. You can click on the banner below to visit that post.

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Complete Curriculum For The Whole Family – SchoolhouseTeachers.com ~ a Crew review

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.

SchoolhouseTeachers

We have been members with SchoolhouseTeachers.com, a site with online classes, for, well, a good number of years. We started with a membership there just a few months after we started homeschooling the girls. So, I guess we are on our 7th year and we are constantly benefitting from this wonderful, online subscription.

The Ultimate PreK-12 Annual Membership is the best option for a multi-age family as it gives you access to everything on the site for one price for the year. Sign up now and that price is set low, as a price increase is coming in February. If you would rather, you can also choose a month-to-month plan, though that cost is a bit higher.

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The access, though, is for a complete PK-12 curriculum that not only includes all of the core classes you need, but also a whole slew of extra-curricular choices. The scope and sequence charts are some of the best ways to narrow down choices for each child.

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Recently, we were looking for a science course for my 8th grader who is capable of high school level work but doesn’t just love science. So, I downloaded the scope and sequence chart for 8th grade science but what I found was that most of the science classes at her level have options that make their grade range 7th-12th. Perfect! Options! But narrowed down. I debated between Botany and Geology, both 16 week courses for this spring semester. I settled on Botany but that Geology course is still on my radar. (I may do it myself.)

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What Is Great About SchoolhouseTeachers

Variety is the spice of life, right? Well, you get it with SchoolhouseTeachers. Whether you are looking for preschool or something for an adult, there are tons of choices.

Full curriculum means math, science, history, and language arts. These are all there in abundance. You can choose between different classes for lots of the levels. And then there are the extras or high-interest classes – photography, music (for example: Advanced Music Theory), art (for example: Everyday Easels), drama, speech, fashion, technology, unit studies, health, and more.

Navigation of the Site

I know that when a site has a ton of content, it can be overwhelming and intimidating. Let me reassure you, this site is navigable by multiple ways which makes is less of a burden. Are you looking for a particular class type, such as cooking or geography? Look under the Scope and Sequence chart or browse by class. Are you looking for a grade level to plan the whole year or multiple grade level subjects? Use the Browse By Subject tab to get started. Are you looking for something just for you as a parent? Head over to the tab titled Planning or Resources.

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Two other nagivation options? There is a search bar at the top, which, while it can be helpful, also pulls things from a single lesson inside of a course. This can be good if you are building your own study, like we did a while back on India. That was really helpful to find a unit on tigers and a recipe to make. Bits and pieces came together to make a fabulous study.

The other option is to use the chat icon in the lower right. The folks who handle the chats are really knowledgeable and are able to give links directly to classes to check out that might meet your needs to help you find things that fit you needs.

Other Benefits of SchoolhouseTeachers

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Planners! Any homeschooling parent knows that there is a need for a good planner. But we often want different things than are typically found in planners or we want this page from one planner and that page from a different one. Well, you can find two different planners to meet your needs. The Schoolhouse Planner is over 750 pages so that you can pick and choose what you want to print to meet the individual needs that you have. There is also a planner for high school students to help them be responsible for their own materials and requirements.

World Book Encyclopedia! Research is something that we all need to do and teach. As a member of SchoolhouseTeachers, you will receive access to the full World Book Encyclopedia online. This kind of access is really quite remarkable and is a great tool. Whether researching people or events, the articles, images, and timelines are very useful.

RightNow Media! Access is also available to many, many videos from RightNow Media. Whether a Bible study, a missionary study, or a cartoon for the kids, the variety on RightNow Media is extensive.

Interactive Content! There are multiple ways in which your students can have interactive content. You might choose a course (such as Drive Thru History) that has a video segment for teaching. You might find one (such as geology) that has both a video segment and an online quiz that sends results directly to your email.

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Lesson Plans! Most of the course (maybe all, I am not sure!) have a printable lesson plan that takes the student step-by-step through what should be done for each day. For example, with Botany, I printed the lesson plan and put it in a folder with notebook paper. The lesson plan tells Miss L which pages to read in the text (which we downloaded as a PDF to the computer so she can read from there but we could also put it on her Kindle) and which questions to answer. If there is an activity, such as writing a paragraph on a scientist, it tells her that, also. If there is something she needs to print, you’ve got it, the lesson plan tells her which page to print.

Literacy Center! This is a center that focuses on teaching reading. With a grade level of PK – 2nd grade for pre-reading and reading activities and grade level or 3rd-4th for their comprehension activities, there is a lot of support in this center for assisting parents who are teaching their children to read.

Focused Learning Centers! These are various areas that focus on topics like math, reading, special needs, foreign language, high school, college planning, or science. These materials will direct you to the materials – whether courses or particular lessons – on the site that will help you teach and address the particular area of need that you have.

So Really –

I could keep going because SchoolhouseTeachers truly is a site that is packed to the brim with materials and information. I could easily use this site to teach everything my girls will need to know. It truly is a complete curriculum choice and with the current sale going on, it would be hard to not call this a bargain. Please check out the site and see what would benefit your family.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

There are many Homeschool Review Crew members sharing their reviews of SchoolhouseTeachers.com, a complete curriculum site. Please click on the banner below to read their reviews.

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50 States Study for upper elementary

50 States Study

We have been going through the 50 states, learning them and learning a bit about them this fall with our upper elementary student. She did the states a few years ago and she has worked some on Texas history and US history, but knowing the names and placements of all 50 states is something we desire for her to learn. So, we tackled it this year. And she is doing super well.

50 states activity notebook

The weekly plan includes working through two of the states from the USA Bundle that we received from The Crafty Classroom. We are using the National Geographic book titled Our Fifty States. It includes beautiful pictures of each state, giving all of the information needed to complete the page for that state in the printable from the bundle. We are also playing a game or two each week or doing a puzzle of the states.

Make A State

Games that we have used include the Name That State Game from the Make-A-State Activity-Pak by Home School In The Woods. We have also used the Stack the States game, available on Kindle. There is a US history game that we have called American Trivia. It includes bits and pieces about the states so we have included it a couple of times.

Puzzles that we have include a cling film one that can go up on a window, a 100 piece puzzle with images of all the states and their main economic item, and a magnetic one where each piece is one state. We also have a table cloth that is a picture of all the states and I try to put it on the table every few weeks. (This was a fabulous project a few years ago when we were studying the states. We got glittery paint and marked where all of our family members lived. Great geography lesson for younger students.)

And, if you don’t know the song, Fifty Nifty is a great song for learning all of the 50 states in alphabetical order. With a catchy tune, it can be learned fairly quickly and will stick forever in your brain. I used it when I taught elementary music and by the time my students left first grade, every one of them knew all of the states in order. Music is a great tool!

With so many easy to use tools, perhaps your study of the states will be easy and fun. Also, check out a previous post about learning the states. It has quite a few hands on projects and a list of books. Some of the materials are duplicated here but these are some resources that we didn’t necessarily have back then.

Blessings,
Lori

50 States Study for upper elementary

2019 Blue Ribbon Awards ~ a look back at the Crew year

The Results Are In

As we do each year, the Homeschool Review Crew has voted for their favorite products from the reviews done in 2019. Our last reviews for the year will post next week, so every has had a chance to use all of the products for several weeks. The Crew chooses the categories and we spent a bit of time a week ago working through our choices in each category. Today, we are sharing that with you. So, let’s jump right in.

Writing Curriculum: Jump In from Sharon Watson

Language Arts (complete curriculum): Hewitt Homeschool’s Lightning Lit

Grammar Resource: Easy Grammar

Literature Curriculum: LitWits (review posting next week)

History/Social Studies: Drive Thru History

History Supplement: Library and Educational Services books

Science Curriculum: CrossWired Science

Math Curriculum: CTCMath

Math Supplement: Channie’s Page-A-Day workbooks

Middle School/Young Adult Book: Britfield & The Lost Crown by C.R. Stewart

Biography: Elizabeth Prentiss: More Love from Christian Focus

Poetry or Audio Drama: Heirloom Audio’s For The Temple

Fine Arts: Creating A Masterpiece’s Drawing Program

Elective: Stopmotion Explosion

Bible Supplement: Drive Thru History’s Acts to Revelation

Favorite Elementary School Product: Homeschool In The Woods – Project Passport:Middle Ages (we used only the timeline for our elementary student though our high school student has completed the whole study)

Favorite Middle School Product: Stopmotion Explosion

Favorite High School Product: Britfield & The Lost Crown by C.R. Stewart

Favorite Parent Product: Transcripts Made Easy by Everyday Education

Best Resource I Didn’t Know I Needed: Stopmotion Explosion

Favorite Fun Resource: Brain Blox Building Planks AND Fun Family Chess (but we could only vote for one so we voted for the planks)

Helpful Tool/Resource: Transcripts Made Easy by Everyday Education

Miss J – Kid’s Choice: Brain Blox Building Planks

Miss L – Teen’s Choice: Stopmotion Explosion

Miss E – Teen’s Choice: The Kingdom Code (financial education)

Adult’s Choice: Creating A Masterpiece’s Drawing ProgramThe REsults are in

So there you have them – our choices of products we really enjoyed. Now, to be fair, there were several of these categories where we had to negotiate with each other for a final choice because there were more than one choice someone wanted to vote for. So, just because it isn’t linked here, doesn’t mean we didn’t like the product. So, you could always search for TOS Reviews on the blog here to get all of the reviews we have done or search by subject or topic to narrow it down.

By the way – The Crew is still adding bloggers, vloggers, and social media influencers to the team for the 2020 Crew year. If you are interested, visit the Crew site to read more about the requirements and find the application. We do enjoy expanding our team and would like to have you join us.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Click on the image below to see the 2019 Blue Ribbon Award winners as chosen by the votes from members of the Homeschool Review Crew. You can also find a link up with other bloggers who have shared their family’s favorites from the 2019 Crew year.

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Mattie Richardson, Author, and Her Horses of History Series ~ a Crew review

Horses In History Series from author Mattie Richardson

Books that dive into history in a unique way are highly appreciated by this mom, who is constantly looking for new ways to interest my sweet girls in different things. When the Mattie Richardson’s Horses in History Series of books from young author Mattie Richardson came up for review, I jumped at the chance to read them. I had seen them previously but had not been able to get them at the time. Wow, have we been missing out!

Author Mattie Richardson/Appaloosy Books started writing these books when she was about 13. She has picked up a very interesting and unique way to look at different events in history with this series of books – from the perspective of the horses. What a fabulous outlook to take, especially when you consider her age as she started writing them. Well, since the first one, she hasn’t really stopped writing. Taking on the idea of how the horses might have seen different historical events was a stroke of genius.

Mattie Richardson books

There are 4 books in this series and we received each of them to read and review:

  • Appaloosy,
  • Dusty’s Trail,
  • Golden Sunrise, and
  • Day and Night.

We also received the new ebook enrichment guide to go along with Day and Night.

Appaloosy by Mattie RichardsonAppaloosy –¬†This book takes a look at the final freedom of the Nez Perce tribe. Storm is a beautiful Appaloosa with unique markings who belongs to the tribe. The story follows the attempt by the tribe to maintain their freedom from the desires of the white man. War breaks out in Idaho, disrupting the life of the stunning young stallion. We follow Storm through many different owners, including both horse thieves/rustlers and kind owners. As the story continues, we follow Storm’s struggle for freedom, both against owners and his own heart.

Miss J and I read this book out loud during the review period, reading a chapter a night together. It was an interesting story about a time that she did not know anything about. The history of the struggles of the Nez Perce tribe as seen through the eyes of the horse made it an event that wasn’t too hard to read. There are some situations that sensitive children might have a harder time with but they are very important to the history of the events. They are handled carefully and are well done, emphasizing just the right amount of the scare or concern or fright while allowing the proper influence on the story because horse thieving, fights, battles, hunger, and more are all a part of it. We enjoyed reading the story together and seeing it all play out from a bit safer of a view point – the horse.

Dusty's Trail by Mattie Richardson

Dusty’s Trail –¬†The call of the newspaper ad is just too strong for the young boy and his horse. The Pony Express! What an adventure it would be. Against his mother’s wishes, young Levi takes off on his horse Dusty. Dusty tries to let Levi know that this isn’t the best plan but Levi wins out and they become part of The Pony Express. Amid attacks, heat, cold, missing relays, and more, the story of how The Pony Express worked through the eyes of Dusty is a joy.

Golden Sunrise by Mattie Richardson

Golden Sunrise –¬†The palomino pony, Cheyenne, is at home on the ranch when Jared decides he just has to be a part of the changes occuring in Texas in the 1830s and 1840s. The Texas fight for independence was just too appealing to the young lad and so with his horse, they join up. Being a part of the war may just be more than Cheyenne bargained for, though as she learns about the war she knows it is a just cause. Right in the midst of it all, Cheyenne and Jared are part of the big battles and meet many of the people who came to be important in the history of it all.

Day and Night by Mattie Richardson

Day and Night –¬†The American Civil War was anything but civil, even for the horses. Two horse brothers, Tucker and Shiloh, are separated from each other as their lives diverge. One ends up on the side of the North and the other ends up on the side of the South. One ends up carrying a high ranking official. The other ends up carrying a boy, um – girl dressed like a boy who lied to be able to fight. From the border wars and the fights on the western front of the war, to the bloodiest battles fought, to protecting the lines and taking care of their riders, these horses saw it all and learned so much about the war that maybe we should learn from them.

Each of these stories is told from the horses’ point of view. Each is well told and highlights issues surrounding the events that might not be immediately obvious or the part that we have learned about in past history studies. These unique looks at the events of the stories will broaden the reader’s idea of what it is like to fight in a battle, seek freedom, work hard on a horse, ride for hours on end, or be a part of something bigger than themselves.

enrichment_guide

The Day and Night Enrichment Guide is a full-on unit study designed to help the reader get more out of the book. There are 8 parts to the guide, with all of the first seven following the same format. Each part contains

  • reading comprehension – questions to help guide the reader’s understanding of the story
  • vocabulary – words used within the story that might be new or unfamiliar to the reader; most are fill-in-the-blank activities with one matching activity
  • a soldier’s life – designed to help the reader understand more about the different aspects of a soldier’s life, there is information on food, bugle calls, medicine, camp life, and more
  • living history activity – these activities help bring to life the things that a soldier would have experienced, such as making butter, eating hardtack, or having johnnycakes; some of these include making a diorama or studying a reenactment
  • geography – because geography was important to war, there is a study of the states involved in the story, landmarks of the battles, rivers, and other big picture ideas of the civil war
  • horses and history – a look at the role of the horse in the civil war, including tack and equipment, purpose of the cavalry, breeds of horses, and more
  • creating your own stories – working one element at a time, the reader begins to create their own stories
  • biography – a look at an important person from the story
  • further reading/advanced track – additional books to read to further develop understanding of the Civil War

Part 8 is the completion of the story the reader was writing and suggestions for field trips.

The enrichment guide can be used as is but it would be very easy to pick the pieces of it that fit your need or your family and use just those. In whole, it is a solid literature, history, and geography study, with writing included. In pieces, it will be a good supplement to the story. Either way, it is a recommended addition to the book.

Horses In History Series from author Mattie Richardson

While we have not yet used the enrichment guide, I am getting it printed out and into a binder so that we can use it in the spring for our history with Miss J, age 10. We will not

use the further reading section, but all the others will be interesting and really create a solid study of these battles in the Civil War.

I am excited about using these four books from Author Mattie Richardson/Appaloosy Books as the base for a history unit. These books are easy to read and chock full of the details of history that truly bring it to life.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Be sure to visit the Homeschool Review Crew to read what other families thought about the Mattie Richardson’s Horses in History Series. Please click on the banner below to visit the Crew blog and read more reviews.

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Math from Channie’s ~ a Crew review

Channies workbooks titling

Workbooks often have a bad reputation but we have had great success with some of them. This review was somewhat of a surprise for us in this regards and what a good surprise it has been. Having not heard of Channie’s Visual Handwriting & Math workbooks before, giving their math workbooks a chance seemed like a good thing to do, though we were having a good run with our current math program. After all, practice time is always good with multiplication. So, we requested One Page A Day 2 Digit Multiplication Practice¬†. We were pleasantly surprised to open the package and find One Page A Day Level 1 Fractions, also. Both of these products have a suggested grade range of 3rd-5th.

Channies_multiplication

We chose the multiplication workbook because Miss J, age 10, just doesn’t have the multiplication tables memorized yet. The One Page A Day format of this workbook works in conjunction with any other program you are working with for math because it is a short practice page each day. One page. That’s it. It starts off gently, working through simple 2 digit times 1 digit examples. Each problem is set up within a grid, helping the student keep the steps of the equation lined up. Perfect for that gently reminder.

Channies_multiplication_sample1

This first page was multiplying 2 digits by 1 digits. These single digits are 1s and 0s. Really easy but a great way to build confidence. Next comes a page of 2s, then 3s, then on up through 9s. One page each. There are a few pages of mixed single digits to multiply by and then they move on to the next difficulty level – 2 digit by 2 digit.

Again, though, it starts them out easily and gently with this new step. 2 digits multiplied by 10, with the grid system with color coding to help them keep their numbers lined up correctly. A great teaching system.  Then green is for when you are multiplying by the ones place and the grey is for when you are multiplying by the tens place. As the book continues to progress, these colors are eventually done away with, keeping the grids in place. This gently removing of the aids allows the student to continue to feel strong and confident as they work through the multiplication page-a-day program.

Channies_fractions

As I mentioned, we were pleasantly surprised when we opened the package and saw that Channie’s had also sent us Level 1 Fractions. It follows well with the multiplication and again is a very gently system for walking the student step-by-step in learning to work with fractions.

starting_fractions

The program begins with what fractions are, coloring in a shape with the fractional amount. After just a couple of pages, the student is moved into addition of fractions with like denominators. The student is also introduced to the idea of a fractional amount of 1, such as 5/5 = 1. So the student adds the fractions and then determines that the amount is actually equivalent to 1. Subtractions of fractions comes next and quickly is followed by the concept that fractions are just a form of division. Several pages are spent on this concepts, since it is one that often trips students up.

Equivalent fractions are where we are at now and the workbook will spend a number of pages on it. We had to introduce multiplying fractions, using the concept of 5/5=1. By the time we finish this book, Miss J will have dealt with equivalent fractions in many ways, reducing fractions, and working with fractions through different operations. Because she has not dealt with fractions nearly as much, I am actually teaching her a good portion of the time on the new concepts instead of this being a practice. But it works this way, also. I just sit beside her while she begins each page, seeing if she understands it.

Each of the workbooks has an answer key at the back.

Since these are only one page a day programs and we are doing two of the simultaneously, we are spending between 20 and 30 minutes on math. This is a solid amount for Miss J, as so much of that is intensive thought for her. These two combined have been just wonderful.

Channies_workbooks

Channie’s is a company that has a large selection of products to try. Each of their products is designed to have a unique practice approach to an area that children often struggle with, whether it be letters, numbers, handwriting, or math concepts. When you look at their shop, there are over 70 items! These include the items I have shared with you here, as well as the items that the Homeschool Review Crew are sharing in other reviews:

Channie’s Dry Erase Flashcard For Alphabet & Number¬† (Better for ages 4-6)

Channie’s Dry Erase Flashcard for Sight Words¬†(Ages 5-6)

Neat Numbers (Ages 3-5)

And who knows? There could have been others like our family who were blessed with something not on this list! And I may just order their One Page A Day Beginning Division workbook for some more practice in that area. Channies workbooks for math

I want to point out that there are some practice pads and dry erase boards for some of the items in the shop. What a wonderful tool these would be for early writers and learners. I know when my girls were young, they really enjoyed using dry erase boards so these are wonderful products.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Be sure to click on the image below to see what other families from the Homeschool Review Crew thought about the products they used from Channie’s Visual Handwriting & Math workbooks.

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