Tag Archives: TOS

AIM from Math-U-See ~ a Crew review

Disclosure: I received this complimentary product through the Homeschool Review Crew.

Our 6th grader enjoys math but has struggled with the multiplication facts. I felt fairly confident she understood the concept, since she was able to show that to me with manipulatives when she was 4, but she still counted a good number of the facts on her fingers. Accelerated Individualized Mastery (AIM) for Multiplication with a Bridge to Division is a product from Math-U-See that is designed for students age 10 and up who struggle with multiplication. The struggle can be in the concept or it could be in just some of the memorization. This program helps you find out where the struggle is and gives specific teaching techniques and learning activities to help combat those struggles.

In more formal language, this is considered an intervention program and is designed for students who are struggling that you don’t expect to be doing so. It is instructor guided, meaning it is teacher prepped and teacher guided. The teacher is a part of every bit of this program. AIM for Multiplication comes with everything needed to teach the program. It includes:

  • AIM Multiplication Resource Guide
  • Math-U-See Integer Blocks (amount needed for these lessons)
  • Math Fact Strategy Posters
  • Fact Check Cards
  • Code for online access to the Digital Pack (required internet access)

I was not concerned about Miss J not having all of the facts memorized but we have seen how it is affecting her a small bit as she works on her math program. Mastering these would help her math be more efficient and enjoyable. The program is designed to work with the individual student where that student is and mastering, truly mastering, the facts before moving on. Thus, the 10 lessons may take a few days to a few month, depending on your student’s mastery.

There are 10 lessons for addressing the 2s to 10s and two addition lessons to teach the relationship of multiplication to division (the bridge to division part). We are in lesson 8. We spent about 10-15 minutes a day on the lessons while she continues to use her regular math curriculum. The program combines a hands-on component, a visual component, and an auditory component in the teaching of each fact family. From there, the program has teaching techniques to help the student “fade” the hands-on component into a mastery recall of 3 seconds or less. All of these techniques and lessons are shown step by step in the online Digital Pack and in the Resource Guide.

Each fact family lesson has four parts – A through D. A is the direct teaching with the hands-on component. B is applying the ideas to word problems to really understand the learning. C is working on the memory. D is fading to total recall. You can work on each of these steps as many times as needed before moving on to the next one. It is recommended to not work on these for more than 15 minutes at a time and have a break of at least 2 hours in between sessions.

Included with AIM are several activities that can be used with any of the fact families for practice. Miss J’s favorite of these is rock, paper, scissors. (She wins most of the time!) There are online manipulatives and activities that we have not explored as much since Miss J is a hands-on learner. They are available, as well as the practice activities, in the Digital Pack.

As each fact family is learned, Miss J is coloring those facts on a chart. This is a visual representation of what she has done.

I have been pleased with the simplicity of the program combined with the progress I have seen. After we finish the lessons, we will retake the facts test to see how Miss J does. We did a pre-assessment so we have something to compare it to. I cannot wait to see her improvement. After we get through the bridge to division, we will also use some of the printable worksheets to help her continue to keep those facts solidly in her mind.

If you have a struggling student, Accelerated Individualized Mastery (AIM) for Multiplication with a Bridge to Division is something I would recommend. You can also visit the Homeschool Review Crew site to read about other families’ experiences using AIM for Multiplication from Math-U-See.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Music History with Byron’s Games ~ a Crew review

Disclosure: I received this product free through the Homeschool Review Crew.


Byron’s Games has brought us another fun learning game. This time it is an exploration of music history through composers with the game Maestro Mastery – Explore the Composers.

Whether your students are already familiar with many composers or are early on in their experiences with composers, this matching game will meet them where they are. Featuring 52 composers, the game comes with a set of matching cards for each composer. Both cards have matching pictures of the composer, the country of origin, the musical time period, and the composer’s birth and death dates. One of the cards also has a banner across it with a short, interesting biography of the composer. The basic idea of the game is to match cards and learn a bit about the composer in the process.

Also included in the game is a large poster with all of the composers on it it, a time line card, and instructions for play. The instructions also include information on how to access samples of the composers’ music on the Byron’s Games website. This all comes in a study box for storage.

My youngest just turned 12 and she has been enjoying this game. She adores playing games and learns quite a lot from games such as this. She has asked about once a week to play Maestro Mastery since we received it. I certainly don’t mind since music is such a part of our family life.

We played by picking one of the 2 decks of cards. Each deck has 26 composers in it so it is a large number of cards and each set has a good variety of composers, featuring at least one from each time period (the way the decks are sent – that would be different if you have mixed your decks up, which we have not yet). We lay them out face down and just do a simple matching game. We take turns and with each card we turn over, we look at it, read the composer’s name, nation of origin, and music time period. If it is a match, we keep the set and go again. If it is not a match, the other person gets a go at it.

As we get matches, we line them up according to music time period. We keep the musical period timeline visible between us so we can point out where the match is from on it. We also have the big poster close by so we can see what other composers are part of that time period.

To further the experience, it is a wonderful thing to listen to music from the composers. While 26 selections is a bit much for one game and it would prolong the game a lot, we pick one composer and put on a CD. (We have a large library of music and are excited to have another way to share our favorite composers with the girls.) You can also access samples of each composer’s music on the Byron’s Games website, using the information included on the instructions card.

As with all of the games we have seen from Byron’s Games, this is a very flexible game that can be modified to fit multiple age levels, interest levels, or ability levels. I could see using this matching game with a younger student by having one of each of the composer card sets already visible so they are just trying to find the one to match what is turned over. You could also make it more difficult by having all of the cards out. If you wanted to focus on listening, you could use a set of 4 or 5 composers, listen to their pieces, and then play what my college teacher would call “drop the needle” even though we weren’t using record players. (I’m not quite that old!) Have the student try to identify which composer wrote the piece of music that is played out of the 4 or 5 composers shown.

A variation we used was to combine this with the Continent Race game, also from Byron’s Games. After we had found our matches, we grabbed the continent maps and placed the composers on the correct continent. We then identified the countries for each of the composers on those maps. You could add yet another variation by each person trying to get matches for a certain continent or country.

One constant for us, though, was to listen to at least one piece of music by a composer from the game either while we played or after. A favorite way to choose was for Miss J to find a composer whose name sounded interesting. The website selections are easy to access by choosing the picture for the composer that aligns with the poster for the game. The play button is right on the card for each composer.

This is a wonderful game to add to our collection and I am thrilled that it is music related. We have enjoyed playing this game a good bit and will continue to play in the future. A definitely recommend.

Other Homeschool Review Crew families have been playing Maestro Mastery – Explore the Composers but other families received the The Family Journal. Visit the Crew blog page to read more reviews on both the game and the journal from Byron’s Games.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Using SchoolhouseTeachers.com Recently ~ a Crew review

Disclosure: I received this product free through the Homeschool Review Crew.

The Ultimate PreK-12 Annual Membership accessed through SchoolhouseTeachers.com contains a wealth of information, classes, planning tools, helps, and encouragement. From video courses to text courses, from PK classes through courses interesting for adults, you will find just about anything you could want in home education and resources to support all types of learning – home education, virtual learning, blended learning, or others that I don’t even know about.

One of the great things about SchoolhouseTeachers is that you can browse on the site in so many ways. You can search by grade level, subject type, need, keyword, learning style, and more. You come up with lots of options to explore and you can pick and choose what looks like a great fit for your own crew. And if it isn’t? No problem. Search again and pick something different. You have access to it ALL! One free for one year of ALL material on the site.

So, what have we been doing with the site?

The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe Literature Kit

With my 6th grader, we read the book together during December. We used some of the information from the kit to discuss. We talked a bit about C.S. Lewis. We looked at the background for why the children went to the country. We had previously done a WWII study so she was familiar with a lot of but it was good to check in with the history again. She kept a list of all the foods mentioned in the story as we read and we talked about what “tea” meant. At the end of the story, she did a bit of researching of recipes and picked from her list of foods to create a tea party. She cooked and invited her family and we enjoyed a Narnia tea time.

This literature kit is set up for a study to last several weeks. Because we were using it as a one week study during a break from our regular schedule, we adapted by picking a choosing a few of the discussions and activities to do. Activities we didn’t use included making snowflakes and snowflake ornaments, researching beavers, a study on Father Christmas, looking up flowers, how to draw a mouse, and much more. There is a four week lesson plan included.

I also had her pop over to the Literature Lessons for The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. We had some quick discussions about some of the questions there. They covered characters, setting, plot, conflict, and theme. There are suggested answers in a separate file. These questions can also be done using an interactive content tool. It asks the question and has a space to type the response. The responses are emailed to the email address entered by the student when starting the quiz.

Foreign Language – French

We have been hoping for a French class to show up on here and one did. I have just started to explore it a little bit to see how it will work for my 9th grader. It appears that they are 3-4 years worth of high school materials for her so we will likely be taking this up soon. It includes course work from elementary, middle, and high school levels.

Videos

We were excited to see in the Christmas Corner of the Seasonal Resources that there was a video on The Candy Maker’s Christmas. This relates to a favorite holiday book we read every year so we were pleased to watch the short video on it. It also had a worksheet to go along with it if we had chosen to use it.

There are a lot of other video options, from materials to go along with specific classes (one of our favorites is always Drive Thru History) to devotional materials available through RightNow Media. There are over 450 videos available with your membership to SchoolhouseTeachers.

Holidays

There are tons of holiday materials that are written specifically for the holiday or are a part of a larger course that have been separated out to make doing a holiday unit study easy. With Valentine’s Day and President’s Day both coming up next month, there are plenty of materials available to pick something to add a change to the school routine. I was looking at a couple of the printable games to use for Valentine’s Day or perhaps a poetry study. There is a book by Patricia McLaughlin titled “All The Places To Love” that reads like poetry and has a study but there is also a study of Shakepeare’s “Shall I Compare Thee To A Summer’s Day?” Both look like short but strong options for a 6th grader.

Other Resources

I can’t discuss them all but I want to name a few more that are worth checking out:
– School Boxes (grade level curriculum options) – these are full of curriculum choices for a particular level to be able to quickly and easily pull together a full curriculum
– Literacy Center
– Special Needs Center
– Parents eBook Library
– Focused Learning Centers
– High School Help
– Planning: includes printable planners and schedule makers to customize

Much more is included on SchoolhouseTeachers.com. This just barely scratches the surface. Many other reviewers for the Homeschool Review Crew have written about how they have recently been using the Ultimate PreK-12 Annual Membership and some about how it will continue to be used in the coming months for their homeschools. Please pop over to the Crew blog and read more reviews.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Blue Ribbon Awards, 2020 edition

The Blue Ribbon Awards is a tradition with the Homeschool Review Crew and it is a fun one for us as participants. I imagine it is also fun for the vendors. A number of categories are shared and every family in the Crew votes for their favorite in that category. We don’t vote in all categories since we didn’t review something from each of the categories.

Please visit the Crew blog to read about the overall winners from the Crew and to find other families who have shared their individual favorites. Without further ado, here are our family’s choices for the Blue Ribbon Award 2020.

Favorite Complete Curriculum – My Father’s World

Favorite Reading Supplement – Reading Eggs

Favorite Language Arts Resource – IEW

Favorite History/Social Studies Resource – Home School in the Woods Time Line Collection

Favorite History/Social Studies Book – YWAM – Jacob Deshazer

Favorite Science Resource – Journey Homeschool Academy – Upper Level Biology

Favorite Math Curriculu – CTCMath

Favorite Math Supplement – Critical Thinking Co: Mastering Logic & Math Problem Solving

Favorite Fine Arts Resource – Beyond the Stick Figure

Favorite Bible Resource – Drive Thru History Adventures – Bible Unearthed

Favorite Elementary Product – Let’s Go Geography

Favorite Middle School Product – Byron’s Games Continent Race

Favorite High School Product – Journey Homeschool Academy

Favorite Mom/Teacher Product – Fermentools Starter Kit

Best Resource I Didn’t Know I Needed – Fermentools Starter Kit

Favorite Fun Resource – Byron’s Games Continent Race

Kid’s Choice (Miss J chose this one) – Beyond the Stick Figure

Teen’s Choice #1 (Miss L chose this one) – My Father’s World

Teen’s Choice #2 (Miss E chose this one) – Journey Homeschool Academy

My Favorite – Sonrise Stables/History on Horseback

So, there you have it. Our favorites for the year. We got to review a some new products this year and we got to know some new vendors. We also got to use some old favorites that we know work well with the girls. We are continually blessed by the Crew and are looking forward to another year with them.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

CrossTimber Name Meaning Gifts ~ 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.

Names are important. Names are personal. We did not choose our girls names based on meaning but I know many people who spend a lot of time choosing their children’s names based on what they mean. Sometimes those meanings are Biblical; sometimes those meanings are cultural. Both can be influential. CrossTimber Name Meaning Gifts are all about bringing that purpose and meaning to a beautiful gift. We received two of their products for the purpose of this review: the 8×10 Plaque print and the personalized AmazingName Print Activity Sheets.

Having reviewed CrossTimber in the past, I knew a bit about the quality of their name plaques and we chose to order one for our family surname. My girls all have their 5×7 plaques on their walls so we picked a beautiful print for our family room. We chose the Autumn Harvest print with our family name. The colors are vibrant and are very pretty. It includes a beautiful cursive name with an origin culture. There are three meanings included plus a Bible verse that relates to the meanings.

We thought our name was from a different culture than CrossTimber came up with but that was an interesting thing. It was fun to find out something new and different, without knowing for certain either way. (We know for a fact that our family name is hard to trace.) The meanings were fun to read and the girls got a kick out of the ideas. The Bible verse is a great life verse for anyone to choose and the fact that CrossTimber chose it to go with our name is pleasing.

The AmazingName Print Activity Sheets were a fun addition for this review. We had Miss J’s name put on these. (As we don’t use her full name on here on purpose, I have cropped pictures to show only the first letter of her name for these pictures when I need to. The sheets all actually contain the whole name.) There are plenty of activities included that range over a wide group of ages. Included are mazes, word searches, coloring pages, picture searches where the child’s name is embedded in different fonts in the picture, copywork with Bible verses, print and cursive exercises with the child’s name, and other activities.

From beginning to learn to print letters to enjoying challenging mazes and word searches, there is something there for all ages of children. I would guess these would go over well for children from ages 3 to about 11 or 12. Miss J is 11 and she found plenty to enjoy in them. There were a number of activities below her level but that was just fine. We are considering ordering some of these sets for some girls we know who might really enjoy them. They could be a fun, simple Christmas gift for these friends.

If you are looking for meaningful gifts for a birthday, holiday, or other special occasion, consider CrossTimber. Their gifts are beautiful and can be very encouraging for others.

Visit the Homeschool Review Crew to read about the name meaning gifts that they ordered from CrossTimber, from 8×10 plaques to personalized bookmarks to personalized name cards.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Bible Studies from Julie Naturally ~ 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.

Living a life for Christ begins with knowing the word of God. Spending time in the Bible can be guided many different ways. Two studies from Julie Naturally have been a part of guiding my daily time in the Bible recently. I have been using the Faith Journeys Bible Study Series: Romans bundle and the Faith Journeys Bible Study Series: Philippians.

Julie Naturally is the company run by Julie Polanco. She is striving to use her site and resources to help Christian homeschooling families. There are four parts to the Julie Naturally site – homeschooling, holy living, wholistic health, and homesteading. You can explore these, including her blog. But I am going to direct you to the Bible studies found in her shop. This is what I was using – Romans Bible Study Bundle and the Philippians Bible Study.

Romans Bible Study Bundle

This bundle included a downloadable and printable PDF of the Bible study of Romans, a downloadable/printable PDF of the coloring pages and memory verses, and access online to a video introduction to each of the 8 weeks of the Bible study. Each week of the study has a short video introduction, about 2 chapters to study for the week, and 6 days of study questions and discussion points. In between each week’s set of questions is a coloring page and there are memory verses for each week to print also.

coloring page from Romans study

Each daily study has a passage of verses to read and ponder. The daily questions are related to the reading. The questions range from basic information recall to considering background to apply the concepts to the world of today. Some of the actions for the daily study include prayer and spending time considering how God is working in a specific way. According to the website, this study is appropriate for an older teen or woman. Plan to spend about 15 or 20 minutes daily on this study if you work at the pace Julie planned.

Philippians Bible Study

The study of the book of Philippians is a 4 week study. It does not include a video component for each week. It could be coming later as it was mentioned in the introductory pages but it was not available when I was using the study. As with the Romans study, there are daily readings of a prescribed set of verses and the discussions are related to these verses.

The discussion includes questions of various depths, background information, and statements designed to provoke thought and application to daily life and the world around. According to the introduction to the study, each day’s reading and discussion in under 20 minutes.

My Thoughts

Both the Romans study and the Philippians study did not feel deep and challenging for me. I found that it took me about 5 minutes a day in the Philippians study to read and answer the questions. In the Romans study, it took me closer to 10 minutes because the readings were longer. I prefer my daily study to be 30-45 minutes or longer.

The videos were difficult for me to follow because her speaking style was not as organized as I prefer when working on a Bible study. The quality was similar to a live video from social media, including issues with the reception in week 3 where there content is missing at about the 7 minute mark.

I found that the daily discussions had some interesting points that I had not considered before. For example, Philippians starts with a discussion about leadership in the church. It was a good, thought provoking point. There were a few of these throughout the study. Overall, I found the questions to be recall level questions or to be worded so that I was unsure what was being asked for. If you are going to print the study, I recommend printing two pages of the study per page because there is a lot of blank space on every page, much more than is needed for writing.

I would have greatly appreciated a leader’s guide to go along with this so that I could figure out where she was going with some of the discussions. Several times, I left questions blank because it was unclear what she was considering.

I added the words from Philippians 4:8 to each of the shapes in this coloring page to help me focus on that verse.

I did enjoy the coloring pages in the Philippians study. I liked that the coloring pages in the Romans study had scripture on each one, though it wasn’t stated on the page where the scripture was found.

It was not a favorite study for me and I don’t feel like it would take my girls deep enough into the text. I can really see this being good for others. I found that there were some very good ideas covered in these studies. If you are a fairly new Christian or a younger teen, I can see these studies being appropriate for you. They are also appropriate if you are looking for a simple daily study that doesn’t require a lot of effort or in depth study.

Be sure to visit the Homeschool Review Crew blog to read about others who have been using these studies from Julie Naturally.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Economics Class by Boundary Stone ~ 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.

Economics is something that is beneficial for everyone to know. Understanding the process by which goods and services are created and traded/received is a fundamental part of our society and world. Boundary Stone has created an online course paired with an in-print book for a high school economics class.

Economics Online Course Bundle has several components – an online portal with videos, daily check lists, quizzes, reviews; a digital PDF teacher’s guide; a hardback textbook. The course also asks for two additional books. Access is for 12 months but the course is designed to be completed in one semesters with daily lessons.

The main text is Basic Economics, A Natural Law Approach to Economics. It is a hardback text written by Clarence Carson and Paul Cleveland. It is over 370 pages and contains the main information for the course. There are three sections to the course: The Framework of Economics, The Production and Distribution of Goods, and the Politico-Economic Systems.

The Framework of Economics discusses basic economics, natural laws and the impact on economics, government and some of the history, society and morality, and property. These ideas and concepts are all placed in a historical framework and this part of the text reads like a history book. Section II gets into goods and how we make or receive goods, the market and how it reflects society, money, inflation, pricing, and much more. Titles of chapters in Section III include Manorial-Feudal System, Mercantilism, Free Enterprise, Corporatism, Welfarism, and Communism.

The online coursework has a checklist for daily work to help keep the student on track and moving forward. It is a numbered list of what is to be read, videos from Paul Cleveland, some linked YouTube videos, some linked articles to read, questions to be answered, quizzes to be taken, or unit tests to complete. There are also activities that are added in sometimes.

The online dashboard has a lot of information to help students stay on track. The left hand side has drop down menus that allow you to click on your next lesson and head directly there or something you have previously completed if you need to do a review. The top section has a percentage complete for the course so you can see at a glance how far you have come. It also has arrows to simply move forward or backward one lesson. With a linked PDF of the text, online review questions, and a place to mark complete when you have done each of the numbered parts of the lesson.

I have found the text to be an interesting read, though I disagree with the general tone of a large part of the discussion. It has challenged me to consider what I have been taught, to do my own research and reading, and to think about some of the concepts and ideas presented. I would recommend a parent or teacher take a look at the text before handing it to the student so that they are well aware of the outlook of this program. I have learned a lot and will continue on through the book, though my students will not be using it at this time.

Please visit the Homeschool Review Crew to read more reviews on the program from Boundary Stone.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Bible Unearthed by Drive Thru History ~ 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.

Biblical archaeology can shed a lot of light on the word of God and help us understand the place in history of people and events. Drive Thru History® Adventures has been shedding light on the Bible through their videos for a while now. After the success of such series as The Gospels and Acts to Revelation (links take you to our reviews), the company realized that it would be interesting to share more about what goes on behind the scenes for Drive Thru History and feature archeaology.

We were given early access to a program series that Drive Thru History® Adventures will be releasing soon – Bible Unearthed. This program features Dr. Titus Kennedy, who is the main archaelogical researcher behind the Drive Thru History programs. Along with him, we meet Dave Stotts (of course) and Randall Niles, a writer for Drive Thru History. These three men take us through various parts of understanding the importance of archaeology and its impact on the Bible and history.

Bible Unearthed is accessed for us through the Drive Thru History® Adventures site. This curriculum site is a subscription site and requires internet access. The program is a 12 part series. Each video is supported by articles, worksheets, Bible readings, and suggested activities to help students understand the content and history. The videos run somewhere around 15 minutes each, give or take a couple of minutes. The course guide recommends each family decide how best to approach the curriculum and gives a possible schedule suggestion that covers one “adventure,” or video, per week and hits all of the included activities/readings.

The format for this series is very different from previous Drive Thru History videos, but that should be expected with a subject so very different from previous series. This is almost a relaxed discussion between 3 friends, with Dr. Kennedy taking the lead and giving the most information. As he is the archaeologist, that makes sense. He covers the following topics in the 12 part series:

  • What is Archaeology?
  • The Impact of Archaeology
  • Locating Archaeological Sites
  • The Life of an Archaeologist
  • What’s Being Discovered Today?
  • Archaeological Mysteries
  • Top Discoveries in Bible Archaeology
  • Getting Involved With Archaeology
  • Trends In Archaeology
  • Weird Archaeology
  • Accidental Discoveries in Archaeology
  • What’s Left To Be Discovered?

The focus in this series is about the impact of archaeology on understanding the ancient world, particularly the Biblical world. From the Tel Dan Stele, to the excavation of a palace of King David, to the Rosetta Stone, the connections between today and the artifacts and excavations of the ancient world bring this understanding. Each of the episodes talks about a different aspect of archaeology and touches on different people and places and artifacts. This keeps each episodes fresh and new yet ties them all together as some of the people, places, and artifacts come up over and over.

The dashboard for this course is simple to use and follow. It moves you from one episode to the next or you can cancel the auto play and utilize the different pieces of the curriculum. When you log in each time, it is easy to see where to begin, as the completed pieces have a check next to them. You can go back to whatever previous piece of the material you might be interested in. The worksheet and answer key are downloadable and printable. There are still articles being added to this course, so it is recommended to continue checking back for new additions. The articles are linked; you can click on the article title and it opens in a new tab.

one of the articles for Digging Deeper

We have found this series to be interesting and insightful. We have watched the episodes together and enjoyed them. I have read the articles and followed the curriculum myself, to add to my understanding of the information. I would certainly recommend this series to anyone wanting to learn more about archaeology, especially ancient history or biblical archaeology. It would not serve as a full high school course on its own, in my opinion, but would be easy to pair with additional resources to round out the course. (A book by Dr. Kennedy is recommended in the course guide.)

We were able to view the videos on the TV by opening the site on a smart phone and casting it to the TV. The whole family could watch then. I also watched a few of the episodes on the laptop when I was prewatching or rewatching episodes by myself or with Miss E, who is devouring the information in this series as much as I am.

Want to know more? Visit the Homeschool Review Crew blog to read more reviews on Bible Unearthed, the soon-to-be-released series from Drive Thru History® Adventures.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Learning Math Online ~ 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 learning can be challenging. Math teaching can be challenging. MathandAlgebra.com is an online subscription that can take the challenge out of it all.

Presented in a combo online/offline format, the goal of MathandAlgebra.com is to help student learns math in a fun and accessible way. This increases not only skill but also confidence. The instructor is Rick Fisher, a math teacher with over 30 years of experience. He has been able to help many students increase their math skills by using his classes for 20 minutes a day.

MathandAlgebra.com has four available classes – Basic Math, Advanced Math, Pre-algebra, and Algebra. A subscription provides access to all four of these courses to work through at your pace.

Each lesson is composed of just a couple of steps. First, Miss L would watch the video. Each video is fairly short; most of the videos we watched were less than 5 minutes. These videos have Mr. Fisher’s voice teaching the concept while you see him writing on the white board. Students are encouraged to copy the exercises as he teaches. Miss L wrote them in her notebook with each page dates and the lesson number included.

showing work complete on left and the video for the current concept
at the bottom of the page you have access to the worksheet and answer key, as well as the place to mark your lesson complete

Next, access the worksheet. It can be viewed online or printed. We did some of both. Work through each of the questions. Again, Miss L wrote them into her notebook.

Once the student has answered all of the questions, the answer key can be accessed. Grade the worksheet at this point. Miss L had to correct any missed questions. Unfortunately, if a question is not understood, there is not an annotated explanation of the answer. Hopefully, the parent assisting can figure out what was missed. So far, in the algebra class, we did not hit any that I could not understand.

Miss L worked through the first few weeks of the algebra course. It came along right after she finished her pre-algebra work. There was not a placement test of any sort, so she had to begin at the start of the course. If you know your student well, you could probably have them skip over parts at the beginning of the class, especially if they are just coming off a course that covered those exact same concepts.

The interface is fairly easy to use. You can see what lessons have been completed in working on the course by the green checked circles. Also, if you have completed the lesson, than the “mark complete” at the bottom is grayed out. The student can easily know where to start each day by remembering to click that “mark complete” when they finish checking each worksheet.

The simplicity of this course is appealing. It doesn’t have lots of bells and whistles and jumps straight into what is needed to be learned for that lesson. Watch the video, do the worksheet. After completing the unit, take the quiz. Move on to the next one. Straight-forward.

The teacher/parent does have access to a simple report listing what quiz the student took on what dates and the grade received. The daily work is not graded online. That is graded by the student or the parent/teacher. If you want to include it in the overall grade, you will do that on your own.

If you are looking for a straight-forward, online math program with a video component, this might be a good fit for you. It is just that. Math taught without bells and whistles to confuse things.

Want to see what other families thought? Visit the Homeschool Review Crew to read additional reviews.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

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.

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