Math U See is the math curriculum we have used for several years. Why? Because it works for us. The primary levels include manipulatives that are helpful in understanding the concepts of the lessons. My kids have enjoyed using the blocks, not only for doing their math lessons, but also building things : ^ )

As members of the SRC, we have been privileged to review Math U See's Calculus level. We had previously worked through Trig with my daughter (17yo), followed by their Stewardship level but had not completed Calculus up to this point. We were excited to receive Calculus for review and are just as delighted with this product as we have been with MUS's other levels that we have used.

Math U See was founded by Steve Demme in 1995. Mr. Demme was a math teacher in the public and private sectors, but in 1989 was approached to teach math to a homeschool co-op. From there, he developed materials to sell, then videos and manipulatives, until MUS was incorporated. Since then, MUS has continued to grow and their curriculum can be found at many conferences and conventions. You can read more about the history of MUS here.

MUS has curriculum from the Primer level (beginning) through Calculus, including a Stewardship level, which is a Biblical approach to personal finances. There are no set ages or grades assigned with each level, but MUS does offer a placement test to help you determine where your child should start. There are several FAQ's that can answer questions you might have about which level to start with, as well. 
Calculus typically would be completed after the student has learned Geometry, Algebra 1, 2, and PreCalc including Trig. It is often the math that is taken in the senior year of high school for advanced students.

MUS's Calculus level is a full year, complete course. As you can see the from the scope & sequence (below), it covers everything that would be expected from a great Calculus program.
What's Different About Math U See? MUS not only teaches the concepts of solving a problem, but why it's solved that way, and where/when to apply the specific concept. MUS encourages all students to master each concept before moving on to the next. It is designed to ultimately have the student understand the concept enough that he/she can "teach it back". 

"Math-U-See is structured with step-by-step procedures for introducing, practicing, mastering and reviewing concepts. This gives the parent clear understanding of when to move the student to the next lesson."(MUS)

Their Calculus program is no exception. As with all of the other levels, the full set consists of the instruction manual, DVD, student manual, and tests. The instruction manual contains "lesson-by-lesson instructions and detailed solutions" and the student manual contains the lesson-by-lesson worksheets. The DVD is comprised of videos for each lesson of Mr. Demme at a whiteboard teaching the lesson step by step. He breaks it down to the simplest form and builds the lesson in an understandable, manageable way. In the earlier levels of MUS, the videos are intended for the teacher, who then instructs the students. At the Calculus level, the student and teacher can watch together, or the student can be independent and watch alone. A sample of the video can be seen on MUS's calculus page.

The textbook has the same lessons that Mr. Demme teaches on the video, but without the personalization that he offers in the video : ^ ) Using the textbook along with the video allows the student to listen and watch as they are following along. Mr. Demme explains each step of the equation/process, which is wonderful for anyone who isn't sure how to get from step A to step B. The student lesson pages have questions applicable to the lessons and the answer guide in the instruction manual breaks down each problem and doesn't just give the answer. Another great aspect about MUS is that if you have any problem with any concept or question, "lesson support" is available by phone, chat, or email. Though we did not use this option, it is incredible to have that access to someone that can help.

The student text has 4 sets of lesson practice pages for each lesson with multiple questions per page. Each question has space to perform the problem on the page, instead of being cluttered with other problems. You can see a sample lesson on MUS's calculus page. It will download as a PDF file and includes the lesson from the instruction manual as well as the lesson practice pages from the student text.
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How To Purchase: The Calculus curriculum can easily be purchased through Math U See. The Instruction Manual and DVD set is $92 & Student Text and Test Booklet are $32.

It is ideal for the student to have both sets to complete this comprehensive course. Calculus is a difficult subject, but Mr. Demme, through the video and the instruction manual, make it much easier to learn than I remember when I took it in school.

What We Thought: Since we have been using Math U See for several years, I did have a preconceived opinion of what their Calculus level would be. I can say: they did not disappoint : ^ ) 

I liked this level as much as I expected to. In the last couple of years, MUS has changed the presentation of the texts by moving from a soft cover instruction manual to a hard cover. I like this style much more. It is more durable than before. The student text and test booklet each have 3 hole punches so they can easily fit into a 3 ring binder. I like this, too. The pages of the student text are consumable, but if you choose to not have your student write on the pages, the questions can easily be transferred to a sheet of paper. I had my daughter do this, but with a few of the other levels we've had, I had them tear out the page (along the perforated edge) and put with a blank sheet of paper in a binder so that there was plenty of writing space. Since both of my kids are like me and like to doodle, I would rather have them doodle on a blank page instead of the actual question page.

One of things I liked the most about MUS's Calculus was that the first few lessons are review from the previous levels. This helped my daughter a lot since she completed Trig two years ago. We did have to work a little slower through it to make sure she understood each of the concepts. She is not a huge fan of upper level math, but does well once the concept is grasped. Usually with the products we are reviewing, we try to do a few of the lessons at various stages of the curriculum, with Calculus, or math in general, it's not really feasible. It is very important to understand each concept before moving on, or your student will be lost. Math U See doesn't dictate at what pace each student should move along in their programs. It is actually encouraged to stay in place until the student has mastered it, whether it's days or a couple of weeks. If additional practice questions are needed, the lesson tests could be used. Otherwise, they should be used as a tool to determine if the student understands well enough to move on. For the most part, we completed a lesson per week, with the exception of a couple of the review lessons that only took a couple of days to complete. Being able to set her own pace is extremely beneficial for my daughter, since math frustrates her when she thinks she's not "getting it". But once she's got it down, she wants to move on and not dwell on it.

Another aspect I like about MUS is that it doesn't have a lot of filler. The lesson questions do not drag on forever with hours of repetitive questions. If your student needs it, they can have it, but if they understand the lesson, they can move on to the next. That is important to us.

We really do like Math U See and I believe you will, too. Even if you haven't taken Calculus yourself or are not math friendly, I know that if your student is ready to take Calculus, MUS's program will work for him.
 
 
As members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew, we have been introduced to many great products over the years that supplement our homeschool curriculum. Lone Star Learning falls into this category.

Lone Star offers products on subjects like math, science, and language arts. They are "committed to providing quality teaching tools, created by teachers, for teachers." They have physcial products as well as digital products available. For our review, we received a free one year membership to their digital product Target the Question.
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Target the Question is an easy to use product that is designed to increase your student's math problem-solving skills. It is based on the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) publication Principles and Standards for School Mathematics and is also correlated to the Common Core State Standards and to the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS)
Target the Question utilizes an interesting concept to increase the students understanding of problem-solving. The student ultimately learns to find the pertinent information needed (and get rid of the extraneous info) to solve the question. To do this, the teacher and student work together with the problem of the week, until the student is then able to create additional questions based on the relevant information given.

How It Works: Target the Question Digital is available for grades 1-7 and can be purchased in English or Spanish. With the program, you will be able to download a pdf file that contains the following:

* 36 Problems of the week with 4 "extension sets" (extras) *
* 5 daily questions for each "problem of the week" *
* Virtual draw pad *
* Tutorial *



And a pdf file that contains:
* An  introduction to your specific grade Target the Question program *
* Teacher directions *
* A complete answer key for each of the problems *
* Correlations to the CCSS and TEKS *
* Student "Think Sheets" *
* Diagrams of "problem-solving strategies" print outs *


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Once you purchase your license and are able to login, you will gain access to your "dashboard". You will click into the program and see the program page. 

On this page you will see a button to start the program as well as the downloadable pdf file and tutorials.



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When you click on "Start Program" you will be taken to your Problem of the Week menu. 

To begin, you will start with week 1.

Each week you will see a brand new word problem. You and your student(s) will review the basics of the problem and begin to filter out the relevant information and the info that may not be necessary. 

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The problem to the left is from week 5 of grade 7. You can click the picture to enlarge it.

For the sake of the review, I added a few extras to the screen. The first screen you will see does not contain any question. You will simply see the problem along with the  toolbar at the bottom. 

After you have reviewed the problem with your student(s) and are ready for the first question, you will click "Monday" and then a problem pops up in a purple box (as seen in the picture). The toolbar contains buttons for each day of the week, pencils, highlighter, eraser, cleaner, draw pad, and menu button. In the screen shot, you will see the words "family of 5 went" underlined in blue and "5" highlighted. You can easily use the tools to point out information needed right on the screen. You will also see in the screenshot the draw pad (to the left of the shot). In the draw pad you can also choose a pencil and "write" on the draw pad to complete a problem or to keep your screen clean.

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Once you have worked through the problem with your student, you can click the "view answer" tab and the answer will pop up in the same purple box. 

Now you can compare the student's answer and work together to ensure understanding. 

The program is designed to review one problem each day. 

How to Purchase: To purchase Target the Question, choose your language and grade and then your license term. You have the option of purchasing 1-5 years. One year of Target the Question is $59.99. After you purchase, you will receive an email with your login information.

What We Thought: We have used Target the Question for several weeks for this review. My son (7th grade), daughter (12th grade), and I worked together to review the problems and questions. It was nice to be able to work together and go over each of the questions. I was impressed with their ability to come up with additional questions for the problems (which is the ultimate goal). We began to ask simple questions to each other that were thought provoking and helped to draw out the important information in the problem. 

With each question of the day, I had each of them try to come up with the correct answer alone. It often became a game, with them challenging each other to think quicker about the problem. It definitely improved their ability to filter the information. As an added bonus, we frequently found ourselves discussing things "out of the box" about the problem. For example, with the problem above, we discussed working for $3.25/hr pulling weeds for so many hours in order to pay for the whole family. And, paying $.45 an inch for the fish. We thought this was crazy, but we live in the country and take our own boat on the lake to fish. It costs us only gas : ^ ) But I liked the fact that we were able to expand the discussion to economics just with this simple problem

We all really liked Target the Question. It was fun, yet worthy, from an educational point of view. Problem-solving can be challenging for many students, because of all the extra information supplied. This program is a wonderful concept to help. My daughter liked the program because she said "I liked that we could work with the same problem for the whole week and that there were different questions for the same problem. Because that way we were able to work on finding the right information for each question. With the weekly questions having the same root problem, we weren't jumping around to random questions that didn't have anything to do with each other." My son said "It was cool. I liked that it wasn't just questions, they had a story to them." 

I liked that both kids enjoyed doing it and we had fun together . . . doing math : ^ )

I think you will find Target the Question a great asset to your math curriculum. Whether you homeschool or your children are in a traditional school setting, Target the Question will definitely prove beneficial and rewarding.

You can try it out first (scroll to the bottom), if you're not sure. You can read more reviews from other members of the crew by clicking below.
 
 
Both of my kids like playing computer games. Whether they're on the actual computer or some other platform. They also both like animals and learning about them. I love games that combine their likes with education or a learning environment.

ZooWhiz is a great new website that we were introduced to as members of the SRC. Created in 2011 by EdAlive, ZooWhiz offers kids ages 5-15 an interactive, curriculum based, learning environment that's not only educational, but fun, too. EdAlive was founded by Graham East in 2003 & has quickly become a leading publisher of educational software (ZooWhiz About). 
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ZooWhiz has a "bank of over 17,000 carefully-crafted, finely-incremented learning activities" (ZooWhiz) that will engage your children and motivate them as they complete the questions, earn "coins", visually see their progress, and create their own personal "zoo".

You have the benefit of adjusting your student's learning level quickly and easily if the work is too difficult or too easy. ZooWhiz has striven hard to accommodate curricula from Australia (where it's based out of), USA, New Zealand, UK, Canada, & Singapore, (respectively). You are able to adjust spellings according to US or Australian standards, as well as the measurement systems (Imperial or Metric units of measure or currencies in $, £ or €). I personally think it's a great idea for children to learn both sets of measurement and the currency exchanges. Then they won't have to search the web for a converter : ^ )

ZooWhiz offers your children "comprehensive coverage of maths, punctuation, spelling, grammar, vocabulary, word skills, phonics, phonemics and reading" (ZooWhiz). Each age and/or grade level has focused lessons that progress as your child does. As I mentioned above, if your child advances beyond the lesson, you can freely change the level, or if he needs to work a little more on a specific level, you can adjust it back. 

How Does It Work? The whole site is easy to use, too, starting with the sign-up process. The first step is to pick out an Avatar. There are 12 different Avatar's to choose from right now. 

Once your child chooses her Avatar, the next screen is where she will enter her name and your email address. An email will be sent to you for approval of use.

I want to add, here, that ZooWhiz has taken many precautions to ensure your child's safety online. Each username and password are chosen by ZooWhiz, to "eliminate" any inappropriate words that would show on your child's screen. Another safety feature is that your child's username can be saved on the sign-in page, but not the password, so noone else can sign into his account. And, a very important aspect of the safety system that ZooWhiz has created, your child does not interact with anyone else while on ZooWhiz (ZooWhiz safety)

After you approve your children's accounts, you will receive their username and password. You can also sign up for a free parent account where you will be able to edit each child's "age floor". This is where you can set the content (math, reading, and words), by age, for your child. This is a nice option since you can put math at one age, reading at another, and words at another, depending on your child's individual abilities.

Once your child sign's into her account, she will see the screen below:
The "Learn & Earn" section is for all the lessons available, the "Milestones" section shows the progress that has been made, the "Biodome" is the place your child can use the earned coins to "purchase" animals for his zoo. Once purchased they will receive the animal with info on each including: info, detail, habitat, diet, & threat (the latter 4 are included with the premium membership). The "Arcade" is a where your child can use coins earned to play timed games, some educational and some just for fun.

The navigation in the "Zoo" is easy. Regardless of where your student is, there will either be a back arrow or the compass (seen in the lower right corner), that will take him back to the main page. 

And What Are Educational Activities Like? They are actually very good. They are not easy peasy, unless you want them to be. Below are some screen shots with the grade/age listed below the image.
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Math Age 6-8
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Math Age 10-12
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Words Ages 7-11
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Maths Ages 8-10
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Word Skills 11-15+
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Reading Ages 10-15+
I like that with certain questions, there's a built in lesson. For example, in the above "Confounded Croc" pic, on the bottom right side, it tells what a gerund is, how it's used, and an example. You can click here to see a bigger pic. In the bottom right pic, the definition of an "Onomatopoeia" is given. These are helpful reminders or great lessons, depending on the level of the child. 

Below is a quick ZooWhiz Tour that will show a few more screen shots.
You can also view a larger version of this introductory tour video.

ZooWhiz offers a Free Keeper Membership or a Premium Membership is just $14.95 for a full year. Each premium membership comes with the following:
Because ZooWhiz is a growing site, more benefits are being added for both the Free membership and Premium membership. And satisfaction is guaranteed.

What We Thought. I like all the different elements that ZooWhiz has to offer. We received the Premium Membership for review, so the free memberThe learning activities and questions are definitely challenging and I can see the educational value in each of the sections. I like that the site is interactive and encouraging. I think it's cute that, since it's based out of Australia, one of the responses to a right answer is "crackerjack". Each question has the option of missing it twice before the correct answer is given. This is helpful for a student that may not know what is being asked, or doesn't know the concept. The math is really challenging, too, and I like that. The pattern questions are not simple add 3 or divide by 2, it might be add together and subtract by 1. I am sure you will find each of the sections a welcome supplement to your curriculum. 

My kids, on the other hand, aren't as warm about it as I am. They started out to be, jumping online and working hard to earn coins to buy animals for their zoo. However, once the animal was purchased, there is no interaction with it. It's basically just the facts and a picture. I think they were expecting to be able to "play" with the animal in their zoo. Then when they went to the arcade, each game is timed at 3 minutes. So if they are in the middle of the game, it is timed out and they must purchase another session. They can continue or restart, but nonetheless, the game was interrupted. They did not like this.

But that aside, they did find that the activities/questions were challenging and original. They were able to review lessons from the past and practice ones they are learning (for my son, my daughter is slightly more advanced so the lessons were review for her).

Because the site is upgrading and adding new things all the time, I encourage both kids to check back often to see what's new. They do like all of the animals they have to choose from and like learning about them. The games are fun, too. And I must admit, when I got into one, I didn't like being timed out so quickly either. 3 minutes seems like a lot, but it really isn't when your playing, lol.

Overall, I do recommend ZooWhiz. The price is right, if you choose the Free membership, and the Premium membership is very reasonable. It's a great way to encourage your kids to practice their school lessons and have fun, too. Try a free membership today, to see what you think. 

To read other reviews from the SRC, click below.
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Disclaimer: I received a free membership to ZooWhiz free as a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew with the sole purpose of providing an honest review after using it. For more information on this, please see my disclaimer.
 
 
Practice makes perfect. That old saying is true in so many different areas. Math is no exception. While learning a math concept, it's important to practice it. Practice helps to solidify the understanding of the concept as well as learn ways to apply it to the next lesson/concept.

IXL.com is a company that offers math practice in an easy to use, make it fun format. It's an online, interactive, web based math practice site for students at Pre-K level all the way through Algebra, with higher levels coming. 


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IXL Learning was founded in 1998. They have succeeded in advancing education through "Web-based technologies". They have created "transformative products" for the classroom that can become essentials in your homeschool family. From their comprehensive grade levels to their encouraging reward system, IXL.com is a great site to help your family enjoy math.

IXL is very easy to use. Once you've registered your children, they will sign on and find their chosen icon along with their name:

Then they get to choose which skill they want to practice. This is a great attribute of IXL. There are no absolutes as far as skill levels. If your student wants to practice algebra and then review his/her addition skills, it's a simple as a click. If he's not sure what a specific skill is, he can scroll over it and a sample pops up:
Once in the skill, your student will find a variety of question styles, to include different learning styles. IXL says, "We approach each math concept from all angles, offering visual representations, word problems, interactive activities, and more." (IXL.com)

After clicking into a skill set, your child will find a problem to answer. If the question is answered correctly, she will receive a "correct" response, if not, she will receive a "sorry - incorrect answer" with the correct answer, along with the option to see the explanation This allows your student to learn about that skill. You can view the userguide to get a better idea of these steps.
After a set number of questions (set by IXL), your student will earn an award for a job well done. This award system offers encouragement to continue on. This is a picture of my daughter's awards at the Algebra level. 
IXL.com is really a great website. I like that each student can choose what skill to practice and not have a set curriculum to follow. I also like that the problems are not just one style, but can be word problems or straight number problems. I like the fact that there is an explanation available if the problem was done incorrectly. My daughter likes this, too. She actually likes IXL very much. She enjoys the awards and likes that she has been able to practice her skills. My son, though, doesn't like the award system as much. He says it's not "fun". My daughter explained that the awards at some of the levels are "cheesy" and this may be why he doesn't like them. For example, she said at one level, the award was a pair of flip flops. She didn't think that was cool, nor would my son. He did do the problems and actually practiced a lot, for him. But I do wish that he was more encouraged by the awards so he would have wanted to go to the site without being told to. However, he did choose IXL.com for math over his own math book, so that's something. 

The other thing that my son didn't like as much was the explanations of the problems. He didn't feel that it was an adequate lesson. My thought, it was a pretty basic explanation and if the student didn't know the skill already, may not be able to grasp the concept from the it. But, IXL doesn't necessarily state that it is a site that includes math curriculum, but rather, a site to practice the skills already learned. So I believe they are meeting my expectations on the "lessons". 

Would we buy a membership for our family? Probably. I really do like it. IXL offers every skillset up to Algebra that you can think of. This is wonderful for my daughter who is at a higher level math. She can go back a practice. For my son, he is at the 6th grade level and IXL has helped him with his fraction & percent skills, despite his thoughts otherwise, lol. I used it for both my children to practice their multiplication facts. It's even better than flashcards!
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There are also reports that you can view for each of your children. 

They track the progress of your child in various ways. Charts are one of the ways.

You can view the progress by skill, category, and trouble spots.

You can also view how your child has progressed on each skill over time. 

The reports section is a great tool for you to follow your student.

IXL can be purchased as follows:
It can also be purchased by teachers that have several students for $199.00. 

IXL is definitely a site I would recommend you look at if you are searching for a math program for your family.
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Disclaimer: I received an online membership free as a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew with the sole purpose of providing an honest review after using the site. For more information on this, please see my disclaimer.
 
 
Knowing the basics of math is the first step in becoming a great mathematician. The basics; like addition, subtraction, multiplication, & division. But often times these basic facts get left behind as we introduce calculators & computers into the mix. I remember completing Calculus assignments and realizing the answer was incorrect because I added wrong. How frustrating! Memorizing facts and tables is a great way to learn, but even with memorizing,  that can be boring (according to my kids).

Now there is a better way to help your kids learn & retain math facts. It's called CapJaxMathFax. CapJax is a software program that you can quickly & easily download onto your PC or MAC and is also available on CD. No more flashcards getting lost or fact tables being misplaced. The program is designed to be like a game where your student chooses the levels and concepts. The difficulty of the game is dependent on the student's level and progression is adjusted automatically according to his/her skill improvement.

CapJax was designed by Jack Fretwell (Captain Jack) of Starboard Training Systems. Mr. Fretwell earned his Master's in Educational Technology and has been in education and computers for over 30 years. He has been heading CapJaxMathFax for over 10 years & has "seen many children develop stronger math skills and confidence." The goal of Starboard Training Systems is to "help organizations that teach, train and mentor our children so that not one is without basic math abilities." (CapJax about me)


Here is a short video about the need for increased math skills:
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To get started with the program, you download the program and plug in your license key. 

Once set up, you will see a screen like that to the left. You (or your student) will click "Go For It" (and the mouse is even a little captain at the wheel). 







From there you will find the login screen. The teacher & "player" have the opportunity to choose the math concept & level each time the game is play.






Once you're logged in, you will see a screen similar to the one below. The game automatically generates the exercises based on the students choices and level (based on previous sessions). There is a timer so the player has an opportunity to see his/her success as well as "Super Seconds", which challenges the student to answer in less than 3 seconds. Below are a couple of screen shots. You will see in the left pic, there is a graph that shows the student's progress. And the teacher can also view progress through summary & diagnostic reports. 

One of the benefits of CapJaxMathFax is that it doesn't attempt to frustrate the student. It's designed to encourage by providing immediate positive feedback for correct answers and there are even praise messages (message in a bottle) that are a fun and quirky form of encouragement for the student.
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If you would like to get a feel for the program, you can try the program for free. Simply download the free evaluation program to get started. According to CapJax "The evaluation package demonstrates the full system. . . .  We've included notes to help explain how the software works to improve basic skills." After you've tried the program, you just purchase the license key for $29.95. This license is good for up to 10 users! It's a great deal, for sure, and a good investment.

As a member of the TOS Crew, we were given a 6mo. license key to try out CapJaxMathFax. I really do like the program. The concept is great, it's easy to use, and my kids can practice math facts at their own pace, as often as they want for however long they want. To learn more about CapJaxMathFax, go to their features. There is also a great "Why Pick CapJaxMathFax" page that will answer many questions for you.

Try out CapJaxMathFax today for free and see if it'll work for your home. It does for mine.
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Disclaimer: I received this product free as a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew with the sole purpose of providing an honest review after using it. For more information on this, please see my disclaimer.
 
 
I'd like to introduce you to a new online program that can help your child increase his/her math and language arts skills.  As a member of the TOS Crew, we were given a trial membership to K5 Learning. K5 is an online after-school study program for kids in kindergarten to grade 5.  Their goal is to help your child "build readingmath and study skills to last a lifetime." The program is customized for each child; which means your child will learn at his own level & advance at his own pace. Isn't this what's most important? K5 doesn't just look at how old your child is or what grade they are in, they offer an assessment for both math and reading, and base your child's starting point on those results. If your child is more advanced than her age, then she will be able to start at that level, if she has areas that need a boost, she'll start there. Since there are separate assessment's for math and reading, your child can be at an upper level for one and a different point for the other. It's totally child specific. This is a wonderful benefit of K5 Learning.
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The assessment places the child based on Phonemic Awareness, Phonics, Sight Words, Vocabulary, and Reading Comprehension. the assessment may seem intensive to some, but it is comprehensive, which is beneficial in placement. To the left is a sample screenshot of the reading assessment results. Based on these results, the child would then be able to begin the program. 

With the math assessment, you would find the type of results page. The math assessment place based on Number and Operations, Measurement, & Geometry. Again, the assessment is intensive, but is comprehensive, which is really the most effective way to measure your child's skills. 

As the parent, you have access to the "dashboard". This allows you to view your child's progress, test results, and upcoming lessons. You can change lessons, add an assessment, and even change levels, if necessary.

Once your child has taken the assessment's, he then has access to all 4 sections of K5: 

K5 Reading helps kids become strong readers and develop a love of reading. This award-winning program covers phonemic awareness, phonics, sight words, vocabulary and reading comprehension. 
K5 Spelling is an advanced vocabulary program which improves language skills one word at a time. We feature adaptive instruction, automatic word generation, an optimized visual interface, and a 150,000+ word database. 
K5 Math is an award-winning program which builds self confidence and a deep understanding of math concepts. K5 Math covers numbers and operations, geometry, measurement (including time and money), algebraic thinking and data analysis. 
K5 Math Facts uses adaptive technology to help kids develop instant recall of basic addition, subtraction, multiplication and division facts. Progress on each and every math fact is monitored until mastery is obtained. 
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Your child will find this page (to the left) and be able to choose which section he wants to do. If you will notice, there is a "Today's Riddle" on the page, too. It's fun little riddle. The answer is shown once your child clicks on "answer". It's just a little extra fun :^)

You can purchase a one month subscription to all 4 programs for $25/1st child & $15/additional child. An annual subscription is $199/1st child & $129/additional child.

K5 also offers a free 14-day trial membership. This is a great way to try before you buy, and see if K5 Learning fits for your family.

I like the concept of K5 because it is so comprehensive. Language arts has been a sore subject for my son for some time. I found that K5 touch on all of the areas that he needed to work on. However, because of this, he did not like it. He felt that it wasn't "fun enough" and that "it's all work and no games". Although there are some games, K5 really is focused on academics and not "fun". Some students will be fine with this, my son, unfortunately, is not. So though I do like K5, it was not a good fit for us. But I encourage you to try it for your family. You may find it's just what you've been looking for.
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Do you love Scrabble? Are you easily hooked with the word game apps for your smartphone or tablet? Do you remember all the fun you had playing Rubik's cube and would like your kids to be able to play a game that's bigger and better? Can you spell the word C*A*T? Well if you answered yes to even just one of these questions, you will have tons of fun with the Scruble Cube! Watch this short video to see what I'm talking about :)
As you could see from the video, Sruble Cube is a 3-D word game that's similar to Rubik's cube but instead of matching colors, you combine letters to form words. From Scruble's website:

"So what if you took the known playing patterns of some of the most popular word games and puzzles in history and combined them in a brand new, unique format to create the World’s Greatest 3-D Word Game?  Well, you’d have the “SCRUBLE Cube™ a patent pending game with over 7.4 x 1045 (that’s 7,401 septillion) possible configurations that anyone who can spell can play. And all in a portable format that can be played anywhere- anytime." (scrublecube.com)

Not only is Scruble Cube a fun game, it is also an educational tool that you can offer your student(s) to help them develop their academic skills as well as life skills. "SCRUBLE Cube can promote the development and exercise of key brain functions- logical deduction, analytical processing and word development skills in a unique and challenging way." (scrublecube.com)
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Students will be learning academic skills like:

Mathematics Trial & Error * Math Facts
Vowel Awareness * Word Building with Rimes
Spelling * Research Skills
Mechanical Skills * Vocabulary Development

And Life Skills like:
Team Work * Sportsmanship/Competition
Problem Solving Skills * Listening Skills
Oral Communications * Strategic Thinking
Higher Level Thinking

Scruble Cube's website offers worksheet downloads, tips & tricks, lesson plans, and activity suggestions to help you engage your children/students in this learning through play philosophy. It really is a wonderful way to learn. Regardless of our age, when learning is fun, we crave more of it. The Scruble game offers a challenging alternative to the sometimes humdrum moments in life: riding in a car, sitting at the doctor's office, waiting for dance or music lessons to start; the Scruble Cube can be used almost anywhere! 

We had fun with this from the moment we took it out of the book. It is definitely challenging. Each of my kids struggled to find letters that would form the words they wanted. It was interesting watching them battle for the longest word. They did get frustrated a few times, but I remember playing with the Rubik's cube and having all the colors lined up except 2, ugh! But that's what makes it fun, challenging, and educational. Learning different strategies to find solutions and working together to lighten the load. I will admit that it didn't take long for my son to ask "can't we take the cubes apart and just put them back in the right order?". This, unfortunately, was the way my hubby played Rubik's cube, and he has told them all about it, lol. I, of course, said "no". I like the challenge; and I'm a little stubborn, which helps promote persistence, right? :)

You can purchase the Scruble Cube for $24.95 through their website. I believe you will find this a fun and exciting game, and so will your kids :)
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"Teaching math can be so much fun!!!"

Did you read that statement and say "really, what world did you come from ?" , lol.

Many parents don't believe that teaching math can be fun... or even interesting. Even in the early years. Children can become frustrated when they can't grasp a concept right away, and parents leave the table (or floor) mumbling to themselves "come on, this is so easy". (Yes, you aren't the only one that may have said that.) The problem is often that we aren't using the right tools or techniques; those that are geared towards our children's level and not our own. Even though we may think something is "soooo easy", like comparing apples to oranges, our children may see that they're both fruits and good to eat and they both grow on trees. We see that they are different colors, different tastes, have different types of skins, and so on. 

So where do we start then? When do we start? What concepts are the most important and in what order should we go? What if he doesn't get it?

These are all questions that parents have had at times. Domenico Marcario, M.S., a retired math teacher and loving grandfather has some of the answers for you. He created the c3pla Sensory Math Teaching System. "This system utilizes the natural way children learn to teach them math skills." 


The c3pla Sensory Math Teaching System, recognizes that "from birth, children discover facts through sensory experiences. Fueled by curiosity and imagination, children use their eyes, hands, ears, noses, and mouths to learn about their world. They gain understanding by doing rather than by sitting passively and watching someone else do the thinking for them." Carlito C. Caterpiller's Math Card Games is based on this system. It offers children and parents the opportunity to learn math in a way that uses all the senses. The Game Pack is presented in 3 stages, with a total of 20 steps and 2 games in each step covering the math skills of quantitynumeration, and operations.


On c3pla's website, there are FREE manipulatives recommended for each stage. You can download and print to give your child the hands on experience. There are also certificates for you to recognize your child's accomplishments. There are a few myths and realities you may find interesting, too, on their site.

My kids are in middle and high school, so far beyond the beginning stages of math, but the games were still cute to play. Just simple reminders of the easy days :) (The MathHouse Game Card Set is geared for Pre-school to early elementary.)  But in actuality, these cards do go through division, which was a helpful refresher for both of my kids. 

You can purchase Carlito C. Caterpillar's MathHouse Game Card Set for $23.95. You can visit their FB page here.

NOW ON TO THE GIVEAWAY: I have 1 card set to giveaway. It starts today and will end at midnight on 10/10. There are a few ways to enter. I am using a new system, Rafflecopter, so if you have any problems, let me know. Click "Read More" to get to the 

 
 
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Have you ever surfed the internet in search of a good online source for your child to learn? Have you been disappointed with the lack of sites that offer quality education at a fair price? Has your child gotten on the site only to tell you "I'm bored" or "I don't like this"? If you've answered yes to any of these questions, then you haven't experienced Time 4 Learning yet.

Time 4 Learning is a great website that is designed to offer you and your child an online source for quality education that you can tailor to your own specifications and child's needs. It is not difficult to navigate, offers all 4 of the primary subjects by grade, as well as art, LA Extensions, and a "playground" where kids can go after completing lessons to play. Everything can be modified by you according to what you want for your child or what your child needs.

From their website: "The Time4Learning program has been refined through years of feedback from educators, parents, and students. Animated lessons are followed by interactive activities, printable worksheets, and assessments to assure a student's mastery of skills. The lessons teach the concepts that build a solid foundation and the exercises refine the skills and habits that provide ongoing success."

The Time4Learning educational software partner is CompassLearning®, which provides a standards-based online education curriculum for millions of students in school districts across the U.S."

Time 4 Learning is geared for Pre-K through 8th grade and offers a full math curriculum based on skill, a comprehensive language arts program, science (grades 1-6), social studies (grades 2-7), LA extensions, and art. It is easy enough that your child can work independently or with you by his side. Parents receive progress reports, can create individualized lesson plans, can print out worksheets, and can see all of the work that their children do; and the student gets to see his progress to (see  graphic below). Parents have their own login area and have the option of joining the forum. This forum allows parents to interact with others and also offers sections by state. Time 4 Learning can be used as a complete curriculum or a supplemental aid. It can also be used for children with exceptional needs because it is individualized and builds on the skills the student already has. Each student has access to one grade above and one grade below her designated grade so that if there is an area that needs some review she could go to the previous years lessons or an area that she excels in, she could jump to the next year. This is a great attribute since children often learn subjects at different levels depending on their particular motivation and learning style.

From Time 4 Learning's website: "The lessons use exercises that stimulate the visual, auditory and motor skills of students with multisensory activities that are animated & interactive."

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Kids and parents can see the progress being made!
The characters used are whimsical for the younger students and become more mature as the grade levels advance. All are appropriate and entertaining. My kids feel the graphics are fine and I like the content :)

Another component to Time 4 Learning is the playground. This is an area that the student can go to after  a lesson is completed. The parent has the ability to set the time limits for both lesson times required and time limit at the playground. 
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A Few Screen Shots
This is actually our second time reviewing Time 4 Learning. Our first was a few years ago. Though we enjoyed it then, the site has been updated and improved. I have to say, I still like Time 4 Learning and believe the benefits are great. Although it could be used as a sole curriculum, I would not use it as such for our family. Not because it doesn't cover the subjects well, but because we like hands-on as well. My son is in 6th grade and I was pleased with the math and language arts at his level. The programs make learning fun. And he especially liked the playground. That was a good motivator for him, being able to play a game after learning. He did not like, though, that he would be in the middle of a game and it would turn off because his time ran out. This didn't bother me as much because he would then be determined to do another lesson to get back to the game :)

Time 4 Learning is reasonably priced at $19.95/month for the first student and $14.95/month for each additional child. They do offer a 14 day money back guarantee if you are not satisfied, but I'm sure you will see the benefits right away. There is a free demo available so you can try it out first.
Your Membership Benefits Include

* Online Curriculum for *
* PreK to 8th Grades *
* Access to 3 Grade Levels of Lessons *
* 1,000+ Student-Paced Multimedia Activities *
* Language Arts, Math, Science & Social Studies *
* Interactive, Project-Based Activities *
* Detailed Reporting for Easy Record-Keeping *
* Lesson Plans & Teaching Tools for Parents *
* Lessons Correlated to State Standards *

As a reminder: I received a 30 day membership for the T4L website for free as a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew with sole purpose to provide an honest review after using the site. For more information on this, please see my disclaimer
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Math drills are not ordinarily a fun thing to do for students. You'll often see cringing, stalling, or whining (did I say that?). But there is a possible solution for you. Math Rider is a game that offers excitement and adventure instead of hum drum math drills. This game will increase your child's math skills while they play "the latest generation Math game, using Artificial Intelligence" (mathrider.com). The game learns your child's level as the game goes along and modifies it according to the needs of your child. It is personalized for each player.

According to MathRider's website, it "was developed from personal need, because we wanted to help our own children who were struggling with fundamental math." No parent likes to see their child struggle through the basics of math. This too often sets to standard for the rest of that child's math experiences. With this easy to use program, basic math can be mastered quickly and easily to lead the way to higher levels of math.


What Is MathRider: Math Rider is a program that helps children attempting to master basic math functions: addition, subtraction, multiplication, division. It is for any student wanting to improve his/her math fact proficiency. Using the numbers 0-12, the game challenges students to increase their knowledge at their own pace. It considers typing skills as well as math skills. This personalization offers encouragement instead of disappointment. This is what their website says:

Have you child master addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division; all for the cost of less than 1 hour professional private tuition!
* You will know when your child has completely mastered an operation.
And more importantly, your child will know it, too!

* This is the fastest way to mastery of all four math operations. The artificial intelligence
rehearses what is needed most at a rate that is tailored to each player.

*  The game recognises and rewards improvement, not just perfection.
This builds confidence and propels children naturally towards complete mastery. 

* Noble quests exemplify positive values such as family, caring, honesty, and kindness.
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How Does It Work: Math Rider is a downloadable program that can be used by Windows, Mac Os X, and Linux. System requirements can be reviewed here. Once downloaded on your home computer, up to 10 players can use that computer. They can not, however, play at the same time :) Once registered, the student chooses the appropriate level to start (based on numbers 0-12, and a function (+,-,x,/), and a story will start. Each level has a different story and there is a map (see pic) that shows the path. The player is now a rider on her horse, Shadow. They set out on an adventure into a "land of fantasy and quests". But don't worry, the graphics do not overpower the point of the game. They are more of a backdrop to the rider. Check out the video below for an example. As the rider follows the trail, there are numbers that are part of each jump. The student must do the math and type in the correct answer. The keys for movement are the left and right arrow keys, which allows for the student to focus on his math skills rather than how to move. And the horse/rider mover without having to use the keys, too. With each student, there is a skills chart that you can look at to see their progress as well. The students receive rewards as their skills increase and can watch neat videos at the completion of each level.

What We Thought: Overall, this is an interesting concept. Math drills are often boring and mundane. The game offers some excitement while trying to master these skills. My daughter (15 yo) did like being able to practice her math facts and did improve her speed. She thought the music was a little "monotonous" because it pretty much stays the same throughout the game. My son (10 yo) said "it's boring", but he thought it moved to fast for him. His main problem was that he wasn't following the instructions. I believe the boring comment was based on the graphics. They aren't like the new video games that are common place in today's households. But they really aren't bad. The object of this game is to improve math skills, not play a video game. If there were all of these extraneous graphics and actions, the child would focus on those instead. My son's math fact knowledge & speed did increase though.

How To Purchase: MathRider retails for $49.95 but can be purchased for the sale price of $37. If you have students that are struggling with their math facts and drills, this may be right for your home. There is also a 30 Day Risk-Free Money Back Guarantee. If you are not completely satisfied, MathRider offers your complete purchase price refunded. That's a pretty good deal. If you have questions, you can contact Math Rider their contact page.

You can check out more reviews for Math Rider written by members of the TOS Crew by following this link:

And remember: I received this product free as a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew with sole purpose to provide an honest review after using the product. For more information on this, please see my disclaimer
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