Archives For Mathematics

School? Oh not yet!

Heather —  July 12, 2011
There goes my baby!

There goes my baby!

I am enjoying Summer. No curriculum notes. No organizing. Just hiking, feeding, a bit of my youngest making me let her cut her hair. Why do they all grow up just when I’m getting the hang of being Mom? {sob}

Anyway, while I’m trying NOT to do any real work, I have seen tons of little items around the net I would love to share. They are all random ~ health topics, education, blogging stuff for Mamas, just fun.

Linked only by the fact that I think they are great tools to check out! (no affiliates here today, haha) So, grab a cup of coffee and see what you think!

1. Healthy Child, Healthy World

I adore this site and all their fantastic information. Don’t be overwhelmed by how much info is on there, just dive in and take a tip or two… and grab a free, new APP to help you chose wisely for your family:

Download @Healthy_Child’s FREE app 2 get quick tips 4 safer products & healthy living!

2. The Team Umizoomi Fan Club

I got an email about this this morning and my 6 year old is super excited. What is Umizoomi Fan club? Based on a Nick Jr show, this online club offers games, printable activity packs and coloring books, a fan club newsletter and monthly special stuff just for members. A great way for your kids to be learning without even “working”  Free, easy to sign up. Perfect.

3. “The 40 Coolest Apps for Homeschoolers”

I just got a link to this new post and I agree that they have found all kinds of cool educational Apps! Many, I recognize, as I have been able to use the heck out of some of them:) A few were new to me, so go peek and find something to surprise your kids this morning! I’m partial to “This Day in History for iPad” while my kids may like that “Star Walk for iPad” I haven’t seen those! Some Free.

4. Math Blaster

I get to giveaway a 3 month subscription to this one next week! This is a Math offshoot from Knowledge Adventures (You may be familiar with Jumpstart, which is fun, too) Math Blaster is a browser based virtual world at for kids 6-12.

My daughter is just loving playing with her Blaster avatar; she’s a cadet at Blaster Academy. Let your kids check out arcade style math challenges, race through high speed missions…voyage to strange new worlds and enjoy wacky alien races…all while practicing their math skills! Free trial period.  But, Shhh, don’t tell them they are working. Ruins it everytime.

5. The Lunch Love Community Documentary Project

If your kids will be going back to school this Fall, be watching what they are eating! Check these out:

**The Parent Factor** ~ Against all odds, a group of visionary parents came together in the 1990s to organize and change the way Berkeley children would eat in school.

**But is it Replicable?**
Visitors from West Sacramento tour the Central Kitchen and Dining Commons wonder what can make a program like Berkeley’s work for them.

**If They Cook It, They Will Eat It**
Elementary school cooking teachers Kathy Russell and Brenna Ritch awaken children to the world through the food they cook and eat with one another.

NOW for the Mamas:)

1. Right now, I am finishing up a book called “From the Mouth of Babes,” Stories about life, children, faith, and this world we live in. This is a wonderful book of stories and devotionals written by a good blogger friend of mine, Kimberly. I am enjoying this tremendously.

The short stories are making me think. Each one is helping me to see the little daily activities we do with our children — for what they are — each little thing becomes our way of ministering to and loving our babies. Get yourself a copy!

You can also visit Kimberly on her blog, Until The Day Dawn. She just moved, so go support this busy Mama!

2. Voice Boks

Are you a blogger Mama? If so, go see this new very supportive online blogger community. Friend me when you get there! I have joined several fun groups and even started one of my own🙂 This is a great way to increase followers and find new blogs. Now, to find the time to play….

3. Are you a blogger who is sitting too much? Join this new meme and lose a bit of weight:) Thanks, April!

4. Are you a Mama who likes her wine too much? (That would be more than you really want too:) Ask me about The Vitamin Cure.

Ok. I think I’m done. Whew. To get more of my random, oldest child thoughts, join me over on facebook. Have a great day!!

I love it when our homeschooling is moving ahead with everyone pretty confident about their coursework and content with their schedules.

But, the reality of teaching several kids at different stages often translates into learning curves for all of us as we go through the year.

While most of our curriculum is working this year, I noticed a few things that needed tweaking. Two things stood out to me:

  1. Nick needed more English—especially Grammar practice
  2. Emma was bored with her Math

As I did not want to change up my major curriculum choices, I was not quite sure what to do. Luckily for me, I happened to get a chance to review some homeschool curriculum from Timberdoodle and The Critical Thinking Press.

I was inspired by the bright colors and entertaining artwork of The Critical Thinking Co. books. I liked the theme of challenging kids to think–developing critical thinking habits is an integral part of all their products.

And, I liked the idea of supplementing our current schedule with some items that would appeal to the kids and filled an important need in our curriculum.

As I was able to choose some books to fit the children, I chose Math Reasoning Level A (kindergarten) for Emma, and Editor In Chief C2, for Nick.

The book for Emma was an instant hit and totally solved our “boredom with math problem”. She loves this workbook. I was also thrilled with the colorful, sturdy pages that introduce and explain new math topics very well.

Bright graphics and positive reinforcement really motivate

Bright graphics and success really motivate!

The 250 pages reinforce many beginning math concepts without becoming dreary, as the authors introduce a concept, work on it for a few pages and then move to something else…and come back around.

For the first time ever, Em liked doing the number lines

For the first time ever, Em liked the number lines

This method of spiraling through many concepts gave Emma lots of practice while never leaving her frustrated and mathematical reasoningbored—the authors seemed to know exactly when to take a break and when to keep going! I began allowing Em to do as many math pages as she wanted each day—some days she will do at least ten without any motivation from me.

As the title suggests, the book teaches reasoning and problem solving skills, with topics including: addition, bar graph, calendar, capacity, coins, count, fractions, language, length, likelihood, match, number line, odd/even, order, pattern, real world problems, shapes, subtraction, time, weight, and whole numbers.

There is an answer guide included in the back of the book and this level can be used as a core math or a supplemental. We began using this as supplemental, but I soon felt that this book could easily be Emma’s complete curriculum for this level.

Look at some sample pages from the book.

We did not fare as well for Nick’s experience. But, it was not because the book wasn’t creative and just plain challenging. Our problem was that it was too challenging!

editor in chiefYes, I made an error in judgment on what level to get for him. While this level is recommended for grade levels 9th-12th, it is a serious grammar study—fun, yet the exercises cover some complicated concepts. Attempting to work through this book really forced us to decide to regroup and focus on grammar at an earlier stage–because Nick actually wanted to do this book, as it was entertaining, it showed me that he was not just lacking in motivation.

We liked the idea of the book, Editor In Chief. In these books, your child basically acts as if they are an editor and as they search for grammatical errors, they are truly analyzing the materials and thinking about correct grammar, punctuation, spelling, capitalization and more.

The 130 page book includes an editing checklist, 33 lessons, answers, even a guide to grammar, usage and punctuation.

They do have five other levels for this book. See which Editor In Chief Book might be age-appropriate for your kids, here. We will be getting another one, so we can have a bit of fun, too.

See a sample page.

Are you looking to fill a void in your curriculum? Looking for Math curriculum? Language Arts? Check out Timberdoodle for tons of educational items, including complete curriculum kits. I so enjoy their catalog!

Click to get their free catalog!

Click to get your free catalog!

You can even get fun updates on the Timberdoodle Facebook page.

As a member of Timberdoodle’s Blogger Review Team, I received a free copy of these books in exchange for a frank and unbiased review.

This is an interesting review for me as I am writing it. The main reason? Well, because this review has reminded me that:

  1. Not to always go with my first opinion
  2. That I should verbalize and/or email my thoughts and feelings sometimes, because sometimes, things can be changed to suit my purposes!

So, let me explain myself a bit. I received Math Facts Now, which is a computer math program which reinforces math facts though simple drills. The program is no-frills. By that I mean, no avatars and worlds to explore…that type of thing. Just straight math practice.

I needed to use this program with my youngest, and when the two of us first sat down and uploaded the program, I was not ecstatic. I am really not a no-frills girl…and neither is she. But, I know there is value in some types of memorization and repetition, so we gave it a go. I quickly found that some of the programming details, which would be helpful in pressuring…lets say leading…an older child to perform were just too difficult for my little one. Now, when I refer to programming details, I mean some of the portions of the game that you can control to suit what your child needs practice in. Some of the presets were just too advanced for her. Bearing in mind that she is only 5 ½, you can probably imagine how our first session went.

I messed around with the program a bit, but then decided it could be useful for ages, probably about 8 and up, and did not ask my daughter to try it anymore.

Well, some of my intelligent TOS reviewer friends had similar experiences and contacted the creator. He immediately responded by creating a few additional options that made it easier to use this program with younger students.

So…we went back in, and the first time, my daughter played until I made her stop to go to bed! I was surprised and pleased. A simple Math facts practice that she enjoys doing. And yes, there are no fancy avatars and award sheets, but I can set the game for as few as 10 questions, choose which facts she will go over–say addition of just 1 and 2 to numbers up to 12—and then I can include a reward that we have chosen—like a piece of bubble gum—and then, if she gets all the problems correct, she gets a pop up message that she gets the gum.

math facts now

Now, if she does not get the question correct, she needs to retype the entire equation 2x. At first, I thought this was too hard for her, but after doing well a few times, she realized that having to type the equation was not a horrible punishment, and that after doing that, she often got the question right easily in the future. Haha. Voila! The power of practice.

This program is inexpensive, simple and very usable as an extra in your homeschool–or even to help with homework for public schoolers. Make your beginning lessons simple and choose doable rewards and this is a winner.

You can get an instant download for $15.95 or purchase the CD for $15.95 plus a small shipping fee.

System Requirements: Runs on Windows 2000, ME, XP, Vista and Windows 7. 4.5 Mb of free hard drive space required.

Go check out the Math Facts Now website for more info. Also you can get a free trial of Math Facts Now.

See what my crewmates have to say about Math Facts Now

I received materials from Math Facts Now through the TOS Crew for review purposes. I have given my honest opinion.

Mathscore Review

Heather —  February 1, 2010


Summary & Rating: 4 I found Mathscore to be a no frills, supplemental Math curriculum for children in grades 2 through 9. The program was designed by MIT graduates to help children practice and improve their math skills. See a demonstration video of the Mathscore program, You can also look at a working preview from the child’s point of view.  I expect that this program will only improve over time. Some of Mathscore’s research based premises seem very sound. Shoot… I am no math genius but even I agree that children need practice that adapts based on their performance (they call that adaptive math practice).

freeMathScoreDemoI received a  trial subscription to review for the TOS crew. One thing that was immediately apparent to me and my children was that Mathscore is what I would consider plain visually. There are not a lot of avatars and games, for example. The site is very much…well, Math oriented. Numbers, boxes. Using the online program you will find straight forward and timed math worksheets, lessons and activities.

Frankly, at 4 and 14, I feel that my children are too young and too old for this particular curriculum. My youngest loves the bells and whistles that many sites offer and is really too little to pay attention. My older child could, I believe benefit from Mathscore. However, it is hard to get him into it because it is work and not dressed up as fun–and he is already very busy. I do see the benefits of increased practice and plan to have Nick use the program a bit more to shore up his math skills.

Some Mathscore facts:

  • Students are assessed by the program and parents are given recommendations based on these assessments
  • Parents have a high level of control with choosing which math curriculum the child can work on
  • Progress reports can be emailed to parents daily
  • Mathscore would be a good alternative to tutoring
  • multiple users can be logged on at the same time if you use several computers

Mathscore is available starting at $14.95 per month for the first child. There are many pricing options.

Take a look at Mathscore for yourself with this free 2 week trial to Mathscore. You can also access a free worksheet generator on Mathscore.

To see what my TOS crewmates have to say, click here!

A trial subscription of Mathscore was provided to me for the purpose of my review. I received no compensation and I have expressed my unbiased opinion on this product.