Review of A+ Interactive Math

A Plus Interactive Math review

Here is a new curriculum review for you today:

A+ Interactive Math

I specifically gained online access to the

Adaptive Placement Test and Individualized Lesson Plan.

I tried out A+ Interactive Math with 6 of my children.  For some it worked better than others.

My oldest son just finished Pre-Algebra with another math curriculum.  I decided it would be a good idea for him to take the A+ Tutorsoft Pre-Algebra math Adaptive Placement Test as a final exam. He discovered that there were some subjects in the exam that weren’t covered in his other curriculum, so he’ll be doing those lessons through A+ Interactive Math.  Math curricula can be different, so I’m happy to know that this will fill out his math learning for the year.

A+ Interactive Math

The child we used A+ Interactive Math with the most was my 8-year-old son.  He took 1-3 tests daily until we finished the whole Adaptive Placement Test (13 separate mini-tests in the 2nd grade test).  He was at grade level for some topics and not for a few others.  Then he started in with the lessons which he worked on most weekdays.  They are divided into categories (addition, subtraction, money, etc.) and then into specific lessons.  I let him skip around to different categories, as long as he went in order with the lessons contained there.  After watching the lesson (which took about 10 minutes) he did the online worksheet.  If he couldn’t finish it for some reason, it would be saved so he could come back to it later.

Adaptive Math Placement Test

He did enjoy doing this math curriculum. He definitely prefers learning and practicing math on the computer as opposed to any other way. I liked that the Adaptive Placement Test told me exactly where he needed more help, so we could focus on those areas in the lessons. The lessons were well presented. He understood them, and did well with the online worksheets. Even though it didn’t work well for some of my other kids, I’m glad to have A+ Interactive Math for my 8-year-old son and think it will be great for my 14-year-old son who is working his way through the Adaptive Placement Test now and my 13-year-old son who just started it today.

I also had two instances where I called and emailed the company to ask questions. I received great customer service!

Adaptive Math Placement Test

We discovered that the Adaptive Placement Test wasn’t a good fit for my daughter with dyslexia. First of all, I needed to read the test to her (there wasn’t an option to click to have the questions read aloud). Then, when it was discovered by the exam that the questions were too difficult, they added a whole new set of questions. This meant that the exam was too long for her to be able to focus. She began to get very frustrated, but we couldn’t stop because it’s a timed exam and if you stop, you’ll have to start over from the very beginning. I decided not to use A+ Tutorsoft with her after that initial day.

Another student who took the Adaptive Placement Test was my 6-year-old daughter. It was nice that the 1st grade exam was broken up into different sections because at her age she couldn’t do too much every day.  After a couple of days of taking the test I decided not to use it with her, though.  I don’t push formal math at this early of an age.  She did occasionally, throughout the review period, ask to do A+ Interactive Math, though, so she finished a few of the sections from the Adaptive Placement Test.

My 5th grade daughter got very frustrated after trying to take the Adaptive Placement Tests for three days.  It kept kicking her out of the exam, and not saving her answers.  Then she would have to start the whole test over.  I decided not to frustrate her with this experience any longer since she already has enough math frustration. I never found out why it was doing that with her particular exam.

Adaptive Math Placement Test w/ Lesson Plan

 

Read more about it at  Top 12 Reasons to do Adaptive Placement Test w/Lessons and

Top 12 Reasons to use “Family Math package” program.
SALE!

2-week 40% to 50% off sale on “Family Math Packages” and “Adaptive Placement Testing w/ Lessons” program from 5/4/2015 –  5/18/2015

Adaptive Math Placement Test w/ Lesson Plan

FREEBIES:

There are lots of freebies for homeschool families to try to make sure the program is a good fit for them before you make purchase.

Free Math Placement Test

Free Family Math Packages

Free Software Download

Free Single Grade Level

Free eBook

Follow A+ Interactive Math on Social Media:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/APlusTutorSoft
Twitter: https://twitter.com/aplustutorsoft
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/aplustutorsoft
Adaptive Math Placement Test w/ Lesson Plan

A+ Interactive Math Review
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Review: La La Logic online preschool curriculum

La La Logic Review
 

Today I have a review of La La Logic Preschool Curriculum

This is an online resource with items to print.  It’s specifically for preschoolers and is a resource designed to help them with thinking skills and problem-solving.  There are 100 weeks of material!  See below for example of online activities to do.

La La Logic Review
I had my 4-year-old start with Week 1.  He did the online lessons which included a variety of different activities.  By far, his favorite was a reward for one of them where a monkey danced.  He and his 2-year-old sister cracked up every time!  Each week includes some lessons to print as well.  This particular lesson included a story about “The Eagle and the Fox.”  After reading it aloud to my son I asked him to narrate it, which simply means to tell the story back to me.  We’ll have to keep working on that skill!  Then, there are comprehension questions to make sure he understood the story.  Next is a nature study activity where the child names some sea animals and land animals and decides which category each animal belongs in.  Then there is a math activity to see how many elephants make up the size of a blue whale.  They draw it to illustrate it.  Finally, there is copywork of the sentence, “The fox tricked the eagle.”  The child can either write it or trace the letters that you write. Below are some examples of worksheets that are available for printing out.

La La Logic Review
I skipped ahead to Week 91 for my 6-year-old daughter.  The online lessons were too easy for her (in that she didn’t get anything wrong), but she said she still really enjoyed doing it.  I printed out the lesson to do with her as well.  It told the story of “Where Yap-Yap the Prairie Dog Used His Wits” by Thornton Burgess.  I read the story aloud and had her narrate it back to me.  I used to do narration with my older kids, but I realized after these lessons that I haven’t done it with this second set of kids!  I’m so glad to have all these wonderful stories to print out and read aloud to them so they can practice narrating them.  After the story, we talked about prairie dog homes vs. woodchuck homes and the sizes of prairie dogs and woodchucks using the internet to find pictures.  Then she did copywork of “Right away he set his sharp wits to work.”  There was also a tangram of shapes to cut out and then taped them onto the shape of a boat.

My 2-year-old daughter loved watching her brother and sister use La La Logic, but she doesn’t really understand the concepts quite yet. In this picture her older brother was helping her by saying things like “Point to number 3.”  I’m so glad I have a lifetime subscription, because she will definitely be using it within the next year!

La La Logic

The bottom line:

I’m happy with La La Logic.  It was perfect for my 4-year-old son, a little too difficult for my 2-year-old, and we were able to find some activities that were good (like narrating the stories) for my 6-year-old.  I love that there is so much available: 100 weeks!  It’s also great that is gets increasingly harder.  I loved that there were three modes from which to choose:  continuous brain mode (just keeps giving them more online activites to do until you stop it or they can choose a particular activity to practice), the week’s online lesson, and the printed lessons.  You can pick and choose what works best for your child.  My kids did it anywhere from 10-30 minutes at a time.  (They also begged to do it far more than I let them!)

Follow La La Logic on Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/lalalogic

 

La La Logic Review
 

La La Logic Review

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IXL Math and Language Arts Review

Christmas Book Review
I have a really exciting program to review for you today!  For the past 6 weeks several of my kids have been working with the online program called IXL.  If you have read my blog for a while, you will know that I have not given favorable reviews of a couple of other online programs we’ve tried.  But IXL–well, we loved it!  My kids worked on both IXL Math and IXL Language Arts.

IXL Math and Language Arts Review 009

What is IXL?

There is so much there–you’ll really have to head over to the website to see for yourself.  It is an online PRACTICE website for grades PreK-12th (up to precalculus) in math and grades 2-8 in language arts.  We used it mostly on our computers (both Mac and PC). They also have some apps which work with various tablets.  We were able to use it with our iPad 2.  (But even if your tablet doesn’t support the app, you might be able to still use IXL with the tablet’s browser–I know a lot of people use it that way.)

IXL is not meant to be used as a class or textbook which teaches the material.  The material (math or grammar) should be taught with another curriculum or teacher.  Then, you can use IXL to practice those skills!

How we used it.

My 7th grade son usually uses a grammar workbook to practice grammar skills, but used IXL instead.  He mostly focused on vocabulary such as analogies and suffixes.

My 6th grade daughter used IXL almost every school day.  She used just the language arts section as well and worked on apostrophes and commas.  She found it quite challenging.  Here how it works:  Each topic starts out pretty easy.  Then the level of difficulty increases.  The score goes up with each right answer and goes down with a wrong answer. The goal is to get to 100–that will mean that they “mastered” the skill.  In math the younger kids get a “prize” for mastering the skill.  See below where I explain more about that.  If they miss a question, there is an explanation about the correct answer and how to do the problem.  Some people might use this teaching section as a way to let IXL “teach.”  Kids are not only rewarded for how high their score gets or how many topics they master, but also how many minutes they spend practicing a skill.  This is encouraging for those who are really struggling with a topic–at least they can get a prize for spending more time trying, even if they are having trouble mastering it!

My 2nd grade son used the 2nd grade math section, and my 1st grade daughter used the 1st grade math section.  For both of them, they had to skip around a bit (which is no big deal at all) because they kept getting to a level where it was too difficult because they hadn’t learned it yet.  We actually suspended their regular math curriculum for the past 6 weeks so that they could just use IXL.  In the future, I will have them use their math curriculum, and then come to IXL to do the extra practice to master each skill.

These same two kids also did some of the lessons using the app on our iPad.  They both felt it was easy enough to do it.

Another nice feature on the website is the option to have the questions read aloud for the younger kids.  The kids I had use IXL were good readers, but they occasionally clicked on it just for fun.  The only negative I have is that sometimes it was difficult to understand what they were saying.

Now I’ll show you some screenshots so you can get a better idea of how it works.

Here is a grammar question for 6th grade:

IXL Math and Language Arts Review 019

These next 3 are parent report pages so you can see how your kids are doing:

IXL Math and Language Arts Review 017 IXL Math and Language Arts Review 016 IXL Math and Language Arts Review 015

The kids each have their own individual account because it keeps track of what they have accomplished and reports it to the parent.  You’ll also receive emails telling you when your child has accomplished something special like mastering a skill, practicing for an hour, or answering a certain number of questions.

IXL Math and Language Arts Review 014

A first grade math page:

IXL Math and Language Arts Review 013

And what happens when they get it correct!

IXL Math and Language Arts Review 011

This is a list of the Math page and some of the skills available for practice at each grade level:

IXL Math and Language Arts Review 007

This was my daughter’s reward page.  On the side it says that she had earned 29 medals, answered 1,112 questions, practiced for 5 hours 53 minutes, and mastered 28 skills!

IXL Math and Language Arts Review 006 IXL Math and Language Arts Review 005

I didn’t have to beg any of my 4 kids to do their IXL work each day.  The happily did it!  I think it will be hard for my 1st and 2nd graders to go back to their regularly scheduled math next week!  I think I’ll keep my 2 older kids grammar here at IXL, though!

Pricing:

Pricing for family memberships starts at just $9.95/month or $79/year for one subject. Each additional child costs $2/month or $20/year. For more information or to purchase a family membership, go to www.ixl.com/membership/family/pricing, and select your preferred membership option to view pricing details.

 This is a good page to look at as well:  https://www.ixl.com/membership/family/subscribe/yearly/math

So, an annual subscription for one child for math is $79; for math AND Language Arts, it would be $129.  For two children for math, it is $99 for the year; for math and language arts, it would be $149.

Visit IXL on social media:

https://www.facebook.com/IXL
https://twitter.com/IXLLearning
https://plus.google.com/+IXL

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Review “UberSmart Math Facts” software

UberSmart Math Facts Review

 

Are you looking for a great way for your kids to learn or practice their math facts?  Today I’m happy to review UberSmart Software, which has created the product we used called

UberSmart Math Facts.  

Math facts are so important for kids to learn.  They can’t easily go on to the next concept in math if they are still trying to remember them.  If you aren’t sure what I mean by “math facts,” it’s knowing their basic addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division problems by heart.  They should know the answers to 6+7 or 9 x 3 without having to think at all.

How do they accomplish that?  They could use paper flash cards or a computer game.  They can take written tests or have someone quiz them orally.  Or they could use  UberSmart Math Facts.   

UberSmart Math Facts is actually not a fancy computer game.  It’s a simple no-nonsense and straight-forward way for learning and practicing math facts.

It’s specifically geared for grades K-6, but any age that needs math facts reinforcement can utilize it. 

This is a DOWNLOADABLE SOFTWARE for mastering math facts. It can be used by eight or more students and will enable your student to practice the following:

*Dot Cards (like adding domino faces)
*Keyboard Entry (Ten-Key Numbers)
*Flash Cards (add, subtract, multiplication, division)

*The Addition/Subtraction goes up through the 9s
*Multiplication/Division has the option to set it to go up to 9’s – 20’s. 

SYSTEM SOFTWARE REQUIREMENTS: This is for Windows 7, 8, XP and Vista only.  There isn’t a Mac version.

Take a look as some of these screen shots to get a better idea of what you’ll find in UberSmart Math Facts.

Here is a test.  You see the previous (just completed) problem first, then there is the one the student is supposed to answer by typing, and third is the next problem.  This particular test is testing the “12’s.”  You can choose which numbers need work, just like you can choose which operation (addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division) needs work.

 

UberSmart Math Facts Review
This screen shot is giving the child the opportunity to practice typing numbers fast and correctly.  They can’t “master” without typing the answers accurately and quickly.

UberSmart Math Facts Review
The next screenshot shows a Practice screen.  When kids are just learning a new fact, they can use this screen which first shows the flash card without the answer.  They can try to answer it out loud, and then hit “enter” to see what the answer is.

UberSmart Math Facts Review
This next screen is fun and reminds me of dominoes! This might be great for younger kids.  (The ones I had using it were 6 and 7 years old.) 
UberSmart Math Facts Review
Overall, we really liked UberSmart Math Facts, and I’m so glad we have it now!  I have all 8 of my kids listed in it so I can keep track of their progress and know which facts still need to be worked on.  We had trouble at first getting the software to work, but the developer was extremely helpful and worked on it for a few weeks to get it updated.  It now works great!
The cost is $24.95 for a Family License. With this license you can run Math Facts on all the computers in your home! You also get free upgrades and support.
 

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Review of CTC Math

CTC Math Review

Today I have a review of CTC Math.  We recently got to spend time with the 12 Month Family Plan.  CTC Math is an online math curriculum for grades K-12.  The child who spent the most time using it is my 7-year-old son.  He worked on the 1st and 2nd grade levels.  I also had a few more kids try it out–my 3-year-old, 5-year-old, 12-year-old, and 13-year-old.

CTC Math Review
The way CTC Math works is you get a parent account and a specific child account for each child.  The child logs in with their username and password each time they are ready to do math.  They then click on the next lesson to do.  It’s pretty organized into categories, so they know what the basic topic is that they are studying and they know how many lessons are in that category.  The lessons are taught by an Australian man.  (His accent is fun!)  For the 1st grade level, the lessons were pretty short (usually less than 5 minutes).  The lessons often have graphics to describe the concepts.  There are a lot of pictures and cute graphics for the younger kids.  After watching the lesson, they do the questions.  There is a downside here if your child isn’t an independent reader because these aren’t read out loud like the lesson portion is.  One thing that’s neat about the lessons are the bar at the top that shows them how close they are to finishing it.  For first grade there were 10 questions for each lesson.

The first grade math covers these categories:

Number, Patterns, and Algebra:  whole numbers, addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, fractions, patterns, money.

Measurement: length, area, capacity and volume, mass, time.

Space and Geometry: plane shapes, solids, position.

Statistics and Probablilty: graphs, chance.

One thing I really liked was getting weekly emails that told me exactly what my kids worked on that week and how they did.  They even have certificates to print out for reaching certain levels!  The younger ones got really excited about those!

After completing a category, there are 2 types of tests called standard and comprehensive (one is longer than the other) that the kids can take so you can check their progress and decide if they are ready to move on.  Or you can use the diagnostic tests to determine where in the curriculum your child should start working.

Another feature on the site is Speed Skills, which is a fun math game a couple of my kids played.

My older boys (6th and 7th grade) did a few lessons from the 7th grade section called Basic Math and Pre-Algebra.  At this level there is a sheet to print out for the questions, so the kids can do their lessons on paper.  On the side of it there is a bank of answers to choose from.  They will enter the letter associated with the correct answer on the computer for grading.  My oldest son didn’t like this because he felt it was too easy to guess what the answer would be if he didn’t correctly work the problem the first time.

I would recommend CTC Math for two different types of people.  If you want to use it for a full curriculum, it can be that for the elementary ages.  Or if your child needs extra help in math (for all levels up through 12th grade), it is a wonderful resource for an online math tutor!

 

 

Here is the current pricing:  Homeschoolers get a huge 60% discount off the regular price!  It’s $118.80 for Membership for 2 or more students for 12 months. I set up accounts for 7 of my kids!  (The 12-month family plan.)

Visit their Facebook page at Facebook CTC Math .

 

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Homeschool Essentials: Math-U-See Decimal Street lapbook for “Alpha”

Math-U-See Decimal Street lapbook 003

 

Penguin lapbook 002

 

Penguin lapbook 001

 

Penguin lapbook 003

 

Today is Day 3 of “5 Days of Homeschooling Essentials” and I’m sharing about my favorite math elementary math curriculum: Math-U-See. I love that this curriculum has the lessons on DVD (Steve Demme is funny and connects well with the kids). But most of all I like his approach of trying to help the kids “see” math rather than just memorizing how to do it.

One of my children just started with the Alpha level. Place value is being taught in the first lesson. We created a Decimal Street lapbook for her to practice using the units (ones), tens, and hundreds place. I’m sorry I can’t give credit to the lady on whose blog I first saw this. It was many years ago and the blog site no longer exists.

What we do is write a number in the boxes at the bottom.  If the number is 632, she’ll put on 6 red “hundreds”, 3 blue “tens”, and 2 green “units.”  The boxes are covered in clear packing tape, so it wipes off really easily using a dry erase marker.  Then we practice with me putting the blocks on and she writes down the number.  After a few days of practicing this, I think she understands!

And my younger kids just like playing with the blocks!

Penguin lapbook 006

The blocks are what makes Math-U-See unique. The units are green, the tens are blue, and the hundreds are red. The kids can see and count them in each spot. And they can see that only 9 can fit in each house. This is important for them when they start learning about carrying or regrouping. No, Math-U-See doesn’t completely eliminate math tears, but it helps!

Do you have a favorite math curriculum?  Please share in the comments!

 

5 Days of Homeschooling Essentials

 

 

Be sure to read about more Homeschooling Essentials at the following blogs:

61. Lisa @ Our Simple Kinda Life

62. Tabitha @ The Homeschool Four

63. LaRee @ Broad Horizons

64. Gwen @ Tolivers to Texas

65. Amy @ Counting Change. . .  Again

66. Jacquelin @ A Stable Beginning

68. Adena @ AdenaF

69. Stacie @ Super Mommy to the Rescue

70. Jen @ Happy Little Homemaker
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And don’t forget to enter to win an iPad Mini here!

 This post is linked up to some of these great blogs!

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Times Tales set on Sale!

 

I’ve mentioned before how I’ve used the Times Tales DVD to help my 3 oldest quickly learn their times tables!  There is a sale right now (until August 8, 2013) to get these 3 items for only $29.95!  You get the bundle which includes: Times Tales (print or DVD), a Mini Flip and Memory Triggers: Elementary Math Terms.  If you have  a child working on multiplication, head over to the website and see if this is something you’d like to try!  Use the code GOTTHIS.

 

My 9-year-old daughter learned her times tables in 2 weeks using Times Tales!

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Homeschool Curriculum 2012-2013

Here is our 2012-2013 Curriculum

 

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

B (age 11, 6th grade):

Following “The Grammar Level:  Ten Things to Do From Ages 10-12″

Bible:  Discover 4 Yourself Inductive Bible Studies for Kids — Revelation (Bible Prophecy for Kids and A Sneak Peek into the Future)

Grammar:  Daily Grams 6 (Easy Grammar)

Latin:  First Form Latin

Music:  violin lessons, band (saxophone) at Christian school

History:  Mystery of History and Story of the World, vol. 2 (After Resurrection thru Middle Ages) with notebooking materials from Homeschool in the Woods (New Testament) and Lilliput Station; read-alouds of historical fiction

Pre-Logic:  Logic: Building Thinking skills, book 3 figurative

Math:  Epsilon math, then Zeta math from Math-U-See

Science:  Apologia science Zoology 2 (Swimming Creatures) with notebooking journals and experiment kit

Composition:  How to Write a Story by Evan-Moor, then Writing for 100 Days

Public Speaking:  Institute for Cultural Communicators Basic Public Speaking book
Worldview: Who am I? book and notebooking journal by Apologia
Geography Bee
Spotlight drama class (and possibly perform in a musical)
J (age 10, 5th grade):

Following “The Grammar Level:  Ten Things to Do From Ages 10-12″

Bible:   Discover 4 Yourself Inductive Bible Studies for Kids — Revelation (Bible Prophecy for Kids and A Sneak Peek into the Future)

Spelling & Grammar:   Better Spelling in 5 Minutes a Day and then Spelling Power;  Daily Grams 5 (Easy Grammar)

Latin:  First Form Latin

Music:  violin and piano lessons

Art:  ocean boxes

History:  Mystery of History volume 2 and Story of the World volume 2 (After Resurrection thru Middle Ages) with lapbooking materials from Homeschool in the Woods (New Testament) and Lilliput Station; read-alouds of historical fiction

Pre-Logic:  Logic: Building Thinking skills, book 2

Math:  Epsilon math from Math-U-See

Science:  Apologia science Zoology 2 (Swimming Creatures) with notebooking journals and experiment kit

Public Speaking:  Institute for Cultural Communicators Basic Public Speaking book for public speaking class

Worldview:  Who am I? book and notebooking journal by Apologia
Geography Bee
Spotlight drama class (and possibly perform in a musical)
M (age 8, 3rd grade):

 Reading and Handwriting, Narration:  read to self 30 minutes a day; finish reading Rod and Staff readers–Bible Nurture and Reader Series  (finish brown books and first gray book); copy work of Revelation

Arts and Crafts:  ocean boxes, sewing projects, Picture study of paintings

Music:  violin and piano lessons

Bible:   Discover 4 Yourself Inductive Bible Studies for Kids — Revelation (Bible Prophecy for Kids and A Sneak Peek into the Future)

Math:  Alpha and Beta, Math-U-See

Science:  Apologia science Zoology 2 (Swimming Creatures) with notebooking journals and experiment kit

History:  Mystery of History volume 2 and Story of the World volume 2 (After Resurrection thru Middle Ages) with lapbooking materials from Homeschool in the Woods (New Testament) and Lilliput Station; read-alouds of historical fiction

Public Speaking:  Institute for Cultural Communicators Basic Public Speaking book

Worldview:  Who am I? book and notebooking journal by Apologia
Pre-Logic:  Think a Minutes from Critical Thinking
Spotlight drama class (and possibly perform in a musical)

 

R (age 7, 2nd grade):

Reading and Handwriting, Narration:  phonics (TATRAS) and read aloud to Mom (McGuffey readers then Rod and Staff Bible Nurture and Reader Series, green books); Explode the Code (book 3 – ?);  finish printing Handwriting Without Tears books and then do various copywork.

Bible:  Mom reads aloud The Jesus Storybook Bible ( Lloyd-Jones)Roma Downey’s Little Angels Bible Storybook, and Leading Little Ones to God (Schooland)

Science:  Apologia science Zoology 2 (Swimming Creatures) with notebooking journals and experiment kit

Arts and Crafts:  ocean boxes, sewing projects, Picture study of paintings

Public Speaking:  Institute for Cultural Communicators Basic Public Speaking book

Worldview:  Who am I? book and notebooking journal by Apologia
History:  Mystery of History volume 2 and Story of the World volume 2 (After Resurrection thru Middle Ages) with lapbooking materials from Homeschool in the Woods (New Testament) and Lilliput Station; read-alouds of historical fiction
T (age 5, Kindergarten):

Reading and Handwriting, Narration:  phonics (TATRAS) and read aloud to Mom (McGuffey readers then Rod and Staff Bible Nurture and Reader Seriesgreen books); Explode the Code (book 2 – ?); Handwriting Without Tears books and then do various copywork if time

Bible:  Mom reads aloud The Jesus Storybook Bible ( Lloyd-Jones)Roma Downey’s Little Angels Bible Storybook, and Leading Little Ones to God (Schooland)

Science:  Apologia science Zoology 2 (Swimming Creatures) with notebooking journals and experiment kit

Arts and Crafts:  ocean boxes, painting, play-doh

Public Speaking:  Institute for Cultural Communicators Basic Public Speaking book

Worldview:  Who am I? book and notebooking journal by Apologia
History:  Mystery of History volume 2 and Story of the World volume 2 (After Resurrection thru Middle Ages) with lapbooking materials from Homeschool in the Woods (New Testament) and Lilliput Station; read-alouds of historical fiction
Music:  violin lessons
L (age 3, Preschool):

Reading and Handwriting, Narration:  phonics (TATRAS); Handwriting Without Tears books and do various copywork

Bible:  Mom reads aloud The Jesus Storybook Bible ( Lloyd-Jones)Roma Downey’s Little Angels Bible Storybook, and Leading Little Ones to God (Schooland)

Science:  Apologia science Zoology 2 (Swimming Creatures) with notebooking journals and experiment kit

Arts and Crafts:  ocean boxes, painting, play-doh

History:  Mystery of History volume 2 and Story of the World volume 2 (After Resurrection thru Middle Ages) with lapbooking materials from Homeschool in the Woods (New Testament) and Lilliput Station; read-alouds of historical fiction

Worldview:  Who am I? book and notebooking journal by Apologia
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How I got interested in the Classical Method for Homeschooling

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How I got interested in the Classical Method for Homeschooling

How I got interested in the Classical Method for Homeschooling:

Probably the best way to start is to explain why I started homeschooling in the first place.  I started out as a public school teacher at a junior high (7th-9th grade).  It didn’t take me long to understand some of the inner workings of that system–things most parents never even think about or consider.  I was amazed at the discipline problems and how little time I was actually able to teach the kids.  Even as a strong Christian I felt strapped in how I could express my beliefs, and usually didn’t do it at all.  There was so much wasted time.  There was also a lot of crime (we even had a full-time city police officer on campus at all times.)  I would look up at a few dedicated, sweet kids in my room and think, “It’s so sad that you are in this situation; I never want my kids to be in a place like this if there is an alternative.”

But I didn’t know of any alternative, except for private school.  I had still never heard of homeschooling.  Then I had a child transfer into my class midway through the year who had been homeschooled.  I was very skeptical about it.  And then the drama teacher next door to me told me her daughter was homeschooled because she had severe learning disabilities and was pursuing a singing career.  I thought, “How can you be homeschooling her when you are teaching here all day?”  I later learned that her husband actually did shift work, so he was home with the girl during the day; she was old enough to do a lot independently, and there is so much flexibility to when you can learn (evenings and weekends).  My paradigm was beginning to shift.

After three years I couldn’t handle the junior high environment anymore and went to teach at an elementary school.  It was brand new.  The teachers and administrators were wonderful.  I had a full-time aide in my classroom to help me at all times.  You’d think this would be the perfect situation for the sweet little kids!  But I was seeing what was wrong there, too.  The children spent SO much time standing in line in the hallway, waiting for the bathroom or P.E. or lunch.  It was such a waste. The children had to be treated as a group and taught as a group, instead of as individuals.   And there were those teachers who were screamers or so focused on the problems in their own homes they really couldn’t take care of 22 young kids at school very well.  The saddest moment for me was on the last day of school one year I looked around at my kindergarteners (I taught K-4th grade music and had 600 students) and realized how few of their names I knew.  If I didn’t even know their names, how could I be teaching to their needs?  I was pregnant by this time and decided to spend some serious time investigating homeschooling.

The first method I studied was about Classical Education.  I read Dorothy Sayer’s article “The Lost Tools of Learning” and was really inspired by it.  Another book that I read soon after was For the Children’s Sake: Foundations of Education for Home and School by Susan Shaeffer Macauley.
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What an incredible book!  I learned so much about education and was introduced to Charlotte Mason and her wonderful ideas.  (More on her in amother post!)

I went to my first homeschool convention (Illinois Christian Home Educators, www.iche.org) when my oldest was 17 months old and my 2nd child was 6 weeks old.  I was blown away and brought my husband with me the next year.  He was blown away, too!  Now, after all these years, homeschooling is such a lifestyle for us, we don’t see how we could do it differenly. We pray that the Lord will allow us to continue until our children graduate from high school.

One of the seminars I attended at that first homeschool convention was with Harvey and Laurie Bluedorn of triviumpursuit.com.  They said many things that really resonated with me and helped to form my philosophy of education.  I love their article “Ten Things to Do Before Age 10″ and have followed it (though not perfectly) with all my kids.  I also use their book Teaching the Trivium: Christian Homeschooling in a Classical Style
as a resource for choosing homeschool curriculum each year.  I love that their style of classical education mixes in the unit study and Charlotte Mason methods.  That’s exactly how I love to teach!

We are now using Tapestry of Grace, which is based on the classical education method.  Each year (there are 4 total) uses history as the spine for learning the other humanities (literature, writing, arts).  We read “living books” rather than textbooks (Charlotte Mason!) and study the same lessons as a family.  But the lesson plans are specific to the child’s level of learning: grammar, diaectic, or rhetoric.

Do you have questions about Classical Education?  Please leave a comment and let’s talk about it!

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Homeschooling Moms With Apps–Math

When I started this series on homeschooling moms with apps 3 weeks ago I had no idea an incredible new website would burst on the scene last week.  It’s called Apps for Homeschooling.  Jennifer shares reviews, codes for free apps, and insider information about sales.  It’s great!  I’ll keep writing these posts to share what we like to use, but for more comprehensive information on great apps for homeschooling, be sure to visit Apps for Homeschooling!

This week we’ll talk about math.  The iPad is a wonderful tool for practicing math facts, and there are some really neat math apps out there.  Here are the ones my kids enjoy:

Math Bingo

Rocket Math

Dot to Dot Numbers and Letters

Pizza Fractions

Factor Samurai

Pizza Sudoku

Snowman Math

And these are some math apps I’ve heard good things about but haven’t looked into personally yet:

Math Ninja

Match up Math

Pop Math lite

Math A+

iLive Math

Math Girl Number Garden (and House)

Digit z lite

Fractions app

Kids Time Fun

Trade First Subtraction

Math Magic

Park Math

 

Do you have some favorite math apps I missed?

Homeschooling Moms With Apps–Preschool

It’s time for our next installment of Homeschooling Moms With Apps! This time our focus is on Preschool. (Check out last week’s post on geography.)

As you can tell by the picture on my blog header, I have a number of preschoolers. And they all love to use the iPad! (I’m embarrassed to say that even my 14-month-old loves it!) But I want the limited time they use it to be educational, as well as fun for them. Here are some my favorites that they come back to time and again.

Teach Me Toddler

Teach Me Kindergarten

Teach Me 1st Grade

Bob Books

Lots of picture books (mostly the free versions, which are only parts of the book: Dr. Suess’s ABC, Just Me and My Mom, Green Eggs and Ham, Peter Rabbit, etc.)

Dot to Dot Numbers and Letters

Pocket Phonics Lite

Rocket Math

Math Bingo

Pizza Fractions

Montessori Approach to Geography lite

Drawing Pad

Hello Chalk

Hello Crayons

Hello Colored Pencils

Animal Fun

Learn Sharks

Sound drop lite

Aquarium lite

Creationary

Do you have some favorite Preschool Apps I missed?