Friday, January 28, 2011

TOS Review/ Ten Marks

 



*Do you have children who whine and complain because they have too much math to do?
*Do you wish you had someone alongside of you who could help explain math to your children?
*Do you wish there was an affordable answer to these problems?

Then TenMarks may be your solution.

You may be wondering, what is TenMarks? It is a personalized online math program that gets it's name because each worksheet only has 10 problems.



You, the parent, will set up your child's account, assigning them to the grade level that fits them best.
Once you have this set up, you can also personalize their curriculum. This is set up in albums. Each album contains worksheets from different math topics.
You can move these albums around to the order that you would like your child to work on them.

Each week your child will receive 4 worksheets. It is their choice whether or not they do one per day, or move along faster.  They also have the opportunity to redo their problems, so that they can score ten out of ten.
I like this feature because I hate just counting something wrong. I like to give my kids the chance to learn what mistakes they made, and correct them, and count them right.

Each worksheet has only ten problems. I think this makes it very manageable for children to do, and not feel overwhelmed.

Here are a couple of problem examples from the 7th grade math.




Your child can also practice any type of math from any grade level.
Let's say that your child is doing 7th grade math, but they are really struggling with fractions. It may be beneficial for them to practice fractions from the 5th or 6th grade levels until they have a better understanding of fractions.

Here are a few examples of problems from other grades.






If your child needs help on a problem they can ask for a hint. They can receive up to three hints.


They can also watch a video that will help them to understand the process. I think that the videos are helpful in most cases, but I must say that some of the videos don't always relate to what you are currently doing.
It seems as if there is one type of video per topic, and not an individualized video for each question.
So sometimes the video didn't help us at all.
This would be my one con to this program. I do hope they will consider improving the video section a little more, making the videos relate to each individual question.

Over all though we really have enjoyed this math program, and will continue to use it.

One of my daughters favorite things about TenMarks is the reward Program. For every four worksheets your child completes, they will be awarded a new game. These games are arcade type games.



You also have the opportunity to set up additional rewards. In the parents section, you would just type in what the reward would be, when they would get the reward, etc. After the child has completed the amount of worksheets you set up, it will let them know that they have received a reward.

This is purely optional, and only in the parents section, so you do not have to do this if you did not want to.

You child can take an assigned test, or take a test at any time from any of the topics.



My daughter really likes this program, and wants to continue it beyond the review period. I think that says a lot.
I did ask her however, if TenMarks did not have the games as rewards, would she still like it, and want to use it, and she said yes.

One other feature of TenMarks that I wanted to share with you was that you can easily check your child's progress.


As you can see, you can check all of their progress at a glance.  You can see when they did their work, what their score was, and what their concept strength for that topic was. 

TenMarks can be used with children in grades 3 through high school.
Children who do not like to do a lot of writing, or who just prefer the computer will enjoy this program. There is no teacher preparation, so that is a big bonus in my book.

If you are interested in seeing if TenMarks will work for your family, you can try it free.  

If you find that it works for you, the pricing is as follows:

Options (per student)
$10 a month
$49 for 6 months
$89 for 12 months

This seems to be a fairly reasonable price for an online math program, and we really enjoy it, so I say give it a try. 

Check out what my fellow Crew Mates had to say about TenMarks


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*I have received a subscription to TenMarks, free, as a member of the TOS Homeschool Review Crew, in return for my honest opinion. No other compensation has been given to me.*




 





Wednesday, January 26, 2011

TOS Review/ Lifeway Christian Stores - Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary for Kids

http://www.lifewaystores.com/lwstore/images/products_L/9780805495317_L.jpg?  

You probably have a Bible Dictionary, but do your children have one?

The Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary is perfect for children. 

This Bible Dictionary is very colorful, has beautiful pictures, and is a pleasure to look through. 

It is full of maps, charts, and of course definitions. 





I will tell you that my children like to look through it just for fun, rather than for a reference. 
Now, they would also use it as a reference, but I just wanted you to know that your kids will probably read this as a book as well. They may like it that much. I find it interesting myself to just sit, and look through the book.

This beautiful hardback book has 750 essential Bible words, and 500 full color photos, illustrations, reconstructions, and maps. It is perfect for elementary, and middle school children.

Here are some of our favorite pages:









As you can see, it really is a wonderful addition to your home library. 

It is a Holman Bible Dictionary, so most of the verses are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible. They do incorporate some KJV words, which I do appreciate, but most of the Scripture notations are from the Holman Christian Standard Bible. 

Personally, even though I am not a fan of the Holman Bible, I still like this dictionary. 
I haven't read every single definition, but I think it is pretty neutral.I would recommend it even if you don't read the Holman Bible.

My 6 year old son really likes it. He loves being able to search through the book, and find scenes from the Bible that he knows. It also has his name in it, so he loves that!

I think that you, and your children will really like this Bible Dictionary.

If you would like to take a look at a sample of this book, you can find it here.

You can purchase the Illustrated Bible Dictionary for Kids at LifeWay Christian Stores for $14.99.


I think this book is priced very well, and I think that your children will really like this Bible Dictionary. Enjoy!


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*I have received a copy of the Holman Bible Dictionary for Kids, free, as a member of the TOS Homeschool Review Crew, in return for my honest opinion. No other compensation has been given to me.*

Monday, January 24, 2011

Do you have the Burnout Blues?

TOS Homeschool Crew It's the middle of the school year, and this is the time that some of us experience burnout.

We get tired of the same old same old, wonder if we are using the right curriculum, wonder if homeschooling was the right choice, on and on.

Most of us feel this way from time to time, you are not alone.

But there are some things that you can do to avoid this type of burnout.

Here are some tips that may help you. 

1.Shake up your routine:

Add something new
Stop what you have been doing, and do a mini unit study on something that the kids all enjoy
Go on a field trip
Do some hands on science experiments
Try some online school work
Take a break
Make a project
Have a scrapbook week, where you scrapbook all the kids best work of the year so far
Reorganize your school stuff (this always helps me!)
Have a middle of the school year party!

2. Take a look at your curriculum:

Sometimes you may need to change your curriculum, but sometimes you don't.
If it is absolutely not working, then consider switching, but sometimes you are just tired of it. Try  putting it back for a while, and using something else. You can always bring it back out again, and it won't be as daunting.

3. Reconsidering homeschooling:

I know that it may be hard at times, but always know that you are doing the right thing. Parenting in general is not always easy, but you don't give up being a parent, and homeschooling is just part of being a parent.
I think that after a break, and shaking up your routine a little bit, that your perspective will be back in focus. We all have doubts some times as to whether we are doing the best we can, using the right curriculum, etc., but remember that the Lord never leaves you or forsakes you, and He will always guide you, if you don't forget to ask.

I really hope these tips help you, and remember too that sometimes the biggest help is to just sit down and talk with another homeschool mom who has been through the same thing.
Feel free to leave me a message if you need any encouragement.

Have a great rest of the school year!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Top Ten!

OK, so I just finished my Review of My Reviews, from the last 6 months, and I thought I would end it with my top 10 favorite products so far.

Here goes:

1. Wits and Wagers family
2. Aleks 
3. Salem Ridge Press
4. Maestro Classics
5. Speekee
6. Schleich
7. Corps of Rediscovery
8. Math Facts Now
9. When I Grow up, I Wanna Be a Firefighter
10. Pyramath

There you have it. I'll probably do something like this at the end of the year as well.
I hope you enjoyed the recap, and I hope you find some of these products useful for your family as well.











Aleks, wits and wagers, salem ridge press, , , maestro classics, Speekee,

My Review of My Reviews - Day 5


It is day 5, and I am sorry I didn't get this up yesterday. We have a lot going on right now.

OK, so here goes:


16: Wits and Wagers Family: In this game, you take turns reading a question, everybody writes their answer down, and then places it face up on the table. Then everyone gets to look at all of the answers, and place their game pieces on whichever answer they think is closest. I know that from this description, it may not sound all that fun, but this is our favorite game. We play it all the time. We almost always play it when the in-laws come over too! I 100% recommend this game.
I will say that there were a few questions that I didn't find appropriate for my kids, but I just took them
out! VIOLA! Perfect game. We really do love this game.

(Read my full review here.)



Photobucket 17: Tiny Planets:  Tiny Planets is geared towards ages 4-12, but older children will enjoy it as well. This is basically a site where children can go and play in outer space! They will play games, and earn stars to decorate their planet. We have not really used this much lately, because we do have a lot of other school work to do on the computer, and we can't justify something that is not purely educational. But it is a safe place for your kids to play online, and there is nothing "wrong" with this site. I feel safe letting my kids play on it. And I may let them play on it sometimes, but probably not that often. It is mostly free though, so you may want to check it out.

(Read my full review here.)

http://www.mathfactsnow.com/includes/templates/lilix/images/top_nav/home_r1_c1-2.gif  18. Math Facts Now: I just reviewed this recently, but we still use it and love it. This is a simple math program that lets your children practice their Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication, and division facts. It is not flashy, but I like that. It is very simple but, effective. My kids ask to play this. So, yes, I still highly recommend this program.

(Read my full review here.)



 
19. See N Read:  If you have children that have trouble focusing on the page, or say that the words seem to jump around on the page, these learning tools just might help. I am still using the Memory Mark daily. I use this to underline my Bible verses! So, I do recommend this product still!

(Read my full review here.)

Friday, January 21, 2011

Fit Mommy Friday!

 I have done really well this week on my eating. I am still doing well with my pop and junk food. 
I have lost 6 pounds too! YAY!!!
 
I am drinking a lot more water, in fact, that is about all I drink anymore. 
 
Next week, I want to start getting into an exercise program. I worked out once this week, but that was it. 
 
I want to continue doing well with my eating and up the working out this next week. 
 
If you want to see how the other fit mommies are doing, you can check it out here.  

TOS Review/ SPEEKEE

Speekee logo


Speekee, such a weird name, but such a fun way for kids to be introduced to Spanish!

I was given a chance to review the all new online version of Speekee, a Spanish learning program for young children.

At first none of us were extremely excited about this program. I guess it just looked a little silly. 

BUT, it didn't take long before we were all singing those silly little songs! lol

Speekee is comprised of ten super cute videos that are engaging to watch, your kids will love them.

We worked our way through each of the videos, watching each one once.

We are on our second round, and this time we are doing the accompanying worksheets.

Here are some examples of the accompanying worksheets:







We have really enjoyed this. As I mentioned earlier, we really didn't know how this would turn out, but I am so glad to have heard of this program. This program is geared for children ages 2-10, but, my 13 year old daughter and I really enjoyed it as well. 

There is not a lot to this program, it is really simple. This is a monthly subscription program. All you do is log in, and choose which video you would like to view.


Just click a video, and watch. It's as simple as that. 
By watching these videos, your children will learn basic Spanish, and it won't even feel like work. 

My kids have learned a lot in just over a month. I think for it to really stick, you would need to view the videos more than once. I would suggest at least 2-3 months, with perhaps using the program again about every 3-6 months or so. 
This is what I am thinking we may do. 

One months subscription is only $7.50 US, and well worth it in my opinion. 

You can buy this on DVD, but you must be sure that your DVD player can play these. 
This is what the website says about this. 

Note to North American customers

 

The Speekee DVDs are produced in Europe and use the PAL format for colour encoding. US / Canadian systems use the NTSC format as standard. Many, but not all, North American DVD players are capable of playing PAL media. If you are based in North America, please check your equipment before purchase. Alternatively, subscribe for Speekee TV.

If you have a DVD Player that will play this format, it may be worth it to buy it once, rather than to keep paying for a monthly subscription. 

If you are interested in trying Speekee, you can try it free for two weeks. When you buy one month, you will get the first two weeks free.  

You can see what my fellow Crew Mates thought of Speekee here. 




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*I have received a subscription to Speekee, free, as a member of the TOS Homeschool Review Crew, in return for my honest opinion. No other compensation has been given to me.*

Thursday, January 20, 2011

My Review of My Reviews - Day 4

It is day 4! YAY!  Here are a few more of my Reviews of my Reviews! Enjoy!
                                                                                     
                                                    
12. Corps of Rediscovery: We reviewed their Patchwork Quilt Kit from the Pioneer age.   My daughter had a blast making this doll quilt. The instructions were great, and believe me, I needed them. I am not a great sewer, by any means. I have not used any of their other products, but would definitely consider using their other project kits for our homeschool. They would be perfect for including in unit studies. I still highly recommend these project kits. 

(Read my full review here. )                    


13. KBTeachers: This is a subscription to a website that has many, many printables. You will find Math, Grammar, Handwriting, Science, Social Studies, and more.
I loved their alphabet tree for Autumn. Super cute!
This is a place where you can find many printables in one place, and not have to Google something every time you want a printable. There is a minimal cost, but, I would suggest that you check it out for yourself, and see what you think. They do have free printables to give you an idea of what you would be getting. I say try it out. I think you will find it very handy. 

(Read my full review here. )



Aleks Logo    14. ALEKS: 
We LOVE Aleks! Love, love, love it! This is the best math program that we have found to date. It totally tailors to your individual child. Your children get to pick and choose from the different categories, and they get to see their progress immediately in a pie chart. It is a lot of fun for the kids.
Unfortunately, we can't afford to continue the program right now, but if you can swing it, I highly, highly, recommend this math program.Check it out.

(Read my full review here.)


Good Morning God 15. Good morning, God: This is a wonderfully cute book that really helps your children see how they can praise and worship God in their own daily lives. This book is for the 2-8 year old age range. We will be keeping our copy, for sure.
I highly recommend this book.

(Read my full review here.)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

My Review of My Reviews - Day 3

Alright it is day 3, and I'm back with more reviews!

                     
   8. Vocabulary Cartoons: If you remember my review, you remember that this uses Mnemonics to memorize Vocabulary words. The words, we thought, didn't really rhyme, and some of them didn't really make sense. I think the idea behind it is good though, because we have used similar books, and loved them, but for us, this one just didn't work.
We are not still using this book.  However, I want to add that there were members on the Crew that loved it, so it is really one of those things that works for some, but not for others.

(Read my full review here.)




       9. Talking Fingers: This was fun! My son really enjoyed it! I remember at first thinking, he is only 5, he can't type correctly. But he did, well, to a certain extent.
He did really well up to a certain point, but then it got a little too difficult for him.
This program makes it really easy for your kids to learn to type, and they will have fun while doing it!
We have not used it in a while, but that was because it was a little too difficult for him. I do think we will pick it back up. He has asked about it...HMMM, Now I'll probably be pulling it up today! HA
Anyhow, I do recommend this product for those who are wanting to learn to type, but who want to have fun while they are learning.

(Read my full review here.)






10. Young hearts Longing for God: This is a Bible study of the Psalms for the 4th-8th grade range. You study one Psalm per week, and answer the corresponding questions that go along. You read the same Psalm each day for a week, so that you really get it in your heart.
I really struggled getting my daughter to like, and do this. I am not sure why. Perhaps it is because she is in the 8th grade, and maybe it was a little too young for her.
I think it is a really good Bible study, however. So, I do recommend this product still. I think after our experiences though, I think it works better for a little younger than the 8th grade. Great product though!

(read my full review here.)



11. Buckets-O-Fun: This was buckets of fun! OK, I couldn't resist. lol
Really though, this was fun. What couldn't be fun about making messes of goo, and slime, and snow? Check out my review to see the pictures of what we made, that way you can get a better idea of what I am talking about. I do recommend this product for science experiments, or just for fun.

(Read my full review here.)

TOS Review/ Maestro Classics - Peter and the Wolf




This is so beautiful!

I was given the opportunity to review Peter and the Wolf, from Maestro Classics, and the consensus around here is... we love it!

This was the perfect way to introduce my children to the Symphony Orchestra.

When I received the Package, it included what is called the Digipak, which includes the CD, and a booklet that tells about the composer, the conductor, the narrator, and has several fun activities for the children that are related to the CD.

The case that it comes in is beautiful, as is the CD itself.

On the CD you will first listen to an introduction which tells the background of the story, and which instruments represent which characters.  This is really helpful.

Then you will listen to Peter and the Wolf with the words to the story included.
I love this version because it really helps you to understand what is happening in the story.

There is also an instrumental version as well, but in the words of my 6 year old, "I like it better with the words, cause with the guy talking it, it's more understandable." lol

Your children will also learn all about the composer, and about the music, among other things.

There are 8 tracks on this CD, and the whole CD is 68:11 minutes long.

I think this is like a mini unit study on music and composers, or as the company puts it "a music lesson in a box".

The music is so beautiful, and loud! Which makes it so fun to listen to.

I don't know about you, but we rarely, if ever, listen to classical music, or anything but Christian radio, so this makes a great way to start introducing a more classical style of music into my children's lives.

My 6 year old son loves it! This is what he says " I don't really understand it, I just like the music and the talking, and I like it all!"

He says his favorite part is "when he catches the wolf, and when the wolf gobbled up the duck, and when they said, if you can listen very closely, you can hear the duck quacking inside of it, the wolf gobbled her up still alive!"   (All his quotes are his own words, so please forgive the grammar.) HA!

It sounded to me as if he understood it pretty well. He was walking around the house today listening to it with the MP3 player!


Peter and the Wolf has won 3 different awards.

1. Parents Choice Award
2. Nappa Gold Award
3. Dr. Toy Award for the top 10 best audio-video products

I can see why. We just adore Peter and the Wolf, and can't wait to try the others as well.

I was doing some checking around their website, and I found a few things that you might be interested in.

I saw that you can get the sheet music to the songs, free, on their website.

Also, the answers to the activities in the booklet are on their website as well. You can find these under Maestro Club.

You can listen to a sample of Peter and the Wolf, and all of their other music as well.

I love everything about this. The only thing I could see that I would change, would be to offer extra booklets, so that you can have one for each child. I think that would be very helpful so that all of your children could do the activities. (Without fighting over one booklet!)

There was only one thing on the CD that bothered me a little. It may not be a big deal for you, but I thought I should mention it.

In one part, where it was telling about the story, the lady was talking about how there were two sides to the story, and she mentioned that if Peter hadn't disobeyed, than the wolf never would have made it to the Zoo. She was trying to point out the good that came of the disobedience.

I see what they are saying, but I don't want to give my kids any reason to disobey, or have them thinking that sometimes, it is OK.  This is just me, but I didn't care for that part.

BUT, honestly, other than that, I absolutely, positively recommend this to you all.

I think you will love it.

If you are interested in purchasing Peter and the Wolf, you can find it for $16.98 at Maestro Classics.


I thought you may want to know that they offer other CD's as well, such as:

The Tortoise and the Hare
The Story of Swan Lake
Juanita, the Spanish Lobster
Casey at the Bat
Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel
The Sorcerer's Apprentice
and of course, Peter and the Wolf!

Enjoy!

*EDITED TO ADD: Maestro Classics has just launched it's new website, and it has a lot more to offer. It looks like it will soon offer a download option as well. The new website is beautiful. I encourage you to check it out. All links have been updated to the new website.*

Check out what my fellow Crew Mates had to say about Peter and the Wolf!


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*I have received a copy of Peter and the Wolf, free, as a member of the TOS Homeschool Review Crew, in return for my honest opinion. No other compensation has been given to me.*

Blog Redo

I just redid my blog for Winter. What do you think?