Sunday, January 31, 2010

MathScore / Accurate Learning

As a member of the TOS Homeschool Review Crew, I was able to review a website called . This site was developed by Steven Yang Founder and CEO, He is an MIT graduate, and according to the website, has earned many awards for the site. The mission of is: "to improve the education of millions of students by providing a superior learning environment compared to existing solutions."

The site has all the qualities of a solid math teaching tool. It can be used as a math curriculum or as a supplemental component to any homeschool. Children who attend traditional schools can benefit as well from this program. The math topics are for children who are at a second grade math level or above through algebra one.

Your student is timed while doing math drills, you pick the math topic you want them to practice. As each student masters a level, they are given a reward such as a trophy. The parent is also able to monitor progress and view an assessment of the students work.

I would recommend this product for an older child who may be struggling with higher level math. One aspect of the site that I found lacking, was no audio/video explanation of the website. If a child is not a great reader, they would need the instructions read to them. I do think this is a bias on my own part since my children are younger than the target audience, so I see the value in this product, I just think the child should be at a third grade reading level or above.

MathScore's pricing starts at $14.95/month for the first child and gets significantly cheaper beyond the first child. With a 9-month commitment, the first child's price can be locked in at $9.95/month. A really nice aspect of the pricing is that you can freeze your account (over Christmas break, or while on vacation) and activate it again when you return, which means you aren’t paying for time that you are not using.

There is a free trial available, so you can test it out for yourself here. I would suggest checking it out, the program is a quality one, and with the free trial offer, you and your child have a chance to play around with it and see if it is a good fit for your homeschool before making a financial commitment.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Keyboarding for the christian School Review

Good evening everyone, ready for a pop quiz? No cheating, ready? What is another word for typing? If you said keyboarding, and I was with you, I would give you a gold star! As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew I was sent an e-book titled "Keyboarding for the Christian School Elementary Version" by Leann Beitel. Leann is a teacher at a private Christian School and had a hard time finding keyboarding curriculum that incorporated touch typing technique and Bible verses. Ms. Beitel came up with her own book, how does that saying go "necessity is the mother of invention?"
The E-book is 87 pages and covers many topics such as the touch typing technique, Alphabetic Keys, Numbers and symbol keys, Number pad, centering, enumerated lists (IE: numbered lists), timed writings, a timing scale (this can help you grade your child's progress). You can check it out for yourself by clicking on the following link:

A sweet ladybug named Miss Mabel takes students through keyboarding lessons, which are a must in this day and age. I give this book an A+++! The graphics are great and the lessons are simple yet put together well. Author Leann Beitel does a fantastic job of teaching keyboarding. The book takes you through practices to familiarize yourself with the keyboard. I like this because as the student is reading the book (or is being directed) they are able to practice along with the text. That seems to make the information so much more relevant to my children. Even my four year old (who LOVES to pound on the keys can begin this) and it is a great way to practice letter and number recognition for my kindergartner.
The e-book is put together in such a way that you are able to go at your own pace and each lesson builds upon the previous one. As time goes on the student will gain confidence in their skills. Eventually being able to type faster than writing. The book is timely for our homeschool as well. As third grade looms, I desire more independent learning to happen, this is one example of how I can do that. I can purchase a word processing program for my 9 year old and she can continue to build on her typing skills while writing Lab reports or book reports.
I LOVED the fact that Leann Beitel incorporated Bible passages into typing practice skills. What a wonderful way to keep God's word in front of us always. If you would like to see a few sample pages just click on the link here:
The Elementary Keyboarding book I was sent is selling for $12.95. The Author also has another e-book for Secondary Grades. I highly recommend this product and was privileged to review it.

Thursday, January 7, 2010 Review

As a member of TOS Homeschool Review Crew I was sent two DVDs in the mail to review. I had never heard of the company, which can be found at: but I was intrigued from the moment I opened the package.

I would like to preface this review by stating that I do not have cable TV. We unplugged one year ago and only have a video TV monitor to watch DVDs. Once my children caught word that there was a "new" DVD in the house to watch, I couldn't keep them from watching it even if I tried!

I was sent two DVDs, one was titled "Young Minds" Numbers and Counting. This particular DVD is a new release from the company and is created for preschoolers. I LOVED it, my 19 month old son LOVED it, my 4 year old daughter LOVED it and my Kindergartner and second grader LOVED it (don't let the older girls know I told you!). The DVD is so visually beautiful and it is lovely to listen to classical music and count animals and everyday objects. Children learn to count from one to ten based on the objects in the pictures, the pictures are of objects that children are familiar with but done in such a way, that mine found it fascinating. It is easy to see why this DVD won so many awards. The DVD costs $19.99 and would make a wonderful gift. My 19 month old son was repeating all the numbers in order once we got to number 10. The simple repetition helped reinforce the counting. I give it "two thumbs up"!

The second DVD I was sent to review was titled "The Basic Math Word Problem Tutor". This 2 DVD set contains over 8 hours of basic math word problems. My oldest daughter Emily is 8, so this material was a bit over her head, and she lost interest in it rather quickly. However, I see the value in having this resource especially in the next few years. The instructor, Jason Gibson, does a great job of teaching with step- by- step instructions. This particular DVD cost $26.99.

The company allows you sample video clips on their website of every course that the company offers. The company carries an entire math tutorial DVD sequence from Basic math through advance level math. If you have a hard time teaching math in your home school or if your child struggles with math, these videos may be just what you need.

3P Learning/ Mathletics Review

As a member of the TOS Homeschool Review Crew, I was given a 45 day trial to . I was impressed with the site. It was very user friendly and so before I invited my children to come play, I checked the site out. 3P Learning/ Mathletics has the following mission statement: "To engage every student everyday with a personalized, responsive and intelligent learning resource that inspires a delight in math and an innate drive to better results." Nice right?

Basically Mathletics is a web- based math service, providing children a chance to compete with students from around the world or to rack up points by working through grade specific content. Parents are able to view progress and the site offers a variety of ways to use math online in a safe environment. Even though the children can compete against each other there is no direct communication, which was very important to me.

My oldest daughter Emily who is 8, REALLY liked the site. Actually she asked to go on it over and over again. If you knew Emily you would be shocked. She is one tough cookie to please and she typically gets very nervous in a competitive forum. Emily loved making an avatar of her likeness and when she competed online, she got to see the other child's avatar as well. One aspect I like about the site was the view of the world map. If you choose to compete against other players around the world, a picture of the world map pops up and you see the computer scanning the map for a person to play against you. I thought this was a clever way to sneak in a bit of geography. Emily thought it was cool that someone from so far away was able to play at the same time.

I may purchase a subscription to this site, Emily really enjoyed it and my younger two daughters enjoyed watching, so for $59.00/ year for an online subscription to the site for one child, it may be worth the money (especially since Emily does not like doing math drills, this is a fun way to polish her math). The site was running a special, if you know the human calculator's favorite number (hint: it's "9") and you enter that when asked, you can purchase a single child subscription for $49.95/ year. I recommend checking out the site so you can see for yourself, go to