Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Maestro Classics Review "Peter and the Wolf"

 There are a few things I know I am not capable of teaching to my children. One is art, my stick figures look just like my daughter drew them (she is 5). The other one is music, I have never played an instrument. I have no clue how to read music either. I love listening to classical music but I have no knowledge of the "great Composers".  As a member of the TOS Homeschool Review Crew, I was sent the CD of "Peter and the Wolf" from Maestro Classics. You can find Maestro Classics on the web at

Maestro Classics produces a Stories in Music series with conductor Stephen Simon and the London Philharmonic Orchestra. This series is an award winner and it is easy to see why! Each CD set includes a classic story set to beautiful music recorded by the London Philharmonic Orchestra. It also includes educational tracks which teaches the listener how the music was created and about the composers life.
The CD comes with an activity booklet to allow the children to apply their new knowledge and round out the lesson.

We listened to "Peter and the Wolf" in our living room gathered around the fireplace on a cold and snowy evening. We turned the lights low and popped popcorn and began to listen to the beautiful music. First we heard what instrument represented each character, then we heard the story set to music. After that we were taught about Prokofiev's life, the original composer of "Peter and the Wolf". Then we listened again to the music of "Peter and the Wolf". Each time we heard the music we were brought to a deeper level of understanding and we grew in appreciation of the music. I LOVE Maestro Classics and their Stories in music series is a fantastic addition to any listening library. Each set is only $16.98 and includes the CD, story, activity booklet and extra tracks. You can also purchase 3 sets for $45. These make great gifts, in fact they do offer gift sets of "Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel" & "Casey at the Bat" for $24 each.. You can purchase the CD's online at their website or by phone 888-540-2811.

The website also allows you to listen to samples of the Cd's and I strongly encourage you to visit it and spend some time listening. Click on this link HERE to see what my fellow Crew Mates had to say about this product.

As a member of the TOS Homeschool Review Crew, I was sent this product at no cost to myself in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Math Facts NOW! Review

Right before the holidays, I was sent a math program to download and use with my 7 & 9 year old daughters,  called Math Facts Now! 2.0 The website can be found HERE .  I was impressed with the program right away. It had everything I wanted in a math drill program without using flash cards. I am pleased with the fact that Math Facts NOW! isn't flashy but it is customizable to fit the needs of your students.

Once I downloaded the program (which was easy to do compared to other products that I have had to download to my computer) I was able to customize the facts that I wanted each child to practice. For example, my 7 year old is learning how to add 1 and 2 to a number up to 10 as well as double facts using addition and subtraction. This is what I selected for her to be drilled on. I also was able to pick the number of problems I wanted her to complete in a specific session. I chose 200 problems, but looking back, I should have gone with fewer problems (maybe 20!) and I will need to change that for future lessons.

I also chose how much time they have to work on a certain problem, initially I chose 8 seconds but upon actually  using the program, we had to increase the time since she is still new at finding the numbers on the keyboard and typing it in and hitting return. I was also able to customize how many times my daughter would need to repeat a specific problem if she answered incorrectly or did not answer it in the time allotted. I chose to have her repeat it three times.

The program will also remember which problems the student is having trouble with and will repeat them more frequently. I am also able to view and print out a list showing me where the areas of weakness are. As a reward for completing a session, I chose to allow them to play the wii for 15 minutes if they did not get any errors (we are still waiting for this reward, but in time it will come!)

My two daughters used the program, they found it easy to follow, but groaned at the actual "math" part of it. I think it is a great way to practice their math facts and plan on having them continue using this a few times per week.

The Math Facts NOW system requirements are as follows: It can run on windows 2000; ME; XP; Vista; and Windows 7. You will need to have 4.5 MB of free hard drive space to use this program. The program costs $15.95 to download directly from the website or you can purchase the CD-Rom for $15.95 + $3.95 s/h.

I liked this product a lot, I felt that $15.95 is a reasonable price for a quality program like this. It is functional, and you can use it with as many children in your home as needed and you can customize it for each child. Don't just take my word for it, check out the TOS Homeschool Review Crew to see what my fellow reviewers thought of this product, click HERE

As a member of the TOS Homeschool Review Crew, I was sent this product at no cost to myself in exchange for an honest review.