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Monday, January 31, 2011

New Review!!! Times Alive Software!


Well, hello there!!!  I'm so glad you stopped by!  :)  I bet you'd like to get my posts delivered right to your inbox, now wouldn't you?  So why not sign up for Feedburner?  Check it out, it's right there in my sidebar!  Thanks!!  :)



About the product/service: As part of the TOS Homeschool Crew I received a free download of Times Alive Software from City Creek Press so we could use it in our homeschool and let you know what we think! 


 
This product is a software adaptation (available as a download or on a CD-ROM for both Macs and PC's) of the the Times Alive book I've seen advertised over the years.  The idea behind both the software and the book is to create silly stories out of multiplication problems in order to help your child learn them better.  The book uses cartoons, but the software actually uses "music videos" that take the cartoons and animate them, adding a song to help remember the problem. 

An example of a problem would be a little story about two snowmen, which represent two 8's.  The snowmen/8's are cold and want to warm up by a fire so they need some sticks.  "Sticks are for" the fire.  "Sticks are for" sounds like 64, so now you remember that 8 X 8 = 64.

The software also has pre-tests, worksheets, coloring pages, and more!

This method has been proven to work and kids can help kids retain up to 95% of their multiplication tables!

Check out a sample here

Check out kits which are available to learn multiplication here

Check out City Creek's products to help learn addition facts here.

What are the pros of this product? It's FUN!!!  And it WORKS!!!  Do I really need to say more?


What's not to like?  There was nothing we didn't like about the program.  However, it would be nice to have a drop down menu when you sign in because say your daughter, Jennifer, signs in as Jennifer the first time, and then forgets and signs in as Jen or Jenny, she will not access her previous work.  Not a big deal really, but I guess I am just used to drop down menus for signing in.


The Crazy Mom take: My kids love this software. I have only assigned it to them as part of their school day a few times, because they often just want to do it on their own. Baber, 7, Bear, 9, and Dode Man, 11, especially love it. It's just silly enough to make learning multiplication facts fun.  I have always used little games and tricks to memorize things, so this just makes total sense to me.  The fact that it's now software makes even more sense.  We really have enjoyed this program!




What's the bottom line? $44.95

I am going to give Times Alive 5 out of 5 smileys!!!

Check it out! http://www.citycreek.com/

See what my fellow TOS Crew members have to say @

http://homeschoolblogger.com/homeschoolcrew/783695/





*The Smiley System:


I can't really recommend this product.

I doubt this product would be helpful to many people.

This is a good product, but isn't right for everyone.

Most homeschool moms will find this useful.

This is great, and I would recommend it to anyone!!!


Disclaimer!!! I reviewed this product because I am a member of The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew. I was given the product by the vendor to use and evaluate in my home so that I might share my insights with others. Other than receiving the product, which I kinda have to to be able to assess the product, I am not compensated for my reviews in any way. I am in no way obligated to give a positive review. I do try to point out negatives when I see them, though I am admittedly a pretty easy going gal! What you read are my honest assessments of the products I receive.

As with all products, you must do the research before buying. Please visit the the other crew members' blogs, the vendor websites, and any other review sites you might find before buying. I can't guarantee that a product will work for you. You must decide what will fit with your teaching style, and your child(ren)'s learning style(s). I do not judge anything other than the educational value of the products I review. I am not qualified to make judgements as to the safely of any product, and I make no guarantee that the products I review are safe for you, your family, or anyone else. I am simply giving my opinion; only you know what is best for you and your family.

Don't use your blow dryer while you sleep or take a bath. Don't read my reviews in the tub either, and please do not read them when you are asleep, though I do not guarantee that you won't fall asleep reading them!

Copyright 2010 Ramblings from the Crazy House 2

Friday, January 28, 2011

New Review!!! TenMarks!


Well, hello there!!!  I'm so glad you stopped by!  :)  I bet you'd like to get my posts delivered right to your inbox, now wouldn't you?  So why not sign up for Feedburner?  Check it out, it's right there in my sidebar!  Thanks!!  :)




About the product/service: As part of the TOS Homeschool Crew I received six months of free access to TenMarks.   TenMarks is an online math program meant to supplement your child's regular math curriculum.  Created for grade 3 through 10, this program basically consists of online worksheets with ten multiple choice problems on each sheet.  The subject matter is chosen by you, the parent, and the program is intuitive so it adjust to your child's abilities.  It even is smart enough to make sure your student is learning according your state standards!  Don't know what your child needs?  Simple.  Just use the online assessment.

What are the pros of this product?  There are a lot of them!  One is that each worksheet has only ten questions and they are multiple choice.  My kids really don't like seeing a paper filled with 30 or more questions on it.  Plus, it's on the computer, which is always a plus, even though the reality is that you have to do the work on paper.  Then you add the fact that there are videos and hints to help them along the way, games to play after finishing a certain amount of worksheets, and even rewards put in place by the parent or teacher.  Also, the program is totally customizable.  You can set it up to help your child learn or review what you want him/her to and in what order. 

There are lots of other built in benefits.  One benefit is the price, it's rather inexpensive compared to other similar programs.  Another is the fact that you can "pause" the program.  So if you pay ahead for six months and take a two week vacation, you don't pay for those two weeks.  You simply place the program on pause and resume when you get home.  

I also found the site fairly easy to navigate.  It took a bit to get used to getting around it, but not too long.  I was soon able to check up on my kids' work with ease.  But the biggest plus for me is that my kids literally BEGGED me to let them do TenMarks!!! 




What's not to like?  I can think of just a few things I'd like to tweak.  For one, when you get less than seven right on a worksheet, you get a "do over."  Well, I love that, but I'd like the ability to up it to eight or even nine.  (I'm a meanie!) 

Another thing is that sometimes the videos didn't seem to help my kids.  I tried watching one that Dode Man wasn't understanding and I did find it a bit confusing.  Most of the time, though, they didn't really want to watch the videos, as they preferred me to help them.  (I should mention that the man on the video has a foreign-to us anyway-accent.)

The last thing I can think of is that I would like to see the problems more interactive.  For example, one problem gave three points on the coordinate plane that formed a triangle when connected.  (I do hope I said that right.)  My daughter was supposed to draw it out on paper (though she guessed instead...grrr...)  Anyway, it would be great if the program had a graph you could plot the points on with the computer.  For some reason my kids are just so much more willing to do just about anything on the computer.  I do hope I am making sense with this! 


The Crazy Mom take:  Now the weird thing is that I have probably just written far more than I ever have in the negative section of any review, but... we LOVE THIS PROGRAM!!!  My kids go on it all the time and I never even have to tell them.  They love, love, love it.  This is why I'd love to see it tweaked a bit.  It would be perfect and I'd consider switching over to it full time!  Yes, that's how much they love it!

Now, why do my kids love the program so much?  I think it's mostly because it is so simple.  They are not intimidated by the worksheets because they only contain ten problems.  They also love to be able to "earn" game time.  We don't have any game systems here and to be able to play a game is a real treat.  Plus, I have rewarded them for doing worksheets (this is an optional part of the program) with things like a trip to the store for a candy bar or a free pass on a chore.  They love it. 

I truly wish this was a full curriculum because I would so want to use it for all of our math.  I'm actually thinking of just using it for Princess and Dode Man for the rest of the year.  It's always so stressful to try to finish a whole textbook every year (not that we ever have) and this just seems to have sparked something in them.  I'm not sure how long it will last, but for now I am totally thrilled with this program!!!



What's the bottom line? $10 per month/$49 for 6 months/$89 for a year.


I am going to give TenMarks 4 out of 5 smileys!!!

Check it out!


http://www.tenmarks.com/home.action


See what my fellow TOS Crew members have to say @

http://homeschoolblogger.com/homeschoolcrew/783666/



*The Smiley System:


I can't really recommend this product.

I doubt this product would be helpful to many people.

This is a good product, but isn't right for everyone.

Most homeschool moms will find this useful.

This is great, and I would recommend it to anyone!!!


Disclaimer!!! I reviewed this product because I am a member of The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew. I was given the product by the vendor to use and evaluate in my home so that I might share my insights with others. Other than receiving the product, which I kinda have to to be able to assess the product, I am not compensated for my reviews in any way. I am in no way obligated to give a positive review. I do try to point out negatives when I see them, though I am admittedly a pretty easy going gal! What you read are my honest assessments of the products I receive.

As with all products, you must do the research before buying. Please visit the the other crew members' blogs, the vendor websites, and any other review sites you might find before buying. I can't guarantee that a product will work for you. You must decide what will fit with your teaching style, and your child(ren)'s learning style(s). I do not judge anything other than the educational value of the products I review. I am not qualified to make judgements as to the safely of any product, and I make no guarantee that the products I review are safe for you, your family, or anyone else. I am simply giving my opinion; only you know what is best for you and your family.

Don't use your blow dryer while you sleep or take a bath. Don't read my reviews in the tub either, and please do not read them when you are asleep, though I do not guarantee that you won't fall asleep reading them!

Copyright 2010 Ramblings from the Crazy House 2

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Available from Timberdoodle: Critical Thinking Workbooks!


Well, hello there!!!  I'm so glad you stopped by!  :)  I bet you'd like to get my posts delivered right to your inbox, now wouldn't you?  So why not sign up for Feedburner?  Check it out, it's right there in my sidebar!  Thanks!!  :)


Several weeks ago I received three products at no charge from Timberdoodle so that my kids could use them and I could let you know what we thought!  :) 

The three products were:


$39.99
Age:  7
Grade: 2

This full-color, adorably illustrated, consumable workbook contains 320 pages of math problems which help second graders develop mathematical reasoning and problem solving skills.  The book uses a "spiral" approach, which means that concepts are reviewed throughout the book so that the child does not forget what he has previously learned as he moves forward.  By the end of the book the child will have covered all of second grade math, and will have been introduced to third grade concepts.  This book can be used as a complete curriculum or as a supplement. 

$29.99
Ages: 9-11
Grades: 4-6
SAMPLE PAGES

This 408 page black-line reproducible workbook covers describing shapes, figural similarities and differences, figural sequences, figural classifications, figural analogies, describing things, verbal similarities and differences, verbal sequences, verbal classifications, and verbal analogies.  (Think puzzles!)



$29.99
Ages:  12+
Grades:  7+

This 280 page black-line reproducible workbook teaches critical thinking skills in a logical sequence. Each skill is presented first in the semi-concrete figural-spatial form and then in the abstract verbal form. Your child will learn to observe, recognize and describe relationships between objects, between words, and between objects and words so they they might learn to better identify and complete sequences, classifications, and analogies.  (Again, think puzzles!)

~~~Our Take ~~~

My kids were so excited when these books came in the mail.  Princess, Bear, and Baber forgot about everything else they were supposed to be doing and started working in them.  For some reason, there's just something fun about these workbooks. Even though they are good for them, they think they are just having fun!  For this reason, I did not "assign" any particular pages to the books.  I let them do them when they wanted to.  Well, I do expect Baber to do at least one page a day, but I let him choose which page since he pretty much already knows most of the concepts in the book.  For him it is his "fun" book since it is much more colorful than his regular math book.  Bear loves any workbook, so of course she loves it, and even Princess who is getting to "that age" where she is getting a bit more, um, independent, enjoys her book.  She recently took a "Thinking Detectives" class, so she has really enjoyed learning to solve these type of "thinking" puzzles.  :)  Now, I can't say they are still spending every waking moment working in these books, but they are a great supplement to break up the sometimes boring everyday work we do around here. 

 Highly recommended!

I am going to give these workbooks from Critical Thinking four smileys!!! *

To check out more products from Critical Thinking, click here.


Legal Disclosure:

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.

*The Smiley System:


I can't really recommend this product.

I doubt this product would be helpful to many people.

This is a good product, but isn't right for everyone.

Most homeschool moms will find this useful.

This is great, and I would recommend it to anyone!!!


Disclaimer!!! I reviewed this product because I am a reviewer for Timberdoodle. I was given the product by Timberdoodle to use and evaluate in my home so that I might share my insights with others. Other than receiving the product, which I kinda have to to be able to assess the product, I am not compensated for my reviews in any way. I am in no way obligated to give a positive review. I do try to point out negatives when I see them, though I am admittedly a pretty easy going gal! What you read are my honest assessments of the products I receive.

As with all products, you must do the research before buying. Please visit the the other crew members' blogs, the vendor websites, and any other review sites you might find before buying. I can't guarantee that a product will work for you. You must decide what will fit with your teaching style, and your child(ren)'s learning style(s). I do not judge anything other than the educational value of the products I review. I am not qualified to make judgements as to the safely of any product, and I make no guarantee that the products I review are safe for you, your family, or anyone else. I am simply giving my opinion; only you know what is best for you and your family.

Don't use your blow dryer while you sleep or take a bath. Don't read my reviews in the tub either, and please do not read them when you are asleep, though I do not guarantee that you won't fall asleep reading them!

Copyright 2011 Ramblings from the Crazy House 2
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