Category Archives: education

SchoolhouseTeachers.com {Review}

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.

My boys (and me, too!) are loving the variety of Elementary and Middle School Homeschool Courses available with the Ultimate PreK-12 Annual Membership from SchoolhouseTeachers.com.

SchoolhouseTeachers.com was one of the first products I reviewed when I first became part of the Review Crew, and I am excited to be here to show and tell about SchoolhouseTeachers.com as it is now, in 2020. I feel that it has come a LONG way since I came onto the Crew! The concept is still the same, though, as you can see.

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There are SO many ways that SchoolhouseTeachers can be used for the homeschool, whether you choose to use portions as a suplement, or use this as your complete curriculum. With the Ultimate PreK-12 Annual Membership, I am able to completely customize our homeschooling for everyone in our family for one price that covers every student, up to and including my husband and I, when we find subjects of interest to us.

From planners to printable courses to video courses, HomeschoolTeachers seems to have it all. I have yet to see everything, because there is so much that can be used as students age and interests change. It’s WONDERFUL!

Let’s start with planning. Do you want to use a Scope and Sequence? It’s available on SchoolhouseTeachers!

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As you can see, you may use the Scope and Sequence in 2 ways, by grade or by subject. I like this because I personally prefer to go by subject. Grade level is not an issue in our homeschool because my boys are all over the map depending upon the subject they are currently doing.

Customizing your child’s homeschool is so easy with SchoolhouseTeachers! From the Scope and Sequence to the online access of the World Book Encyclopedia, you can set things up exactly as you want it to be.

Planning is a breeze with Schoolhouse Teachers! My favorite planner of all time is this one, available with your membership.

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Within this customizable planner you will find so many things! You could just use it as is or if you’re like me, pick and choose which parts will best suit your homeschool and your life. Here are many of the pages to choose from for homeschooling and household/personal planning:

  • customizable calendars, lists, schedules, and planning pages
  • Articles written to encourage and motivate you all year long, written by homeschooling experts like Jeannie Fulbright, Dr. Mary Hood, Dr. Jay L. Wile, and Cindy Wiggers, as well as other homeschooling parents like you
  • lists of facts for reference in fine arts, geography/history, math, science, and language arts
  • Unit study and lapbooking helps (a personal favorite of mine)
  • Planning pages for personal projects and goals
  • Address book, Christmas card list, information page for your sitter
  • Chore charts, health records, and vacation planning/packing lists

And so, so much more. This is the planner for EVERYTHING!

There is a terrific Literacy Center, to help with teaching your kids to read. I didn’t need this during this review, but I think its just fantastic.  Here is just part of what is available!

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There are also Focused Learning centers, for students needing help in specific areas.schoolhouse18schoolhouse17

In our family so far, we have gone through a few specific things. I have one child who was given a guitar and was really wanting to learn how to play it. I searched Guitar on SchoolhouseTeachers and found a guitar course for him!

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There is a printable lesson plan for him to follow along and check off as he does each lesson, which you can see coming out of the printer in this picture.

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Here, we have put the pages into a notebook so that he can follow along.

The component I chose to use at this time is the planner, which I described earlier in this review.

We’ve also chosen to use the Drive Through History from the video library.

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I’ve long wanted to use these with my boys, and have chosen to start with American History.

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Here is “The Batman” watching episode one, which is about 30 minutes long. The perfect little bite, so that he can keep focuse and not be overwhelmed.

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This is such a fantastic product for the homeschool family! For one price, it is all inclusive, and can be used with every member of the family with no additional fees. Right now, get a deal! But hurry, the sale won’t last forever!

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I encourage you to click below and check out 105 other fair and honest reviews!

Online Homeschooling For the Whole Family {SchoolhouseTeachers.com Reviews}As always, I would just love it if you would join me in all of “My Journeys Through Life.” Just go to the subscription box at the top of the blog and enter your email information. After that, you will always know when there is something new happening. I hope to see you here very soon! -)

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Library and Educational Services LLC {Review}

One of my goals when we started homeschooling was to build a library of good books which would be of good enough physical quality that my family would have them for a very long time.  With Library and Educational Services LLC we are able to add beautiful Reinforced Hardcover Library Binding Nonfiction books, paperback books like the Who Was . . . series with titles like Who Was Anne Frank? and quality audio dramas on CD such as the one we received, Hiding In Plain Sight.
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For the purpose of this review, I was asked to choose One title from the Who Was … ? series, and I chose Who Was Anne Frank.

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I chose this book because although we have been learning about World War 2, up until now I have not really touched on the Holocaust in more than the most general of ways. Because of the special needs my boys deal with, I have thought it would be too tough of a subject for them. This book has allowed me to give them a gentler introduction, leading then into an expansion later on with more in depth materials. This book has 103 pages in it, which include a timeline of Anne’s life, a timeline of the world, and a 2 page bibliography. Later on when they are ready, I will have them Read Anne’s actual diary just as I did way back when I was a girl.

Next, we were asked to choose One CD from the Lifehouse Theater CDs series. I chose Hiding In Plain Sight, a 70 minute audio drama of the true story about William and Ellen Craft and their amazing and successful escape from slavery. Their escape from Macon GA to Boston MA where they lived for two years before fleeing again to foreign shores, is nothing short of astonishing! We listened to this in one sitting, not wanting to stop and wait between sections.

Additionally, we were allowed approximately $60.00 to choose any  Reinforced Hardcover Library Binding Nonfiction books.  I invited the boys to choose. “The Artist” and “The Batman” together chose the set of seven “Uncovering American History books.”

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“The Puzzler” chose a set of three “What You Didn’t Know About History” books.

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I barely got the books out of the box before they were being grabbed up!

Library and Educational Services LLC is a wonderful way to build your library with quality books! They are worthwhile books to read, and sturdily bound books that you would be proud to have on your bookshelves. There is an abundance of different resources on their website for you to choose from! Here are just a few examples!

And here is something I have LONG desired, and was able to purchase separately at an extremely good price from Library and Educational Services LLC, The American Dictionary of the English Language, Noah Webster 1828.

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I have wanted this so that our children would learn the meaning of the words as intended when they read, for example, our national documents such as the Constitution.

All in all, I am so happy to have been given the opportunity to really check out Library and Educational Services LLC! I have seen their mail order catalogs for years, but hesitated to order, as I had no idea what sort of quality their products would be. Well i’m here to tell you that not only is the quality wonderful, but so are the prices! I will most definitely be ordering from them again! I mean, the 7 book set and the 3 book set were only about $60.00 all together! To me, that is not just fair, it’s amazing!

Counting me, there are 80 crew members who have been reviewing Library and Educational Services LLC. Please, click below and check out what the other reviewers think!Wholesale Books for Your Homeschool {Library and Educational Services LLC Reviews}Crew-DisclaimerAs always, I would just love it if you would join me in all of “My Journeys Through Life.” Just go to the subscription box at the top of the blog and enter your email information. After that, you will always know when there is something new happening. I hope to see you here very soon! -)

 

 

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GPA LEARN: A T.O.S. Review

We have been using the online math program called GPALOVEMATH from GPA LEARN.

Full disclosure time… as most people who know me well are aware, I am NOT a math person. In fact, as soon as I had enough math credit to graduate when in high school, I never took a math class again. I would really like this to be different for my kiddos, though, so I was pleased to see how great GPALOVEMATH turned out to be!

I have four kids, and so far, three of them have been using this program, and enjoying it! I mean, even asking to do more of it, though I expect that has a lot to do with the motivational feature, which I will talk about a little later.

GPALOVEMATH is, as I said above, a web based program which covers grades from Kindergarten through fifth. I currently have kids working in grade 1, grade 1, and grade 3, but one of our twins “Mr. Loquacious” is finding it too easy and asked to be bumped up a grade, as did “The Artist”, who is deficient in math, but is finding this time around that 3rd grade is too easy. “The Puzzler” needs help in the first grade level, so he’ll stay there for now. One of the nice things though, is that I CAN change the grade level they are in, by myself, as opposed to having to ask the company GPA LEARN to do it for me.

One of the things that my kids like for any homeschool program is having it be interactive. This one is! Each grade level has a learning coach who interacts with the student. In the levels we’ve been using, first grade has an Australian penguin who’s name is PI, and in the third grade level, the learning coach is a robot named Abacus.

GPALOVEMATH is set up so that I can log in as myself and have access to each of my kids’ information. I can test drive anything they have coming up, and I can set up surprise rewards for them, which they earn after a certain number of lessons and quizzes are completed, depending on how many rewards I’ve chosen. I didn’t tell them about it, so when it happened, they were thrilled, and as I said up above, started asking for more time on the program, lol! Not only can they earn my rewards, but there are awards set up by GPALOVEMATH which they may work toward when available, such as ecards for places like Toys R Us and Target.

Regardless of which grade my kids are using, they will have over 150 lessons and 10,000 problems. In each lesson, they begin with instruction, then they practice the concept, and finally, move on to the quiz. I think the practice session is especially beneficial to my twins. When they finish a lesson, the program tells them how they did, and they can see how many points they have built up to that point. If they are working toward a specific thing, such as one of the ecards, the program will tell them how many more points they need to reach it. I like that, it’s motivational, and MAY help them develop more patience. 🙂

I had occasion to phone tech support at GPA LEARN, and was extremely pleased! “Mr. Loquacious” was having a problem with the final problem on a quiz, and even I couldn’t do it. It called for typing a number into a space. Neither of us could do it, and when I tried to send through the feedback button at the bottom, I couldn’t type into that either. Finally, I gave up and called for support, where a very nice man named Darryn answered. He and a coder named Chad spent a bunch of time trying to help me figure it out, and we just couldn’t do it. He took down my phone number and promised to call me back. Well, in probably 15 minutes, they did, in fact call back. They had me log in as me, and test drive the quiz to see if we could recreate the problem. It still didn’t work. After all of that time, we finally figured out that I had not been using Chrome, which is the browser that works best for this program. *I* felt completely stupid, but Darryn and Chad assured me that this is what they are there for, and I was doing fine. 🙂

We really like GPALOVEMATH, and would very highly recommend it.

You can have access to all 6 levels for one child at the cost of $149 for the year or $12.99/month. For a limited time, it is available at $129 with code GPAINTRO15.

Please check out GPA Learn via their social media:

Social Media:
http://www.facebook.com/gpalearn
http://www.twitter.com/gpalearn
http://www.pinterest.com/gpalearn

GPA Learn Review
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Digital Science Online: Visual Learning Systems (My Review)

My four boys and I have been having lots of fun using Visual Learning Systems as a group for a little over a month. We received a subscription to both the Digital Science Online: Elementary Edition (Grades K-5) and the Digital Science Online: Secondary Edition (Grades 6-12)

The Digital Science Online: Elementary Edition (Grades K-5), is divided into two sections. One is primary, which would be the grade K through 2 collection. This included well over 50 units of study, contained within the following subjects: physical, earth, life, and health. This is a great section if your children are in that age/grade range, there are tons of beautiful videos, animations, photos, and activity sheets, etc.

WE did not use this section, because my kids were beyond it, for the most part, but I really wanted you to know that it is there, and that it’s GOOD.

We HAVE been using the elementary a lot, because, frankly, I thought it was the best way for us to work as a group, something which many of my readers know that we enjoy doing. The elementary section of Digital Science Online has subjects like physical, earth, and life, with subtopics or units within them. As with the Primary section, there are lovely, well made videos, animations, photos, worksheets, and hands on activities in some areas. It’s meant for grades 3 through 5.

We have, for the most part, enjoyed this, except for having to crowd around one computer (something I will also address a little later). It was very impressive how, when we would choose a subject, there would then be a list of sub-topics within that subject, effectively giving us a unit study, already all organized for us! The reason I like this aspect so much is that all four of my boys really, really enjoy watching science and nature programs on television. The problem with that though, is it’s hard to put together a group of programs at the same time which would work together as a topical unit.

Eventually, though, with the exception of “The Puzzler”, the boys really wanted to have a go at the higher level, which I’ll talk about in a bit, because truthfully, I thought only “The Artist” would be able to handle the Digital Science Online: Secondary Edition (Grades 6-12).

How wrong I was!

As I mentioned back at the beginning of this review, we were also given access to the Digital Science Online: Secondary Edition (Grades 6-12).

The Secondary Edition has considerably more units of study, with a great number of sub-topics. My kids liked the longer videos, which, once again, I must complement. They are quite beautiful.

I have asked them to stay away from some sections of the biology units, after they pointed them out and said they didn’t think they should look at them. I was very proud of them for this actually, as it shows they have been listening to us and to their teachers at church when we discuss what is or is not appropriate for them.

There are also areas in which evolution is used as a given, where we believe, and teach, from a Creation world view. It was very interesting, however, to listen to everyone of our boys, at different times while watching different sections, saying things like “That’s not true, there’s no millions of years” or “Evolution isn’t real, we know that”. 🙂

The Secondary Edition also has worksheets and such, but these are really beyond any of my boys other than “The Artist”. I DO find that “The Batman” and “Mr. Loquacious” can do a lot of them orally, though.

AS I told you above, I really thought it would be better to use this program as a group, because as often as possible, I prefer it when we can do that. This DID work, for a while, but lo and behold, just today, they asked me two questions:

Will this work on our tablets?
Can we do it separately so we can choose our own topics?

Well, guess what, it works on the tablets! I hadn’t even tried, because I’m used to things like this being mostly for iPads, which we do not have. WE have Android Tablets. SO, I told them I would try it on mine first to check, and if so, we’d see if it would work on theirs. It did! 🙂 Since I had never actually set up separate student accounts because *I* wanted this to be a group learning thing I thought my kids would love to do this together, I chose to call customer support, given that I had forgotten how to set up separate log ins. Guess what found out? Well, while yes, I CAN do that, I don’t HAVE to! They can all log in using the information I used for the one log in, and they can all do it at the same time, on their own tablets or a computer. YAY! The customer service is wonderful. The first person I spoke with was named Louise, and the second was Emily, because they handle different aspects within the company.

One of the reasons I was so pleased to discover that this could be used on their tablets, all at the same time, and that they could be doing different subjects at the same time, as well, is that now, we don’t have to have a “discussion” about what we will learn about “today”. Being able to use the tablets in this way is a definite plus as well for the family who travels, because their children will be able to take this beautiful program along, and learn science their way. It would be great if you’re staying somewhere with provided wifi, and much better than spending all your in room time just watching television.

ALL in all, we really, really like this program. I even had one child come back inside from playing to ask if he could do some more science on his tablet! What better rating is there than that, right?

Want to see what my fellow Crew members think of Digital SCience Online? Just click on the banner right below!

Visual Learning Systems Review

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In Freedom’s Cause: The Real Story of Wallace and Bruce, a T.O.S. Review

During the Review Crew run last year, my family was very lucky in that we were able to review the audio drama “Under Drakes Flag“, so we were THRILLED when the audio drama In Freedom’s Cause: The Real Story of Wallace and Bruce (Single Package) came up on the review list. I jumped all over this one hoping we would be chosen, after how much we had enjoyed our previous (and first!) experience with audio drama done using one of G. A. Henty’s extraordinary books, and we were SO Happy when we WERE picked! 🙂

THIS wonderful audio drama was generously provided to us by Heirloom Audio Productions, from whom you can purchase several different packages.

The In Freedom’s Cause: The Real Story of Wallace and Bruce single package includes an attractively packaged two CD set and a miniature copy of the prayer of William Wallace. You also will receive the following bonuses:

  • In Freedom’s Cause Study Guide: Digital Download

A very nice study guide which will be a great addition to the audio drama! This will enable you and your children to have discussion points, additional historical tie-ins, and really brings it together with relevant Biblical study.

  • In Freedom’s Cause Soundtrack: MP3 download

THIs MP3 download gave us all the original music by John Campbell, who is an Emmy-winning composer. He also responsible for the  original score for C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia. This music can be downloaded to any device capable of playing MP3 downloads.

  • Printable copy of The Prayer Of William Wallace

This is a  one page beautiful printable letter size poster  ready to frame for your family’s inspiration, and is a version of Psalm 23 in the Latin Vulgate.

So, back to the actual audio drama. This two CD set runs approximately two and a half hours, and we listened to the entire thing in one sitting. Yes, it was that good. Because we are not a small family, I chose to have us listen to it through our DVD Player, rather than the computer. It was really comfortable, and really, as if we were listening to an actual theater production, as opposed to a book on tape, such as I used to check out from the library before we would travel. With a production such as this, it really is impossible to NOT become “involved” in the action. I will say that I have all boys, but I’m pretty certain that a family with girls would also find this drama to be as exciting as we did.

We were transported to 14th century Scotland, and joined freedom fighters Sir William Wallace and King Robert the Bruce. They were largely the leaders who helped Scotland gain their freedom at the time from their oppressive English ruler. There is certainly plenty of action, along with bravery, such bravery. There is much tragedy in this portion of world history, but I think it is still very much an important part to learn about, and this audio drama from G. A. Henty’s book brings us right into history and makes it easier to learn and retain it.

Below, you can see a trailer for this wonderful production. I do hope you enjoy it!

While WE Listened in our living room, I think this audio drama will be great to use in our car when we travel, as well, and look forward to doing exactly that!

I look forward to many more materials from the books of G. A. Henty. I also am very excited to hear that Heirloom Audio Productions will be releasing a new audio drama, “With Lee In Virginia”!

 

TO find out even more, check out Heirloom Audio by way of their social media:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/InFreedomsCause
Twitter: https://twitter.com/InFreedomsCause
Google+: > https://plus.google.com/u/0/b/112701427096792421838/112701427096792421838/posts
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/jointhecause

 

 

 

 

In Freedom's Cause ReviewCrew DisclaimerAs always, I would just love it if you would join me on all of “My Journeys Through Life”! Just go to the “sign me up” button at the top if the blog, enter your email, and you’ll never miss another update! 🙂

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Fix It! Grammar . . . A T.O.S. Review

In all of the years of working on the education of my kids here at home, we have never, ever actually used a formal grammar program. Or, for that matter, ANY written grammar program, to be honest! I have basically practiced an informal method of correcting their spoken grammar as a part of our daily life, something I will continue doing, as I believe it works quite well for SPOKEN grammar. However, “The Artist”, who was the student reviewing a fiction writing course last year, really wants to go back to it, and to learn to be better at writing stories, so I thought that the opportunity to review Fix It! Grammar: The Nose Tree [Teacher Manual] (Book 1), along with Fix It! Grammar: The Nose Tree [Student Book](Book 1), would perhaps be a good thing for him. I took a look at how it worked and decided to give it a chance.

This grammar program is from the very well known Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW).

IEW is a company I personally have never really taken the opportunity to really check out, because I was afraid it would be too difficult for my special needs guys. However, I am extremely glad we were blessed with the opportunity to review Fix It! Grammar, because it really works, in just minutes a day!

Here is the basic concept . . .
Method: modeling proper grammar within stories. Instead of being taught a grammar rule, and then being forced to practice it with a bunch of exercises, followed by the next grammar rule, over and over (Lather, rinse, repeat, so to speak) in Fix It! Grammar, the grammar rules are taught as they are needed, within the context of a story that builds upon itself until, at the end of the lesson book, the student has written correctly, the entire fairy tale used at that level.

The Process: 15 minutes per day. The level we received is giving us 33 weeks of grammar instruction and practice, in only 15 minutes per day, and 4 days per week.

This program is incredibly easy to set up and to work through! If you have the student book, then your student will need a note book divided into two sections, which are Rewrite and Vocabulary.

On day one of each week, your student will read and correct ONE sentence. Yes, one. He or she will read the sentence, look up the bolded word in a dictionary and write the best definition which fits within the context of the sentence, and write that into the vocabulary section of their note book. This will be built on each day until at the end, they have their own vocabulary dictionary to refer to. Then, he or she will copy the sentence for that day into the rewrite section of their note book, using double spacing.

On days two through four, the student will use the abbreviations at the top of the page, as well as the provided grammar flash cards to help them remember how to mark the section. As with day one, the student does their “rewrite” in the notebook, writing with double spacing. They are to use their best handwriting, so this is also a nice addition to the day in giving them that particular practice!

While we received both the Teacher book and the Student book (both are very nice, spiral bound books), If you prefer, you CAN just purchase the teacher book at the cost of $19.00. The teacher book comes with a license allowing you to download the student book and print as many copies as needed for use within your own homeschool family. The Student book, available for $15.00, is well worth it though, depending on how much it costs for you to print, and whether or not you have more than one child. I happen to have four boys, so knowing that I can print it as needed when each of them is ready for this, makes this a bargain for me.

A placement test is provided if you are unsure where to begin your student, however, like many people, I chose to begin with book one, so as to create a good foundation upon which we can build with the levels which follow. There is also a webinar available to introduce you to Fix It! Grammar, along with how this program differs from traditional methods of teaching grammar.

Fix It! Grammar is intended for 3rd grade and up, but as I said, I personally think that if you, like us, have not done a formal grammar program, it’s best to begin at the beginning.

What did we think of it? Well, I find it incredibly easy to use! “The Artist” really does not enjoy being MADE to write, although he enjoys writing on his own time, so this was the perfect choice for him. I mean, really? One sentence per day? Even my lazy writer who constantly complains about his hand cramping from too much writing, is fine with this! He really doesn’t mind giving up 15 minutes out of his day, and when he is finished, he will have completely written the entire fairy tale himself, with correct grammar! The only real problem we have is keeping him from reading ahead to see the rest of the story, lol!

You will find IEW on the following social media:

Facebook
Twitter
Pinterest
Google+
You Tube
Vimeo

Bottom Line? Not only do I very highly recommend Fix It! Grammar from IEW, I think we will be continuing with it level by level. It is a very painless way to learn written grammar, and frankly, I like that. There is no reason education HAS to be dreary, if there is a better way, and this is definitely a better way, in my opinion.

Other Review Crew members have been reviewing this and other levels of Fix It! Grammar, so please click on the banner below to find out what they thought!
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Filed under education, Fix It! Grammar, Grammar The Easy Way, home education, homeschool products, homeschooling, Institue For Excellence In Writing, Language Arts, Schoolhouse Review Crew Post, special needs education, TOS Review, writing fiction

UberSmart Software . . . A T.O.S. Review

My boys and I have had the opportunity for the past few weeks to work with UberSmart Math Facts.

This little program, created by a homeschool dad whose wife wanted their children to have help with learning their math facts. It is available from UberSmart Software It is written primarily for students from K – 6, or anyone older (even adults) who need, or would like a refresher on the basic math facts, and can be purchased for $24.95.

I was intrigued enough at how simple this little program is for learning math facts, that I really wanted to give it a try with my kids. As it turns out, it really is a basic little program, which you download to your computer (which must have one of the following: Microsoft Windows XP, Vista, 7 and 8), and you ARE permitted to put it onto multiple computers, which can be of some help if you have several children, and more than one computer.

The UberSmart Math Facts program works just like your traditional set of flash cards, but electronically, on your computer. First, learn, in which your student tries to answer the problem and then hit the answer key to check your answer. Another section, practice, allows him/her to click on the answer they think is correct, and they may also choose test when they are ready, which causes the program to give them a timed session with a certain number of cards.

Depending on whether or not you allow online activity, your student may also choose compete, allowing them to compete against others around the world in a timed session. We haven’t done this one.

This program also has a “report” and a “maintain” tab for the parent. If you like to have printable reports to keep for your records, or if you need them in a portfolio to turn in to your state, UberSmart Math Facts gives you the ability to have them. You can also maintain things like how long you want a student to have on timed activities. The default (4.5 seconds) is too, too fast for all but one of my boys, but you can adjust it, as I said.

Here are some of the different ways you can have the program set up, depending upon the age or ability of your child.

Traditional flash card format:

Keyboarding (practice typing the digits in quickly):

Dot cards:

There are other possibilities as well, such as showing the dots and numbers together.

I wanted to try UberSmart Math Facts because I feel that my boys can use a LOT of help when it comes with the memorizing of math facts, in particular “The Batman”.

I, personally, like this program. My kids, not so much. They thought it was boring, because they have, in the past, used math fact programs that were more like a video game, and they love video games, of course! They love the flash, excitement, and “leveling up”. However, since I can SEE some improvement, I’ll continue using it. We most often use it in the “practice” mode, because it is very hard for some of my boys to actually memorize the facts and have them stick. As with many things, we need to sort of tweak educational materials for our special needs kids, and given that we CAN continue under “practice” until such time as they are ready

A number of other crew members also were given the opportunity to review UberSmart Math Facts, Please, do click the banner below to see what they thought of this program!
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Filed under education, home education, Homeschool Math, homeschool products, Math Facts Drill, UberSmart Math Facts