Adaptive Math Online From A+ TutorSoft Inc. {Review}

With the Adaptive Math Curriculum Online from A+ Interactive Math (by A+ TutorSoft Inc.) we are able to identify and address learning gaps in “The Artist’s” math skills.

Several years ago, we reviewed a different math product from A+ TutorSoft, and you can read that review here.

“The Artist” appears to have the same phobia dislike of math that I have pretty much always had. I like to think that it’s because our strengths are more on the creative side of our brains, but whatever. 🙂 Regardless, it’s still pretty important for us to have a better grasp on this subject, in my opinion.

The Adaptive Math Curriculum Online is set up to please any parent who would really like their child/children to be able to work mostly independently. The parent enrolls their child in a target grade level, and then the program gives them a pre-test for each topic , and if he/she passes, then they are not given a lesson and just move on.

At first, I put “The Artist” in the sixth grade because he had worked in a book on pre-algebra. He immediately came to me and told me it was too hard and asked to be put back in the third grade, so I agreed, and changed it. This is a real positive with this program, you are allowed to go into your side of the program and make changes like this. It also gives you reporting so that you can see how well the child is doing. After passing a lesson, the system gives them a page telling them how well they did and giving them a grade. You could print this out, if you need to keep records, or simply want them to keep for your child.

So, back to “The Artist.” Once I allowed him to go back to the grade he thought was more comfortable, he began taking the pre-tests. At first, he was passing every single one, which meant that the program didn’t create a lesson and he just moved on. Eventually though, he stopped passing them, and the program created custom lessons, based on where he was weak in the section.

Here is “The Artist,” working at my computer. You can see that he is also using paper and pencil to figure out some problems.

 

Once he was on a roll, he started enjoying the Adaptive Math Curriculum Online, and I believe that this was because whenever he passed the pre-test he was able to move on to the next thing. He wasn’t having to “complete five pages of stuff he had already proved he could do.” I like that as well, because whenever we’ve done workbooks, it irritated me to make them continue if they showed they “got” it after a page or two.

This is a VERY good program! You can sign up for one student, or for a family plan which covers two to ten students. You can go one month at a time, three months at a time, or a year at a time. It’s all-inclusive, meaning you have access to all the grades 1 – 6 and Pre-Algebra.

Some crew members reviewed the Family Math Package, which is different from Adaptive Math. Family Math does not pre-test, but does give a recommended lesson plan and instant grading.

As a parent who loves any plan which takes care of placement, creating custom lessons AND does the grading for me, I highly recommend Adaptive Math Curriculum Online !

To read 100 other fair and honest reviews from my fellow crew members, please click on the banner just below.

Family & Adaptive Math Online {A+ Interactive Math Reviews}

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Paddington Bear Unit Study From Branch Out World {Review}

When offered the chance to review the literature study Paddington Bear from Branch Out World, I jumped at it!

A couple of years ago I had given a copy of Paddington Bear, along with Paddington himself to a friend who was having a baby. Had I realized that “The Puzzler” didn’t even know who Paddington was, I would have gotten two sets! Because he didn’t know about Paddington, I really wanted to do this.

Up until now, I had never even heard of the company Branch Out World, but I am sure glad I know about it now!

Branch Out World is a homeschooling family based in West Yorkshire, a metropolitan county in England. I believe strongly that whenever possible, supporting homeschool families with your educational purchases is a good thing, just like when I go shopping in person I prefer to keep my dollars in my own city if I can.

This literature based unit study was written to accompany the book Paddington, written by Michael Bond. It is part of the Picture Book Explorers Series. Here you can see “The Puzzler” and me with the book (he hates having his picture taken!)

Paddington 4

This  unit study, like all of those from Branch Out World, is written as if the reader is in the United Kingdom. This is fun, because we got more of a view of where and how Paddington lives, and where he came from (Darkest Peru). It is not at all difficult to work out different spelling and different terms. I thought it was fun for example to read in the list of things to get, a library “ticket.”

The Paddington Bear 69 page Unit Study is intended to be used over a five-day period, with different topics to be covered each day. The idea is to read the book, and cover the topics for that day, then each day after that, do the same thing with another topic. Using this study as intended, you will cover:

  • Day 1 – Exploring the Setting – when and where
    This section looks at history and geography, and looks at the themes
    presented in the book.
  • Day 2 – Exploring the Words
    This section looks at literary devices and some grammar, as along with
    giving opportunities for creative writing.
  • Day 3 – Exploring the Pictures
    This section has the student looking at the pictures in more detail, giving ways for your child to create his or her own artwork.
  • Day 4 – Exploring Science
    This section looks at scientific topics that come up in the book, from animal
    studies to hands-on experiments.
  • Day 5 – Exploring Maths, Crafts and More
    In this section, your child will lightly touch on math activities in a way
    that relates to the story. Math will also often come into the
    suggested craft activities and recipes intended to bring a fun ending to your
    exploration journey.

“The Puzzler” really enjoyed the map and flag activities the best! He loves coloring, and here, he is coloring the included map of the United Kingdom, after labeling England, London and the River Thames.

Paddington 2

Here, you can see him sticking Paddington’s explorer flag as close to London as he can get it. He used a very small piece of double-sided tape on just one end, so it would partially stick up.

Paddington 1

As you can see above, the page where he colored the flags of England and Peru is peeking out.

This study is actually written towards ages 5 through nine. However, with special needs children at varying levels of ability, this worked very well for us. In fact, I could have used it with all of the boys, and I am thinking that I will at some later point when we can delve even more deeply into all of the rabbit trails and projects. I think it will be fun for us all to do it together as a collaboration!

While browsing the Branch out World catalog, I saw a number of interesting options! I would love for example, to do the Earthquakes & Volcanoes Bundle together with my boys. I think they would love it!

To read 64 other fair and honest reviews, please click on the banner just below:

Paddington Bear {Branch Out World Reviews}

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After a Mile: Dirty-Dash Piglet Run, Edgewood NM

Mud Run

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God Schooling:How God Intended Children to Learn{Review}

I am always so happy when I am blessed with something meant for the homeschooling parent, as opposed to the children to review, and God Schooling: How God Intended Children to Learn by Julie Polanco has been a powerful blessing indeed!

For many years now, I have leaned toward a very relaxed, almost Unschooling style of education with my children. In our case, we sort of slid accidentally into this while readying ourselves to move, in 2004, I believe. But when we set out to home school, I was afraid to even try without a boxed curriculum telling me what to do day by day! As it happened, even with a written school in a box curriculum, we stumbled. I became anxious and frustrated when the book said we were supposed to be on “Day 35”, but we were still on “Day 15,” because my first child was having serious trouble with vowel sounds. My husband wisely said “There are no ***** police, just don’t worry about what page you’re on.” {curriculum name blocked out with *****} So, we put away everything except the vowel sounds, and worked on just those for two weeks. And “The Batman” learned them, now that he wasn’t worried about how long it would take, and neither was I! 🙂

I did eventually discover that something different was needed for my boys, and stumbled around until I became a lot more relaxed.

I have read other books by Unschooling authors, and when we moved to New Mexico several years ago we even joined an unschoolers park day group. We didn’t fit in. It appeared that we didn’t fit anywhere, not with the unschoolers (secular), and not with the strict, school in a box groups. We are Christians, but believe more in natural learning. Well, Julie Polanco validates everything I believe about education, all throughout her book! And, she validates it with Biblical support, too! For example:

What about reading, writing, and arithmetic? Shouldn’t they know this by now? Kids in “school” start these things at an early age.

“does a child really need to know how to read at age five?” {Pg. 16, God Schooling: How God Intended Children to Learn} Biblical support for not following “the traditions of man”: Colossians 2 : 8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.

Julie Polanco rightly points out that while Paul was writing here about rules and restrictions about diet, diet, worship, etc . . . she follows up by stating that it can be applied to any unbiblical philosophy which would be dependent upon human tradition. Things which cause us to trust more in what the world says, rather than in Christ.

How did the people learn in Biblical times? they sat at Jesus’ feet. They followed Him, and learned while doing. I would say, they did not build schools with rows of desks, and a teacher up front, nor did they attempt to replicate that in the home.

After each chapter, the author has written some study questions, which I really liked.
The chapters are:

Part 1: Dispelling Myths

  • Biblical Support for Natural Learning
  • Motivation & Excellence

Part 2: Practice

  • Thoughts on Teaching Children Under Age Eight
  • Thoughts on Teaching Children Aged Eight to Twelve
  • Giving Teens the Wings to Fly
  • Spreading the Banquet
  • Getting Started
  • Some Q & A
  • Record-Keeping and Structure
  • Concluding Remarks

Author Julie Polanco is also a regular contributor for the Old Schoolhouse Magazine and the Homeschooling with Heart blog. She is also the high school botany instructor for Schoolhousteachers.com She continues to be a professional freelance writer, with her work appearing in health and wellness, food, and trade publications. She also ghostwrites books for others.

I am blessed to have had the opportunity to review this, Julie Polanco’s latest book, and blessed that she even took the time to write a note with her autograph in my copy!

To read 79 other fair and honest reviews, please click on the banner right below!God Schooling: How God Intended Children to Learn {Julie Polanco 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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Home-made Chicken Stock Bubbling Away!

Chicken stock

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Cataract Surgery . . . Finished!

So, I had my second cataract surgery, this time on my right eye.

Thyis is before any surgery, having the measurements taken for the IOL (Intraocular Lens) so that the proper ones could be ordered.

cataracts 2

Here I am, ready to be taken back for surgery.

cataracts 4

You can read more about this process in my post here. Dr. Patrick Chan did both of my surgeries, and I am so pleased with his care! I very much look forward to seeing so much better!

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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Digital, Multimedia Books From Weigl Publishers: Review

We have been enjoying a “new to us” concept, digital, multimedia books from Weigl Publishers. Now, we have had experience with digital books, but for the first time we are also enjoying the enhancement of online extras!

We received three media enhanced books, There Once Was a Cowpoke Who Swallowed an Ant, A Lion’s World Glaciers from Weigl Publishers for the purpose of this review.

“There Once Was a Cowpoke Who Swallowed an Ant” is just hilarious! When reading it, you will surely be reminded of an old song about a certain old lady who also swallowed odd things, but this one was perfect for us given that we now live in the southwest (New Mexico)! You can just read the downloaded book, or if you choose, you can go to the website given, type in the special code in the book, answer a question, and then the computer will narrate the story as you go. The added enhancement will help younger readers enjoy the story more.

“A Lion’s World” is non-fiction. This is a very quick read, and has the same basic online enhancement as does “The Cowpoke Who Swallowed an Ant.” The pictures are just so beautiful, and the lions running are just wonderful! This one is clearly for the younger children, but even I enjoyed it! In its simplicity, it helps the reader learn about lions, their habits, surroundings, and how they live their lives.

“Glaciers” is the favorite around here! With even more online interactive materials, I can see us going back to this many times for the online content. Once you type the unique code from your pdf book into the lightbox.com website and answer the question you are given, you then can access a wealth of additional materials. Throughout the book you will see symbols for audio, video, activities, web links, maps, quizzes, and much more. Learn about how to use these tools here. Then, you can learn about:

  • the body of a glacier
  • glaciers by size and location
  • how they move
  • different glaciers around the world
  •  glaciial deposits and lakes
  • Icebergs

And more, with a combination of the book, videos, activities, timelines, quizzes, transparancies, keywords, and so very much more. We are enjoying “Glaciers” a great deal, and as I said above, I’m sure we will continue to do so for some time!

This is such an excellent resource, that it makes me think I might find other gems among the library of books from this publisher!

I really like the offerings from Weigl Publishers, and I think you will, too!

I would love it if you would read the fair and honest reviews written by 64 other Review Crew members. Please, click on the banner below to get to them!

Multimedia Digital Books {Weigl Publishers Reviews}

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