Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Math Mammoth

Math Mammoth, written by Maria Miller has been my latest math review quest. This is the first math curriculum review that I've been able to print out, so I'm pretty excited about it!

Math Mammoth offers four different color-coded series of books. The Light Blue series is a grade-leveled complete math curriculum. The Blue series contains shorter worktexts for various topics. The Golden and Green series are worksheet collections for third to eighth graders.

As recommended by Ms. Miller, Butterbean (8, boy) took a couple of placement tests and together we decided upon the Grade 3 complete worktext from the Light Blue series. Both parts contain all the lesson materials and exercises, and include the explanations of the concepts. Each chapter has an introduction to assist the teacher, that includes a list of online links.
Part A covers Addition and Subtraction Strategies, Multiplication Concept, Multiplication Tables, Clock and Money. Part B teaches Place Value with Thousands, Geometry, Measuring, Division, More on Multiplication and Fractions. The e-version that I downloaded also came with lots of support materials; geometry cut-outs, cumulative reviews with answer keys for each chapter, tests, extra chapters on Canadian and European money, and an awesome worksheet generator.
As we take several days to complete each lesson, we are not very far along in the worktext. Butterbean has been working at a third grade level this year, but we have found Math Mammoth to be challenging. He has learned many new math concepts, and has also had plenty of review! Math Mammoth has, happily, taken over as our math curriculum. We plan to complete all of Grade 3.
I had some concerns with Middleman (5, boy) as I've never done written math work with him. But he insisted "Mommy, I want to review something too!!!" Ms. Miller was kind enough to send me Addition 1 to try out with him. He has loved playing the suggested games with Butterbean. We have looked through the Addition 1 worktext, and have used manipulatives while looking at the written problems (with pictures). We have not done any written math work with Middle, though. I am excited to use this worktext over the next couple years with him. I know he'll enjoy it!
Overall, Math Mammoth has been a great fit for my family. Ms. Miller has been a wonderful advisor, and the program itself is terrific! You can download Grade 3 parts A and B for $29.70. If you want to order printed copies, you can do that too. The supportive materials are sold separately for $14.
Please read what other reviewers had to say by clicking the banner below.
I received the above materials free of charge, and reviewed them with no compensation.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Beehive Reader 1

Would it be okay, do you think, to say that a book is precious? It's certainly not an oft used word in my vocabulary, but I would definitely use it to describe Beehive Reader 1 that Ms. Marie Rippel sent me to review. This little book corresponds to the All About Spelling program that I reviewed in December. But you certainly don't need to own them both to use either one!

Middleman (newly 5) is learning how to read. We are slowly working our way through a reading program. From the time he could hold one, he has flipped through the pages of many a book. Even though he is not an independent reader yet, he has no problem picking up a random book (be it full of pictures, or the King James Version of the bible with no illustrations!) and looking through it for long periods of time. Thus far, he hasn't been interested in the early readers we've found at the library. Although there are a few exceptions, they are generally too juvenile and chock full of "cheese."

So it was no surprise that I was not the only one in our house to appreciate the beautiful hard-cover Beehive Reader 1. Ms. Rippel has done an amazing job telling short stories in this well- made-not-your-run-of-the-mill-reader! Middleman can read quite a few of the words on his own. And once we start using All About Spelling with him, he'll be reading the Beehive with no trouble.
Ms. Renee LaTulippe has provided beautiful black and white illustrations that pull the reader right into the story. There is no shortage of detail in these one-of-a-kind pictures. I cannot wait to see the other readers in this series, which will be out this year!

To order your copy of this well made Beehive Reader, check out the website! If you'd like to read more reviews, you can do that too!

I received the book for free and provided my review without compensation.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Zeezok Publishing

I was given the chance to review two neat little books from Zeezok Press.

Edward MacDowell and His Cabin in the Pines both arrived, free, on my doorstep. Both books are part of Zeezok's Great Musician Series. The books are "biographies of the Master Composers written especially for children." I also received a study guide for each book and a companion CD that includes sample music of the composers, printable sheet music and coloring pages.
The books are written in story format. We learned so much more reading these well written books than if we'd checked out a biography from the library. In fact, until reading these two charming stories, we've been quite bored with reading about composers! Both books were written so that my third grader could easily read them independently, or to his two little brothers. But all the boys much preferred listening to me read them!
The study guides start off with a timeline and map of major cities of interest to the composer. In the following pages, there are reading comprehension questions, character qualities (wow, very cool!), and tidbits of interest pertaining to each chapter. There are several ways to order these little gems. You can purchase items separately (books for $12.95, study guides $4.95, CD $7.95). Or you can purchase the whole kit and kaboodle (just what I received) for $35.80.

And, of course, you can always read other opinions by clicking below.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling

From Apologia Press, I received a brand new copy of The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling by Debra Bell in the mail to review. I have tried really hard not to be, but I'll admit, I am a dog-ear-er, and this book has already been dog-eared to pieces!

I read the original of The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling several years ago, when I first decided to homeschool. This updated version has really put the oomph back into my teacher-step! Whether you are a newbie or a veteran, the Guide has something for everyone.
Some of my favorite sections are teaching more than one child at once, determining my child's learning style, homeschooling on a shoestring, the extensive list of library books, and setting up my learning environment. Ms. Bell shares stories from the trenches. She gives plenty of suggested readings, websites of interest, and loads of resources. There's even a companion website that has oodles more info!
The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling will undoubtedly be a much used reference in my home. Not only has it given me renewed inspiration, but it has reminded me just how thankful I am to be a homeschooler! Get your copy now for just $20.

Care to read what my fellow reviewers had to say about the book? Click the banner below.

Ray's Arithmetic

From Dollar Homeschool, I received Ray's Arithmetic, a "complete K-12 math curriculum, from counting to calculus." Originally created to be used by frontier Americans, Ray's Arithmetic books are "designed to allow children, once they can read, to educate themselves..."

I was immediately drawn to these gems, as my family loves old books. As there was no physical way to read all 38 books in the few short weeks I reviewed Ray's Arithmetic, I chose to print out one, in particular, and use it with the boys. (If you want to see a list of those 38 books, you can click here.)

I chose Ray's Primary Artithmetic. It covers addition, subtraction, mulitplication and division using lots (and lots) of word problems. Granted, the 1877 language is quite different than the word problems the boys have been used to, we have discovered new ways of learning math problems. We haven't written down much of anything. Most of the learning has been done orally.

At the time of this review, I was reviewing several math programs. Once the review period is over, I plan to revisit Ray's Arithmetic to use as a supplemental curriculum. I think there is something magical in these old treasures, and I am excited to delve into them even more!

You can purchase a CD of Ray's Arithmetic for $59 dollars, with a money back guarantee. Check out Dollar Homeschool's website to learn just exactly why they are interested in bringing back classic American education!

As usual, if you'd like to see what other reviewers think about Ray's Arithmetic, click on the banner below!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Math Tutor DVD

I received two DVDs to review for Math Tutor DVD. The first, The Basic Math Word Problem Tutor is a two DVD set that is composed of an eight hour video course. The contents are

Adding Whole Numbers
Subtracting Whole Numbers
Multiplying Whole Numbers
Dividing Whole Numbers
Adding Decimals
Subtracting Decimals
Multiplying Decimals

Dividing Decimals
Adding Fractions
Subtracting Fractions
Multiplying Fractions
Dividing Fractions
Ratio and Proportion

The DVD is recorded in basic lecture format, with the teacher talking to the audience, using his white board for written example problems. The video was great review for Mommy, and I could see myself using it to brush up my skills before teaching the boys. However, it is not at all appropriate for my active learners, who would much rather jump on the trampoline while reciting multiplication facts! (Although, I suppose they could jump while watching this DVD.)
The second DVD, Young Minds Numbers and Counting was perfect for Babyman (2), Babybug (1) and Little A (2 1/2). I cannot say enough good things about this adventure in numbers and counting. From the moment the photographs appeared on the screen, and the classical music began playing, their little eyes were peeled. Babyman shouted out numbers as the animals and vehicles made their way into his line of vision. The real life photos were gorgeous, the graphics attention-grabbing. We would definitely purchase this DVD had we not received it as a gift!
If you'd like to read what other reviewers thought about Math Tutor DVD, please click the banner below. If you'd like to purchase the DVDs ($26.99 for Basic Math Word Problems, $19.99 for Young Minds), you can do so here.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Worship Guitar

I had the opportunity to view Jean Welles Worship Guitar Class for Kids. Through online streaming video, my five year old and I learned a lot about this instrument that is not as mysterious as we had once thought.

Here's what your child should learn:

how to hold down a note to get a clear tone on the guitar
melody plucking to strengthen his hands
half a dozen worship songs she can sing and play
eleven guitar chords
how to read guitar tabs and chords charts
how to make up his own verses to songs
Christian values from each song

I really liked the fact that Ms. Welles uses a seven year old in her lessons. It helps my children and I see that it is possible, even for us, to play the guitar! The lessons are slow, concise and very easy to follow. Close-ups are used to better see what each hand is doing. Due to my obvious computer difficulites, I wish I had been able to review the DVD version, as I am sure we'd continue using it!

When you purchase the program, you'll receive a two and a half hour DVD with nine lessons, a 30+ page downloadable eBook, a practice session for every lesson, and a practice chart. The program costs $29.97 and comes with a money back guarantee. If you click here, you can get the first thirteen pages of the book for free as well as view a short excerpt. You also have the option of getting the program through online streaming video, like us, for $28. I think Jean Welles Worship Guitar Class for Kids is an amazing program, well worth its price. Had I purchased the program myself, I would have ordered the DVD version.

Click below to read more reviews!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


Kinderbach is a video based piano curriculum for children ages 3-7. Through fun games, printables, colorful video and adorable characters, young children learn to "actually play piano, read notes, learn intervals, rhythm and music patterns.

I was given free access to the online Kinderbach Learning Center. The first day we opened the lessons, six children, ages 9 months to seven years crowded around my computer screen. Middleman (now 5), Babyman (now 2) and Babybug (now 1) were absolutely mesmerized by the music and video. Although Middleman (my target for this program) wasn't interested in coloring any of the printables, he was very into dragging out our keyboard every day and getting down to the business of learning to play the piano!

Kinderbach can be purchased as Piano Lessons Online or Piano by DVD. As I have too many computer problems to mention, if I were to order Kinderbach myself, I would definitely purchase the DVD version. At $95.98 for a Year Membership, you'll receive access to twenty two hours of video and interactive coloring pages (online). If you just want to check out the program, you can get a one day pass for $5.95.

I think Kinderbach had the potential to be a wonderful program for my family. I only wish I could have requested DVDs! If you'd like to read what other reviewers have to say, click on the banner below.