TOS Review: CTC Math

 

CTC Math Review
When my now-sixth-grader was starting first grade in a virtual school, he took a placement test that put him in third grade math. (And this was after absolutely no math instruction whatsoever.) We started him in second grade math, and he did well until he hit fourth grade math, when he started struggling. And that’s where he’s been stuck for a while. I really haven’t pushed him, but when the opportunity came along to review the 12-Month Family Plan from CTC Math, I had him try a demo lesson to see what he thought.

The demo lesson (in case you skipped the video) is for adding fractions with different denominators. Through the whole lesson, my son kept saying, “Oh! I get it now.”  The way that he was taught in his virtual school never made sense to him. I had even tried to find online tutorials to help, but nothing clicked. But Pat worked his magic, and my kid was thrilled. And I’m for anything that makes learning fun and exciting. We don’t do boring around here. 😉 (Which is one reason we also no longer do the virtual school, and have time for fun things like curriculum reviews.) The boy even liked Pat’s accent! Continue reading

TOS Review: Curiosity Quest

Curiosity Quest Review
Learning should be fun, don’t you think? I think so, and the folks at Curiosity Quest think so, too! We were excited to review two DVDs: DVD Combo Pack – Produce and DVD Combo Pack – Swimmers of the Sea. I was as fascinated by these shows as the kids were.

Curiosity Quest is a show that answers those niggling questions we all have about everyday things. Joel Greene is a fabulous and entertaining host who dives into the types of adventures we’d all love to experience. He takes us inside factories, farms, and salvage yards to learn how it’s done. The show airs on some PBS stations, and is available on DVDs. Episodes are approximately 30 minutes each.

Each episode starts with a viewer question, and goes onsite to meet someone with a related occupation. Every few minutes, we are shown a “man on the street” interview segment in which people (often cute kids) answer questions related to the show’s subject. This segment is quite entertaining, as some of the people come up with totally off-the-wall answers. There are also a few “Fun Fact” segments thrown in. The show is geared toward kids ages 7-14, but my five-year-old and I both watched them along with my twelve-year-old, and we all loved them. They’re funny and informative – quality “edutainment”!

The DVDs are great on their own, or as the starting point to a unit study. You can watch the episode then spend some fun time doing your own research to learn even more! We didn’t go that far, but as we watched the videos, we paused several times to google our own questions. Sometimes the questions were answered later in the episode, but we didn’t know that when we looked them up. LOL We watched two episodes a day for three days, and one morning, the first thing the five-year-old said when he woke up, was, “Have we watched the orange thing yet?” Which somehow ended up with us googling what vitamins and nutrients are in oranges before we even got out of bed.

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Holiday Buying Guide 2013: Middle School Readers

Holiday Buying Guide 2013: Middle School Readers

Do you get that “deer in the headlights” look when it’s time to buy a gift for your favorite middle-schooler? You know they’re probably too old for children’s books, but they may not be ready for (or care about) all the romance that seems to be in every Young Adult novel. Well, thanks to my own twelve-year-old (who wasn’t quite as helpful as I’d hoped he’d be) and a few other parents of middle-schoolers, I was able to put together a list for you. Continue reading

TOS Review: IXL.com

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Today’s review is for a fun math practice website, IXL.com. IXL does also have a Language Arts program, but it’s only for second-fourth grades, so we didn’t use it.

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IXL is not so much a learning program as it is a practice program. Each level, Pre-K through eighth grade, plus Geometry, Algebra, and Algebra II, is based on state standards, so this could be a fun way to make sure your kids are ready for standardized tests, as many states require these for homeschoolers. If your child is in public school, IXL is a fun change from worksheets and textbooks. Help relieve the “test stress” by letting them play a little. Continue reading

TOS Review: Memoria Press Geography I (Grade 4+)

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Jeffrey has long been interested in maps, so he was excited to get Geography I from Memoria Press to review. Geography I covers the Middle East, North Africa, and Europe. The course includes a Textbook, a Student Workbook, and a Teacher’s Guide. You’ll also receive a United States States and Capitals Review Student Workbook and Teacher’s Guide. Jeffrey was excited that he knew about half of the state capitals although he’s never studied them. He knows all of them now. 😉

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