The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Review Crew

The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Review Crew

I’m so excited to announce that I have been selected to be part of the 2019
The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Review Crew!

What is the Schoolhouse Review Crew?

We are a group of 200+ homeschool bloggers that love to blog about homeschooling. We get the amazing chance to review homeschool products, and share how they work with our family.

If you have been around my blog for a while, you might remember that I was also a member of the crew back in 2011/12. However I stepped down because Wesley who I was homeschooling at the time transitioned to public school. Also to be honest I believe back then I was too green of a blogger and homeschooling mom to manage this responsibility to the level I needed to.

So now that I am homeschooling Zakari, and we are comfortable with the fact that we are going to be homeschooling for the long run, I decided to apply to be a member again. I feel now I am more experienced as a blogger to offer my readers a better review experience. However I still have lots to learn, but I’m walking into this endeavor with the heart of a student, ready to learn.

Homeschool Review Crew

What can you expect from the reviews I share?

I hope to be able to give the point of view of a special needs mom. Using my position as a mom homeschooling a child with autism I can share how we have used these products, and what adaptations we may or may not have needed to make. With the numbers of autism families turning to homeschooling, I hope this will be a helpful point of view.

What Do I Hope To Gain From The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Review Crew?

As a blogger there are so many reasons why this is an amazing opportunity. And no its not about the free product. (But I would be lying if I said that wasn’t a nice perk.) But my two main reasons are:

  • I love the thought of working with experienced homeschool moms. My real life community of fellow homeschool mom’s is small, so this is a great way to get adult interaction and meet people who have been where I am. Even better to get the wisdom of mom’s who have been where I currently am.
  • Being a Crew Member is great way for my to start taking my blog more seriously. I have been wanting to take my blog to the next level for many years but just never have had the tools to do so. The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Review Crew requires me to take my blog as a career(I was going to say job, but that didn’t seem like the right wording). I’m not only required to write reviews, I’m also required to stay active and post at least once a week. With this new position, blogging has gone from a hobby to commitment. The only way to experience growth in any area is to be consistent.

I want to take the chance to thank the The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Review Crew Leaders for selecting my application. Its an honor and a blessing to get the chance to work with their team.

Monique from Early Learning Mom

Click to read Crew Reviews

LeapFrog Letter Factory Leaping Letters Review

LeapFrog Letter Factory Leaping Letters ReviewLeapfrog leaping letters review

LeapFrog Letter Factory Leaping Letters Review

Little Z is not an easy child to shop for at Christmas time. Before the holidays, my mom had me on the search for some gift ideas. While we were shopping we landed up in the LeapFrog section of the toy store. Little Z had really wanted the My Pal Violet plushie toy to match his My Pal Scout. When were there we noticed this game, LeapFrog Letter Factory Leaping Letters.

Basically this game is like the game Perfection. Except instead of an assortment of shapes, this game requires the player to put the alphabet in order. There is also a second part to the game, level 2 I guess. You instead a card in the indent of the board and start trying to build as many 3 letter words.

I love that the timer is quite long. I mean the game is designed for 3-6 year olds, so I appreciate that they actually have a chance to complete the task. How frustrating would it be for Little Z to never be able to complete the game. However I do love that as they get older you can give them less and less time to complete the game.

playing LeapFrog Letter Factory Leaping Letters

I do have to say, keep your receipt when you purchase LeapFrog Letter Factory Leaping Letters. The first one we got was a dud. We sat down to play it with Z and the board would not click down. We landed up having to take it back to the store to exchange. The second one works great, and we have had no issues. However I wanted to be fully transparent as I would hate to mislead my readers.

I originally thought it was just a great game for fine motor skills and focus. Z already knows his alphabet and his letter sounds. However, this week I realized this game will be a perfect addition to the All About Spelling curriculum I plan to use with Z in the future. One activity that is required is learning how to put the alphabet in order. I think this game is a great start. Parents can talk to their child when they are looking to put the letter in its correct spot, “What comes before Q?” or “What letter comes after V”. It is a great tool to facilitate these types of conversations with with child, without them feeling like they are being tested.

Check out my Youtube video review:

What are your thoughts on the LeapFrog Letter Factory Leaping Letters?

Disclaimer: My son received this game as a gift from my mom. We were not paid or compensated in any way by this company to share our opinion. I just thought what an awesome addition to our homeschooling curriculum and wanted to share it with my readers.

Little Z Completed Wink to Learn English

Winktolearn

My long time readers may remember back when Wes was little I did a review for a DVD program called Wink to Learn English. Wink to Learn English is a 4-DVDs program aims to help your child to recognize more than 500 words and to form proper phrases and sentences using proven flashcard-techniques developed by Dr Glenn Doman and Dr Shichida. Each lesson is based on the flashcard principles of Glenn Doman. Lesson duration is short (less than 5 mins) and captivates your child’s attention using real life photos and videos. It consists a total of 48 topical lessons which systematically help your child to recognise words and to form proper phrases and sentences.

If you would like to read my original review from 2016, you can find it HERE. I also wrote about using this program back in 2012 when Little Z was an infant, you can read that Here. Sadly dealing with the balance of running my home daycare with an infant, I struggled to stay organized and we never finished the program. I could never remember which lesson we were on.

Well now Little Z is 4 years old. He reads 1000s of words. However my next goal has been to provide him more couples, phrases and sentences. He will happily read words, but prefers not to read outloud phrases and sentences. However in true Doman/IAHP style, I am trying to avoid testing him. I also often see him looking at books and his eyes are tracking the words. I believe he is reading in his head.

When looking through our collection of DVDs to add some media to our IAHP flashcard program, I came across this program. Because he is able to read, but we are looking to fine tune his skills, we decided to watch the lessons only once. I presented him two lessons a day and wrote them on the calendar to stay organized. When we got to lessons 5 & 6 we presented them once and at the end played the right brain track that flashes through the phrases and sentences very quickly.

Six years after my first review what are my thoughts?

Pros:

  • Organized lessons that allow busy parents to present awesome lessons to their little ones.
  • Clearly printed words on a plain background, separate from the pictures.
  • Real photos were used, not cartoons.
  • Follows the Doman method, words, couplets and phrases.

Cons:

  • Strong accents. However since my boys live in an all English environment, I’m less worried about this.
  • Little Z wasn’t crazy about the videos after each lesson. They sort of bored him. So we skipped them. My oldest liked them, so this may just be personal preferences and all children have different reinforcers.

Overall I’m very happy that we used this as a review to fine tune Little Z’s current skills. I would suggest parents write what lesson they are on on a calendar or make a checklist on an index card to store in the DVD case.

Disclaimer: I was provided a copy of this program 6 years ago in exchange for my honest, unbiased opinion of the program.

EarlyLearningMom.com Top 10 Posts of 2014

2014 has almost come to an end. For my family it was a great year. But I’m excited to see what 2015 will bring us. I thought I’d look back this year and see what the top 10 most popular post on Early Learning Mom were.

10) Toddler Tula Vs Ergo Carrier. My Experience with My Favorite Baby Carriers.

2014-10-21-2B19.13.38

#10 post of the year on Early Learning Mom was my post about babywearing. Which has helped keep me sane during 2012/2013/2014. I’m not sure what I would have done without it.

9) 9 Year old Piano Recital

Ok so post #9 was a little brag on Wes and his performance at the winter concert. This was a tough piece for him, but he did not give up.

8) Teach Your Baby to Read? Why You Should Do It? Here Are 4 Reasons Why You Should!

reading

#8 is a post about why you should teach your baby to read.

7) TouchMath for Homeschooler!! A Review

 

 

 

TouchPointPoster

 

Ok #7 is a post from 2013, but it still makes this years list because it was the 7th most popular post in 2014. This one I got to review the new homeschooling version of TouchMath.

 

6) Teach your Toddler with TouchMath

TOUCHMATHBLOG

 

This years #6 post was a fun one for me to write. In this one I shared how to modify the TouchMath kindergarten curriculum to teach your toddler.

5) Can TV Teach Your Young Child? Powerful tool, or Gateway Drug to TV addiction?

tv

 

#5 Post of 2014 was a post about using TV as a tool for teaching your young child.

4) BrillKids Learning System with Baby Z UPDATE

2014-10-18-2B15.46.54

 

#4 post of the year was a post about how we were using BrillKids software at the time.

3)Howie & Skip’s MonkiSee ABC Round Up

monkisee

 

The #3 post on EarlyLearningMom.com was my review on one of Howie & Skip’s Monki See videos.

2)Back to Afterschool

grade 4

 

The #2 most popular post this year was about Wes’s first week of school and our afterschool plans.

1) FarFaria Giveaway

farfaria1This years #1 post was a review/giveaway for an app called FarFaria.

Thank you so much to my readers. The last few months of 2014, I came back to my blog and got serious again, and my readers welcomed me with open arms. I have plenty of goals in place for 2015, so stay tune for a fun pack year at Early Learning Mom.

Have a safe and happy New Years Eve and all the best in 2015.

Howie & Skip’s MonkiSee ABC Round Up

 photo monkisee.gif

As many of my long time readers know, my family and I are crazy about Howie & Skip’s MonkiSee videos. If you haven’t already, please check out my past reviews MonkiSee Reading Program(The First 3 DVDs First Words, Shapes and Colors), On the Farm, Around the House, and Action Words.

 photo abcroundup.gif

Now I have the opportunity to review yet another awesome video in this series, this one is called “Howie and Skip’s MonkiSee- ABC Round Up.” Little Z is crazy about this one! Well he loves all the MonkiSee videos, but this one is new and fresh to him.

This video combines Glenn Doman’s method of teaching babies to read, with multi-media and several awesome songs and raps. A word is presented with each letter of the alphabet a in clear bold font on a white background. Then Howie, Skype and the creator Krista’s children show the kids what sound that letter makes and other words that begin with that letter.

What makes this DVD different than other ABC DVDs? MonkiSee uses a more expanded vocabulary. They don’t just say “A is for Apple”, they also use A is for Awesome. Other examples are like for H they use the word Habanero, or S they use spectacular. It is an awesome way to expanded your child’s vocabulary.

Check out my MonkiSee Vlog Review below

Would you like to win one of the MonkiSee Digital DVDs? Well Krista has agreed to allow me to do a giveaway! The winner gets to pick one of the MonkiSee DIgital DVDs! So please go and enter!

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FarFaria Review and GIVEAWAY

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farfaria1

Farfaria2FarFaria is a subscription based library for children 2-9 years old on your tablet or smartphone. It currently includes over 800 titles, with more being added weekly. It is subscription

If you have little bookworm at home, and don’t want to keep making daily trips to the library, this is the app for you. For just $4.99 a month, or $39.99 for the year.

I also found this app has intrigued my reluctant reader . My oldest is more of a math guy then a reader. However he is required to do home reading every night. Now that we have been using FarFaria, its just a matter of me asking him once to do his home reading. Before it would take me a while to get him to sit down and read.

I also find it has brought us together as a family to read together. I’ll sit down with Little Z, and we start reading, then the next thing you know the big kids are sitting with us. If we happen to be reading about something non-fiction, dad will even come a sit down too.

FarFaria FamilyChoiceYour child starts off by choosing a island to visit.

Once you are on that island, a bookshelf of books appears based on what you selected. Each have a letter on the lower right corner indicating the reading level that book falls into.

What if your child is interested in a book, but the level indicates it is too difficult for them? Simple! Just select the Auto Play or Read to Me button and the book becomes an book and an audio book in one. Some of the books even highlight the words as they are read. I wish every book did this as it would be an awesome thing for little ones learning to read using the Glenn Doman inspired method.

Now for the best part! The wonderful people at FarFaria have given me two 3 month subscriptions to giveaway to some lucky readers!!

 

DISCLAIMER: I was given a subscription to try with my family in exchange for an honest review.

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Sound Beginning Review

Well here is the first review I have ever written with the help of Baby Z 🙂

We have all heard that baby’s can hear in the womb, and hear of mom’s that put headphones to their tummy’s and play classical music. Often at night Dad’s to be will talk to their partner’s tummy and be able to feel the kicks when the baby hears their voice. I know that Baby Z knows when his daddy is home because he will be quiet all day and as soon as hubby comes home and we are chatting, he will start kicking and moving like crazy.

 Well now mom’s don’t have to lay still and try and position headphones on their tummy’s. Nor do that have to worry about playing the music too loud. There is a great product available called Sound Beginnings.

There is a safe product that allows busy mom’s to simply load up their MP3 players full of music they would like their baby’s to listen to, put on the comfy soft fabric band with built-in high quality speakers and they can continue with there day. Or if they like that can use the splitter that comes with the band and plug in a set of their own headphones and listen to everything that baby is hearing.

Overview

Safe

Sound Beginnings’ ® high quality speakers are designed to keep the volume to a level that is safe for baby in the womb.

Comfortable

Sound Beginnings ® is comfortable enough to be worn all day and even on the go.

No batteries required

Just plug in any MP3 device/IPOD® and play.

No assembly/disassembly required

Sound Beginnings ® is machine washable on the gentle cycle using cold water. Just tuck the wire into the convenient front pocket, secure the Velcro® and wash on gentle using cold water. Air dry only. Do not machine dry. (See enclosed instructions)

Headphone splitter included

Allows mom to listen along with baby.

But what if dad is often out of town, or deployed and on the other side of the world. Why should these little ones not be able to hear their daddy’s voices in the womb. Now they can! Sound Beginnings offers a service called Sound Delivery.

“Sound Delivery offers parents, friends, and family a simple and unique way to bond with an unborn baby through the sound of loving voices. All you need are a telephone, a quiet place to record, and a love message to baby-to-be; it’s that easy.”

So now dad, can call from where ever he is in the world and record baby a message. He could read a story, sing a song, or just tell baby how much he loves him/her. Mom just uploads the MP3 file on to her MP3 player and plugs it into the Sound Beginnings belt.

Why stop at just dad, Grandpa parents, aunts and uncles can also leave your baby a message!

Now what do I think about Sound Beginnings?
I really love it! I spent a few month researching different sound delivery systems to use with my baby, and this one stood out to me.

What I like:
– I like that it is sleek and I can wear it under my hoodies and no one can tell. (Obviously if I wear it under neither a tight shirt you can see the bump of the MP3 player)
– I like that it’s very comfy. Actually it reminds me a lot of my belly belt that I have been wearing under my  regular clothes to cover my tummy.
– I love that I can put it on, and still run around after all my daycare kids and it doesn’t get in the way, and it stays in place!

I know that baby can hear it! I feel him moving around while the music is playing. I also know when he doesn’t like a particular song, he will send me hard kicks and I know its time to remove that song from the line up.

Now Sound Beginnings recommends to start using their product in the third trimester of pregnancy. However I have been using it starting around 21 weeks. Now I’m sure baby cannot hear the exact words or sounds, I know he is picking up the gentle vibrations. I know through other research the brain grows by use, and I believe that this product can be beneficial to babies in the middle of the second trimester. However this is my opinion only be sure to check with your doctor.

Also you don’t have to limit what you play to just music and messages from family. You can also expose your unborn baby to foreign foreign languages!

Here are a few related studies that the people at Sound Beginnings have posted on their Website.

“Fetuses may have memory, studies suggests”
“Memory Forms at 30 Weeks in the Womb”
“Research Shows Babies Recognize Music in the Womb”
“Study suggests babies get the beat at birth”

Right now I’m playing a mix of classical music, French and Spanish lullabies, and Classical Conversations Cycle 3 Cd. Every week or so I change the music keep some, delete others, and mix up the order.

Overall I think this is a great product for expecting mom’s. The options are endless and I’m so excited to see how this will benefit my son.

Thank-you to the people from Sound Beginnings for allowing me to review your great product!!!

Disclaimer: I received one Sound Beginnings System in exchange for my honest opinion. The views posted here are mine and results may vary.

Jones Genuises Vs TouchMath

Jones Geniuses Matrix Vs TouchMath
 
Disclosure
Full disclosure, I received one program for review and I purchased the other program. This DID NOT influence my opinion and neither company asked me to write this entry comparing the two programs. I just wanted to share with my readers the differences and reasons why we decided to use one program over the other.
 

Math Hunt

As a homeschooling parent, the one area you will hear me write a lot about is math. Math scares me, like it does a lot of people out there, young and old. There are two topics that stump me no matter how much effort I put into them—Chemistry and Division. Well, I don’t want this for my child. I want math to be easy and fun for him. I want him to be able to take Pre-Calculus and Calculus in High School and not spend hours feeling frustrated. To date, I have tried several math programs with my son and most of them just didn’t feel right, so I had to get back on Google and try and find on that did.
 

Two Programs I decided to Try

Two programs that I stumbled upon that were somewhat similar was Jones Geniuses Matrix System and TouchMath’s TouchPoint system.
 

TouchMath(TM) describes themselves as:

“TouchMath is a multisensory program that uses its signature TouchPoints to engage students of all abilities and learning styles.
Our award-winning, step-by-step approach covers: Counting • Addition • Subtraction • Place Value • Multiplication • Division • Time • Money • Fractions • Story Problems • Shapes • Sizes • Pre-algebra”
 

Jones Geniuses(JG) describes their program as:

“Jones Geniuses Accelerated Education is the number one provider of accelerated learning math curriculum for homeschoolers, after-schoolers, and their families. We operate under The Institute for Accelerated Learning, Inc., a 501 (c) (3) non-profit corporation with headquarters in Kerrville, Texas”
 

Dot Systems

Both systems teach a child to place dots on the number in a specific order, and then to count the dots in a specific order. If you show a child the number 3, they may know it is number three, but do they understand what that means in quantity? Children that use the JG program or TM program truly learn what the numbers represent. In turn, if the child knows what the number truly means, mathematics becomes a whole lot easier. Math is a language, just like English, French, or Japanese, and I want my children to truly understand this important language.
 
Both programs have their pros and cons, however in the end one of them works better for our family at the moment.
 

Jones Geniuses

The first program I tried with my son was Jones Geniuses. There was a big hype on the Brillkids forum, and Dr. Jones himself offered several online conferences free of charge and explained his program to us. This was fantastic as I was able to ask questions directly to the man who created the program. They also offered Brillkid forum members a co-op style deal. So I ordered their program. I dealt with their representative Chris who was extremely helpful and friendly on the phone. We chatted about homeschooling and the public education systems in Canada and the US vs. the UK. I was extremely impressed with the time and effort both Chris and Dr. Jones took to make sure all my questions were answered. Watching some of the older children in the more advanced JG Programs made me realize they were on to something.
 

Not What I Expected

However, I think I can speak for a few of the forum members, and some of us were disappointed with our packages. For myself, it seemed homemade and not very child friendly. Posters were printed on plain paper instead of cardstock. I was expecting a more professional looking package for the price I paid. Later I found out after reading a blog review that part of my kit was missing. I called my friend who was waiting for her kit and emailed another who had just received her a week or two earlier, and they too were missing that piece. To the JG organization’s defense, they did send us our missing pieces quickly, but I for one do not enjoy having to double-check packages to make sure all the pieces are included. The other thing that surprised me was that it had passed their quality assurance inspection noted on the inside of the lid, everything was checked off and signed that it was in the package.
 

Overwhelming

One thing I found with this Early Learning program from JG was I did not like the step-based approach. Personally, I think if you’re doing a step-based program you should start with Step 1, then once that is mastered move on to Step 2. With JG Early Program, you’re working on several steps all over the place. I felt disorganized as a parent/teacher, and my son (5) was getting bored.
 

Tears, Tears & More Tears

So after a phone conversation with Dr. Jones, we jumped right into the worksheets. They were plain-looking sheets that started off with 4 questions per page with dots and increased to 100 questions with no dots. Having my son do these sheets was like pulling teeth. There was nothing physically attractive about them to interest a young child. Also, I didn’t like that I had to teach my son to place the dots one way and count them another. When we got to larger numbers like 7, 8, or 9 it seemed like dots were all over the place. My son was frustrated; he would place the dots like he was supposed to count them, and the other way around. And even though I was staying completely calm and positive, subtraction problems had my son so frustrated he burst out crying. This was not what I wanted for my son. It broke my heart, and I packed up our JG program and put it away.
 

On The Hunt Again For The Perfect Math Program

Then while on another desperate search for the “Perfect Math Program” for my son I stumbled upon TouchMath.  I emailed the people at Jones Geniuses and asked them what the difference was between their program and TM. This was the reply I received:
 
 “Our Matrix is a dramatic improvement on Touch …in a nutshell, ours is simpler to understand. Touch is too abstract for the younger brain to understand.”
 
 
This was discouraging to me, and I thought, well if JG dots are so difficult for him to place TM with be even worse with their double touchpoint. Boy was I wrong!

TouchMath

I decided that I had to do something so I emailed TouchMath and asked them if they would be interested in doing a review/giveaway on my blog. Bob promptly emailed me back and we started hashing out the details. I was sent the computer software Kindergarten Math Program and the Digital Kindergarten Kit 4 program.  I was excited and nervous while waiting for the program to come in the mail. At this point, I was really sick of trying so many math programs and being disappointed time and time again. I was also nervous because TM has double touchpoints. If my son couldn’t handle single touchpoints how would he handle double?

Math Magic?

When the product arrived there were 3 CDROMS. I registered the products and loaded The Kindergarten Software’s first disc on to my computer. While the program had a minor glitch in the first lesson, my son learned his touchpoints in 45mins the FIRST time using the software, the double touchpoints, and all. Subtraction was presented to him using both touchpoints and objects to cross out. Suddenly it clicked for Wesley! The Digital Kindergarten program took what my son knew and brought it to the next level! He was adding 3 numbers together, and learning things that the JG program doesn’t hit, for example, patterns, time, fractions, etc.
 

Amazing Customer Service

I contacted Bob and told him we were having difficulty with the software program. Nothing major, just the touchpoints were difficult for a 5-year-old with a lot of computer experience to place. He told me they were already addressing this issue and it would be corrected in the next version. A month or two later I received this email:
 

 According to our records, you have purchased and registered our TouchMath Tutor Kindergarten Software. We will soon begin production on an updated version, and because you are users of the current product, we want to give you the opportunity to help with the process!

Please take a moment to complete a very brief survey and give us your feedback. By sharing your thoughts, you will receive a FREE copy of the updated software when it’s released later this year!

The survey will close on January 21, 2011.”

 
This showed me that TouchMath does stand by their product! And they are willing to listen to suggestions and improve their already great program. I also enjoy that I can download free samples of each Kit and try them out with my son. It allows me to know what to expect when I order and helps me decided what grade level I should be ordering him.

Price Point

The thing I think that scares people away from TouchMath though is the price. But the way I look at it is, it’s an excellent product, and it works. The new digital kits make it easier for families to reuse the program over and over again with younger children. And when your family is done with it you can resell it, just like you do a textbook.
 
UPDATE October 2018: Since this article was originally posted TouchMath has created some more affordable options for homeschool families. These products’ copyright only allows you to use them with your household, but they are significantly cheaper.
 
You can read more about it here: TouchMath for Homeschooler!! A Review
 
In the end, I know JG is working on a Matrix 1 program. My son was not ready for Matrix 3, however the Early program was not for him either. He may have benefited more from using the Matrix 1 program if it was available. Touch Math is presented in a fun way with cute characters and is more aesthetically pleasing to my five year old right now. At this young age, I have to respect him and present him with things that keep him interested.
 
So for now we will continue using Touch Math till he is at the Upper Grades Level (Grade3) Then I will likely look at going back to Jones Geniuses program when he is older and more mature and may have more patience for it.
 

How To Make Jones Geniuses Work For Younger Children

 
I know other parents who have made Dr. Jones’s program work for their young children. They created manipulatives and other tools and their children are doing excellent. But right now in our day-to-day lives I know I don’t have the time or motivation to get these types of tasks done in a timely matter.
 

TouchMath For The Win

Touch Math has done the work for me, manipulatives are available to purchase and the worksheets are fun and keep my son coming back for more. He actually completed 11 sheets in ONE sitting, he wanted to do more, but I hadn’t printed out enough. On average he does between 4-6 sheets a sitting. I see him loving math and getting excited about it. For me this is thrilling! I can finally lay off Goggling math program options.   

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What to Learn About Doman International?

Click HERE to fill out a quick form and a representative from Doman International will contact you to set a FREE 30-minute consultation.

Disclaimer: This page may include affiliate links. I appreciate it when my readers use them as it provides me a little compensation and no extra cost to you.

What My Child is Reading. Books by Stuart J. Murphy

I’m always looking for good, fun and educational books for my son. Recently I have had the chance to review a few books written by Stuart J. Murphy. His MathStart series has 63 books and has sold over 4 million book. I can see why!

“Math is about far more than numbers. Math is about being able to make comparisons (estimation, percentage, measurement), understand spatial relationships (directions, opposites, symmetry, geometric shapes, mapping) and calculate time (sequencing, time lines, calendars).

Many of the MathStart stories involve Science and Social Studies subjects. Earth Day — Hooray! (Place Value), for example, teaches about the Environment, while Dave’s Down-to-Earth Rock Shop (Classifying) is filled with information on Geology. The Grizzly Gazette (Percentages) is a lesson on democracy. Seaweed Soup (Matching Sets) is a tale about sharing and kindness. And Lemonade for Sale (Graphing) and Sluggers’ Car Wash (Making Change) are both stories on entrepreneurship and economics.
Math skills are Life skills. We use them every day in every way.”

I had the chance to review the follow MathStart books. I was so lucky because both of them presented Math concepts to my son that we were working on, making them more fun to learn.

Leaping Lizards (MathStart 1)Leaping Lizards (MathStart 1)

To put on “The Fifty Leaping Lizards Show!,” you need fifty star-struck leaping lizards. Where will they all come from? The first five are found lounging in bunk beds, but the next five arrive in theatrical style, riding unicycles and juggling. The next five are speed-demons in race-cars, followed by five more in a hot-air balloon. Colorful graphics keeps track of the count, first by showing how counting by 5s works, and then showing how counting by 10s is related: Kids can easily see how each group of 10 lizards divides into two groups of 5. Will there be enough lizards by show time? Counting by 5s and 10s is an important skill that helps children master multiplication facts, tell time, and count money.

My son and I were able to practice his skip counting by fives. He loved it. They also work on counting by tens, and even though his has this skill mastered he did not mind the review at all,

Give Me Half! (MathStart 2)Give Me Half! (MathStart 2)
I’m really excited to get a few more of these books for my son.

When a little boy tries to eat a whole pizza without sharing half with his sister, it’s not pretty. Of course, she isn’t too keen on sharing her juice or cupcakes. With a little adult prodding, however, they soon learn the benefits of sharing and split everything in half, including clean-up chores. Recognizing that half means one of two equal parts leads to understanding fractions.

 This book got my son’s attention. I found recently that he loves to read about children being naughty. I mean what kid doesn’t. This book was a great early introduction to fractions.
Another thing worth mentioning is that at the end of each book there are a few activities that an adult and child can do together to help reinforce what was taught in the book.
Stuart J. Murphy also has a new series “I See I Learn”.

I had the chance to read “Percy Plays It Safe” with my son.
Percy Plays It Safe (Stuart J. Murphy's I See I Learn) (Stuart J. Murphy's I See I Learn Series)Percy Plays It Safe (Stuart J. Murphy’s I See I Learn) (Stuart J. Murphy’s I See I Learn Series)
Once again this book was a hit for my son because the main character was acting very naughty. However Stuart J. Murphy was able to show his readers through natural conquences why it is important to play it safe and follow the rules at the park. At the end of this book there is a page called “A Closer Look”. Here you can ask your child these questions and have a conversation that will help your child understand how this could relate the their own life.

HeidiSongs, Musical Math Giveaway!

A few weeks ago when I was having my Math meltdown I was googling online looking for something that would help my son and I stumbled upon HeidiSongs. After looking around their website all I could think of was,Why have I never heard of the them before?? So I contacted them to see if they would like to team up for a series of reviews, and they agreed!
Music for Learning!

 

Learning can be fun! Using this proven multi-sensory method, even preschool age children can easily learn to identify numbers, shapes, and spell sight words by listening to music and moving with the motions!

This program was developed by Heidi Butkus, a credentialed Reading Specialist and keynote presenter, with more than 20 years of primary classroom experience. These simple songs have been classroom tested nationwide by experienced teachers in all classroom settings.

They are perfect for children from preschool to second grade, and have been proven successful in teaching concepts even to special needs children, “at-risk” students, and second language learners. They are also very engaging for faster learners. Each song has download-able hand motions for active classroom learning.

 

The reason I happened upon HeidiSong’s Website was because of this DVD/CD combo. I know my son learns concepts much faster if they are connected to a song or rhyme. And Heidi has now made me see if you add a motion to the rhyme, retention of the concept is MUCH greater.

Musical Math helps kids learn the vocabulary associated with many primary math concepts, including: counting to 100, sorting, patterning, comparing sets (more, less, and equal), skip counting, coin recognition, estimation, addition, and subtraction. The songs are short, fun, and catchy. The DVD also shows animated examples of each concept in the video intro and “outro” of each song. The activities on the Musical Math Resource CD support the concepts presented in this set of songs. This CD/DVD is one of Heidi’s favorites and a “must have” for any K-1 classroom.

I think this DVD and CD can easier be useful for homeschooling families and home daycares. I now include Heidi’s CD’s into our daily routine. Even though some of my daycare children are very young, I still believe they benefit from it. If they can learn Humpty Dumpty and Old MacDonald, why not HeidiSong’s too? I have all these songs loaded on to my iPhone so when we go out I can play them in the car. However the DVDs are important too. On there you can see the actions being done and the child and parent can learn them together.

Another great little thing the people at Heidisongs have done for us parents is put together a bunch of great worksheets, games, and books to go with all of these songs.
They are available for instant download or you can buy them all neatly packed on a CDROM