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.

TouchMath with Toddlers~~ Vlog

I’ve blogged about this in the past, but for my visual readers, I decided to vlog about how I use TouchMath with my 2.5year old son.

Honestly when it comes to math programs, TouchMath helped my oldest son sooooo much. He hated math, but after using there program, he is now in school doing VERY well in math. He loves it.

Full disclosure: I did receive a discount when I purchased these items in exchange for an honest review. But please know this did not sway me. This review is 100% honest.

Teach your Toddler with TouchMath

TouchMath is an awesome, hands on way to teach children Pre-K(4 years old) to 3rd grade math in a way they can truly understand. It can also be used for older children who do not have a good grasp on math as a remedial. Its also great for students with special needs.

I used this program with my oldest Wes when he was 5 years old. We started with the kindergarten program and worked our way up to the Upper Grades. It is honestly a quality program. We had tried several other math program, and before we found TouchMath we both shed a lot of tears. 

So then my Little Z came along and he loved numbers and letters right from infancy. Z learned to count, skip count, and understand some basic math concepts before he even turned two. I bought him a Giant Abacus, we did some apps on the iPad. But over the last few months I have been scratching my head. Ok, its great he can do all this early math, this is what kids usually start learning in preschool or kindergarten. Z is only 2, and when I look at the Preschool World Book Typical Course of Study he has most of those math skills masters. Then went I look at the Kindergarten level, he has many of those mastered, and many he is starting to learn. 

So what do I do? Obviously he loves numbers, counts and plays math apps at his own free will. I feel like I should be gently exposing him to more math to help him learn the rest of the kindergarten concepts. Problem is there are no really curriculums designed for situations like this. 

Then I thought, “Could I modify TouchMath in a way Z could learn?” So I contacted them, told them about my son, and my idea and we got the ball rolling on another TouchMath Review.

I picked TouchMath because it is so user friendly. It requires very little modification of the actual material, more so a modification of my teaching technique.

I decided that Z’s math knowledge was mostly beyond that of TouchMath’s Pre-K program. Plus if there was anything we may of missed, I felt the Kindergarten Curriculum would easily be able to fill in those gaps. 

So I purchased:
Unit A: Counting, Adding, and Subtracting Within 5
Unit B: Adding and Subtracting Within 9
Unit C: Understanding Numbers 1–20

(I already owned Unit D from a previous review
3D Numerals (as pictured to the left)
TouchPoint Posters

The first thing I started doing over the last few weeks was introducing Z to the 3D Numerals. We would sit down with the box and go through at least 5 of them. I take his hand and guided him to touch the Touchpoints as we count. 

Make sure you count them in the right order. They have a proper pattern to follow to ensure Touchpoints are not missed, especially when your counting the larger numbers. As well all the worksheets and the CD roms also follow that pattern too. So its just easier to teach them the right away now, instead of trying to reteach them later. 

The next thing I did what print out the Vocabulary list. I took 8.5″x11″ cardstock, cut them into threes and created flashcards. 

Why flashcards? 


If you’ve been reading me for a while you will know that I use a modified Glenn Doman reading program (along with other programs) to teach my babies, toddlers and preschoolers to read. Why not teach them to read the vocabulary words so when they hear the word during a lesson another brain connection will be made. Plus not only are you teaching your little one math, but your mixing in a bit of reading lessons too. 

Then I created a new section in our Learning Binder for TouchMath. 

Our Learning Binder is a binder that we keep several of our lessons all in one place. We sit down with it once a day and flip through. Once a week I retire some of the pages and replace them with fresh new materials. 

So for our TouchMath sheets, I flip through and talk about how I would work out the problem. I take his hand and use it to point to each thing I am talking about. 

Right now you have to remember, this is ALL ABOUT INPUT! If your child pipes up and offers to share what he or she has learned, great! If they stop sharing, you take over and keep talking. Do not pressure them to keep telling you what they know. They will not share voluntarily again if they feel they are under pressure. Remember they are still little, this is suppose to be gentle.  

Right now I’m keeping it super simple. But when your working with little children, less is more. 

As Z gets older, I will start:
– introducing dry-erase markers
– will teach how to place the TouchPoints with this product
– and eventually start just handing him a worksheet to complete on his own. 

Does your baby, toddler, or preschooler like counting, sorting, adding, or anything math related? If so share what you and your little ones like to do to learn math skills in the comments. 

Disclaimer: Full disclosure, while I did purchase this curriculum, TouchMath did provide me with a discount, in exchange for my honest review of the items. 

Touch Math Upper Grade Workbook Review

Touch Math Upper Grade Workbook Review
touch math

Touch Math For Supplemental Teachings at Home

Even though Wes is in public school, there are a few subjects I just cannot leave in the hands of the public school system. I think even though your child is in school you should still play an active part in their education. Especially when it comes to math. Even though your child has a wonderful teacher(like my son does) there is no way they can individualize their curriculum based on their needs with 20+ children in class. There is a curriculum that must be followed and with a timeline to meet. While some children grasp the concept after one assignment, another child may need several. So I have decided to support both my son and his teacher and afterschool him.

Afterschooling is when a child attended school outside the home, but the received supplemental teachings at home, in the evenings, weekends and holidays.

Why We Love Touch Math

When I was homeschooling my son we struggled to find a math program that didn’t end up with him in tears. I’m telling you I bought several, but TouchMath was what broke the ice for Wes. He just blossomed when he was finally taught the strategies in a way he could understand.

Here are some of my past TouchMath reviews if you’d like to check them out:

Touch Math Review and Giveaway(Giveaway closed)

Touch Math Review

Jones Geniuses Vs Touch Math

Touch Math First Grade Software

Upper Grade Workbooks on Addition and Subtraction

Today I am reviewing The Upper Grade Workbooks on Addition and Subtraction . The workbook consists of 56 pages of student activity sheets that features scaffolding problems that help the student work to mastery. Each workbook also includes a answer key for easy correcting for busy parents.

Wes was super excited when he heard these books were coming in the mail. When he got home and found the package in the mail box he was so pumped he actually sat down and completed 15 pages in one sitting. TouchMath has always been a very inviting to him, and is honestly one if his favorite math programs too,

Scaffolding Method

I loved the fact that the scaffolding method helped Wes realize that if he could add and subtract single digits, double digits were not that hard. Then when adding hundreds and thousands were introduced he was able to smoothly transition.

The writing in the books are clean, crisp and free of distraction, while still child friendly. While the downloadable pages you can purchase from TouchMath, I like the ready workbook that requires no planning. After I correct my son’s work and any corrections are made, I circle the page numbers of the pages I want him to do the next day and put it away. The following day when asked to do his TouchMath, he opens his book and knows which pages to do. Sometime he will even circle the number of an extra page or two when he feels like he’s on a roll and completes those too.

Would I recommend this book? Absolutely!! When Little Z is ready for workbooks, we will be starting with kindergarten level workbooks for sure. Hopefully they will have a Preschool level workbooks by then. TouchMath has been a total blessing for my family. The skills he has learned over the years using this program can easily be transferred to other math programs he is using at school. And at $10 a workbook they are VERY affordable.

Touch Math is Now Homeschool Friendly

One thing about TouchMath back when I first discovered them what it was not easily accessible for homeschooling  parents due to the cost. Back then it was designed for the classroom. But over the last few years they have created products like this and others. They are smaller, and designed to be used by parents and one or two children. Touch Math really take suggestions from parents and educators seriously. They want to know how the children who are using their program are doing.

 

Disclaimer: I received these workbook in exchange for my honest opinion. I was not compensated in any other way.

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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