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Posts Tagged ‘motivation’

Review: Math House Games

September 28th, 2011

Math should be fun. Especially with young kids, math should start as a game and always involve an interaction with an adult and the real world. Domenico Marcario designed a math product that would build on that.

Carlito C. Caterpillar’s Math House Games teach real life math concepts through activities that use everyday objects, a parent’s direction, and fun challenges for kids to get excited about.

The 20 steps, with 2 games each, are broken into three stages that lead the child through quantity (comparing groups of objects), numeration (attaching numbers to those groups of objects), and operations (adding, subtracting, etc.)

You do not follow through the steps at a predesignated speed, but rather you evaluate each child and move on once they have mastered the concepts taught in the activity.

The games are fun. The kids get to eat during the process (small items — fruit, cereal, etc.) which is always motivation in my house. :) Perfect for building and early love of math.

You can order these great activity cards — $23.95 including shipping — and use them for your early elementary math student that needs some fun in their math.  These would also be a great start for a preschool curriculum to help introduce math skills in a lighthearted way that they will just soak up. If you have a preschool through 2nd grader you would enjoy this. And, if you are busy teaching older kids, one of your other older kids could easily pick this up and begin teaching math concepts to one of your other young kids.

Each card tells you clearly what you are teaching, why they should learn it, and how to get that point across. Make the most of play time!

It wouldn’t be a great review without a giveaway, and I do get to give one of these adorable sets away to one reader. So, if you would like to enter to win your own copy of these math game cards please leave a comment on this post with an email address where I can reach you at. The contest will close Sunday evening and I will draw a random winner at that time.


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or

services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it

on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally

and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance

with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the

Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

TOS Crew Review — Pearson Education

May 23rd, 2011

  • Grade 1
  • Product: Pearson Education enVision MATH 2011

    Details: A full year math program for first grade in a consumable workbook. Each day the student removes a page from this book that measures about 11″ x 17″ and then folds their lesson in half like a booklet. They complete the booklet and can then stick it on their refrigerator or some other location for display. Contains 20 topics each with 4 to 13 lessons, a problem solving lesson, a test, reteaching material, a game, and “home-school” connection sheets.

    Price: $34.47 for the student book

    What we loved . . .

    • Made to display. Each lesson is made to be torn out of the book, folded in half, and put on display. When my son saw that he didn’t hesitate to get to work. As soon as we opened the package and he saw it was for him, he ripped out a page, worked hard at it, and put it right on our fridge. I love that motivation.
    • Fun to use. My son loved using the book. He liked the activities, the fun pictures, the ripping and folding. It is a very kid friendly product.
    • Internet connections. Although this is a paper product, it mentions web based games as well that reinforce the learning done on the page. I had to Google it to find them because the student book did not have the actual web address, but we did find it and were able to play the games that fit the activities online as well as  in hand.
    • Gentle math. If your child is just easing into math at this age this is a fairly gentle introduction. No speed drills, no sheets of adding and subtracting. Games, activities, application of math principles, mostly fun, hands-on learning.

    Some considerations . . .

    • Not a reasonably priced teacher book available. Since this is not really initially designed with the homeschooler in mind, the teacher’s guide is included in a $525 resource pack. Obviously not something you would purchase to help you teach one or two kids for a year. And, without it there were spots in the book that we had to make up as we went along. I don’t think we missed out on too much, but it would have been more beneficial if we had some instruction through certain segments. Even where to jump on the web was not included although I could figure it out with the help of Google.
    • Awkward shape. This book is ginormous. It would not fit on a bookshelf or in a backpack and barely fits in his arms when he carries it around. I assume it is made to fit in a school desk, but it is not a convenient size for at home use.
    • Doesn’t have much built in review. The book covers 20 topics, but doesn’t revisit them as you go. I prefer math programs that review at least every couple weeks to make sure that young minds don’t lose what they have already learned.

    While I did find this a cute book and one my son really enjoyed pulling out the pages and working through, I did not feel it was a good fit for homeschoolers the way it is right now. However, if you have a kids that loves workbooks and is always asking for more pencil and paper work like the big kids do, this would be a helpful book to have on hand. You can tear a page out, keep your child busy for a while, and then show off their work on your wall or fridge.

    For more TOS Crew reviews on this product, check out the TOS Crew blog.

    Disclaimer: This product was provided to me free of charge through Pearson Education as part of my participation in The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew. I received no additional compensation and the opinions expressed here come from my personal experiences and sincere thoughts.



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    TOS Crew Review — Go Trybe

    May 11th, 2011

    I have my favorites for math, English, history, and science. But, when it comes to PE, every year is different. We like to try different things, but most importantly we like to be active and continue to improve our health each day. I want my kids to be healthy and have fun in the process. GoTrybe has a similar goal and we enjoyed using their tools this past month.

    Product: Go Trybe online membership

    Details: An online fitness membership for kids to use on their own or with their class to encourage them to get active and take a more hands-on interest in their own physical fitness.

    Price: $19.95 for an annual membership (regularly $39.95)

    What we loved . . .

    • Quick to figure out. Login is easy, they even have a free trial to check it out before you buy. As soon as you are in you can click around, create your avatar, plan a workout, or listen to the daily messages.
    • Not just exercise. While GoTrybe’s main focus is exercise, they offer incentives to improve your health in many other areas as well. Each day the member can earn points for viewing quick videos or reading quick tidbits about nutrition, motivation, and wellness. These generally offer tips and advice on how to stick with your exercise plans, how to pack the most nutrition in your meals, and how to set and stick with goals to improve your health. They use the points to dress their avatar and buy various items.
    • Lots of variety and choose your own. I really enjoyed the way they made the workouts available. They are not just premade videos that you pick from and follow along with only a few to choose from. You create your own workout by pulling from a pool of exercise videos most about 3-5 minutes in length. Each workout must have a warm up, three cardio sets, a strength one, and then a flexibility video. There are lots to choose from and my kids made many videos that we used on different days. No two were alike.
    • Kids exercise along, too. Each video is led by an adult, but kids play an important part in the group as well. You can even be in a video if you get in touch with them and are willing to drive to their studios in Tennessee. ;)
    • Geared to a variety of ages. You choose your age group when signing in and the videos that you have will vary based on your age at sign in. They have targeted them, and we enjoyed the older group although it was definitely challenging for my little ones that were following along with us. They all still got a great bit of exercise.

    Some considerations . . .

    • Modesty. My only real beef with GoTrybe is their choice of clothing and body stance for the older girl avatar, in particular. This is often a problem for me when I consider products that focus on physical fitness. Presumably they want to give you a visual that is physically fit, but it often ends up somewhere between questionable and inappropriate in the modesty department. I would have preferred a more neutral stance and more feminine clothing, but obviously they can’t please everyone, so in this area I fell into the part of everyone that they didn’t please.
    • Workouts seemed to lack a cool down. We really enjoyed the workouts that we put together and each of my kids took a turn putting one on for us. However, we found that they needed a little more transition from the heart pumping cardio to the muscle building strength clips. We would just pause and walk around the room a few times while our heart rate relaxed a bit.
    • Nutrition information might not mesh with your slant. Each day the kids have an opportunity to hear a quick little nutrition tip and take a one question quiz on their comprehension. This was an easy way to earn points and my kids learned something in the process. However, there are a variety of approaches to healthy eating in our society today (whole foods, vegan, Nourishing Traditions, etc.) and again they cannot please everybody. For the most part they did a good job of remaining general (eat lots of fresh, whole foods), but if this is an area that you feel strongly about in your home you might want to use these as discussion starters rather than lessons for your kids to swallow.
    • Offers forum and chat features. Social media will always open the door to inappropriate conversation. Just be careful who your kids friend, or have them avoid that part of the program all together. They will not miss out on anything if they don’t get all the shoutouts like, “Make an avatar” ” r u a boy or girl?” etc. Really meaningful stuff right there. ;)

    GoTrybe set out to create a motivational site for kids to get fit, to realize the importance of diet and exercise in our society that continues to struggle with obesity and weight related medical issues. I think they did a good job of making this kid-friendly and interactive. This web based program gets you out of your chair and improving your health from the first day you log in. Definitely worth the less than $20 to enable your kids to plan your PE for you.

    For more TOS Crew reviews on this product, check out the TOS Crew blog.

    Disclaimer: This product was provided to me free of charge through Go Trybe as part of my participation in The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew. I received no additional compensation and the opinions expressed here come from my personal experiences and sincere thoughts.



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