Friday, February 25, 2011

TOS Crew: MathRider

As a homeschool mother of some special needs learners, I am always on the lookout for curriculum or curricula support materials that will help my kids solidify those basic skills that do not always come easily to them. So, when, as a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew, I learned that I was going to have the opportunity to review Mathrider, I was thrilled!

So let's start with what MathRider is!

MathRider is an interactive tool that will help your child learn their basic math facts. Now, that is generally a very boring task that is done through rote memory. However, MathRider addresses these skills by taking your child through magical adventures and noble quests. And MathRider uses artificial intelligence technology, that will adapt to your child. Giving them the support they need and rewarding their diligence!

You can watch a video and lern more about MathRider by clicking here.

MathRider is available for a very affordable $37 with a 30 day money back guarantee.

Now, I would like to share with you, how MathRider faired in our home. In theory, this is a wonderful program, and probably for many children it would be exactly what they need. However, for my special needs learner, who I was hoping this program would help, it was not appropriate.

There was too much required of the student in order to simply answer each question. The question appears on the right of the screen, while the student is on a horse to the left of the screen, galloping.. the student must answer the question correctly before the problem as reached the left side of the screen where the horse is galloping. They must type in the answer and press enter. In order for it to acknowledge the answer. Now one good aspect, is that when the child answered incorrectly, the horse stopped they were given the correct answer, and then it continued.

Here is what the problem was, my child had a hard time focusing on the moving problem, and the numbers to type, and then finding the enter key. Many times the answer would be typed and he was still looking for the key, and it would be registered as incorrect. So this caused high frustration level. Which is what we were trying to avoid in the first place. �This game would have been better suited for him, if the problems were not moving, and if the software would recognize his correct answer automatically.

Please take a moment to see what my crewmates thought of MathRider, by visiting the crew blog and please check out the MathRider website to see if it woudl be a good fit for your family.



Friday, February 18, 2011

TOS Crew: Kid Scoop

As a mother of kids who have special learning needs, of varying degrees of abilities, including dyslexia, we have been on exhaustive searches for reading curriculum that will excite, engage and encourage their reading desires!  Our searches have often been less than fruitful.

As a member of the TOS Crew, we were given a years worth of Reluctant Reader Solution Newspapers for free, in exchange for my honest review.

Now let me mention here, these newspapers are not designed for children with disabilities, however, they are intended, as the title implies, for Reluctant Readers. Which applies to children of all reading abilities.

So how exactly does the Reluctant Readers Solution reach the students?   By sneaking " learning in through the back door. The program makes learning fun with graphics, stories that illustrate the lesson, and games that focus the student's mind on the game without noticing how much he or she is actually learning." With 12 full-color issues of Kid Scoop News Online and 365 Kid Scoop activity pages, with topics on current events, to coincide with the current holiday, a myriad of other topics, puzzles and games all designed to engage your child!

How much is finally finding something that will engage your child and encourage them to read? Priceless? With Kid Scoop you pay only $97 for a one year subscription. Many titles are available individually, however, when you subscribe for the year, you save a substantial amount.

Please visit Kid Scoop to learn more about their Reluctant Reader Solution.

And don't forget to stop by the Crew Blog to see what my crew mates have to say about Kid Scoop!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

TOS Crew: Curiosity Files - Red Tides

Have you ever heard of  Alexandrium fundyense or Karenia brevis?  You haven't? They are responsible for killing a large number of sea life, from fish and sea turtles to manatees. Still not sure of what they are? Enter in  Professor Ana Lyze ~ Expert in Outlandish Oddities? She is the resident expert behind the Curiosity Files, a new creation by the fine people of  The Old Schoolhouse magazine. Professor Ana Lyze has assembled a team of experts and have come up with unique topics that most people do not have a wealth of knowledge on, and takes the time to share with us in an exciting, entertaining and educational way!

As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew, I was given a free copy of the Curiosity Files: Red Tides to review. I sat down with my eleven year old daughter to work through it. Haven't heard of Curiosity Files? They are unit studies on very specific topics!

As we worked through Red Tides,  we both enjoyed it and we both learned quite a lot!  Now, let me tell you, this is not just a small compilation of facts, this 93 pages e-book, is very thorough!  What is nice, that not only is this e-book full of information,  it also makes a point to connect all of this information on nature, back to God the Creator, where it belongs! As a Christian Homeschooler, I appreciate that!

This is such a complete learning guide, you will not want for anything more. Not only did they have the standard text,  photos, worksheets and glossary of terms.  You also find, math activities ,  creative writing assignments,geography, history,  grammar and spelling activities, a board game and copywork!  In addition, they have special needs activities, hands on activities, art and science experiments. As you can see, it is indeed very complete!

Now, before I tell you what my daughter thought about Curiosity Files, I will tell you, that I could see, through her responses, that she thoroughly enjoyed it! She also began to read some difficult words on her own that she was not able to do prior. My daughter struggles with dyslexia, so we are always on the look out for books for her to read, that will spark her interest, and this was it for her!  And it was because she was interested in the content! I saw a spark in her eye, that I have not seen, I think ever!

Now, here is what she has to say...

"I thought it was fun. It wasn't too hard. It was perfect."

You can purchase a bundle pack of the Curiosity Files for $46 for the downloadable version, at The Schoolhouse Store.  They are also available  individually, however, the prices vary. Check out the store for more details.

Please also visit the crew blog to see what my fellow crew members have to say about Curiosity Files!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Bring Life to Your School Reports with Graphics Toolbox!!!

??????Are you in the doldrums of school? Are your children itching to do something exciting? Is the thought of trying to get your child to write another report making you cringe?

I have the answer for you!  Graphics Toolbox! With Graphics Toolbox you can make any assignment a work of art! Better yet, your child will be learning graphic design and technilogical skills, through hands on activities,  that will propel them through their school career, right into their professional careers.

Check out what one child did for their report on a Explorer!

Please visit Great Software Tools for Ordering information! If you have questions, please contact Jennifer at

Not Quite a Wordless Wednesday.....

Alright, so I have set out to post on my blog every day this month, and it is the 3rd, and I have already missed a day... Good gravy! That is not a good start.. so for my make up post, I am simply posting a picture.. ( well, I am writing a bit!)

We had the privilege of babysitting my friends little girl.. we had such a good time.. so here is a pic of my son Sydney, with her daughter Sidney... TOO CUTE!!!!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Thankful for Homeschooling!

Over the last few weeks, we have been having a wonderful schooling experience. As many of my readers know, I have several students that that have some struggles when it comes to their learning. However, God is so good and He is faithful!

In Galatians 6:9, the bible says, "And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not."

While, I am sure that our homeschooling is far from over, we are already beginning to reap!  Our homeschool is so very different that so many of the homeschools that we see.  We cannot buy the boxed set of curriculum, open it up and get started. However, I wouldn't trade our experience for anything.

We have had to find our own path. Search and find the curriculum that fits our students needs and abilities. Here is where I must insert how much I am thankful for the TOS Homeschool Crew for the opportunity to have access to such amazing curriculum.  We have had to be creative. We have had to be diligent. We have had to be patient. And, the most important, we needed to trust that God would give us everything we need, in all areas of life, that our children need! He has been so faithful!

So for all of you parents out there, who have kids who struggle, and make your homeschooling journey a treacherous one, Keep the faith! Our lives and homeschools do not look like others, but God is at work all the time!