Archive for September, 2012
Teaching, using the Unit Study Method, comes more naturally to some than others. I find a topic that interests my children and I focus my time, attention and creative energy on pulling together every bit of information I can find on that topic. I have them read about it, eat something that reminds them of it or relates to it through food origin or recipe, look at pictures pertaining to it or watch a video of it; and take them somewhere that it is or was, etc. I exhaust my resources and immerse them in the topic. They complete the study; and I prepare to move on to the next vein of interest. Often a study is generated by something that caught our attention or piqued our interest from a previous study. Unit Studies are synonymous with In-depth Studies, covering numerous subjects at a time. They promote Investigation from several angles, Research, Application of skills learned; and invaluable Family Time. Creating a solid Unit Study can be quite time consuming, but not necessarily difficult; and using it is usually effective and rewarding. Although many educators truly like the idea of teaching through a Unit Study, the amount of preparation can be overwhelming.
Once-a-Week Unit Studies from Homeschool Legacy, provide step-by-step instructions on how to use each fully prepared Unit Study. They were created by Sharon Gibson, an experienced homeschool mom with a passion for the benefits of using Unit Studies; and the verve to share their ease and flexibility. You just have to choose which of the 11 Studies currently available you want to do first.
- Birds of a Feather
- Forest For The Trees
- Horsing Around
- Weather on the Move
- Knights & Nobles
- Native America
- Early Settlers
- Revolutionary Ideas: the Story of the American Revolution
- Lewis & Clark: From Sea to Shining Sea
- We the People: Getting to Know Your Constitution
- Christmas Comes to America
One of the main ideas behind Once-a-Week Unit Studies is to literally set aside every other regularly scheduled program for one-day-a-week to focus on Unit Study only. Presently, my children have away-from-home commitments on Tuesday and Thursday afternoon; so our “Unit Study Day” is Wednesday.
Just like you, the first thing I had to do was choose which study I wanted. The individual studies range in price from $15.95 to $19.95 each, so cost wouldn’t really be a determining factor for me. Revolutionary Ideas: the Story of the American Revolution is a perfect fit with our American History studies this year. The versatility of Once-a-Week Unit Studies permits them to be used as a stand-alone curriculum or as a compliment to what you’re already using.
This is a 7-week study, designed for grades 2 – 12. That includes all of my children, with no limit to family use of printed materials; so it works well with my budget consciousness. At the back of your book you’ll find, “Getting the Most Out of Your Once-a-Week Unit Study.” This is the place to start. This is where I was reminded by Sharon Gibson that, “Text books merely inform. Family time and loving moments help build a legacy.”
Unit Study Day begins with a Family Devotional Time that uses Scripture and commentary to highlight the topic. It is important to note that every Homeschool Legacy Unit Study is Biblically sound.
For each of the seven weeks of study, Sharon Gibson has compiled an outstanding list of Classic and Award-winning Literature, Interesting & Informative Books, Biographies, Classic Movies, Documentaries; and more.
An excellent choice of books, for individual daily reading and family Read-Alouds is given for:
Week 1 – Significant Pre-Revolution World Events
Week 2 – The Life and Times of Colonial Americans and Their Taxing King
Week 3 – The Firebrands
Week 4 – Early Battles and “The shot heard ’round the world.”
Week 5 – America Declares Her Independence
Week 6 – The Turning Point
Week 7 – March to Victory
“The books listed in the Pick & Choose Read-Alouds for Non-Readers” have been read and vetted to eliminate objectionable content. I really appreciate this! Another superior feature of Homeschool Legacy‘s Unit Studies is the fact that – because the recommended books and videos are listed in numerical and alphabetical Dewey decimal order, once we made our selections according to age and ability, they were easy to find at our local library. For the couple that weren’t available in our system of libraries, I followed the suggestion of noting the Dewey decimal numbers on the books that are listed, and checked the library shelf in the same section for any books that explored the week’s focal topic. This is a no-stress guide to learning. It is completely teacher/student driven, and flexible to each family’s needs.
Clear instructions are given on how to make a Timeline Notebook. This is a wonderful idea for any age, but especially when it is established with young children and maintained through the years. It can be used for many subjects, takes up far less room than a timeline on the wall; and sincerely helps to visually tie past events, places and people together.
After Family Devotions, Unit Study Day is generally spent on inexpensive, interactive and engaging activities that keep the focus of the day squarely on the topic.
One Topic > Many Subjects
Reading and writing assignments, experiments, outdoor adventuring, oral presentations, map work; and other hands-on activities are suggested and detailed for each week.
My kids were excited about using the Revolutionary Ideas Unit Study as soon as they learned that the suggested game for Week 1 is RISK! It is one of their favorite games, but inevitably it takes forever to play; so it doesn’t get played as often as they’d like. As far as they were concerned, here it was listed as a must for Game Night! I put up a little fuss, just so they don’t pick up on the fact that I’m thrilled with continuing education long after school hours are passed.
John Adams said, “The revolution was effected before the war commenced. The revolution was in the hearts and minds of the people.”
Week 5 had us read The Declaration of Independence in its entirety. I think every home in America should do this once a year. We went online and looked up John Trumbull’s painting of the “Signing of the Declaration of Independence.” Before our Unit Study Day, I went to the bank and bought a two-dollar bill for each of the children working through the study. We used a magnifying glass to look at the incredible detail of the painting on the back of the two-dollar bill. We tried to identify some of the Signers pictured and then recapped a brief history, thought or idea for each of them. I think the general retention of the information will be greater because of the hands-on activities we did. Anytime you can utilize more than one of your senses while learning, you foster the possibility for optimal retention and recall of the material. To date, this was our best week!
We have yet to finish Revolutionary Ideas: the Story of the American Revolution, but I already know that one of the veins of interest we’ll follow will be from Week 6. In our Family Devotional Time, we read that “George Washington had prayed for a much needed ‘signal stroke of providence.” God answered that prayer in the form of a major victory. In response to that victory, the Continental Congress called for a “Day of Thanksgiving and Praise to God.” They also recommended that everyone confess and ask forgiveness of their sins so that God would be able to pour out His blessings upon America.” We will pursue this topic right into Thanksgiving 2012.
A unique aspect of Homeschool Legacy‘s Once-a-Week Unit Studies, that I wasn’t able to utilize, is the potential for Boy Scouts and American Heritage Girls to earn corresponding merit badges when assignments are completed as designed. I don’t have Boy Scouts or AH Girls.
For further details you can Contact Sharon@HomeschoolLegacy.com or call – 828-685-7215. Homeschool Legacy is in Hendersonville, NC.
My Schoolhouse Review Crew mates had an opportunity to review different Once-a-Week Unit Studies. You can read their reviews when you click on the banner below.
If you’ve never gotten around to doing a Unit Study, now is the time. I believe you can trust Homeschool Legacy to help you build a family legacy of learning that pleases The Lord. The present state of our great nation compels me to wholeheartedly suggest that you begin with Revolutionary Ideas. Knowing our past and acknowledging our foundation is vital to our future.
Ahhh…reading! Just the thought of a good book makes me smile. It has been some time since I’ve been able to stow away and read a book just for the pleasure of reading a book. My favorite type of story is one that carries me away to another place and time, a period piece, with golden threads of history woven through it. These are not easy books to write. An author will often spend a lot of time reading and researching their subject before they can even begin to put pen to paper, because most readers expect the historical account to be accurate; especially if it is a time or place that is familiar to them.
I recently found Hope. She is a promising young author, published by Great Waters Press.
The chief publishers of Great Waters Press are Hal & Melanie Young, the authors of a 2011 Book of the Year – Raising Real Men. Hope’s first book, Book One of The Promised Land, is titled A Cry From Egypt. It is written for ages 8 and up, and it is a superlative first effort!
Hope has researched Ancient Egypt for several years. Her interest was kindled when she was 13 years old and her family was studying it. Have you ever wondered how it would have been to live in Egypt during the time of the devastating plagues and the Hebrew slaves being set free? What it would have been like to experience The Promised Land, first-hand? Author Hope Auer has brought a cast of characters to life from this time, using her knowledge of Ancient Egypt, the few facts that are recorded about this period; and the Biblical account. She takes no liberties with Scripture and maintains historical accuracy, while telling a fascinating story as it is lived by a 12 year old slave girl, Jarah, her family and friends.
A Cry From Egypt is set around the time of events beginning in the seventh chapter of the book of Exodus, through the 10 plagues on Egypt; and culminating with chapter 12 –
“…I will strike the water of the Nile, and it will be changed into blood.”
“…I will plague your whole country with frogs.”
“…and throughout the land of Egypt the dust will become gnats.”
“…I will send swarms of flies on you…”
“…the Lord will bring a terrible plague on your livestock in the field…”
“…festering boils will break out on men and animals throughout the land.”
“…I will send the worst hail storm that has ever fallen on Egypt…”
“…I will bring locusts into your country tomorrow. They will cover the face of the ground so that it cannot be seen.”
“…and total darkness covered all Egypt for three days.”
“Every firstborn son in Egypt will die…”
These verses are foundational to the story, yet they are never directly referenced. Hope has interlaced a believable story of possibilities with the Truth. We see compassion, hatred, fear, forgiveness, unbelief, faith; and more, but it is clearly a story, not a sermon. Through the characters, we have the freedom to question and explore, Who is Yahweh? Can we know Him? Does He hear our pleas for deliverance, help or salvation? We’re reminded of God’s perfect timing and His great love for us. We connected with Jarah and could openly discuss what it means to trust Yahweh. Will she be willing to trust Him to lead her to the promised land? Would we?
I chose to read this aloud to my older teens and down. I read a few chapters at a time and then we would discuss it, not because we were having “school” but because it genuinely prompted stimulating conversation. One evening we spent a chunk of time on, “How do you determine whether or not someone is being punished justly or abused before you step-in? Is it ever okay to step-in? What is the Biblical basis for your answer? Where do we stand as a family?”
I finished the book first by myself, because I couldn’t put it down. I wanted to know how Hope was going to write this, whether she’d mention that; and what happened to them? I wasn’t disappointed. The only issue I had was in finishing the chapter tease for Book Two, found at the end of A Cry From Egypt, and realizing it’s not yet written and I can’t purchase it! Oh my, can I wait patiently or not? That is the question.
You can purchase an advanced copy of A Cry From Egypt, for $12.50. Scroll to the bottom of the Raising Real Men Web Page, right-hand side; and see Contact Us to email Hal and Melanie Young or find them on facebook – Raising Real Men: Surviving, Teaching and Appreciating Boys and Great Waters Press.
My Crew mates had the opportunity to read A Cry From Egypt or another new book published by Great Works Press – Children in Church: Nurturing Hearts of Worship. You can read their reviews when you click the banner below.
Hope is a homeschool graduate, and so is her illustrator, Mike Slaton. This knowledge was an encouragement to me as I teach my own artists, musicians and writers. It also spoke volumes to my children because it is a positive, hopeful, published writing by one-like-them. On a more basic level, my 8 year old daughter liked the action of the story and enjoyed the fact that Jarah has an 8 year old little sister and older brothers just like she has. It is simply a good book and that makes me smile.
Everyone needs daily physical activity. Generally, our level of physical fitness reflects the state of our overall health, and the body’s fitness is usually determined by the amount of physical work we do. Many of our ancestors physically worked hard every day. They were naturally active. Technological progress has changed the very nature of work. Often, we sit at work and then, we sit at home. Establishing a regimen of consistent physical exercise has the potential to improve our health, well-being and life expectancy. Yet, it seems so difficult to implement. I’m hoping that if I start a program with my children, now, maybe it will become such a habit that they will continue it into adulthood. The experts estimate that “by 2015 75% of all US kids, adolescents and adults will be overweight or obese.” That’s a statistic I’d rather not have a direct connection to.
Designed for grades K through 8th, Family Time Fitness utilizes the Guided Discovery Method to teach Movement Education. “Guided Discovery is based on providing simple instruction then allowing children to explore movements on their own.” Guided Discovery is approved by the International Youth Conditioning Association.
Family Time Fitness gives us, as parents and teachers, the instruction needed to confidently teach our children basic physical movement:
Each of the 260 lessons is clearly outlined with written instructions and video examples to follow.
Lessons detail –
and Suggested Recovery Time
3-5 activities for Warm-up:
Standing Leg Swings
the Rocking Horse Series
3 or 4 activities for Game Play:
Shuffle & Skip with Toss
Partner Turn and Pass
and Several Others…
2-3 Cool Down activities:
the Bowing Pose
Palm Tree Pose
and Single Leg Stretch
To Name a Few…
And 1 Outdoor Activity:
Monkey in the Middle
Who can Hula Hoop the Longest?
The Agility Course
The lessons are structured to provide 25-45 minutes of physical activity, with an additional 15-30 minutes of outdoor play included for a full 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise daily. On average, it is taking us an entire hour just to accomplish the 25-45 minute activity. Sometimes for fun, they do the 15-30 minute play, later in the day. Other days, lack of time doesn’t allow us to do anymore PE for the day. This program is flexible to any schedule, adaptable to any level of fitness and can be easily modified to meet each family’s needs.
It is recommended that Fitness 4 Homeschool be used at the same time each day, 5 days a week. Presently, we are only using it 2 to 3 times a week. Believing that “physical activity helps activate the brain and improves on task behavior,” we have set our family fitness time first thing in the morning; after face washing and teeth brushing, but before breakfast and school. Starting after breakfast tends to churn up breakfast-in-the-belly because this, seriously, is a workout!
The lessons are designed so they can be done in limited space, but I think our space restrictions are a little much even for Family Time Fitness. We couldn’t seem to do any of the activities in the house. We did everything outside, and if the weather didn’t permit being outside then we postponed the lesson. For those that have ample clear floor space, ideas and suggestions are added for indoor use. For example, “Use foam balls for activities that require a ball with an alternative being a blow up beach ball.”
Lots of the activities are done without equipment, but some require readily available items that make the lessons more enjoyable:
Bean Bags – or small Balls, even a pair of socks rolled into a ball shape
Playground Balls – basketball, soccer ball or volley ball
Cones – alternative might be a box, a bucket or even a large rock
and an Exercise Mat – if needed after assessment of activity area
A Tracking Calendar is provided. It can be copied and used for record keeping, as well as encouragement when a lesson is completed.
There is also an Assessment Form. It is optional, but it is helpful to gauge where your child is starting in skill level and aptitude. Assessing again, in 6-8 weeks, will usually show a noticeable improvement in a number of areas –
and Mental Acuity
Other tools to assist you include: a Daily Food Diary, Grocery List, a Meal Planner; and a Nutrition Log.
I have the PDF version of Fitness 4 Homeschool – Core 1 Physical Education Curriculum. Paying a one time fee of $57 will give you access for a lifetime. One of my favorite things in this format is the One Page Summaries. One Page Summaries provide an overview of each lesson. They were actually created to save on print costs. How considerate! You print one page and use it as a reference guide for the lesson you reviewed. The lessons are formatted for the iPad and smartphones, too! That’s another print saver.
It’s my intention to continue with Family Time Fitness and promote a few good habits with my children. My youngest daughter loves “exercising and playing together.” Her favorite activity is actually a Warm-up: “Popcorn.” The child lies flat on her back with her arms extended over her head. She brings her knees to her chest, holding her legs with her arms wrapped around them. She lifts her head as close to her knees as possible, holding that position to the count of 10. Then, she “pops out” and back to the starting position!
My son gets distracted waiting for the set up or instruction for the next game. He’s also extremely competitive and has to be reminded that every activity is not a contest against one of his siblings. I’m looking forward to the improvement in his skill level, but also a positive change in his attitude.
The oldest daughter that is participating sees the benefit of “purposefully moving,” but has never enjoyed exercising. “If you have to do it, Family Time Fitness is more fun with the family than working out alone.”
Comments or Questions?
Email ~ CustomerService@FamilyTimeFitness.com
Phone ~ 979.209.0778
or Write ~
Family Time Fitness
3131F East 29th Street
Bryan, TX 77802
and follow on facebook
Please, follow the links I’ve provided throughout this post; including the banner below that directs you to the Schoolhouse Review Crew Blog and my Crew mates reviews.
“Be enthusiastic about physical activity. Children will give physical activity the same importance and enthusiasm that the parent or teacher gives.”
Thomas Jefferson is quoted as saying, “A morsel of genuine history is a thing so rare as to be always valuable.” To understand where we are today, I believe we must know something of our yesterdays. I think Family History, US History, and World History are vital to our survival and growth as individuals and as a nation. We read and write about history, build time-lines; and visit battle fields, cemeteries, national monuments and re-enactments. All of this enhances the learning of our history, and so does Marshall Publishing.
Marshall Publishing and Promotions, Inc. is a multifaceted media publishing organization whose management team has 30 years of experience, successfully producing and representing television and home video programs written for all ages.
You may already be familiar with their trademarked, AS SEEN ON TV “Lots and Lots of” brand DVD’s and books. In 2011, I reviewed their George Washington Carver DVD and was pleased with their reliability; so I was quite interested in adding the content of the America in the 1880’s – A Decade of Progress DVD to our on-going study of US History this year.
Look at the cover of the DVD, how many people do you recognize? Many are well-known today and several are actually famous over 100 years later. This film is compiled of photographs, historical footage, and re-enactments; for 4th grade through adult. We watched it as a family. We easily recognized Buffalo Bill Cody on the front, but wasn’t sure if that was Geronimo beside him or not. Susan B. Anthony and the Brooklyn Bridge was easy, too. My older son recognized the outlaws because he previously studied their lives independently, and I tagged Sarah Bernhardt and Mark Twain.
After we watched the video we were surprised that there wasn’t a train on the front cover. The 1880’s saw the height of railroad travel. You could get from coast to coast in 7 days! There are fascinating snippets packed into this DVD, and this caused two things to occur for us. First, because the details are few we found ourselves wanting to research our own special interests; secondly, we seem to recall the people, places and events more readily than when we’re bogged down with extra information. The 1880’s was a marvelous, often overlooked decade; with a vast array of remarkable people and major events. The circus, theater troupes, and big music alongside life-changing inventions, gun-slinging outlaws, and outrageous clothing designs! Four states joined the union and while that might have been significant in itself, the fact that the population increased to 63 million by 1890, largely because of the warm welcome given to European immigrants, from its humble 13 million souls in 1880, is astounding!
Using the Study Guide that’s included, our discussion led us to note that although there’s been major changes in technology in the same number of years, and advances in other areas during other time periods, the accomplishments of so many in different areas, all in the same time frame is unrivaled. America in the 1880’s covers History, Geography and Culture through a decade of wonder.
From the website: “What was life like in America in the 1880s? Just like a time machine, this DVD will transport you back to discover the people and events that shaped this exciting decade: the Brooklyn Bridge …Washington Monument …Statue of Liberty …Gunfight at the O.K. Corral …Oklahoma Land Rush …Johnstown Flood …Thomas Edison …Mark Twain …Baby Doe …Sitting Bull …Sarah Bernhardt …John Philip Sousa …Buffalo Bill …Gilbert and Sullivan …Wyatt Earp…Jesse James and Billy the Kid ….Alexander Graham Bell ….John D. Rockefeller ….Andrew Carnegie ….Samuel Gompers ….Susan B. Anthony ….Lillian Russell ….and many others! You will learn about fashion, politics, sports heroes, famous inventors, Wall Street financiers, railroad expansion, buffalo extinction, Indian resettlement, Civil Rights, union organization, urbanization, the music of the times, and much more!”
There is also an archival documentary short film about the life of Alexander Graham Bell, his work with the deaf and the invention of the telephone, as a bonus feature of this DVD. Approx. 60 total min. This DVD, and the correlated Study Guide, is on sale now for $19.95, plus FREE shipping when you use coupon code TOS27 at checkout.
For more information, questions or comments – Contact:
Marshall Publishing & Promotions, Inc.
123 S. Hough St.
Barrington, IL 60010
CUSTOMER SERVICE: 888-300-3455 9AM – 7PM Central Time
Marshall Publishing – the place to find “Lots & Lots of…” fun, entertainment, education, and amusement for the whole family! Besides, America in the 1880’s – A Decade of Progress, my Crew mates reviewed the 2 DVD Set – Lots & Lots of Playful Penguins and their Toe-Tappin’ Happy Feet, and Lots & Lots of Penguins in the Wild!, The Historic Expedition of Lewis & Clark – We Proceed On!; and The History of The Oregon Trail & The Pony Express. You can read each of their reviews when you click the banner below and follow the link to the Schoolhouse Review Crew Blog.
Generally, life is so busy for everyone. Have you noticed? I try to keep ours fairly simple, but it still seems like it’s going to spiral out-of-control on occasion. There are people at church or at the park that I meet and think, “I’d really like to get to know them. We’ll have to make plans to get together.” Then, life happens and the connections don’t. There are old friends, relationships once established, and even acquaintances that I’d like to catch-up with because they cross my mind or I find them heavy on my heart. I pray for them, but I rarely make the time to call them. I have blog posts, products, and reviews I’d like to revisit, amend or update; but I seldom do it. Maybe, it’s forward motion and I have a hard time going back or maybe, the truth is, my time’s just not as organized as it should be. Nevertheless, none of these are situations that I like and I figure it’s up to me to make change occur in my own life. I’m not going to wait until Monday or the ever-elusive-tomorrow. Now is the only moment guaranteed, so…
Today, I want to revisit Speekee. Speekee is a Spanish language course for children, ages 2 to 10. My initial introduction to Speekee, the purple puppet that stars in the program, was in the beginning of 2011.
Since then, Speekee has made some changes. Speekee TV is an online program, which means you have to connect to the web to use it, but now Speekee can travel! Thanks to the creation of a new app for mobile devices, access to Speekee TV – Speekee and sock-puppet friends, Dino and Lupi – is never far away.
Dino and Lupi
There are 10 episodes filmed on location in Spain, with Spanish children and their friend, Jim; along with Speekee, Dino and Lupi. Utilizing the Immersion Method, SpeekeeTV is in 100% Spanish, although subtitles are available in Spanish and English. This helps me because I’m more of a write-the-word-and-its-phonetic-pronunciation-so-I-can-see-it, and then I’ll say it out loud -kinda girl; but my 4 year old granddaughter, who can’t read, is all-in. She’s immersed in it, clearly not distracted by subtitles! Each video, 15-20 minutes in length, follows the same basic format and students excel because of this consistency and repetition. By the time she regularly visits the el parque, el cafe, le clase, el zoo; y el mercado with her new “friends,” she may be the first one in our family to actually learn the language. Virtually, she spends minutes at the park, in Spain, playing and singing with Speekee; and then she bops back into the living room and says, “Listen to my Spanish song! I’m singing Spanish.” She’s excited to use Speekee and the learning is effortless!
Speekee TV is always available, flexible to any schedule; and parent or student-paced. When I previously reviewed it, the outstanding FastTrack curriculum for homeschoolers was not an option. You can now access FastTrack from the website or signup to receive a weekly email. I get an email every week, for 40 weeks, that includes 4 activities that correspond to a specific Speekee video clip; plus other downloads, printable worksheets and flash cards that I can use for reinforcement. One of the first activities we did was make Dino and Lupi sock puppets! Every craft idea is not that involved, but they are fun and engaging. We still have the freedom to pick and choose what we want to do, but I appreciate the fact that the creators of Speekee spent the time to assemble a curriculum that will accelerate my child’s and grandchild’s understanding and use of Spanish. “Gracias, Speekee!” This program is better than ever with the compliment of FastTrack.
Try it FREE for two weeks. If you’re not satisfied within that time, you can discontinue it and you’ve risked nothing. On the other hand, if you find your children asking to play Speekee and speaking Spanish to each other while they play, you can subscribe for $7.50 per month; with no long term commitment. You can also go all-in, like my granddaughter, for $60 per year.
Click the banner to subscribe
The entire program is also available for purchase on 4 DVD discs, 34-track audio CD plus a 70 page guide. Read the fine print – because of the format the DVD’s will play on most US players, but not all.
Click for DVD Package details
Comments or Questions?
email ~ firstname.lastname@example.org
phone ~ 01422 820263
or write ~
Swift Cross Farm
You can find Speekee on facebook
and read Speekee’s Blog
You’ll note, I’ve included several links to the website in this post, and I can tell you that my Crew mates have shared their opinions on the Schoolhouse Review Crew Blog. You can read those when you click the banner below.
Now, I think I’ll call that new family from church and see if we can arrange a play-date for our children this weekend. Don’t you just love the Grace of a new day and a fresh start!
Most of us relate 911 to the US emergency number. In our house, we seem to operate in a perpetual state of Mathematics emergency. I just never feel like we are fully equipped, especially for higher math. Therefore, I was thrilled to discover the aid offered by Professor Martin Weissman and his Math 911 tutorial software!
Professor Weissman has been teaching Mathematics since 1963 and his passion for it has not waned. He says, “Each start of a new year gives me an opportunity to incorporate new ideas and methods to help my students overcome their fears of Mathematics and finally master the subject.” I appreciate the fact that he acknowledges that Math unsettles some of us, even to the point that we may fear it.
He also validates my own teaching approach, Mastery Learning, by utilizing the same method in his software program – the keep-trying-until-you-get-it approach. Wrong answers don’t count! The end result of the knowledge gained and retained is the ultimate goal.
Math 911 is geared for ages 12 through adult. It is designed to actually generate problems for students, furnishing unlimited Mathematical problems with detailed solutions. Lots of practice to achieve mastery! Professor Weissman believes students need more practice problems and less lecture or teaching. He supplies problems for students to solve in –
The Standard Version of Math 911 can be downloaded from the upper left side of the website, where it says, “Complete Introductory Algebra Course, Click Here, Download, Install…” It’s FREE! Then, you can upgrade to the Premier Version, where you receive access to all the additional Mathematics Courses listed above. The Premier Version includes separate grade reports, printable or copied to Word, for each user in the family; and lifetime updates.
For my review of this software, I chose to use the program myself. I’ve sort of been limping along for years, teaching Math to my children; so I decided they would benefit first by my education and then by direct application. I really like Math 911! It suits my temperament. After it is downloaded, a desktop icon appears on the computer and it’s through this gateway that one gains access to a course. I started with Introductory Algebra, knowing that I could move through the lessons at my own pace. I was pleasantly surprised to see how quickly I mastered many of the lessons based on previous knowledge. You complete a problem and press enter. If correct, you see a green check and the word Right! If incorrect, the correct answer is shown, and you are given the option to click a button to see how the problem was worked or click new problem. If I lacked any assurance of how I arrived at an answer or if I just didn’t remember a concept, I viewed the step-by-step solution. Answers aren’t marked wrong. You work through problems until you get enough correct to count the level as mastered, then you move on. The Introductory Algebra course is the only one that has instructional PDF-formatted modules available [see Intro To Whole Numbers, Addition & Subtraction, Multiplication Factors, and More directly under Screen Shots on the left side of the webpage] giving you the benefit of Professor Weissman’s teaching. He maintains, though, that one learns best by working problems and seeing examples of their solutions, over and over again, as needed. Practice. Clear. Simple. No gaming or flashy graphics. The fun is in the learning!
I am still working through the 11 chapters of Introductory Algebra, because I added Statistics, too. It’s easy to switch to a new course. Each one of the Six Courses offered is listed on your home page, along with other data: What Version of the program you’re using, how many minutes you’ve spent on the program, what course you’re presently using, which lessons are available; and which ones you’ve completed. When you click on a new course, Math 911 acknowledges it and proceeds to close, while directing you to click on the desktop icon again. The program re-opens on the new course. I’ve never taken a Statistics course before, and it is consuming. I’m really trying to apply myself to the study. I’ve written pages of notes from solutions, and the only problem I have with Math 911 is finding the time to do it. It’s my goal to ace the courses, hoping to pass CLEP Exams for college credit after completing them.
Math 911 is on sale, as a Student Special that includes a FREE USB Version, for $49.95. This is a great value, but more remarkably, for a limited time Professor Weissman is offering a Homeschool promotion – follow this link: www.AlgebraInAFlash.com > buy now and enter the code homeschool at Google checkout – you’ll receive the flash version for just $9.95.
Professor Weissman is personally accessible and generously tries to respond to comments, suggestions or questions within 24 hours. His level of Customer Service is noteworthy. He is understanding, kind and helpful. You can contact him by email ~ email@example.com, phone ~ 347.528.7837, or standard mail ~ Professor Martin Weissman, Professor Weissman’s Software, 246 Crafton Avenue, Staten Island, NY 10314.
You can also gather information when you click the banner below and
read what my Crew mates have to say about Math 911.
Taking Galatians 6:2 literally it says, “Help carry each others burdens. In this way you will follow Christ’s teachings.” Dr. Marion Blank‘s desire to end illiteracy motivated her to extensively research how children learn to read. Her years of study has produced multiple books, including The Reading Remedy, and the award-winning Phonics Plus Five reading program. Her direct contribution to my life has been through the online learning program that teaches children how to read and write to a third-grade level –
Click the banner to read Why It Works
Dr. Blank believes, “Phonics is THE path to reading. It’s why children for generations have been taught to sound out the ABC’s once they enter first grade. But traditional phonics is not enough. It’s great to be able to figure out the sounds of words, but by itself, it makes reading unbearably slow and tedious. At some point, sounding out has to switch over to instant word recognition. That means doing what you are doing now – looking at words and immediately recognizing what they are saying. And that skill also is not enough. In fact, success in reading calls upon five other essential areas.”
I have taught several children how to read, phonetically, and sometimes it has been more trying and less successful than other times. Now, I have a better understanding of the process. Reading Kingdom, designed for ages 4-10, begins with a skills survey for each child. According to the results, they are placed in one of 6 levels: pre-reading or a reading level 1-5, honing their skills with the mouse and keyboard; learning to recognize, read, spell and type words and sentences. As one progresses through the levels the six skills necessary for reading are strengthened.
- Motor Skills
It is expected that a child will be reading, with confidence and enthusiasm, at a 3rd grade level with the completion of Reading Kingdom. Generally, this will take 12 – 18 months. After the first few weeks, most children can navigate the program on their own. Reading Kingdom allows me to share the responsibility of teaching my child how to read, making it a lighter burden and not nearly as overwhelming. Because it is interactive, it customizes each lesson for my child. Each 15-30 minute session teaches her reading, spelling, punctuation, and writing.
I can watch her progress and clearly see her successes, and so can she. Reader reports —what they’re doing, how they’re doing and what is coming up– are available to the parent and track a child’s progress.
Reading Kingdom is lively, appealing and inviting! My child wants to play it, but it has not always been gumdrops and lollipops. I’m pleased that it has raised her reading level, but I am also quietly thrilled that it has significantly improved her level of patience! Let me explain. To me, instant gratification is the bane of our culture. Reading Kingdom requires my child to slow down, focus; paying attention to directions and details. She must type when directed to type using the keyboard and click when instructed to click a letter on the screen. The word focus has deeper meaning to her, now. If she concentrates and responds correctly she can progress through the levels, but if she doesn’t know an answer or is just distracted the program will re-teach the word or concept; which can get quite repetitive. I consider these simple but important life lessons. Plus, the positive by-product of the repetition is that it inevitably builds her confidence. Whereas, I appreciate these perks of the program; some parents do not. Since I reviewed Reading Kingdom in 2011, one of the changes they’ve made to the program is the ability to adjust the response times for your child. For some, this makes the difference between tears and smiles; or discontinuation and completion. I think the best thing to do is to take advantage of Reading Kingdom‘s offer – FREE for 30 days – and monitor the results for yourself. It’s truly risk free!
Reading Kingdom is $19.99/month (one child) with no monthly minimum or $199.99 per year (one child). Each additional child is $9.99 per month. If you take the time to directly compare Reading Kingdom to other reading programs you might find that this one costs a few cents more per day, but you will also find that the benefits of Reading Kingdom, as one of the most complete reading programs available online, far out weighs the extra pennies.
Dr. Blank and her team are “passionate about promoting literacy and believe that every child has the right to learn to read.” There is a scholarship application program set up, making literacy a hope for everyone. If Reading Kingdom works for your child and you know he needs it to succeed, then ask for it! “Nothing is impossible for God.”
Comments or Questions?
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Dr. Blank can also be reached through email: BlankM@childpsych.Columbia.edu
Please, follow the links I’ve provided throughout this post; and click the banner below to get a well-rounded view of Reading Kingdom by what my Crew mates have to say about it.