CTCMath Family Membership: A Detailed Review

We are so excited to be able to use Family Membership for 12 months from CTCMath. We have used CTCMath in the past, and now it is even better since it has many new features!

Quick Overview:

CTCMath is a complete math curriculum and in the Family Membership, all of my children have access to all grades.
What’s great about having access to all grades versus your child’s current grades is that you can have them take an initial diagnostic test.

The diagnostic test allows you to see where your child needs additional assistance, so they can either review the previous lesson, or go back to the previous grade if they more help.

Also if your child is advanced they can skip and complete whatever grade level they are currently working on.

We have used CTCMath before, but there are brand new features in the program that make it even better.

Question Bank:

The question bank wizard is new to CTCMath and is super cool. Allows you to create custom worksheets where you can easily control and adjust the duration and difficulty of the question set.

Individual Results:

In each lesson, parents are able to view exactly how your child did on a particular topic. Also, when you click on “view report”, the actual quiz questions, and your child’s responses.

The Individual Results tab makes re-teaching or reviewing a particular skill easy, since you can see exactly where your child needs help.

My Favorite Features:

Easy Access to Results:

As soon as you log into the parent account, you are able to see what your child has done. I like that I can see the time they logged in, what lesson was viewed, and their score.

This is an easy way to monitor your child’s progress and time spent on the computer.

Detailed Report

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This report can be emailed to you and shows exactly how your child did on each subject. I like this as an overview of how they are doing, and it makes keeping transcripts of your child’s work easy.

Full Parental Control:

Parents are able to set pass marks (ours is at 80%), assign tasks, and clear grades. It also gives you solutions to the problems which comes in help!

More than Common Core:

As a credentialed public school teacher, I know that CTCMath provides more than just what Common Core standards dictate for students.
The membership includes subjects such as place value on an abacus, heavy and light, measurement and more than what is seen in a traditional school.

My Children’s Favorite Features:

  • Speed Skills

The Speed Skill are games to help practice addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division fluency.

  • Short Lessons:

The lessons are short and to the point. The videos are easy to watch and even keep my 6-year olds’ attention. My children like having a video lesson that they can personally control and watch as much as they want until they understand.

  • Awards

I try to motivate my children since sometimes they don’t want to do their work, but the membership has awards built in! My children love to try to get an award.

 
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Improvement:

Since CTCMath is made in a different country, some of the spelling may throw your child off. For example, the metre instead of meter.

I don’t mind since I like that my child is exposed to measurement that most of the world utilizes.

 

Overall, I love using this membership! It has made teaching math to 4 children at 3 different levels actually doable! My children’s math skills have increased and continues to improve as we use the program. I highly recommend it as a math curriculum for homeschoolers, or even people whose children attend traditional school and need extra support.

Math 12-month Family Membership {CTCMath Reviews 2019}
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Learning Dynamics Review: A Simple Reading Solution

You can teach your child to read in just 4 weeks with the Learning Dynamics Reading Program from Learning Dynamics.

I was very excited to try this program with my daughter (5) who needed more assistance with her phonics skills.

There were a few things that I was instantly impressed with about the program:

First, almost the entire program is reusable. The books, flash cards, music, letter rewards, and lesson manual are all reusable. This is great for parents like myself with multiple children. Instead of buying the entire curriculum again, you just have to purchase an extra workbook for about $18.

Another great thing is that this program is designed for children who don’t know their letters or sounds, or for children who are struggling to read.

I like that this can be done at home so that even if you have an older child that attends public school who is behind they can gain reading confidence at home instead of being in class around their peers.

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What’s Included:

  • Lesson Manual

  • Flashcards

  • Student Workbook

  • Letter Rewards

  • Reading Books

  • 30+ Songs Music CD

The CD can easily be played as background music while your child is playing or engaged in another activity.

Books

The books are full color books which are great to keep young readers engaged. The books are also short so it is easy to build your child’s confidence while reading these books.
I like to read the book with my daughter, then have her read the book. It gives her a chance to hear a fluent reader as well as practice what she learned.

Getting Started:

To begin the program you can go to the training website or read the first two pages in the Lesson Manual. I chose to read the Lesson Manual since it is very simple and easy to do. You also need to download the music or use the accompanying CD included in the package.

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Of course, if your child is younger or struggling you would want to start at Lesson 1. We chose to start at Lesson 20. My 5 year old daughter already knows how to read, but still struggles with identifying all of the sounds correctly. Lesson 20 begins with the letter X, and is about midway through the program which I felt was a good start.

Lesson Manual:

The Lesson Manual is a bit small, and is the same size as the student workbook and student books. Each page gives detailed instructions on how to teach the lesson. It tells you what the focus letter or sound is, the story to read, the song to play, and the worksheet to complete in the student workbook.

As a parent and teacher, I found the lessons very easy to follow even if you have no teaching experience. I also like how they included a mini-assessment piece to each lesson called a “Final Check” to make sure your child understands the concepts that you taught.

Things I Liked:

Reading books have comprehension questions at the end of them, which makes it easy to ask your child questions to ensure they were following along with the story.

Sound cues on the back of the cards- so you know how to clearly pronounce the sounds.

New vocabulary presented at the beginning of the reading books, you can put on large cards to introduce to your child before you begin the story.

Songs:

My daughter loves to sing naturally, so the songs really kept her engaged. I like that the songs reinforce what is taught, so while your child is singing they are actually practicing their reading skills.

Room for improvement:

The student workbook was small in size and in work. The pages were also thin, so you can see the pictures on the other side.

I think that your child will need more assistance than just one page to go over each concept. However, some of the lessons did have 2 pages of activities, such as Lesson 39 below.

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Overall:

The programs is really easy to follow and can be done in 4 weeks. I would recommend adding additional days just to ensure that your child has truly mastered all of the concepts.

The Learning Dynamics Reading Program is a complete program, meaning you don’t need to buy any additional components in order to complete it.

The included books provide you with an instant library, so it easy to go back and review and make sure your child can read.

Read more reviews below:

Learning Dynamics Reading Program  {Learning Dynamics Reviews}
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Tied 2 Teaching STEM Activities, Full Year of Challenges with Close Reading Review


Tied 2 Teaching provides a great break from boring textbooks with their STEM Activities, Full Year of Challenges with Close Reading!

It includes 61 STEM challenges, which is more than enough for an entire school or calendar year.  Many of the activities are seasonal, so they would make a great addition to any unit. However, there are activities that can be done year round.

Materials:

In each challenge pack, there is a list of materials that you will need to complete the challenge. I appreciated that all of the materials were things that you would already have, so there was no need to purchase any additional supplies.

What’s Inside a Challenge:

  • Design Challenge Overview

  • Reading Passage Link

  • Comprehension Questions

  • Example Pictures

  • Student Worksheets to plan their design (multiple formats so choose the one that works best for you)

  • Student Reflection Sheets

  • Parent Letter

How we did the challenges:

Since my children range in ages from K-4th, I chose the activities that all of my children could enjoy. After going through the list, we chose the following four fun challenges.

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Challenge 1: Build a Foil Boat

Of course since this challenge used water, I knew it was going to be a hit. This activity was very easy since all we needed was aluminum foil. Although it seemed simple, my children really had to think about ways to create their boat using the foil. We actually tested our boats in the bathtub to determine if they would float. I appreciated the planning sheet since it allowed my children to really think about their design before actually building. Since there are multiple formats of planning sheets, they are adaptable for multiple age groups.

Challenge 2: Design a Building Block Structure

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This activity was easy and fun to do for all of my children. We used larger blocks and my children enjoyed building the tallest tower they could. I added a math component by having my children count how many bocks they used in the challenge. For my fourth grader, I had her read the passage and complete the comprehension questions. She was very interested in the website that was linked since it has many interesting reading passages about a variety of topics.

Challenge 3: Design a House of Cards

The house of cards challenge was an actual competition in my home. My children split into partners to design their house of cards. First they used the planning sheets to decide how they wanted to build their house. Then afterwards we talked about their designs and they thought about how they could have made it better. The included reflection sheets helps children extend their learning by reviewing their design.

Challenge 4: Design a Pencil Tower

This was a new challenge to me. My children love to make towers, but I had never heard of a pencil tower. We used unsharpened pencils for this one, but I think it can also be used with crayons if needed.

Overall:

My children really liked the variety of challenges that were available in the bundle. I think that they can really be used all year, since your child can go back and make their designs better. STEM is everywhere now, and these fun challenges will stretch your child’s imagination and get them more interested in Science. With the added reading passages, these activities can easily be integrated into any curriculum.

Click the banner to read more reviews!

STEM Activities, Full Year of Challenges with Close Reading {Tied 2 Teaching Reviews}
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20 Fun Spring Preschool Activities

Spring is a great time for fun preschool activities!

I have looked all around for the best spring preschool activities.

Wow, I love these fun spring preschool activities. These preschool art activities are great for my preschool homeschool curriculum! Pinning for later!
  1. Easy Sprout Heads (Red Ted Art)- this fun spring activity uses egg shells and cress to make face plants!

  2. Rain Cloud Painting (A Little Pinch of Perfect) - This is a perfect activity after learning about the weather with my Weather Unit.

  3. Outdoor Tree Bark Rubbings (I Can Teach My Child) - This is a creative activity that allows children to color in a different way.

  4. Lunch Sack Kite (Lovely Commotion)- Make a simple kite with a few art supplies.

  5. STEM Windmill (Carly and Adam)- Get your preschooler engaged in STEM with this simple windmill activity.



6. Puffy Paint Clouds (No Time for Flashcards)- This simple activity would be a fun follow up for a preschool cloud unit.

7. Sorting Parts of a Flower (Munchkins and Mom)- After learning about plants, try this hands-on activity with real practice!

8. Spring Slime (Natural Beach Living)- This pretty spring slime will be fun to make and play with.

9. Nature Craft Collage (Mother Natured)- Go on a nature walk, and then complete this preschool art activity.

10. Cherry Blossom Painting (Projects With Kids) - This activity is quite simple but the actual art turns out beautiful. Preschoolers will love to paint with cotton balls.



11. Tissue Paper Butterflies (Twitchetts) - After your preschool butterfly theme is complete, make these simple butterflies.

12. Cupcake Paper Flowers (Laughing Kids Learn)- A simple craft using supplies already in the cabinets.

13. Straw Blown Peacock (The Pinterested Parent)- Use straws and paint to create this peacock.

14. Sensory Play With Spring Colored Sand (Buggy and Buddy)- Use brightly colored sand for this spring sensory activity.

15. Rainsticks (Gift of Curiosity)- A fun preschool music and science activity.

16. Simple Paper Flower Craft (Easy Peasy and Fun) - A simple preschool art activity when you don’t have a lot of time.

17. Seasons Weather Sorting (In the Playroom)- A great way to assess your preschooler’s understanding of the weather using stickers and construction paper.

18. Counting and Color Birds (Early Learning Ideas) - An easy construction paper craft.

19. Sponge Painted Butterflies (The Resourceful Mama) - After completing your butterfly preschool unit, make this fun butterfly.

20. Paper Plate Snails (This N That With Olivia) - Since children will see snails out and about in spring, why not make this cute snail art craft.

Here are some Spring Preschool Theme Printables:

Homeschool Complete: A Unit Study Review

Sometimes it is nice to take a break from regular studies and try something different so we were excited to review  Unit Studies:  (K-6) from Homeschool Complete.

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 We received the Ants Units study. Since ants are all over, and since children are interested in living things around them, I was happy to review the Ants curriculum package. My daughter is interested in insects and since ants are so easy to observe, I was happy to have the chance to teach her more about these interesting creatures!

Contents:

The printed curriculum included a full-color cover, table of contents, and the actual curriculum/worksheets. There was also a materials list for each of the activities.  Most of the materials were very simple and things that would you already own.

How We Used It:

I followed the detailed lesson plans, which I think would helpful to new homeschool moms, or parents who like their curriculum already prepared.

The entire unit contained four lessons which could easily be taught in one week.  The unit is based on a five-day school week, with four planned activity days, and one open day for activities of your choice.

My Second Grader’s Thoughts:

She liked doing the activities that were related to the ants. One activity she enjoyed was coloring the diagram of the ant body parts. The vocabulary taught the body parts of the ants.

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Curriculum:

The curriculum was really complete and included Science, Math, Reading, and Language Arts activities. There was also a Skills List, which covered the skills that would be taught throughout the unit. There was also a Literature List of recommended books which could easily be found in the library to enhance the lessons.

Science - The science information was basic information about ants. It gave a lot of a facts, which was perfect for my second grader.

Math- The math was place value activities, and two-digit addition problems. The math included the answers as well, to easily check your child’s work. Since the math covered different skills such as place value, addition, and ordering numbers, it is up to the parent to decide what your child should work on, since some skills might be new and need to be taught.

Reading- There were multiple short passages about ants to read.

Language Arts- The language arts included fill-in-the blank sentences and there was also cursive practice included as well.

In the curriculum, there was also a hands-on activity of making an ant. This was a good way for us to review the parts of an ant.

Conclusion:

Overall, my daughter liked completing the unit study. I wish that the worksheets were on a different page. All of the pages are combined, so although it saves paper, it is a lot to read.  I felt that putting all of the information on one page was a lot for a child. I did like that it included all of the subject areas, so although the focus of the unit study was ants; there were lessons for the entire week.

 

Check out more Unit Studies below:

Homeschool Complete K - 4th Grade & Unit Studies {Homeschool Complete Reviews}
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IXL Learning: An Honest Review

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My children love any chance to get on the computer, so we were more than happy to review the annual membership, IXL, from IXL Learning. IXL Learning is an all-in-one solution to practice skills in subject areas (math, language arts, grades 2-8 science, grades 2-8 social studies, and intro Spanish).

My 4 children were all able to use IXL at their individual levels.

My 4th Grader’s experience

My daughter really liked the fact that if she got an answer wrong, there was an explanation that helped her to understand the right answer. She did not like the fact that the questions were timed, since she felt that sometimes she need an extra moment to figure out the answers.

My 2nd Grader’s experience:

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My second grader was excited when she saw that IXL offered intro Spanish. We have been studying Spanish at home so it was a good opportunity for her to test her knowledge. She also liked being able to move on to the next level of a lesson and not be stuck in a certain grade. The way that it is setup children can practice by grade or by skill.

My kindergarten twins experience:

I really wanted my twins to gain practice on the computer, but I wasn’t sure if they would be able to navigate the site. However, I was pleasantly surprised that the questions were really at their level, and the only skill they needed was the ability to use the mouse.

My twins liked that the questions could be read to them. I liked how they were able to practice test-taking skills on the computer. The explanation for the most part was a bit over their head, since it wasn’t an actual video. However, I sat with them while they were doing their work and used any missed questions as an opportunity to go over it with them.

Conclusion:

Overall, I really like the way that IXL Learning is setup. It allows parents the ability to see when your child has logged in, as well as what they have been practicing on. It also gives parents the ability to check on any milestones their child has reached, and celebrate any achievements.

I think that IXL is a good review tool, after your child has learned a particular concept. Since the lessons start right in with the questions, a child has to already have an idea about the topic otherwise they will have a hard time succeeding. Again, if a child gets an answer wrong, they will be able to see an explanation for the right answer.

The subscription also emails the parent when a child reaches a learning milestone. It is also a good motivational tool to print out any certificates for your child, especially if it is an area of concern.

My favorite part of IXL is that children are not stuck on their current grade level. Whether your child needs extra review, or is advanced, the membership allows your child to work at their current level.

Click the button to read more reviews:

Immersive, Adaptive Learning Online {IXL Learning Reviews}
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Mathseeds: A Reading Eggs Review

We have been focusing on on the Mathseeds part of  Reading Eggs while using the 200 Essential Math skills for First Grade, one of their brand new workbooks.

Online Reading Eggs Suite

I was very excited to review the Mathseeds workbook since many programs are focused on reading and there are very few that focus on Math.

About Reading Eggs:

Reading Eggs is a very popular online reading program that helps children learn to read. The program focuses on the necessary reading skills to ensure that children learn to read through phonics, vocabulary, reading comprehension, phonemic awareness, and fluency.

Now Reading Eggs has a line of reading workbooks that supplement the online program. I am a fan of technology, however I believe that children need multiple attempts to practice a skill before mastery. The workbooks allow you to do just that!

The reading workbooks begin at kindergarten and go up to 5th grade, so a child can use this each year for school. Even if you aren’t a homeschooler, I think that this is great practice for a child to improve at home.

The company also recently released Math workbooks, MathSeeds, which focus on grades K-2nd to correlate to the online math program.

I like that there are now workbooks that go along with the online program. I think that it makes it easy to review or reteach a skill.

Getting Started:

Although my 5-year old is in kindergarten, I thought it would be too easy, so we used the first grade Math book.

Features of the workbook:

Full Color Pages

My son really enjoyed this workbook because the pages were in full color, and really kept his attention.

Easy to Read Directions

I usually have my children read their own directions because I want them to understand what they are doing. The directions were very easy to read, even for my 5-year old.

Covers Many Concepts

I was very surprised about how many concepts the book actually covers. This is more than just a basic addition and subtraction workbook, it covers fractions, money, ordinal skills, and more!         

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The book actually covers 200 essential Math Skills that first graders need to know, and it also has a check box at the bottom where the student (or parent) can complete a mini-assessment.

How We Used It:

We did a few pages each day and talked about the concepts.

I first like to go over the concept with a hands-on activity, then complete the workbook pages. So for the money page, my son counted real money then we did the workbook. Another thing that I liked about the illustrations is that they were clear.

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After he completed his workbook page, he went online and used the program. He really enjoyed the fun characters and the game-like way the program is set up.

 

Overall:

My son really enjoyed using the workbook and online program. I definitely need to get another one so that my daughter could use it as well.

I think this would be a fun and engaging Math book to get a child to be excited about Math. Since there is a book and online component, this makes it easy to be a complete curriculum choice for young, elementary age students.

Online Reading Eggs Suite {Reading Eggs Reviews}
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Smart Kidz Media: Review

Today I want to tell you about a brand new program from Smart Kidz Media called Smart Kidz Radio.

Smart Kidz Radio

 

 

 

 

 

Smart Kidz Radio is an edutainment radio channel for children.

Smart Kidz Radio

The program offers:

On Demand Content

My children love to listen to the radio, so I was very interested in trying out this program. I like that it is truly family friendly and does not have commercials that are inappropriate for children.

Theme Songs

There are songs for relaxation, bedtime, and relaxation.

How to Use It:

I think this would be fun as a brain break during homeschooling or just as an alternative to watching television.

There are also fairy tales that your children can listen to as well. One way to use this in your homeschool is to read a fairy tale and then compare it to the radio version.

When you go to the website, you will be able to hear a sample of the songs that will be available.
 

Read more reviews:

 

Smart Kidz Radio Homeschool Reviews
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