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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How to Teach Grammar in Homeschool: Hake/Saxon Grammar Review

Today I want to introduce you a homeschool grammar program, Hake/Saxon Grammar and Writing 3, from Hake Publishing

I was excited to review the Grammar workbook from Hake Publishing since I am always working to improve my daughter’s grammar skills.

Even in public school, language arts is not usually as focused on as far as the rules are concerned. In order to become a better writer, children need to learn the rules of grammar.

Hake Publishing

I was pleasantly surprised to see when I opened the box that the curriculum includes a Teacher Guide, Student Textbook, and Student Writing Workbook.

Hake Publishing Writing and Grammar

This curriculum is clear and easy to use even if you have never taught before.  There are three products in the set which includes the student workbook, a student writing book, and a teacher guidebook.

The Products:

Student Workbook

The student workbook contains 111 grammar lessons.  Each lesson is divided as follows:

  •     Grammar meeting
  •     Vocabulary
  •     Teaching
  •     Examples and solutions
  •     Practice
  •     Review set

The beginning of the book starts with learning about sentence structure and at the end students learn how to write a chapter summary. I like how they added the writing piece to make the grammar that children learn have a purpose and be used in context.

The student workbook is definitely designed for older students in mind, there are no pictures or clipart, just the work. It was an adjustment for my daughter from her previous language arts book that she used. I think that the lack of images prepares children for middle and high school textbooks.

Student Writing Book

The Student Workbook has 21 lessons. The writing lessons are designed to be done on the test days. The writing activities include short answer and paragraph writing practice.

Teacher Guidebook

The teacher guidebook has answers so that you can help your child with their lessons. The teacher guidebook also has teacher notes, as well as a teaching schedule to help you plan your lessons accordingly. It is recommended to teach the lessons in order so that your child doesn’t miss out on any important skills that are taught.

There are also additional review pages for selected lessons when you need to review with your child.

How We Used It:

My daughter completed one lesson a day each week. It took her about 15-20 minutes to complete the activities, then we spent another 10-15 minutes going over the answers and clarifying the information.

There is a Meeting component of the lesson that we didn’t always do, since it seems more geared to a group of students in a class setting.

After every five lessons, there is a test that you can give to check on your student’s progress. I would actually do them every six weeks, so that way there could be a one week of review before the test.

I like how the curriculum progresses in difficulty, so that it builds student confidence as they are working.

Overall:

I really liked the layout of the book. It is great for homeschooling parents as well as parents who see that their child is either lacking or needs more assistance with their grammar.
It is also helpful that the curriculum constantly reviews what was previously taught, so students do not forget what they have learned.

This is one of the most comprehensive grammar curriculums I have seen, and I will continue to use this curriculum for all of my children. The curriculum actually goes up to the 8th grade, and even if your child attends a traditional school, I would definitely recommend this program to supplement their learning.

 

Read more reviews by clicking the button below:

Hake/Saxon Grammar and Writing 3 {Hake Publishing Reviews}
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How to Improve Reading with Reading Interventions Programs: MaxScholar Review

My daughters have been working on improving their inference and highlighting skills with MaxReading one of the Reading Intervention Programs from MaxScholar.

 

MaxScholar

Introduction:

MaxScholar has a program called Reading Intervention Programs that is designed to help identify and bridge the gaps in reading that children have.

Getting Started:

First each of my daughters were set at their current grade level (first and third).

When they logged in for the first time, they took a diagnostic test for their skills. The program adjusts to the child needs and teaches to their current level.

How We Used It:

We used MaxScholar as a supplement to our reading program three times a week. My daughters were on the program for about 20 minutes each session.

My First Grader:

Once my first grader logged in, she had to read a short reading passage. The words are not too difficult and she could read them without assistance. After reading, she was prompted to first highlight information. I think that your child may need help doing the first few assignments until they get the hang of it.

The highlighting was a new experience for my first grader, but I feel confident that by introducing the skill at a young age it will improve her reading.

There is also a dictionary section that defines all of the words in the reading passages so that children know what the new words would mean.

 

My Third Grader:

My third grader first had to read a detailed passage which was more than a few paragraphs long. After she finished reading the passage, she was given comprehension questions to answer. The comprehension questions are multiple choice, and I always make sure that she goes back into the story before choosing an answer.

My third grader really enjoyed the feedback she received after each lesson.

Parent Dashboard:

Here is an overview of the Parent Dashboard once you log in:

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I like how you can see the main components of reading as well as the areas that need improvement. Since this is a reading intervention program, it works to focus on the areas of weakness.

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Our Experience:

My children really enjoy improving their reading online.  Unlike just reading a regular book, your child actually has to prove their understanding of the story through their answers, so it holds children accountable for their reading.

I also like that it covers all of the components of reading, instead of just focusing on reading comprehension. My daughters actually had high comprehension scores, but need more assistance on making inferences and highlighting. Highlighting is a good skill for children to learn because it teaches them to be more aware of what they are reading, and provides them with text evidence they can use when answering questions.

Reading Intervention Programs {MaxScholar Reviews}
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How to Teach Critical Thinking: Critical Thinking Co. Review

Critical thinking is a very important skill for children, so I was very happy to review a book from The Critical Thinking Co.™

The Critical Thinking Co.™

The Critical Thinking Co.™ designs critical thinking books for students to help improve their logic skills.

The Critical Thinking Detective Book 1 is geared towards students in grades 4th-12th grade. The book is set up with a series of cases that children have to solve.

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Each page has a case with potential suspects on it. Students must use the clues from the case as well as the suspects testimony to determine who committed the crime.

Contents:

The book has 12 cases for children to solve. The only pictures in the book are of the suspects for each case.

In the beginning of the book, it gives detailed instructions and advice on how to solve the mysteries.

There are also answers in the back of the book that also explain why each suspect is guilty or innocent.

Example Case:

Let’s go through an example case from the book.

First, there is a page of information about a case. The vocabulary words and reading level are easily read for the average 4th grader. There may be a few words they don’t know, but can figure out using context clues. The case includes the background of the story, as well as what item or object came up missing.

In each case, there are also statements from the suspects.  After the case, there are pictures of the suspects, as well as an additional sentence or two statement from the suspect. The cases are written in a way where children have to figure out which suspect’s statement can’t be proven true.

Each of the suspect’s statements should be read twice and matched with the information from the case.

How We Used It:

My 9-year old daughter who is interested in detectives really liked this book. I think it was a bit challenging for her to think about why the person was guilty. However, that is the whole point of the book is to use critical thinking skills to figure out the solution.

Usually she is hesitant to pick up a workbook on her own, but she actually liked using the Critical Thinking Detective Book 1 .

I liked how the book also has children to explain their answers. It is important that children not only get an answer right, but also understand and use evidence to show why their answer was right.

I was really surprised that my daughter used evidence from the text to support her reasoning. The answers in the back of the book helped

Overall:

I think this book is good for older students who are interested in mysteries or detectives. If you are looking for a creative way to teach your child critical thinking skills, I would recommend this book.

You can also talk over the answers with your child as you compare them with the answers in the back of the book.

 

Read more reviews that focus on improving critical thinking and logic skills by clicking the button below.

Critical Thinking, Understanding Math & Vocabulary {The Critical Thinking Co.™ Reviews}
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PandaParents Curriculum Review

Today I would like to introduce you to PandaParents and their MESSYLEARNING FOR PRESCHOOLERS AND KINDERGARTNERS. I reviewed the electronic version of the program.

PandaParents

 

Overview:

Each month of lessons in the program includes a storybook, student workbook, and video. The program is designed so that you can read the book, watch the video, and create something (complete an activity).

The three months of lessons we received were:

A Jolly Jingling Journey

This lesson focuses on the letter “J” and its sound. This was also a Christmas/Santa Claus theme lesson.

MommyBaby

This lesson focuses on shapes, and the storybook is a question and answer format.

Scotty Skunk Hears a Scary Sound

This lesson focuses on the letter “S” and its sound. It also talks about animal habitats. There are also sequence pages, where children have to put the story in order.

The lesson sequence includes:

1.      Read the story with your child

2.      Watch the video

3.      Complete the activity book

Story Book:

The storybook is bright and colorful. You can either print it out or display it on the computer or on a tablet. In the storybook, the focus letter is red so that your child can point it out.

The program has unique illustrations that my children were not used to, such as really large eyes.

Student Workbook

The workbook includes printable pages to help your child practice handwriting, coloring, patterns, and matching items.

Since the workbook pages are full color, we talked about the questions and I had my children point to the correct answers. We did print the tracing pages since they were black and white.

The workbook also includes other activities such as cut and paste, sequence, and sorting. These are all skills that preschoolers need to practice to prepare for school.

We did a few pages a day, which is enough for preschool children.

Video:

My children liked the videos that came along with the program. I think that the videos make the lessons “come alive” for the children.
The videos also have the words at the bottom, so you could also have your child point to the words that they know in the video for additional learning.

Some of the videos are very long, so I recommend only watching 10-15 minutes at a time. My children don’t use the screen that much, so after about 15 minutes they get bored.

I liked the fact that it introduced large words to preschoolers, for example jingling, juggling, etc. This will help to expand your child’s vocabulary.

 

Panda Parents Kindy Curriculum

Overall, this is another way to help your child learn in a different way. The company is preparing to have physical products available at a later date.

Click the button below to read more reviews.

Messylearning For Preschoolers and Kindergartners {PandaParents Reviews}
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Learning to Read: Reading Kingdom Review

Reading Kingdom

Basics:

Since my twins will be in kindergarten in August, I am always looking for ways to help prepare them for school. I was very excited to review the online reading lessons from Reading Kingdom.

Getting Started:

If you have younger children, (the program starts at 4), I would suggest skipping the assessment and starting with Level 1. The reason that I would skip the assessment is that the program has children locate letters on the keyboard, and if they don't know how to do that it could get frustrating for them.

How We Used It:

The program recommends one session per day, four times a week. Since both of my twins were on the program, I did one session for each child a day.

My twins really enjoyed the program, and would request to go on "Kingdom" to learn to read. They also liked the animated characters that would sing and make noise when they got an answer right.

Lesson Walkthrough:

Each lesson focuses on one word. In the lesson, children have to do multiple activities to show that they understand what is asked of them.

First, the focus word is introduced. Children have to know where the letters are on the keyboard and push the keys before the letter disappears.

Next, the word is shown with missing letters and children must guess which sign holds the correct word. After the sign is shown, children have to type the missing letters. I like how it helps children learn how to spell, and helps to improve their recall skills.

Another part of the lesson is the short phrases. The focus word is shown with another word, for example “a boy”, and children have to click on each word.

My twins favorite part of the lesson is when they are finding the matching word cards. The focus word is shown and spoken, then children have to find the matching word. They like the dancing character that pops up when they get it right.

When you first start the program there is an option for an assessment to see where your child is and what they need assistance with.

 

Helpful Tips:

If you are using the program with a younger child like I did, make sure that you help them find the keys on the keyboard. My 4-year old twins "missed" questions because they didn't know where the letters were.

The program does show where the letters are located on the screen, however since they were so little they couldn't transfer the information.

Overall thoughts:

I think that Reading Kingdom is a great program for older children who have more familiarity with the keyboard. I liked the way that it worked on the same word throughout the lesson, and that the words were reviewed in a later lesson.

I also liked that the program explicitly teaches phonics, and doesn't solely focus on sight words like many other programs.

There is also a program for children on the autism spectrum called ASD Reading, be sure to click on the other reviews to read about it.

Learn to Read with Reading Kingdom OR ASD Reading {Reviews}
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Interactive Books for Reading: Weigl Publishers Review

My children love to read, so I love to encourage literacy of all forms. I was very excited to read the media enhanced books from Weigl Publishers.

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We received three media enhanced books,  Glaciers, A Lion's World, and There Once Was a Cowpoke Who Swallowed an Ant from Weigl Publishers.

  • Glaciers  (3rd-6th interest range)

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This nonfiction title explains to children what glaciers are, how they are made, and facts about glaciers. This book is good for students learning about landforms, as well as when discussing text features.

This book has many diagrams, captions, and headings that you can point out to your child. I like interactive books for nonfiction titles since there are a lot of words they don't know, so the book can read it to the child.

 

  • A Lion's World (K-2 interest range)

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In this book children learn basic facts about lions. My preschoolers and first grader enjoyed reading this book. The words are simple and easy to understand with the accompanying video. Once you click on the arrow, the words are read to the child. This is a good way for children to practice reading skills.

 

  • There Once Was a Cowpoke Who Swallowed an Ant (K-2 interest range)

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This is a fiction title that it is similar to other familiar titles such as I know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Spider. Most children will know this reference and be able to relate to it.

This story is set in the desert, so it would be a fun fiction book to read when talking about a desert habitat. The cowboy swallows different types of desert animals that you can discuss with your child.

My children loved the bright, colorful illustrations in this book. They also liked that the story rhymed.

Overall, my children loved the media enhanced books from Weigl Publishers. I would definitely add these stories to our homeschool curriculum, especially the nonfiction titles.

Multimedia Digital Books {Weigl Publishers Reviews}
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A+ Interactive Math: Homeschool Curriculum Review

Since I have been homeschooling my oldest two daughters for this past semester, I have noticed some learning gaps in their math skills. So I was very pleased to try the Adaptive Math Curriculum Online from A+ Interactive Math (by A+ TutorSoft Inc.) to identify and address learning gaps in their math skills. The program is skill-based and covers grades 1st-6th and Pre-Algebra.

Getting Started:

Adaptive Math

Introduction:

This program requires students to take a placement test first. I chose my daughter's current grade level as their target grade level.

Then they had to take small tests for each math concept to determine their skill level. The great thing about the program is that it adjusts the question difficulty based on their answers.

What it Looks Like Inside:

The Parent Dashboard gives you an overview of the different sections of the program.

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Summary Report

The Summary Report is an overview of the grade level skills and exactly what skill level your child is working at. I was honestly surprised at the results, however you have to keep in mind that it depends on how well your child did on that particular placement test.

So if your child is not a good test-taker, or doesn't take his time, he might not score well in the beginning either. However, I don't mind making sure that my daughter reviews over math skills, because I want her to really understand what she is doing regardless of the program or curriculum she is using.

Let's look at my 3rd grader's results:  

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Lessons

The lesson overview shows the status of each lesson, as well as the date completed. My daughter usually does two or three a day for her math assignments.

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Interactive Q & A

The Interactive questions and answers are a fun way for your child to engage with their math lessons. I like when I enter the parent dashboard how I can see the percentage as well as any remarks that my daughter has for me. My oldest really enjoys using the program as you can read in her remarks below.

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Online Worksheets

There are online worksheets to practice the math skills. When you log into the parent area, you can see your child's progress on the worksheets, as well as their score.

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Overall, both of my daughters enjoy using the Adaptive Math Curriculum Online. They like the games and how the lessons are broken down into simple sections.

There is also a Family subscription available as well.

Click below to read more reviews about the A+ Interactive Math.

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Family & Adaptive Math Online {A+ Interactive Math Reviews}

Help Teaching Pro Review: Homeschool Curriculum Supplement

As a homeschooling mom, it can be difficult at times to find resources to teach your children all the subjects they want and need to learn.

That is why I was thankful to find a one-stop shop for online lessons, worksheets, and quizzes.
I have been using the Help Teaching Pro. subscription from HelpTeaching.com to supplement my homeschool science lessons.

What is Help Teaching Pro?

Help Teaching Pro is an online subscription that contains access to hundreds of lessons, worksheets, and videos for a variety of subjects.

The website is easy to use and also includes a test maker, worksheet generator, and tests and worksheets.

Features:

  • Covers all grade levels
  • Works well with multiple students
HelpTeaching

How We Used It:

Since I am always looking for ways to explain Science topics to my third grader, we focused on the Science lessons.

The lessons are separated by category, and show how much time it will take to complete, as well as the appropriate grade.

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Pros:

I like the fact that you can assign lessons to your children, which makes them more independent and responsible for their own learning.

Another benefit is that the video lessons are relatively short, and have questions that check student understanding after they watch them.

The lessons also show a related worksheet for even more practice and review.
 

Cons:

The one thing that I did not like about the online subscription is that some of the printables are in color.

Since I try to conserve ink, I like to print in black and white and colored images use more ink when printing.

Another thing that may be a con for some people, is that the amount of resources is overwhelming.

I think to properly utilize the subscription, you should plan your lessons ahead of time, so that way you won't spend too much time searching for the materials.

Favorites:

My daughter enjoyed the word search printables. There are many printable games that you could use to make your lessons more interesting.

You can also make custom word search games based off your child's spelling and vocabulary words that you are using.

Other Ways to Use the Subscription:

Since I had a multiple student subscription, I was able to take advantage of other lessons on the site.

My preschool twins liked watching the phonics and word family videos. They were good to use emphasize the spelling pattern of the week.

My first grade student was also able to gain a better understanding of language arts with the grammar lessons.

She enjoyed being able to watch the short videos before doing her grammar lessons.

Overall:

My daughter enjoyed using the lessons and worksheets for her Science lessons.

I liked the fact that I could go to one main website and find what I need for her lessons.

I think that Help Teaching Pro. subscription from HelpTeaching.com is a great complement to any homeschool curriculum.

 

Help Teaching Pro. {HelpTeaching.com Reviews}
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