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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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 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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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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Book Review: If You Were Me and Lived In...Series

This post contains affiliate links.


Children's books like those written by Carole P. Roman can be such a fun way to explore history, or culture or even practice reading.  We received 3 books from the Carole P. Roman books anD collections to add to our home library.

The three books that we received are in the If You Were Me and Lived In series. This 23 book series focuses on children who live in different countries. It is a great introduction to culture around the world.

There are many titles in the series so they would be a great complement to any country study. I liked this series because it is an easy way to introduce your child to another culture in a simple to read book.

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Major Features:

  • Simple to Read
  • Colorful Illustrations
  • Language Pronunciations

Each of the books have a very similar format, but I will point out the details of each book.

If You Were Me and Lived in France

My oldest daughters like learning about France, so they were very excited to read this book. This book talks about how Paris got its nickname as the City of Lights. I also like how it tells common names that children might have, because your own children can relate to it.

If You Were Me and Lived in Australia

In this book, it describes life in Australia. Children learn about the history of Australia and that it is a continent and not in country. We also learned the full name of Australia, which I personally did not even know!

If You Were Me and Lived in Egypt

My daughter enjoyed this book since she has a friend who speaks Arabic and was familiar with some of the language used. In this book, children learn about the pyramids, and daily life in Egypt.

Overall, all of my children enjoyed reading their books. After reading these books, you can have your child focus on the country of their choice to learn more about the culture. For art, have your child create their own scene to go along with the story.

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Would you like to check out more reviews about the Carole P. Roman's Books & Collections? You can go to the Review Crew Blog and read more here

Carole P. Roman books and collections {Carole P. Roman Reviews}
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Zirrly Super Beads Jungle Animals Review

Since I've been homeschooling my first and third grader, I've been looking for fun ways to keep them engaged. We've been trying to do more arts & crafts so we were thrilled to try Super Beads from Zirrly

We received the pack of Super Beads Jungle Animals.        

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Getting Started:

The box comes with the directions, project templates, trays, organizer, spray bottle, tool, and beads for your project.    

What makes Super Beads different is that all you need is water to fuse the beads together, instead of using an iron.

In our kit we had multiple templates. My children chose to complete the lion, rhino, zebra, and owl. The lion was actually a two-part template so I had to place the trays next to each other.

Activity:

Since the beads are small, I recommend parental supervision for children.

I allowed all my children to participate, so we had twin 4-year olds, a 7, and 8-year old completing the crafts.

First, place the template underneath the tray. I would tape the template to the tray so when your child lifts up the tray it doesn’t move and destroy the pattern.

For some reason my children kept wanting to compare their project to the template, so they kept lifting up the tray.

Next, the templates are color-coded so it makes it very easy to complete the pattern.

However, keep in mind that in order to make the project the beads have to be placed on correctly. Although this craft is meant for older children, my 7-year old who is very meticulous had no problem and was finished first.

Things to Look Out For:

The colors of the beads may get on your child’s hands as they are doing the activity. It’s not a big deal and comes off easily once they wash their hands. We washed our hands with soap and water after we finished.

My children also noticed the strong glue smell coming from the beads. We did the activity outside but I did also notice the smell as well.

When opening the beads, pour them into the organizer. The organizer is great because it has sections to pick the beads up easily.

Once you finish the project after it dries, you can either keep it in the tray and put it on display or take it out.

We took them out, and all of them came out successful except one. The beads take longer to dry than listed, and you have to make sure that you put the beads in correctly.

I think the better option is to keep them in the tray as a decoration, in case they come apart so that way you don't have beads all over the place.

Overall:

Super Beads are great for children that are patient, because they do take time to finish the project. It took my children about 30-45 minutes to finish their projects.

I think that after you do the activity once, it will get easier because you know what to do so that they will come out correctly.

My Children’s Take:

“I liked the art that I made!”

Superbeads are fun, they are really a great craft.”

 

My 4-year old twins did the lion and rhino and added their own creative touches!

My 7 and 8-year olds felt their animals needed grass at the bottom.

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Here's the completed owl, it looks just like the template!

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Super Beads {Zirrly Reviews}
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Magic Stix Markers Review + Giveaway

This post contains affiliate links.

My children love art and so they were very happy when I was selected to review the Magic Stix Washable Markers from The Pencil Grip, Inc.

Wow, I love these fun art activities for kids with markers!

Wow, I love these fun art activities for kids with markers!

These markers are great for so many reasons! Read to learn more & find out how to win your own pack!

Here are a few reasons why we love Magic Stix Washable Markers:

1.  Portable Carrying Case

I can't stand how quickly art supplies get messy! I'm always trying to figure out what to do with their art supplies, so I love the portable carrying case that they come in.

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2. Super Bright Colors

My children and I love the super bright and bold colors. Unlike regular markers, the colors are very vibrant and stand out on the paper.

3. So Many Markers!

Since I have 4 children, it gets hard to share practically anything! We have the 24 pack and since there are so many markers to choose from, everyone gets the color they want which makes art projects fun!

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4. Mess Free Paint

These markers are really mess free paint! I have never seen markers that color like paint.

5. Great Color Selection

There are so many colors in the color wheel to choose from, even gray! My children, especially my twins, love to have specific colors for specific things.

6. No Odor

Why do my children have to smell everything? I have no idea, but I was happy when they told me that the markers had "no smell", so they won't be sniffing them instead of coloring.

7. Bright Colors

I like that these markers are not dull, even after coloring for a long time.

8. Washable

Ok, so this is really my favorite feature. I have no idea why my four year old twins have to get marker on them (and everything else for that matter) as well as the paper.

So what did my children like to do with their new markers? Here are a few fun art activities we did with our markers:

1. Science Drawing

My first grader was reading about frogs in Science, so she decided to draw a frog. I think that it came out pretty good. After drawing, then she wrote a paragraph about what she learned.

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2. Color a Picture

Now that we have these markers, my twins think they don't have to color with anything else. My four-year old son really put the coloring abilities of these markers to the test, and as you can see they color very well!

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3. Patterns

My children love to color "adult coloring books" because of the intricate patterns. These markers are great for adult coloring books due to the brightness and fine tip. I would suggest tearing out the page from the coloring book, since we did notice a slight bleed.

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Some other activities we did with our Magic Stix washable markers were making comic books, using stencils, and writing practice.

Overall, we love the Magic Stix Washable Markers from the The Pencil Grip, Inc. 

These markers will make a great addition to any art supply set!

 

GIVEAWAY

The Pencil Grip, Inc. has graciously offered to giveaway 1 pack of Magic Stix Washable Markers!

Just follow the rules below to enter!

Contest Starts 03/06/18 Ends 03/14/18

    U.S. Residents Only

    Winner Will be Randomly Selected

    Prize will be shipped in 4-6 weeks by The Pencil Grip, Inc.

    Review is my honest opinion & I have not been compensated in any way

 

Magic Stix Washable Markers {The Pencil Grip, Inc. Reviews}
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How to Use The Starfall Home Membership: A Homeschooling Mom Review

I have always used the learning games from the Starfall Education Foundation even when I was a classroom teacher because my students used to love to play games to improve their reading.

 So I was very excited when I was chosen to review the The Starfall Home Membership with my children and see the other materials inside of Starfall.

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Getting Started:

First children can customize their avatar in the “Who Am I” section. My twins love to take turns customizing their person, changing the clothes, and learning about their body parts.

The Starfall Home Membership can be used on the app or on the computer. We mostly used the computer so that the twins could actually share the screen.

Preschool & Kindergarten:

With my four-year-old twins, we focused on the Learn to Read section. This section is broken down by word family, and focuses on a specific skill for each lesson. My twins love the games that are included with each lesson, and I use them as a motivational tool after reading.

First I would read the story with them, then have the story be read to them. There is an ear icon that children can click to listen to the story being read to them. They would then practice reading the story by themselves. Last, they played the word family game and watched the video.

 

Motion Songs

This is probably my twins favorite part of Starfall. They love the Motion Songs that include all of their favorites such as If You’re Happy and You Know It, and Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear. They like to follow along with the video while singing and getting exercise. Motion songs are a great way for young children to practice their gross motor skills and learn spatial awareness.

Elementary Students:

Did you know that The Starfall Home Membership also has an elementary section? The elementary area covers first grade and some second grade skills.

The first grade section is aligned with the Common Core state standards which are taught in a majority of the states. Even if you don’t homeschool, it would be great extra practice or review for first graders.

My seven-year old daughter really benefited from the math videos because they are easy to understand and interactive. Since math is her area of improvement, we focused on the math lessons. I like how the program has children interact with the lesson by clicking on the math manipulatives and answer the questions. She enjoyed the math videos that made the concepts easy to understand.

The first grade reading section goes over the different genres such as myths, folktales, poetry and plays. The poems are written by well-known authors, but are illustrated and animated to make them interesting to young children.

Math skills for second grade include multiplication, place value, addition, and subtraction. Once my daughter completes the first grade section, then I will use the second grade section to prepare her for the next school year.

Parent-Teacher Center

There is also a Parent-Teacher Center section inside the Starfall Education Foundation. This area is helpful to learn more about the benefits of the website, as well as resources for your child. There are printables that go along with the lessons, handwriting worksheets, math practice, and more.  

Overall:

My children enjoy using the The Starfall Home Membership. I think that it is a great way to assist learning and struggling readers in a fun and interactive way. The yearly membership is also a great supplement to any homeschool curriculum for young elementary students.

The Starfall Home Membership {Starfall Education Foundation Reviews}
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