Monday, February 28, 2011

Goal Setting Monday- February 28, 2001


I am trying out a new meme this week from Mama Manuscripts and it is all about making goals for the week.  I am working through a cold right now, so I have decided to make my goals light for the week, so I can make sure I can get everything done. 


1.  I need to write three book reviews.

2.  Our dining room/kitchen needs a lot of help.  I have not organized our school items for several months, so this is the week to make sure it gets done.  The kids need the counter clean, so they can use their play dough.

3.  I need to make Facebook pages for this blog and also for Christ’s Bridge.  I am wanting a new way to spread the news when I don’t have enough information for a blog post.

4.  I want to walk a mile every day.  Exercise truly makes a person feel better.

These are my goals beginning tonight until Saturday.  I am feeling good about this!  I will tell you in a week how it went.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Math Rider

Product: Math Rider
Vendor Contact Information:
Sharper Edge Pty Ltd
31 Hannah Street
Beecroft NSW 2119
Phone- +61 2 9980 2437
Hours- 9am to 5pm (East Australian Time), Monday-Friday
e-mail- use contact form on website
Age Appeal: ideal age is 7-12
Format: Download (System Requirements) available for Linux, Windows, and Macs
Price: $37 U.S.

Are you looking for a fun way for your kids to learn their math facts? Math Rider is a fun way to do it. When your children log in they can either practice or begin their quest. There are three quests they can go on, easy (0-5), medium (0-10) and advanced (0-12). If they are able to complete the advanced level with a 99% or better mastery they will go to the master level where it is a race against time. The rider will go on a quest with their horse Shadow in the Mathlands. They will acquire a special flower, gem, letter to the king and finally the chance rescue the princess.

As the parent you will be able check on your child's progress with them, by seeing how far they have made it on the quest map. The statistics page will show what problems have been mastered and what still needs to be worked on. It even gives a list of the top five facts that are currently the most challenging.

Our Experience:
I downloaded Math Rider onto two computers, so both kids could work on it at the same time. I decided to show B and C what it was like before I let them try the program. We set up our user names and passwords, then I showed them how to do it by doing a practice run.

B recently began learning multiplication, so he was excited to try division. He is doing an advanced quest, but his mastery is only at 14%, so he will be excited when he sees improvement. He has also been working on improving his mastery percentage on the easy addition quest. B is currently above 80% on that quest. One of his favorite things to do is listen to the story that comes before the quest and after.

C is just beginning to learn her math facts, so this program has helped her immensely. When we started this program she was unable to add any of the 1+'s and now she can add up to 1+12. And she is working on the 2+'s. Within the next week I would think that C should be adding up to 2+10. Until she is able to know her addition facts from with 0-5 added up to twelve (easy level) she will continue to work on the practice runs. This will help her to have success on the quests.

I decided to play an addition quest which was a lot of fun. The kids enjoyed watching how fast I could go. The hardest part for me was adding horizontally and not vertically, as I do mentally. I can easily do it now and I am looking forward to working on subtraction, multiplication and division. As a teacher I am going to need to know my facts as well as my students!

What I Liked:
  • The kids were always excited to do Math Rider! They wanted to do it all day long.
  • It has helped C to finally begin to learn her addition facts.
  • B has been able to consistently improve his memorization of his facts. He has especially been having fun with division.
  • It has been great for me to see how well I can remember my facts.
  • It repeats the facts that are missed, so they can be memorized.


What I Thought Was Difficult:
  • When I first worked on my addition quest I had problems reading the numbers on the bottom of the screen. As I played more the problems became easier to read.

What B (boy, age seven, officially in first grade) Likes and Dislikes: I love Math Rider! I think Math Rider is absolutely great! I am working on division, for example 25/5=5. Also 20/4=5. I am also working on addition. Each quest is made of different levels, easy (0-5), medium (0-10) and advanced (0-12) and there is a special master level. You have to get 99% or better mastery to do the master level. I am the advanced level of division and my mastery is 13%. It will take me a while to get to 99%! I used to be at 14%. On the easy addition quest I have 100% mastery and I am 74% done. I did get frustrated sometimes, when I didn't get the right answers. There was nothing I disliked. I think Math Rider is good for kids my age.

What C (girl, age five, working on kindergarten) Likes and Dislikes: I like Math Rider. It was fun. I don't know my math facts very well yet so, I do the practice runs. First I started with 1+0 up to 1+5, then up to 1+10, then up to 1+12. I can do practice runs with no wrong answers, but sometimes I get a couple wrong! Now I am working on 2+0 up to 2+5. I am so glad I am doing Math Rider and learning my facts, so I can go on a quest!


Dad's Call: After playing Math Rider on different levels for different math sets I found it to be a good source for reinforcing addition, subtraction, multiplication and division skills. There is a set amount of time to correctly answer each problem. If it's not then the program repeats the problem and shows the correct answer. I like the idea of the quests as it gives a goal for completion. The progress page is one of the best I've seen in quite while. It's very simple and straightforward. You know where your child is at with just a glance.

What I didn't like about Math Rider was the horse sounding off every time you got the answer right or snorted if you got it wrong. While the audible reinforcement is a positive for missing an answer it's quite annoying when you get it right. The program would be better if the quests were varied between the skill set levels. The same quest was used for the easy level regardless whether it was addition, subtraction, etc. Having a different goal (while still using the same quest routes) would greatly improve this program. Otherwise by the time you finish the fourth easy quest the excitement of completion has faded.

Overall I liked Math Rider for it's functionality but it could have been made far better with just a few tweaks here and there.

Other Products Available: None at this time

I would definitely recommend Math Rider product. For more reviews on Math Rider, please go to The Homeschool Crew review page.

Disclaimer: I received this product for free for review purposes through The Homeschool Crew. All links were current when posted.

Monday, February 21, 2011

B's Blogging- The Three Little Sheep

Once upon a time, there were three little sheep. They asked their mother if they could go out and live a life of their own.

The first little sheep built a house out of blankets. The second little sheep built a house out of leaves. And the third little sheep built a house out of trees, called a log cabin.

And then came along a lion. And he clawed and clawed on the house made of blankets and tore it apart. The first little sheep used a booster rocket to go to the house made of leaves to get away from the lion.

Next, the lion clawed the house made of leaves and tore it apart. The two little sheep booster rocketed over to the house made of trees, called a log cabin, to get away from the lion.

The lion then ran over and worked on clawing the log cabin, but he found he could not. Then the three little sheep were safe. The end!

TOS Blog Walk February 21-25, 2011

Please come with me this week on a walk with these homeschooling blogs.

Our Best Daze
2. The Joy of School
3. Spell Outloud
to the sea with me
Half Dozen Mama
Creative Learning
7. Homeschooling My Miracles
Beyond The Silver and The Gold - A Filipino Family's Homeschool Journey
9. My Own Sense and Sensibility
Happily Homeschooling

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Our Pineapple Plant

We have had this pineapple plant growing leaves for so many years that I have forgotten when I started it from a pineapple we bought at the store. It was just a couple of weeks ago that I looked in the middle of the plant and saw the new pineapple growing. When I saw this I was so excited and I just had to take some pictures and share them with you. I found a link as well to a site that is all about growing pineapples. And the most important thing that I gained from this website is, a pineapple needs little water, which is something that my plant hasn't gotten lately, so it has taken off. I always watered it too much. I can't wait to see how it grows and I will keep you all up-to-date.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

C's Blogging- Momma loves C

Momma loves me. Momma is 34. Momma shows she loves me by hugging me all the time. She tickles me too. C loves Momma. Momma said right now, “C, you are sliding off my lap.” Very, very funny. And C is five years old. The story is good so far. The end!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

C's Blogging- C loves Momma

It was a nice rainy day. And the clouds were rolling and rolling away. A spider was on Momma’s head. And C picked it off Momma’s head and dumped it out the door. Another spider was on Momma’s head and C picked it off again. And dumped it out the window. This time it was on C’s head and Momma picked it off and dumped it out the window. The end.

B's Blogging- A Moose Eating

One day a moose went out to graze, but then it started to rain and thunder and lightning. Then the moose decided to graze another day. But the next day on, the same thing happened. And the moose decided if the same thing happened he would go out and graze the next day on. The same thing happened, but he went out to graze. The End.

Word Search

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Thursday, February 3, 2011

Dig-It! Games- Roman Town

Product: Roman Town: The Premiere Archeology Interactive Computer Game for Kids
Vendor Contact Information:
Dig-It! Games
phone- 1-877-213-4448
Connect with them on Twitter and Facebook
Age Appeal: targets 5th to 8th graders, but is played by kids 8 to 88
Format: CD ROM
System Requirements
• Windows Vista/XP/2000
• CPU 800 Mhz; RAM 412MB; Hard Drive 350MB
Not available for Mac at this time
Price: Good news there is a SALE! Usually $39.95, you can use the coupon code TOS2011 to get Roman Town for $19.96! This coupon expires on February 21, 2011. What a deal!

Do you have a budding archeologist in your family? Then they may want to try Roman Town by Dig-It! Games. In this computer game, the archeologist will excavate the Roman town of Fossura, which was destroyed in 79 A.D. by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius.

In 3D rendered graphics you are able to explore each room of the building where Lucia and Marcus grew up. You will also L.E.A.R.N. (Locate Engrossing and Remarkable Knowledge) about the artifacts that were excavated with the in-game encyclopedia. As the archeologist, you will reconstruct mosaics, pots, classify artifacts, and fill out a report.

Our Experience:
We had a lot of fun with this game. B and C love history and games, so it was a wonderful mix. We took a while to finish each level, because there was a lot of reading for me to do. B and C enjoyed learning what amphorae, impluvium, the Fauces and many other items were that we excavated. We were in control of our diggers and what tools they used. There were different sized tools, from trowels to pickaxes. When we finished each level we would sort our artifacts then play three games, such as Matching, Does not belong, 2D or 3D reconstruction. After we played the games we would do the L.E.A.R.N. Quiz which consisted of true or false, word search, and term match. Some of the questions were tricky, but we were able to figure them out! After the Quiz we would play Calculi, which is a board game where you try to get five in a row. It is played on a board similar to a checker board without the colored squares. We would also go on a tour of the room we had finished excavating. The final thing we did was to complete our report, so we could move on to the next level/room. The video below is a wonderful example of the game.

What I Liked:
  • That I had to read it to my kids, so I was able to learn along with them!
  • The joy in the kids eyes when they solve the mini games.
  • The amount of fun mixed in with great learning.
  • The addition of Lucia and Marcus helped B and C learn what life was like for children in 79 A.D.

What I Disliked:
  • It was hard to click on the tools, we needed to dig with. It took me multiple tries to get my tool selected.
  • Since there was a lot to read and some words were hard for B to read it would be nice if it was voiced over.
What B (boy, recently seven, officially first grade) Liked and Disliked: I liked Dig It! It was fun! You can give your diggers trowels. I discovered that if you give your diggers trowels they can dig up small artifacts-and a pick ax digs up big artifacts. They were 6 levels. My favorite mini-game was Calculi. I think Roman Town is good for kids my age. There wasn't anything I disliked. I can't wait for the next volume!


What C (girl, recently five, working on Kindergarten) Liked and Disliked: It was fun. Daddy helped by reading the instructions to me. I learned how to separate artifacts and play Calculi. It was fun to keep the workers digging at the excavation site. It's good for kids my age. I liked all of it.

What Dad Liked and Disliked: This is a very creative activity for kids to learn about Roman Times through interactive archeology. The dig site was interesting but at times was slow. I liked how you could get information about artifacts as you dug them up. There were many activities for the kids to keep them interested and occupied. Having been to Italy I shared my Pompei pictures with the kids and that got them extra excited about Roman Town. All in all this is a wonderful program for kids.

Other Products Available: Roman Town Teachers Edition (CD ROM) and Roman Town Educator's Manual (Download)

I would recommend Dig-It! Games: Roman Town. For more reviews on Dig-It! Games: Roman Town go to The Homeschool Crew review page.

Disclaimer: I received this product for free for review purposes through The Homeschool Crew. All links were current when posted.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Sickness and Snow

Today was supposed to be C's day to do her first post and yesterday was supposed to be B's first day to do his post, but due to C's illness we were unable to do it. I am hoping that next week we will be back on track with the blog and our school work. It is difficult to do our school curriculum when I have to keep one child distracted (so she doesn't get sick) and I have to make sure that B (who is officially in school) gets his work done.

Fortunately through The Homeschool Crew we have been able to review products that work very well when kids are sick and learning still occurs. Please see my reviews on SPEEKEE TV and Tiny Planets.

I am looking forward to the snow that we are getting. We are supposed to get between eight and twelve inches. As I look at the DOT map most of the state is full of roads that are either closed or travel is not advised. It will be fun in a couple days to go sledding at our park when the wind dies down and the temperatures warm up.

Stay warm and inside if you are a part of the great Midwest storm and stay safe where ever you are in the world!