Archives for July 2012

Homeschooling Methods: The Lucero Method

Have you heard?  There is yet another homeschooling method making the news…the Lucero method!  This method of homeschooling involves tons of research, switching curriculum every year, only finishing half of anything you start, lots of tears and prayers, with plenty of thanksgiving to the Lord for working it all out in the end.

Doesn’t that make you want to sign on the dotted line?

The truth is that every family is unique in the sight of the Lord.  And because we are unique, He will have a different purpose and a different path for each of us.  It is through this path of homeschooling that we are sanctified and molded into who He has created us to be.

When we started homeschooling 12 years ago, we were all about academics and activities and getting it all done!   We started homeschooling when my oldest was starting second grade and my second child was four (and yes, he had preschool curriculum).  Because my daughter had been in public school for a couple of years, there was definitely an adjustment time for both of us.

I had read books about giving your children a love of learning.  My mantra was “lighting the fire, not filling the bucket”.  But on a practical level, my days were spent rushing kids along making sure they finished all their “work” while they whined and complained because “that’s not how Mrs. Soandso does it”.

When children three and four came along, we were involved in so many activities and just because they were children three and four didn’t mean they would miss out on all the fun that children one and two got to experience.  It started becoming harder to get it all done and I felt like I was failing because our homeschooling efforts didn’t look like Suzie Homeschooler who had a digital scrapbook with music playing documenting all the science experiments and field trips she had done with her kids.

A few years later, children five and six came along…two little boys.  We moved half-way across the world, then back again a year later.  Our youngest had club-feet and I was left alone with six kids for almost a year.  After reuniting with my husband and moving to Kansas, six months later I was back in Texas with my six kids taking care of my mother who died of breast cancer. So in the space of 2 years, the kids and I have moved 5 times and been alone 11 of those months.

In the last three and half years our school years have been filled with more life and less school.  We do what we have to do and just take the next step each day.  I have always thought that I was a Charlotte Mason homeschooler.  The Lord is showing me more and more that I am a Jasmine Lucero homeschooler.

Ultimate Homeschool Method @ponderthepath

Here are a few of the tenets of my method:

1. Love deeply – We are only on this earth for a limited time.  Focus on loving the Lord and loving those He has put on your path.  Homeschooling is wonderful, but it is only a part of our lives.  It will someday end.  But the love we pour out to those around us has the potential to be eternal.

2. Laugh often – Life really is funny if you choose to let it be.  Laughter is wonderful medicine and it heals so many infirmaries.  And kids learn so much better when laughter is involved.  So teach them to laugh out loud.

3. Pray daily – Seek the Lord and His provisions over your life.  When your son isn’t learning to read, and chemistry is just too hard, and the baby is crying, and the little ones fighting–ask the Lord for help, ask Him for direction, ask Him peace in the home, ask Him to help you be the teacher He wants you to be.

4. Read aloud – Find a good book and gather everyone on your bed.  Let the little ones play with blocks on the floor and just read to them all.  Talk about what you are reading.  Find out what they are thinking.  Talk about how the book relates to your life.  Talk about the book in light of Scripture.  The read some more.  Read to the little ones before nap time, then read to yourself after they go to sleep.

5. Be thankful – If the Lord has blessed you with children and provided a way for you to keep those children at home with you, be thankful.  If you are the one they see when they wake up in the morning and the one they kiss goodnight, be thankful.  Count you many blessings and thank God for everyone.

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BacktoHomeschool

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Schoolhouse Review: Math Essentials’ No-Nonsense Algebra


As I mentioned in another review, growing up, I loved math. I have always done very well in math and even have a degree in accounting. Unfortunately, I am not such a great math teacher. I am not able to articulate why the problem is solved the way it is. It has often caused a lot of stress in our family. I get frustrated because the kids aren’t getting it. They get frustrated because they aren’t getting it. And both of us feel like failures.

I recently had the opportunity to review Math Essentials’ newest textbook, No-Nonsense Algebra. The book is a 280 page paperback text and sells for $27.95. There are 10 chapters in the text that encompasses a full year of high-school algebra. The number of lessons varies with each chapter, but at the end of each chapter there is a chapter review.

One thing that I really appreciated was the items placed in the back of the book. The glossary contains helpful terms and an explanation on what they are. For instance, if your student (or yourself) forgets what a greatest common factor is, you can find it in the glossary along with a simple explanation on how to find the greatest common factor. There are also several handy charts such as a prime numbers chart, a square/square root chart, and my favorite, a chart with important formulas.

How It Works

Each lesson has an introductory section that explains the lesson. The student then watches an online video that corresponds to the lesson (each lesson has a corresponding video). There are a few examples in the book to show how the problems are solved. The student then works through the exercises and a few review problems from previous lessons.

My Thoughts

I would like to preface my thoughts by saying that I really think math programs (especially for high school level math) need to work well for both the student and the teacher. I don’t think there is a one-size-fits-all math program that can be used with every student and achieve the same results every time. So just saying a math program is really great is relative.

Personally, I like the fact that if my son doesn’t understand a concept he can watch a video that further explains the concept while showing examples of the problem. This would also be great for visual learners or students who need to learn independently.

The lessons are very short and concise. My son really liked that there were not tons of problems to do everyday (usually 10-20 plus 4 for review). Honestly, I am a little concerned that this may not be enough repetition–just not sure though. I don’t really know how much repetition is ideal to cement the concepts in their minds (and really I think it probably depends on the student). So I think it would be nice if there were additional problems that could be given to the student if they did need more help.

I would have also liked more word problems. Again, probably the math lover in me, and maybe this is the fluff that has been cut out of the math program so that it is indeed no-nonsense. I just want to make sure that my kids know how to apply the concepts they are learning.

I will leave you with one last thought on the No-Nonsense Algebra. I did not get one complaint from my son as he worked on it. And for those of you with kids taking algebra, you know that is a good thing!

Other products by Math Essentials

Along with the algebra text, I also received Mastering Essential Math Skills – Fractions book. The math skills books are designed to help your student master a specific skill. There are eight different math skills books, each one covering a different topic. I requested the fractions book because this is an area that I felt needed some improvement in my son’s coursework.

Sometimes it is a lack of understanding in the basics of math that can cause a student frustration in the more complicated math lessons. By spending some extra time on a specific area, it can have a drastic effect on their overall math comprehension.

The math skills books are not meant to teach a new skill, but rather sharpen and enhance skills already learned helping the student to master the skill. This is done by spending 20 minutes a day, having the student work a few review exercises, followed by approximately 10 focus problems and one word problem. The math skills books are very simple to follow and understand, don’t take too much time to complete, and are a great addition to other math programs!

Special Promotion

Special promotional offer for orders placed in June, July, or August:
Any order that includes Mastering Essential Math Skills Book 1, OR, Mastering Essential Math Skills Book 2, OR, No-Nonsense Algebra, will include a free copy of Geometry (A $14.95 value) plus a free Homework Kit (A $4.99 value).

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To see what my fellow crewmates had to say about Math Essentials’ No-Nonsense Algebra, click the banner here:

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Disclaimer: As part of the TOS Schoolhouse Review Crew, I received the product or service mentioned above for the purpose of a review. All opinions are my own. For more information, please read my disclosure.

Schoolhouse Review: Zane Education

When I was young and being educated in the public schools, I remember ever so often our class would be shown videos. This was before VCRs, back in the days of projector film strips. The videos didn’t have animation, rather they were a collection of slides shown as a voice narrated the subject matter.

When I clicked on the first video to review Zane Education, memories flooded back to me as the girls and I learned about the Texas Alamo. Slide by slide we watched the images go by and heard story that must have been recorded before I was even born. As we watched, the words the narrator spoke were shown in the caption below the screen.

How It Works

According to Zane Education’s website, the captions, or subtitles, are “The Missing Piece” in children’s education. The use of subtitles is said to improve reading and literacy skills. Zane Education provides over 2,000 educational videos in hundreds of topics with tons of quizzes available to measure learning retention.

I personally enjoyed several of the Texas history and geography videos. I was surprised to see that they were available. However, considering the number of videos, they really do cover so many topics you don’t generally expect. And there are videos for all ages. Like I said, I enjoyed the Texas history, but there were also videos covering high school science all the way down to kindergarten music lessons. I think that is what I liked best about Zane Education is that there really is something for everyone in their collection of videos.

Personal Thoughts

One of the things I disliked about the videos though, was the fact that the material is presented in a secular, non-Christian way. The science videos are all based on evolutionary teachings. The history is taught from a humanistic worldview. So I found that for our family we were very limited in the amount of videos we could use.

Personally, I believe that all educational subject matter is religious in nature. There is no such thing as neutral teachings. And while I will occasionally teach or read from a book that does not possess a Christian worldview, I like to be able to either edit out parts that I find unacceptable, or take the time to discuss with the children why we believe the way we do and why the material is contradictory to our beliefs.

I found that this was difficult to do while watching the videos because the material on the videos is presented as truth. I felt like I was on the defensive rather than the offensive. This might be OK for the older children who are already well grounded in their beliefs and are able to pick out other worldviews in the material. However for our younger guys whose foundation is still being laid I find that it is more beneficial to pour into them the truth at this stage. That way they are able to recognize false teachings as they mature.

I should add that as part of the review, I was given a very comprehensive Christian Home Learning Guide that is a Christian companion to the Zane Education Videos which I greatly appreciated. And while I wasn’t able to read all 424 pages of the guide, I was able to skim some parts of it. It seemed like it was a wealth of information even without the videos. I just didn’t feel comfortable trying to reconcile the guide and the videos for my younger kids (which are 10 and below).

On a positive note though, the kids really enjoyed learning about some of the great composers such as Bach. So I do think there is some good material there, I think you just have to be selective and make sure that you are comfortable with the material. And thankfully Zane Education offers a free membership option where you are able to view demo videos and see some of the material available on the site.

Zane Education offers several levels of membership. To view the benefits available with each level of membership, please view Zane Educations Membership Information page.

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To see what my fellow crewmates had to say about Zane Education, click the banner here:

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Disclaimer: As part of the TOS Schoolhouse Review Crew, I received the product or service mentioned above for the purpose of a review. All opinions are my own. For more information, please read my disclosure.

Food Reformation Comes Home

Last weekend the kids and I attended Vision Forum’s Reformation of Food and the Family conference.  Over the years, our eating has mirrored a roller coaster ride.  I read and research and learn all this great information.  I get excited and plan and have some great ideas.  Then reality sets in.  And it gets hard.  And I get discouraged.  Down goes the roller coaster as we run back to all the yuckies we need to be avoiding.

I think that is why I enjoyed this conference so much.  It was such a great encouragement.  One of the theme’s that was mentioned over and over by several speakers, is that eating well is a journey.  It is something that takes time, and lots of learning over an even longer period of time.

For those of on this journey who are first generation sojourners, not only are we huffing and puffing trying to just keep on the path, we are also having to “cut” the path as we go.  We don’t have a roadmap or gps, we have to find our way with each step. And if that’s not enough, there are plenty of money-hungry healthy eating experts out there that are happy to show us the way for a price.

Fundamentals

Today, I drove about 45 minutes away to a little farm tucked away in the rolling hills of Texas. As I pulled up to the farm, chickens and guineas were roaming around the yard. A tiny red building next to the pig pen housed the freezers full of grass-fed beef, free-range chicken, and pastured pork. The fresh milk and eggs are in the fridge next to the house.

As we were getting out of the van, out runs two little blonde-haired girls with their mama not far behind. She helped me get my goods out to the van, then took us on a mini-tour of the farm. We chatted about the pigs and their family’s hopes of moving toward heritage pigs. Then we discussed how hard it is to butcher the animals you have grown to love over the couple of years it takes to fatten them up (without growth hormones, that is). She walked us back to the van when we were done, thanked us for coming out and said she looked forward to seeing us next time.

As we drove away, I thought to myself,

“That’s how it should be.”

Simple. Basic. Whole.

I left that farm feeling so full of peace. This is how it should be. We should have peace of mind about the things we eat and feed out families. And it doesn’t have to be this complicated food matrix. It really can be simple.

What about the cost?

I have been thinking about this quite a bit lately, especially with the rise in couponing (yes, I have tried my hand at it). I don’t remember the statistics, but I read something somewhere that said we (as in modern Americans) spend less of our total earnings on food than any other time in history (or any other country, currently). We want it cheap (or free) and we don’t care how devoid of nutrition it might be. In other words, we are a gluttonous generation that wants to be fed by the work of others. Another non-statistical bit of info…one in seven Americans is fed with food paid for by others (food stamps, free lunch program).

Real food cost money. Do you know why? Because real food is grown by real people. Real people can only work so many hours. Real people are affected by nature (remember the curse put on Adam?). Real people have to feed their own family. When you buy real food from a real person, you have to exchange something of real value for the real food.

This often comes in the form of sacrifice. For most of us, eating real food is a sacrifice. It may cost more than we would like to pay. We may have to travel further than we normally travel. It probably takes longer to prepare. But the reward, or should I say blessing, of our sacrifice is great.

What now?

As time allows, I am planning on writing a series of articles about where to begin in reforming our diets. Sometimes the hardest part of a journey is the first few steps. And often those steps must be taken in faith.

I would also like to spend some time on practical ways we can eat a more wholesome diet while at the same time living within our means. This can be a challenge, but honestly I think a big part of overcoming these challenges is changing our mind set.

One other topic that deserves to be examined is the different fads out there, even in the “healthy” food arena. Everything has a label and everyone is wearing one! As a Bible believing Christian, we should start and end with His Word as our source of reference. What does the Word say about our eating (does is say anything at all)?

Finally, I would like to leave you with a verse. I know that the food topic can sometimes be divisive. That is not my goal at all. I pray that all I say or teach others would be done in charity.

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.

1 Corinthians 13:1

Schoolhouse Review: Knowledge Quest Map Trek Set

When someone new (who doesn’t homeschool) finds out we homeschool our children, the second question (we all know what the first question is!) they ask is “What curriculum do you use?” In my mind I am thinking, “Do you want the list?” Out loud I mumble off a few better known titles just to let them know that we do indeed teach our children.

I lean heavily toward a Charlotte Mason-type learning/teaching style. At the beginning of the school year, I will plan out the general topics that I hope to cover during the year. When we are studying a particular topic, if the children find it interesting I try to expand their learning.

One thing I have not done a whole lot of formal teaching on is geography. I don’t find that I have the time to implement an entire geography program separate from out other learning. And because out other learning is a menagerie of different things, I assumed that adding in a geography program would be difficult, or at least very time consuming.

When I was given the opportunity to review Knowledge Quest Map Trek Set, one of the first things I read about was how easily they can be incorporated into any type of learning program. In fact, there are curriculum integration guides to supplement several of the more popular history programs. Because we don’t use a specific curriculum, I wanted to make sure I would be able to integrate the learning myself.

Here’s what I found:

The set contains a lot of maps (and I do mean a lot!).

All maps are paired with both a student outline map and a teacher map that is labeled with the correct information. Each Map Trek map can be used as a stand alone map, incorporated into your own lesson plans, or they also come with their own lesson plans. If you use the built-in lesson plans, you are able to choose between three different levels of difficulty.

There are 2 parts to the US edition. Part 1 contains historical maps from the Viking conquest until the Iraq conflict. Part 2 contains maps of each state. Then there are Ancient maps which start from the time of Noah all the way until the Roman empire. The Medieval maps come next covering the Byzantine empire to the Reformation period. The New World maps cover the birth of America, while the modern maps cover several of our modern wars and conquest. Last, there is the world continent maps with grid pages to allow students to draw their own maps of the continents.

My favorite thing about all these maps is that they are labeled very well in the table of contents (in chronological order) and are linked to the pages (e-book format) so that no searching is needed.

The map set is great for the entire family.

The more children I have, the more I find products like Map Trek essential to our homeschooling budget. I need to be able to use most of my curriculum for several grades at once, and be able to use it over again.

As I was making mental notes of the topics in the tables of content, I realized right away that I would be able to let the younger girls use the New World maps along with their early American history studies while my son uses the Modern maps with his World War 2 studies. I was also excited when I was able to use some of the maps with a book I am currently reading about the history of the English language.

This map set can be used with littles (my 3 year old got his own Florida map to color when the girls worked on their state maps) all the way to adult learning.

Learning geography is easy to teach along with your current learning.

I guess I thought I had to spend large amounts of time (time that I don’t always have) on geography in order for them to learn it. But what I have found is that these maps can be brought out once a week during a lesson and because you are already studying the material, they simply add to the learning and recollection. In other words, not only is the history helping your student to learn the geography. The geography lesson is also helping the student to remember what they learned in history!

This means that by putting in a small amount of time, you are reaping an even larger benefit!

Knitty Gritty

The Map Trek maps can either be purchased individually or as a set. Each map book is $19.95. The 6 book e-book set is $47.00 and the CD-ROM version is $49.95. If you prefer a hardcover book, the cost is $55.00 for both the book and a reproducible CD-ROM.

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To see what my fellow crewmates had to say about Knowledge Quest Map Trek, click the banner here:

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Disclaimer: As part of the TOS Schoolhouse Review Crew, I received the product or service mentioned above for the purpose of a review. All opinions are my own. For more information, please read my disclosure.

Magazine Holder Cozy

We homeschool year round at our house, but usually mid-summer I get the itch to start planning for the next school year. I think about how things worked out the previous year, and if there are any changes that I would like to make for the upcoming year.

One of the things that has been on my mind is the accessibility of “my stuff”. I usually keep all of our current books in a large basket on the bookshelf. But once I sit down to start reading to the kids, I have to either bring several books with me or get up between books to get the next one. I don’t mind getting up and getting the next book, but I have noticed that when mama gets up, even for a second, the kids scatter like ants. And their focus is completely gone.

To remedy the situation, I decided to place several books in a magazine holder at the side of my seat. I can now keep my books, worksheets, maps, pens…all at my fingertips as we move from one lesson to the next.

And because I didn’t like the look of black plastic, I came up with a cute magazine holder cozy to jazz it up a bit. I was so pleased with the results!

Head on over to The Happy Housewife where I am sharing my magazine cozy tutorial!

Used Curriculum For Sale

Cleaning out the homeschool closets making room for next years books!

  • All prices are postage paid (media mail).  If you want delivery confirmation, it will be extra.
  • Please email me at jasmine.lucero@yahoo.com and put Curriculum in the subject line.
  • All payments for curriculum should be made via paypal (non-credit card)
  • If you want to order several books, email me and I will adjust the shipping accordingly (especially for the cheaper $3 books)

Below are the books I have for sale (will try to get some pictures up, email me if there are specific ones you would like a picture of):

Preschool/Elementary

$15 – Five in a Row (1994) (stain on back corner and the edges of the back of the book)
$15 – Five in a Row Bible Supplement
$7 – Language and Thinking for Young Children
$7 – Keyboard Capers – Music Theory for Young Children
$10 – Early Education at Home
$20 – Prairie Primer

Music

$5 – ABC’s of Worship (easy piano/guitar)
$5 – Chris Tomlin – Arriving (sheet music/chord chart/piano)
$5 – Mercy Me – I Can Only Imagine (Piano)
$5 – Top Christian Hits 04-05 (piano/vocal/guitar)
$5 – Worship Together 8.0

Or $20 for all

Latin

Latin Road to English Grammar Volumes 1 and 2 – workbooks, teacher guides, flashcards, cd (only have the cd for volume 1)

$70 each or $100 for both




Science

$10 – Usborne Mysteries and Marvels of Nature
$10 – Usborne Science Encyclopedia
$3 – The Year of the Tawny Owl
$3 – Disguises and Surprises
$3 – Science Crafts for Kids
$3 – Insects and Spiders Activity Book
$3 – Rocks and Fossils
$3 – Manatee Winter
$10 – Ultimate visual dictionary of science – Barnes and Noble
$3 – 101 science tricks
$10 – Deep space the universe from the beginning (evolution teaching, but beautiful images)
$5 – Gardens “history, gardening, plant science” – Amando Bennett
$3 – Square Foot Garden projects for children
$3 – Simply Sunflowers
$3 – Science in a Bottle
$5 – Tops learning systems – Green thumbs: RADISHES “38”
$5 – Tops learning systems – MAGNETISM “33”


Languages

$3 – German/English Dictionary
$15 – Deutsch: Schritt fur Schritt textbook, workbook, cassette tapes
$15 – Arriba! Spanish textbook, student workbook, answer key
$5 – Getting Along in Spanish workbook
$10 – Con Mucho Gusto spanish textbook


Miscellaneous

$5 – The Everything Games Book
$5 – As Unto the Lord: a tool for wives who want to glorify God
$3 – Sonlight Cooks
$10 – The Ultimate HS PE Book
$3 – A Case of Red Herrings
$5 – Bible Discovery- God’s Perfect Plan (1st 2 lessons written in)
$3 – Horizons Math 5, book 2 – 1st 30 pages written in
$3 – Atlas Reference workbook for children ages 6-8
$3 – The Pilgrims Progress – john bunyan
$3 – Just So Stories – rudyard kipling
$3 – M.C Higgins, The Great – Virginia Hamilton
$3 – Ali and the Golden Eagle – wayne grover


History

$10 – Usborne Twentieth Century
$10 – Western Civilization volume II: since 1550

$100 for the set
Omnibus 1 with Teacher CD
Til We Have Faces (CS Lewis)
Veritas Press Great Books (Iliad, Odyssey)
Iliad of Homer – Lattimore
Odyssey – Lattimore
Aeschylus 1 / Oresteia – Lattimore

Jr High/High School

$5 – Homeschooling the High Schooler CD’s – The Old Schoolhouse
$10 – Business Math Demystified
$3 – Beginning Public Speaking Student book

Art

$20 – Lamb’s Book of Art
$3 – Art Ideas: Scissors, Stencil, Glue
$3 – 100 Things for Kids to Do and Make
$3 – Nature Crafts for Kids

Language Arts

$20 – Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association
$3 – Italic Handwriting B – Getty & Dubay
$10 – Reading Reflex
$15 – First Language Lessons

Schoolhouse Review: Keyboarding in the Christian School

I am embarrassed to show these photos of my girls “typing” lessons. If you look closely, you will see the condition of my keyboard. I think I might be missing 10 keys or so from my keyboard (thanks to 2 very busy little boys who have enjoyed popping them off). I have thought about buying a new keyboard, until I discovered that I can just plug in our old keyboard via the usb port.

My daughter heard me in here typing away (the old keyboard makes click-clacking noises as I type). She asked me, “oh, do you like using that keyboard better because it reminds you of using those old typewriters.” Nostalgia set in a I reminisced about those old typewriters. The ones with real paper and real ink. The ones that you had to use white-out on if you made a mistake, then carefully realign your paper so that the typing would be on the same row.

There was real incentive to become a great typist in those days. Mistakes were time consuming and messy. Thoughts needed to be well planned out to avoid ripping out entire sheets of paper from the typewriter.

I am thankful for the ease of use computers offer, but I guess I do miss the rhythm of the typewriter.

I remember reading something when my oldest kids were young. My son struggled with terrible handwriting. I don’t remember where I read this, but it went something like, “Boys only need to learn cursive handwriting so that they can read their wives love letters. It is more important to make sure a struggling writer can type very well.” Those thoughts stayed with me and I made sure my son learned to type. He uses his typing skills daily. So glad I took that advice.

With my older kids, I used a computer based typing game. However, recently I was give the opportunity to review an e-book (that I printed out) called Keyboarding for the Christian School. I started off somewhat biased against a paper keyboarding lesson. I guess I was thinking that it would be harder for the girls and not as fun for them as a computer game lesson. I was anxious to see how it would work out for us.

How it Works

As I mentioned before, I used the e-book version of the book. I printed out the entire book (90 pages) and kept it unbound in a folder. Each day, when the girls did their lessons, I pulled out the pages of that lesson and used my cookbook holder to set them on. I placed the pages next to the computer so that they could look at the pages as they typed.

I then set up a simple text document on my computer. I set the font to New Times Roman so that the letters would match the ones in their lesson and I set the font size to 20 (they liked it large and it fit fine across the screen so I let them keep it large).

Each day, they would follow the lesson and type out portions of that lesson in 10 repetitions of 3 letters each. The lessons were long enough to teach new skills, but short enough to keep their interest. There were many times that they wanted to type more and I let them do as many lessons as they wanted.

One thing that I touched on earlier was the fact that the lessons are printed out and placed beside the computer as they type. This is actually one of the benefits of this type of program over a computer typing program. Because the paper is next to the computer, the student learn to look at the paper (not the computer) as they are typing.

Think about it, whenever I am typing something, I am usually required by the task to look at another paper while I am typing. Sometimes this may be notes I have written or a paper I am copying. It is definitely a useful skill that can only be mastered by practicing. And, it is how I was taught to type so very long ago!

Age Range

We reviewed the large print elementary version that is geared toward grades K-5.  However, there is a “regular” version for grades 6 and up as well.

Price

The price for the elementary version is $12.95 and for the regular version the price is $15.95.

Recommendations

I was pleasantly surprised by how much my girls enjoyed learning typing.  They even remember where they left of each time.  I think most of all it give them a feeling of accomplishment.  They see the older kids typing and doing their work on the computer and they want to be able to more than chicken scratch at the keyboard.

This program is not a fancy bells and whistles type of program.  It is a very simple, step-by-step learn to type program.  And I am glad. Honestly, we are trying to cut back on media stimulation.  The simple instructions and daily practice are more than enough to get the kids typing.

If you would like to give Keyboarding for the Christian School a try, the author has offered all of my readers a 20% off discount.  Simply  use the code SUMMER2012 when checking out.  Offer expires 8-29-12.

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To see what my fellow crewmates had to say about Keyboarding in the Christian School, click the banner here:

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Disclaimer: As part of the TOS Schoolhouse Review Crew, I received the product or service mentioned above for the purpose of a review. All opinions are my own. For more information, please read my disclosure.

Look What We Found…

…our first egg

Schoolhouse Review: Professor B Math

Over the last few years, we have been using the same math program and have become very comfortable with it. We were recently given the chance to review another math program to supplement our own. I was under the impression that the math program we were going to review would be just that–a review program. I assumed that it would help solidify math facts, etc. However, Professor B turned out to be so much more than I first thought!

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How It Works

Professor B Math is an online math program that “teaches 3 years of math in 1 year”.  While we were given an entire year to use the program, we have only been reviewing it for 7 weeks so I have not yet determined whether Hannah has learned three years of math using the program!

To start the program, the student in placed in one of three levels.  Because Hannah is going into the 2nd grade next year, I placed her in the first level.

Here are some screenshots of the Level One Table of Contents:

The student starts at the beginning topic and works their way through each one. As the student goes through each topic, Professor B walks the student through each lesson step-by-step. There is no audio during the lesson. Rather, the parent (or the student) reads the lesson aloud.

After the online lessons are completed, the parent can print out worksheets to offer practice for the lesson.

Pricing

Each level is $20 per month, with discounts given for using more than one level.  For a yearly subscription to one level (which is actually available for a total of 36 months), the cost is $100.

Age Range

Level 1   PreK-2nd grade and remediation of older learners

The website FAQ states that students as young as three can do the program.  I don’t know that my three year old would sit still long enough to do the program, but it would be nice if he would!

Level 2  3rd-5th grade and remediation of older learners

Level 3  6th-8th grade and remediation of older learners

Pros

Professor B is a *new* way of learning math (for us anyway).  It teaches math in a way that makes it “connected and flowing like a story”.  I love math. I always have. But I am not a very good math teacher for my children. I don’t always know how to explain how to do something. I don’t always know why the problem is solved the way it is, I just get the answer. I think that Professor B Math is able to show (even me) how you get from A to B, and why.

Another pro is that this program can be used for many children at all different skill levels.  This is great for the pocket book!  It is also beneficial for the kids to have them work at it together.  As I will mention later, I didn’t always have the time to sit down with Hannah and work on math with her.  It was nice having an older sibling sit with her.  Not only did Hannah learn new material, but Maddie was able to review math.

Cons

For me, the website was a bit cumbersome. Once I log on and chose the appropriate level, I am taken to the “instruction” page. There are so many options on this page, it took me a few minutes to decide to just go to the table of contents. Once there I was fine and able to get to the lessons. However, there is not a way to track student progression. I couldn’t always remember which lesson we had done last. Or sometimes I would have one of the other kids do it with her and I wasn’t always sure how far they had gone or what they had completed. I guess I could have remedied the situation by writing it down, but it would have been great if the program kept track for me (call me lazy, or just real busy!)

Another con for our family is that Hannah was not able to use the program independently. She is still learning to read and needed someone to read the lessons to her. I realize that the program is set up this way so that the parent will know if the child has learned the lesson or not. But for us, it is just hard to find the time to sit with her each day. Maybe there could be an option to turn the sound on or off. Then the parent could decide what would be best for their family!

Recommendations

Honestly, I don’t feel like I have scratched the surface of the benefits of this program. The more we work on it, the more I find that I like about it. I am planning on continuing this with all of the kids. Even if they have learned a math skill, this program is a great way to tie it all together. It strengthens the foundation so that all math skills are improved. i would definitely recommend Professor B Math!

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Disclaimer: As part of the TOS Schoolhouse Review Crew, I received the product or service mentioned above for the purpose of a review. All opinions are my own. For more information, please read my disclosure.