Everyone Does Math {TOS Crew Review}

Everyone Does Math

Everyone does math.  Think about that.  We all do math.  Recently all of my school aged children have been using a math program called CTCMath.  Through the TOS Crew we received a one year online subscription to CTCMath Homeschool Membership.  This is an online program that can be used by up to 10 children.  This is perfect!

 

CTCMath Review
 

Why is this perfect you might ask?  It’s perfect because everyone does math.  Plus(hey that’s a math word!), I have ten children!!  Of course, the two youngest at age 3 and age nine weeks don’t do math for school yet.  They will someday though.  While they are doing kindergarten math their older siblings can do algebra and trigonometry or calculus.

 

Everyone Does Math

 

CTCMath is an online digital subscription math program.  We received access to a one year subscription for up to 10 children.  Not all of my children are in active school yet.  That is to say, all my children are learning things but only seven of them are currently using some kind of curriculum.  Learning and play go hand in hand here in our homeschool.  I believe learning should be fun, exciting, and engaging.  Children should want to do school.  

After all, everyone does math.

Each math lesson that is taught is a short video.  The videos are between four and nine minutes long.  Nothing that is going to tire or tax the brain.  We all know children don’t have the longest attention spans when you want them to also retain the information.  After the lesson is taught the questions test on how well they learned the information.  Students can go back and re-watch each lesson as well as retake the questions.  This can be done until they are fully comfortable with that material. 

 

Everyone Does Math

 

This is where we are at with CTCMath Homeschool Membership.  My nine year old son begs to do his math on the computer.  Math is his favorite subject.  He loves to sit at the computer and listen to his math lessons.  CTCMath does lessons through video.  You sit down, click on the video lesson you want to watch, watch and listen, then you answer the questions.  Easy peasy simple as pie.

CTCMath allows you to choose where your child should be.  Say I start my oldest who is 11 in 4th grade.  It’s too easy for her.  I can move her to 5th grade math with the click of a mouse.  Simple.  Easy.  She is doing math that challenges her and I can see what she has done and whether she has gotten the concept or not.

Parents Have Access Too

As the parent, I can see what lessons my children have done.  I can see which lessons they spent the most time on, which were the hardest for them.  Basically, I can see everything they’ve done and this shows me what they might need more work on.  Available for each lesson are worksheets that can be printed off for additional help.  Plus of course, the lessons can be watched again to help refresh memories and cement the concept.  I love having a parent account where I can track all of my children instead of having to get into each of their accounts.

 

Everyone Does Math

 

My kids love CTCMath.  They love being able to do math on the computer.  Another fun thing about CTCMath is the accent.  The person doing the talking and teaching on the videos has a nice Australian accent and my kids love it.  We have cousins who live in England and the kids are always fascinated with how they talk differently than us.  Teacher having an accent ensures that they have their best listening ears on.

Everyone Does Math

Another fun aspect of CTCMath is that each child has their own login.  They can login to their own account without having to go through the parent or teacher account.  This makes them more independent.  Really, this program does not require much parent teaching or involvement.  Students can be self sufficient.  The only ones that I really have to help are the young ones.  

My five year old is doing kindergarten math this year.  She’s almost done with the second book of kindergarten math that we use.  She loves doing math on the computer, but I do have to help her some as her reading skills aren’t as strong as her math skills.  She’s sharp as a tack with math.  For CTCMath she’s using first grade math.  I’m pretty proud of her and she’s super pleased with herself.  

 

Everyone Does Math

 

Check out CTCMath for the US and Canada on facebook, twitter, Periscope, pinterest, and youtube.  

Interested in hearing about other levels of CTCMath?  Maybe want another opinion?  Check out the Main TOS Crew blog page to find out what other crew members thought of CTCMath.  Remember everyone does math so everyone has an opinion.  Whether this math program is right for you or not, everyone does math and everyone needs a math curriculum.  

 

 

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Rainforest Journey {TOS Crew Review}

Have you ever wondered what it’s like in the rainforest?  Wanted to teach your child about it during homeschool?  My kids have been enjoying a Rainforest Journey thanks to a recent review from the TOS Crew.  EdTechLens offered us a year subscription to three levels of their Rainforest Journey program.  We received levels(grades) Kindergarten, First Grade, and Second Grade.  The main grade I’ll focus on in this review is the First Grade level though we did use and enjoy them all.

 

Rainforest Journey EdTechLens Review
 

If you’re like me, you had never heard of this company until I mentioned them.  They’re a fairly new resource to the homeschool community.  EdTechLens focuses on Kindergarten through 5th grade.  Rainforest Journey is their first program.  It focuses on teaching children about the rainforest in a unique way.  Each level is a bit more difficult and more complex to help build on what they may have learned and to help them incorporate it more.

Some fun things about the program are the wonderful pictures.  They’re not animations but rather real vivid photographs and videos.  The program is also interactive so your child can feel like they really are on a Rainforest Journey!  The closest we’ve ever come is visiting the rainforest section of our local zoo so this was very fun for my kids.   Plus the bonus is that they’re learning so much and having fun at the same time. 

For each grade level their are 5 units.  Each unit contains different lessons.  There are 34 lessons total per level.  All grade levels have the same 5 units.  They are The Big Picture, Adapt or Die!, Animals, Plants and Fungi, and Ecosystem.  Each grade level gets more indepth with these concepts and challenges the user more.  This is an interactive program so throughout the Rainforest Journey there are interactive ways for your child to learn more and also answer questions and show their knowledge of the material.

 

Rainforest Journey EdTechLens Review
 

My kids loved that they could click to learn more and it would and it would sometimes take them on a tour or introduce them to a child who was in the rainforest.  It made them feel like they were really a part of the rainforest journey and that they were seeing and learning on their own.  I liked the enrichment areas that would tell them more about what that particular passage was about.  It helped them to relate their life to the rainforest and the plants/animals that live there.

Each child is provided with their own username and password so they can get in and work on their level independently.  Unless the parent overrides it, the default setting is to go through the program sequentially start to finish and not allow the child to skip around.  I didn’t over ride that as we haven’t really studied the rainforest before and I wanted to see what direction the program would take.  As the parent I could get into my own account and manage all three of my children’s accounts and see what they had done and what they had left.  I could see what areas they had done better at and the ones that needed some work.

 

Rainforest Journey {TOS Crew Review}

 

 

This is an online only curriculum.  It’s considered enrichment because it doesn’t contain an anatomy portion to fill the life sciences title, but we found it to be a wonderful well rounded program.  You can purchase a one year license for one student in one grade for $50.  If you have 2-5 students that you wish to place all in the SAME grade you can choose the up to 5 students option which will give you 5 slots in the class for that one grade level.  This costs $75.  For me that would be a good deal because I do have two children in the same grade for a few grade levels.  But then when you have 9 children and they all work at their own speeds it’s bound to happen somewhere!

I have to say that I would recommend this.  I liked that I could have three different grade levels to look over.  I found that they are geared down in my opinion.  So my student who I placed in the kindergarten level could easily have done the first grade.  Of that vein the one I put in first grade could have easily done the second grade.  We received K, 1st, and 2nd so those were the only ones I had access to.  I wanted to start at the beginning and see how it progressed.

 

Rainforest Journey EdTechLens Review
 

I feel that after my child doing the first grade level finishes that level he could easily do the second grade level without feeling like he was going over the exact same information again.  It does change it up just enough and interact with them a bit differently that it gets them thinking on a different level and course so they’ll stay engaged.  

The program is simple for children to navigate and does hold their attention.  My kids easily did 30 minutes on this one days we worked on it.  It’s recommended to use it three days a week(at least).  We used it on an almost daily basis.  Four days a week on this program was very common in our household.  In fact, asking to use it on a Saturday was common to.  It’s more fun for the kids than it is learning in my opinion.  They like to do things on the computer which they don’t get to do often in our house considering we have one computer for 11 people so it’s a treat and they’re going to pay more attention to it.  

We would definitely recommend this to anyone wanting to take their children on a virtual rainforest journey while also having them learn about the rainforest and the layers and how everything works.  I’m excited to take my kids to the zoo again and see what they have to say when we’re walking through the rainforest section!

Please feel free to check out all the other levels and what reviewers thought of them on the Main TOS Crew Blog.  You can also visit EdTechLens on twitter, facebook, pinterest, google +, and linkedin.  Because there are so many reviewers you’re sure to find someone focusing on the grade level that your child will need!

 

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Here to Help Learning {TOS Crew Review}

Do your children write in paragraphs easily and efficiently?  My children still struggle with writing in complete paragraphs.  We recently received a helper for this area from Here to Help Learning as a review from the TOS Crew.  We got Teacher’s Kit Flight 2 Paragraph Writing in the physical form for our review.

 

Here to Help Learning Review
This is a multi-level program that works for grades 1-3(and higher if needed).  I have several children in these grades and was excited to give it a go.  You can get this course in physical format or online.  If you get it physically you’ll receive two books.  A Teacher’s Guide with Lesson DVDs(6 DVD’s) and a student workbook and language helps booklet.  You do have to have all of those components to use the course properly.  Each student should also have their own workbook as they are required to write in them.  Plus kids just like having a workbook to call their own(or my kids do!).  The Kit we received retails for $89.99.  The individual student workbooks are available for $19.99.

The online version of this course is available for $6.99 a month.  You get access to all the levels that Here to Help Learning offers and are not locked into just one level but can move around and use whatever fits your child best.  You do have to have reliable internet access and computer access for each student who will be using the course.  If you’re not sure if you’d like the online version feel free to take advantage of their free one day membership to check it out!

 

Here to Help Learning

 

We received the physical kit from Here to Help Learning as we currently only have one computer in our house so the children are not using it very much at all.  My husband needs it for his business and I sneak on when I can.  Thankfully most of our homeschool is done in physical books or items I can download and print off so the death of my laptop hasn’t been a huge hardship for us.

I decided to initially use this with my older two students.  One is 11 and one is 9.  They both work around a fourth grade level but are a bit behind in writing.  This was a great fit and they seem to be flying through it.  I can see us needing Flight 3 Paragraph soon as they’re almost done with this level.  

I plan to continue using this and may be a combination of online and book once we have another computer.  I do like that they have a section of their forum to connect with parents of special needs children.  They also have a section in my teacher’s book explaining that they think this works well with students who have special needs and why.  I’m looking forward to trying this out with some of my special needs kiddos in the future.  Probably when we switch to our next school levels.  

 

Here to Help Learning Review
 

Some fun things about the program include that it’s all like an airplane ride or learning how to fly.  You’re teaching your child to fly with their writing.  There are sections for Pre-Flight Checklist, Flight Check-In, Take-Off, Full Throttle, and Flying Solo.  My son especially loves these titles and it seems to help him keep working and be engaged with the material knowing he’s flying his own airplane.  

The recommendation for this course was to work on it two days a week.  One day for watching the video and doing the games and one day for the coursework/writing.  Each flight has 32 lessons for the year so that would take you 32 weeks to complete.  We’re looking at being done in 16 or less weeks as we’ve been using the program four days a week and completing two lessons per week.  My kids like to work on this and since we’re ahead in most other subjects and behind in writing so we were able to focus on this more.

If you’re interested in learning more about Here to Help Learning and hearing from reviewers of the online version as well please go to the Main TOS Blog to see what everyone has to say!  You can also find Here to Help Learning on their blog, facebook, twitter, pinterest, and youtube.  

 

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Increased Reading Comprehension {TOS Crew Review}

My kids love to read.  Some take longer to learn to read than others, but they all have loved to read or be read to from the start.  One thing I’ve been working with them is on having increased reading comprehension.  I want them to understand what they’re reading and retain it instead of just reading.  Recently I was aided in this goal with two of my girls through the TOS Crew.  We got to review Reading Kingdom Online.  This is a program online from Reading Kingdom.  

The Reading Kingdom Online teaches six areas to children ages 4-10.  These areas they work on are sequencing, writing, meaning, grammar, sounds, and comprehension.  My girls could already read.  They already had sounds mastered.  They pretty much knew grammar.  It was increased reading comprehension that I really wanted them to work on.

Reading Kingdom Review
We worked on this through using Reading Kingdom Online three days a week.  Each girl used it on separate days since we only have one computer that the kids can use.  Both girls are at the same academic level though one is 10 and one is 9.  They both read at a 2nd to lower 3rd grade level.  We’ve battled learning delays and slow progress over the years but I’ve always been encouraged that they have made some progress!  

I didn’t expect to see their reading comprehension increased by 200% in the time we’ve used this program.  That would have been unrealistic for my girls.  However, I am very pleasantly surprised with the amount of progress they have made.  

Reading Kingdom Review
Because this program is online it can be geared towards your child. It’s interactive.  The first thing you’ll do is have your child take a placement test.  This will determine where they are academically and what areas they have weaknesses and strengths in.  My girls were placed just a smidge lower than I would have thought they were.  I think some of that is due to the whole being on a computer thing.  My girls are not good with computers.  Like I stated above we only have one computer that the kids can use and they don’t use it very often.  A touch screen device would inevitably be easier for them to use these programs on, but the Kindle we were gifted is for reading only.

 

increased reading comprehension

 

After the placement test your child can begin to learn, grow, and play.  Really this is  learning program, but it acts like a game.  They’re going to think they’re playing at computer games really.  My kids think learning is fun, but can get frustrated at times when they can’t seem to grasp a concept.  This program doesn’t make them feel like they’re failing to grasp something and doesn’t seem like it’s repeating itself even if they ARE repeating the same concept several times.  I think it has worked very well for my girls and they have enjoyed using it.

If you look at the program it will tell you it’s for preschool through third grade with ESL and remedial available.  It also has a program available just for children on the autism spectrum.  I think this is a reading program that many can use and enjoy and it gets our approval!

Want to learn more about the Reading Kingdom Online program?  Or maybe the other program for kids on the autistic spectrum that Reading Kingdom Online has to offer?  Check out the Main TOS Crew Blog for the other Crew reviews.  You’ll get more of a feel for the program with all of our opinions!  You can also visit Reading Kingdom Online on facebook, twitter, and pinterest.  

 

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Learn a Foreign Language Online {TOS Crew Review}

Have you or your child ever wanted to learn a foreign language?  Now you can learn a foreign language online with Middlebury Interactive Languages.   We recently got to review Elementary German 1: Grades 3-5 through their online program and the TOS Crew.    

 Middlebury Interactive Languages Review
Why German?  German is a language I’ve always wanted to learn and one that we do hear spoken around us occasionally.  I took one semester of it in college and loved it.  I knew then that I was going to want my kids to learn German as well as expand my knowledge.  But, when you live in the country near a small town, there aren’t many language instructors available.

I was thrilled when I learned that you could actually learn a foreign language online.  But then there were all the different courses!  And they of course all had varying costs and reasons that they were the best.  I was so relieved when we got offered this review so that I could stop researching them all!

The course we received is the first semester of the year one German.  You can take Elementary German I and II(so a full year), Middle School German I and II, and High School German I and II.  So all in all they offer three years worth of the German language.  Each course is paid for separately, but that’s a lot of foreign language!

 

 Middlebury Interactive Languages Review
This is an immersion based program.  Middlebury Interactive Languages is different than other immersion based programs in that they bring world culture into their lessons.  So really you’re not just learning a language, you’re learning about a people and a culture as well.  You’re going to get experience and reinforcement in learning how to listen, read, speak, and write the language as well as the cultural enhancement.  It’s really a well rounded program.

We used this program three days a week.  There are 45 lessons.  I would have loved for us to be able to use it more, but it just didn’t fit into our schedule.  When you use this way to learn a foreign language online, you’re not just watching videos.  You’re getting much more.  You’re watching videos, being exposed to the written German, hearing it, and seeing images.  It helps to make sure all the senses are engaged and ensures more children learn!  We were right on with using this three days a week as the suggestion for grades 3-5 is 2-3 lessons a week.  So doing three lessons a week with 45 lessons it will take us 15 weeks to finish one semester of German!

 

 Middlebury Interactive Languages Review
I have to say that I may have loved this program just as much as my kids and I could easily see us continuing with the German course.  I learned some new things and would love to take some other languages myself!  My kids are also really excited by it!  They for one really love being able to use mommy’s computer as it’s not something they do everyday.  They also like knowing that they’re learning a new language.  While learning this language they can pick up bits and pieces of other conversations!  They also think they have a secret language that they can talk to each other in.  I hated to burst their little imagination bubble and tell them that there is a whole country that speaks their secret language!  They were shocked to say the least.  

Oh and hey mom this is for you.  You don’t have to grade their work!  The computer does that!  Your child will love this.  Well at least mine have!  The student using this is in 4th grade.  Really all of my kids were crowding around to listen and learn.  But only one got to control the keyboard!

Make sure you check out all the other Crew Reviews on the Main TOS Blog Page.  We got to choose a language and a level so there is going to be some variety available to help you choose which language and level is right for you.  Also check out Middlebury Interactive Languages on twitter, instagram, facebook, pinterest, and google +.

 

 

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Mayan Mysteries {TOS Crew Review}

I don’t often let my children play games on the computer.  They never do so on my phone.  But recently we were allowed to review Mayan Mysteries from Dig-It! Games with the TOS Crew.  This is definitely an exception for me and a learning game which puts it more in the school category!

Dig-It! Games has created online games and apps to help your children learn.  Their main course is history with a side of puzzle solving, math, geography, and adventure!!  These games will keep your children entertained while also working their minds and broadening their horizon of learning.  Right now they have several free apps that you can download!

 

Dig It! Games Review
 

The online version of the games can be purchased for a single user or an entire classroom.  We were given the single user version of Mayan Mysteries to review.  My son who is 8 has enjoyed doing the game himself as well as with his daddy.  I’ve never been big on computer games myself but loved watching him learn!  In fact, we have had to have the whole family research and learn more about some of the artifacts and sites of the Mayan people he has learned as well as more about the Mayans themselves. 

Mayan Mysteries will introduce you to seven different unique Mayan sites.  While looking at these places you’ll face 25+ challenging puzzles that will stretch your mind and improve your problem solving skills.  With this online game you get 9+ hours of unique game play.  Depending on the age of your child they may have more play time as well as it takes them longer to solve the puzzles.  The game has wonderful graphics as well as great music that does not detract from the game.

 

Dig It! Games Review
 

This particular game is designed for grades 5-9.  My son who is 8 is doing fourth grade work.  He required minimal assistance with this game.  Mainly, he worked on the game himself but often called his daddy over to work with him so he could show him how the game worked and what he was working.

A quick overview of the game simply put is that you are to discover who is looting artifacts from the ancient Mayan culture and put a stop to them.  You work alongside a team of others known as Team Q.  It’s a great educational game!

You can also download and print off lesson plans to go with the game.  Because I wanted to use this with all of my children in a way(not actually doing the game but learning none the less) I did create my own set of lesson plans to incorporate the knowledge from the game.  However, my son using the game used the lesson plans.  They are well written and do help cement the learning as well as allow your child to dig deeper and explore more.

 

Dig It! Games Review
 

To make more of the game and to improve the minds of all of my children, we began small unit studies on each of the artifacts and Mayan sites that were visited in the game.  We also researched the Mayan people and how we came to find them in the new world to correlate them into our history time table.  

To help build excitement and a sense of accomplishment before mastering the entire game, achievements are awarded along the way.  It’s always fun to see how you’ve progressed and what you have left to win over!  

 

Dig It! Games Review
 

I love that in their description of this game they tell you that it is for history, geography, social studies, math, language arts, and critical thinking!  Oh and to help enrich their reading and vocabulary!  So many things being done with just a game!  Great reminder that nothing is just a game or just a book when you homeschool!

Within the game is an encyclopedia with a score of knowledge that your child can call on to help them solve the mysteries.  If your child is anything like my son, they’ll love the independence that being able to use and look things up in their own little encyclopedia can create.

 

Dig It! Games Review
 

If you’d like to learn more about Mayan Mysteries or Dig-It! Games please read the other reviews of Crew members over on the TOS Blog Main Page.  Also feel free to check them out on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube!  Members of the TOS Crew were allowed to choose between reviewing Mayan Mysteries and Roman Town!  My son now wants to play all the other games that Dig-It! Games has to offer.  They really are a great learning resource.  I hope you’ll check them out.

 

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World History: Renaissance and Reformation {TOS Crew Review}

I’ve mentioned before that I love history.  It’s a passion for me.  I want to instill that love of history into my children as well.  Because of this I was pleased that we were going to review Project Passport World History Study: Renaissance and Reformation (1100 AD-1660 AD) from Home school in the Woods.

 

World History Renaissance and Reformation

 

We were given a choice of three time eras but I really wanted to focus on the Renaissance and Reformation this time.  The other two time frames were Ancient Egypt and The Middle Ages.  We were tempted by Ancient Egypt but the world history we’d been studying lately led us right into the Renaissance and Reformation and I felt it would be the easiest and best transition.

The world history studies from Home school in the Woods that we were sent to review came in download form.  They are also available in CD form to purchase on the website.  We received the download.  This world history course is geared for grades 3-8 though as I did you can use it for younger grades with some tweaking.  All of my children used it together so we had preK through 4th grade learning their world history together!  Always fun to do a study together as a family.

Some of the events that we’re studying about in our world history with the Renaissance and Reformation are Everyday Life, Art and Music, Inventions, Exploration, Martin Luther, and the Counter Reformation.  There are 25 stops along the way and you’ll meet fun people like Martin Luther!

This world history course is very unique and unlike any I’ve used prior.  It’s such fun!  It’s no wonder that my kids adore this program!  They get to go on an exploration of a different culture and time.  Basically they are travelling through the world history using their PASSPORTS to make stops and have a little tour around.  

Now because they are doing stops and having fun there is some prep work for mom or whoever is teaching.  You have to print off and then set up their stop for the day.   You can prep as many or as few stops as you would like at a time.  I’m one of those that likes to print off everything at once, separate it, and then go back each week and finalize what is needed.  

Home School in the Woods Review
The directions of what you as the parent need to do and what happens at each stop are very clear and easy to follow.  It’s all set up for you on the paper you just have to implement and do it!  I’m a very non crafty type person but even I found this easy to do.  Seriously.  I’m not crafty at all.  I’m an awesome baker but a horrible gluer!  

The good news about all the craftsy stuff is that your kids can do it and you can help them.  You will want a basket for this study that has all the necessary supplies like glue, scissors, scrap paper, construction paper, colored pencils, crayons, etc.  Also make sure you plan accordingly, there will be a lot of printing for this course unless you have it all printed from the CD somewhere other than your home.  I had the download and have printed it all at home.  Like I said I printed out everything at the beginning, then I put it in a binder.  As I needed it going along I could pull them from the binder, copy what was needed, and then we were ready to go!  I’m horrible at finding the right spot when needed so this really helped me to be able to mark where we were.

 

 

Home School in the Woods Review
 

 

Let’s talk time really quickly.  We have been spending about two weeks on each of our stops.  I find that it goes faster and smoother for us if I add some supplemental books for my younger ages.  I’d go to the library at the end of the week prior to a new tour stop and find 4-5 books that were related to the topic so that my younger children would have something we could read to help them understand.  

My youngest at two would listen to the supplemental books being read and do the coloring, that’s about it.  I didn’t expect her to understand or even really listen to what we were doing but she is all about doing what the big kids do.  

The next age using this in our family goes to my 4 and 5 year olds(well she turned 5 while we were doing this).  They again listened to the supplemental books and did the crafts with us but they also did some of the activities with us too.  They could comprehend and tell me about what we were studying but not do all of the activities or really understand the older aged reading in the course.

Going on up in the kids we hit my two 7 year olds.  These two are boys and they are 1st grade level.  They’re some smart little and really picked up on  quite a bit of the study.  They along with my 8 and 10-year-old girls who struggle(they’re both doing 2nd grade work) were able to do everything except where there was a lot of writing involved.  I was already doing the reading out loud or having one of my older kiddos read it so they didn’t have to do a great deal of reading.  When there was writing involved I just had them verbalize to me what was going on and what they would have been writing.

The last two children who were using this world history curriculum from Home School in the Woods on the Renaissance and Reformation are my kiddos in 4th grade.  They are ages 8 and 10 and it really fit them well.  They were able to do all of the stops and work on their own with minimal help from me.  There were of course some words and concepts that we spent time discussing because they were unfamiliar with them but all in all they did really well working through this.  

I can say after using this with so many age groups that it is geared towards the older middle school type grades but it also can be modified and used with other ages.  If you’re not interested in modifying you will not want to use it with anyone out of the recommended age range.  

If you’d like to learn more about Home School in the Woods or their online world history courses please visit their social medias of facebook, twitter, pinterest, and google +.  Also make sure to go over to the Main TOS Crew Blog Page as you’ll find the reviews from other TOS Crew members who were able to review their choice of the three time periods as well.

 

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Online Media Library for Homeschoolers {TOS Crew Review}

Have you got the summer blues?  Not sure what to do to help make your kids excited for school?  We get that way in the summer sometimes because it’s just too hot to do a lot of outside things.  But this summer is different!  We discovered an awesome online media library for homeschoolers!  As part of a recent Crew review we have a year subscription to SmartKidz Media Library for Homeschoolers which is a part of Smartkidz Media.

 

online media library for homeschoolers

 

We don’t normally watch a lot of television in our house.  We don’t have cable or satellite or anything so our television is rarely on unless we’re watching a movie.  But this summer we’re hooking the computer to our television via a HDMI cable so that we can all watch the same video at the same time.  Most of the videos are short at only half an hour-long.  So I don’t need to worry about being in front of the television for hours and retaining nothing.

This online media library for homeschoolers is designed for your children over the age of 13 to use independently.  None of my children are at this age yet so of course we’re watching as a family and I’m previewing what they’re watching.  With kids from the ages of 2 up to 10 I still feel it’s very important for me to know exactly what they’re viewing.

 

Online Media Library for Homeschoolers

 

Some things that make this wonderful for us as a homeschooling family who is very careful at what we let our children watch.  We love that these are all child appropriate.  I haven’t watched every single video on the site(there are way too many) but they are purposely uploaded and made available for homeschool children and that says a lot to me.  I have not watched any yet that I would not want my children watching.

Let me take a moment to say that while we love this online media library for homeschoolers because of the educational videos it offers, it also offers so much more!  There are also interactive ebooks, study guides, games, music, and more!  Over the course of the summer they are expanding this by adding 100 more hours of video as well as more games, etc.  I don’t think we’ll get through the entire video library this summer or even in the entire year subscription we’ve been given!

 

online media library for homeschoolers

 

I do want to note that there is a special area of the online media library for homeschoolers for special needs learners.  We have explored this section somewhat but not as thoroughly as I want to.  I do have some special needs learners and I’m sure this will be a great resource for us.

The main area of the library we’ve been using so far this summer is the Documentaries and Cultures section.  We’ve been doing some geography and history learning about other cultures and where they live.  Most of these are cultures of ancient times.  There are three videos in the Ancient Cultures series.  Two are 25 minutes long while the third is only 10 minutes.  

 

online media library for homeschoolers

 

Did I mention that you don’t have to be using your laptop to access this wealth of videos?  You can use any device!  I’ve heard some good things about Roku and you can access your SmartKidz Media account through that as well as your TV, PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone, Tablet, or mobile phone.  So you can essentially take it with you where ever you go!

We are anxiously awaiting for the study guides on foreign language to be available!  They’re marked coming soon.  We can’t wait to try out the French.  There are study guides available covering other topics though and we are trying some of those out.  Right now we have access to Shakespeare’s Language Art Basics(love the tying in of Shakespeare and grammar), Newton’s Genius Math Basics(levels 1 and 2), Ben Franklin’s Social Studies Basics, and Einstein’s Genius Science Facts.  These are not your normal study guides though.  It’s not a pen and paper with black and white words type of boring mindless work.  These make learning fun by having fun covers and allowing you to choose which area you’re looking at.

The series we started after our cultures series is all about animals!  Over the summer we take a few trips to the zoo.  It’s always fun to research and learn all about an animal before we head to the zoo to see it.  And then while there we can choose a new animal to research and learn about!  There are lots of great animal related videos on here!  

You can find out what others thought of this wonderful online media library for homeschoolers by visiting the main TOS Crew Review page for other reviews.  We all received access to the same video library with our year-long subscriptions but of course we all have different interests.  You can also connect with SmartKidz Media through facebook and twitter

 

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Online Homeschool Math {TOS Crew Review}

I have to say my oldest son loves math.  He takes after me this way.  I always loved math and even went to State Math Contests!  He was beyond thrilled when we got to review an online homeschool math curriculum through CTCMath.  We received their 12 Month Family Plan which allows for up to 10 students to use it!  Only having 9 children and one not even doing anything with school yet this is an awesome thing for us!

 

Online Homeschool Math CTC Math

 

This program is great for homeschoolers as it covers Kindergarten through High School so you don’t have to find another program after one or two years.  There are over 1300 videos over the entire course of the years that can be watched and learned from.  Best of all is that your child is not locked down by a certain grade but can move around as they want to.  If they need easier they can go down a grade level or go up one if it’s too easy for them and not challenging them enough.

Because this is an internet online homeschool math you and your child can access this anywhere you can get an internet connection.  So you can easily use it on your home computer, laptop, tablet, smart phone or whatever other devices there are out there these days that I have no idea how to work!  I’m a bit behind the times.  

 

online homeschool math with CTCMath {TOS Crew Review}

 

Some fun points we love!  The instructor on the videos has a cute Australian accent.  If you’re Australian it’s nothing out of the ordinary but for my born and raised in the Midwest kids, this is something uncommon and holds their attention.  The videos are short and easy to understand.   The problems grade themselves as they’re being done so they don’t have to wait for you to grade them and you don’t have to grade them!  I love not having to grade things!  They do have worksheets you can print off to work on as well.  And the best part for me is that everything is recorded so at the end of a year all I’ll have to do is print off the record pages to show what they have done at what grade levels for that year.

If you want you can assign a grade level to your student.  I prefer to keep it open.  I have some children who have delays.  They learn slowly.  And on any given day they may not remember what they learned the day before or the week before, so they need the flexibility to go back a few lessons or a full grade if necessary to where they do feel confident.  All students should feel confident and smart in my opinion and this program allows for that.

 

online homeschool math 1

 

Another fun thing is that each child has their own login.  You may not find this fun, but trust me when you have a lot of kids they love knowing that they are the only ones that can get into their account.  Of course, they know that mommy knows all the passwords and can CHANGE them, but they’re okay with that.  I’m okay with the fact that they see this as fun play time and not do homework and math time.

Another customization with CTCMath is the fact that you can decide how often they let you know what your students are doing.  You can get a weekly report on each student.  This tells you what they’re doing, how well they’re doing, etc.  

 

online homeschool math with CTCMath

 

I love that the questions require your student to input their own answers.  No multiple choice here.  They have to do their own work.  Each of my kids has their own scratch paper notebook that they can work their problems in if they need to show some work.  I can look at these then if they’re not getting very many right in an area and do some problem solving.  If they just don’t get the concept, the videos can be watched again and again.  There is no limit to the number of times your student can redo a lesson.  This is another aspect that is wonderful for delayed or special needs learners.  It gives them a margin of error.

As the mom and the teacher I love that I have my login while the kids have their own.  I can go into my parent area and see what each of the kids has been doing.  I can get detailed views of the questions they’ve answered and what topics they struggle with.  I can then assign them to do more in that area.  I love the flexibility of being able to move them from one topic to another or one grade to another if necessary.  

 

online homeschool math with CTCMath

 

You can find out more about CTCMath by checking out their facebook page.  Also head on over to the Main TOS Review Crew page for all the other reviewers thoughts.  We all reviewed the same program though different grade levels!  Don’t forget to sign up for a free trial too!

 

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Learn Piano at Your Own Pace {TOS Crew Review}

Have you ever wanted to learn to play the piano?  Wanted your kids to learn to play but can’t afford weekly lessons?  Well, I have some great news for you!  You can learn piano at your own pace with Easy Piano Basics through JazzEdge.  Our household has received a lifetime membership as part of a TOS Crew Review!  I can’t wait to share all about it with you!

 

Easy Piano Basics {TOS Crew Review}

 

Some simple things about Easy Piano Basics.  It’s recommended you or your child be age 7 or older to do this on their own.  If younger than 7 there should be an adult sitting with the child to help them.  This is fully customized by you and done at your own pace.

Just as a little background, JazzEdge was started by Willie Myette to bring together all that he could offer families.  Through this he offers drum lessons and several different piano lessons as well as much more.  Previously we have reviewed Homeschool Piano which is also offered through JazzEdge and Willie Myette. 

 

JazzEdge  Review
 

The above photo shows you all the devices you can access your Easy Piano Basics on.  It shows PianoWithWillie, but they’re accessed the same.  Lots of great ways to access and use your course.  There are some downloads or printable that you can use with this.  

Any age can use this program. Obviously, the younger ages are going to need more parent involvement to help them with their lessons and learning, but they still can learn and do so at their own pace.  This is even a great program for adults who would like to learn piano but have never had the chance.  

Let’s talk a little about what to expect when you log in.  Logging in is super easy.  Just a username and password and you’re in.  You’re taken immediately to the student dashboard where the lessons in video format are available.  They start at the top of the page and go down.  If you’re not sure where to begin it’s lucky for you because they’re numbered so you know what order to do them in.  On the right hand side of the page are the downloads that you can print.  These are the sheet music as well as the non video lessons.

When I say that this is a super simple way to Learn Piano at Your Own Pace, I mean it!  The first lesson teaches you the notes of the piano.  From there you move low and high notes, musical alphabet, and finger positions.  It takes it all nice and slow so that you’re not getting overwhelmed or confused.  And you can redo any of the lessons as many times as you need to.

There are a total of 32 lessons right now.  Each lesson is around 10-11 minutes long.  These work with a piano or any type of keyboard you might have.  You can easily do one lesson a week or more.  For the first few lessons, they are very easy and you go through them quickly so we did two to three of those in one week and then I backed the kids off to only doing one lesson a week but doing around 15 minutes of practice everyday to help keep what they have learned fresh in their minds.  Practicing is so very important!

We’ve been using this with all of our kiddos  Even the just turned two-year old has demanded her own lesson time(though she’s definitely not a child prodigy).  My older children I can easily tell them to go do their piano lesson and keep working on other things with the rest of the kids.  It’s simple enough they can handle it on their own and come to get me if they have a problem.  My younger children I need to sit with them on the bench as we watch the lesson and figure things out.  

 

JazzEdge  Review
 

If you have special needs learners this is a great program because it doesn’t have a fast pace and they can stay on one lesson until they master it.  We have a couple of children who definitely have troubles with school and some developmental delays.  This has worked better for them than some of the other programs we have used to try to teach them piano.

I am a firm believer that any child who wants to learn an instrument should learn the piano first.  We started searching for a piano instructor for our kids the minute we moved here.  Sadly, we were never able to find anyone who would work for us.  This program works for us.  Plus after doing some math it is definitely a savings when you have 9 children that you are going to want to have piano lessons!

I took lessons and learned piano quite well when I was a child into my teenage years, but as I am tone-deaf did not think that I could teach my children correctly.  Plus with already doing all of their school myself it seemed like a huge task to undertake.  I am so glad for our lifetime membership to Easy Piano Basics and know we’re going to be using it a lot.  It is a super simple and wonderful way to get music into our homeschool. 

Make sure you head on over to the TOS Review Crew main page to see all the other reviews!  Reviewers got to choose between DrumsWithWillie, PianoWithWillie, and Easy Piano Basics! 

 

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