Thursday, September 16, 2010

Pyramath Review

Pyramath is a card based game able to be used for a single, double or small teams of kids. The object of the game is to complete a pyramid using any maths operation ~ addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division in any sequence to build the pyramid. The cards are brightly coloured with English, Spanish, Chinese, Roman, French and Arabic translations and symbols on the front, with 56 cards in the deck. So at a price of US$6.95 it's excellent value and a great way to increase the maths facts.

How To Play

The game starts with you putting a row of between 5-7 cards between the two players, then place remaining cards facedown as the draw pile. One player then starts their turn by taking a card from the draw pile and if possible playing that card on their side of the cards. If unable they place the card in discard pile beside the draw pile. If able to play we had the children say out loud what the play was so as we could all learn as we went along. This continues until one player has been able to build the pyramid.

I See Cards also make available Pyramath Online in either the 5 or 7 cards start. To help you better understand, the instructions are also available for you so pop on over and give it a try. The online version is both free and a great way to teach students the game.

So what did we think~
Jessica was able to use a combination of addition, subtraction and multiplication (not so much division) with more ease. They all enjoyed playing against me (trust me I didn't cut them any slack) and their speed and confidence certainly did pick up as the weeks have gone by.
This game is fantastic value for money and offers a lot of variations to it so as to be able to include all your children regardless of their current level. While at times it was a little limiting given the skill of the child, it was still fun to play.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Hi Mum, I'm on a Boat and I Can See France!!

That was the call I got last night. Ash & Matt are spending just over a month on a speed tour of Dubai, Scotland, England, France just to list a few. They are having a ball. They're travelling with a group of eight (all friends) then they join the Contiki tour today.

So far Ash's favorite place is Dubai. As you can see shopping Dubai style, not quite the Brisbane Mall. The boys on the group all love the Race Car Simulators. Boys will be boys even on the other side of the world. She loved bargaining with the merchants in Dubai and the worlds tallest building was just amazing. Don't they just look like tourist in the top photo! All those years we encouraged Ash to fast had paid off because they were in Dubai during Ramadan, so food was really hard to find during the day. Mind you the 40 degree heat took the edge off there appetite.

London made Brisbane look really small and you have to pay to pee. Something that we aren't familiar with here in Oz. There was a film museum with a Star Wars theme. Ash is crazy for all things Star Wars, hence the dog named Vader. Though they love Scotland. Visited William Wallace's Memorial & of course Edinburgh Castle Scotland. They hit rain in Scotland.

So now they are in Paris having the greatest time. I can't wait for the next installment.

Friday, September 10, 2010

America's Maths Teacher

We have been using the American Maths Teacher as part of our families involvement with the TOS Review Crew.

America's Maths Teacher is an online maths program that teacher maths from basic maths through to Algebra. It is an annual subscription program that is currently priced at US$195.

The Homeschool Program program has online video's for the students to watch which is then followed by worksheets. Also available is a great resource centre for those who subscribe.

So what did we think about it
~ Well actual Jessica was not all that taken by it. It was a little hard core for her at this stage. She did have fun on the drills but over all she was just not ready for it. It is a very different approach to maths then we take, so selling her on it was a tough job. Course 1 Basic Math Skills is aimed at 4th and 5th graders with topics included are whole numbers, fractions, decimals, percents, integers, geometry, plus more. Jessica tried something from each of those topics in the basic maths program.

I thought for all the program had to offer the price was well matched, but for us not what we are looking for at this time.

Disclaimer ~ We received a 60 day free subscription of America's Maths Teacher to trial as part of the TOS Crew Review.

Whats On My Wishlist?

I love The Book Depository and on my wishlist at the moment are a few books. However at the top of my list are these two ~ Wholefood For Children

The underlying philosophy behind "Wholefood for Children" is the importance of feeding young, growing children nutrient-dense, whole and real food, preferably organic. Not only does a child require fuel to live, they also require it to build every part of their body and future pathways, and to learn. Nature has designed an exceptionally nutrient-dense, human-compatible food in breast milk, and it's important to that we continue to feed our young truly good food. "Wholefood for Children" is written and presented in two parts, a very insightful and informative introduction and a recipe section, which will cater for ages 6 months to 7 years, starting with introducing solid foods to babies. The recipes range from breakfasts through to lunch and dinners, as well as ultra-convenient portable snacks for lunch boxes. This title: will appeal to parents of all demographics who are concerned about the growing awareness of childhood obesity and eating disorders; is very timely and will appeal to the budget-conscious as it's based on simple foods that can be purchased in bulk or grown at home; and, is well-written and the wholefood philosophy is explained in a clear and easy-to-read style.

One thing that I didn't take into consideration when I started homeschooling was the amount of food that would be consumed. When at school its a sandwich, snack, piece of fruit in a lunch box and all was good. At home, it's a different story. Even though I don't allow grazing all day they still like variety. They well is running dry of options while still keeping it wholesome and fresh. In Australia we have a fantastic range of fresh foods available to us. As we head into summer all the tropical summer fruits are starting to hit the stores. So this is on the top of my wishlist right now.

Next on my wishlist is this one ~ One Magic Square

We live in the Brisbane suburbs, plus by the time you fit in a cubby house, huge trampoline the back yard is starting to get full. However, we have pumpkins and tomatoes growing all over the place. Apart from that we have several garden plots and have been preparing them ready for the spring planting. Both the girls have entered into the Yates gardening competition. Maddie is growing giant sunflowers and Jessica is growing sweet corn which she has to blog her progress on the Yates website. I do not have a green thumb!!! I try and try and seem to fail in the actual garden. (not in the random growing of the backyard though) So this book my be able to help me in making the most out of our limited space.

So this is just 2 things on the very long list. Whats on yours?

Monday, September 6, 2010

Words Of Our Prophet

Sometimes I just need to remember...

Friday, September 3, 2010

Time 4 Learning Review

The Time4Learning curriculum is an online core curriculum program that can be used as a complete curriculum or as a supplement to what you are using now. Available subjects are Language Arts, Maths, Science and Social Studies from Prep to year 8.

The Time 4 Learning website says:
"Homeschooling parents share some common problems, including organizing their children's curriculum and scheduling their family's time. The Time4Learning self-running curriculum can provide the basis of a homeschool program or can supplement other programs with an enriching, easy-to-use program ensuring that the basics are covered, allowing more time to explore student-directed subjects".

Once signed in the child is presented with a choice of subject and each student is able to access to at least 2 grade levels of curriculum for each subject, so they can move ahead or review at their own pace.Always an aspect that I like.This provides a scope and sequence of learning bring order to the delivery of content, supporting the maximising of student learning while offering sustained opportunities for learning. Without a considered scope and sequence there is the risk of ad hoc content delivery and the missing of significant learning. I love the printable lesson plan that they have available as this helps you and your child really use this program as a structure learning tool rather than just a play time.

While the child can work independently if required, it's always over seen by the parents with a report available for ongoing assessment. This also gives you an idea of how they are progressing and what areas of weakness still need further work.

Take a look at the getting started guide as it gives you a comprehensive overview to Time 4 learning.

So what did we think

Well as I have said before I find working with this type of curriculum very difficult. I'm a book person and without the planning schedule, that I spoke about above, would find it difficult to use to it's full potential. This is by no means a reflection on the product, but more on me. The girls loved it, Lucy, at 4 is very computer savvy, whipped around the program like a duck to water. She was quick to work out the longer she spent on the lessons, the longer she seemed to get in the 'playground'. I have to say that was excellently done. The children couldn't just hop straight in to the 'fun' games in the playground with out having done their lessons first. That to me was one of the high points of this program. Sure you get play but first you have to earn that time by working. Not that the working was boring in fact the graphics, and use of different age appropriate 'animated' teachers, was fantastic.

As for the price, I feel it's competitive with similar products on the market. Also available is Time 4 Writing, Spelling City I would jump over to this sight. Plenty to do over there, just find your local Australian school (or US) for lots of spelling practice.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Mummy I have A Nose Headache

The bugs are flying around our city at the moment as they do this time of year every year. The Ekka, a huge carnival that is held every year always brings the bugs with it. Lucy has finally succumbed to it and now as a stuffy nose that she is calling a nose headache. She is sniffling her way around the house feeling totally miserable.
Lucy's latest thing is to have me spell everything I say to her or her spelling what she says. It's cute but it smells a little of OCD? I'm stilling clinging to the hope that it's just an insatiable desire to learn.
I must go and read to her while she spells out every word on the page. She can read the whole of Green Eggs and Ham and still corrects her sisters when they are reading to her. The nappy situation has hit critical stages for me. I'm sure that pattern I have for a diaper clutch purse may be required as she may still be in nappies when she starts dating!!