Review: Stinky Kid Math

Math. Oh, sweet love that is MATH. Some love it (like me!!) and others, well, not so much. Today I’m reviewing a cool math supplement, Stinky Kid MathStinky Kid Math is a video based teaching tool to help parents and students “get” math. To check out more reviews from other crew members on both games, click HERE or on the banner below.

 

Stinky Kid Math Review 

Stinky Kid Math Review 

How does it work?
Stinky Kid Math is an online subscription video streaming service. There are also worksheets connected with many of the videos, but Stinky Kid Math is not currently a full curriculum, (there are gaps with Common Core Standards). Stinky Kid Math covers “algebra and geometry”, though I would definitely say it would start in what is commonly considered “pre-algebra”.

Observations

The basic premise is that the Stinky Kid has a house, and rooms to rent, and through the story and associated visuals, kids can learn algebraic principles. The story of the Stinky Kid was a little long winded for us, though the cute green guy was a hit with me and my son.

We used the videos to supplement Saxon Algebra 1 which my 8th grader is working through. We used Stinky Kid Math by “cherry picking” videos as we needed them to clarify concepts and review things we had forgotten from pre-algebra. When we used the videos we really liked that the videos have REAL people teaching, not a screen with a voice and a moving pen. I think a lot of kids connect much better with people and facial expressions and that’s a big selling point for Stinky Kid Math. Another thing we liked was the length of the videos. They’re short. Like, 5 minutes or less, short. For kids struggling to learn something, that’s a great target time and helps students not feel overwhelmed.

Lastly, the search feature was very helpful. I found it useful in matching the concepts from our book to the learning library on Stinky Kid Math.

Any bad parts?

As I said in the intro to this review, I am a math person. My mom was a math person, as was my dad. We speak Math at home. For me, using math terms (even with kids who struggle with math) is important. It seemed that the Stinky Kid Math program purposely tries to avoid math language. “Numbers on top” replaces “Numerator”, for example. Since I don’t have kids that struggle with math I don’t know if this is an advantage, but for me, it was distracting and overly simplistic.

I will admit that my kids and I were easily distracted by the backgrounds. I totally LOVE that real teachers with REAL faces are talking to the kids, but we spent more time trying to read the coffee shop menu instead of paying attention. (Y’all know I LOVE iced coffee…)

 

Summary:

If you have a child who struggles in understanding math concepts, Stinky Kid Math is definitely worth a look. For $9.99/month you get unlimited access to all the videos, worksheets, and amplifying books (written amplification of the video material).  Yes, there are free options out there, but if those don’t connect with you kids – then please give Stinky Kid Math a try. It definitely approaches concepts from a different perspective than many free options, and does so with simplicity and clarity.

 

Social Media:
Facebook- https://www.facebook.com/StinkyKidMath
Twitter- http://twitter.com/StinkyKidMath

 

 

Crew Disclaimer

Review: Dig It! Games – Roman Town (iOS App)

Reviews here aren’t always about books and curriculum!! Today I’m reviewing a cool ios app – Roman Town. The Roman Town app is brought to us by Dig-It! Games and is one of two reviews the crew is doing this week. The other review is for another Dig-It! Games products the online game Mayan Mysteries.  To check out more reviews from other crew members on both games, click HERE or on the banner below.

Dig-It! Games Review

Dig It! Games Review

 

How does it work?

For this review I was provided a free download of the game,  Roman Town. The game normally retails for $0.99 on itunes. After updating my ios to ios 8 (I know, I know!! LOL!! I’m just not one for updating!) I easily downloaded the game. Once it was downloaded I turned my ipad over to my 14 year old all-things-ancient-history-lover.

 

Dig It! Games Review

Observations:

In simplest terms – Roman Town is a fun game for kids to learn about Roman History. While exploring Pompeii the players are tying to track down a thief. By solving puzzles embedded in the game the players uncover clues to capture the thief. Throughout the game are interesting facts and data about Roman history.  The graphics are great and the games a fun to play, so it makes learning history fun and engaging.

From a Mom perspective there were a couple things about the game I really liked. First, the game doesn’t require the internet once it’s downloaded. We fly a lot and I really dislike games that once you download them, (and they’re an app), you still need internet to play. This doesn’t – which was great when Little played it on a plane recently! Another thing I love – NO “friends”. Yes, my kids love app games that they can interface with friends. I do not. I am always worried about creepy people online, and this game is a stand alone so you don’t have to worry about that. I love that feature of this game! Educational, fun, and SAFE. I’m a fan!!

 

Dig It! Games Review

Some of the problems are critical thinking and logic games…

Dig It! Games Review

Others are more linked to the “Roman” theme like deciphering Roman Numerals.

Any bad parts?

Both of my kids really enjoyed this game. The one thing that was a detractor was that Big finished the game in about 2 hours. She’s not a huge gamer (she prefers cruising Pinterest to Minecraft, LOL!) but she’s great at puzzles and logic games. At 14 Big found the games and puzzles to be repetitive, so I think she may be above the age range for this game. Overall, she did enjoy playing Roman Town.

 

Summary:

This is a fun game that would be a great compliment to any elementary-aged student’s study of Rome. It’s engaging, the graphics are good, and the puzzles are fun without being frustrating. The historical information is interesting and well presented. With the recommendation of my kids, I think this would be good for kids aged about 7-10. My older kids weren’t challenged with the puzzles and games, so they felt it would be best suited for younger kids. They both also felt that Roman Town would be good for the younger crowd from a knowledge standpoint as well. My kids have a lot of Roman studies under their belts (and an unbelievable love for all things Horrible History) they didn’t feel they learned a lot about Rome. They did think it would have been a lot of fun when they were younger and both felt the game would be a hit with younger Rome lovers!

 

Social Media:

https://www.facebook.com/DigItGames

https://twitter.com/digitgames

https://www.youtube.com/user/digitgames

 

 

Crew Disclaimer

Review: Heirloom Audio Productions – With Lee in Virginia

A few months ago I shared a review of a great audio drama based on a G. A. Henty novel that we were asked to review, In Freedom’s Cause. I mentioned in the review that the same production company would be releasing more material soon. We recently received the latest installment from Heirloom Audio ProductionsWith Lee in VirginiaTo say it was worth the wait would be an understatement! My review will follow, but if you’d like to read more Crew reviews, you can click HERE or on the banner below.

 

With Lee in Virginia Audio Drama Review 

With Lee in Virginia Audio Drama Review
How does it work?

For this review I was provided a physical copy of the audio drama, With Lee in Virginia as well as access to the With Lee in Virginia Special Bonuses. My kids and I LOVE audio dramas, and books on audio, so we wanted to jump on this as soon as possible. At our earliest convenience (a family road trip!) we broke out the cd. We listened to the first half of the book on the way there, and the second n the return trip. The whole audio was a couple of hours long. We all thoroughly enjoyed it! Now, this  is a pretty big deal. A few years ago the book With Lee in Virginia was assigned and my kids hated it. It was the only book we dropped from our reading list that year. Actually, I made them do a 2-for-1 swap (you know, I’ll drop one book if you read 2 deals), which they willing took because they disliked With Lee so much. So, I was a little trepidatcious in doing this as an audio book. I’m so glad we did it! We all really enjoyed the book, the story (a  ale retold to two teen boys – about two teen boys and their tales of fighting in the Civil War), the drama… basically the whole package. We really, really enjoyed it!

 

Observations:

My overall observation – this is a FIRST CLASS audio drama. The actors are seasoned veterans with amazing resumes. Kirk Cameron (you know, old school in Growing Pains, and more recently amazing in Fireproof), Sean Astin (Lord of the Rings, but my favorite in Rudy). and Jim Weiss (Greathall Productions) round out an amazing cast with loads of other talented actors and actresses. The audio quality is also absolutely fabulous. Emmy award winner John Campbell wrote the score – which is fabulous. Without a doubt, the production value of this work is fabulous.

In addition to loving the actual audio drama, the quality of the “Special Bonuses” are FIRST RATE. Included is the digital version of With Lee in Virginia. We love to be able to skip the cd and go digital, so including this is awesome for our family! Another great bonus is a complete ebook of With Lee in Virginia. This copy has been digitally enhanced and the graphics are all updated – so this is a nice, smooth, professional copy. When your kids get excited about the book, and want to move on to read the story again, you’ll be set! In addition to the digital With Lee in Virginia, and ebook, you can download the soundtrack, a cast poster.

My favorite bonus that’s included in the set is the Study Guide and Discussion Starter. This is a GREAT discussion guide. It’s fabulously organized (with track numbers that correlate to the appropriate discussion topic) and super thorough. It contains maps, comprehension questions, vocabulary and more. You could use this with both the audio drama, and as a comprehension guide for the ebook. It’s really, really well done. One thing I love is that it’s accessible online, so no need to print or download it. I find that super helpful! We went through the audio so quickly that we didn’t use the discussion guide during the book, but even asking questions after the fact – the kids remembered the story line and details, so I think that’s a successful learning experience!

 

Any bad parts?

This may be a first for me… but NO I have no bad parts. None.

Summary:

With three purchase options ($19.97 for digital download, $29.97 for a single cd and some extras, 0r $99.97 for a four pack of cds with loads of extras) and a 90 day money back guarantee, there is an option for every family and budget. This is a first rate, professionally acted and produced audio drama. This is a great story and a great production. I highly recommend it!!

 

Social Media

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WithLeeInVirginia
https://www.facebook.com/heirloomaudio

Twitter: https://twitter.com/HeirloomStories

Google+: https://plus.google.com/b/114534826166314080647/114534826166314080647/posts

 

 

Crew Disclaimer

Review: Home School in the Woods – Project Passport World History Study: The Middle Ages

One of the fun things about being on The Schoolhouse Review Crew is having the chance to try out some products that aren’t normally ones I’d gravitate to. This review is for one of those products. I’m please to share with you our experiences of using the Project Passport World History Study: The Middle Ages brought to us by Home School in the Woods. If you’d like to read more Crew reviews, you can click HERE or on the banner below.

Home School in the Woods Review

Home School in the Woods Review

 

How does it work?

For this review I was provided a free download of the product,   Project Passport World History Study: The Middle Ages. Normally the download version is $33.95 (the cd version is available for $34.95). Basically, the passport is a fun, hands on activity book to accompany learning about the Middle Ages. (The producer, Home School in the Woods  also has other subjects available on their website.) Readings for each “stop” on the trip are provided, as well as journaling activities, coloring projects, crafts, and cooking projects. At the end of the journey, the kids will have a completed project book. You can make the book any way you’d like, though clear directions are provided for a lapbook or for a scrapbook type journal.

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After making the initial download I was able to use links to each of the printables and teacher notes. The download system ran perfectly – and is an absolutely excellent interface system. I was extremely impressed. 

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Observations:

After my initial download, I started printing. And printing. And printing. . My initial plan was to make 2 journals – one for each kid. I would estimate that I spent about 5 hours printing, cutting, and assembling the first 5 lessons. It was a little overwhelming for me, though the results were spectacular. I did try to make sure the papers were the correct kind and color, and I think that made a huge difference in the final product.

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After assembling the product (which I did myself to save time – having my kids do their own would have taken even longer) we set to work. My kids really enjoyed the readings and the newspaper. I found having them journal in short bursts was great – they wrote well, had fun, and there was no complaining. My kids are older (12 and 14), and didn’t warm much to the passport and other fun items. They really balked at the coloring, but I think that’s an age issue. If I had done this a few years earlier – they would have love it! Despite their misgivings, the readings did inspire them to break out some of our Middle Ages readers, and to watch a number of Horrible Histories episodes to brush up on their knowledge of the Middle Ages! It may not have been the intended path – but the Project Passport World History Study: The Middle Ages definitely inspired some great learning.

 

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One of our Project Passport World History Study: The Middle Ages highlights was Middle Ages night. The kids were totally intrigued by the menu and recipes, so we had a whole Middle Ages dinner. We made the herb bread (awesome!!), roast chicken, roasted vegetables and potatoes, carrots, and a few non-traditional items – mainly cranberry sauce and Stove Top. The kids spent a couple of days researching and planning, and we all had a blast.

 

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I’m not sure if carrots were appropriate to the Middle Ages, but they compliments Middle Ages Feast Night very well!

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We roasted up a chicken for Middle Ages night!

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The herb bread recipe from the Middle Ages menu booklet – AWESOME!!! A keeper!

Any bad parts?

While the interface for the download was perfect, I cannot say that I enjoyed the printing and assembling of this product. It was very time consuming for me (though I will readily admit my printer is pretty slow – and I don’t think that helped). Even with a trip to the copy store, I’d still have to cut and assemble everything. For my kid’s ages, and as fast as they ran through the stops in less time than it took for me to assemble most of the materials, so the prep time wasn’t worth it for me. Had I done this when they were younger – again – it would have been HUGE. They would have LOVED it. I would have LOVED it. With that in mind, I would  heartily recommend this for kids up to about Grade 6, or older if they love hands on things and put it together themselves.

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Summary:

This is an EXCEPTIONALLY well designed product. If you like lapbooks, and hands on products, and don’t mind taking the time to assemble them, then this would be a great fit for your kids. Sadly, my kids are now in the “learn it and move on” age, and weren’t wowed by the fun of the passport. Despite their misgivings, we did make some great memories with Middle Ages food night, and I’m grateful to have a chance to try a new way of learning and see if it might be a good fit for us! If you’re on the fence about notebooking or lapbooks – give Home School in the Woods products a try. I don’t think you’ll regret it!

 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/homeschoolinthewoods
Twitter: https://twitter.com/HSintheWoods
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/hsinthewoods/
Google +: https://plus.google.com/b/109711152019235885312/+Homeschoolinthewoods/posts

 

 

Crew Disclaimer

Review: Homeschool Buyers Co-op – Homeschool Planet

Since y’all likely need a break from my July blogging challenge posts, it’s REVIEW TIME!!! Yuppers. Just as you’re getting ready for your first (or 20th) homeschool year I have the PERFECCT review for you!! With this installment I’ll be sharing my opinions of the Homeschool Planet online planner brought to us by the Homeschool Buyers Co-op. If you are interested in other reviews from the Review Crew, you can click HERE or click on the banner below.

 

Homeschool Planet Review

 

Homeschool Planet Review

How does it work?

Homeschool Planet is an online planner to help you manage your homeschool life, and your real life. I don’t know about you, but sometimes things in my life fall through the cracks – like taking the dog to the vet, or the once a quarter orthodontist appointments, or keeping the kids up with their writing journals. Maybe it’s just me. I don’t think so because Homeschool Planet wouldn’t have been developed to make sure we don’t miss any of that stuff again! 

Homeschool Planet is an online planner. You can start your membership (normally $65/year or $6.95/month) with a FREE 30 day trial. I am all about trials and seeing if planners will fit, so I love that option. Once you log on, you can start setting up your planner. You begin with adding students to your roster (and parents), and then setting up classes and assignments. The general idea is to set up your whole school plan so you then send daily emails with assignments, or print our schedules for your students to complete. You can integrate all the normal planner features, too – like appointment reminders, grocery lists, and more. Once your schedule is set, you’re set too. 

 

Observations:

I’ll admit that I’m a bit of a homeschool planner skeptic. I have used a few and spent WAY too many frustrating hours inputting data, only to find that printing, sharing, or tracking the information was cumbersome and too much hassle to be worthwhile. Homeschool Planet COMPLETELY changed my opinion of homeschool planners. 100%. Honestly, I’ve recommended this product to all my local friends. It’s awesome. Seriously. Awesome

Why the love-fest?

* Insanely simple and intuitive to add students.

* Similarly simple to add classes and assignments. For example – we use Saxon Math. The kids do 4 lessons and take a test. You’d think that would be an easy pattern to enter. It is – in Homeschool Planet. Simple, actually.

* You can add links and resources so easily to lesson plans. This is huge for me with some of my Mom Designed classes. I love this feature!!

* Moving and sliding classes around is simple, too. This has frustrated me to no end with other products. Let’s say, just for an example, that I want to take a three day trip and just move those days to a new day, and slide my whole schedule back 3 days. In other planners, I just could not figure it out (and not for lack of trying or learning). With Homeschool Planet – three clicks and you’re set. I LOVE THAT! 

Homeschool Planet Review

* Chore planning – SIMPLE!! Just list classes, I can add or move what I need. Lets say I want one chore to be “M-Th vacuum the living room, but F vacuum the whole downstairs”? DONE. Easy peasy.

* Printing is great. What chores and assignments? Done. Just chores? OK. Or, just assignments, OK! Seriously.

Homeschool Planet Review* Not a printer but are paperless? No problem – a daily email is sent with today’s work…and links… and more. Whatever you want. Sweet!

* Two kids taking the same class – so, so easy to do. Unlike other programs where it’s copying and pasting, and hoop jumping…. Nope. Just a couple of clicks and it’s done.

* Transcript worries? No problem!!

Homeschool Planet Review

Any bad parts?

There is only one, tiny nit-picking thing that I would change… I would love to see an offline planner that you could buy once and be done. I have lots of rural friends, and logging on to manage everything is sketchy, and expensive. I’d love a one-and-done option, even if it cost more.

 

Other Cool Things?

Do you want to text your grocery list to your spouse to hit the store on the way home? Done! Remind yourself to return library books? Done. Access your schedule on your phone to see if you can commit to teaching at a co-op. Done. Seriously. Homeschool Planet is an amazing program with so many options I didn’t even have the time to explore, but instead of getting more complex as you get deeper – it gets easier!!

Summary:

I rarely rave here. Sometimes I get excited. I’m usually upbeat and positive. But Homeschool Planet rocks and has caused me to rave. If you, like most of us, are in the throes of planning the year ahead, sign up for the free trial of Homeschool Planet. Set up a class or two in the schedule. Give it a test drive. You won’t regret it!!

 

Social Media:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/homeschoolbuyers
Twitter: https://twitter.com/hsbuyerscoop
Google+: https://plus.google.com/112069021534542740249/about

 

Crew Disclaimer

Review: CursiveLogic

It’s been a little while since I’ve posted a review, eh?! Well, wait no longer!! This time I’ll be sharing about a new product called CursiveLogic. This review is through my work with The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew, and you can check out other team members review of the same product by clicking HERE or on the banner below.

CursiveLogic Review

 

Workbook_cover

 

How does it work?

The CursiveLogic cursive program is just that – a program for teaching cursive. Using a systemic approach, kids learn groups of letters (“groups”), and then learn to group the letters in what they call “strings”. The CursiveLogic workbook also makes the most of the use of color coding groups of letters, as well as smart use of verbal memory aids. All together this multi-sensory approach covers all the bases that a variety of learners (auditory, kinetic, etc.) would respond well to.

Workbook_p15

 

Observations:

I decided to use the CursiveLogic workbook system on 12 year old Little. He has descent handwriting, but I haven’t put as much effort into perfecting his cursive as I should have. So, I was thrilled when I got the chance to work on this review.

As a part of the review I received a 96-page CursiveLogic workbook. The workbook (normally $29) is a beautifully made, high quality, top-spiral bound workbook. This is an exceptional quality book – which even has some dry erase pages for extra practice! I love the idea of the top-binding, since one of my kids is a lefty and traditional spiral binding can present a challenge. To say this is thoughtfully designed would be an understatement.

With my son, we read through the directions and I set him to work. He took to it easily and found the work very easy to understand. He worked through a huge portion of the book, and I can honestly say I see his handwriting improving. We will definitely be finishing up the workbook over the summer.

Any bad parts?

No. I really don’t see any bad parts. This is a well thought out system that is easy for the student to understand, and easy for the teacher to teach. I love that it’s one book, and my son really improved his handwriting. I think this system is clever and smartly designed.

 

Workbook_p74

Other Cool Things?

I’ll admit, I am a sucker for good design, and this system has great design. It’s clean. It’s uncluttered. It’s visually beautiful. It’s not fussy and it doesn’t have a million parts. I appreciate that this workbook could be used as easily for a first grader as it was for my eighth grader. I think it’s even totally appropriate for an adult looking to learn or brush up on cursive skills. It’s not silly or gimmicky. It’s just really well designed.

Summary:

I really liked this system, and especially the exceptional design of this product. It does what it advertises – teaches cursive in a clean, easy to present manner, packaged in a way that any age would feel comfortable using the materials. If you’re looking to start, or to reteach an older student, cursive – CursiveLogic is definitely worth a look!

 

Social Media:

Twitter: http://twitter.com/cursivelogic
Facebook: http://facebook.com/ilovecursive
Instagram: http://instagram.com/cursivelogic

 

Crew Disclaimer

Review: Dynamic Literacy – WordBuildOnline

No doubt, the BEST things about being a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew is getting to try out to curriculum I’ve never heard of, fall in love, and share it with all my friends. I get to rave here, but my friends locally know me as a bit of a “curriculum junkie” and I love being able to encourage other parents with neat finds. Dynamic Literacy‘s WordBuildOnline is one of those “neat finds” that I am super excited to share with readers, and with local friends. If you want more opinions from other Schoolhouse Review Crew members – please check out the link here:

Dynamic Literacy Review

JazzEdge  Review

 

How does it work?

WordBuildOnline is, not surprisingly, an online curriculum. First, you’ll need to register and set up an account for your student. A student account costs $30. The interface for WordBuild is excellent. The graphics are smooth, the processing super-fast. It’s definitely a first-rate program.

Once your account is set up, the student can then log in to their portal. When they get there they’ll e met by Lexi, the WordBuildOnline host. He’s a funny, cool dog that leads the kids through their daily activities.

JazzEdge  Review

After reading the daily brief, the kids start working on games that build their knowledge of Latin and Greek roots. Because Little is in the 7th grade, he used Elements Level 1 program. In this level of the program the student learn the 25 most frequently used Latin and Greek roots. Designed for kids who’ve either finished the earlier levels (Foundations), or are in 6th grade or higher, it was a great fit for Little.

 

JazzEdge  Review

 

Observations:

Little LOVES this program. First, the graphics are excellent and the program is smooth. It’s first-rate. Second, the games are fun. And third, the kids are limited to 15 minutes a day. He loves that! It makes it easy for the kids to approach, and mentally, with a end time it’s easier to get started. There is a method for older kids to do two lessons a day (spread out at ends of the day), but I loved the time limit.

Another think Little likes is the progressive nature of the program. He thought it started “really easy” but slowly built up to becoming more challenging. He liked the challenge, and he really liked that te fun games were really helping him solidify his vocabulary.

As a parent, one thing I really liked was the frequent feedback the program gave to the kids. They knew how they were doing (as did the parents through the parent portal, and through email updates when activities were completed), and how much was left for each activity level. I think feedback is great and this program manages it well.

 

JazzEdge  Review

 

 

Any bad parts?

One thing Little did note was the the program is pretty liberal with the definitions it accepts for words. In one section the kids add a prefix or suffix and then type in the definition of the new word. I think Little put in a line about wombats drilling into the ground or some other silliness and the computer accepted it. I think it would be wise for parents to keep an eye on what their students are doing. LOL!!

 

Summary:

This is a fun, interesting, and productive program. My son thoroughly enjoyed his daily activities and really felt like he learned a lot using WordBuildOnline. As a parent, I think learning Latin and Greek roots is super productive for vocabulary building, as well as for SAT/ACT test prep. WordBuildOnline‘s Elements 1 online program is an easy-to-implement supplement that wold be a great compliment to any middle scool language arts program.

 

Social Media:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Dynamic-Literacy/77106927761?ref=hl
Twitter: https://twitter.com/dynamicliteracy
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/dynamicliteracy/

 

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