Wednesday, September 8, 2010

     When you think about teaching your children math, especially the higher levels; do you begin to panic a little? Does your heart beat faster? Do your palms sweat? Well, no worries. I guarantee you, you’re not alone.

It’s time to hire a tutor! We all know how costly a weekly tutor can be. But, what other choices are there? Well, thankfully I have a wonderful recommendation for you! His name is Jason Gibson with Through the wonderful world of technology, you can have a highly experienced math tutor in your home, teaching you and your students how to learn and enjoy math. Math Tutor DVD offers an array of different math levels to choose from.  Mr. Jason Gibson is the instructor throughout all of the math tutor series. Click HERE to see what DVDs are available.

As part of the TOS Crew, I had the pleasure of using the Pre-Algebra Tutor: Volume 1 and The Texas Instruments TI-83 / TI-84 Calculator Tutor with my oldest daughter.

I’ll begin by telling you a bit about the Pre-Algebra Tutor: Volume 1 DVD.  

This course is a 5-hour (2 set DVD) instructional program that is broken down into individual videos. Real Number * Number Lines * Greater Than, Less Than, Equal To * Absolute Value and Adding Integers * Subtracting Integers * Multiplying Integers * Dividing Integers * Power and Exponents * Order of Operation.

No one enjoys sitting through a boring instructional math video, or any boring video at that. Sadly, my girls and I have seen our fair share of them in the past. Thankfully, I’m happy to report that Mr. Gibson is not boring at all. Each video shows Mr. Gibson in front of a large white board talking to you. He’s very informative, and teaches the student by example – completing numerous problems. He takes the time to thoroughly explain everything in detail. My daughter was a little annoyed with how long he explained things, as she said he was “way too repetitive.” However, I feel that would be of great value to a student who needs the repetitiveness. When defining something, he uses catchy useful tips (association), making it easy to remember and understand. Ex: when teaching the difference between less than and greater than (< >), he explains how the smaller number goes on the small end of the arrow, while the larger number goes on the wide (large) end. Another ex: He explains negative numbers, by saying you owe someone something. If you have -7, it means you owe someone 7 pencils (or whatever you wish).
The Texas Instruments TI-83/TI-84 Calculator Tutor DVD is a bit different, because rather than seeing Mr. Gibson in front of a white board, you see a large view of the calculator. This allows you to see and follow along.
  This instructional program is 8-hours long (3 set DVD), consisting of 37 different videos, such as: Basic Arithmetic and Exponents * Sin, Cons, and Tan * Convert Between Fractions and Decimals * Calculating Derivatives and Integrals * Absolute Value and Rounding * Graphing and Tracing Functions * Find Exact Value of a Function by Graphing * Find Intersections of Functions by Graphing * Calculate the Definite Integral by Graphing * Graphing and Tracing Sequences * Convert Between Rect and Polar Coordinates * Permutations, Combinations, and Factorials * Graphing Statistical Scatter Plots * Calculating with Matrices * Calculating Interest Rates * Calculating Savings and Investments.

For those of you who may want (or need) help with several different math levels, you’re in luck! You can join for $20 a month, which allows you to watch all the courses online – anytime, download worksheets, save 25% on DVD’s, and more.  To join or find out more information – click HERE.

I was very pleased with Mr. Gibson's teaching techniques, and I highly recommend him and Math Tutor DVD to anyone needing additional math help. To learn more about Mr. Gibson, his credentials, and available math courses, check out  The Pre-Algebra Tutor: Volume 1 and The Texas Instruments TI-83 / TI-84 Calculator Tutor are available for $26.99 EACH.    

Click HERE to read what the rest of the TOS crew has to say about Math Tutor DVD.

Disclaimer: I’m an independent contractor for The Old Schoolhouse Magazine Crew. I received the Pre-Algebra Tutor: Volume 1 DVD and The Texas Instruments TI-83 / TI-84 Calculator Tutor DVD in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, September 6, 2010

The 2010 Schoolhouse Planner for School and Home

Title: The 2010 Schoolhouse Planner: Making a Plan for School and Home
Publisher: The Old Schoolhouse Magazine
Number of Pages: 614
Price: $39.00 E-Book 
$44.00 CD 

It’s extremely important, for sake of our sanity, to have a good planner to help us organize and plan our busy homes and classrooms. However, finding a planner that helps us organize it all, is nearly impossible to find. Thankfully, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine (TOS) has done the leg work for us. TOS has created what I call the ultimate “all in one planner.” This planner has virtually everything you need to organize your home, life and school.

And guess what?!
Not only is it 614 pages long, (yup, you read it right, 614 pages), but it’s ONLY $39.00!
You can’t beat that price!

The 2010 Schoolhouse Planner: Making a Plan for School and Home offers -

To organize your home and life..

Chore list * Daily to do list * Car maintenance reminder * Craft planning * Multiple recipes – including many GFCF recipes * Meal Planning forms * Budget forms * Party planning forms * Website password reference sheet * Natural cleaning recipes * Informative articles * Multiple links for creating more natural cleaning products * Homemade soaps recipe * Housekeeping Pages * Schedule Forms * Shopping/Meal Planning Pages * Chore list forms * Budget forms * Party Planning and Gift-Giving * Gardening * and SO MUCH more!

To organize and enrich your classroom…

2010 – 2013 calendars * High school transcript forms * Alphabet writing pages * Daily & weekly schedule * Assignment charts * Unit Study forms * Science lab pages * Bible study * Report cards * Writing prompts * Education websites * Timeline of Jesus Christ’s life * Modern art movements * * Informative articles *Animal classification chart * Different branches of government * US Presidents * US States and capitals * Countries and capitals * Scientists - their discoveries and timeline of inventions * Bodies of Water * Multiplication Table * World Geography * Basic information about the planets * and MORE!

Since the planner is 614 pages, some printing options for you could be -

• Print out all 614 pages, allowing you to physically touch and flip through planner - deciding as go, what you wish to use and when.

• Print out only the pages you wish to use each month.

• Print out only the pages you wish to use each month for each student.

After I printed all the pages I wanted to use from the planner, I placed them all in a three-ring binder with dividers. This helps to keep everything neat, in order, and in one location. Once you purchase the planner, it is yours to what you wish. So, do whatever is most convenient and useful for you.

Go NOW and purchase your own copy of The 2010 Schoolhouse Planner: Making a Plan for School and Home.  At ONLY $39, you CAN NOT go wrong!

Disclaimer: I’m an independent contractor for The Old Schoolhouse Magazine Crew. Although I do USE and LOVE the 2010 Schoolhouse Planner, I created this posting as part of a GC drawing for the crew.   

Friday, September 3, 2010

Time 4 Writing

Title: Time 4 Writing
Created by:
Cost: $99 for 8 weeks
Format: Internet Course

We all know how important it is to have good writing skills - it’s just as important as having good math skills. Nearly everything we do involves writing in some form or fashion - writing thank you notes, sending emails, handwritten letter, job applications, etc. Writing comes naturally for some people, while others find it challenging. I was thrilled when asked to write a review about Time4writing, as it thought it would give me the perfect opportunity to see what another teacher thought of my daughter’s writing abilities.

“What is,” you ask? It’s an online writing course that offers many different class options for your elementary, middle, and high school students. There are 4 teachers on staff - one will be assigned to the student once registration is complete. During the registration process, you create a user name and password, and choose which course you feel best suits your student.  For a detailed list of available courses, click HERE.  You receive a confirmation email shortly after registration is completed, allowing you begin the writing course right away.

No need to worry if you’re having a hard time deciding which course will most benefit your student. You have 2 weeks from the date of registration to change courses if you choose to. Once a few assignments are completed, the teacher may recommend a course switch if she feels it will be beneficial. Within those first 2 weeks, if for any reason you are not completely satisfied, Time4writing offers a full refund. Once the 2 weeks is up, you are locked in for the remaining weeks.

I choose MS2 – Essay (Middle School 2 – Essay Writing) for my daughter. The primary objective in the MS2-Essay course is to create narrative and expository essays. The course is 8 weeks long - broken down into units. Each unit has between 4 - 10 assignments. As the assignments increase in difficulty, fewer assignments are due each week. The assignments include such things as, quizzes, writing paragraphs, writing essays, etc. The quizzes are scored immediately, allowing you to move on to the next assignment. Other assignments require the student to submit their work, and within 24 hours they will receive feedback, as well as a grade from the teacher. The parents receive an email notification when an assignment is graded, in addition to any other interactions between the student and the teacher. If the parents or student have any questions regarding assignments or progress, they are welcome to send messages to the teacher via

Over all, my daughter enjoyed the course. Some of the things she and/or I liked where,
  • Being able to type the assignments rather than completing them the traditional way, with paper and pencil; which is something she wishes I would allow less of.
  • The writing prompts that were provided, such as “If you could visit any state in the United States, which one would you choose and why?” or “Why weekends should be longer.”
  • The quick response to our questions and grading completed work. We always received an answer to our questions, or a grade, by the next day (within 24 hours).   

There were, however, a few things she and/or I disliked. 
  • Submitting completed work -
    We searched all over the site to find directions on how to submit the assignments once they were completed, and all we could find was a “save work” option at the bottom of the work page. We eventually learned that when an assignment was saved, it was also submitted to the teacher. If the assignment wasn’t completed, then the student typed “unfinished” at the top of the page.
  • Finding grade once feedback was received from teacher -
    The Grade page doesn’t list the assignments and grades in order. As you can see in the photo below, there doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to the order the assignments are listed. 
  • However, we eventually realized the grades are listed in order (minus the quizzes) on the Assignment page. Having the grades listed in correct order made it much easier to keep track of which assignment she was working on.
  • Little teaching (instruction) involved -  Each unit begins with a brief explanation; this is where the lessons are introduced. The student can either read or listen to the information given, which is followed by a short quiz. The student then moves on to the next assignment, which is usually a writing task of some sort. Each writing assignments give instructions on what to write about, such as, “Funniest Incident Ever,” or “Most Disgusting Meal,” however, no further explanation of what is expected is given.
  • Having a clear understanding of what was expected -
    Once the assignment is turned in, feedback and a grade are given. However, I felt that the feedback given didn’t allow my daughter to learn and excel on the next assignment. The feedback given, although always kind, consisted of something to the effect of, “Great job! I made a few corrections, please look them over and let me know if you have any questions.” Sometimes she would add, “Make correction and resubmitted for a higher grade.” However, there were several times when my daughter had corrected the errors and resubmitted the assignment, but was given a lower grade than she started with. I feel the feedback would have been a bit more helpful if it were along the lines of, “Great job! Be sure to add or omit commas after ….” or “I added a semi colon after ____. Remember we use semi colons when ….”

With all that said, I’m very grateful to Time4writing for their generosity in offering my family a free 8 week course of our choice.  And although I feel wasn’t a good fit for my family, I do feel it would be a great fit for a self-motivated student who has already mastered the basics of which ever course chosen (ex: paragraph writing, essay writing, etc), or for the natural writer looking for an enjoyable writing course.  
If you would like to sign your student up for one of Time4Writing’s courses, click HERE

Go see what other TOS Crew members had to say about

Disclaimer: I’m an independent contractor for The Old Schoolhouse Magazine Crew. I received a free 8 week course of my choice with in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Homeschooling Is a Labor of Love

     Whether you’re a homeschool veteran, or just beginning your journey, having great resources to refer to often can ease the anxiety and fears we all face throughout our homeschooling years. We recently began our 4th year of homeschooling and The Old Schoolhouse Magazine has been a great resource that I refer to often. I started my subscription in the beginning of 2008 and will continue my subscription until we have completed our homeschool adventure, and maybe thereafter. The Old Schoolhouse Magazine is full of informative articles, awesome advice, testimonies- giving you reassurance that you're not alone, and SO much more... I can honestly say I get very excited when I receive each magazine!     

The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine is extending an extraordinary subscription offer to homeschool families. Receive a one-year print subscription for just $7.95 or a one-year plus current issue subscription for $12.95. One-year subscriptions start with the winter issue. The one-year plus current issue starts with the fall issue.

Only 5000 of these special subscriptions are available from August 31 through midnight on September 15. Once the 5000 are gone, they're gone!

Hurry and grab this crazy price today!
To order your subscription click HERE
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