Friday, January 28, 2011

Ten Marks - A TOS Product Review

Ten Marks - Online Math Program
Math Practice and Learning


38 Glen Avenue
Newton MA 02459

More Information


We've been using a great online math practice program, TenMarks, for additional math practice and reeeally like it.  Let me tell you a bit about it.

*This program contains lessons and personalized programs covering the core math skills and concepts for your child in grades 3-10.   Basic math concepts are covered in grades 3-8 followed by Algebra 1, Algebra 2 and Geometry.

*TenMarks bases their approach on personalized learning, on-demand instruction, and practice to build confidence and enhance achievement. 

We really like that students get to work at their own pace.  The process begins with some assessment and placement type questions.  An individualized curriculum for the material which should be covered in the child's grade is then created. 

The student logs in and is given questions on different related topics, such as exponents.  The student then works through each problem to determine which of the multiple choice answers is correct. 

If the child is not sure how to do a problem they can request a hint.  We used a number of hints, that's what they are there for right?  There are 3 hints per question, each one explaining the problem further, such as providing an applicable formula and then showing you what numbers of your problem fit into the formula. 

If the hints don't make things clear for your student there are also short video presentations to explain the topics.  When a topic is new to your student you do have the option of setting up the presentation first then following with the worksheet.  The idea is that the student gets progressive practice with the concepts presented.  This is a very effective supplemental math program.  The whole process is fairly easy to follow. 

There are points at which you may review information or redo worksheets if needed to get a good grasp of a topic.  As mentioned previously, there are no time limitations, just practice and more practice until the student achieves 10 out of 10. (that's where "TenMarks" comes from)  As the worksheets are completed some fun "games" are unlocked for a bit of incentive to move on and get the work done.

This program is free, for teachers only,  for classrooms in a public or private school, with a paid premium membership available for additional help at home.  TenMarks can be used by teachers, homeschoolers, students and parents to supplement any math program.
Things I like:
* Grades 3-10 are covered

* Over 100 core skills per grade

* Hints and video lessons for every topic including:  Subtraction, Quadratic Equations and Functions, Perimeter, Area and Volume, Triangles, Decimals, Factorization, Integers, Basic Geometry, Functions and Graphs, Multiplication, Quadrilaterals, Logarithms, Addition, Angles, Ratios and Proportions, Algebra, Rational Numbers, Complex Numbers, Lines and Planes, Matrices, Probability, Polynomials, Percents, Slopes, Division, Number Operations,Trigonometric Functions, Geometric Figures, Measurement and Units, Place Value, Fraction Operations, and many more.

* Programmed to meet state standards

*TenMarks is very affordable and offers a money back guarantee.

Prices (per student)
  • $10 a month
  • $49 for 6 months
  • $89 for 12 months

*TenMarks is also great for homeschoolers to be used as a curriculum or a supplement. 

How about a quick look? It's only $10 a month.  It's worth it!
To  see what you're missing click Try TenMarks

As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew I received free access to this online program to use in order to provide an honest review.  Opinions and observations are my own.  I am not obligated to give a positive review.  No further compensation was received.
To see what other TOS Crew members think of TenMarks click here
Why not go follow TenMarks on Facebook too!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary for Kids - A TOS Crew Review


Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary For Kids (2010)
A Holman Reference Book
B & H Publishing Group
127 Ninth Avenue, North
Nashville, TN 37234
$14.99 - hardcover edition - ages 5-10

What is a ziggurat, and what does it have to do with the tower of Bable?  Quick, can you name 12 names of Jesus?  How much does 30 shekels weigh?  What were the tribal allotments of Israel?  What did the temple courts look like?  Did you know vultures were mentioned in the Bible?  What were the names of the 12 apostles?

You can find all this and much more in the 212 pages of this wonderfully illustrated and colorful kid's dictionary.  There are tons of colorful detailed maps and a number of useful charts including
  • Animals of the Bible
  • The Apostles  
  • Birds in the Bible  
  • Jewish Festivals and Feasts  
  • Foods in Bible Times  
  • Insects of the Bible  
  • Table of Weights and Measures in the Bible  
  • Musical Instruments of the Bible 
  • Names of God 
  • Names of Jesus 
  • Divisions of the New Testament  
  • Divisions of the Old Testament  
  • Parables of Jesus  
  • 10 Plagues of Egypt 
  • Plants in the Bible  
  • Ten Commandments  
  • Tools of the Bible

In my opinion, this Bible Dictionary is perfect for Parents, Teachers, and Kids.  In these pages there are Reconstructions, Illustrated Charts, KJV Entries, Pronunciation Guide, Photographs, and Realistic Illustrations and Definitions.  The book contains 750+ terms. 

This dictionary is wonderful for trivia, bible study, using in my Sunday School class, and, of course, pleasure reading.  The layout, accuracy, and scripture appear to be pretty good, and the definitions and references are easily understood.  We had fun looking through this dictionary and will be using it a lot.  Although this product is suggested for ages 5 to 10 years old, we all found something we liked.  My 13 year old says it's "a pretty good one", and my 5 year old is fascinated by the pictures.   My Sunday School class of kids will be enjoying this one too.

  • To visit Lifeway Christian Store to purchase a copy click here
  • To see reviews of this book posted by other Homeschool Crew members click here
  • To purchase a copy of The Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary for Kids at Lifeway click here
  • To get a peek at what the inside of this beautiful book is like click here and download the pdf
Hope you enjoy this book as much as we do!

I was given a free copy of this book from Lifeway Christian Stores to use in exchange for an honest and accurate review.  The opinions and observations noted are my own, and I am not obligated to give a positive review.  I received no further compensation for this review.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Looking Forward - Stepping Back

It's that time again, you know, the anticipation of all those Spring and Summer things to do while sitting with "cabin fever".  One of the things we do as a family is pre-1840 fur trade reenactment during the summer.  We get into our "funky clothes" (according to my daughter, 13) and go back to a simpler and less stressful time.  Now don't get me wrong, most people would agree that this was not a simpler time, but I'm pretty sure they just need a little coaxing.

See that guy down there, he's my favorite mountain man.  He holds our camp together.  He goes by "Sleeps With Gophers" or "Fire Without Matches" most of the time.  Yes, you earn your name, so take your best guess at what prompted those names.  Better yet, guess how "Painted Toe", "Boomer", and "Two Moons" earned their names.  This is the most family-oriented activity we've done over the years, and I thought you might like to know a bit about it. 

You can click here  to access the website of our local Coon-n-Crockett Muzzleloader Club. 

All things pre-1840 fur trade era are to be found on this comprehensive site.  There are links to almost anything related to the time period.  The website has even had out-of-country hits and has a number of foreign fans.

Click  here to go to the Buckskinner Cookbook for recipes using bear, beaver, javelina, wild rice, muskrat, rabbit, raccoon, skunk and more.  (Yes, cookies too!)
Click here to check out the Language of the Rendezvous
Click here to explore the Almost Complete List of Muzzleloading and Buckskinning Links

The Book of Buckskinning Series is the place to go for everything you need to know to equip yourself to reenact the fur trade era.  Check it out here.

It is definitely not just about the guns.   We put the clocks and watches away and live by the sun.  We cook everything over a campfire that has to be started and kept going into the evening.  We sleep on cots in a large canvas "one-pole" tent with candle lanterns as our on lights once the sun sets.    We haul in our own water.  We have a block of ice for refrigeration.  Ah, relaxing . . .  Looking forward to getting back into "camp" mode, when this beautiful abundance of snow leaves.  For now, I guess I'll just look at the pictures and reminisce.    



Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Need a Nerd? Another TOS Homeschool Crew Review

Virtual Nerd
710 N. 2nd Street
Suite 300 S.
St. Louis, MO, 63102
877-677-NERD (6373)

As we move into higher math and science with our daughter I've contemplated what to do about those topics that are not quite so fresh in my mind.  Here's an option for 7-12 grade topics that I recently checked out.

Virtual Nerd, founded in 2008,  is a website with hundreds of interactive video tutorials created by an expert tutor and a designer.  The videos are done on a white-board in a step-by-step fashion.  They are easy to follow and very understandable.  In addition, the information is typed out on the side for easy review.   Although this site is not specifically geared to homeschooling, it could definitely help when additional information is required.  The site  is actually geared to the school setting to be used with a class to match up with the information in a number of the student textbooks.  Ideally the teachers and parents use Virtual Nerd as a  supplemental learning tool by having confused students review related tutorials.  There are also reporting features for parents and teachers to monitor student progress.

Virtual Nerd currently has tutorials in Pre-Algebra, Algebra 1, Algebra 2, and Intro Physics. The company is expecting to add tutorials in Physics, as well as Chemistry, Pre-Calculus and Calculus in time for the 2011-2012.  The site does not provide answers to homework problems, just instruction.  Practice problems are not available at this time.  There is an introductory video available for review at the website.  Click here for more information. 

If you can view YouTube videos on your computer it probably meets the requirements to use all of the site features.  While Mozilla Firefox allowed me to get to the site, our slow dial-up didn't allow for easy viewing.  However, when I went to a high-speed computer the site and the tutorials came up and ran quite quickly and easily.  Although the various sections do not take long to view, they are very thorough.  My daughter wasn't quite up to using the information, but she felt that the videos were pretty easy to understand.

The prices to use the site are reasonable, especially if you're currently checking out personal tutor rates.  If you're an educator (in a public/private school setting), it's free. If not, the standard subscription rate for the Premium Plan is $49 per month. The site also offers a 2-hour unlimited trial, which provides access to *everything* on the site as well as low-cost short-term subscriptions (as little as $5 for 24 hours).

All in all, this is a pretty good supplemental option for higher math and science.  We just might have to check into this one a bit more in the next couple of years.
To check out other Homeschool Crew reviews click here

As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew I was provided free access to this site for a short time in return for providing an honest review of the service offered.  No further compensation was received.  All observations and opinions stated are my own.

Friday, January 7, 2011

I Can See Clearly Now . . . See-N-Read - A TOS Product Review

2533 Sutton Lane
Aurora, IL 60502-9461
Ph: 1-630-236-5592
Fax: 1-630-236-5593 (for information and to download a free 7 day trial of their eSee-N-Read tool)
©2010 SR Smith — All Rights Reserved A Product of: CadenaSmith Enterprises
See n Read

See n Read
Ever heard of See-N-Read? Let me tell you a bit about the helpful reading tools they offer:

These non-toxic and bpA free pieces of thin gray plastic are available in book size (5 1⁄2” x 3”) or document size (8 1⁄2” x 3”).  The See-N-Read tool has a clear spot to read a line at a time for easier focus, less glare and blocking of distractions.  There is also a second version, MemoryMark, with an open spot rather than a see-through section, which allows you to highlight or underline with great ease.  A third version, eSee-N-Read, is available for computer use which has a number of features and can be turned on and off as needed.

We tried these handy tools while reading a variety of materials.  The things my daughter noticed included being able to focus on the line better while reading and remembering more of the material.  She did note, however, that the tool didn't work for a lot of the things she reads.  The type size must fit within the clear spot which is not always possible, especially if the font varies in what you are reading.  The tool was great for keeping her place and also usable as a bookmark for the next time she wanted to read. 

I really liked the computer version for keeping my place while researching, reading and doing cut-and-paste functions in both word processing and blog applications.  The MemoryMark was also great for highlighting during Bible and other reading for outlining and summarizing.  We're planning to use the tool for easier column-reading while doing math too, just turned on it's side.  As a whole these tools were helpful and easy to use.  I'm looking forward to using them with my younger son as he starts learning to read.

According to the company these products are designed to help readers seamlessly see, focus, and remember what they read.  I think I would agree that the products accomplish those goals.  I do wish they were available for variable font sizes.   

Here's the concept as seen on their website:

"See: See-N-Read® helps readers to concentrate on and track the text being read while smoothly transitioning between the words that come before or after, thus helping readers to increase their fluency (the capacity to read text accurately and quickly) and comprehension.

Focus: See-N-Read’s clear reading window is surrounded by a non-glare tinted transparent finish that helps readers to focus on manageable “chunks” of information in each line of text.

Remember: See-N-Read® provides readers with a clear reference point that helps control smooth eye movements across the text on a page. Smooth eye movement from left to right and smooth transitions from line to line ("sweeping") enhance retention of information."

See-N-Read products are said to be usable for readers of all ages and skill levels in regular, remedial and special education environments.    See-N-Read® has been classroom-tested in Grade 2-College in multiple educational settings.   Click here to read the interesting Research information about the use of See-N-Read.

The See-N-Read and Memorymark products are reasonable at $2.99 for a single book size tool. The downloadable eSee-N-Read is priced at $29.99 for a download that can be used on a single computer.

For more reviews about See-N-Read by other TOS Homeschool Crew Members go to Crew Reviews

Click here for Testimonials of users.

Click here to find distributors of See-N-Read.

Click here for professional endorsements, related websites and See-N-Read conference schedules.

I received the See-N-Read products free as a part of the TOS Homeschool Crew in return for an honest review based on personal use.  The observations and opinions stated are my own.  I received no further compensation for this review.

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