Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Homestead Blessings - The Art of Bread Making - It's a Giveaway!!

Homestead Blessings - The Art of Bread Making - It's a Giveaway!!

Bread, any way you slice it, it's a staple in a lot of homes.  I have a DVD of "Homestead Blessings: The Art of Bread Making" to give away.  A Franklin Springs Family Media Presentation, this DVD is hosted by Vicki, Jasmine, Hannah & Cece West.  This 56 minute DVD teaches the wonderful skill of how to make bread.  The West Ladies share advice, practical tips and even recipes.  This was educational and entertaining to watch and would be great for teaching children this wonderful "art".   
Come on, who doesn't like the smell of baking bread? 

To have a chance to win this DVD all you have to do is:

1.  Leave me a comment that you're interested in the DVD.

2.  For another entry, click to follow me on Google Connect.

3.  For an additional entry, click to follow me on Facebook Networked Blogs.

The lucky winner will be picked randomly from all entries and posted on Friday, March 18, 2011.   
Good luck!

Friday, February 25, 2011

MathRider - A TOS Product Review

Sharper Edge Pty Ltd
31 Hannah Street
Beecroft NSW 2119
Phone: +61 2 9980 2437
Office hours: 9am to 5pm (East Australian Time – GMT+10), Mon-Fri
Compatible with Windows, Mac OSX and Linux
Current sale price - US $37.

Instant download access

Age range 6-10 years old

"30 Day Risk-Free Guarantee"  (If for ANY reason you or your child are dissatisfied with MathRider, to get a 100% refund just contact the company within 30 days after purchasing.

Caution:  You are now entering the Mathlands . . .

We recently have been using a downloadable math game from Australia.  Let me tell you about this fun supplemental way to learn basic math.  MathRider is a new math game for kids to practice the number facts of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division from 1 to 12.

The download and registration of this game is pretty easy, although you may have to download Adobe AIR if you don't have it.  After downloading, your "rider" is easily added on the Rider Menu.

In the game the player rides on different quests and learns each of the 4 math operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication and  division).  While the game is played the computer stores and analyzes what the rider knows and what they still need to practice.  The cool thing about this is that the players get to actually practice what they don't know instead of doing random problems.  There's even an overview map for each number table to see which facts are mastered (answered correctly with consistent speed).

Screenshot from Addition Quest

Each of the four operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication and division) has four quests, which are the same, but the rewards are different in each quest.  The riders enter answers as they move along the quest.  They pass through the Mathlands, a richly illustrated background.  At the end of the quest the rider gets to see their reward on the main screen of the game.

Quest Progress Map


Along the way your child rides their own horse and takes off on fun adventures, some of which include finding magical flowers, returning gems to elves and rescuing a princess. All your child needs to do is type in the answer to the problem presented and press ‘Enter’.

Below is a picture of one of these overview maps of mastery.  In this subtraction statistics example most areas are green (mastered), but a few orange and red areas (problem areas), need more practice. Grey areas show the problems that have not been played yet.  This kind of feedback allows parents to figure out where their children still need practice.


This game also allows multiple children to play (up to 10 on a single license), and the game tracks each child separately. (They just log in to their own game.)  This feature is great if you have kids at varying skill levels, because the game becomes "their own" based on how well they answer questions on their personal quest.  (For example, you can have a younger child working on addition and subtraction while an older child works on multiplication and division.)  This feature is also great because you pay once rather than per child.

My daughter, a horse lover, thought this game was a fun way to practice her math and gain a bit of speed in solving basic problems. Yes, she asked to do math on her own time - hurray.

This one gets a thumbs up for helping learn basic facts. We weren't that excited about the graphics, but there is good variety for the quests. There are wizards, elves and other fantasy items we don't really care for, but this is worth considering for the inspiration to quickly learn math facts. I'd be interested in seeing this game with different types of quests rather than the fantasy theme.

To see what other TOS Crew members had to say about the game click here

I received a free trial download of this game to use for the purpose of providing an honest review.  Opinions and observations shared are my own.  I am not obligated to provide a positive review.  No further compensation was provided.

Friday, February 18, 2011

What's the Scoop? A TOS Product Review: KidScoop - for Reluctant Readers

Kid Scoop
P.O. Box 1802
Sonoma, CA 95476
Telephone: 707.996.6077
Fax: 707.938.8718
E-mail: thescoop@kidscoop.com
Geared to grades 2 through 8
Price - $97
365-day money back guarantee


We've been using a fun reluctant reader program for the last few weeks.  If you have a child that doesn't really care to read this might be the product you need.  The Reluctant Reader Solution from Kid Scoop is really fun!  This "solution" contains packets of weekly activity pages on a great variety of topics. There are puzzles and games which make the reading both enjoyable and  informative.  The Kid Scoop lessons are geared to state educational standards, making the fun worthwhile effort rather than just "fluff" and "twaddle".

Kid Scoop learning resources are used by both families and schools.  (The company even makes their resources available to local newspapers to publish.)  This weekly newspaper feature is for grades 2 through 8.  My 14 year old daughter found the packets to be fun and interesting.  She's a bookworm now, but she started out very reluctant to read.  She agreed that this would have been a great thing to have used at that time.  She zoomed through the pages I printed, and did all the puzzles, of course.  The product definitely held her interest and "pulled" her in to learn new information.

As a part of the TOS Homeschool Crew I was able to use the downloadable edition with my children.  These great printable packets cover Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies and Journalism by looking at topics such as
  • Backpacks
  • Bigfoot
  • bubblegum
  • budgeting
  • butterflies
  • Cinco De Mayo
  • clay play
  • Columbus Day
  • Easter
  • Father’s Day
  • fire safety
  • fitness
  • gardening
  • germs
  • gorillas
  • holidays (traditional winter holidays)
  • Louisa May Alcott
  • Memorial Day
  • MLK day of service
  • Mother’s Day
  • nutrition labels
  • “Old Stormalong” (sailing)
  • optical illusions
  • otters
  • smores
  • St Patrick’s Day
  • tadpoles
  • teasing
  • Thanksgiving
  • the Maya
  • Tom Sawyer
  • Valentine’s Day
  • and many, many more
All of these great topics are presented in packets of 5-7 worksheets containing information, experiments, games, and puzzles. The pages are very eyecatching.  For $97, you have access to downloadable packets of worksheets covering almost 60 topics and a monthly 20 page online Kid Scoop newspaper in full color.  There's more than enough information to cover a whole year.  Although this looks a bit expensive at first, I think this is probably worth the price if you want to "kick-start" your child reading.  This product received a "thumbs-up" all the way around at our house.



In addition, Kid Scoop, the online newspaper, is a colorful option, set up similar to the worksheets, containing information on different monthly themes.  Parents and students can either read it online and print just the games and puzzles, or print the entire edition. (There is even an option to listen to the text, spoken by a computer-generated voice.)

Click here to learn more about Reluctant Reader Solution.

The Reluctant Reader Solution and Kid Scoop web site contains fun ideas and some freebies too.  You can sign up for a month of ideas sent to your e-mail inbox (free) and follow Kid Scoop on Facebook.  There is also a link to a "kids" section on the website with more fun stuff! 

For other TOS Crew reviews about this product click here 
I received a free download of Reluctant Reader Solution from Kid Scoop for the purpose of using it and providing my opinion.  Opinions and observations stated are my own.  I am not obligated to give a good review.  I received no further compensation.

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