LearnBop ~ Review

AJ is at a difficult point in math. She has finished a few different pre algebra courses, but I don’t feel that she is ready for algebra yet. She will be finishing 7th grade is a few weeks and I felt a little lost as to where I should put her for 8th grade. I decided that for her 8th grade year I was going to go through all of the math standards that I could find for first through 8th grade and make sure that she was proficient in all of the standards so that she would really be ready for algebra. That sounded great in theory, but I knew it would be time consuming. Then I learned about LearnBop, and it sounded like exactly what I needed. We were given a 12 month subscription to LearnBop for Families, since I only have one student we were given the Single Student Plan.

LearnBop for Families Review
LearnBop has been around for a while and has been used in public schools, but LearnBop for Families is a new product that can be used by homeschoolers and those who want to help their child catch up or get ahead in math. It is common core aligned, but I didn’t see anything that I found odd or different from the way math was taught when I was in school. The program adapts to where your student needs to be and focuses on mastery. It is geared for kids in grades 3 to 12, but there are some lessons available at the first and second grade level.

Learn Bop Review

When the parent logs on to LearnBop they create an account for their student and decide which Learning Roadmap the student should be placed in. You have three options:

  1. Roadmaps by Grade – These are available for third through eighth grade. Your student is given a number of units to complete based on the concepts they are expected to master in that grade.
  2. Rodemaps by Subject – If your student needs to brush up on a specific topic, or if you want to conquer math a subtopic at a time this is the roadmap you would want to pick. There are ten different options, each one varies on the grade level they cover, but there are concepts covered from first through eighth grade. I love that they offer the roadmaps by topic, they would have been great for AJ last year.
  3. High School Roadmaps- There is the option of; Algebra, Algebra 2, and Geometry. They are the same as the Roadmaps by Grade.

The Roadmap can be changed along the way and you can even switch the order that units are completed it. There is a lot of flexibility and personalization available with LearnBop. I decided to put AJ on the 8th grade roadmap. She worked on math about 30 to 45 minutes a day during this review.

LearnBop for Families Review
When the student first logs in they get to pick an avatar. The avatar doesn’t really serve any purpose, but AJ liked it.

The next step is for the student to do a warm up for the unit they are working on. AJ started with Developing Understanding of Similarity. From the title I had no idea what that was, but it has to do with shapes on a coordinate grid and how to flip them and change them to make the shape move to other places on a coordinate grid. As I have said before, we have had a mastery approach to math in the past and AJ didn’t learn a lot about geometry, so I knew that this would be a difficult unit for her.

The warm up is about ten to twelve questions. Some are multiple choice, some are fill in, some are matching and some had her plotting points. The results are not given from the warm up, but your student may find that they need to complete some Building Blocks before they are ready to work on concepts in the unit.

I normally don’t like warm ups or pretests because AJ gets frustrated when she is expected to answer questions that she doesn’t know how to do. Much to my surprise, we both liked the warm-ups. I think they were very accurate when it came to skills that AJ needed to work on. I wish they would have a button that says I don’t know how to do this problem, or a skip button because a few times when she didn’t know how to do the problem she was able to guess correctly.

Once the student finishes the warm up they are able to start on the first Building Block or Unit Concept that they want to work on.

Each concept has three videos that teach the concept to the student. The videos are like power point presentations with a teacher walking the students through the problems. There are different teachers that explain the concepts so there is a nice variety. There are also optional videos that the student can watch if they need additional help. The student doesn’t have to watch the videos, but they are the main teaching portion of the program.

Once the student watches or skips the videos they move on to the Bop Section. The student needs to complete at least five Bops and gain a mastery of 90% in order to master the concept. The Bops are just the problems that the student needs to work through.

If the student needs help they can be walked through the problem step by step. If they get the problem wrong the problem is broken down into bite size pieces that they need to solve. If there are a lot of mistakes made the student may be assigned additional Building Blocks to help them understand any concepts that then need help with.

LearnBop helps students master concepts.

AJ ended up being assigned more building blocks in the first unit. She was upset that she had to do more work, but after watching more videos on concepts that she needed help with she understood what she was doing wrong and was able to master the concept. She often doesn’t check her work and gets things wrong because she misreads problems. I noticed that she was always checking her work and making sure exactly what the problem was asking her for because it was a lot easier to go down in mastery than to go up.

LearnBop helps students master concepts.

It took her over five hours to master the first unit because there were a lot of concepts that she didn’t understand, but unit three only took her 29 minutes to master. I like that concepts she understands can be finished quickly and that she is given more practice when needed. AJ enjoys watching the mastery graph go up and will often work on a concept until she passes it.

LearnBop helps students master concepts.

As the student moves along they are able to earn badges for mastering concepts, staying focused, being persistent, and other good qualities. AJ is really motivated by these badges. She also likes the fun Growth Mindset section that gives an inspirational quote to her when she logs on.

LearnBop motivates students to master concepts.

We both found LearnBop to be a great program. I am assured that she is learning the same things as her friends in public school, I can instantly see where she needs extra help, and she isn’t stuck working on concepts that she has already mastered. The parent can easily see the student’s progress and detailed feedback on problems that they got wrong. I think that LearnBop is a solid program. We plan to continue with the 8th grade plan over the summer and then work through the subject roadmaps before moving her on to the Algebra level. I think this will be a big blessing to us.

Find out what other members of the crew thought by clicking on the graphic below.

LearnBop for Families Review

Math Mini-Courses ~ Review

One of AJ’s favorite subjects is math. We don’t follow a traditional method for math, instead AJ works on a mastery based program. We have been studying math this way since she was in fourth grade. She likes that she is constantly learning new things and that she can continue to learn about a topic. We started using a mastery based program when she was learning the very basics of fractions for the second or third time. She was tired of having to relearn the basics every year, study a topic for a chapter or two, and then not work on it until the next year.

We both love the mastery approach to math, but there are a few drawbacks. The major one is that it is very easy to miss studying a skill. Last year I noticed that she hadn’t learned much about geometry. I bought a few workbooks, but they all seemed a little babyish. I didn’t know exactly what I was going to use to teach her geometry, but I figured I would find something. When we were given the opportunity to review two of  the Math Mini-Courses from A+ Interactive Math, I thought it would be exactly what we needed. And it was!

A+ Math 20161

There are 20 Math Mini-Courses. Each course is a way to close learning gaps that your child might have. The courses are set up in a way that they start with the basic information on the topic and then go in very deep ensuring that your child really understands the topic. The courses have different amounts of lessons and range in price from $9.99 to $19.99 for year long access to the course.

Does the mention of fractions make you want to pull your hair out? Have your child try out the Elementary or Advanced Fraction Math Mini-Courses. They will learn all about fractions making math an easier time during your day.

After looking at all of the courses that are available, I decided that the two that would help her the most were; Percentages and Geometry. Unfortunately, I somehow ended up ordering the Elementary Geometry for students in 1st through 4th grade instead of the regular Geometry for grades 4th through 7th. I think we will be ordering the higher level geometry for her to use next year though, because she really enjoyed the elementary level.

AJ enjoyed using A+ Interactive Math last year, so we were familiar with how to use the program. If it is your first time using the program, there is a section that explains how to use it. Once you purchase a Math Mini-Course you will need to create a parent account and then a student account. The student should be able to use the program all by themselves, working in the student account. Any lessons completed under the parent account will not be marked complete.

A+ math has Parent Reports to help you see how your child is doing.

Under the parent account you are able to generate different reports that show how your student did. You can see how they did on the interactive questions, which online worksheets they completed and their score, and any tests that they completed.

How the Lessons Work

Each lesson is set up the same way. The student clicks on the lesson they want to do, then they watch a video lesson. There is also the option to print the lesson in PDF form. The video explains the topic and then goes over a few different examples. At the end of the lesson they complete an interactive question and answer section. The interactive question and answer session begins with a short review of the lesson and then has your student answer some multiple choice and short answer questions. The lesson prevents the student from clicking an answer or inputting one until they have listened to all of the choices. This was great for AJ because one issue she has is that she doesn’t always read all of the options, so she ends up getting the answer wrong. Some lessons only have a few questions while other lessons that she completed had more than ten. (See the photo above.)The thing that is great about the interactive questions is, if your child selects the wrong answer or types one in (Make sure they click on the frog after their answer is imputed, or it won’t register that it is complete.) then they are brought back to the lesson where how to do the problem was explained and then the problem is worked out for the student. I love that they are given instant feedback! When they are done with the questions and answers they mark the lesson complete, and the rest is up to you. Some people stop at that point. But there are both printable and online worksheets for each lesson. After your child submits the online worksheet they are able to review any incorrect answers along with a step by step way to answer the problem that they got wrong.

After your child submits the online worksheet they are able to review any incorrect answers along with a step by step way to answer the problem that they got wrong.

Mistakes are shown, and give you the correct way to solve the problem.

If you want your child to have even more practice on a topic, you can also generate and print off additional worksheets. We didn’t complete this step the last time that we reviewed a course from A+ Interactive Math, because I felt the; online lessons, interactive question and answers, and the online worksheets were more than enough practice. This time though, I had AJ do the printable worksheet if she missed more than three questions on the online worksheet. I think she only had to do one.


The Percentage Mini-Course is made up of 13 lessons. It starts with an introduction to percentages, goes through converting percentages from fractions and decimals, and then goes through different word problem lessons. The course covers everything related to percentages and I am certain that when AJ completes this course (she has 4 lessons left) she will have a very solid grasp on how to work with percentages. She struggles with word problems so I am thankful that the last few lessons in this course covers them.

Elementary Geometry

The Elementary Geometry Mini-Course is made up of 19 lessons. It started with the very basics of plain and solid shapes. It went on to cover two and three dimensional shapes and lines of symmetry. It is wrapped up with different types of lines and angles. AJ finished this course, and she did learn a few different things. I think it covers far more than a 4th grade level of geometry. We are both looking forward to having her complete the regular geometry next year. AJ really enjoyed the elementary course and was sad to see that there were only 19 lessons.

How We Used the Math Mini-Courses and What We thought About It

Since the Geometry Lessons were for kids in lower grades, I had AJ do two lessons a day. After the lesson she completed the online worksheets. For the Percentage Lessons she did one a day in the beginning and eventually as the lessons became harder, I had her do the lesson one day and the online worksheet the next day.

We really like A+ math because it is presented in a way that is easy to understand. The lessons are long enough to teach the topic, but short enough to keep her attention. I think these Math Mini-Courses are amazing! They give you a way to help your student fill in the gaps of their learning. The best part for us is that AJ can do it all by herself. The only complaint AJ had was that she never knew how many interactive questions there would be.  She would like it to say something like, “Question 3 of 17” that way she knew what to expect.

Overall we were both very happy with the Math Mini-Courses!

If you are looking for a math program to help fill in the gaps of your child’s learning, then the Math Mini-Courses from A+ Math is something you should look into. Find out what other members of the Crew thought by clicking on the graphic below.


Math Mini-Courses {A+ Interactive Math Review}

Times Tales ~ Review

Multiplication is a subject that I had no problem with as a kid. I remember doing those colored sheets with 100 problems on them almost every day in third grade and never having any issues with multiplication from that point on. AJ is a different story. We tried dozens of things to help her with her multiplication, but nothing seemed to work. Finally after adding, counting, and working through each problem (with no help) for a few weeks she eventually remembered most of them. But there are still times when I see her take a while on a problem because she is trying to recall those facts.

Right after I had given up on making AJ memorize the time tables I heard of a different way of memorizing them. Times Tales from The Trigger Memory Co. looked like a fun way to learn. But since AJ was finally at the point of recalling most of the facts I didn’t think it would really help her. That was a few years ago.

The Trigger Memory Co REVIEW
A few weeks ago we were given a chance to review a digital version of Times Tales and I was very excited to see how it worked.

Times Tales takes a different approach to multiplication. They use stories to help kids remember the times tables. Each number is represented by a different character. The number 4 is a chair and the number 9 is a tree. The other numbers have fun characters that represent them as well. There is a little story for each fact about two of the characters and in the end you learn the multiplication fact by remembering the story. It sound more complicated than it is, and really to get a good understanding of the product, the best thing to do is to get a free sample of four stories on their website.

The Trigger Memory Co REVIEW
The digital download included two videos that were each a little less than thirty minutes long, a different set of printable worksheets to go with each video, and an answer key.

In the videos your child is introduced to the characters, told the story, asked to tell part of the story back, and then asked to tell the entire story. So with the stopping and starting each video ends up lasting about forty five minutes.

When we received the download I decided to print off some of the worksheets for the first video. One page included different characters as multiplication problems, another page had regular multiplication problems, there were flash cards, a game, and a crossword puzzle. I decided to have AJ do the regular multiplication worksheet. She got all of the answers correct but it took her a few minutes.

Then we watched the first video. AJ thought it was fun and was constantly trying to figure out what the story was going to be. There were times in the video when we were told to go back over the stories if she didn’t remember them, but AJ didn’t have any problems at all.

The next day I gave her the multiplication worksheet again and she was able to complete it a lot faster. A few days later I had her do the crossword puzzle.

A week later she did the same thing with the second video and worksheets. Obviously this was easier for her because she already knew the facts, but I did see a difference in the speed that her math was getting finished.

AJ only watched each video once, but I think that kids who were just learning the times tables would need to watch the videos a few more times. I couldn’t remember the stories after watching them, and I guess that shows how different learners respond to different methods.

The videos had cute animation and held AJ’s attention. I was really glad that we were finally able to try out Times Tales, the videos and overall process really work! Times Tales is something that really would have come in handy when AJ was having such a hard time remembering the multiplication facts. I think that if we would have used this a few years ago we both would have had a lot less tears shed over multiplication.

Times Tales by the The Trigger Memory Co REVIEW

Rabbits Rabbits Everywhere (a math story book) ~ Review

I love when math can be learned from life experiences, games, and books. There is a time for workbook practice, but when you are able to learn a new concept in an engaging way, it seems to stick a lot better. When we were given the chance to review Rabbits, Rabbits Everywhere: A Fibonacci Tale from Ann McCallum Books  I thought it would be a fun way for AJ to learn about Fibonacci numbers. We were given a physical copy of the book for this review.


What is Rabbits, Rabbits Everywhere: A Fibonacci Tale ?

Rabbits, Rabbits, Everywhere is a full colored, 32 page, soft covered book, written by Ann McCallum and illustrated by Gideon Kendall.

A fun way to learn a difficult math concept!

It is a cute little story that begins with the Pied Piper telling the wizard on the hill that the people of the town didn’t have any food to give him. This made the wizard very angry, because he knew that the Pied Piper was lying. The next day a little girl, Amanda was working in the garden when she found two baby rabbits. They had tags that said their names were Knot and Fibb. Those two rabbits quickly began to multiply. While two rabbits were fine, the large amount of rabbits began to cause problems in the town. They began eating all of the vegetables in the gardens. The people tried everything they could think of to get rid of the rabbits, but nothing worked. Finally Amanda realizes that there is a pattern in the amount of rabbits. Will her quick thinking save the town, or will the people go hungry? Was the wizard behind the rabbits, or was someone else? Read the book to find out.

The last page of the book has a little information about the man who was known about Fibonacci along with a little explanation about Fibonacci numbers and where they can be found in nature.

How Did We Use Rabbits, Rabbits Everywhere: A Fibonacci Tale?

When the book first arrived I read through it, the next day instead of our normal math and literature studies I had AJ read the book. She was happy to take a brake from her regular studies. As we read it we talked about some literary elements and themes (there was a lot to learn in this little book) and when Amanda was figuring out the pattern in the book, I had AJ try and see if she could find a pattern in the number of rabbits.

A fun way to learn a difficult math concept!

She worked on trying to figure out the pattern for a little while, trying adding numbers, multiplying them, but she didn’t figure it out. Then she read the rest of the book and realized that the pattern was right in front of her. After reading the book we did a little research on Leonardo Pisano who was known as Fibonacci.

What We Thought About Rabbits, Rabbits Everywhere: A Fibonacci Tale

We thought it was an adorable children’s book that has an interesting story. There is some mention of spells, wizards, and magic, so those who have an issue with that should be aware. I think this book was a great way to introduce a different mathematical concept to kids. I think I may purchase a few other books by Ann McCallum in the future.

Members of the Review Crew were given a few different books by Ann McCallum to review, check out their reviews by clicking on the graphic below.

Ann McCallum Books Review


Pre-Algebra – Hands On Learning (and FREE Worksheets)

AJ has been coming along wonderfully in math. I think that our decision to ditch a “regular” math curriculum in fifth and sixth grades, and work on the Key To Math program, was the perfect choice for us. It has given AJ a sense of confidence and has allowed her to breeze through the beginning of pre-algebra.

Hands on learning idea for- Pre-Algebra (and 2 free worksheets)

She has been using UnLock Math Pre-Algebra this year, and has already completed over 35% of the course. She has understood all of the concepts, and I haven’t really had to teach much math. It has been kind of nice.

Then she hit unit 6 lesson 6, which covers solving equations with variables on both sides of the equation. She watched the video, but the concept just didn’t click. She was making mistakes on every single question. She rewatched the lesson a few times, but you would have thought that I was asking her to write in French! Everything she had learned in the previous five lessons went out the window.

I quickly realized that this concept was one that was going to take her a little longer to really get. We worked through each problem on the whiteboard, and she was still making silly mistakes. I printed a few worksheets off for her from Super Teachers Worksheets and they helped a little bit. Then I decided to try a different approach.

Hands on learning for pre-algebra

I took six index cards, three pink and three yellow, and cut them in half. Then I made up a worksheet with six problems for her to solve. The first three to be done in a hands on way and the other three to be worked out on paper.

On the pink cards I put the variables in the problem, and on the yellow I put the other numbers. On the back of each card I put the opposite number. So on one side it would say 3x and on the other side it would say -3x. Then I had her work through the problems.

First she started with the original equation written out with the index cards taped to the white board.

Hands on learning - Pre-Algebra

I told her she had to get all of the variables on the same side, but in order to move a card to the other side she had to flip it over.

Hands on learning - Pre-Algebra

Once the variables were all on the same side, she finished solving the problem on the whiteboard. The concept seemed to finally click!

The next day I made a different worksheet for her with more advanced problems. I made index cards for the first three problems and had her work them out on the white board. The second sheet required a little more work, but she was able to do it easily!

Hands on learning - Pre-Algebra

She ended up redoing the math lesson and passed it with 100%. I am so thankful that we are able to slow down and take a little extra time to cover a difficult concept when she needs help!

The two Pre-Algebra worksheets with worked out answer keys are free for my subscribers. If you are a subscriber, you can use the link in your email. If you haven’t subscribed yet, enter your email address in the box below.

What hands on ideas do you use to teach pre-algebra concepts?

Super Teacher Worksheets ~ Review

When we study different topics in history and science, I often try to find worksheets to help AJ understand concepts a little bit more. One site that I have found very helpful is Super Teacher Worksheets. They have quite a few free worksheets available that AJ has enjoyed using, but to access all of the worksheets you need a membership.

Super Teacher Worksheets is a quick and easy way to supplement what we are learning!

We were recently given a year long  Individual Membership  from Super Teacher Worksheets. I use the free version all of the time, so I was anxious to see if the paid membership was worth it. It is!

What is Super Teacher Worksheets?

Super Teacher Worksheets is a website that is full of different printable resources. Most of the worksheets are geared for kids up to sixth grade with some for seventh and eighth grade.( I think a lot of the worksheets that are geared for fourth and fifth grade can easily be used to help older students learn topics.) AJ is in 7th grade and we have used  dozens of worksheets over the last few weeks.

While there are plenty of regular worksheets, there are also flash cards, puzzles, maps, graphic organizers, holiday worksheets, and worksheet generators. There are worksheets for almost any topic. You can browse by subject or use the search bar and find what you need in seconds. Once you find a worksheet that you like you can print it right away, or save it to your file cabinet and use it when you need it.

The site is easy to navigate, and extremely fast. You really have access to thousands of worksheets right at your fingertips.

How did we use Super Teacher Worksheets?

Each week I make out our schedule on Sunday night, depending on what we were learning I would look for a few worksheets to go along with our studies. Normally that would be time consuming, but not with Super Teacher Worksheets! It took me just a few minutes a week to find and print worksheets to supplement her learning.

There are a lot of science worksheets on Super Teacher Worksheets!

This week AJ is learning about food chains in science. I typed “food chains” in the search box and it brought up 50 different results. Some were articles to read, some were math or phonics activities, and others were exactly what I needed. I found three that went along with her lesson perfectly. They were geared for 3rd through 5th grade, but they helped her practice the vocabulary and concepts that were explained in her regular lessons. When she was studying cells there were a few different worksheets that helped her memorize the parts of a cell.

In math she is working on algebraic equations, and was struggling a little. I found a worksheet for her to have a little extra practice. For fun I also printed her off a math mystery puzzle where she plots points on a coordinate grid and makes a picture. She thinks she is just having fun, but really she is practicing math skills.

Spanish worksheets from Super Teacher Worksheet mask learning fun!

There is also a section with Spanish vocabulary. I printed out flash cards and an activity for her to do each day this week. I was even able to use the worksheet generator to create a quiz for her.

Plenty of history and geography supplements at Super Teacher Worksheets!

We have found a lot of great worksheets! In history she was learning about castles. I found a really fun map activity where she had to follow directions and find different rooms in the castle. I also found a multiplication mystery puzzle that was a castle.

I have used the worksheet generator at least once a week, I make a lot of worksheets up for AJ and the worksheet generator has made it easy.

What we thought of Super Teacher Worksheets

I loved it! There is only one thing that I would change about the site. When you want to view a worksheet it takes you to the PDF and off of the website, I would rather have the PDF pop up in a new window so that I could easily compare multiple worksheets. Other than that, the site is perfect.

I love the fact that I can type in a topic we are learning about and I have numerous worksheets available at my finger tips. AJ is a child that likes worksheets and workbooks, so this has been a great fit. I can add a few worksheets each week to keep her engaged, but I don’t have to spend a lot of time searching for them. I like that I can print off a worksheet on a topic like longitude and latitude and have a short lesson on something I wouldn’t have thought to do.

There are so many worksheets that I plan to use over the next year. From science worksheets, to book studies, Super Teacher Worksheets will be a huge asset to us over the next year.

Super Teacher Worksheets Review


UnLock Math ~ Review

Post Contains Affiliate Links

AJ recently had the chance to review an amazing online math program from UnLock Math, UnLock Pre-Algebra. We were given year long access to the course.

Unlock Math Review
UnLock Pre-Algebra is a full pre-algebra course that is taught by an energetic math teacher, Alesia Blackwood. Utilizing interesting videos, lessons that break concepts into bite sized pieces, and constant review, your child can gain a better understanding of math!

UnLock Pre-Algebra is broken up into 16 units. It begins with a few review units that cover topics your child may already know, and gets progressively harder as the units go on.

When your child logs on to the program they are taken to their home page. This page has all of the units available so your child can jump to a section that they need extra practice in, or do the course in order. The home page has their course average and their progress in the course in a colorful graphic. If a unit is clicked on then there will be a graph on the bottom of the home page that shows the progress for that unit. There is also a downloadable pacing guide to help you through the course and a welcome letter that explains more about the course and how grades are configured.

Unlock Math Review
Once a unit has been launched there is a screen with all of the lessons, quizzes and tests for the unit. There is a short quiz (less than 10 questions so far) after every two lessons. The units each end with a review and a final test. Your student has access to all of the lessons and tests and can do them in any order, but I would recommend doing them in order.

How UnLock Math Works

The lesson format is the same for each lesson. It is set up where you follow a path to complete the lesson. Each lesson starts with a Warm Up. The Warm Up is usually about 5 questions long and covers topics previously covered, and basic math skills.

Following the Warm Up is the main part of the lesson, the Video. The videos vary by length, but I would say they range from about 5 to 10 minutes each. The videos are humorous and teach math the way I remember being taught. I love how the teacher starts with a simple topic and then takes it to a new level. She has an amazing way of explaining math topics! She works out problems and shows step by step how to solve them.

After watching the Video the student completes the Practice Problems. The student answers 10 questions that are directly related the lesson they just finished. Following the Practice Problems is a Stay Sharp section. In this part of the lesson, the student answers about 15 questions about anything that has been covered in the course up to that point.

For extra credit there is a Challenge Yourself problem. These really vary, some AJ was able to answer with out any problem, and others I walked her through. She really enjoyed this section.

Each lesson also has a Reference Notes section that has a printable page of the information that was presented in the video.

For each section the student is only shown one problem at a time so they are not overwhelmed by an entire page of problems. At the end of each section the student is given their score and they can see each problem worked out.

What We Thought About UnLock Math

AJ was able to log in to UnLock Math each day and complete her lesson with little assistance from me. It is easy to navigate and was really self explanatory. The first two units were fairly easy for her and she had lessons finished in about 30 minutes. When she got to the third unit it started taking her about 45 minutes for each lesson because she had to work out harder problems.

We both loved this math program! The videos were well made and interesting. Having a person who is engaging and full of life work out each problem really made a difference, AJ didn’t lose interest. AJ is a math lover and this program has helped her to love math even more. Normally she hates review problems since she wants to constantly learn new concepts. I wondered how all of the built in review was going to go over with her, but she never complained! I think the fact that there were a few problems at a time made it more manageable.

The only thing that I would change would be the number of review problems before a test, and the number of questions on each test. The last test she took had 50 review questions, and she was getting a little restless after about 30. The great part is that you have the option to save the work and finish it at a later time.

One unexpected benefit we found was that she learned quite a bit of math vocabulary. I have never really made her memorize the different properties of addition or roman numerals, but this course made her. And it wasn’t for just one lesson. She learned about roman numerals in unit 1, and had questions about them in the last few lessons of unit 3.

I have also noticed her being more careful with her math. Some questions are multiple choice, but a large amount of them have the student enter the answer manually. She has to focus and make sure she enters the negative sign, or that she has the numbers entered correctly.

AJ’s favorite part is that there is no offline work! Everything is done online with no writing other than the writing needed to work out the problems. At first I will admit that I was skeptical that there would be enough work, but she has completed 3 units and has a 97%. She is able to do a lot of addition and subtraction of negative numbers in her head, and her multiplication has gotten a lot faster. She is able to answer questions about things she learned a few weeks ago, so that tells me she really learned and understood the topics, she didn’t just momentarily learn the concept and then forget it.

We have tried out a lot of math programs, and when I gave AJ her choice of which math to use for her 7th grade year, she picked UnLock Math. I think this is a great program that will help your child understand math! It really is the answer for homeschoolers who want a math teacher to explain all of the hard topics.

The wonderful people at UnLock Math have offered my readers $100 off of an annual purchase of a course! Click for your discount code. Offer ends August 18th.

UnLock Math Review


Shape Whiz – Review

I love when I am able to make learning fun! Recently we were given the opportunity to review a game from SimplyFun, Shape Whiz. We had a blast playing and learning geometric topics at the same time!

Simply Fun Review
Shape Whiz is a card game for two to four players where speed and geometry come together. It is recommended for kids ages 10 and up, but I feel an 8 year old would be able to catch on fairly easily. It is a quick game, most of our games lasted about 10 minutes.

The object of the game is to be the first player to play all of their personal shape cards.

Each player is dealt a number of shape cards. The box has 45 blue shape cards and 35 green shape cards. The blue cards have simple shapes where the green cards have complex shapes. You have the option of just using the simple shapes or using both sets of cards. We found that using both sets actually made for an easier game.

The front of the shape cards feature different sized shapes. On the back of the card all of the shape properties are listed. It includes information about the shape’s area, perimeter, lines of symmetry, angles, parallel lines, and number of different length sides.

In the middle of the table you place the stack of 40 double sided whiz cards. The Whiz Cards have a sample shape and then a specific geometry question listed. The card might say “Total Area Less Than Or Equal To 3”, “One Line Of Symmetry”, or “Total Perimeter Greater Than 10”.

Simply Fun Review
To start the game you flip over a Whiz Card. Each player checks the cards in front of them and the cards in front of the other players to see if they can find a card that matches the properties on the Whiz Card. The best part is that if there are any disputes over how many 90 degree angles a shape has, all you have to do is flip over  the card and check.

It is fast paced and once you get going you start to learn how to figure out the approximate area and perimeter of shapes very quickly. AJ would look at the back of her cards constantly in the beginning to help her figure out the properties of her cards, but by the fourth time we played she was able to figure a lot of them out on her own.

There is a booklet included in the box that explains all of the symbols used in the game. AJ was introduced to a few new symbols including the approximate sign. It also includes how to find the area and perimeter of different shapes.

Since it is such a quick game with very little set up, we were able to play this game quite a bit. Most of the time it was just the two of us, but we also had AJ’s grandma play a few hands with us. She said, “Wow! This game sure makes you think, but it’s pretty fun.” It has been AJ’s pick for game night ever since we tried it out.

We ended up making one switch to the game the first few times we played to make it a little less competitive. Instead of being able to play the cards of other players, we decided to only play our own cards. If you are playing with a younger child I would recommend this little change to help them get use to the game.

It has definitely improved AJ’s knowledge of geometric shapes. We both enjoyed playing it and I am planning on using the cards to help teach when we get to the next geometry unit in math.

If you are looking for a fun, fast paced game that will help your child master some geometric principles, I would recommend Shape Whiz!


Simply Fun Review

CTC Math Review

Math is AJ’s favorite subject! She loves to work with numbers and figure out problems. We have been working on a mastery approach to math and she is really ready for pre algebra, so I was excited to have to opportunity to review the 12 Month Family Plan from CTC Math.

CTC Math is an online program that uses short videos to teach different math lessons. The pre algebra level has printable worksheets that students work on and then enter the answers online. CTC Math’s 12 Month Family Plan gives you access to math curriculum from Kindergarten to Calculus for up to 10 kids for an entire year.  You can use any level you want working where your student needs to be.

CTCMath Review
The pre algebra section is broken up into 4 different sections.

Part one has lessons on:

  • Basics and Whole Numbers
  • Fractions
  • Decimals
  • Percentages

Part 2 has lessons on:

  • Problem Solving
  • Pre-Algebra 1
  • Pre-Algebra 2
  • Pythagoras’ Theorem

Part 3 has lessons on:

  • Powers, Exponents, and Roots
  • Scientific Notation and Powers of 10
  • Measurement
  • Area
  • The Circles
  • Graphs and Charts

Part 4 has lessons on:

  • Probability
  • Statistics
  • Variables, Expressions, and Equations
  • Equation Extensions
  • Ratios
  • Rates
  • Number Application
  • Volume

AJ was excited to try out the Pre-Algebra unit, she started with the first one, Basics and Whole Numbers. Most of the units begin with an optional  diagnostic test. She completed the test and it showed that she already knew 70% of the material. She had mastered 6 of the lessons. The odd part was that there was no way to simply mark the lessons complete. Even though she had shown mastery in the diagnostic test, if we wanted the lessons to show that they were complete she would have to do the worksheet.

CTC Math is broken into short lessons

Once she was finished with the test I had her skip a few lessons and start on one of the lessons that she didn’t show mastery in, Order of Operations.  She was able to easily navigate the program and started on the lesson. She watched the 10 minute narrated video and then pulled up the worksheet. She liked the video and thought the narrator’s Australian accent cool. Unfortunately, the way they explained the order of operations was different from what she had been taught. Instead of using PEMDAS (parentheses, exponents, multiplication/division, addition/subtraction) they taught BIMDAS (Brackets, Indices, multiplication/division, addition/subtraction.) It is the exact same thing, but using different terminology confused her. After I reassured he that they were just calling it a new name everything was fine.

CTC Math Order of Operations

After the lesson you are suppose to print out a worksheet, complete it, and then enter the answers online. I don’t like to print things that I don’t have to so I had AJ view the worksheet on the computer, work out the problems and then find the letter that matched her answer. Then she would enter the answers online and receive her score. I love the fact that offline work is included. While the number of problems varies, there are enough problems to practice and really master each topic.

A few times I couldn’t have her occupying the computer. On those times I printed out the worksheets for the topics she had mastered and had her work on them. She was able to enter her answers later in the day, and I found that it was a good review for her.

CTC Math Award

At the end of the unit your student can earn a certificate based on how well they did on the worksheets. AJ ended up earning a gold certificate in Basics and Whole Numbers and is on track to earn a platinum certificate in Fractions. The student can redo the videos and the worksheets as much as they need in order to grasp the topic.

What we liked

We both loved the short, to the point lessons. Aside from the different terminology that I mentioned above, I didn’t find anything confusing or different than how I would present a topic. I love that she can work on it by herself and that I don’t have to do anything. The email updates were helpful and let me see her progress. I think the amount of work is great, and I think the variety of questions required her to really understand the topics. Most of all I think the price is great. For only one child the price may be a little high, but if you have two or more students it is a fantastic deal! The best part is that AJ enjoyed it, and learned quite a bit.

What we didn’t care for

AJ liked that the lessons were all multiple choice, but I didn’t. I would have liked to have her enter the answers instead. That is of course a personal preference. The order that the lessons are presented in is a little different than other programs we have looked at, and once we get past part 1 I see us rearranging the order. I think it is great that you are able to jump around through the program to suite your needs the best. The other issue I had is that there aren’t any tests after the unit is complete and the diagnostic test doesn’t allow you to mark lessons complete. While the small issues don’t hinder the program, I felt them worth mentioning.

Overall AJ enjoyed the program. As of right now we are planning on using this for AJ’s 7th grade year.

CTCmath Review

FREE Sudoku Puzzles for Kids

Yesterday I shared a fun set of Animal Sudoku puzzles for kids. Today I have another set of Sudoku puzzles, this time with a snack food theme.

FREE Snack Sudoku Puzzle Pack

Download your Snack Sudoku today and come back tomorrow for another FREE Printable!