Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Gearing up for Summer Time and the Sneaky Squirrel Giveaway

Wow. I guess I've been a little lazy updating my blog here. Maybe it has to do with the fact we no longer have snow on the ground. We see that bright orange orb in the sky called the sun, and its warm.
Actually today its a little to warm for Maggie. As soon as we stepped outside her face would go into full red. This is because she is on a medicine called Ditropan and it causes her body to retain heat and she can't sweat due to that. So all that heat just builds up and she overheats. Thank goodness for the air conditioner. With out it we would be be in such a huge pickle.

Right now the older three are finishing up school. Tomorrow they have a field day so we'll be having hot dogs and fun. Maggie on the other hand really enjoyed her first day of summer with her mommy. She of course in true fashion needed to do some of her Touch Math. A day isn't complete for her if she hasn't done her Touch math.

Well this really wasn't THE Touch Math. But its math. He, he

Then we followed the rest of the day with just some cuddling, reading stories, watching t.v and I'll admit. It was nice not to have to time my day to the minute because I had to go over to the school to catherize Maggie. Today was just a day to relax , and enjoy.
I'm looking forward to our summer. We don't have to go to Cincinnati until next May. So we are clear to enjoy our summer as far as urology goes. We do need to get to Pittsburgh to check Maggie's spine and get to cardiology to make sure all is well with her heart so that she can have her Malone/Mitrofanoff/kidney removal surgery done.

Sneaky Squirrel Giveaway..
Okay , so in my true Tracy fashion I want to let everyone know about the Sneaky Squirrel Giveaway on the Confessions of a Homeschooler website. It looks to be a very cute game. Jump on over and follow the directions to sign up for the giveway. Good luck to everyone!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Montessori Buddy Giveaway

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Just wanted to type a quick post on another great Giveaway! Can you tell I like Giveaways?
Check out the Montessori Buddy today and see what amazing software this is.
Jump on over to Living Montessori Now and sign up for your chance to win a $50 Giftcard to

Good luck everyone!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Upper Grades Touch Math Multiplication and Divison Review..

What's faster than Superman, and easier than regular math? Touch Math of course!
Touch Math uses a multisensory approach to teaching children easy and difficult math concepts. By using the Touch Math TouchPoints children can easily begin to start adding and subtracting, multiplying and dividing in a matter of minutes rather then days or weeks or months. One of the many great things about this curriculum is that you can use this to supplement any program you are currently using, or you can use it as a stand alone program and you will see great results ,and confident kids in math.

The Touch Math program definitely has grown since I had first encountered it a few years ago. I came upon Touch Math when I was doing a search to find a math program that would help my 2nd daughter with math. What I saw from the program was great, and I began using the method of the program to help my daughter along. That was about three years ago.

Today Touch Math has grown, and really has so much to offer with their extensive line of products. They now offer worksheets that you can download, curriculum packages, software packages , and hands on manipulatives to help that visual kinestetic learner you may have.

With that little plug in on the Touch Math company we were very excited to be able to use and review the Touch Math Upper Grades Multiplication and Divison 1&2. I was really happy when we recieved this as my oldest two were having some difficulty with double digit multiplication and double digit division at the time. So it couldn't have come to our home at a better time. The really nice part was that I was able to customize this to their current math that they are using (Saxon math) without having to stop and start a new program.

The Upper Grade Level Multiplication focuses on children in grades Three and up. The manuals are very nicely laid out and the only thing that was required of me to put it together was to take the shrink wrap off and put them in the binder. Everything is nicely laid out and included pages with binder labels on them to divide the contents of the lessons and teaching aid materials. Also included in the binder were multiplication and division flashcards to use for review.

The first manual contained all different types of worksheets for beginning multiplication and divison concepts, four hundred and seventy one to be exact.
The concepts taught in the 1st level are basic multiplication from 0-5 and division from 1-5. They teach children to multiple both horizontally and vertically. It also includes teaching dividing without remainders , fact families and also some fractions as well.

Here Katie and Maggie were practicing skip counting. Maggie was a little camera shy because there was a thunderstorm going on when I took the picture.

Here Katie was working on a new concept that she's never learned before. The way Touch Math presented it made it so very easy for her to learn that she flew through it like butter, and got them all right!

Another picture of Katie learning a new concept. After she was finished she said " Wow, mom, that wasn't hard to do at all!"

The second manual you begin to take all those concepts that you learned in the first manual and begin to put it all together to solve more advanced concepts. Just like the first manual , it includes all of the worksheets you need, binder dividers, and teaching aid materials to help teach certain concepts.
The 2nd manual contains 420 worksheets to work on concepts from multipying from 0-9, multiplying multiple digits ,to dividing double digit division problems. It also included multiplication and division flashcards just like the first manual did.

Picture of Marilyn working on double digit division in the Multiplication and Division 2 Manual.

Picture of Marilyn working on double digit division. She couldn't believe how easy it actually was. To be honest I didn't either. All these years I'd sit there and multiply many problems before I came to the write number to divide. Here all you had to do was estimate!

One thing I particularly like about Touch Math is they don't just have you continue to teach concepts without knowing whether your student has mastered the material or not. They include 'chapter' assessments for the concepts taught. The student takes the assessment test and you will instantly know whether you need to work on a concept more before moving on, or whether your student is ready for the next concept. Or like my Katie likes to say, " The next level."

Here Katie takes the assessment for the 2 times tables. She was so proud of herself and said to me " Mom, I'm ready for level 3!" ( meaning she was ready for the 3 times tables)

Over all this was a great math program to use. My daughters liked the fact that math wasn't such a foreign language to them anymore. It made those really difficult math concepts so much easier to solve and jump started their confidence in math quite a bit. Since using the Upper Grades Multiplication and Division with my older two I have noticed an improvement with their math as well.
Another thing they liked about the program was that it didn't have to many math problems on one page. This is a huge plus for children that panic when they see 30 math probelms on one page which is quite common in math books. Their favorite part were the reminders on how to solve the problems too. They felt like it was having me right there with them helping out and they didn't have to ask me to help.
I liked the way the math was presented. The presentation of the worksheets made it very easy for us to work together , or even have them work on it independently. I'm one of those types of people that like to have everything all laid out for me and I all I have to do is take it out and go.
I like how Touch Math included advanced topics in their multiplication and divison product. A very nice addition if you have a student that is advanced or if you have an older student that needs to work on those topics.

There were a couple of minor cons that I did find, but they were so minor that it almost didn't matter to me.
First , there are lots and lots of worksheets. This is fine if you work at a brick and mortar school and have unlimited access to all the ink and paper you want. But I was able to easily remedy this problem quickly with some sheet protectors and dry erase markers. This worked wonderfully and I no longer will need to go broke buying printer ink and paper. Now we can use the worksheets over and over again, guilt free.
Second , the flashcards were a very nice addition to have. In fact they are very important when memorizing math facts. The thing I found with these flashcards were that they are set up for a teacher and student and not so much for using them independently. Sadly, I've yet to figure out how to clone myself between teaching my younger and older daughters. So independent work at times is a very important thing to us.
With that said there weren't any answers on the flascards. Again, I was able to remedy that with writting the answers on the back. The fronts had multiplication problems so I wrote the answer on the back, and the back had division so I wrote the answer to those on the front. That way my two older daughters could work and quiz each other at the times I couldn't sit with them myself and work with them.

Other then that Touch Math is a permanent math program here at our home.We were 100% happy with it.
I no longer need to search for another math program to help teach my daughters difficult math concepts.
Its right here , right in front of our nose. Thank you Touch Math for making such a great product!

: I was provided with the manuals in exchange for my honest opinion. I was not paid for nor was I required to write a positive review.

This review is linked to Homeschool Curriculum Review Round Up

Monday, May 9, 2011

Mother's Day , and a Website Giveaway...

Wow! I'll admit every year I've always had a wonderful Mother's Day. But this one has been the best of the best. Not because I had recieved anything but because my daughters were able to recieve something.

This year my two oldest Katie and Marilyn were able to partake in Communion. Marilyn had her first Communion on April 23rd and Katie had her First Communion on Mother's Day. It was truely beautiful and I wished I would have taken my video camera.

We had so much to do that it escaped my mind to bring a video camera but we did bring the camera and did get a little 'video' on it.
None the less everything turned out perfectly and it made for a wonderful mother's day to remember.

Shortly after communion we had a small reception with some cake and punch , and the girls recieved their certificates and a beautiful gift of holy water and a cute little angle receptacle to put their holy water in.

After all this we went up to our inlaws for the first cook out of the year. Our weather has been horrible, terrible this year. Tons of snow in the winter and now lots of rain. This was the first nice day we had were there was sun all day.

Next, onto business here. There is an awesome giveaway from Educational Insights. Its for a $100 gift card for educational toys. I mean, who wouldn't want $100 worth of educational toys? I know I would. I love toys that teach. Makes learning effortless for everyone involved and the fun, well, need I say more?
So the homeschool website Confessions of a Homeschooler is having a giveaway for the $100 giftcard as their thank you for following their blog. So jump on over now and sign up!!!