Friday, October 18, 2019

More Secrets of the Hidden Scrolls

Our family was thrilled to review the next two books in the Secret of the Hidden Scrolls series! We've been following the adventures of these WorthyKids Books since the beginning--from Creation to the Flood to leaving Egypt to the Battle of Jericho and now to meeting David and Daniel in these new books. We were ready to hear the lion's roar as soon as we opened the Secret of the Hidden Scrolls: The Shepherd's Stone (Book 5) and the Secret of the Hidden Scrolls: The Lion's Roar (Book 6)

WorthyKids of the Hachette Book group is a Christian publishing company in Tennessee. They partner with authors whose content are characterized by talent, creativity, and compelling ideas. They create colorful, interactive books for children, but their other imprints include products for adults too, like journals, devotionals, inspirational books, and much more.

The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls was written by Mike (M. J.) Thomas. When he couldn't find any books to teach his son about the Bible in a fun and imaginative way, he decided to create his own series. The books combine biblical accuracy with adventure and imagination. The main characters are named after his son, his niece, and his dog.

Though these are stand-alone stories, they all take place while Peter and Mary are staying with their great-uncle for a month. There is a prologue in each book that explains that Great-Uncle Solomon was an archaeologist who collected treasures from around the world. He even introduced them to his greatest discovery of all--the Legend of the Hidden Scrolls. These ancient scrolls sent the siblings back in time to events in the Bible to decode secret messages and learn truths found in God's Word.

While playing ball in the house in the Secret of the Hidden Scrolls: The Shepherd's Stone, Peter knocked an ominous suit of armor, causing the sword to crash to the floor. Mary tried to reattach it, but the glove fell off and exposed a rolled up paper. The kids realized it was a map of Great-Uncle Solomon's house. The map showed rooms they had never seen before. The Royal Room, circled in red, caught their attention and sparked their interest.

Inside the room, the pair found a truly royal room--a throne, paintings of kings and queens, jewels, and crowns. Great-Uncle Solomon told them about Israel's kings and that "God doesn't look on the outside. God looks at the heart." The lion roared and the siblings were off on another adventure.

The kids found themselves whisked away to a grassy hilltop surrounded by sheep. Before they knew it, they were being chased by wolves. Just before the pack attacked their dog, a boy slung rocks into the sides of the wolves and scared them away.

Peter and Mary had traveled back to the time of David. They befriended him and his family, searched for a lost sheep, and accompanied him while he took food to his brothers on the battlefield. They learned to have courage during scary times and to trust God during dangerous times, like when they nearly fell down a cliff and were almost attacked by a bear. The siblings watched David stand up against Goliath  when no one else would, because he had faith that God would deliver him. By the end, the kids had found their own courage, stood up against the Soldier of Darkness, and solved the scroll.

Book 6, the Secret of the Hidden Scrolls: The Lion's Roar, Mary and Peter found a large statue of a lion while playing hide-and-seek with their uncle. They learned about his archaeology dig, looked at a map of ancient Babylon, and reassembled old tiles into a mosaic picture before rushing off on their next adventure.

The pair found themselves high in a ziggurat temple. As they were exploring, they stumbled upon a large statue of a man. The haughty High Priest of Babylon and his insufferable raven, found them and required the kids to bow to the false god. When they refused because they worship only the one true God, the High Priest ordered his guards to throw them in the dungeon. Just then, a mighty wind swirled through the temple, blowing out the candles and knocking over the guards. The angel Michael appeared, drew his flaming sword, and rescued the kids.

After their escape, they spent the night in the Hanging Gardens. In the morning, they befriended a girl named Hannah and went to her house to hide from the guards. They went on a wild chariot ride while being chased by the High Priest. They escaped again at the last second.

The siblings learned that Hannah's grandfather was Shadrach. They got to hear of his account in the fiery furnace firsthand and learned of God's great power. They then met Daniel, learned about a plot against him, and witnessed him continue to trust in God. The two got to see the see the lions face-to-face and how God protected them all. They learned that God is in control before they found themselves back in Great-Uncle Solomon's house. 

These are cute little stories, right around 120 pages each, perfect for ages 6-9, and a quick read. They are fiction books, for sure, but filled with much biblical truth. One thing that I found fascinating this time was that book 6 portrayed Daniel as an elderly man. I've grown up in church my whole life--Sunday School, AWANA, even graduated from the Christian school--and every picture has always shown a young man. Of course, I stopped reading to my kids right then and did a little research. We learned that Daniel was somewhere around 80 years old when he was thrown into the lions' den. Eighty! Once I read the timeline of events, instead of relying on images, it made sense. That's why I talked about my issues with The Great Escape. Images are powerful. These books are more than entertainment.

Here's what my kids had to say:

I like that they're Bible stories.

Mary and I are a lot alike. I think it's cool that she's always reading.

I like figuring out the scrolls.

I like reading about the Bible stories.

We use these books as family read-alouds, but my kids love to reread them by themselves. I appreciate that they are whimsical, but teach kids about the power of God through the stories in the Bible. We can't wait to see what happens next.

The newest adventure awaits in book 7, The King Is Born. Three winners will receive signed copies of the entire set of the Secret of the Hidden Scrolls! These would make a great gift. You can enter by clicking on the graphic below. 

You can can connect with WorthyKids on the following social media site:

You can read more reviews of these books on the Homeschool Review Crew blog.

Secret of the Hidden Scrolls: The Shepherd's Stone (Book 5) & The Lion's Roar (Book 6) {WorthyKids Books Reviews}
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Thursday, October 17, 2019

Brain Blox Wooden Building Planks

* This post may contain affiliate links.

Anyone who knows our family knows that we thrive on hands-on learning in our house. I am a huge supporter of learning through play, and this review is perfect for our style of education. I know I review a lot of curricula, but when people ask me what to use specifically with their preschool and kindergarten-aged kids, I always tell them to let them play! The benefits of playing--especially during the younger years--are so vital. You know the old proverb about teaching a man to fish? That doesn't apply to only adults. Let kids learn by doing.  

Brain Blox is a family-owned company with that same belief. Their mission is to create products that encourage intentional and meaningful play as it nurtures brain development and confidence. I already explained about their Fun Family Chess, a new version that teaches the game with a gentle new approach but can also be used as a traditional set. Today, I'm talking about their Brain Blox Wooden Building Planks.

We first played with building planks like these at a science center years ago. My kids were quickly drawn to them as the planks appeal to their engineering minds. They spend time every day building something--anything--with Lego bricks and other building mediums. One thing that's different about these planks though is that there is no snapping of pieces together. Like blocks, these are used simply by stacking and are held in place by gravity and friction.

Another thing that's different about these planks is that the pieces are all the same shape ad size. Each building plank is approximately 4.75" x 1" x .25" solid New Zealand pine. They are precision-cut, chemical-free, and non-toxic, making them a perfect option for kids.  All of the edges on our planks are smooth with no worries of producing splinters. A red, canvas, drawstring backpack-style bag is included to store the pieces.

The building possibilities with these are endless! Truly, if you can think it, you can build it. I have been impressed with the creations my kids have made: pirate ship, table and chairs, army tank, houses, bridges, and countless towers of various designs, to name a few. Some of the builds were born out of their imaginations, but others were inspired by the Ideas Booklet that is included with the set. It features 15 building ideas by showing a pictures, how many planks are needed, and a tip or challenge for each one. No other instructions are given, requiring the user to depend on visual cues and thinking skills.

You can find many more suggestions in the free Idea Cards download. There are over 70 picture cards that cover 8 levels of difficulty starting with simple two-dimensional designs to complicated three-dimensional creations. Even my 4-year-old is doing well with the higher levels.

The company is currently creating free curriculum instructions that focus on reading, math, physics, and more that you can use intentionally in your lesson plans. The activities teach concepts such as the ability to perceive a 3D rendering from a 2D image, manipulation of spatial information, linear thinking, fine motor skills, and more. If you're just looking for a quick learning activity to sharpen thinking skills, there is a collection of brain puzzles using the planks that include the directions, hints, and the solution. These are one of my personal favorite aspects of the set. I love watching my kids use their brains to figure out the puzzles!  

If you're looking for even more ideas, Brain Blox has also put together a a World eBook filled with additional design ideas from walls and fences to planes, trains, and automobiles and many other things. There are also suggestions for creating characters on the planks and the collection of brain puzzles. They offer tons of options to ignite creativity and learning. 

To say that my kids (ages 13, 11, 9, 7, 4) like these is an understatement. As soon as one of them dumps the bag out on the floor, the others are right there grabbing planks to start building. We have the 200-piece set, but we've already been eyeing the larger one. After all, Christmas will be here soon, and adding more of these fun and versatile building planks would be a fantastic gift. My kids love to show off their creations and enjoy building when their friends come over. Their current obsession is using the planks for contraptions for a Rube Goldberg machine. We've been having so much fun applying engineering, problem-solving, critical thinking, and cause-and-effect skills.

The Brain Blox Wooden Building Planks are a fantastic resource for everyone! Whether you're looking for intentional play, specific learning, or just a relaxing activity, these building planks are perfect. They are well-made, versatile, and loved by all.

You can connect with Brain Blox on the following social media sites:

Make sure to head over to the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog to see more amazing creations using Brain Blox Wooden Building Planks.

Brain Blox Wooden Building Planks {Brain Blox Reviews}

* Some of the links in the content above are affiliate links. If you click on a link and purchase an item, I may receive an
affiliate commission. Regardless, I recommend products or services that I have used personally and all the text and
opinions are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 225.

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Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Fun Family Chess

*This post may contain affiliate links.

Today's review is a fun one! My oldest child has been playing chess since he was around 6-year-old. My dad is very skilled at the game and plays whenever he can. I have many memories growing up watching my dad and uncles focused on a match. I was pleased not only when my father started teaching my son, but even more so when my boy grasped the concepts quickly. He fell in love with the strategy and soon started playing with anyone who would agree to it.

Seven years have passed, and though he has helped his younger siblings learn the art of chess, none of them can match his skill. Every now and then he can convince one to play with him, but most of the time the others get discouraged because of their lack of expertise. They need something to level the playing field. That's why I knew that Fun Family Chess from Brain Blox would be the perfect tool to help them gain confidence in playing their big brother.

The chess set comes with all of the following:
  • 15-inch wooden chess board
  • 32 solid wood chess pieces
  • 1 wooden chess cube
  • 2 reference cards
  • full-color instruction book

The chess board folds in half for easy storage and latches on the outside to keep it closed. The inside is lined with soft velvet and has enough space to hold all of the other materials. Since this set was specifically designed to teach kids how to play the game, the board has icons on the edges to show where each piece starts.

The chess pieces come in white and brown. The pieces are well-made, lightweight, and the perfect size for little hands. They each have a thin felt bottom to protect the board. Two velvet bags are included to hold and protect the pieces inside the board box. They are not the fanciest chess pieces I have ever seen--and they could be a bit heavier as they fall over easily--but they are nice, especially considering the price of the set.

Of course, you can use the set for traditional chess, but Fun Family Chess is a great way to teach kids (or anyone, really) how to play the game. Trying to remember how the pieces move and attempt strategy at the same time can be overwhelming. Not to mention, chess is a mind game that requires you to think ahead. The wooden cube eliminates all those issues for the new learner. The lightweight, nearly 1-inch cube has a symbol for each piece (other than the king) on a side with the sixth side showing a star. A player rolls the die and moves a matching piece on the board. If he cannot move that piece, he can roll again. The star means that the player can choose any piece to move. This is a gentle introduction to the game as it teaches the movements and basic concept but makes it fun. A person might be an amazing chess player, but if he doesn't roll what he needs, it won't matter. There is a little decision making involved, but for the most part, the game levels the playing field for all participants.

The heavy duty reference cards are colorful 8.5" x 5.75" cards on cardboard. Each card lists the rules of Fun Family Chess along with descriptions and visuals of each piece's movement. It's color-coded to match the colors of the wooden cube (though the colors are slightly off) to make it easy to find the coordinating movements. There is one card for each player. 

The full-color instruction book is just over 10 glossy pages. Along with many graphics and images, it contains information on setting up the game, how to play Fun Family Chess, an introduction to standard chess, and tips and strategies. It includes moves such as pawn promotion, en passant, and castling. Those are all things I learned from my son because my dad had taught him years ago, but otherwise I would have had no idea until now. This little booklet is filled with helpful information.

My kids were thrilled to receive their first wooden chess set! They love everything about it from the folding board to the variation of game-play to the bags for the pieces. My oldest (13 yr) hasn't been too interested in playing Fun Family Chess as he rather enjoys the strategy of the traditional game, but he has used the set to play multiple games against his siblings and friends.

The younger kids (11, 9, 7, 4 yr), however, have spent hours playing this new version--together and even by themselves! I have enjoyed watching them play and laugh. The littlest one is learning how each piece moves and loves playing with the others. It's pretty special not only to watch how patient they are with him, but also how quickly he's picking up the concepts because of this teaching method. I'm sure it won't be long until he's beating me at the game!

Brain Blox has done a fantastic job creating a way to teach little ones the basic concepts and giving them a love of the game. Fun Family Chess truly is "chess made fun for everyone."

Make sure to read our review of Brain Blox Wooden Building Planks! These simple planks are so much more than a toy. Engineering, critical thinking, problem-solving, and spatial awareness are just a few of the skills your kids will learn with these. They're a favorite in our home!

You can connect with Brain Blox on the following social media sites:m

You can read more reviews of this chess set on the Homeschool Review Crew blog.

Fun Family Chess {Brain Blox Reviews}
* Some of the links in the content above are affiliate links. If you click on a link and purchase an item, I may receive an
affiliate commission. Regardless, I recommend products or services that I have used personally and all the text and opinions are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 225.

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Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Progeny Press Study Guides

Our family loves reading. Literature is the foundation of our education, so we always appreciate reviewing products that are based around books. There's something very special about opening a story and getting lost in its pages together as a family.

When we want to take our learning deeper than just simply reading the book, we utilize the help of study guides. These aids enrich the experience and help the reader fully grasp the themes within the pages. One of our favorite companies to use for this purpose is Progeny Press. We've used their products multiple times in the past and were excited to work with them again. This time, we were able to use two of their downloadable resources: The Long Way to a New Land Study Guide and the Little House on the Prairie Study Guide.

Progeny Press is a Christian company owned by Michael and Rebecca Gilleland. It is their mission to "teach our children to think clearly, to understand literature, and to rely on the scripture for truth and values, and enjoy themselves while they do it!" They offer more than 100 study guides for classic, popular, and award-winning books. The guides are designed to help students better understand and enjoy literature by getting them to think through the themes and ideas written in the stories. The study guides are available in three formats: a physical book, a CD with a PDF ebook, and a downloadable PDF file.

The Long Way to a New Land Study Guide is designed for grades K-3. The guide accompanies the book by Joan Sandin. The Long Way to a New Land is a short chapter book for young readers and has roughly 65 pages with pictures on each page or spread and a large font. The story takes place in 1868 as Carl Erik and his family faced starvation during the "hunger years" in Sweden. When all the grass and crops dried up and the cows could no longer give milk, the family realized it was hopeless to stay in their homeland. They packed needed belongings and sold what they could in order to purchase boat tickets for America. The story follows their journey as they dealt with crowded spaces, smelly living quarters, sickness, and the unknown--all for the hope that this new land offered.

The study guide has 50 pages of learning activities. It starts with a synopsis of the book, background information, and details about the author. There are a handful of Before-You-Read activities including vocabulary words, a family tree, map work, the history of steamships, and more. The guide is then broken into sections that correspond with the chapters of the book. Each chapter highlights vocabulary using matching, fill-in-the-blank, short answer, synonyms, and more. There are also things to teach cause and effect, early grammar skills, emotions, inventions, and questions to make the reader think, along with some fun pages like a crossword puzzle and word search.

The chapters also have Bible verses that complement the lessons in the story in the Dig Deeper sections. The verses are written out in the guide itself, but we chose to pull out our KJV and read directly from the Bible. There are also questions that accompany the verses and reinforce the themes.

The study continues even after the story is finished by learning from the illustrations, looking at the story, and After-You-Read activities. The guide ends with suggestions for further reading of other books by the author and those of related interest for the age range. A full answer key is at the end.

My younger boys (ages 9, 7, 4) and I completed this study together. They especially enjoyed the story because their great-grandfather emigrated from Sweden, just like Carl Erik and his family. This account helped them to understand the difficulties their ancestors experienced and appreciate their sacrifices. The book explains the hardships in a way that perfect for this age group. The boys and I would read a chapter and then complete a page or two each day from the guide. We printed out some pages for them to complete, but we answered the majority of the questions together aloud.

Because we like to learn as a family as much as possible, I chose a second study guide. The Little House on the Prairie Study Guide is for the 4th-6th grade group and has 62 pages. My kids range from preschool-9th grade, but everyone can benefit from spending time together getting lost in the pages of a book. Many people are familiar with the beloved Little House on the Prairie books. This one, the third in the series, follows the Ingalls family as they leave their little house in the big woods and travel from Wisconsin to the prairie of Kansas. The account greatly details how they built their life--from cutting the trees to carrying river rocks to pegging doors and making a rocking chair with only sticks. Everything they had was found in the land around them. The story is one of hard work and determination, but also one of hope, brotherly love, and acceptance. 

The guide begins with the same type of sections as the other (synopsis, author and background information, and pre-reading activities), but then suggests reading the entire book before delving into the meat of the study. This format worked well for us as the kids got to simply enjoy the story without stopping to work. There were a few times when we had to go back to review parts of the story where they didn't remember exactly, but that's all part of the process.

This guide for the upper elementary includes vocabulary skills and comprehension questions, but they are more difficult than the lower level. Also, this guide has an editable PDF so a student can type the answers directly without having to print it out. Because of that option, a separate file with the answer key is given, so a student does not have access to the answers himself. Another way that this level is different is that the Bible verses are not written out, encouraging the learner to grab his Bible to look them up himself. There are a lot of "what do you think," "what does this mean,'' "why or why not" questions.

Other activities include making cornbread (which my 11-year-old daughter made by herself) and molasses milk, watching some Little House episodes (now a new favorite show for the kids!), learning about fire drills, visiting a farmer's market, creating an inside-out Christmas list (a great tradition to start), cutting out paper dolls, and listening to fiddle music. The study covers art, music, writing, science, dramatic story-telling, history, games, fun, and more. This unit study type of approach assures that there's something for each kind of learner.

As always, my kids enjoyed these studies from Progeny Press. We had many thoughtful conversations about life of the past and how blessed we are now. The books were a good reminder that we could live a simpler lifestyle with many fewer possessions and that we take too much for granted. We make family read aloud part of of regular schooling, but it's good to take our learning deeper. I appreciate that these guides incorporate Bible lessons to help kids see a deeper meaning behind the stories.Whenever you can apply a lesson, rather than just hear about it, it's much more likely to make a lasting difference.

Even though we reviewed elementary guides, Progeny Press offers many study guides ranging from kindergarten all the way through 12th grade and cover many popular books. There truly is something for everyone. If you have older students, make sure to check out the upper level guides, as well. Their resources are greatly enjoyed in our home.

You can connect with Progeny Press on the following social media sites:

Be sure to head to the Homeschool Review Crew blog to read more reviews of these study guides and more offered by Progeny Press.
Study Guides for Literature {Progeny Press Reviews}
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Thursday, October 3, 2019

When You Don't Want To

"There are always going to be things in your life that you have to do but don't want to do."

I can't tell you how many times in the last few weeks I've said that to my kids. The freedoms of our summer schedule have been replaced with an increase in work and responsibilities. Every time they bemoan a task, I remind them of that statement.

"You don't have to like it. But you have to do it and you have to have a good attitude."

If I didn't wash our laundry, we'd walk around in stinky clothes. If Leighton didn't go to work every day, we'd have no home and no food. There will always be things such as going to doctor appointments, paying bills, cleaning toilets, maintaining a home and vehicle, managing money, raising children and reprimanding disobedient behavior, cooking, cleaning, chores. Life is full of responsibilities. 

"You never reach a point in your life when you can do only the things you want. Never. You will always have responsibilities you don't like. It's part of living."

So as I have been reminding my children of that, I experienced my own "I don't want to!" situation. I grumbled about the injustice to Leighton while the kids were getting ready for bed. It wasn't fair and I didn't want to do it.

That's when the Holy Spirit whispered my own words back to me.

"There are always going to be things in your life that you have to do but don't want to do."

Oh. Ouch.

While I realized the reality of certain responsibilities, I failed to apply that thinking to other areas of my life. I was acting just like my children by throwing a mini fit.

But I don't want to! I don't feel like it! It's not fair. Why do I have to?

Those same selfish and juvenile traits were manifesting in my much-too-old-to-be-acting-like-a-child behavior. Then my own parenting guidance came rushing back like a slap in the face. You know, when someone puts you in your place and you get a heaviness in your chest or a pit in your stomach.

The longer I parent, the more I realize that the lessons I am trying to teach my children are ones that I need to work on, too. We could all use more kindness. More selflessness. More integrity. More hard work. More empathy. More love.

I've always been a huge believer that you determine your attitude. You cannot control your circumstances, but you can control your response to them. After all, Paul and Silas sang in prison, Job praised God even after he lost everything, and Daniel continued to show respect to the king even while surrounded by hungry lions. It wasn't that they were in pleasant situations with everything going right; it was that they kept positive attitudes and trusted the Lord.

Having a good attitude isn't going to change the circumstance, but it will always make it more bearable. The psalmist described it perfectly in chapter 17: "A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones."

As soon as I felt that prickling of the Holy Spirit reminding me of the lesson which I was trying to teach my children, I knew I needed to change my own attitude--not only because my little ones had heard my grumbling, but because it was the right thing to do. I still don't want to handle this responsibility that's going to take hours of my time over the next many weeks, but I determined not to complain about it anymore. I will do my best and with a good attitude. These little ones of mine are always watching, and I never want to appear hypocritical to them. Do as I say and not as I do is not an option. 

Yes, there are always going to be things in your life that you have to do but don't want to do, but your attitude will make all the difference.

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Friday, September 20, 2019

Things That Make Me Smile 12/28/18

Jake (13), Alyssa (10 1/2), Zac (9), Tyler (6 1/2), Nicholas (4)

Happy Friday! I am finishing up my Smiles for 2018. These took place the second half of December. This is my favorite time of year, filled with family and fun! 

1. Nicholas, singing along with the dreidel song: "Oh, turtle, turtle, turtle! I made it out of clay, and when it's dry and ready, the turtle I will play!"

2. Nicholas: "Dad's going to fix that later. He's the master."


4. Nicholas, because I had a charcoal facial mask on: "Mama, with that on your face, you should put pickles on your eyes." (cucumbers)

5. Nicholas calling truffles troubles.

6. Me: "When you wake up, you're not going to be my favorite 3-year-old anymore."
Nicholas: "Why not?"
Me: "Because you're not going to be 3."
Nicholas, smiling: "Oh, yeah, 5!"
Me: "Not 5. How old are you going to be?"
Nicholas, pouting: "4. I don't want to be that one."

7. Me: "Do you know how much I love you?"
Nicholas: "100! And 3, 4, 5!"

8. Every year my mom and I have a big baking day and make a bunch of goodies to pass out to family and friends.

9. Nicholas: "Mama, at church, I do not want to dive in that water." (baptistery)

10. Me: "Nicholas, you're going to have to wait a minute."
Nicholas: "Yes, sir, mother."

11. Nicholas, wanting to be excused for dinner: "Mama, may I be stuffed?"

12. Zac: "The wise men didn't show up until about 2 years after Jesus was born."
Alyssa: "But the wise women showed up right away, because they took a shortcut."

What made you Smile this week?

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Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Online Times Alive

Memorizing multiplication facts is something every student needs to do, but that doesn't mean it has to be boring. We were able to review a six-month Online Times Alive subscription from City Creek Press, Inc. that teaches the "times tables the fun way."

City Creek Press, Inc. has been producing engaging teaching materials since 1992. Judy Liautaud, the creator of the company, was determined to help student learn math facts in a fun and meaningful way. Her unique method, which connects stories and songs to number facts, has been helping students ever since. Not only do they learn the facts faster, but they retain them, too. Now, the company offers 20 original products (including an iOS app that some of my crew mates also reviewed) that make learning fun and memorable for children. 

The Online Times Alive program is based on Judy's book, Times Tables the Fun Way Book for Kids. It teaches all the multiplication facts 0-9 through a combination of stories, movies, songs, and games.

Numbers are personified through the stories in order to make the facts easier to remember. For example, 3 x 8 = 24 is shown as a bat flying through a cave and finds the King of Snakes on a throne. Each multiplication sequence has its own story to trigger recollection.

The facts for 0, 1, 2, 5, and 9 are taught in groups as a whole for each number family, because there are simple tricks to learn them. The other numbers are taught individually since they can be trickier. Each lesson is broken into parts and are displayed on the lesson list with symbols for their types: movie, song, paint, quiz, test. This list will also show which lessons the student has viewed and which he has completed.

The Online Times Alive subscription is valid on one Mac or PC, but keeps track of an unlimited number of students. Progress, scores, times, and date of completion is recorded for each student by clicking the Progress Report button under the lesson list.

I'm not sure why, but the program did not record my kids' data. Even though we signed in with the exact same names each time, nothing was marked. It didn't affect how we used it as my kids could easily remember where they left off.

I had two of my children use the program as a refresher before school started again to combat any summer slide. My 11-year-old has always struggled with math and memorizing multiplication facts. This summer, I insisted she buckle down and learn these pesky tables once and for all. She worked through the lessons in a matter of days. Though she determined it seemed a little too juvenile for her, she never complained. She didn't feel confident that it made much difference, but when I quizzed her just now, she answered each one correctly and with only a slight hesitation. She did also practice flashcards over the summer months, but she said that there are facts that she knows specifically from the Times Alive stories.

My 9-year-old is the opposite of his sister. Math has always come easy to him. It was his favorite subject until just recently when he claimed he no longer liked it. These kids. They always keep us guessing, right? I had him work through program to freshen those facts. I do not notice a difference in his response time nor his remembrance of certain facts. Not every program works for everyone, and that's ok.

Online Times Alive makes learning multiplication facts fun by teaching them in a different way than simply drilling number sequences. The stories are kinda silly and random, and while I think it would make it confusing, it seems to help the facts stick in young minds. I'm interested to use the program with my boys who are too little to be learning multiplication in their typical math lessons to see how well it would work for them.

If  learning the times tables the fun way seems like a good fit for your family, you can use coupon code lovetolearn to waive the signup fee and getting started today.

You can connect with City Creek Press, Inc. on the following social media sites:

You can read more reviews of this program also learn about their iOS app to see how it worked in other homeschool families on the Homeschool Review Crew blog.

Online Times Alive {City Creek Press, Inc. Reviews}

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