review

Homeschool Science Kits Make Life Stupid Easy

Your homeschool life needs science kits. Forget those cutesy monthly subscription boxes-- this is the one you ought to  

Do you struggle to stay consistent with your science curriculum? Need a no-prep plan? These science kits are exactly what you need to make science stupid easy. My kids love these kits and beg for science now! Plus, I enjoy it too. No more canceling science because we don't have something.

I received this product for free and was compensated for my 100% honest review.

 

 

I've been using a bunch of different science curriculum lately, if you couldn't tell. As a person that is fascinated by science it's important to me that my kids get some quality science in them.

Plus, I'm determined to get each one of them to fall in love with science as well.

Oh, and it's one of those things that makes me super nervous that my kids will miss something and sit there in college cursing my name and all that I represent.

 

Science curriculum woes

  • Are you consistently skipping science because you sit down and realize, "oh garbage, I'm missing the one key material we need?"
  • Are you consistently skipping science because you don't have the funds to buy buy buy the beakers, the petri dishes, the solutions, the microscope, the slides, the frog to dissect?
  • Are you consistently skipping science because you've forgotten to look over the material, set it all up, and be prepared?
  • Are you consistently skipping science because... ugh?

 

I said I loved science right?

  • Well, my bank account doesn't.
  • My procrastinator self doesn't.
  • My brain fog, bad memory doesn't either.

 

Teacher's manuals, lab books, copies, random piece of string, a bottle of some weird ingredient that I only need a teaspoon of, I'll never use again, and costs $40-- all kill me.

 

I wanted to do the experiments, I wanted to show my kids how amazing science was, but I just kept hitting a wall of reality and life.

 

Then breezed into my life homeschool science kits subscriptions by Insight to Learning.

Ohmygosh, guys. THIS. This is the answer.

 

Do you struggle to stay consistent with your science curriculum? Need a no-prep plan? These science kits are exactly what you need to make science stupid easy. My kids love these kits and beg for science now! Plus, I enjoy it too. No more canceling science because we don't have something.

I don't have to do a thing except order, open, do it, and return them when done.

 

They've literally done everything for me.

This is a procrastinator's, a forgetful flake's, and a financially strapped person's dream come true.

 

I open the big glorious box.

It is stupid simple organized.

 

Do you struggle to stay consistent with your science curriculum? Need a no-prep plan? These science kits are exactly what you need to make science stupid easy. My kids love these kits and beg for science now! Plus, I enjoy it too. No more canceling science because we don't have something.

 

There are 5-6 lessons in each box.

Each lesson is in its own huge ziplock bag. Clearly labeled.

The Teacher's Manual is in its own bag, with copies of lab sheets (copies y'all!) in the same bag. Clearly labeled.

What do I do when it's time for science?

  1. I pull out our science kit box.
  2. Pull out the lesson for the day (1-5)
  3. Pull out the Teacher's Manual, open it to the lesson we're on, and go.
  4. Do the lesson (read a book or watch a DVD-- it's included!)
  5. Ask the questions suggested.
  6. Pull out the remaining materials from the activity bag and start the experiment.

 

The Teacher's Manual has starter questions, vocabulary, the lesson material to cover, follow up questions, and the experiment instructions.

Also included are the master sheets for the copies you'll want to make (only if you run out of the paper they included in the science kits).

 

Dream come true

I don't have to read it the night before, the week before, or ever. I read it for the first time when the kids are hearing it for the first time.

I could go as far as letting the kids do this on their own should I feel the inclination or have the need.

 

If my husband, mother-in-law, or babysitter was subbing for the day (should I randomly jet off to England one day) they could do this with complete ease and no stress/freak-out.

 

Do you struggle to stay consistent with your science curriculum? Need a no-prep plan? These science kits are exactly what you need to make science stupid easy. My kids love these kits and beg for science now! Plus, I enjoy it too. No more canceling science because we don't have something.

 

Yeah, but do the kids like the science kits?

Well... they loved it!

What's even better, when the subject of what we'd learned recently came up in a random conversation with other people they remembered it! They remembered the new vocabulary, what they meant, and how they worked.

That's the most important part, right? That they're learning and retaining what they learned.

 

We have the kit from the 2nd grade subscription (I have a 2nd, 3rd, & 5th grader) titled Earth's Place in the Universe. (*Note, this is the link to the classroom kit, so don't freak out at the big price tag).

We've learned about erosion, earthquakes, volcanoes, the layers of the earth, and caves (growing our own stalactites).

 

My kids want to do the experiments over and over again. They're sad when I tell them it's time to move on. When Dad comes home they can't wait to show him what they did and learned.

Do you struggle to stay consistent with your science curriculum? Need a no-prep plan? These science kits are exactly what you need to make science stupid easy. My kids love these kits and beg for science now! Plus, I enjoy it too. No more canceling science because we don't have something.

Hook yourself up with a science subscription

 

1. Pick the grade you want to use. I used one kit for my 3 oldest children (pay $5 for supplies for an extra child). You receive a discount if you purchase 2 separate grade level kits.

My plan is to go through one grade level and then go up a grade until we reach the end of their kit levels (5th grade).

2. Every 6-8 weeks a new box with 5-6 lessons and activities is shipped to you.

3. Go through each lesson at your own pace (we do one a week).

4. When you're done you ship all the non-consumable items back. Things like the teacher's manual, measuring spoons, DVDs, books, etc.

They include a laminated list when you first open up the package clearly listing out the items to be returned and the items you can keep.

They literally include everything (except water) that you'll need for the experiments. An empty water bottle, measuring spoons, string, plastic spoons (to stir with), a beaker, aluminum pans, clay, erasers, construction paper, cups.

 

We only have to be alive and awake and have water nearby, should we need it, to do the experiments.

 

You could open this box in an empty hotel room and do these experiments.

 

I really loved that the liquid ingredients (clearly labeled) were in a mega-tight container, and double bagged. I don't see how any container would ever leak, but just in case, there's 2 bags to contain it all.

 

The teaching materials (books and DVDs) are high quality. Real science terms, real science, and clear explanations. No fluff here.

 

What if I want to keep the kits?

If you don't want to return the items you would just buy the boxes instead of using the subscription.

This would be nice if you wanted to keep the materials to use for younger children as they get older.

 

 

Hands down this is an amazing subscription to get. Forget those other monthly subscription boxes. This science kit is beneficial to both you and your children.

 

First time subscribers get 50% of their first month's subscription (this offer never expires). Insight to Learning will mail you a check for $12.50 in your first box you receive.

 

Final verdict

This is one of my favorite investments for our homeschool this year. It's made science easy, simple, doable, effective. It gets DONE!

 

Q: What year kit do you want to start with?

An Effective & Easy Homeschool Science Curriculum You'll Love

Science is a subject that can scare even the toughest homeschool mom. I've found a curriculum that will teach your kids real science easily. My kids love this curriculum and they used to hate science. Science is one of those subjects that can scare many a homeschool mom.

 

So many moms say:

  • I can't homeschool high school because I can't do high school science.
  • I can't homeschool because I can't give my kids the full science education they need.
  • I can't do science because I hate science.
  • I stink at science.
  • I never got it.
  • My science teacher was an imbecile and I still haven't recovered.

 

Whatever the reasoning behind it is, I'm here to say, there's another way. You CAN do science, and do it well, in homeschool.

You can teach science the right way and not let's-make-a-baking-soda-volcano-and-call-it-good type science.

 

I'm a do-it-yourself type of gal. If I could make, grow, create, build everything I use, I totally would. I have a secret fantasy to live out in the middle of nowhere on a huge ranch/farm and just live off what we produce and make with our own hands.

My husband, being Mr. Indoorsy, would like to stay close to civilization.

As as DIY-er, I love to cobble together my own homeschool curriculum and I love to plan and pull together resources.

 

In my 6 years of homeschooling, I've realized that my time is better spent NOT doing that.

Not sapping my energy trying to put together the best resources I can find (and not spending tons of money) and not pouring all my limited energy into building a curriculum.

So, what curriculum would I use?

 

When I first decided to homeschool, I searched for weeks for THE BEST science curriculum for my children. I found Real Science-4-Kids and started teaching my kiddos Chemistry.

Then, the next year, I got hit by the "I need to do more more more" bug, and thought, this needs to be harder (for me) for it to be effective.

Can I get a collective eye roll?

 

Sometime last year I slapped my own face and rolled my eyes so far back I fell asleep for a week.

 

I've been on the hunt for science goodness for my kids ever since.

Something that could satisfy my desire for a real, thorough, and solid education. Something that wouldn't be one more thing to do that never got done because I was overwhelmed, and wouldn't be something that I'd never do because I'd forget to grab the stinking supplies.... again.

I happened again on Real Science-4-Kids. This time, their grade level curriculum instead of by individual subject.

I received this for free in exchange for my honest review and compensated for my time, not my opinion.Science is a subject that can scare even the toughest homeschool mom. I've found a curriculum that will teach your kids real science easily. My kids love this curriculum and they used to hate science.

 

I have 5th, 3rd, 2nd, and PreK/K graders. My 5th grader is behind in science (remember that cobbling that lead to burnout, which led to not doing it consistently?) so I decided to go with the 3rd grade level to meet in the middle. Pull my 2nd grader up, meet my 3rd grader, and help my 5th grader to be confident while he improves.

 

I love RS4K because it gives you a taste of each science subject. Chemistry, Biology, Physics, Earth, and Astronomy for a total of 22 lessons.

My kids, who keep telling me they don't like science, enjoy reading the textbook, looking at the pictures, and then seeing for themselves with their own experiments.

 

That's my favorite bit.

What they read in the student textbook is then proven to them through a simple, doable, no random expensive materials required, experiments.

Little Miss (3rd grader), was all about learning why oil and water don't mix and then why when you add soap they do. In fact, I loved learning about it.

 

Science is a subject that can scare even the toughest homeschool mom. I've found a curriculum that will teach your kids real science easily. My kids love this curriculum and they used to hate science.

Science is a subject that can scare even the toughest homeschool mom. I've found a curriculum that will teach your kids real science easily. My kids love this curriculum and they used to hate science.

 

The way they show the molecules in the book made it visually easy for the kids to see the similarities, differences, and connections within the lesson. They could see why water and sugar mix and why water and oil do not just by looking at the picture.

 

Captain (the 5th grader) is not groaning when I say it's time for science. He's especially excited to do the experiments.

I call that a major win.

 

We received 3 books. Student Textbook, Teacher's Manual, and the Laboratory Notebook. Not one of these books are unnecessary. They each play an important part.

 

The Student Textbook has all the lessons, written out easily for the kids to understand, but not dumbed down.

We've read these lessons together, and I've had them read them with each other (while I'm taking care of the baby).

We've also read some of the chapters during morning time as review and extra time to sneak science into our school days.

 

Science is a subject that can scare even the toughest homeschool mom. I've found a curriculum that will teach your kids real science easily. My kids love this curriculum and they used to hate science.

 

The Laboratory Notebook has all the pre-lab questions to think about, and answer, the graphs, charts, and notes sections for the experiments, and then follow up questions after the lab is over to summarize what you've learned, compare your hypothesis with the results, and wrap it up nicely with an explanation as to what happened and why back in the Teacher's Manual.

 

The Teacher's Manual tells you what materials are needed for each lesson, how to conduct the lesson, what questions to ask, in what order, etc. You don't have to think.

If you're running behind on prep time, you know you can just open it up and go without having to teach yourself first.

 

 

The hallmarks of a good curriculum are:

•my kids understand it

•my kids want to do it

•my kids are learning and retaining at each lesson

•it's easy for me to do, even if I am sick, tired, stressed, or busy

•it's accurate

•I enjoy it

•I'm learning/re-learning

I'm sure there's some other standards, but these cover the most basic of my standards and benchmarks.

Real Science-4-Kids meets them all.

Teaching science when life is chaotic

After having had 6 babies, 3 while I homeschooling , and having HG each time, being able to give my children a quality education when I'm laid out on the couch, not having been able to keep down food or water in 24+ hours, exhausted, worn out, and stressed is vital.

I can't pile on guilt on top of all those other things!

 

I may be done with having children, but understanding days don't always work out, and the fact that life happens, no matter what you plan-- I always want to have in place something that is going to work for my family no matter the circumstance.

 

I don't mean to sound so maudlin, but having a wonderful science curriculum takes away stress and worry from my shoulders.  I can cross this worry off my list when I'm laying there at night, worrying.

Worrying I'm missing something, worrying I'm not doing enough, worrying my kids will turn into horrible people or with no prospect at happiness and success and intelligence.

Because of course, when we're worrying, we're never rational.

I can say to myself, "Rochelle, but you're doing science, they're doing it, they're getting it, they may not be science geniuses, but gosh dang it, they're smart and they're not going to start killing kittens because you homeschooled them."

 

It's real, solid, quality science

I don't want to teach my kids fluff. I want them to know what's what and really grasp and appreciate science for all that it's given our society and its possibilities.

My dream is for each of my children to fall in love with science, but since I can't control them (darn it), I'm going to settle for having a good understanding of it.

 

This is real science, not watered-down fluff. My kids are learning real science terms, real concepts, and referring to the things they're learning as though they were already scientists.

I'd encourage you to read this fantastic interview of Dr Keller (the author) and how this curriculum is different. This interview was a major reason why I fell in love with RS4K.

 

If you're looking for a science curriculum to get you headed in the right direction, to be your spine, then I highly highly recommend RS4K. Each year builds on each other, from Kindergarten all the way up to their newest release, grade 7.

 

If you're the unit study type, you can totally build off of the units within the text to suit your needs, and you know you'll have a solid foundation to turn to. If you wish, you can always use their Focus series to really explore the separate concentrations.

 

If you're the let's try lots of curricula type (raising my hand), then definitely use RS4K. I have several science curriculum for this school year. I have two that we will use as supplements, as specific units, but this one, is our main spine, our main constant.

 

When you aren't the biggest fan of science

Now, I can say this-- I love specific science concentrations. I love love biology and astronomy. I can appreciate chemistry for its coolness factor (but I sure hate those equations). I appreciate the other sciences, but I don't love to study them.

At least, I didn't.

The fact that RS4K has all the major concentrations of science is fantastic. I loathe physics and earth science is meh. Rocks? Yawn fest. I'd much rather learn about the body, elements, and the planets.

We've just started the physics section of the 3rd grade RS4K's text and I've gotta be honest, it's not bad at all! I've re-learned some things and am enjoying myself.

I love that it's set for me. I don't have to plan it, think about it, research it, none of that. I love that I can make sure my least favorite subjects are being taught well and my feelings won't effect my children.

Because really, I'm finding that physics isn't that bad. Plus, my kids are loving it.

 

Get Real Science-4-Kids for yourself

Since we're all on a tight budget, I love a good deal and sale.

Right now RS4K has a referral program going on.

You can get a $20 payback reward toward purchase for each referred friend who makes a purchase.

Plus, if your friends buy before September 30th they get 30% off.

You also can get $30 off too, if you purchase through this link.

RS4K-30percent-off

 

Winning all around!

I love this. Such a caring company looking out for the best of us homeschool families.

With each $20 you can turn around and buy next year's curriculum!

 

To sum it up

Look at what's most important to you in a homeschool curriculum. Let go of the things you think you ought to be doing and what others are. What is it that you value the most? What are your goals for your children?

Use those as a jumping point. If your goals and standards are anywhere near mine, then I suggest, friend to friend, that you look into RS4K.

Mwah

How to Use a Rigorous Curriculum (Even if Your Kids Aren't Gifted)

I received this product for free and am being compensated for the time to write the review.  This is an honest review of the product.

Maybe you don't think your kids are gifted. That's okay, you can STILL use a rigorous curriculum designed for gifted students to stretch their abilities.

 

Use a rigorous curriculum? Just what do you mean, Rochelle?

What's a rigorous curriculum?

 

Let's define what rigorous curriculum means. It's a curriculum that's not easy, not comfortable, not your average mamby-pamby stuff.

I'm not talking impossible. I'm not talking tear-inducing rigorous.

I'm referring to the feelings YOU get when you look at the curriculum.

 

Are you nervous it might be a little too much for your children? Are you unsure if they'll get it? That you can do it?

 

You want a good balance of doable and scary. It's just like picking a book for your kid to read.

You don't want to hand your 5th grader an easy reader. Your child isn't going to stretch their reading abilities.

You don't hand him a 5" thick book on quantum physics either and expect him to understand everything.

 

You want a book that's easy enough to give confidence, yet hard enough to push their abilities and stretch their minds.

THIS is what I mean by picking a rigorous curriculum.

Is that clearer now?

 

But my children... gifted?

I would NOT consider my children gifted.

They're smart, just sometimes I wonder if they know what color the sky is.

 

I want them to be gifted, but I'll be honest, I probably am to blame for part of it. I haven't pushed them near as hard as I could.

 

I purchase rigorous curriculum, and have high expectations, but then sometimes, I just don't hold them to it.

And sometimes, yes, I even underestimate them.

 

What's a homeschool mom to do?

Stop underestimating them. Stop underestimating me!

I resolved to change, to do better, to push push push because ohmygosh, I only have 8 years left with my oldest!!!

Panic time! How in the world am I going to make sure he's ready for college and life in just 8 years.

 

Someone get the smelling salts, I'm going to pass out.

 

I sat down with myself, gave myself a good talking to, and started to think.

  • What were the areas my kids were struggling in?
  • What are they behind in
  • What could they do do better in?
  • Where do I want them to be at the end of their time homeschooling?
  • At the end of this year?

 

Then I took each piece of curriculum I had and evaluated it based on this clear criteria.

Some things were great, I just needed to enforce it better.

Some things, not so great.

 

I needed a different science curriculum. I love my Unit Studies, and I will keep doing them, I just find that it's so easy for me to drop things or not do them because I think they'll be too hard, or too time consuming, or whatever the reason.

Or I don't make it challenging enough.

Either way, it's lame.

 

An easy solution

 

Then came into my life, The College of William & Mary and their Center for Gifted Children (published by Kendall Hunt).

I saw, "for gifted children," and nearly clicked away, but then I got to thinking....

 

My daughter loves vegetables because I told her years ago she loved veggies. She proudly walks around telling everyone she loves veggies and she does! She tries every single one of them and eats broccoli.

I loathe broccoli.

The point is-- if I tell my kids they can do this science curriculum, then they may just believe me.

If I tell myself they can as well, then I'll approach it with a higher expectation and better perspective.

Sounds cooky, but guess what, it totally works.

 

Picking which unit study I'd try first was HARD. I have a 1st, 2nd, and 4th grader (the rest are preschool, toddler, and baby).

My 4th grader was the most behind, my 2nd grader is advanced, and my 1st grader is capable, but struggles with focus.

 

I picked the grades 2-4 level, What a Find! --  a unit study on archaeology. So cool.

 

Maybe you don't think your kids are gifted. That's okay, you can STILL use a rigorous curriculum designed for gifted students to stretch their abilities.

 

Oh the books are beautiful. They are jam packed with goodness. Instructions, dialogue, examples, problems to solve, documents, assignments, and handouts.

Maybe you don't think your kids are gifted. That's okay, you can STILL use a rigorous curriculum designed for gifted students to stretch their abilities.

 

 

Maybe you don't think your kids are gifted. That's okay, you can STILL use a rigorous curriculum designed for gifted students to stretch their abilities.

 

Maybe you don't think your kids are gifted. That's okay, you can STILL use a rigorous curriculum designed for gifted students to stretch their abilities.

 

Holy crow, I read the instruction manual the first time and thought, there's no stinking way my children are going to understand this. What am I going to do?

Some of it was hard for me to understand. It's for 2-4th grade! Maybe I'm not that smart after all. :-/

 

I was determined to prove myself right. My kids could do this! I just needed to give them the chance to try.

 

I read through the first lesson again and really pondered what it meant until I was comfortable with the topic: systems.

 

The next morning, I gathered the kids around the table, pulled out our white board and a marker and got started.

I love that they have us talk about a refrigerator, something each of my children are very familiar with (hello, they're sneaking food all the time).

We labeled all the part of the fridge, talked about what it does, what goes in, what comes out, what needs to happen for it to work.

Maybe you don't think your kids are gifted. That's okay, you can STILL use a rigorous curriculum designed for gifted students to stretch their abilities.

 

My kids got it! They totally blew me away. Like completely and utterly. My 4 year old was even joining in on the conversation, and sometimes I'm not quite sure she knows her own name.

My 1st grader was 100% involved in the discussion, and so were my older kids.

 

We brainstormed other systems. They came up with a TON (you can see part of our list to the left of our fridge picture)!

 

When my 4-year-old named sand as a system, the other kids quickly realized that no, sand is not a system. Using the system parts they just learned, and the new vocabulary, they explained why sand was not a system.

 

They decided that sand was part of 2 other systems: the desert and ocean.

 

My Proud Mama tears were shed that day. Inside, of course.

 

I absolutely adore the problem-based study. It presents a problem to my kids. Since What a Find! is about archaeology, the problems are what an archaeologist would face every day.

 

Maybe you don't think your kids are gifted. That's okay, you can STILL use a rigorous curriculum designed for gifted students to stretch their abilities.

 

Then we brainstorm what we need to know to solve the problems, the materials needed, the information needed, and any other important tidbit.

After that, we go about finding that information, come back, present it, and move forward with the next bit of problem until we are at the final dig where we put it all together.

 

It's really got my kids thinking, processing, and solving problems. They're getting it and doing fantastically.

I'm feeling more and more confident with their abilities as we go through each lesson. THEY are feeling more confident.

 

I'm realizing, they can do this. We can do this. I'm profoundly excited and relieved to know that my kids are capable of this high caliber curriculum.

I realized I wasn't pushing them to their full potential. I was staying safe.

 

Adding in more rigorous curriculum

Once we're done with this unit, we're adding in history and another science unit.

 

With the remainder of our curriculum and plans for the year I've decided each one will be given the full push. If it's not stretching my kids it's getting the heave-ho.

I only have so much time with each of my babies.

I only have so much time to teach the what they need to be able to do, understand, and know before they're moving out.

 

I know it sounds dramatic, and maybe I am being a bit dramatic, but we mothers know it's true. We don't have a lot of time even to teach them basic character habits, and as homeschool moms we have an even bigger job in front of us.

 

Your Turn

Give your curriculum a good thorough going over. What could be improved upon? Where are they struggling? What's not challenging enough?

William & Mary has science, social studies, and language arts curriculum to challenge your kids at just the right level.

 

Be sure to follow William & Mary so you can connect with them and find out more about all they have to offer. Facebook & Twitter.

Mwah

 

The Math Solution For Every Child

Are you in desperate need of a math solution for your child, or all of your children? Have you looked everywhere and just about thrown in the towel thinking, "it's because you're a bad homeschool mom, or your children just don't thrive in homeschooling after all?"

That is a miserable miserable miserable feeling. Don't dwell on them; they're no good. I'll show you our solution.

 

Are you in desperate need of a math solution for your children? I found a program that helped each child, with very different needs, conquer their own math struggles. No more tears, no more power struggles, just enjoyment and true learning. Bonus: it's super affordable. Check it out to see if it'll bless your family.

I received this product for free, was compensated for my time, but was not required to give a positive review. I only recommend products that I truly love.

 

When I was a kid I loved loved math. And then, I didn't.

I hated it and couldn't figure it out. I sat in class panicking. How did all the other students know the answer when I didn't even remember learning the concepts they were discussing??

That's not a happy feeling.

 

My own math struggle

I remember exactly when that shift began.

We moved from North Carolina back to Texas during 4th grade. In NC we were just starting fractions and percents; in Texas, they'd finished them months ago.

I never learned them formally.

 

Are you in desperate need of a math solution for your children? I found a program that helped each child, with very different needs, conquer math struggles.

 

Then, 7th grade. Miss Emille.

It was 7th period; Miss Emille would turn on the overhead projector and show us the filled out transparency. She said, "this is what you do, then this. Here's your class assignment, here's your homework."

Bam. Done.

The transparency was illegible: the nub of the green marker must've been pulverized because the marks were so fat you couldn't tell if it was a percent sign, an 8, or a monkey.

This transparency was "teaching" us how to do the problems.

Then, she'd go over to her desk, pull out her box of twinkles and eat them.

She'd ignore us. We couldn't get any help from her.

I'm not even exaggerating.

A BOX of Twinkies! She'd eat the entire box and read her magazines. Maybe go visit another teacher.

At that time, I was still good at math and enjoyed it. Kids crowded around my desk asking for help. Yeah, asking another student to teach them math when a teacher sat just feet from them.

That was the last year I was ever good at math.

When I was in college, a great professor helped me remember that I truly did love math and could be good at it.

Searching for a perfect math solution

You can see why gaps in my children's math education, or using sub-par curriculum is something I'm avidly against.

I scoured the inter webs since the moment we decided to homeschool for the best math curriculum ever.

Admitedly, I jumped around.

We used Singapore, then Saxon, then settled on Math U See, and started to dabble with Life of Fred.

 

My children's math struggles

Let me explain the weird math world that's in our home. Maybe it's not so weird, feel free to reassure me if it's not.

Please.

 

Are you in desperate need of a math solution for your children? I found a program that helped each child, with very different needs, conquer math struggles.

The Captain

Stats:

  • Oldest child
  • Boy
  • 10
  • Entering 5th grade.

Before the summer of 3rd grade we were using Saxon. He couldn't add and they were starting division. We switched to MUS (the Alpha level) and he took off. By the middle of 4th grade he was in pre-algebra. Wow! The kid loves math and does really well with it.

He doesn't want to stop doing his 2 hours of math.

Also, he's in such a hurry to get to the next level that he skips practice sheets, tries to skip the tests, and then gets mad when he doesn't understand the next 5 lessons.  Then I get upset and make him start all over from the beginning.

He's had to start over twice and I'm thinking he may have to for Pre-Algebra as well.

Little Miss

Stats: 

  • Second child
  • Girl
  • 8
  • Entering 3rd grade

We started her with Saxon and then switched over to Math U See that same summer and she did fantastic. Then, all of a sudden, last year she decided she wasn't good at math. She started crying and there were lots of power struggles.

Little Miss is smart and capable and it just drives me up a wall that all of a sudden she doesn't think girls are good at math and that's it.

I want to throat punch the fool that put that notion into her head.

She whines and prolongs the whole process for 2 hours.

Meaning, at the end of the day, she has to go back to the table and finish her lesson. She's my most stubborn and strong-willed child, and also the smartest (don't tell my other kids).

 

Are you in desperate need of a math solution for your children? I found a program that helped each child, with very different needs, conquer math struggles.

The Animal

Stats: 

  • Middle child
  • Boy
  • 7
  • Entering 2nd grade

He's a smart dude. He just does everything in his power to NOT do anything school related. I'd have to sit on his head to keep him on task. Sometimes, I'm tempted to.

The Animal lays on the floor, makes a fort with the table, makes his flashcards into motorcycles, or visits the bathroom for the 10th time.

He takes 2 hours to do half a page of math that I KNOW he could do in 5 minutes if he'd just do it.

 

Sweet Cheeks

Stats:

  • 4th child
  • Girl
  • 4.5
  • Technically preschool, but not really

She's desparate to do school like her siblings, but Mama is exhausted (hashimotos, adrenal fatigue, candida overgrowth, a 4 month old baby, and a 2-year-old) and doesn't have the mental energy all the time to "do school" with her.

Sweet Cheeks stands by my side begging for more worksheets more worksheets more worksheets!!! Never mind that she totally trashed the last 8 I gave her.

 

Are you in desperate need of a math solution for your children? I found a program that helped each child, with very different needs, conquer math struggles.

Teddy Bear and Baby

Teddy Bear is in the kitchen, throwing away measuring spoons and cups again. The Baby is spitting up all over me. Again.

 

I love homeschooling and my sweet crazy children, but good grief, I want to see some progress!

 

Our math solution

Here's the solution we've found, quite by providence.

CTC Math Membership

 

Dude. This has a solution for ALL of my children. ALL of them.

They have such varying needs and it covers all of them.

The perfect math solution for my math nut, my math-resistant child, my unfocused child, and my eager-to-learn child. I know it'll have solutions for my 2 littles when they get older as well. No doubt.

 

How CTC Math helps our homeschool

 

Captain

  • He goes through the lessons, and it tracks his progress.
  • I assign him tasks that he has to complete first.
  • He can't sneak-skip assignments. The way the questions are laid out, he really can't skip a question.
  • Multiple attempts are allowed: he can try again and again, without having to re-write the questions or erase the page (and rip it).
  • I can go back and evaluate what he's done so I can see where he needs more help and assign around that.
  • Their passing score is set to 90% and can be adjusted to your standards.
  • I can see how many times he took to achieve the score he received.

Are you in desperate need of a math solution for your children? I found a program that helped each child, with very different needs, conquer math struggles.

Little Miss

  • This girl cheers when it's time for math. "I love CTC math!" is a frequent phrase from her lips. CHEERS!!? Did you hear me? Cheers. *sniff sniff*
  • Started on the 2nd grade level and is whizzing through. I knew she could do it, and now she's realizing she can too. To me, that's the biggest win.
  • Scores and award medals are just the motivation she needs.
  • Takes a diagnostic test and can skip the lessons if she passes (90%) and gets even more excited.
  • Ablity to jump around to suit her interests that day and take a break from something that may be giving her trouble.

 

Are you in desperate need of a math solution for your children? I found a program that helped each child, with very different needs, conquer math struggles.

Animal

  • Stays engaged the entire time and doesn't wander around making motorcycle sounds.
  • Loves the math fact speed test (pictured above). You can hear him cheering and shouting to with joy as he gets more and more right each time he does it.
  • Motivated to work on his multiplication so he can play the drill game (shooting cute spaceships and aliens-- nothing violent).
  • Minimal help is needed, he works 85% independently.
  • When help with understanding a question, he works with his older siblings. It creates a great bond and unity. They love to help him.
  • He's made so much progress with his math in the past several months than he did with our previous math curriculum because the videos and questions are engaging enough that he will sit and listen.
  • Wearing Dad's headphones and sitting at his computer make him feel special.
  • He's motivated by the scores.

 

Are you in desperate need of a math solution for your children? I found a program that helped each child, with very different needs, conquer math struggles.

Sweet Cheeks

  • Started the kindergarten work and loves it. The problem I have now is that she's constantly begging to do CTC Math. It's a good problem to have. Some days.
  • Can work with just a touch of guidance and monitoring.
  •  Animal does his best to help her and the older two as well. It has helped with Animal's motivation to read because if he can read well he can be his sister's "teacher."

 

I cannot believe how much one program has helped my children.

 

They have: consistency, no gaps, and quality.

 

I'll have to cover is the American measurement system. I actually love that it goes over the metric system so well. One day I'll hop on and do a refresher.

 

I am no longer worried about my children missing something important that I didn't even think of, or realize that their curriculum was missing.

That's the biggest fear of us homeschool parents, amiright?

Well... besides, "I'm messing up their lives forever!"

I'm no longer fighting math time.

How we use CTC Math curriculum

If you're not familiar with our family, we use the Robinson Curriculum. It's a pretty simple layout and it's all about children working independently. Which I'm a huge believer of.

In a nutshell everyday we do: 

  • 2 hours of math
  • 2 hours of reading
  • 1 hour of writing

We do other things along with that, but those are the bones of our school days.

For our 2 hours of math we do:

  • 1 hour with MUS or Life of Fred
  • 1 hour of CTC Math.

We'll stick to this method for the next quarter and then re-evaluate to decide if CTC Math is going to be our main math curriculum or a supplement. No matter what, it's staying.

I like having multiple ways of looking at one type of problem. My friend, Karen, from Living Unabridged said something so similar, it's like we're the same person.

 

It's so important to make sure that your kids can not only understand the concept, but to answer the same questions when presented in a different manner.

 

Just like those dreaded word problems. Sure you can do it when it's presented to you in an equation, but can you do it when it's presented as a real-life situation?

Using 2 curriculums is fantastic to determine your child's understanding of math concepts.

 

Oh! One more thing.

Each of my children have their own separate accounts, usernames, and passwords. They love love having their own username and password that I matched to things they love to do.

My kids felt so special when I told them their usernames and passwords. It was adorable.

Their background color can be changed to match their favorite color. Little Miss discovered this one day and promptly turned hers pink.

My recommendation + where to buy CTC Math

I urge you: give CTC Math a whirl.

They've got a trial membership. Hallelujah for trials!

There is a sweet deal for homeschool families.

Seriously sweet: $118 for your entire family!?

 

I can spend that much on just ONE set of math books for ONE child. Never mind the other 3 (soon 5). In addition, I can't pass it on, unless I have the kids copy the problems onto a separate page.

Each child has their own account and can work on Kindergarten math all the way to Calculus. No copying, cutting, page protecting, or erasing required. The need to penny pinch is gone.

 

Even better than $118 is FREE.

Win a free CTC Math Membership

 

CTC Math is giving away memberships to FIVE homeschool families.

Fo' free (that's cool kid talk for wow, that's really free).

 

 

Be sure to enter-- you have a high chance of winning!

And after you win, I know you'll come back and love me so much you'll send me a plate of cookies (just make sure they're grain free, sugar free, and dairy free).

I want some cookies. So really, I'm being selfish.

 

Already have a math curriculum you love and adore and just pull it out to stare at its loveliness? Yes, even you should sign up for a free trial and see if it's something that will bless your family.

Oh, and I don't get any money or anything like that if you do. Just in case you're wondering.

 

To sum it all up... get it?

CTC Math really blessed my family and has become our serious math solution to our serious math problem.

It covers the needs of each of my children, who are so different from one another, AND it covers MY needs as a mother and a homeschool teacher.

I do frequently say that you need a curriculum and plan that works with YOU more than your children, but this is a sum up, not a novel, so I'll save that lecture for another day. 

Give the free trial a whirl and be sure to enter the amazing giveaway.

Find CTC Math on Facebook, YouTube, Periscope, and Pinterest for more ideas, helps, and to connect with this great company.

Your Turn

Do you use CTC Math? Tell me all about it.

Be sure to come back and tell me how the trial went!

Mwah

10 Signs You Need Homeschool Organization Help Immediately

This post may contain affiliate links. This does not change the price for you. :-) Whew. When do you know it's time to up your homeschool organization game? I've got 10 clear signs to share with you that will leave you with little doubt.

If you stick with me through all 10 signs, I've got an easy solution for you. Because, what would be the point of showing you all 10 signs and not giving you a way out of this mess?! There wouldn't be any.

 

It'd just make you sink into a pit of despair to wallow in for months and months only to come out smelling of old rotting soccer socks and a few more un-plucked whiskers on your chin.

Ew.

 

When do you know it's time to up your homeschool organization game? Here's 10 clear signs that will leave you with little doubt + an easy solution.

 

10. You're using books as your homeschool furniture

If you're using stacks of books in place of chairs, boxes of books for your desks, then it's safe to say you have a problem.

It may be time to re-think the storage of your books, or even *shudder* get rid of some.

9. You can't find the dustpan under all those cereal crumbs

If chore time is haphazard, frantic, ineffective, and the last thing you and your kids are able to get done. It just seems easier some days to shove the paper confetti your 3-year-old made out of her craft under the couch than it is to vacuum it up.

It may be time to re-do your chore systems and how you handle your day to day upkeep.

8. Your library fines are larger than your student loans

If you just found a library book that you checked out 4 months ago and are saving up each month to pay off your current library fine. If you spend all day at the library because you can't check any books out due to your overdue fine, you're going to want to establish something, anything, to save your wallet.

Homeschool Organization Sign No. 8

7. You had craft paper in your dinner last night

If there's a landfill's worth of paper on your kitchen table and no place to set your plate during dinner, then it's about time you sent half your paperwork to the burn pile, and organize the rest.

 

When do you know it's time to up your homeschool organization game? Here's 10 clear signs that will leave you with little doubt + an easy solution.

6. You accidentally threw away your child's work for this year's homeschool portfolio

If you did this... then holy crow, I'll cry with you. If your state requires a portfolio to be turned in and evaluated each year and you threw it all away by accident...

It's time to move! ;-)

5. You are considering animal sacrifice to meet this year's homeschooling goals

If your goals for each child just seem like distant dreams, if it looks like you'll never get your child to read, subtract, write his name legibly, or even flush the toilet, we're in the same boat.

You may need to re-evaluate your homeschool goals and the way you approach completing them. Or... maybe you need to set them in the first place. Whoops.

4. Your walk across the schoolroom floor always leaves a counting bear embedded in your foot

If you loathe counting bears, all types of manipulatives, and especially Lego because of all the foot injuries you've encountered over the last year, it may be time to throw them all away.

I kid.

It is time to sort them, store them, and regulate their usage in an easier manner.

3. You do school outside, not because you want to, but because there's no place to sit

If you've got a giant salt dough map on the table, a dioramas sitting on the chairs, laundry and library books on the couch, last week's projects and papers on the floor, and you're currently sprawled out on a picnic blanket on the muddy ground in your backyard... you know it's time.

Time to shove all that stuff under a match.

xspld

2. You bought the same homeschool curriculum 3 times

If you just unearthed the science curriculum that seems really familiar and then your daughter runs up to ask you a question holding the same workbook, and then... ding dong the UPS guy shows up delivering you a box of... that same science curriculum your bank account may be hurting.

You may need to do an inventory of what you have and what you need. And then... get some help on your memory loss problems.

Homeschool Organization Sign No. 2

1. You are stressed, overwhelmed, overworked, lost, burnt out, and your husband (and you) are fed up

If you're just. done. with the stress and overwhelm, but aren't sure what's wrong or what to do, and you want to give up, but you really don't want to give up, it's time for you to get some help, guidance, and support.

Homeschool Organization signs


It's way past time for you to get your homeschool organization under control

Now, I don't want you to feel bad.

I am not telling you all this as an anal-retentive organized cyborg. I am telling you this as a fellow disorganized person.

Hence the need to poke fun at myself (and you) with the exaggerated list. Well, the library fine one is pretty accurate.

 

If you're anything like me you want change, results, and you want it to be easy and as painless as possible.

The Solution

 

When do you know it's time to up your homeschool organization game? Here's 10 clear signs that will leave you with little doubt + an easy solution.

 

The Organized Homeschool Life

Let me tell you WHY it's the solution I need and then let you decide.

  1. I love Melanie Wilson. She's like totes amaze, or whatever the cool kids are saying these days. For real though, she's the real deal, genuine, and has been there (she wasn't born an organized robot, she worked at it -- minus the robot bit).
  2. It's broken up into months, then weeks, and then tasks to spread out each week.
  3. Each task is manageable, straightforward, and relevant.
  4. Each week has a theme, or area to concentrate on.
  5. Melanie encourages you to start where you need to and want to and to never feel a slave to the book. You'll never be behind.
  6. There's an awesome calendar, a month-at-a-glance printable, for you to keep close by so you never forget what's next.
  7. It's not just your actual homeschool room that's covered, but your entire homeschool life, which is really life. Your chores, schedule, marriage, goals, computer, curriculum, and more.
  8. The ideas, tips, and tricks in the book are fantastic! They are the best organization ideas in one book, with easy and simple directions to get you through each task. I think I said that already.
  9. Melanie has created extra freebies to help you even more than what's included in the book.
  10. It is working for me!

I just did a major overhaul of our homeschool room. We literally weren't even using it. We were downstairs, on the couch, floor, and kitchen table.

There's nothing wrong with that, it's just things were getting lost, crumpled, and our focus wasn't the best. Especially MY focus.

Now the room has turned into sweet sweet heavenly bliss. At least, for me. The kids are super excited to start using it this way, and I have dreams of peaceful homeschool days ahead. Well, organized homeschool days ahead. I gotta be realistic.

I would definitely encourage you to buy this book and see how it helps you get your homeschool organization under control and your life as well.

 

Mwah

 

 

 

 

gif via reactiongifs.com

9 History Books for Reluctant Readers to Fall in Love With

I received these books for free and compensated only for my time. These are my real opinions, no fluff or fake sunshine here.   

I don't know about your home, but my kids are strange reading beasts.

I love to read and have loved to read since I can remember. When I say love, I mean looooove, as in I'm a middle schooler crushing on my latest Teen Bop Magazine, writing my married name and my crush's initials all over my paper, love.

Ya feel me?

9 History Books for Reluctant Readers to Fall in Love With

 

Then there's my children. They aren't obsessed. Not even mildly. I have to enforce reading time. Where I got in trouble for reading too much, they don't read enough and it hurts my heart.

Well, no more! I am officially on the hunt for books that speak to my children, so they too can get in trouble for reading too much! ;)

Enter Candlewick Press.

 

My kids love history, especially ancient history. With that in mind, I knew these 9 books were the way to go. I was right!

The kids' top 3 favorite books

https://youtu.be/y4_EXD2Momk

https://youtu.be/MA4bfxdkgRU

 

How we are using our new history books

Ancient Greece

The Odyssey -- by Gillian Cross and Neil Packer

Mom's Review:

This was the biggest success to me. I could not stand The Odyssey. I knew it was a fantastic story and was something that could not be missed in my children's education. I just didn't like it. At all.

I am so glad I got it. It is amazing. The book is written for 12 years old and up, but my children have had no trouble at all with it. In fact, they love it. It's full of adventure, wars, scary, creepy things. My kids love that kind of stuff. No wilting flowers in this house!

The writing is superb and the pictures are gorgeous! My son even loves the pictures.

We are reading this together as a family and my kids are engrossed. These are the kids who make faces during family read aloud time and barely pay attention to the story. They are riveted to this book. They didn't want me to stop reading!

Win!!!

Application Activity

When we're finished with The Odyssey, we're going to create a board game!

We started to sketch it out as we read the book so we don't miss or forget anything important, or any fun details that can really make the game fun.

After we have designed it, we'll create it, and then make a video playing it. As we get more into the game making phase I'll do a special post (or series of posts). I know it's going to be amazing! My family is a board game family.

9 History Books for Reluctant Readers to Fall in Love With

 

Greek Myths for Young Children -- by Marcia Williams

Mom's Review

I love how much my eldest son loves this book. He was giggling, laughing, and wanted to point out every little thing he read. He sat down for an hour straight after I handed him the book and didn't want to stop when it was lunch time.

Is that my son? Yes, yes it is. Sweet victory.

He's reading and he's learning.

What I love about the book is that the myths are accurate and yet they are not so graphic and horrible as I remember them being when I was younger.

You aren't going to have pretty pictures, there is a picture of Prometheus having a bird eat parts of his insides (yuck), but it's the cleanest safest way you could draw it while staying true to the story. My kids aren't squeamish so I wasn't worried about this part.

Application Activity

My kids each will select their favorite story and then we are going to act it out freeze-frame style. What does that mean?

Since the book is a comic book, the kids will be one picture at a time as they act it out. They just hold their position, looking as much like the picture as they can. I'll take a picture of it. Then we'll compile each picture into a homemade book and they can decorate the book and add little speech bubbles and narration (in their own words) of the story.

This is going to be a blast! I have a post already in the works for this.

9 History Books for Reluctant Readers to Fall in Love With

Medieval Ages

Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! -- by Laura Amy Schiltz

Mom's Review

I have mixed feelings about this book. I was thinking it was going to be more of a breakdown of what life was like in the castle in the medieval ages. It is, but it's not at the same time. The book is full of monologues and dialogues for children to perform instead.

The monologues and dialogues are absolutely brilliant. It may not be what I expected to read, but it was a great pick.

Application Activity

My kids may struggle to memorize such long passages to perform, but I think it will be something worthy of attempting as we get nearer to the end.

As we study castles and the medieval ages this winter the monologues will all be read and discussed. I know they will love that each monologue is a child telling their story.

 

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight -- by Michael Morpurgo and Michael Foreman

Mom's Review

My sons are over the top thrilled to be reading a book about a green knight and dragons, and fighting, and swords. My 3 year-old daughter is pretty into it as well. She's off sword fighting while we're reading.

Application Activity

This is one we're reading together as a family. We are incorporating our art into a final project for this book and painting our favorite scene on a canvas to hang in our school room.

 

9 History Books for Reluctant Readers to Fall in Love With

 

Castle Diary -- by Richard Platt and Chris Riddell

Mom's Review

I had to have this book. It's a journal of a young boy becoming a page to his uncle. It is so awesome. Each day there is an entry with him telling what he is doing and how he feels. There are fantastic pencil drawings that give great enhancement to the story.

My eldest really enjoyed a drawing about the different types of horses they used for various tasks. He then went through the book and found all the different horses shown and compared them to the first drawing.

I love that the picture doesn't take away from the text, but adds another layer to it.

He really enjoyed this book and devoured it. He was a bit broken hearted when I told him that Tobias wasn't a real kid.

Application Activity

My son is picking a new skill he is learning this year and is going to document it each day on what he does and what he thinks about it. He will draw simple pictures as he feels inspired. The hardest part for him is picking which skill he's going to document.

 

The Romans

 

The Romans: Gods, Emperors, and Dormice by Marcia Williams

Mom's Review

This one is similar to Greek Myths, but with just a bit different format. It is another winner. My kids are totally in love with this style of reading and I'm a pretty big fan as well. I love a little switch up with our reading. So many of the books we read every day are living and whole books. Which are fantastic and lovely.

I love to infuse in some fun to our homeschool because we are a family that laughs and does goofy stuff.

My eldest daughter was a bit reluctant at first to read it since she said there was naked people in it and it was gross.

There aren't naked people in it. The man was just shirtless. When she read it with her brother after he was determined to show her otherwise, she laughed and enjoyed it. I think she was just trying to be dramatic. Oi.

Application Activity

For this book we will draw our own comic strip to show what our life is like during a typical week. We are using a big sized drawing pad that I got at Target. They are using their rulers to draw their own boxes and then coloring the pictures with whatever medium they wish.

9 History Books for Reluctant Readers to Fall in Love With

 

Roman Diary -- Richard Platt and David Parkins

Mom's Review

I knew my daughter would love this book. She loves to read stories about girls and their lives. This was the first book she dove for. She read quite a bit through it. She loves that there's a glossary and index at the end of the book that helps her learn the tricky words.

She was a bit perplexed about why this girl was a slave. She hopes that at the end of the book she won't be a slave anymore.

Application Activity

My daughter will also have a project similar to my son's. She is starting her own diary (with  her lock on it) and is writing about her adventures and daily life. She is going to focus on something that is challenging for her and the stories of her days.

She already has filled a back log of her life and doesn't need any prodding from me to write in her diary. In fact, I have to tell her to put it down so she can get other things done. Mean mom, I know.

General History

9 History Books for Reluctant Readers to Fall in Love With

 

Mesmerized -- by Mara Rockliff and Iacopo Bruno

Mom's Review

I love American history, so this book was a must!

The illustrations and typography are gorgeous! They make this book lovely. I love the natural working in of the Scientific Method. It is a fun story that had my children giggling.

Application Activity

Design our own experiment and use the steps similar to Benjamin Franklin. Use our science notebook to record our observations and conclusion.

 

Maps -- by Aleksandra Mizielinska and Daniel Mizielinski

Mom's Review

I knew my kids were going to fall all over themselves to read this book and I was right! This book is huge! I mean that in a good way. It's the size of a typical coffee table book.

The illustrations are beautiful. They have this lovely vintage feel to them that are simple, yet detailed.

Each continent is broken down into chapters and then a few countries from each continent are featured with a full 2-page spread.

9 History Books for Reluctant Readers to Fall in Love With

Application Activity

The kids are writing research papers this year. They are picking one of the countries featured in the book and will use the illustrations that are used to represent different aspects of the country as a jumping off point for their research.

My daughter loved to see what the girls and boys looked like and their names and clothes they wore. My son loved the facts about the country size, the language, the flag, and the population size.

They both adored the drawings of the animals, people, and all the little things in each country.

This is a fantastic book to pull out when you just want to look at something fascinating and beautiful. This book will be used quite a bit when the kids are waiting for me to help them with their school work when I'm working with another kid. It's also a fantastic book to sit and find new things and learn at the same time.

 

They're reading their books with joy!

9 History Books for Reluctant Readers to Fall in Love With

 

It does a mom's heart good to see this.

Our family has been blessed by these new additions to our library. My children are eager to read the books and there is no greater joy than to see the world inside a book open up to a child.

Final Thoughts

Pick books that contain topics that will draw your children in, even if they may not be your favorite subjects. My son loves nonfiction and my daughter loves reading about people. My younger kiddos love adventure and humor. The youngest love seeing seeing children and animals.

When you add activities to your books, don't overthink it. What naturally flows with the reading. Above all else, make sure it doesn't take away from the book and the love of reading it.

If it becomes too much, you'll all resent the project.

Don't give in too easily, but make sure it is actually worth it to do and not just something to do.

Here's the whole list of all the books we received so you can have a handy dandy list so you too can grab these treasures!

 

The Odyssey -- by Gillian Cross and Neil Packer

Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! -- by Laura Amy Schiltz

Castle Diary -- by Richard Platt and Chris Riddell

Roman Diary -- Richard Platt and David Parkins

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight -- by Michael Morpurgo and Michael Foreman

Greek Myths for Young Children -- by Marcia Williams

The Romans: Gods, Emperors, and Dormice by Marcia Williams

Maps -- by Aleksandra Mizielinska and Daniel Mizielinski

Mesmerized -- by Mara Rockliff and Iacopo Bruno

 

Check out all the Candlewick has to offer -- I guarantee you're going to find THE perfect book for your child.

Follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest (fantastic boards), and YouTube.

 

 

 

 

 

The Homeschool Omnibus is here! Grab the 90 Creative Resources to Refresh Your Homeschool