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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Summer School :: Computer Time

**  This post is part of a blog series.  Click here to start at the beginning.  **

Our Little Schoolhouse - Sumer School

Another fun way that I am incorporating school into our summer days is by allowing our older 3 children to use the computer more this summer.  This works out perfect during the warm part of the day when it is really just too darn hot to go out and play.

One of the resources that we have enjoyed over the past 2 years has been the Bubble Pop! Math Challenge software from Lakeshore Learning

Bubble Pop Math Challenge

I highly recommend this as a great supplement to your existing math program to reinforce and practice those basic math facts.  My children love to race as they try to solve the math problems by popping the correct bubbles before they splash into the pond.  There are 2 levels of this program:  Grades 1 – 2 and Grades 3-4

Here are a few screenshots of the Grades 1-2 level

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The Grade 1-2 level has 4 math categories:  addition, subtraction, money, and time skills.  These build in difficulty and they unlock the 8 levels as you progress through the game.

And here are a few screenshots from the Grades 3-4 level

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The Grade 3-4 level is the same basic game but it focuses on a different set of math skills.  It also has 4 math categories:  division, multiplication, rounding, and fractions. 

How Our Family Uses These Programs:  Even though these software programs have suggested grade levels, this is not the way we have chosen to use this program.  Last year, Caleb Davis (my then 3rd grader) was needing some reinforcement with his addition/subtraction facts.  That is when I went looking for a fun, safe way for him to practice his math facts and he started with the Grade 1-2 level of the software.  We still use flashcards a lot around here but this is another great way for the children to practice not only their math facts but also computer keyboard/mouse skills all at the same time.  There are 4 categories so this summer they are doing a category for each day of the week (We are doing school 4x a week, so this works out great).  Nathan James and Emma Lee are doing the Grade 1-2 level game so their week looks like this…  Monday – Addition, Tuesday, Subtraction, Wednesday – Time, and Thursday – Money. 

Players

I love the ease of this program and that the game saves a profile for each child, allowing them to start and stop each day very easily.  During the regular school year, we have a Bubble Pop! card that appears in their workboxes randomly about twice a week.  This summer they are playing the game for 15 minutes (with the help of a timer) while I work independently with another child on more detailed schoolwork.  They love being able to play this fun computer game, and really do not see it as “math time” each day. 


This next resource was a splurge for Caleb Davis’ 10th birthday a few weeks ago.  This little guy LOVES history so when I saw the Veritas Press Self-Paced History Courses go on big deep discount this past spring, I knew that I had to grab one for my little history buff.  I saved it for his birthday and we surprised him with a “gift card” type insert in his birthday card.  Needless to say, he was THRILLED!!

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I should probably back up a bit to say that we did one of these courses a few years ago when Caleb Davis was in 2nd grade.  He absolutely LOVED it then and has been begging to do them again ever since.

Veritas Press 1

We choose the Middle Ages, Renassiance, and Reformation series for him (due to the fact that he has had a slight obsession with knights and castles for a while now).  We are not doing the historical fiction reading portion of this course (although those might be some good Christmas presents in the future) but thanks to some friends who gave us a big box of homeschool hand me downs a few years ago, he is using the flashcards to go along with the computer lessons each week. 

Veritas Press Cards

How Our Family Uses This Program:  Caleb Davis is the only one using the program at the time, but I often find his brother + sister peeking over his shoulder encouraging him during one of the fun games or flipping through the cards while the memory song is playing, so I am sure they are learning too.  He loves this so much so it is not a chore at all for him to complete a lesson each day and I allow him to complete a total of 5 each week.  The online subscription is good for 1 year from the date we activated it and there are 32 weeks worth of lessons so this should be a fun enrichment activity for him to do even beyond the summer months. 

I will just be honest here and say that I LOVE these courses for history and bible but the part that I DO NOT love is the purchase options.  They are usually $199 for the year and while I believe that is a fair price for the excellent material that you get, the bummer is that it is only for ONE student for ONE school year (12 months from enrollment date).  We try to steer away from online subscriptions such as this simply becase they are an ongoing expense and they cannot be passed down to younger siblings.  We would definitely purchase the entire set of these excellent curriculum (including the Bible series and Omnibus series) if they  were actually “ours” to own and we could pass them down to future siblings. 


The final computer resource that we love is the Teaching Textbooks math series.  I am sure that you have heard of this math curriculum and if not, I suggest you check out the demo over on the publisher’s website

Teaching Textbooks 1

This is a great easy to use math program that teaches the child without much help from Mom.  They basically watch the lesson and do a series of fun, interactive math problems to reinforce that particular lesson.  The animations and lessons are engaging while at the same time, it truly feels like a math “game”, even though there are grades and quizzes given. 

Teaching Textbooks 2

This is a screen shot of the Math 3 set and as you can tell all 3 of our older children have or are currently using it.  That is such a HUGE selling point to me as a Mom of Many Blessings.

Teaching Textbooks 3

This series starts with Math 3 and I must give a disclaimer here that you might want to work a grade level up.  For example, both Nathan James and Emma Lee did not have any problem working the Math 3 level when they were both in 2nd grade.  It may not be like this for all the courses (especially at the high school level) but I would recommend taking the Placement Tests on the publisher’s website and working a grade level above where your child is currently.  (At least that has been our family’s experience.)

How Our Family Uses This Program:  This is one of those programs that again, you could use it as your entire math curriculum for the school year but we choose to use it as reinforcement during the summer months and about 2x a week for fun supplement during the school year.  Because we choose to use it this way, my children see it as another fun computer “game” and not as a dreaded math worksheet or seatwork.

I am a fan of the Teaching Texbooks math program because it allows me to very easily track each child’s progress and it gives us the freedom to purchase one particular level and use it for multiple children over the course of several different years.  It is also super easy to go in and have them rework a particular lesson if they are having difficulty mastering the material.  (We like to get a 90 or above before moving on the next lesson.)


Computer School

Well, that about wraps it up for today’s Summer School post.  These are just some of the resources that we have found to be helpful and safe for our family to use as our children grow and begin to explore the world of technology that is all around them. 

I hope you have found this to be helpful and I would love to hear what some of your family’s favorite apps and computer programs that you incorporate into your daily learning.
Blog - School - Signature

1 comment :

  1. Hello Jamie,
    I just started following your blog and love your periscopes! I also have a large family and love hearing about the routines and habits you have set in place for your homeschool and housekeeping management. I wonder if you would please do a blog post or scope (whichever if easiest for you) detailing them? I loved hearing about your daily habit of littles waking up from naps, doing a small chore, then sitting down with a snack and watching Wild Kratts. So clever! I need things like that to help my homeschool day run more smoothly and have less mess at the end of each day when I am so tired. I would also love to hear more about your monthly meal planning you mentioned on today's scope. I really enjoy hearing about your sweet family. :) Thank you so much and God bless you! Melanie in CA

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