Friday, February 25, 2011

Riding To Math Mastery

Math Rider

I was so excited to receive a free download of the new math program, Math Rider, in exchange for my honest review of the program. Math Rider is a computer based program designed to help elementary school age students master the basic math facts. Children take a quest into a fantasy land, while practicing number facts from 1-12 in addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. The child set out to rescue a princess while riding a horse named Shadow. As they ride through the fantasy land the background changes and a narrator weaves the story of the quest.

My first impression was, how will this keep my children's attention? We have done the flash card drills and usually after the first few days both my children and I are bored with the drills. I was surprised to see that both my 10 and 12 year old were enjoying the quest. Although my children know their math facts, I want them to be able to recall them quickly when applying them to upper level math. I found Math Rider a fun alternative to flash cards. The game tracts your child's progress and adjusts the level of difficult to avoid frustration. This allows the student to progress at his or her own rate. I can see parents using this as a teaching aid and to reinforce math facts.

My 10 year old daughter, Karina, is an animal lover. Therefore, she found the horse theme really appealing. She also enjoyed the fairy tale nature of the quest, the narrators dramatic voice and the vivid background scenery. The game held her attention and challenged her to respond quickly to the math equations as the horse jumped hurdles. I definitely saw improvement in her mastery of her multiplication facts.

My twelve year old son, Kwan, definitely surprised me in his willingness to check out this math program. Although he was not as keen on the story's plot, he did enjoy improving on his response time with his multiplication and division facts. The quest were quick enough to keep his attention and I did see an improvement in his ability to finish his pre-algebra assignments much more quickly.

I would recommend Math Rider to parents of elementary school age children. Math Rider can be played without an internet connection. Although internet access is necessary for the initial download and for any updates, The game is supported by Windows, Mac, OSX and Linux. A family license can be purchased for $37.00, which allows for up to 10 players. The company offers a 30 day risk free guarantee!

Click the banner below to see what others had to say about Math Rider.

Freebie Friday

It's Like Having A Money Tree In Your Backyard!

If you follow my blog, you know I held my first give-away this month and the winner the end of this post:).

This week I have two free books to enhance your homeschooling experience. First, there is Adeventures in Parenting:

Adventures in Parenting is based on decades of NICHD research on parenting. This 62-page booklet gives parents the tools they need to make their own decisions about successful parenting. The booklet provides real-world examples and stories about how some families include responding, preventing, monitoring, modeling, and mentoring in their own daily parenting activities.

Download this book free at:

The second book is a delightful grammar book, Grammar Land by M.L. Nesbitt.
In this classic read aloud book, published way back in
1878, author Nesbitt creates an amazing fantasy land not unlike
"Alice In Wonderland", where the citizens are the nine parts of
speech (Mr. Proper Noun, Dr. Verb, Little Article, etc.) and
are governed by the stern, but wise old Judge Grammar. It's a fun,
fascinating way to learn some of the basic grammar rules
while carried along by the very memorable characters and a wild
adventure to boot. Highly recommended!
This classic may be download for Free at:

Just to mix things up a little, I found this wonderful site that is jam packed with calculus materials, resources, lessons, information, notes, tutorials, and links to help with TI graphing calculators.

And the Winner of Christian Kids Explore Biology is........Julieanne M.

Have a blessed week.


Friday, February 18, 2011

Reading is Fun!-damental

Kid Scoop's Reluctant Reader Solution
P.O. Box 1802
Sonoma, CA 95476
Telephone: 707.996.6077
Fax: 707.938.8718

Kid Scoop Reluctant Reader Solution is a FUN way to get your child to enjoy reading. I received a free subscription to this program in exchange for my honest review of their product. I was excited to have the opportunity to use this product with Karina, my 10 year old daughter, who is a reluctant reader. The Kid Scoop's Reluctant Reader Solution welcome email arrived with easy to follow directions. I was quickly able to access their website and download the program. The Reluctant Reader Solution consist of two parts. Part one is a 365 page e-book with thematic lessons. Each lesson is approximately 6 pages long and is jammed packed with interesting articles, fun puzzles, inviting writing prompts and so much more. The articles are short snippets of information, presented in an eye appealing layout. Also included are recommended websites and books to enhance the lesson.

The second portion of the program is a one year subscription to the Kid Scoop New, a monthly online newspaper for kids grades 2-8. This 15 page newspaper is colorful and
like the first component is filled with FUN, FUN, and MORE FUN! My daughter did not
view this as more school work but as a enjoyable activity. She especially liked the jokes and the word search puzzles. The newspapers can be printed out or read from the computer. Several elements makes this newspaper a great learning tool. First, the topics of the articles are interesting and relevant to the target age group. Second, the Reluctant Reader Solution program's themes correlate with some of the articles in the newspaper. Karina found this element extremely appealing because when she found an article that was very interesting she could continue her fun with the additional lessons. Finally, the online newspaper has a audio format feature which let's the student listen to the articles being read aloud. Although the voice quality is not the greatest, Karina loved to hear the articles read.
In addition, the Kid Scoop website ( ) is full of wonderful resources for parents, teachers and students. Karina and I both enjoyed the online Mad Lib style games and word search puzzles. I was also able to sign up for a free daily newsletter with theme related writing prompts and activities. I would highly recommend the Kid Scoop's Reluctant Reader Solution to anyone interested in making reading FUN!-DAMENTAL.

A one year subscription to Kid Scoop Reluctant Reader Solution is $97 per year.

Click the banner below to see what others had to say about The Kid Scoop's Reluctant Reader Solution.

Freebie Friday

It is Like Having A Money Tree in Your Backyard!
Presidents' Day is celebrated the third Monday in February therefore this week's freebies will focus on materials to enhance your study.
First, we have a huge selection of unit studies focusing on individual presidents. This site is part of the Fun School website, which is a great Free website full of educational games.
Do you want to complete a lap book in honor of Presidents Day? Look no further, homeschool share has a great selection of president lap books. One inparticular is: Abraham Lincoln, the Boy Who Loved Books. Which can be found at : .
Two additional lap book projects can be found at:
If you are looking for something a little more interactive, check out the following site for lots of free games and activities.

If you have been blessed by this blog, share it with a friend!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Win a Copy of Christian Kids Explore Biology

Follow Lauren “Around the Kitchen Table” for your chance to win a copy of Christian Kids Explore Biology.
Simply go to and become a follower. This will give you 1 chance to win. Are you already a follower and want a chance to win? Leave a comment on the page responding to one of the post and get a chance to win.
Still want to increase your odds? Search website for the item number for Christian Kids Explore Biology and email the item number to
for 1 additional chance.
The drawing will be held at Moore Expressions on Thursday, February 24, 2011 at 7:00 pm. All entries must be received by 12:01 AM EST on Wednesday, February 23. Winner will be posted on Friday, February 25th on "Around the Kitchen Table"

Disclosure ~ I am not receiving any compensation for this post.

Friday, February 11, 2011

The Curiosity Files

The Cicada Killing Wasps
The Old Schoolhouse Magazine
Project Managers: Heidi Strawser & Amy Christy

Last month, we took a break from our regular curriculum in order to check out a new unit study called the Curiosity Files. What was planned as a one week break turned into a month long adventure. The first week we explored the very interesting Dung Beetle. The next week, we investigated the world of Zombie Fire Ants. The following week, we learned all about Puffer Fish. Just when we were about to return to our normal routine, I received a new Curiosity Files to review for the TOS crew. I received a free copy of the Curiosity Files: Cicada Killing Wasp in exchange for my honest review. My honest opinion is: WE LOVE THE CURIOSITY FILES!If you are looking for a new approach to studying science, Explorations with Professor Ana Lyze—Expert in Outlandish Oddities...The Curiosity Files might just be the perfect answer..

The Curiosity Files are fun unit studies geared for children ages 8-13. However, with a little adjusting the units can be used with the whole family. Each unit includes reading, reading comprehension, Bible, copy work, history, math, arts and crafts,spelling, vocabulary and of course, science. Also included are a list of books and websites to enhance your study. There is more than enough information for a full week of exploration.

We really enjoyed this unit study and highly recommend the Cicada Killing Wasp study. The study contains lots of interesting information and Karina really enjoyed all of the hands on activities and the links to websites. I appreciated that the units are from a creation perspective and include Bible verses as well as a well rounded curriculum. Just add your own math program and dive in for a science adventure.

If you're curious, the Curiosity files are available at the Old Schoolhouse store ( ) for $9.95 per unit or you can grab a nine pack of units for only $46.00 , a three pack for $23.00 or a two pack for $15.34.
Here are the Curiosity Files titles currently available:
•Blue Diamond
•Dung Beetle
• Zombie Fire Ants
•Red Tide
•Zombie Fire Ants
•Blue-footed Booby
•Cicada Killing Wasp

Click the banner below to see what others had to say about The Curiosity Files.

Freebie Friday

It's Like Having A Money Tree In Your Backyard!

Monday is Valentine's Day and a perfect time to study the history of the day. The first freebie for this week is a unit study from an excellent homeschool resource; Homeschool Helper Online.

Another great FREE resouce for unit studies and lap books is the Homeschool Share website where you can find these two great projects to enhance your study of Valentine's Day.

Have a wonderful Valentine's Day!

Monday, February 7, 2011


VocabAhead SAT Vocabulary:
Cartoons, Videos & MP3s
Lafazi Publications
I have only one question:"Where was this book when I was studying for the SAT exam?" I received a copy of the VocabAhead SAT Vocabulary book at no cost, in exchange for my honest review of the book. As both a mother of a high school student and a teacher of a SAT prep class, I was excited to use this SAT vocabulary book. VocabAhead is a 342 page paperback book that is divided into 30 units. Each unit contains 10 vocabulary words.Each page is devoted to one vocabulary word. The featured word appears in bold print, followed by its part of speech and a concise definition. Below the definition is a black and white cartoon which is designed to give a visual image to associate with the word. There are also two sample sentences to further illustrate the word. The final item on the page is a list of synonyms and antonyms. After each unit, there are review activities to be completed to determine if the lesson has been mastered.
What makes this book unique is the ability to download both videos and MP3 files for the VocabAhead website. Although the book can be used independent of the videos and MP3 files, this feature is perfect for todays teen age students who tend to use their computers and MP3 players more than books. All of the vocabulary cartoons from the book are available in both formats. So if you have a student who learns best using auditory methods, then you can download the audio files onto any MP3 player or computer. Or, if your student is a visual learner, the video files can be downloaded to an iPod touch, iPad, iphone or computer.
We used the book, along with the video component on the computer. It was simple to download the files onto the computer. The files appear in alphabetical order so it is easy to locate the vocabulary words for each unit. The video's were clear and of good quality. The videos begin with a screen shot of the vocabulary word and definition, while you hear the word and the definition is read. Next, the cartoon appears while the sample sentences are read. The cartoons on the videos are in full color and are quite appealing to the eye. We found the combination of the book and video to work very well for us. This is a long way from the flash cards I used to prepare for the SAT exam!
VocabAhead SAT Vocabulary: Cartoons, Videos & MP3s can be purchased for $12.95 at
Also available from VocabAhead is

VocabAhead One Thousand SAT Vocabulary Videos & MP3s
This DVD-ROM contains more than 1000 SAT Vocabulary Videos with MP3 audios files. Available at for $24.99.

Click the banner below to see what others had to say about VocabAhead.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Freebie Friday

It's Like Having A Money Tree In Your Backyard!

It's February, and Valentine's Day is coming up (on the 14th). Connect The Thoughts is offering a FREE course to celebrate the holiday! It's a new Valentine's Day History/Creative Writing course, and it's available for free right now, for ages 9-adult.

First, the student is introduced to the history of Valentine's Day, an observance built around two mysterious saints from long ago, about which little is known. The growth of Valentine's Day is presented.

Next, for the first time in any of their holiday creative writing courses, the student is introduced to some of the most important ideas in poetry, as well as works by important poets writing about love (including love for a tree, and love for one's pet dog). Then the student authors poems for the holiday.

Next, the student is led step-by-step through the authoring of two original Valentine's Day poems, learning a lot about how to write a good story in the process.

They have set up their site so that the student can PUBLISH HIS WORK THERE! This course contains a link that can only be found in their Valentine's Day course. This link will take the student to a page where they can enter their name, age, the name of their creative work and the work itself. There, it will soon appear surrounded by art work appropriate to the holiday! And there it will stay for as long as the site is up, to be shared with far-away family and friends for years to come! Anyone can read the works of your student by going to the Creative Writing page and entering the student's name. All their stories will appear! Take a look at the site below:

February is also African American History month. Scholastic has several free web pages with great resources to aid in your celebration.

Vocabulary and spelling made fun

Another great freebie is the Spelling City website. They have just added a vocabulary component to their website. Go check it out!

Even spelling test reviews are fun. Why memorize your spelling lists? Instead, you can take an interactive quiz, hearing the words the way you do during real spelling tests. is free. You do not need to register to use it.

Well. have a great week and remember....the ground hog saw his shadow, so spring will be here soon!!