Thursday, August 10, 2017

No-Nonsense Algebra *Review

No-Nonsense Algebra

Math Essentials No-Nonsense Algebra is a system of teaching algebra, rather than just an algebra text book. My 12 year old was a little floored when I told her she was going to learn Algebra. She had heard that term with her high school brothers and it brought up 'hard math' for her mind. This being a learning approach to algebra, I felt she would do well with learning this way rather than putting an Algebra text book in front of her, several years from now. Her older brother actually used this book when he was in High School and was one of his most helpful math programs.

There are five key parts to each lesson. The first is an introduction and explanation of any  new topics. Next is a Helpful Hints section that gives important tips and shortcuts. Examples follow, listed step by step. There are then written exercises for each lesson, with answers in the back of the text (shh, don't tell the kids). Finally there is a review section that keeps the topics fresh in their minds.

That in of itself sounds like a very solid study in Algebra. Add in though , video lessons for each section!

In the book you will get an access code to video lessons by author Richard W. Fisher. My kids need much more than just reading the math book and understanding, and have long used online video math because of that. These pre recorded videos provided information to the kids without my needing to do it. This helped me in the juggling of multiple kids as well.

The video gives examples that are different than the book, so this also gives additional examples. It is suggested to write out the examples, along with the steps so that the student isn't just reading it, but actually doing the steps along to help learn the process.

My 12 year old hadn't started any form of pre algebra, and this book was a perfect start for her. I recall when my older son used it, he was able to double up some on the early lessons because he had completed a pre algebra program. It starts off basic, which was very helpful to my 'fearful' of Algebra daughter.

This being her first exposure to Algebra, I chose to use this program exclusively for her. Between the video, the examples, and the worksheet problems, there was plenty to use. If your student just needed some reinforcement, Math Essentials works great for supplemental as well. Maybe with an older student struggling with Algebra concepts, this would be a great review program for them.

The first chapter and 22 lessons introduce the basic tools of Algebra from dealing with integers, exponents, square roots, coordinate plane, LCM, GCM, rations, proportions, percents and more.
After the basic tools are learned, the equation solving begins, or the actual Algebra component. Now I loved Algebra as a kid, and it was actually pretty fun for me to work with my daughter on this review. Additional Algebra principles were taught in the next 9 chapters such as;
Solving and Graphing Inequalities
Linear Equations
Algebraic Fractions
Radical Expressions
Quadratic Equations
Algebra Word Problems

This is one of the best Algebra programs we have worked with, both for a middle schooler, and as a supplement to a high schooler.
See what my crew mates thought of No-Nonsense Algebra by clicking on the banner below.

Math Essentials

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No-Nonsense Algebra {Math Essentials Reviews}

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Tuesday, August 8, 2017

I Can Study 1 Samuel Alone With God *Review

Alone With GodBible Study
I SamuelKing James Version

Don't let the name confuse you like it did me, Greek 'n' Stuff has some excellent 'stuff' like the 

 I Can Study I Samuel Alone With God Bible Study (39 week study)! We are in the midst of studying Samuel in our homeschool and this study was an excellent addition. I chose to use it verbally with my kids to ask them questions as we read through Samuel. It is meant to be used as an independent Bible study, but it worked well in a group.

The study comes in both KJV and NIV. We use NKJV in our homeschool so chose to do the study in KJV. It is a spiral bound study book, with room to write out answers. As we went through it verbally, I could see the benefit of purchasing a book for each child so that they not only are getting the answers verbally, they are getting the writing component down as well. Because I was reviewing it I chose to just use this one copy verbally, and if we enjoyed it we would purchase a copy for each child to have their own. It is geared for late elementary through middle school. I used it for ages 9,12 and 15. The questions tend to be a little easy for my 15 year old, but if your student is new to Bible study, they would still get much out of it at the high school level. It points out some of the smaller details in the Bible, that sometimes we skip over when reading. This Bible Study helped us to slow down and consider more what we were reading.

Each of the 39 lessons take one week. The reading the week covers is mentioned at the front of the lesson. We read the entire segment on Monday and often would re read it throughout the week rather than just reading the particular verses that the questions correspond with. The lesson is broken down daily, Monday through Saturday. We chose to incorporate Saturday lesson into our Friday study because we don't do homeschool on Saturday. There is only a few questions per day so it wasn't hard to double up on Fridays.

Each lesson has a memory verse to focus on as well from the passage for the week. Each day it is suggested to first pray, and ask God to help you study the Word. We then would read the Memory Verse for the week, and other verses in 1 Samuel that would help us with the questions of the day.

You can see where there is room to check off the prayer and reading for each day, as well as lines to write out the answers if you were having your students do so. There are also additional insights in boxes throughout the study. Some more 'food for thought', as you read the scriptures. A great place for kids to start without having to use a concordance.

Greek 'n' Stuff also has Alone with God studies on  Jonah & Ruth, Acts and Esther. These do work great as a group, but like the name suggests, they would make great individual Bible Study or devotional time as well. I do have my kids do their own Bible time before we start together as a group. If we weren't studying Samuel as a group, I would have my 12 year old consider this study on her own time. I love how it only takes maybe 20 minutes to complete, depending on the amount of reading and discussion time we take.

See what my crew mates thought of this and the other studies by clicking on the banner below, and be sure to find Greek 'n' Stuff on these social media sites.

Greek 'n' Stuff

Teach Me Some Greek {Greek 'n' Stuff Reviews}

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Tuesday, August 1, 2017

English Grammar Teaching Method *Review

English on a Roll

I have a struggling reader and English on a Roll   English Grammar Teaching Method was a unique way to work with him on his reading.

This set includes 40 color coded cubes in a sturdy plastic container. The instruction manual by Linda Hopkins Koran gives you a great introduction, cube guide and 37 grammar lessons to use the cubes on.

English on a Roll

As the teacher I worked on making myself familiar with the cube guide. Each colored word represented a different part of speech such as pronoun, noun, articles, verbs, adverbs, adjectives. It also included question words and punctuation.

My son is a hands on learner, and I think that is partially why he is struggling with reading. There isn't anything tactile about reading typically, just letters on a page. He does great with math when he can use unifex cubes, or even with science when he is mixing up supplies or holding on to what we are studying. English on a Roll is taking that same concept and bringing it into the grammar world.

The manual makes this very teacher friendly, without having to know English in depth. Each lesson lets you know what cubes you need as well as what pages you need to copy. (which the copyright allows for home use). It includes a section on tips and techniques which are helpful the further you get into the manual. The manual even explains to the teacher in detail on how to teach. This is great for new homeschool teachers who are unsure of how to even begin to teach grammar. There are also games to use to reinforce the new concepts.

There are written exercises to finish off each lesson. The student is using tactile means, but also listening, visual and written as they begin to learn basic grammar. Sounds much like grammar rather than reading right, for a child who is struggling to read? These basic grammar words are the ones he needs to learn to read to have a good start at reading. Because I believe he is a right brained learner, phonics isn't working for him, he needs something like a cube to memorize the words and which ones are on it. Just goes to show you how differently some kids learn. He is my second right brain learner so thankfully this time I had an idea what was going on.

Lesson one starts with just one cube of pronouns, which gave my son confidence since they were I, You, He/She, It, We, and They. Didn't take long to get through that lesson. Lesson to introduces the "Be" verb, which is helpful to learn right from the start to utilize the verb form of the sentence.

How can you have enough nouns to use? There are a few cubes that are blank, and  some removable labels to have words you need just for that lesson.

Using the suggestions in the manual I was able to utilize the various forms of learning, to help reinforce the words with my son. Writing them on paper, having him find the correct dice, having  him verbalize the words and sentences, and having him write on the handouts. I think the variety helps make it stick much better.

We would stay on a lesson until he had mastered it. I didn't move on until he knew the words on the dice. Though it did seem the next lesson he would  forget some of them but we would just review them again.

This is a tool I plan on working through to the end. Not only is it helping him learn to read some of the basic words, it is teaching grammar at the same time, something I didn't think I could teach him until he was a good reader. It is helping me feel like we are catching up some.

You can see a Video Demo HERE

English on a Roll {Reviews}

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