Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Teaching Textbooks Math 4.0 from Teaching Textbooks Review

Disclosure: I received this complimentary product through the Homeschool Review Crew.

As a busy homeschool parent of multiple kids in different grade levels, I was super excited to get the opportunity to review the new interface Teaching Textbooks Math 4.0 from Teaching Textbooks.  

Anyone who has followed our blog over the last ten years knows that I do not enjoy teaching math, especially for the older grades.  Throw in the fact that I am now working full-time, and I am struggling to stay afloat.  Teaching Textbooks Math 4.0 has been the answer to my math curriculum search.

Teaching Textbooks has been a program that we have used since beginning our homeschool journey.  We actually started out with the computer disk and printed workbook.  The boys worked their way through and they would work on the computer and also through the workbook.  This worked well.  But they have improved on the original options and now offer this completely online option for parents.

Teaching Textbook 4.0 offers interactive math lessons for students.  Each grade level can contain roughly 130 math lessons that includes quizzes over materials.  The lessons present the material with video how to solve the problems.  Students are asked to follow along with the step-by-step process and answer questions as the problem is solved.  This is meant to give extra practice that may be needed.

Each lesson builds on previous lessons, and this includes practice questions from previous lessons.  Those first 10 practice questions are great for building on skill to mastery.  It's a mix of past and current lesson.  Theses questions are not counted in the lesson grade.  And yes....I said grade.  Teaching Textbooks Math 4.0 does track lesson grades and gives you this information for quick reference.  Under your parent account, parents can opt to delete lessons that students failed and have them repeat the activities to improve on their score.

I love that questions are read to the student.  The voice can usually be picked from a short list, as well as the avatar that students would like to be.  Usually there are even a couple of puns cracked during the lesson.  I can tell when Caty is truly paying attention because she'll either crack up or go "man, why???"  You know like most of us do when we hear a pun.

Originally the Teaching Textbooks Math 3.0 online platform was through a specific website.  We have been using that since it's upgrade in January 2021.  Now Teaching Textbooks Math 4.0 is an app that we can download on our desktop.  We both have an individual login, so that I can track her.  I can also download ebook pages from her lessons if she is struggling and I want to verify how she is being taught to solve a problem.  I do not consider what Teaching Textbook uses as Common Core.  But you know how sometimes the way I learned math, and then adapted my way of understanding for my brain to get "it".  Well that's usually slightly different than the "teacher" in the app explains it.  With access to the online material, I can print out the lesson and help her to understand the lesson.

The new platform is extremely user friendly.  When you download the program to your computer platform, you do still need internet access to use the lessons.  You can download up to 6 lessons though if you are traveling or even struggle with internet access.

Teaching Textbooks Math 3.0 was a digital product also.  But you had to use the web interface.  I like that Teaching Textbooks 4.0 is a digital product, but you have a program on your device to access the materials.  Purchase of Teaching Textbooks 4.0 gives you access to the content for 12 months.  You do get lifetime access to the gradebook.  But say you are taking a few weeks off from school, you can actually pause your subscription for things like vacation and breaks.  That time will not count toward your 12 months, since you did not access the program.

Having such a long period to finish the lessons, this gives you time to your student to work through the entire grade level they are going through to take their time and not rush through the lessons if they need some help to master the material.

If you are not sure about the grade level your student will be tackling, you can easily take a placement test and find your student's placement level.

The benefits I have found using Teaching Textbooks Math 4.0:
  • Students can work independently
  • Automatic grading
  • User friendly interface (Students can easily find there they left off)
  • Access to the ebook for the program that your student is using
  • Ability to download several lessons so that you can work on the go when you may have limited internet
  • Parent login so that I can check their grades and what questions they are struggling on
  • Questions are read to students
  • Hints are given for various problems that allows for quick reminders on how to solve problems that students are struggling with
  • Kid friendly avatars allow the student to personalize their lesson, but not be overly distracting.
  • Very budget friendly for families.  They offer large family discounts also.
  • Free trial subscription so that you can see if you like the program
We are definitely continuing to use Teaching Textbooks Math 4.0.  We have used them for many years, and I love the improved format.  I'll keep recommending them to my homeschooling friends.

Several members of the Homeschool Review Crew were given the opportunity to review various grade levels of Teaching Textbooks Math 4.0.  Click on the link below to see how they felt about using these in their homes.
                Reviews of Teaching Textbooks

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

My New Cleaning Schedule

With work and school, life is going to be very hectic.  I have some major health issues that have been going on, but life still needs to go on.  I have been working hard at getting myself into a set schedule for cleaning and making sure that our house stays safe and clean.  I need to make sure that I have time for lesson planning, work with the kids, and even spend time with Joe.  It's going to be rough.  

A very sweet friend of mine made this schedule for me to print and keep handy for reference.

I bought some extra meal prep bowls for myself.  Hopefully it will help from from eating crap.  My diet is really horrible right now.  I need help to try and cut back on flares.  I will cook a couple days ahead and even freeze a couple single serving meals for myself to help me out.  I cannot do leftovers for long due to my histamine disorder.  I must have nutritious food handy though.

So far I have been almost able to keep up somewhat with cleaning.  There are a few areas for improvement, even during a flare that I was struggling through, I have been trying my best.  

What are some things you do to keep yourself organized?  I'm going to make about 4 weeks worth of lesson plans this weekend to try and work ahead for the girls.  I do know that I will continue to rely on some online resources for their education.  They seem to be doing ok on some of their courses and working independently.  This summer we will be reviewing some math techniques that they struggle with so that we can keep advancing in that area.

I'm all ears...meal planning tips, cleaning tips, this struggling mom out.  We can all support each other!

See you next time!

Friday, April 23, 2021

New Changes......

Life has been absolutely crazy at our house.  Working full-time.  And everything extra has been a struggle.  

Joey was sick for a couple of weeks.  He had something similar to diverticulitis.  He was miserable.  It was awful.  We had to take him to the ER twice.  This made his anxiety run off the chart, but he was so miserable he begged to go to the ER one day.  He is doing better now.  But it was very rough.  He's almost back on normal meds.

I have been looking to open up more independent employment options for myself.  So I am heading back to school part time this summer.  I'm going to try full-time this upcoming fall semester.  The past 21 years of being a mom has really prevented me from reaching degree goals.  It's time to close up the gap.  

Lydia is working at the zoo part time.  We have allowed her to go one day a week and help in a non-public position.  Where she can get hours, but not be overly exposed to possible close-contact situations.  She has really been enjoying this, but alas the shifts will end at the end of this month.  So they promised to find her something else to do, to keep her protected.

Caty has ..well.. Caty has been a typical 13 year old.  She keeps me on my toes.

Brayden is staying under the wire in the house.  He is working on updating his room.  He's doing a great job.  Constant reminders, but he's making sure he's doing just enough work to stay out of trouble.

I am in planning stages for summer.  I honestly have been exhausted.  The girls have gotten an impromptu week off from school.  They are supposed to be cleaning their rooms and reorganizing them.  We are shifting around beds.  The girls are redecorating their rooms.  I would like it all done in the next few weeks.  I think I have figured out our summer work.  I'll do a separate post about that.

I went for more bloodwork.  I may have an official diagnosis...maybe?!?!  I don't want to be hopeful, but it would be nice.  I would hopefully know a way to try and start healing and feel a bit better.  I have had several reactions.  Chronic pain, fatigue, brain fog, weight gain, depression, anxiety attacks, the list just goes on and on....That is a whole other post.  I will update.

This is just a brief update.  I had to get a new laptop and still working on connecting and downloading photos from my phone.  I should have it all figured out soon.

I hope everyone is having a great week...we are experiencing a pretty heavy snowfall on the 20th of April.  It's crazy to have spring flower buds now under snow.  When I can think clearer later in the week, I'll post progress on all the kids.

Monday, April 19, 2021

Menu Monday

Has anyone reached that part of the winter where they have cooked so much...yeah they are over it??  My planning brain is struggling.  We have food.  But WOW...I just can't some days.  I am trying hard to plan as much as possible to keep myself organized.  I work full-time from home (fortunately), but it's still a struggle.

B - Pizza
L - Leftovers
D - Lasagna

B - Ground turkey hash
L - Leftovers from weekend
D - Loaded chicken w/ mashed potatoes

B - Mini egg muffins
L - Leftovers
D - Poor mans burnt ends w/ sweet potato tots

B- Toast and smoothies
L - Leftovers
D - Baked nachos 

B - Freezer Waffles or Pancakes
L - Salad and mac/cheese
D - Peanut butter chicken and noodles

B - Cereal
L - PB&J Rollups
D -Smoked ham, corn cake, roasted sweet potatos

B - Corn mush and ham
L - Udon noodles
D - Loaded Potato soup

***This is important.....some days I change things around.****  I print a menu and keep it on the cabinet.  If something happens, I change the menu in pencil.  I make sure to keep track at the bottom of the menu of the meals that get moved, and we still have the ingredients for.  

This biggest thing to remember.... BE FLEXIBLE!!  I cannot express this enough.  Do not down yourself if you need to move your menu around.  You might be exhausted, need to work over, or a sports practice gets moved....all these things have happened to me in the last few weeks.  Flexibility is the key.  I also have given up some control in the kitchen and make sure that the kids are involved as much as possible in making meals.  Some day they will be able to cook the entire meal themselves!!  Whoohooo!!

I know I didn't share any recipes, but if you are interested, please email me.  I'd be happy to share a close variation of what we make.  I seriously do not really follow recipes

Hope that these ideas help and everyone has a great week!!!


Friday, April 16, 2021

ARTisitic Pursuits, Inc. - Beginner Level, Art Core 1, Drawing with Graphite Pencils Review

Disclosure: I received this complimentary product through the Homeschool Review Crew.

The girls love art time.  We recently had the opportunity to review Beginner Level, Art Core 1, Drawing with Graphite Pencils from ARTistic Pursuits Inc..  Affordable art instruction brought to you at home!

Beginner Level, Art Core 1, Drawing with Graphite Pencils was created for 4th grade through adults.  We received the hardcover textbook with DVDs, as well as the access to the online course.  This is the part that I fell in love with.

As I log into our account, I have full access to the hardcover textbook in digital format.  The lessons can be watched, just like with the DVDs, but since our laptops do not have drives, we are not missing out on that video instruction.  I can flip to the exact lesson I want each time, or simply click on the links.  You can see an example in the above picture.

The interface is extremely user friendly, which is very important for Caty.  She can sometimes struggle with navigating websites.  The Flipping Book program really allows for easy and quick use of the textbook virtually.

Each girl can actually keep track of where she is.  I'm actually enjoying the lessons also.  I have always wanted to learn how to draw better.  Using Beginner Level, Art Core 1, Drawing with Graphite Pencils has been a relaxing addition to my week.

The textbook course includes lessons on line, space, shape, texture, value, form, animal forms, human forms, and man-made forms.

There are 9 video lessons, that you can access on either DVD or online.

Examples are included for each style.

One of my favorite ways that ARTistic Pursuits, Inc. chooses to teach art is by including other pieces of art in their lessons.  When teaching a topic, students are able to see the art form in another piece of art.  This not only introduces them to a little art museum at home, but also helps them to associate that no matter their skill level they can become a wonderful artist.  Every piece of art can be broken down into a simple design with details added.  

The supply list for 
Beginner Level, Art Core 1, Drawing with Graphite Pencils is very budget friendly also.  Basic drawing supplies that you can get from almost any big box store, or you can order the supplies from Artistic Pursuits, Inc. and just add them to your order.  ARTistic Pursuits, Inc. really does want to make it super easy to teach art in your home.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have been paying for individual drawing lessons for the girls.  Some teachers have been better than others. It has been a bit of a struggle to find teachers that work with personalities, and even the expense has been far greater than the access for us to use Beginner Level, Art Core 1, Drawing with Graphite Pencils.  

I have always loved the curriculum offered by Artistic Pursuits, and recommend it to all new homeschoolers.  But didn't realize that the curriculum is now being offered online with streaming.  Something that makes it more accessible for the girls on their laptops.  We will continue using the online accessibility of ARTistic Pursuits, Inc. Beginner Level, Art Core 1, Drawing with Graphite Pencils and then continue with the other programs they offer.  

I also have added an extra group that I will be recommending ARTistic Pursuits, Inc. products too.  That includes parents and caregivers of adults with special needs.  The ease of use with this interface makes this program a great addition to their days.  

Several members of the Homeschool Review Crew were given the opportunity to review various program levels from ARTistic Pursuits, Inc.  Click on the link below to see how they used these programs in their homes and what worked best for their families.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021