TOS Sweet Critique: Math Mammoth

Math MammothWhat:  Math Mammoth


Cost:  Varies by product {curriculum or supplemental}; we reviewed the complete grade 3 curriculum and it’s only $34 for a ton of downloaded content.  There are even options ranging from $2 to $7.

Recommended Ages:  Varies; Math Mammoth has done a genius job of putting together content that not only goes by grade level, but by subject as well, so you can start whenever you feel is best for your child.

cover for Math Mammoth Grade 3-A Complete WorktextWhat Is Math Mammoth?


Math Mammoth is a math curriculum written by homeschooling mom Maria Miller.  She has created a self-teaching curriculum filled with a ton of information!  Math Mammoth is available as grade level curriculum, subject matter curriculum, or many other supplemental worktexts.

Products are available in a variety of formats:  downloads {the best option in my opinion}, printed, and CD.  As of November, 2011, the downloadable versions come with PDFs enabled for annotation, which means they can be completed directly on the computer {love that!!}.

Ms. Miller has made a variety of lesson types available {categorized by color}, and that can sometimes become confusing.  There’s a great FAQ that details what each type is.

What Did We Think?


I am very appreciative of the variety available with Math Mammoth.  So many times we’re forced to simply choose something by grade level, or in a package that is only partially relevant to our child.  With Math Mammoth, you have a much better chance of tailoring a math program to specifically fit your child, and it’s non-consumable.

Our grade 3 curriculum came with worksheets, tests, cumulative reviews, a user guide, cutouts, extra worksheet creator, and much more.  I liked how I could pick and choose what I wanted and leave the rest.

Another facet of Math Mammoth that I really like is the Make It Real Learning series.  These books, written by a math teacher, feature more advanced math in ways that it is applicable to everyday life.  I think this makes for much more interesting learning.  You can get each title separately for $4.99, or you can get all the titles in this series for only $39.99.

I will say that for a child like Babydoll who tends to get a little scared when there seems to be quite a bit of text on the page, this might be a scary thing for them.  There is a lot of text on these pages!  With that said, when you actually read through it, the teaching is very to-the-point and there is just plenty of practice built in.

What Did Others Think?


For more perspectives on Math Mammoth, check out what other TOS crewmembers thought.

True Confessions:  I was provided with curriculum materials to facilitate my review.  All statements are my own.

Sweet Critique: Essure

Yes, I know, this is a personal decision.  That said, it annoys me how many people {strangers} think it is their business.

I strongly believe that most of us grow up with a feelingof how many children we want to have, or if we want any at all.  I never planned to have children, and Vince didn’t either.  I just always knew I was good with none.

Of course, once Babydoll came along I absolutely grew to love her and wouldn’t give her up for all the chocolate in the world.  That didn’t change the fact that I didn’t want any more children.

I was 21 when I had Babydoll.  After I had her, I told my doctor I wanted my tubes tied.  She thought I was crazy and didn’t really know what I was talking about.  Long story short, it took me until I was 28and Vince was about to get out of the Navy to convince them to allow me to make this decision for myself.  Even after they had “agreed” they wanted me to first get written permission from my husband…

I guess if there was one good thing to come out of all of this it was that I learned about Essure.  I really didn’t want to have to go through having a tubal ligation, and there was no letting Navy doctors near Vince’s nether regions, so I searched for another way.

I stumbled upon an ad for Essure, read up on it, and thought it sounded like a great thing!  No cuts, no long healing times, just a simple in/out procedure.  I happened to be having surgery for something else, so I asked them to do an all-in-one for me, including the Essure procedure while I was under.  The good thing about Essure, though, is that you do not have to undergo general anesthesia to have the procedure done.  It can be a simple outpatient doctor’s visit for you without any cuts or invasive surgery.

They obliged and when I came to I had the procedure done and was so ecstatic!  I had no recovery problems.  I did have some spotting for a few months, but to me, that was a small price to pay for finally knowing I would no longer get pregnant.

The one thing that my doctor noted might be an issue was that since I would no longer be on hormonal birth control, my periods would go back to the way they were pre-birth control.  That hasn’t been insanely fun, but again, you can’t have it all:  I’ll take non-hormone affected periods over pregnancy chance any day

I still find that even two years later so many women don’t know about Essure.  There are a variety of reasons that you might find yourself considering sterilization, and I really encourage you to research it to see if it’s right for you.  Granted, I’ve never had a tubal, but I did quite a bit of research on the subject and came away findingthe benefits of Essure far outweighed the benefits of a tubal.

Perhaps you have financial or emotional factors weighing on your decision.  Maybe you just “know.”  Each person is unique and each person has reasons for having as many or as few children as they’d like.  We as women really need to start supporting each other in this important decisionand stop judging others based on our own set of beliefs.

So, I’m curious to know: How and when do you decide your family is complete?Join the conversation and be entered to WIN the designer handbag of your choice(Up to a $500 value) from Essure!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Essure. The opinions and text are all mine. Official Contest Rules.

Sweet Giveaway: Coach Handbag {$148 RV}

Some of us bloggers have teamed up to bring you an easy and quick giveaway: a Coach handbag!!!!  You can find the bag here, it is the Madison Op Art sateen top handle pouch for $148.

I have a Coach bag and let me tell you, they really are worth the money; heart mine.

Follow the participating blogs on Facebook and/or Twitter, and then fill out the Rafflecopter form; that’s it!

If you’d like, you can tweet daily for additional entries.

[Read more…]

TOS Sweet Critique: Keyboard Town Pals

Keyboard Town PALS

Keyboard Town PalsWhat:  Keyboard Town PALS


Cost:  The program is currently on sale for $30 – $45 depending upon the options you choose {CD-ROM vs. web-based, bundled package, etc.}

Recommended Ages:  Ages 6 and up

What Is It?


Keyboard Town PALS is a computer-based program that teaches typing to children.   Yes, I know.  There are lots of these.  Or, at least a few.  What makes this one different?

This program uses a Purposeful Associative Learning System {PALS}.  Say what?  This means that the program uses a well-devised way to use associations to teach typing.  I know this doesn’t work for some kids, but it generally works for Babydoll.  Having a story helps her remember something so much easier.

 So how exactly does Keyboard Town PALS do this?  Keyboard Town is made up of three streets.

Each street has residents {letters, numbers, symbols}.  The streets and the residents correspond to the rows and keys on the keyboard.

Then, through a series of stories and other fun stuff, the child is taught the keys in a vertical manner.  Vince and I were talking, and we think we remember being taught vertically, and it was much easier to learn the finger associations as opposed to learning where the letters were and then finger placement {horizontally}.

What Did We Think?


Well, overall I think it’s an innovative program that has really thought about covering the bases as far as a comprehensive typing program for kids {after all, it’s supposed to teach kids how to type in an hour}.  The program can be used with all learning levels and thought has really been put into creating a unique way to teach kids typing.

Personally, I thought the puppets and Sunny were a bit too silly for Babydoll {she’s nine}, but after her initial “Hmmm…”, she said she was able to see past that and still enjoy the program.  I think she even enjoyed the stories about the puppets and their purpose, she just wasn’t a big fan of Sunny.  Despite this, she sat there for a good while playing and learning, so overall I think it’s a win.

I also think this program could be used for kids younger than six, as soon as they have letter recognition down.  Shoot, it can even be used to teach letter recognition and sounds.  Much above then, though, I don’t know how well a child would respond to the puppets.  Take that with a grain of salt, because each kid is different; some will be completely happy doing something till a much older age than others will.

What Did Others Think?


Be sure to check out what other TOS members thought about Keyboard Town PALS!

True Confessions:  I was provided with access to Keyboard Town PALS in order to facilitate my review.  All opinions are my own.

Field Trip 3 – McWane Science Center: Robotics & Mars Mission


Challenger logoI’ve got eight words for you: programming a robot and a voyage to Mars.

That’s right, it sounds totally awesome.  And, it was.

Well, it looked awesome; I didn’t really get to participate.  Sad face.  But happy face for Babydoll, it was such a cool experience!

A homeschool mom organized two days worth of field trips; the first was to McWane Science Center for a robotics program and voyage to Mars.

Robotics Challenge


Our first stop was the robotics program.  After a brief introduction, the kids placed themselves into groups of about three and commenced with programming a LEGO robot.

I could tell by the look on Babydoll’s face that she was scared at first.  When the woman announced they’d be programming robots, the terror washed over her:  “I don’t know how to program a stinkin’ robot!”  But the woman did a great job of explaining everything in an entertaining and concise manner.

Babydoll was teamed up with a couple of other girls around her age and they worked together nicely.  Back and forth they went, hooking the robot up to the computer, programming it to do one thing, disconnecting it, testing it, reconnecting it, fixing the program, and rinse and repeat.

Their objective was to get the robot through a maze.  The program taught them so many things such as the importance of guessing and testing, working through something in a systematic manner, and robot programming {a very important skill}.

None of the teams got their robot through the entire maze by the time we had to head out, but they all did a great job.

Voyage to Mars


After a thirty minute break to check out the museum, we headed into the Challenger Learning Center to learn about the upcoming voyage to Mars.

A couple of days prior to the field trip we were given a list of the teams for the project and each child was able to pick their top three choices.  Babydoll ended up on her second choice team {Remote}, which turned out to be something related to geology, so she was excited.

They were given their badges, boarded the “spaceship” for their transport to the Mars Transport Vehicle, and got to work.

It was then time to teleport to mission control and experience that same team on the “other side.”

This was a great field trip; Babydoll loved it! If you have a Challenger center near you, I highly recommend checking out the programs they offer.

I’m linking up to my bloggy friend Anna-Marie’s field trip hop.  Be sure to check it out for great field trip ideas.