TOS Sweet Critique: Math Rider

Math Rider Collage

Math RiderWhat:  Math Rider

Cost:  $37 until February 15th, after that, $47

Recommended Ages:  6 to 12, or grades 2 to 6


What is Math Rider?


Math Rider is a computer game designed to teach children four math operations:  addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.  The software is built to reward progress and ultimately help children develop mastery of each operation with numbers one through 12.

Each player lives in the Land of Ray and rides a horse named Shadow.  His or her mother is sick, and so he or she has been sent {by the doctor} to The Mathlands to find the mysterious Pythagoras flower to help her.  Playing through math quests, the player advances across the map to find the flower.

Our Thoughts


I think Math Rider is a fun way to encourage mastery of math facts in your child.  The game play is easy for children to grasp, the maneuverability is easy, and they are rewarded for making progress, not for perfection.

In addition, the game intuitively determines your child’s speed and knowledge and adjusts ride speed and questions based on this.  It is easy to track progress, see where you are on the map, and view the facts that you need a bit more practice with.

One thing I wasn’t too fond of was the fact that while the math problem is on the bottom right of the screen, the answer box is on the bottom left.  This doesn’t really affect game play, but if you have a visual child who needs to see the answer as they type it {or if you’re like me and thought you typed it but aren’t sure}, they’ll have to do a lot of glancing back and forth.  A big deal?  No, but something I thought I’d mention nonetheless.

I also want to point out how great a value I think this game is.  We love video games in this house, so I know a thing or two about games and pricing.  We’ve tried {or are currently using} several different games to enforce learning in a variety of subjects.  Most are monthly subscriptions, which can add up and are rather expensive when you add it over a year’s time.

At only $47 {a one time cost}, you have access to Math Rider for up to eight children.  That’s an amazing deal for a game that covers addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division through mastery.  Love it!!

Here are a few screen captures of the game:

What Did Others Think?


To find out what other TOS Reviewers though, visit this link!

True Confessions:  We were provided with Math Rider software in order to facilitate this review.  All opinions are my own.

TOS Sweet Critique: Celestial Almanack


Celestial AlmanackWhat: Celestial Almanack

Cost:  $3.00

Recommended Ages:  Middle School and up/Parents


What is the Celestial Almanack?


Celestial Almanack is an illustrated guide to the sky!  Complete with guides for both the daytime and nighttime sky, as well as information about “special” events of the month {Leap Year, Groundhog Day, etc.}, this guide extensively covers planets, stars, everything that’s going on up there.

Our Thoughts


I think most kids find the stars and planets fascinating, even more so when they know what they’re looking at.  For this reason, I think the Celestial Almanack is a great thing for every family to have!  It’s always fun to head outside {especially when it’s cold and you can have hot chocolate…} and take a gander up in the sky.  Quality family time!

The Almanack points out a variety of nuances happening in the sky this month, and provides great illustrations to help you digest it all.  There are 21 pages in this months Almanack, and with the wealth of information contained, it’s well worth the $3 price tag.

A few of our favorite things:

The chart of moon phases

The daytime sky

The nighttime sky

One thing that I’d like to note for those who are not strictly Christian homeschoolers is that this product does have a fair bit of religious information contained inside.  I personally found it easy to simply leave this information out, and think with the amount of other information in the product that it is still a great thing to purchase!

With a new Almanack coming out each month, I think this would be a fun thing to use to start a family tradition of stargazing!

What Did Others Think?


You can find out what other homeschoolers thought here.

True Confessions:  I was provided with a copy of the Celestial Almanack to help facilitate my review.  All opinions stated are my own.

AL Public Television Live Electronic Field Trip – Mount Vernon

Mt Vernon

I’m so excited to share this with you guys!  Next month, AL Public Television {APTV} will present Exploring Mount Vernon, a free electronic field trip, and anyone can participate!

During the field trip, students will be taken to Mount Vernon, complete with Mr. and Mrs. Washington, and will learn about the farms there, the blacksmith, Mrs. Washington, and other fun stuff!  Students have the opportunity to submit questions prior to the event for inclusion during the field trip, as well as vote on the questions others have submitted.  In addition, there will be live polling during the event.

APTV has provided some great teachers’ resources, including pre- and post-trip activities {they rock!}, as well as tons of links to even more resources.  This can really help bring history alive for your students!

Be sure to register now so you can get countdown emails with tons of great info.  Let me know if you decide to participate!

Our Homeschooling Week in Review

We had a great week this week!!  Our new “system” is working really, really well for us.  I can’t wait to share it with you guys, but I’m giving it some time to settle in before I let you in on it.  I want to make sure it is working!

What We Did This Week


We actually got quite a bit accomplished, although history and science did slip by the wayside a bit…

Math:  While Babydoll has the concept of multiple digit multiplication down, I noticed that she was struggling with recall of her facts.  I’ve been meaning to try out the new version of Timez Attack {new to us, anyway; we’ve been using it for about four years}, so I downloaded the free version and assigned her 30 minutes a day.  

At first she got a bit frustrated because it’s a somewhat fast pace and the game was a little different than what she is used to, but she quickly caught on and is already showing improvement.  I like that this version has built in retention, and I think we’ll be purchasing the additional levels with more advanced retention soon.

Grammar:  Babydoll continued working in her Growing with Grammar book, reviewing things such as common and proper nouns, correct plural spelling of certain words, and the use of commas in a series.  Much of what she is working on in this book is review, but since grammar wasn’t our strong point last year, I really wanted to make sure she understood it before we moved on.  She’s really glad we are doing so, and she loves this curriculum.

Science:  We continued our speedy lapbooks on planets.  We’re about done with the solar system.

History:  We took a break and researched/learned about women in history.  This was a lot of fun!  Babydoll enjoyed learning more about lesser known females from history.  We also talked about the power to make changes that even just one person can have.  By evaluating her talents, we focused on how she can use what she has to be a great person!

Literature:  Babydoll continued to do 30 minutes {or more!} of free reading each day.  This week we’ll be working in Reading Eggs as well, since we’ll be reviewing that for The Old Schoolhouse.

Blogging:  We’ve had the most fun with this lately!  Given all the folks who have had their blogs suspended on Blogger lately, I decided I’d like to move Babydoll over to WordPress.  I got her transferred over, but we’re still working on making it pretty!

Of course, the WordPress platform takes some getting used to, especially since I haven’t yet purchased a premium theme for her.  I’m used to Thesis, so a free theme was a bit hard for me!  To make it fun {and easy}, we used Join.Me to screen share so she could see what I was doing on my screen, and vice-versa.  She thought it was the coolest thing ever, and we really had fun doing it.

I was able to walk her through the basics of her dashboard, as well as how to write a new post.  We still have tons more to do, but that was a start.

We’re looking forward to another great week and can’t wait to share it with you guys!


Field Trip Bucket List Revisited

Back in August I made a Field Trip Bucket List.  I figured since we were a little more than halfway through the year, it might be a good idea to revisit the list.

We’ve only marked off five {you can see which five on the post}, but I suppose that’s better than nothing.  We’ve done stuff/been places not on the list, and I didn’t count things like Babydoll’s class at the Space and Rocket Center because we didn’t actually go in.

Looking at the list was great, though, because it refreshed my memory and quickly allowed me to see a few places that would be great to visit soon.  I think we’ll hit the Civil Rights Institute, 16th Street Baptist Church, and related places during Black History Month in February.  The Botanical Gardens, Ave Maria Grotto, and other outdoor sites would be great in the spring.  We’ll be in Gulf Shores/Dauphin Island at the end of March, so maybe we can knock out a few of the Mobile/Gulf Shores places.

It can be tough to balance schoolwork and field trips.  What doesn’t get done this year, though, can always be planned for next year!

What fun field trips have you been on this year?