A+ Interactive Math – Review

For the past several weeks, we have been using Math Mini-Courses provided for review from A+ Interactive Math. After teaching more than one child math over the years, I have learned a very important lesson: mastering the basics of math builds a firm foundation for higher math courses. To help a couple of my children work toward that mastery we have been utilizing two Math Mini-Courses: Early Elementary Addition and Elementary & Middle School Multiplication.

What are Math Mini-Courses?

Math Mini-Courses are exactly what the name suggests. As our children are progressing in math, we may notice weaker areas or gaps in learning and mastery. It happens at all levels of learning. Taking a break from moving forward and spending a bit of time in review and practice is often a wise and prudent choice. Math Mini-Courses were designed for this purpose. With a selection of 20 mini-courses, meeting the needs of Grades 1 – 6,  Math Mini-Course can help with the review and mastery of counting and place value to probability and statistics. Depending on the child, completion of the mini-courses could be accomplished in a couple of months, but a full year’s access is given so the student can freely progress as his/her own pace.

How do the Math Mini-Courses Work?

Math Mini-Courses from A+ Interactive are very simple to use. When the child is ready to work on math, she simply clicks the “launch” button and comes to her dashboard. From here she can choose to do the next online lesson, complete an online worksheet for extra practice, or perhaps she is ready to complete an online test. There is also an option for a worksheet to be printed for the lesson. Another feature that can be helpful for some students is the option to print out a PDF of the lesson. It is a print version of the online lesson that was viewed. This can be really helpful for when the student might need a quick refresher on a specific topic or method.  I know some of my children are like me and retain information better that they have read.

How Did Math Mini-Courses Work for Us?

I had two children using the Math Mini-Courses. Sarah, 8, has been working through the Early Elementary Addition Mini-Course. This course is designed for Grades 1 -3 and presents 17 Lessons. In these 17 Lessons topics from how to use an addition table to adding three digits numbers is presented in an interactive format. After viewing the current topic, Sarah would then move on to an interactive online worksheet. Sarah is not a confident reader, so having the questions read to her was extremely beneficial. She didn’t have to put her focus and energy into deciphering words but could just focus on the math task at hand.

Sarah is a bit behind in math so she is moving through the program slowly. She came to the topic on Adding with Re-Grouping and hit a bit of a wall. She was definitely feeling stressed and was almost in tears when she did poorly on the interactive worksheet. We had a nice chat about working at our own pace. I had her do an online worksheet and I also printed the available worksheet as well. Thankfully, since we have a full year’s access, we can take our time on re-grouping before pushing ahead. I”m not sure how it would be for other Math Mini-Courses but while we are working on re-grouping, we moved a head a bit to other topics like Find 10 More.

The second Math Mini-Course used was Elementary Middle School Multiplication for Grade 2 – 6. Hannah has been using this 13 Lesson mini-course to firm up on her multiplication skills. With this course Hannah has been reviewing the basics of multiplication and then moving on to multiplication with 3, 4, 5 digit numbers. For Hannah, this mini-course is serving as reinforcement for her current math studies. The online interactive portion of the course has been enough for Hannah and we have not used any of the printable material.

Our Final Thoughts

It is no secret that I struggle with online instruction especially for my younger students. Independent learning is wonderful but I think it definitely has a time and place. For us, the Math Mini-Courses have been a bit difficult. With the online lessons, the topic can be presented in only one way. If Sarah doesn’t understand it today, tomorrow she is going to have to watch the same lesson. And still not understand. It serves as a great review but if the topic is somewhat new, the lesson wasn’t really beneficial. Children learn in different ways. To use these courses to the fullest potential you really need to know how your student best learns. And know when to slow down. Sarah uses the program about three times a week but progress is slow.

Hannah, 10, started out using her Math Mini-Course on multiplication about three days a week. Then she requested that she only have to do it one day a week. She stated that she preferred her regular math book. She found the interactive video a bit annoying and preferred for me to explain the math to her. It bothered her that if she got a question wrong on the interactive worksheet, the program would tell her the right answer, and then the results showed she made a 100 when really she didn’t. She is moving forward and with only 13 Lessons she will be done soon.

Overall, I think A+ Interactive’s Math Mini-Courses serve a great purpose. Gaps are going to happen. Review is going to be needed at times. Having options and resources to help our students during these times is great. I can see Math Mini-Courses working well to refresh a student’s mind after a school holiday or summer break. Perhaps before moving up the next grade level of math, the student needs to reacquaint herself with a few fundamentals.  Although the Math Mini-Courses were not a perfect match for my two students, we are tweaking them and making them work for us.

Other Crew Members reviewed a variety of the 20 Math Mini-Courses offered. Take a moment and see what others are saying about A+ Interactive’s Math Mini-Courses.

 

Math Mini-Courses {A+ Interactive Math Review}
Crew Disclaimer

Horizons Kindergarten Math – A Review

It is always an exciting time when my children begin their “official” journey into structured learning and education. My son, Sam (5), has recently begun a formal study of subjects such as phonics and math. While I knew exactly what we would be using for phonics, I was a bit undecided on math. My problem was quickly solved when I was able to review Horizons Kindergarten Math Set from Alpha Omega Publications.


Alpha Omega Publications is a well-known and trusted name for homeschool curriculum. For years, Alpha Omega has been providing a variety of curricula and resources for homeschool families. When my oldest children were in preschool and early elementary, we used the Weaver Preschool Curriculum for a year or so. My two oldest girls remember vividly their time with Horizons Math as we used that math resource for them until 4th Grade.


The Horizons Kindergarten Math Set includes a Teacher’s Guide and two Student Workbooks.

The Teacher’s Guide is very simple and straight-forward. Scope and Sequence, Lesson Contents and Lesson Organization are covered. A basic daily lesson plan is given so the parent can quickly see what each day’s lesson will cover.

For each lesson, the Teacher’s Guide gives an overview, a materials/supplies list, a few teaching tips and activities to help teach and illustrate the lesson. You are also provided with a small image of the student pages with answers provided. Worksheets are included at the back of the Teacher’s Guide. These can be copied and used to give extra practice, review and reinforcement for your child.


I did not find the Teacher’s Guide to be necessary. For the early elementary levels of math, the concepts taught are very basic. Sam is my seventh child to walk through the joys of counting to twenty, completing a pattern, and basic addition. The teaching tips reminding me to review concepts and activities for hands-on learning were not needed for me.
However, for a parent who is diving into structured math for the first time, the Teacher’s Guide could serve as a reference tool and encouragement that progress is being made at a steady pace.

The Student Workbooks contain eighty lessons each. The lessons are two pages of colorful, bright inviting activities. Workbook 1 begins with the basics of counting, positions, simple addition and time. By the end of Workbook 2, your child will be subtracting, working through simple word problems, and counting money.


The lessons are not overwhelming for the Kindergarten child. Ten to twenty minutes is all that is needed for a math lesson depending on what you reviewed and the new material introduced. I love short lessons for the young students as it helps to keep them engaged and interested. There is variety in the lessons as well. In Lesson 39, we worked with a number line, drew and counted shapes, worked with tally marks, and did a few addition problems.

Sam, 5, was very excited when his Horizons Math arrived. He was definitely ready to jump in and begin building his math skills. It would have been easy to let Sam begin at the middle of Workbook 1. Instead, I decided that a bit of review and fun would be a great way to begin his math journey. Whenever we pull out the math books, Sam is ready to get to work. We never do just one lesson. “Can I do just one more?” is often heard when I mention putting the books away. So I set the timer for fifteen to twenty minutes and let that set our pace and number of lessons completed. We have flexed this math a bit for Sam. Some days the writing is a bit much. We don’t always do the number writing practices. Occasionally I will write in the answers or he will give the answer orally. Sam would definitely give Horizons K Math two thumbs up.

Horizons K Math would work well with a variety of homeschool methods and philosophies. The colorful pages are well-suited for the visual child and tossing in a few household items can provide the manipulatives a hands-on learner needs. For us it has proven to be a simple, fun math experience for Sam. This resource might not work well for those students who would be distracted by the bright colors and more than one concept on a page. At times the presentation may seem cluttered to the visually sensitive child. I would recommend viewing the samples at Alpha Omega.

Other Crew Members had the opportunity to review Horizon Math K and other resources. Take a moment and see what they are saying. You might find that one resource you have been looking for.

Alpha Omega Review
Crew Disclaimer

Expanders ~ SimplyFun – A Review

Whether it is an official Family Game Night or just an afternoon of fun and relaxation, everyone in our home loves a good game. If I can sneak in a bit of learning during game time that is a huge bonus. SimplyFun, a company that believes in the power of play, sent the game Expanders to review. Who could resist the opportunity to play instead of doing math?

Expanders

Expanders is designed for ages seven and up. Basic addition fact knowledge is necessary in order to play. Depending on skill level, age, and mastery of addition, you can change the level of play difficulty.

The game board is a frame that allows you to put in numbered slats. For two players, two blank slats are placed in the board. For three to four players, all slats that fill the board are numbered. To increase the difficulty, you place the higher numbered side of the slats face up. Each player has colored tokens to mark her progress on the board.

Play is very simple. You begin by placing tokens on the numbers in the first line on your side of the board. You may either place tokens on two numbers that are the same such as 4 and 4. The other option is to complete a reverse addition. You could place a token on the number “5” and then tokens on numbers “4” and “1”. You must verbalize the reverse addition as you play your tokens.

You are not limited to two addends. Playing “9” and then “6”, “2” and “1” is an excellent way to make a move. Why? Because the goal is to deplete your token stash before the other players. There is a challenging twist to the game. You can only play on numbers that allow your tokens to touch previously played tokens. This creates a bit of creative thinking at times to see a workable move.

This is where strategy comes into play. While you are playing your tokens, you also want to block your opponents. How better to use up your tokens first? What appears to be a simple game can be quite the challenge.

Our Thoughts on Expanders

We are always up for a good game! I love finding games that allow for a wide range of ages and skill. Expanders was perfect for this. Since it is for ages seven and up, six of my  nine children would be able to play. Reinforcement of math facts and a bit of strategic thinking was a bonus.

It has been mainly my 11, 9, and 7 year old daughters who have enjoyed playing Expanders. After a brief reading and discussing of the rules, they were ready to play. It was very easy to set up and jump right into playing. I loved how simple it was to begin playing and how quickly even my seven year old picked up on the need for strategy. It only took one time of my blocking a player or two out of options for them to pay a bit more attention to token placement.

Expanders doesn’t take long to play. We found that fifteen to twenty minutes was generally adequate for a round. While I did incorporate playing Expanders as “math”, my girls often ask to play it for fun. Who am I to say no to fun and learning?

If your family enjoys playing games or you like to add fun learning into your school days, Expanders is definitely one to add to the mix. It would also work well in a classroom setting whether traditional or perhaps a homeschool co-op.

Other Crew Members reviewed Expanders as well as another game, Shape Whiz. Check out a review or two. You might need to add an item to that homeschool planning list.

Simply Fun Review
Crew Disclaimer