Break Homeschool Monotomy!

As a homeschooling family, I know what it is like when the kids are tired and feel the monotony of what we are doing. Here are 5 ways we break up the monotomy and get over this season in our homeschool:

Take field trips. Musuems, musicals, shows and interesting places related to our homeschool topics are considered. We allot some time and budget for these activities to spark the interest of the children and it helps them see the practical aspect of what they are learning.

Do interviews.My child doesn’t  personally do the interviews but we let her attend dialogues or talks of people who exemplify what we believe in or reference persons on specific topics that we are studying.

Enjoy nature. We take a stroll to the park, bring paper and pecil and sketch what we see. I allow them to take photos of whatever interests them and we talk about the beauty of nature . We see God’s hand at work in everything around us and appreciate the blessings we can easily take for granted.

Experiment! With common household items, we do experiments and form conclusions. Love for learning is cultivated with these hands-on experiences.

Club days. These are days that we do special activities. The children can do a puppet show, read poetry, board games, special days like “Filipino Friday”, scrapbooking days.

 

 

UberSmart Math Facts Review

As part of the Homeschool Review Crew, I was given the opportunity to review the software UberSmart Math Facts from  UberSmart Software.

UberSmart Math Facts Review

Long before the device age, memorizing math facts were simple. Dot cards and flash cards were the way to go. But since the mobile gadgets became widely used, the applications became graphic oriented and it was hard to find a simple application which can help the children memorize math facts. It is because of this that David Kocur created UberSmart Math Facts!

Memorizing math facts is an important skill which can help children to become more confident when solving math problems. It would be an important skill to learn before they move to higher math. But oftentimes, memorizing math facts is not easy and doesn’t come naturally. UberSmart Math Facts helps parents by providing the platform that the children will use regularly to ensure familiarity with all the math facts. Automaticity or recalling the facts without thinking about it can easily be achieved through the drills offered by the program.

UberSmart Math Facts is a downloadable software which you can install on your  computers with the Windows operating systems only like Windows 7, 8, XP and Windows Vista. It primarily teaches the children to master math facts using simple dot cards and flash cards. The application is made for children grades K-6 but anyone can really use this simple math review software which focuses on addition, subtraction, multiplication and division drills.

UberSmart Math Facts software has 3 main components:

Dot Cards  It is like domino faces. It teaches the younger child to be familiar with the different operations using dots.

UberSmart Math Facts Review

Keyboard Entry  It teaches the student to be familiar with number’s location on the keyboard and visualizes the numbers for them.

UberSmart Math Facts Review

Flash Cards  It shows numbers and focuses on addtition, subtractraction, multiplication and division. It teaches one number group in a time and ensures that children have mastered the set before moving to the next number. The addition and subtraction goes up through the 9s while the multiplication and division can be set to 20s.

UberSmart Math Facts Review
As soon as you has installed the program on your compter, you can access the program without the need of internet connection. The program is independently installed on your computer and can be accessed anytime of the day and without limit. You can install the program on another computer but the test results will only stay with one computer since every copy of the program has their own record of results.

 

We installed the program to our laptop and didn’t encounter any problems. I added the name of my 7 year old son who is in 2nd grade and made him use the program at least 3x a week during the review period. He used the program for about 15 minutes each day.

The menu options of the program is learn, practice, test, compete, report and maintain. The child can start with learn where he will choose if he is a beginner (dot cards) or an intermediate (flash cards). Then student can choose what skill and number group they want to learn. As they practice, there is a bar on the lower portion of the screen which shows their progresss. This is not a timed session.

The practice sessions are basically the same with learn except that they are timed sessions. Each flashcard has a time limit.  The student also finds out the result of their answer at once as the computer checks their answer.

The test sessions are timed as a whole set. The student will automatically see how well he did at the end of the test and the right answers to the wrong questions.

The compete sessions are timed and the students grade will compete with other users all around the world based on their age range.

As the teacher, you can go to the maintain menu and set the name of the students, the time for their practice problems, mastery time limit and beat the clock time. You can also see the progess of your students by checking the report option.

My son took the assessment test and this is the report that I received.

ubersmart
There are different types of report available. There are mastery reports, you can even see the practice drills result and how your child did in every number group. This gives the teacher a great overview of what you need to work on with your child. I really liked this feature!

It is stated in the website that  two or three fifteen minute sessions per day is recommended. But even if your child can do only a single ten minute session, the consistent daily review should be enough to help your child master his math facts! The software only costs $24.95 for home use and can be installed on as many computers as you have in your house. You can also use the software indefinitely.

After using this software, I found out that even if my son loves math, he still has many facts that he needs to master and daily sessions using UberSmart Math Facts can be a big help to him as he memorizes the basic math facts! In fact, I am also going to ask my 10 year old daughter to start using this program to help her with her math too!

If you are looking for a simple and direct math program that would help you child remember math facts with automaticity, go and try UberSmat Math Facts!

For more reviews on this product, check the Schoolhouse Review Crew posts.

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Homeschool Help: Typical Homeschooling Day

Since I don’t have a household helper, I typically wake up around 5:30 am to take our dog Charlie out for a walk. When we come back, I do chores like wash clothes, sweep the floor and prepare breakfast. The kids wake up around 7:00 am and we start off by 8:30 am.

The kids read their own Bibles and we study the Bible together using the curriculm. We then proceed to our next subject. Usually the kids work on their Math separately.  I work with the little one first then go to my older one. We work on 1 lesson a day in Math since we do Math every day. Then they move on to their next subject.  We take a break by 11:00 am and start with a read-aloud by 1 pm. Then we do the remaining subjects until 3:30 pm.

The subjets we do together are Bible, Science, Art and Music . We do History, Math, English, Filipino, and Social Studies separately. There are some subjects that we do daily like Bible and Math while the other subject gets done twice or thrice a week.

After 3:30 pm, the kids usually play or read books or do little projects. There are days that there are ballet classes, football training and once a week Bible study meeting so our schedules are tweaked on those days.

We don’t follow a very rigid schedule but we have a daily subject guide for us to follow.

photo 2 (14)

 

Homeschool Help: World History

Since my daughter started first grade a couple of years back, we have started studying world history. It is not a common thing here in the Philippines as I remember studying world history only during my high school years. But reading, studying and discussing world history with my daughter has given her a deeper appreciation of life, of the world and of God. I believe that it has shaped her world view that evil things happen, men can be evil but God is always good and faithful.

As I study history along with my children, I realized that the struggles of mankind hasn’t really changed over the years. The problems often start from man’s selfishness and sinfulness. The cycle of history often repeats itself throughout the generations because man didn’t learn the lessons from the past.

There are different world history books out there but we chose to use books which are written from a biblical perspective. I am sharing with you some of the world history books and curriculum which I think are worth checking out.

Mystery of  History by Linda Hobar. Published by Bright Ideas Press, this history series has 4 volumes. It is written in chronological order and classical study style. It includes multi-age activities, book and video lists, memory helps, timeline suggestions, quizzes, and map work. We’ve used the first 2 volumes for the past 4 years and we’ve enjoyed reading through it. 

mystery

Story of the World by Susan Wise Bauer. Published by Peace Hill Press, this series has 4 volumes. It is written in a straight forward and engaging style. It is also available as an e-book and audiobook. We’ve not yet used this series but have heard of good reviews.

story

Self-paced Online History by Veritas Press. This is an online video history curriculum and has 5 courses available. It is a fun and interactive history curriculum. My daughter has recently been using this and has helped her remember her lessons more.

Veritas Press Review

Studying world history expands one’s world view and understanding of the world. Moreso, it allows us to see the true state of mankind and what God has done for us. I have personally been enjoying history time with my children, and look forward to learning more with them!

Christ is Enough for Me

On those days that I wonder if I should continue what I am doing…

On those days that I wonder if I’m not wasting my time…

On thsose days that I wonder if it matters at all…

On those days that I wonder if anyone remembers…

I choose to look to Christ.

…and I find immeasurable joy.

…and unending peace.

… and unconditional love.

He is the reason for all that I am.

He is the hope of all that I can be.

He is the love that moves me.

So I press on…

hold on…

and keep on.

Christ is enough for me.