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When my sons were toddlers, I had this wonderful little board book. I can’t remember the name, but it was basically a little high chair devotional book to help you get your child started on a life-long love of personal Bible study. I later gave that book away to another mom. I really enjoyed that book and using it with my two children. I could never find it again or anything like it until now. Good Morning, God by Davis Carman is a delightful little book that can be used for toddlers to children about 8 years old to help parents instill that love of spending time with God every day.

Good Morning, God is filled with beautiful illustrations that could be taken from any child’s life. Each filled with subtle color that begs to fill you with joy and peace or contrasting black and white sketches to emphasize a personalized and simple prayer. The simple but truthful words that flow almost like music are based on daily activities of a child and filled with the truth that parents are teachers of God’s wisdom and love. The message of salvation is subtle yet bold within these pages. The simple repetition of phrases helps to build a life-long message of for guidance and the need for daily talks with God. God’s own message shared in such beautiful ways to a child as God intended it through the love of parents.

Any child can learn from this simple endearing book. Special needs students will also grasp its lessons due to simple and repeated phrases, detailed but clear illustrations, and concepts that are easy to relate to for a young child. Parents can use the many activities and questions provided at the end to further enrich their children’s understanding choosing based on developmental level and abilities. Most are easily modified if needed. The book’s text is short with room on each page to place brailled labels for an alternate method of reading. The text is also easy to translate to ASL or other sign system, if needed. The author also provides some ideas for how to use the book in different ways and at different times as the child grows. This is a book truly for all kinds of students.

Good Morning, God can be purchased at Apologia Press, http://www.apologia.com for $14.00, and there is a coloring book available also for $4.00. This is such a small price for well-made hard-back book that is sure to become a family treasure.

Though I received a free copy of this product in order to review, I have not been compensated in any other way. The opinion expressed in this review is entirely my own.

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Measurement is a necessary skill that we use in our daily lives. Many children struggle to learn the concepts length, weight, distance, etc. The ruler is one of the first tools we teach when beginning to develop measurement skills. A student might grasp the idea of a foot and 12 inches as the same because it is something they can see and touch with our standard ruler. Try to break that down to smaller increments, and you quickly lose many of the students. Master Innovations has designed a system of rulers to help better teach that task with their Master Ruler.
The Master Ruler is designed as one rule with several parts that lay over each other, but transparent to see the addition of smaller increments within the large increment at the base. The ruler comes in Standard English and Metric increments available separately. The idea is to show that the smaller increments are still measuring the exact same amount of space, but breaking the space up into different size parts or increments. We have all seen similar techniques used with fractions and fraction pies. The white base ruler simply has 12 red lines dividing the space into 12 equal parts each 1 inch. A second, but transparent ruler is laid over the base ruler that has 24 blue lines dividing it into ½ inch increments. Each line that matches an inch marker below is a little heavier. The red line of the base ruler marking each inch is a little longer than the blue lines to help reinforce the concept that the space is equal regardless of the number of increments. There are three additional transparent rulers that can be place on top of the rulers below to correspond with ¼ inch, 1/8 inch, and 1/16 inch increments each with a different color-coding. The lines of each of the rulers are sized so that all of the increments can be seen clearly even through the last layer of 1/16 inch increments. The white base ruler also has a conversion chart on the back for many of the mostly commonly used facts that every student needs to know as second nature. Having them handy will help them to memorize these facts easily. The metrics ruler is essentially the same, but uses metric increments. With practice using The Master Ruler, the student can begin to visualize the concepts of basic measurements and use them successfully.
Many special needs students will find the system great for helping them understand the concepts. The color-coding is great for may learning disabled and ADD/ADHD students as well as the overlay system to emphasize the fact that the unit space or distance is the same, but the number of sections it is broken down into is what changes. Of course, it fits very well for students are more kinesthetic or hands-on learners. The system of color-coding and overlay also works with low vision students, too, without too much difficulty. There are some tactile paint and bumps that can help some, too, but as is, the totally blind might have too much difficulty. A workbook available separately has activities that will help you introduce the use of the rulers, too. However, though many of the pictures used for measuring are fine, there are some that are blurry and would definitely be difficult for a low vision student to use. The company will probably address this issue in future versions. Overall, though, the system is very beneficial for most special needs issues.
The products are also very durable as well as affordable at $9.95 each. The workbook, full of activities, is $15.95, and a teacher’s ruler that is suitable for demonstrations and overhead use, too. You can also purchase a Starter Set for $41.25 for a $4.55 savings. Master Innovations also has other affordable systems available great for learning other math concepts with their Master Clocks, Master, Angles, and Master Fractions. Go to http://www.themasterruler.com for more information.

Though I received a free product to write this review, I was not compensated in any other way. The opinion expressed is entirely my own.

If you have been looking for computer software to help strengthen your child’s basic math skills, I recently received a copy of Math Galaxy: Whole Numbers Fun. You might find this program suitable for your needs especially for children in grades 1-4 or on that math level. Many drill programs just do the basic math facts of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division if they even do all of those. This program allows for practice of time, place value, graphs, probability, and much more.

Math Galaxy provides good practice for all those essential math skills. This one doesn’t just stop at addition and subtraction. It is also a little more than just a set of electronic flash cards. There are sections on word problems, probability, area, length, volume, money, patterns, and more. Most sections have different options for problem set up such as 1 digit, two digit, or three digit multiplication, difficulty, etc. Some of the topics such as word problems and probability also have a review area to help the student when needed. The program isn’t overly glitzy and has a basic problem area and then an answer area where any needed information about how the answer needs to be typed is also given. The student uses the keyboard to type his answers, but must use a mouse to click the buttons for next problem or quit, for example. The number of problems is fairly extensive to allow a parent or teacher to give students a good bit of practice, supervised or unsupervised, as needed. There are also a few game formats to add a little variety to the practice that might be an incentive for some students to practice more. The program also uses graphical helps to show the answers and how to derive them.

Accessibility issues are definitely present for certain populations. Blind and DeafBlind needing a screen reader and/or braille display will find it impossible to use the program as is. Low vision students not needing a magnifier will probably do fine with the problem area which is written in fairly large and bold print. The instructions in the answer area might be difficult to read and will probably need to be read aloud by a helper. Review area information is mostly written small in the answer area of the program, so this will present difficulty for many low vision students. For Learning Disabled students with reading difficulties will have few problems because there is actually very little text even in the review area. If the program was more accessible to text readers or had one built in, this problem could be lessened for at least LD, hearing blind, and low vision students.

Math Galaxy: Whole Numbers Fun can be found at http://www.mathgalaxy.com. At $24.95 for this program or any of their other programs, it can affordably fit in most budgets. Their website gives a good overall view of their programs including screen shots to help you decide if this would be the math program for your family. The programs run on Windows 98 or later and Mac OS X and a CD-Rom drive is needed for installation. Wynfield students found the program easy to use and fun enough to keep going back. It might just fit for your family, too.

I was provided a copy of Math Galaxy: Whole Numbers Fun, but I was not compensated in any other way. The opinions expressed here are entirely my own.

Last year I reviewed a DVD from MathTutor. The company provides a DVD with a teacher standing in front of a white board explaining math concepts from basic math on one DVD to Algebra concepts on another. You can read my MathTutor review for those DVDs from my archives. When I got this one on counting for preschoolers, I was a bit hesitant because the teacher before I had been kind straight to the point with no humor and no flash at all. It had been fine for the age group and especially for the length of each lesson. A student could focus on the needed concepts for the time needed without any distractions. I really didn’t think the method would work for preschoolers. Fortunately, the method for Young Minds: Numbers and Counting was right on target for the age group.

The DVD has wonderful full-color pictures and video showing different objects, people, or animals. Along with beautiful classical music from Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Vivaldi, and others, numbers are placed beside the objects, people, or animals in each scene one at the time as a narrator, a child, demonstrates counting. The child makes a sentence using the counted objects, and if it is an animal or a machine; the sound is played after the child narrator says, “___ makes this sound.” Each chapter counts up to a different number from 1 to 10. The things or people counted are numerous in each chapter to give the child plenty of experience with counting to that number. Bonus chapters use counting with puzzle pieces of pictures and connecting dots to finish pictures. Several preschool skills are addressed with this DVD besides just numbers and counting. The child is exposed to various objects, people in different activities, and animals along with sound recognition skills for the appropriate animal or machine. The bonus sections help the child with picture recognition skills, adding details to an unfinished picture of easily recognized objects, and small part to whole recognition practice with the “Guess what I am” activity.

Although many parents do not like to use television for young children, Young Minds: Numbers and Counting could be beneficial if used periodically for short periods. A parent could use it for a quiet moment together listening to the music and together naming and counting the objects in a chapter. Do one chapter at a time and repeat a chapter a few times before going to the next over a period of a few weeks. The bonus materials could be done similarly. As far as accessibility, I used it with several of my children with Autistic Spectrum Disorders with no problems of significance. It worked well here in the sense that these students need activities with a clear cut beginning and ending. Using the DVD by chapter only gave that clear cut ending. The child narrator already uses brief sentences, but for ASD or other receptive language disorders, the teacher probably needs to shorten the statements to one or two word chunks such as, “Fire Truck, 1, 2.” Or, say, “Red Fire Truck.” Low Vision students will benefit from the full color and contrasting pictures especially with the fact that there is limited motion. Deaf children used the DVD, too, and understood the concepts and were on task without a teacher signing or verbally repeating the narration. I do suggest that communication be added for normal use though. If possible, the MathTutor producers could consider adding closed captions that would benefit some, especially Deaf parents using the DVD with their Deaf children. There are lots of uses for this DVD if a parent is willing to give a little television time for the purpose of learning. Using the program with the child rather than letting the program be a break time for mom could help the program be more of a benefit, too, and relieve some of the fears about overusing the television at this age.

For $19.99, the program is affordable enough to give it a try. Many children will find the program fascinating and find learning to count fun. For more information, go to http://www.mathtutordvd.com/products/item58.cfm.

 MathTutor provided me a copy of Young Minds: Numbers and Counting for the purpose of writing this review. The opinion expressed here is entirely my own. I was not compensated in any other way or asked to write a specific type of review.

Are you struggling with teaching math like Algebra II, or does your struggling teen need a basic math quick review? Most of you have probably seen the ones that are curriculum specific such as Saxon Dive CD’s, or Bob Jones’s DVD’s. They are just fine, but if you aren’t using those curriculums, they won’t help much. Well, the MathTutor DVD’s are great for just these kinds of times.
The instructor for the entire product line is Jason Gibson. He isn’t a teacher, but he is a mathematician in all ways with a Master’s in Electrical Engineering and a Master’s in Physics. Jason knows how to bring real-life application into the classroom. His no-nonsense, straight to the point style is refreshing for most students, especially those who are math weary and really want to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Jason gives step-by-step instructions working through easy problems to fully explain the concepts. He then works through numerous problems progressively getting to the hard-core problems. He is very capable of teaching complex topics in a short amount of time. He doesn’t use any textbook, so the student can view the material regardless of the curriculum to gain a better perspective of the concepts. These are the reasons that make these products so good for many students of all ages. They can be used for first time teacher-approached lecture for curriculums that do not have a video component. They can be used by struggling students, and students who need a quick review for any reason.
The subjects covered in these series include basic math and basic math word problems. There are fractions and Algebra I and II. You will find geometry, trig, calculus and even Advanced Calculus. There is also statistics and Physics. The best thing about these series is that they are affordable. Prices range from $26.99 for most topics to $49.99 for Calculus 3: Volume 2. This makes great help easy to come by.
Now anyone can hire that math tutor and feel confident that success is only a few hours away.
Check them out at www.mathtutordvd.com.

If you are having difficulty providing the math teacher for your students, ALEKS which stands for Assessment and Learning in Knowledge Spaces is an online tutor for math grades 3-12 and can fill that need. ALEKS, using artificial intelligence, can assess your student’s level and provide a prescription-based curriculum tailored for your child’s needs.
When you register, you provide some basic skill information for your students. Then set up a username and password for your student to use. The student completes the assessment and immediately and planned curriculum is developed based on the answers to the assessment. There are lessons, practice, worksheets, quizzes, and tests that are available for your student to learn the concepts they need. The basic lesson instructions are simple and easy to understand. The only problem I find is that if your student read the instructions, but still was unable to complete the exercises successfully, the program sends the student back to the same explanation page for review. That can be just fine for some students who just didn’t read carefully enough or simply needs to review a little. If your child really struggles in math or is learning disabled, a parent needs to be present to reword the instructions some or provide an explanation from a different perspective. For its credit, the program provides plenty of practice, review, and more practice. The student will have plenty of exercises available to guarantee mastery of the concepts.
The parent account provides clear records of the student’s progress. Parents can easily log in and see at any moment what the student is studying, what has been introduced, mastered, or needs more progress. Reports including graphs are also available to allow homeschool parents to keep documentation of the student’s work.
The program is subscription-based, but several payment plans are available. There is also a free two day trail to test the site’s suitability for your student. Prices are $19.95 per student, per month, or $99.95 for 6 months, or $179.95 for 12 months. Family discount plans are available for multiple students if subscription is 6 month or 12 month terms. If your family needs that math teacher, this can be an affordable option.
For more information, go to http://www.aleks.com.

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