Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Review: Math Rider

Hello, friends!  Lately, I have had so many wonderful resources to share with you and today is no exception. Games are one of my favorite methods for mastery recall. How do you keep a child excited about practicing the same math facts until they master them? Through a game! My latest review is a Math game that will keep your students excited about those pesky Math facts. Today, I want to share with you Math Rider: The Intelligent Math Facts Game.

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Math Rider is a program that allows your student to practice their Math facts (addition, subtraction, multiplication and division) in an exciting format. It is based in a land of fantasy in which your child is on a mission and must ride their trusty horse to see it through! By completing Math facts, they are able to earn rewards and advance through their missions.

The fascinating part of this program is that it records your child's answers in an internal memory to track their progress. It will then create personalized practice for your child based on their needs. This will help the child progress from those facts that have been mastered to those that the child really needs to work on.


My girls were able to use the Math Rider program 3-4 times a week after their regular Math curriculum. This became a great way to encourage completion of their work as they were eager to "play." Each girl had their own account, so they were able to focus on their own personalized problems to complete the challenges. My girls go crazy about anything to do with horses so it was a perfect fit!

Good to Know

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  1. Math Rider is designed for ages 6 to 12. Grades 2nd through 6th are recommended but keep in mind the abilities of your child. 
  2. There is instant correction or reinforcement given when each problem is answered. This ensures that a student understands if they answered a problem correctly. Also, the student has to only focus on answering the problems and the game does the rest. This helps your child focus on the Math without worrying about controls.
  3. Math Rider is a download to your computer so you do not need the internet to play the game, only for initial download and registration.
  4. Records are supplied to the parent so that you can keep track of how they are progressing.
  5. You can register up to 8 children on one license, prefect for homeschooling families to use again and again!
  6. The game is $47 and is instantly downloaded from their site. You can even try a full featured trial version for 7 days by clicking over to their website!

My Thoughts

This game is a new favorite in our home. The girls are excited to play and work through their challenges, all while practicing their Math facts! I am also pleased that I will be able to use this program in the future with my youngest daughter. Math facts in a fun way: that is definitely a way to Learn It for Keeps. Have a fantastic day everyone!


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Monday, April 22, 2013

Review: Progeny Press

 photo 26018_10150154187290243_4120345_n_zpsd9393f12.jpgHello, friends! Today I am going to share with you another literature resource for your Middle Schooler: a literature guide for the book Eagle of the Ninth by Progeny Press.


Progeny Press was started by a couple who were searching for literature guides that were written from a Christian worldview yet based upon classic literature. Frustrated by the lack of resources available, Michael and Rebecca Gilleland began to create their own. Twenty years later, there are over 100 different study guides available to benefit Christian homeschool families everywhere. The study guides are available in several different options: printed booklets, as PDF files on a CD-ROM or can be downloaded directly from their website after purchase.  

Each study guide begins with a synopsis of the book, pre-reading activities as well as a brief description of the author. They then progress through the chapters guiding the student through vocabulary exercises, comprehension questions, and discussion questions that allow the student to apply what they have learned through a Biblical perspective. Their goal is for the student to comprehend, analyze story elements, and apply the knowledge.

Our Routine

For this review, I allowed my daughter to read the descriptions and choose a title she thought would be interesting. She chose Eagle of the Ninth and I admit that even though I have ready many books, this book was foreign to me. Upon receiving the study guide, we eagerly went down to the library to get the book. There was a single copy in the Adult literature section. After I perused the book a bit, I gave it to Em. To be honest, she struggled with this piece of literature. Reading through the first few chapters, she became frustrated with the terms used and historical context to which she was not familiar. Enter the Progeny Press study guide. The interactive PDF file of the study guide gave her something to look forward to and eased the transition from her pleasure reading as of late to an in-depth study of literature. There is quite a difference! 

Good to Know

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  1. Students will need a few resources to assist them throughout the study guides. These items are: a thesaurus, a dictionary and a Bible. (NIV is used within the study guides.)
  2. Though study guides are available in print, I would highly recommend the interactive PDFs. The student is allowed to answer the questions directly into the computer. This saves paper, increases interest, and allows the student to focus more on literature than writing.
  3. Study guides are available for first grade through twelfth grade. I have linked the available resources  by grade level so you can peruse the many study guides available for your homeschool students. Lower Elementary (1-3), Upper Elementary (3-5), Middle Grades (5-8), and High School (9-12).
  4. The Eagle of the Ninth study guide is available for $16.99.

My Thoughts

This was a very challenging review for Em and me. The problem was not the excellent resource by Progeny Press but rather the book selection itself. However, Progeny Press is a great way to teach the deeper aspects of literature. Prereading resources are listed to help give your student prior knowledge to build upon. My goal is to to use some of these resources and then do this study again. Also, a list of optional activities like essays or projects are available with the study guide and even additional materials that would further the discussion. It is a great resource and one that I am looking forward to using in the future, perhaps when my young reader is a bit more prepared to tackle this classic work.


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Thursday, April 18, 2013

Review: Knowledge Quest

 photo 61867_10151551915578243_1408297526_n_zpsc18fa83b.pngHello, friends! Reading has to be one of my first true loves. Honestly, I wear glasses today because I would hide under my covers with a tiny flashlight to read "just one more chapter." (As if I could ever stop with just one!) I have been so excited to see my children follow in my footsteps as they have adopted their own love of reading but they have often gravitated towards modern novels. I jumped at the chance to offer my eldest daughter a chance to read a historical novel about someone she is already interested in. Let me tell you a bit about Knowledge Quest and our opportunity to read their interactive e-book Sacagawea.


Sacagawea is an interactive e-book written by Karla Akins. Within its 112 pages, it immerses your young reader in the life of the well-known Sacagawea after she helped Lewis and Clark on their expedition. Recommended for ages 10 and up, this book gives an in-depth look at the trying, frightening and courageous life of this brave historical figure. (Be aware that the book does record spousal abuse and alcoholism in a non-graphic manner.)  There is adventure, struggle, loss and victories. The book is fast paced and takes the reader for an emotional ride that leaves them feeling as if they have gotten a rare, intimate view into Sacagwea's life as she relayed her personal story to her son: Pompey.

Good to Know

  1. The book can be purchased in four episodes or can be downloaded in its entirety for $3.99 on Amazon as a PDF e-book.
  2. It is a downloadable book that is interactive. This means that throughout the book, there are links that offer more information. If an uncommon word is listed or even an Indian term used, the word will be highlighted in blue. When your child clicks on the word, they are taken to another website to see pictures and descriptions of the word. If within the story, the characters are tanning hides, you are able to click and find the steps to tanning hides. If a particular animal is listed, the reader is able to click on the word and a picture as well as description is available. This made it enjoyable for my daughter as she didn't have to guess what a particular Indian term meant or have to ask me about unfamiliar words. This is one of my favorite features!
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My Daughter's Thoughts

When I first assigned the book to my daughter, I did not realize that she would disappear for the rest of the day. She literally devoured this e-book and emerged from her room with an excited step. She handed the Kindle back to me and exclaimed, "That was awesome!" Since my goal was to get my daughter excited about historical fiction, I can gladly say that my mission was accomplished all thanks to Knowledge Quest and this fantastic historical fiction novel.

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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Winner of the April Favorite Giveaway!

Hello, friends!! We have a winner!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Congratulations to Lisa M. who will win a free download of the My Memories Software! Be looking out in your email Lisa... ;)

I am so excited to be able to share this great product with all of you! If you didn't win, you can still get this software for a phenomenal price! Just use the code STMMMS38656 at checkout to receive $10 off of your purchase of the My Memories Suite Scrapbook Software! You will also receive a $10 coupon to use in the MyMemories store.

It is a fantastic program and an economic way to create special keepsakes with all of your precious memories.

I also want to remind you all of the Coffee Connections newsletter that will begin next weekend! The first edition will go out on April 27 but this Saturday you will receive a special letter from me. I am so excited about the wonderful ideas that teachers and homeschooling parents are sharing! It is a resource that you will be able to use right away. If you haven't already signed up for this newsletter, just click the button below.

Also, if you have a great tip or resource that you would like to share, I would love to feature you in the newsletter! Just fill out the submission form by clicking the button below! Have a great day everyone!
Have a wonderful day everyone!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

New Hollywood Resources! Lights, Camera, Action!

Hello, friends!! It has been a while since I have sat down to create as life has been quite a whirlwind these past few weeks. So, yesterday I sat down to my desk armed with new CUH-RAZY CUTE clipart by Melonheadz and went to work.

I have been working on a few classroom theme projects as this is still one of my favorite parts of teaching. I loved doing it in my classroom and I love doing it here! Even now I am surrounded by horses and cowgirls as that was our homeschool theme this year. My latest project is "Hollywood Style!" Here are the packs that I have completed so far! Just click on the pics to head over to my store for a better look. :)

Punctuation Posters

8 Parts of Speech Posters

Behavior Clipchart Pack
Morning Meeting Activities or Centers

I am over the moon about how they turned out. This will most certainly be our theme for next year!

Do you choose a theme for your room? What is your favorite theme right now?

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Want To Be Featured in Coffee Connections?

Hello, friends! As many of you know, Learning 4 Keeps will be sending out a brand new weekly newsletter beginning the last week of April called Coffee Connections. This resource will have freebies, tips, and ideas for you to use in your classroom or homeschool! Haven't signed up yet?? Click the link on the right side of your screen! As a bonus for subscribing, you will receive a downloadable Math Game by Learning 4 Keeps for FREE!

I am so excited to share with you all through this new resource; however, I know that true knowledge and learning comes through collaboration! No one has all the answers nor do we corner the market on the greatest resources available. That is why I am opening up Coffee Connections to be a collaborative effort so that we can all share our wealth of knowledge with one another.

Perhaps you would like to be featured? Do you have a tip or trick that you have found helpful? Maybe you have a resource or freebie that you want us to know about. Perhaps you are a blogger who would like to be the Featured Fingers! Just fill out this form below for your chance to be included! If your submission is chosen, your site and social media platforms will be promoted. Click the button below to be a part of this great resource for educators everywhere!

I look forward to your submissions and I am looking forward to the launch of this brand new resource! Have a fantastic day!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

April Favorite and Giveaway: My Memories Suite

Hi, friends! As busy as this past month has been, I have been filling up my camera with family pictures and holiday moments. But, if you are anything like me, you never seem to get the pictures printed. They accumulate on the SD card until you have 1,200 unprinted memories that you can no longer afford to print all at one time. Even worse, you don't know which ones you want to print and display because you like them all!

This is where my April favorite steps in and saves the day! Introducing the  My Memories Software, a digital scrapbooking software.

This software allows you to easily import your pictures to create a scrapbook, movie, slideshow, calendar, you name it! I was so excited to download my software and dive in!

After the online download, I was very impressed with the easy to use interface. You can create presentations from scratch or use pre-existing templates based on a theme or look. I chose to create a presentation with my latest Easter pictures. A design template was already available with 6 different decorated slides. It  included places to insert my pictures and some of the cutest design elements that matched my Easter theme. Take a peek at a few of my pages:

Are these not the cutest?! It took minutes to insert the pictures and even add my lettering! I also moved some of my elements around a bit and added a bit of my own. This scrapbooking software is super easy to use and they offer the cutest packages to add the WOW factor to your pages. There is a certain amount freely given in your package but more scrapbooking kits are available on their site for very reasonable prices! 

Here are some of the highlights of this program:
  • Easy to Use Interface
  • Beautiful background papers and embellishments
  • Ready to use Photo layouts or you can create your own!
  • Insert text and Word Art quickly
  • Insert videos and multimedia
  • Insert music and narration
  • Share albums by printing from home or send to My Memories to be professionally printed and bound into a photo album
  • Share with others by creating slideshows with music and narration, create movies that can be played on your DVD player, create Ipod ready movies and interactive albums.
  • Online tutorials are available on Youtube to ensure that you are getting the best out of your software!
To celebrate my April favorite, one lucky winner will be receiving the My Memory Suite FREE by signing into the rafflecopter below! There are many ways to earn entries and I wish you the best of luck!

Don't want to wait to purchase this great program? You can use my code below to receive $10 discount off the purchase of the My Memories Suite Scrapbook software and a $10 coupon for the store - $20 value! Just type in STMMMS38656 at checkout! When you use this code, you will receive a discount and I will receive commission from your purchase.

Best of luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Disclaimer:  I received a free copy of this product in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Homeschool Freebie: Scheduling

Hello, friends!! Easter is over and we feel that we have survived a bit of a whirlwind around our house. We have spent time with friends and family, had a fantastic Easter celebration at church, shared a meal with our church family, and just spent some time together! Can it get any better than that?

We took yesterday off as an added bonus so we spent the day doing some cool new things you will hear about this week. But today, it is back to the grinding stone... the schoolroom. We started off our week with a Bible lesson and then began our weekly schedule meetings. This is something new that I have been doing as I would like to teach my girls how to schedule and take responsibility of their time. As they get older, I would like to see them develop time management skills and this is the first step to that. We begin our meeting with our stack of books and this form:
Learning 4 Keeps Homeschool Schedule Printable

If you will notice, it has places for a weekly goal and then a calendar for weekly routines. The weekly goals are what we would like to accomplish by the end of the week. The weekly routines are things that are either lessons, group activities, or trips like the library. At the bottom, I have included a reminder section with special notes to keep in mind throughout the week. For instance, we are planning a camping trip on Friday with a large group. By listing it on their "chart" as they call it, they can use their excitement for their trip to assist them in completing their goals. It is not a reward for completing school just something to which they can look forward.

Here is a sample chart that I completed with my daughter. We had not quite completed it but it does have most of her assignments listed.
Completed Schedule

My girls now work to complete their assignments and are learning the art of managing their time. As of now, they are eager to complete lessons to mark off their goals. I explained that if they choose to complete their history assignments in a day, they would be finished with that subject for the week and would free them up for other things. I know that they will still need me to help pace them, but I also know that if they can learn to manage their time now, it will greatly help them in the future.

Just in case this is something that you would be interested in, I have created a freebie for you to download! I have included a few different versions including a blank chart for you to insert your child's current subjects. I hope it is something you can use! Just click on the picture below to download!