Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Crew Review: K5 Learning

What is this?
K5 Learning is an online reading and math enrichment program for kids in kindergarten through grade 5.  After completing both reading and math assessments, the program will personalize a reading and math curriculum with over  3,000 {!!} interactive multimedia tutorials and activities.     It includes a complete math and reading curriculum for grades K through 5 {there is some content that is planned in the near future for those 5th graders who are working above grade level;  however, the creators of K5 Learning do not recommend the program for students above grade 5}.

It also includes spelling and math facts.

You can take a video tour of K5 here.  They have an extensive collection of video helps in the Help Center

You can purchase K5 on a monthly or annual basis:
  • First Child:            $25 per month         $199 per year
  • Additional Child:  $15 per month         $129 per year
You can sign up for a free reading and math assessment {included in the free two-week trial}.

How it works:
After you register for K5, you can have your children take the assessment.  The math assessment has three parts:  numbers and operations, measurement, and geometry.  The reading assessment looks at five key areas for reading success:  phonological awareness, phonics, sight words, vocabulary and reading comprehension.  {Fourth grade students and above are not assessed on phonological awareness and sight words.}

Each of the reading and math assessments took 30 minutes or less.  I had both Luke and Levi take one assessment a day.  You can view their assessments immediately after they have been completed.  Here is Luke's reading assessment {if you click on the picture it should get bigger and easier to see}:


I really appreciate that I've been given many ways to report the information:  symbols and colors {the check mark, plus and minus signs} and charts.  On the bottom right of the report (in red), are Luke's placement results. This is the level he'll automatically be placed in.  If you feel it is too easy or too hard, you can request a change.  Luke was place in High 3rd level sight words and low 4th grade vocabulary and reading comprehension. At this point, I didn't have to do anything -- he could work through the automatically assigned lessons.  Alternatively, you can create assignments to target weak areas or areas that need more practice.


Some things I like:
  • Assessment-driven instructional material
  • My kids enjoy the program -- they made progress! 
  • Lessons have instruction, practice, and quizzes
  • Easy interface for kids to log in and choose lessons
  • After every lesson, the boys have a clear, easy way to log out or continue on:
  •  I can log on to one parent account and see all my children's reports, progress, completed programs -- I like data, and K5 Learning gives me lots of it!
  • The depth of the material is amazing!  Here is a guide for reading tasks and math tasks.
  • The mastery grid for math facts is wonderful.  I think it provides great information for me as well as encouragement and motivation for my kids:

Things to consider:
  • You must request an assessment even after signing up. Even though my request was answered within the same day I requested, I feel that this is a clunky.
  • As much as I love all the data, I'm not sure what all the numbers mean -- especially the 3-digit number assigned to both the global math and reading scores.  What is Luke's "555" score in reading? Does it indicate a level of proficiency compared to other 3rd graders?  Is it a mark of reading ability on one of the many reading-level scales (such as Lexile Measures).  I have a background in standardized assessment as a speech-language pathologist, so I like to know what the numbers mean so that I can assess skills and progress accurately.
  • I used the Spelling program with my oldest son to create a customized list with words in his spelling program. Some of the voices used to dictate the word were very clear -- others were too "computer-y" and mechanical sounding and made it difficult to understand.  "Favorite" sounded like "favored" and "choir" did not resemble the English word.  This didn't happen often, but to be fair to your child, you should allow for some errors depending on the computerized voice (which randomly alternated between male and female voices).
    These considerations in no way mean that we did not like the program -- we did!  And this is something that I would definitely consider for over-the-summer work for my two boys.

    To see what other Crew members thought, head over to The TOS Crew Review! (Click the banner below)

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    FCC statement:  Thanks to K5 Learning, who provided a complementary subscription to their website for my boys in exchange for my honest opinions. 

    Friday, February 24, 2012

    Crew Review: Reading Eggs


    What is this?  Reading Eggs (Beta) is an online reading program which will take your children from the basics of sound-letter recognition (phonological awareness) through to reading comprehension in a fun, motivating online environment. Reading Eggs is actually two complementary components:  The Egg part for 4-8 year olds focuses on teaching the basics of reading skills.  Reading Eggspress is for those who need more practice with reading comprehension.

    Reading Eggs is purportedly built upon a research foundation {I'm a geek, I know, and so which they would include links to the reading research}.  It includes:
    • This powerful educational program is based on the most up-to-date research on how children learn to read.
    • The lessons use animation, activities and reward games to keep children motivated.
    • The program is completely interactive to keep children on task.
    • Children want to come back because they are having fun as they learn.
    • When children start the program, they can complete a placement quiz to ensure they are starting at the correct reading level.
    There is a  lot of information for parents in the "About" section.  As a parent, you can try a free sample lesson as well as sign up for a free 2-week trial of reading lessons  for your child.

    Reading Eggs has three parts:  Stepping Stones reading, Skills Bank spelling and Driving Tests.  You can read about these components and their lesson overviews here.  Along with the online lessons, there are color, workbook-quality pages you can print out for additional reinforcement with writing, spelling, and reading. From the lessons I've seen, it looks like there are 2 printable pages per lesson. The workbook pages are really nice:

    {Lesson 85 workbook page}

    The program seems very comprehensive for all preschool and elementary aged students:


    How Much? This online reading curriculum program is available in 1-month, 6-month, and 12-month subscription levels:

    1-month recurring:  $9.95
    6-month: $49.95 {Add a second or third child at the same time and receive 50% off their subscription price for 6- or 12-month subscriptions}
    12-month: $75.00

    Our Experience:  I'm using Reading Eggs with two students:  Levi, my emerging reader and a K/1st grader and Luke, my reader who needs lots and lots of practice to become fluent.

    Each child took a placement test before they began.  Levi started at Reading Eggs and has made steady progress.  He loves working through this program!  He says he loves the maps and he loves seeing "what is inside the egg."  I have no idea what he is talking about....but he is finding it motivating and he is being successful.

    Luke is using Reading Eggspress.  It is set up like a floating world with four areas to select activities from.
     


    There is a library  of fiction and non-fiction books children can choose to read {Luke is loving this!}, a 200-lesson cmprehension gym of exercises, a stadium for competitive games in spelling, vocabulary, usage and grammar., and a mall/ apartment where your child can use his reward eggs.

    Students earn golden eggs and a trading card for each book read when they successfully complete the quiz with a score of 80% or more

    Luke also took a beginning test to see his strengths and weaknesses.  Part of the test looked something like this:




    Luke is really enjoying this program as well.  He used to complete it in the morning and he would spend what seemed like all. morning. completing stories and games here!  {We've had to change this to becoming an afternoon activity}.

    My Opinion: I'm thrilled that both boys enjoy using this program.  That Luke likes to read the online stories?  A slice. of. heaven.  However, as a home educating mom with a child to whom reading does not come easy (Luke), I wish I was able to get more detailed information about his progress.  Here's a partial screen shot of some of Luke's stats:


    The "Quick Stats" part is the confusing part.  It begs me to ask more questions:  What sorts of activities is he doing in the Comprehension Gym?  What about in the Stadium -- what is he doing there?  Is is accuracy in the Library getting better, staying the same?  What sorts of questions does he get right/ wrong? Are they mostly factual questions he's having trouble with or inferential reading comprehension (like determining the main idea)?

    I should mention that Eggspress is only a few months old, and I'm hopeful that more information and data will be available.  I'd also like to see a scope and sequence of activities.  And, in spite of this, the  boys both enjoy using the program and Luke is loving the books, so I'm not gonna say, "No, you cannot use Reading Eggs."

    I'd encourage you to see what others say about Reading Eggs at The Old Schoolhouse Crew Blog.

    FCC:  In exchange for an honest review, I received a free subscription to this site.  No other compensation was received.

    Tuesday, February 21, 2012

    Crew Review: Beeyoutiful {Not just for home schoolers!}

    I've been looking forward to trying out a product or two from Beeyoutiful.com since hearing about it from previous TOS Crew members.   They specialize in natural products that help keep you healthy.  They advocate personally responsiblity for one's own health and prevention.  They are a Christian company, aiming to treat others the way they want to be treated. 

    In the mail I received two products: Miracle Skin Salve {$15.00 for 2 oz; $25.00 for 4 oz.} and Peppermint B.A.L.M. Lip Moisturizer {$3.00 each, in orange or peppermint}.

    What I really liked about the Peppermint Lip Balm is that the scent was not overpowering, nor did it taste so "yummy" that I wanted to constantly lick my lips, thereby drying my lips out even more.  The peppermint was just enough.

    Since we're a household of testosterone, we inevitably have bumps, scraps and scratches on at least one member of the male species here. The Miracle salve is a thick product {sort of like paste or those pots of Carmex we used to carry around in the winter}, and I did notice that it was a bit painful to spread it over Luke's most recent football road rash scrape. However, Miracle skin did a fantastic job of providing a good potective barrier to allow healing as well as helped decrease redness and irritation.  

    The Miracle Skin Salve is great for rashes, burns (sun burns, too) and wounds.  It contains coconut and extra virgin olive oil, beeswax, plantain, organic comfrey root, propolis, lavender and rosemary essential oils. I received the 2 oz. pot of the salve and it will definitely last us for a season of "owies."

    Members of the TOS Crew reviewed a slew of products from Beeyoutiful.com:  soaps, supplements, skin, and beauty products.  Some lucky people got to try a product called Tension Tamer.  I could use a truckload of that! I encourage you to see what others thought of Beeyoutiful!


    Friday, February 17, 2012

    State Postcard Swap -- Why This is Awesome!

    My boys sure love mail, but they've really been loving mail recently!

    A wise homeschooling mom arranged a state postcard swap just after the first of the year.  Thanks to online friends made through product reviews, homeschool forums and Facebook, she managed to get 51 families to participate, with a few overlaps in some of the more popular states.  I have not counted, but think we'll end up with postcards from 30+ states.

    I was able to find a sweet Vistaprint coupon good for 100 free postcards;  I had to pay shipping and for uploading of a custom color front (I used MyMemories Suite 3.0 to create our postcard!), so in all it cost $13. Fifty postcards stamps set me back $16.  So for just under $30, we're sharing some fun facts about our states.  And the boys are finding joy in being the one to go get the mail!



    Here's some of the educational things we'll do with the postcards:
    • I had the boys practice addressing a few of the postcards:
    Letter/ envelope writing skills: "Check."
    • As they come in, the kids have to locate where the state is on the map.  I printed out a black-line map of the United States and the boys have been coloring in the states. Without asking.
    • I've also been asking the boys to identify the capital city of each state as it comes in.  We've been memorizing them, so this is good review.
    • I plan on pulling out the road map/ atlas so the boys can practice looking up cities and towns that some of the families are from.  We can get a lot of mileage out of the atlas with these postcards....how many miles from their home to the capital/ major city?  to our house/ state?  What are the nearest national parks? Mapping skills, geographical features of the US, math.....
    • Postal Abbreviations -- Ben really needs to learn these better (especially all the "M" states, and Luke and Levi can learn them along with him. 
    I decided that we were not really going to do anything with the state facts that come in, except read about them.  But that is just me.  I don't find learning 50 state flowers to be beneficial in the long run of my kids' education.  Interesting certainly, but not necessarily beneficial.

    If you have participated in a postcard swap, what fun things did you do with them?  I'd love to read about it!

      Thursday, February 16, 2012

      Great find: Moon Machines

      First off:  this is not a review!

      Ben and I went to the library a few weeks ago looking for a pile of movies, and we came across this:


      I love documentaries and this one looked really amazing.  It is not about the astronauts who took us to the moon, but about the 400,000 (yes, that many zeros) engineers and technicians who make the Apollo missions possible.

      The DVD has several segments about all stages of the development of the new technologies for lunar landings and exploration:  the Saturn V rocket, the command module, the navigational computer, the lunar module, the lunar rover, and the space suit.

      It is told by all the behind-the-scenes engineers who had to take a president's national goal and turn it into a reality.  These men (mostly men and a very few women) took vague ideas of what these craft and  equipment should look like and made them real -- iconic symbols of America, even.

      It is fascinating and I loved it for several reasons:

      1.  I want my kids to learn to think out-of-the-box {which is not something that comes to be naturally} -- and I think these men are great examples.  They were visionaries, pioneer engineers (some of them were assigned to develop parts of the craft that they had no training or knowledge about), and problem solvers.  One engineering team was told "you have only 10 pounds for the lunar battery."  And they did it!

      2.  I want them to see the humbleness of these men.  If not for this movie, most of these men would fairly obscure;  in fact, I doubt even this movie make them recognizable.  They felt honored to work on the project.  It was a career high for them.  And they seem fine with that. 

      3.  I want them to see that God gifts all of us in different ways.  Being the astronaut was cool, but these men were also cool, too.

      Check your library for it!

      Monday, February 13, 2012

      A Few of My Favorite {Field Trip} Things

      I love so many things about homeschooling my boys.  I love being with them all. the. time. (seriously, I do!). I love mentoring them as they grow in relationships with each other and God.  I love cuddling on the couch to watch them learn.  I love laughing with them. I love seeing cool stuff with them.

      So when the Old Schoolhouse Blog Cruise topic "what is your favorite field trip?" came up, I just knew I had a few things to say about it.


      You'll probably hate my answer:  I love them all.  As much as I love being at home learning with the kids, I love going out with them to learn as well.  I love the adventure of finding new places (the kids are now used to me making 2 or 3 U-turns to find the place!) And I love that with homeschooling, "field trip" is more than just two or three times a year.

      Here's some of my favorites and why:

      1.  I love field trips tailored to kids. We have taken a half dozen field trips to the nearest fine arts museum to participate in their Artful Adventures program.   We've requested specific, themed topics (such as Early American arts, Roman art and our next is Hudson River School art) and after a 45 minute tour, we have 45 minutes in the art studio to get hands-on with some of the techniques.

      I think I especially like the art museum field trips because the kids really enjoy them.  I just want to do the happy dance when the kids respond with "yea!" after I tell them we're going to the art museum.

      On our summer visit to Monticello, we signed up for the special child-friendly tour. Same tour, just with lots of kids asking great questions (and the kids were welcome to sit on the floor!).

      A local symphony orchestra had a phenomenal kid's concert in the fall. Beethoven even came! Cannot wait to go back this spring.

      2.  I love field trips with hands-on rooms.  They just love getting to "handle" history and science.  We're blessed to live in the general Boston area had have gone to some great places.
      • Next to the USS Constitution in North Boston is a private museum for the ship, and they have wonderful hands-on activities:  the kids can hoist sails, pretend to sleep and eat on the ship and even see if they pass the test to sign on to be an 18th century Marine or Navy officer.  We had to drag the kids out of this place!
      • Another place I had to drag the kids out of was Monticello's children's room.  It was wonderful to discover all of Jefferson's inventions!
      • Ben is not a huge lover of math, but they have an awesome room at the Museum of Science which demonstrates math concepts in a hands-on way. 
      3.  I love tour guides that can adapt and include a multi-aged group.  Ben tends to be the oldest and Levi the youngest on a field trip, and I think a tour guide that can be inclusive of all ages from K through 7th is amazing.   We've been blessed to have some great guides who have been able to include everyone in the discussion.


      So, my favorite field trip?  It's the one where we're all having fun and learning together.

      If you'd like to hear what others think about their favorite field trips, head over to the Crew blog to read more!


        Wednesday, February 8, 2012

        Crew Review: Aleks Math

         

        I am grateful to have been given a chance to try out Aleks.com {which stands for Assessment and LEarning in Knowledge Spaces}, an online math assessment and curriculum for grades 3 through high school (click for course products).  Using artificial intelligence, ALEKS assesses and creates a math learning plan for the unique needs and abilities of your child.  You can view a tour of ALEKS here.

        It is correlated to the common core standards, if that is important to you.

        Once a child is registered for ALEKS and a course placement is made {view this placement chart}, ALEKS uses a required 30-minute {approximately} assessment to determine what the child knows and does not know. After the assessment, a pie is created which shows what your child knows {the darker colors} compared to what he should know for that course level.  Here is Luke's pie for 3rd grade:      

         {Just so you know, I'm totally cool with this pie, since we use Math U See and it has a unique scope and sequence to math education.}


        If your child's pie is less than 15% full or greater than 85%, ALEKS will make a recommendation on course placement; otherwise, your child will work from the pie to select topics and skills.

        The ALEKS database of FAQs is enormous!  So I'm going to link a few questions and answers that may help you in deciding how ALEKS progresses students, assesses student progress and reviews material:




        And here is an entire page dedicated to using ALEKS in the homeschool.

        There is also a math fact aspect of the program that you can use or not.  It is called QuickTables.   You can view a demo of QuickTables at their website.

        Things I like about ALEKS:
        • Requires an assessment before starting
        • Great for filling in holes in learning because the instruction is targeted at areas that need improvement
        • The child can chose his own topics to work on (see below)
        • You can create quizzes for your students and assign them whenever you want
        • Courses are available specifically to help with SAT prep and transitions from high school to college.
        • A truly individualized math learning plan
        • This is not multiple choice.  ALEKS uses a unique system for entering math responses:
        On the bottom third of the screen, your student will type in their answer in the while rectangle, using the blue buttons to type in fractions, powers, etc.

        Things that did not work well for us:
        • The child can chose his own topics to work on.  Yep, you saw this above.  I believe it is human nature that we do not like doing things we feel we do poorly in.  But in math (just like life), you have to work on it all.  So when my Ben chose not to work on a couple areas in which he really needed some help, there was no way I could change the parameters to make him work on it for a few days.
        • I found this program to be hard for my 3rd grader, who is not a strong reader.  All the teaching and lessons are printed on the screen and there is no option for a voice-over prompt. I ended up sitting with him and reading the assessment and lesson because I didn't want his reading comprehension to get in the way of his math skill aquisition. If I wanted to use ALEKS as his primary math to help free-up some teaching time for myself, this probably wouldn't be the right tool for him.
        A subscription to ALEKS is $19.95 per month with six ($99.95)and twelve-month ($179.99) options to save you money.  Thankfully, they have family discounts as well.

        If you have never tried ALEKS before, I highly recommend their 2-month free trial:


        Please go to the TOS Crew blog to see what others think of ALEKS:

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        Monday, February 6, 2012

        Crew Review: Math Rider

        Who likes a quest? Who likes horses?  Who needs to practice math facts?

        If your child can answer even one of those questions with, "I do!" than you should give Math Rider a test drive.  Math Rider is a wonderfully thorough, fully supported math fact game -- and it is fun to boot!

        The premise is that your child is being sent out on a mission or quest.  There are four quests for each of the four operations, however the rewards for completing each quest are different. In all, your child is trying to collect 16 different rewards.   Here's Levi's main screen with his flower and gem from the addition quests (he's completed two of the 4 addition quests):



        When you finish a math quest, you get your reward! The rewards are all animated according to how well the player answered the questions.  


        The fun game component is that your child rides a horse through an imaginary land and answers math problems to successfully jump over fences:

        And here is Luke's quest map.  He is working on the medium subtraction quest:

        There are four levels for each math operation that you practice:  easy, medium, and hard:  

        • Easy:  math facts for 0-5
        • Medium: math facts for 0-10
        • Hard: math facts for 0-12
        • Master (you cannot choose to start at this level -- you have to earn it.  In fact the developer Tom Brand recommends that each student start at the "easy" level of each math operation for practice and mastery.)
        Math Rider (available for $37 as an instant download) is an intelligent math fact game.  What does that mean?  It means the game is capturing an enormous amount of data as your child answers (or doesn't answer) each of the problems.  That information is stored so that you can learn about where your child is struggling and where he is succeeding.  You get this great looking chart and other statistical information:


        This chart is showing, in green, all of the mat facts that Luke knows well.  Yellow-shaded differences are showing partial mastery, while reg-shaded numbers are math problems that still need some work.  See that white pop-up graph that has two arrows on it?  You can right-click on any of the colored differences in the chart to see detailed specifics about levels of improvements, response-time trends and percent accuracy.  It is amazing.  On the right-hand side of the screen, there is a box with math problems that still need work and two graphs which show overall mastery of material.

        [Don't worry -- there are tutorials to help you learn about the program and help you use all this data to help your child.  No need to memorize it now!]

        Seriously, you are going to know SO MUCH information about your child's math skills by using this program, it will make your head spin in a good way.

        Here's a couple of other great features of Math Rider:
        • lifetime updates (they just released a new update in the past few weeks).
        • excellent customer service (they value your opinion and suggestions)
        • a great price (did I mention that if you "like" Fun Math Games: MathRider on facebook, you can get an additional $5 off?)*
        Our experience:
        1. I love it.  It is easy to include in our busy day.  It does not take long for the kids to complete a game, and I know that they are getting LOTS of practice.  I love that it includes facts up to 12, and that the 11s and 12s are a step in math fact mastery.
        2. Levi (6yo) loves it.  Asks to play it on the weekends.  Often plays it several times a day.
        3. Luke (9yo) likes it OK.  He has some attention issues which make his accuracy variable, so I think when he's feeling super distracted, he has trouble with it and he likes it less.  
        4. I recently made Ben (12yo) try it out.  He thinks it is too "young" for boy-who-becomes-a-teenager-in-just-three-months. But, since he would benefit from on-going review to bring up his speed, he'll just have to endure. *smile*
        5. I'm actually seeing progress in all the kids.  Levi is improving leaps and bounds, and Luke, even with his inconsistencies, is doing better little-by-little and that is what counts.
        I'm so grateful to have been able to review Math Rider.  Please hop on over to the TOS Blog to see what other Crew Members thought of the fun math fact game!
         
        * All prices and discounts are accurate as of the posting of this review.

        FCC:  In exchange for my honest opinion about his product, I was given a limited license to access the program.  No other compensation was received.

        Saturday, February 4, 2012

        Crew Review: Celestial Almanack by Classical Astronomy

        We came in a few hours ago from our first trip out to view the night sky using Jay Ryan's Celestial Almanack.  God blessed us with a crisp winter evening in which to admire his heavenly handiwork.

        I've never been adept at identifying constellations in the sky.  Ursa Major and Minor?  Well, I can find them usually.  Oh, I can spot Orion's belt like no one's business, but after that, I'm done.  Even after attending several "view the nighttime sky" programs at the local planetarium, it is hard for me to carryover that information and make real-life observations in the night sky.

        I was SO pleased to be able to review Jay Ryan's second issue in his new Celestial Almanack publication.  Mr. Ryan is a self-taught  astronomer -- but his vitae is impressive.  He's been writing about astronomy since 1995 and has been a contributing editor and writer for several popular astronomy publications, such as Sky & Telescope. He's also a Christian homeschooling father, who strives to point out God's handiwork in the heavens.  You can read about Jay Ryan and Fourth Day Press at their website, ClassicalAstronomy.com.


        You can purchase Celestial Almanack for $3 from Currclick.com. It is a PDF download that you will be able to print at home.  I love that you can have immediate access to this tool -- because you'll want to use it throughout the month.

        Inside, you'll find a welcoming title page reminiscent of almanacs from the early days of our country --  a nice tip of the hat to the likes of Benjamin Franklin, etc.  February's introduction is an interesting explanation of the curiosities of February -- why only 28 days?  Seems like Julius Caeasar and Augustus Caeasar were stealing some of poor Februa's days.

        The rest of this 21-page incudes:
        1. Astronomical Calendar
        2. Signs of the Season
        3. Seasonal Skies - evening
        4. Dance of the Planets
        The booklet has useful, understandable diagrams and illustrations of what the sun, moon and stars are doing in the day and night sky.  My eyes usually glaze over when I see diagrams of the night sky, because they just don't make sense to me.  These illustrations, however are understandable and useful. {Remember you can preview the booklet at currclick.com if you'd like to see some of these helpful diagrams.}

        To capture everyone's interest, Mr. Ryan has included many activities.   Tonight, we measured our moon shadows so that we can compare them with our shadow lengths at the summer solstice.  Why?  Because {never knew his before}
        On February 3, the Moon is near te northern extreme of the ecliptic, at the place in the sky of the summer solstice.
        I know, I know, today is the 4th, not the 3rd.  But it was cool to do anyway.

        Luke wanted to find some planets {he's sure that every bright star is a planet}, so we'll prep before our next outing and look for Jupiter and Venus.

        I cannot tell you how much I really, really like this product.  It is totally worth $3 a month.  My only wish is that included in the guide was a glossary of terms.  It isn't a big deal, since we live in a digital age and can google "intercalated" in  0.17 seconds, but it would be handy to have right there in the guide.

        You might also want to look at  Additional products from Classical Astronomy.

        The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew has lots of other reviews about this product to read.  Please visit other reviewers' blogs to see what they thought!

        Happy star gazing!

        FCC statement:  In exchange for my honest opinion about this product, I was given a free digital download.  No other compensation was provided.

        Friday, February 3, 2012

        Crew Review update: Kinderbach coupon code!

        I thought about just amending my review for Kinderbach, but feared that many who subscribe to this blog (besides my parents) might not see the addition.

        If you are interested in Kinderbach, they are offering a coupon code for 30% off any of their products (online, DVD, homeschool and classroom!).  Just use code .  And (cool!)  it is good for a whole year! 

        Another funny little addendum:  Levi has decided that he loves this, even though we don't have a keyboard.  I asked him, "So why didn't you like it at first?"  "I don't really like Dodie {the donkey character who stand for the D note.}"  I ask, "So what's different?  Can you just deal with him now?"  "Yea, I just deal."