Saturday, May 30, 2015

JazzEdge - Easy Piano Basics Review

JazzEdge  Review

JazzEdge offered the girls the opportunity to learn piano. For the past 6 weeks or so, the girls have been working with Easy Piano Basics. This is a beginner piano program it is designed for someone who has never ever played before.   There is a 1 time price of $59.95 and you can use the program as much as you want to. Which is great because you can review the lessons over and over again. Sign up is easy simply click this link

The program is designed to teach you the basics of piano in about 90 days. Easy Piano Basics contains 32 video lessons with printable sheet music. The program recommends that you practice for 5-10 minutes a day 5 days a week. The video lessons run around 4 minutes or so. You are encouraged to go through all the lessons in order and not skip ahead. This is how they recommend you do the lessons.
Days 1-14  lessons 1-7
Days 15-30 lessons 8-11
Days 31-45 lessons 12-19
Days 46-60 lessons 20-24
Days 61-75 lessons 25-28
Days 76-90 lessons 29-31
You can view the lessons from any device with internet. My girls use the Ipad because they can prop it up on the music stand. We tried it with the laptop since it has a bigger screen. But we found that having to sit it off to the side made it hard for them to pause and practice what the teacher was showing them. Having the Ipad propped up right in front of them worked much better. The girls tried using the program on a smaller keyboard but it is a cheep O from toys r us and is really not in tune. My dad graciously allowed us to borrow his big fancy keyboard. It is a full sized keyboard and has lots of bells and whistles, that I have no idea how to use. How ever a full sized keyboard is not a requirement for the program.  There is no music theory with this program for which I am thankful for. Its just simple basic piano lessons that give you the fundamentals that you need to start playing. The program uses easy to understand video lessons that you can do any where. You do have the option to download the videos so you can watch them off line.

My 7 year old and 5 year old are using this program so we are going a bit slower than recommended.  We have been taking about a week for each lesson so they can get in plenty of practice. We are still working with the first 8 lessons. I have to admit I know nothing about playing music but these videos are so easy to understand.  After the first week the girls could find the C and F keys with out any trouble at all. Snoopy can play them both forwards and backwards. I think she might be the one to get my dads musical talent. They are also learning what a high and low notes are. They are both still trying to memorize where all the notes on the piano are at. Snoopy seems to be having an easier time memorizing than hotrod princess is. Snoopy says she likes that it is easy to understand, and she can pause the lesson any time and try out what he has been talking about. Hear is a picture of what you would see with one of the lessons. I like that the keyboard is bigger than the instructor. It makes it easier to see what his hands are doing.  I do wish the video lesson gave a home work assignment for the week. Its written under the video lesson but my kids never seem to see that part.  It would be great if at the end of the lesson he gave a clear you need to practice _________. Then may be give a quick demo of what all to practice for the week. I think it would really help smaller kids better understand what they should be practicing for the week.

JazzEdge  Review
The program comes with downloadable sheet music. Downloading is simple, you just click the link on the right hand side of your main dash board. It is clearly labeled and easy to spot. We have only used one piece of the downloadable sheet music so far. I have printed them off and made her a cute little music book. Looking through the pages the music looks fairly simple. Each page is marked on the top right hand side with the lesson that the music sheets go with. This will make it simple for my 7 year old to be able to find the music that goes with the lesson she is working on.  The music is printed in a larger size so its easier for younger kids to see.

This is a short video clip of hotrod princess showing her PoP what she had learned this week.

The girls have really enjoyed the program so far and it is well worth the price. The girls are picking it up fast enough that they are encouraged to keep going with the lessons and that makes me one HAPPY Momma. Click the link below to see what some of the other crew members are saying about EasyPiano Basics.
JazzEdge Review
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Thursday, May 28, 2015

Summer Fun

Our school year is winding down now. We have begun our summer schedule where our official curriculum has been mostly completed. We begin to focus on any weaknesses we may have before the new year starts. We will have from now tell July 1 to brush up on anything that needs reviewing. We are doing something a little different this summer. The girls have the opportunity to participate in a local summer day camp.  They will learn horse back riding, swimming lessons, art lessons, obstacle course, archery and team building skills etc.  Camp is giving them the opportunity to get out and try some new things they have never done before and a chance to make some new friends. They are both looking forward to the horseback riding lessons the most. I am excited that they will get some much needed swimming lessons. We spend a lot of time splashing at the river and visiting the water park. We have been working on some basic swimming skills. But they will really benefit from some actual lessons.

End of the school year also means its time for mom to get curriculum prepared for the new year. This year I have done quite well getting curriculum before hand. I still have two subjects to order for the new year. I have gone back and forth trying to decide on what I would like to do for history and science. But at last I have finally decided and I think the girls will both be happy with the choice. Now I just need to get it ordered so I have some time to get the year planned before the new year starts. Planning the year is my least favorite task of homeschooling. I tend to get overwhelming trying to plan out an entire year of learning in just a week or two. How ever it must be done and I am determined to be a little more organized this year.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Camping FUN

Me and the girls spent the last 4 days in camping bliss. We did not do primitive camping this time. We went to the camp ground at the lake. It rained cats and dogs for two days of the trip but we had an amazing adventure. We hiked in the rain we biked in the rain we discovered ,that the slide at the play ground turns into a slip and slide when it rains a lot. The girls played in the mud so much I don't think their clothes will ever come clean. We squeezed in 3 science experiments, and we crashed a public schools field trip to the dam on accident but the park rangers didn't seem to mind that we were listening in.  We put up the movie projector under the awning and watched Big hero 6 in the rain. I think we had a few other camper watching from the windows of there camping trailers and kids kept riding by on their bikes to watch the movie. We ate way to many Smores and probably too many snacks.
I thought I would share a couple pictures from the trip it rained so much I didn't get a chance to have my camera out all that much. There is a picture of our camp fire I included this picture just for my brother in law incase he reads this post. He had tried t build a camp fire so we could make dinner. After a failed attempt or two or three the moms had to take control or we were never going to eat. If you ask Snoopy Girl she will tell you that all you need to build a fire is: wood, a mommy, two paper plates, and a lighter.  As you can tell from the other picture the lake was nice and full. They even had to let out more water while we were there. The opening of gates sounds like thunder incase you have never had the chance to experience it. Even with all the rain we still had a blast and we cant wait to do it again. I think me and the girls could spend the hole summer as camp host.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Camping Trip

Summer is well on its way here. Me and the girls are planning a camping trip some time in the future though we still have not pined down a date yet.. This is one of the girls favorite summer time activities, and we try to make it as often as possible. Some times its just me and the girls, some time all the cousins and grand parents come. This trip some of the cousins will be coming.  We try to do something new and fun on each trip. This year we have gotten an out door movie screen and projector. The kids don't know it yet but they will be having an out door movie complete with popcorn and snacks. I cant wait to see their reactions when they finally figure out what the surprise is! So what's one of your families favorite summer time activities? How do you like to make your summer FUN!

Friday, May 1, 2015

A+ Interactive Math Family Math Package Review

A+ Interactive Math Review

Me and the girls have been reviewing A+ Interactive Math you can find the main website here We are using the Family Math Package which you can get to here

The Family Package is so flexible its crazy. It was designed so that you buy a package for the number of children you need it for. They have packages available for a single child all the way up to 10 children. I do believe if you have more than 10 children you can contact them to request a bigger family package. It starts at first grade and goes through algebra 1. Each student can move between grade levels as needed. Hears an example. Say you have three kids you would buy the 3 student-family package, a yearly subscription sells for $249.99. You then enroll all three of your children and select what grade level they are in. They would each have their own user name and password. Now say you realize that your second grader is struggling with subtraction. You can simply switch her to first grade for a few weeks and allow her to review first grade subtraction. Once she is doing well you simply change her back to the second grade level.

A+ Interactive Math Review
This math program offers so many features I would have a really long list if I posted them all for you. So I am going to list my favorite features and why:
  • Recommended lesson plans. These make my week run smoother its one less thing I have to plan. The lesson plan is all done for me and I can print it out for my binder.
  • Instant online grading. Who doesn't love something that grades its self its just a nice time saver on the days when I have a lot going on.
  • Progress reports allow me to see how they are doing and make logging our days work faster.
  • The ability to print work sheets and test. While I like computer based learning, I still believe that a child needs to be able to do the work on paper.
  • A+ Interactive Math Courses meet or exceed state and national guidelines. This is simply good information to know about any program you are using.
  • Real time feedback on the practice problems. If they get it wrong it tells them right away. Then the program shows them how to get the correct answer. This feature helps the girls so much.
  • Templates to create additional worksheets and test. This feature is much easier to use than I anticipated. It is great if you have kids that love work pages. We use these when we are on the go. 
  • Full printable curriculum E book. We often go camping for a few weeks at a time. The Printable E books allow me to print and take all or some of the book with us.
Both of the girls have really been enjoying A+ interactive. Some days they do 3 or 4 lessons or worksheets. Both girls can log in to the program by them selves. Hotrod girl can navigate most of the site on her own. Where as Snoopy still needs some help getting started. She also needs help when she does the worksheets online. There are several buttons along the top and it seems to be a little confusing for her.  Snoopy really likes the multimedia lessons the best. She will choose these over worksheets most of the time. The multimedia lessons explains how to do the problems, then give you some practice problems. If you get a practice problem wrong it tells you right away. Then it shows you how to get the correct answer, and gives you a chance to try again. It gives you a score and you can retake the lessons more than once. Some times the girls need to hear the instructions more than once for it to stick.

Hotrod girl is in second grade. She has worked her way through the multimedia lessons, for both
multiplication and division. These are two areas she has been needing help with so we focused on them the most. She has now begun to work on the worksheets and quizzes. After I showed her how to do it. She can access both of these items on her own with out trouble.  She prefers to work independently most of the time.  You have the option to do the worksheets and test online and have them auto graded. Or you can print and grade them your self. If you choose to print and grade them, you can still enter the grades into the program. We print the work pages for when we are away from the home. But the girls ask to do the test online. My only issue with doing the online test is that I can print a report which gives the test they took and the grade they got and the date it was taken. But so far I have not found a way to print a copy of the actual test that they took. I try to keep a copy of all the test the girls take for the end of the year portfolio.
Both of the girls have really enjoyed A+ Interactive Math Family Math Package. I am in love with their improved attitudes about math practice and learning new concepts. To see what others on the Crew are saying about A+ Interactive Math Click the banner below.
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A+ Interactive Math Review
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