Math Tutor DVDs: Giving Math a Better Name

Let's just begin by saying that this week's reviews will cover products for homeschoolers in the subject of Math.  Many of you know my own personal feelings about that particular subject. *ahem*  I will be brushing all prior prejudice on the subject of math to the wayside, in order to bring you this week's TOS Reviews. *grin*


Today's math enrichment product comes from Math Tutor.  The two DVDs that I reviewed, with the help of a trusted advisor (read more later), were The Pre-Algebra Tutor DVD & The TI-84/TI-83 Graphing Calculator Tutor DVD.  They retail from Math Tutor for $26.99 each, with a super guarantee of raising your student's grades or your money back!  Now, that is what I'm talking about!

I am glad to report, that the folks at Math Tutor really know what they are doing!  The amount of time dedicated to each subject and practice problems shows they have a true love of teaching.  That's what I like most about these DVDs.  The sheer volume of practice used in these DVDs could help instill major math concepts in the most reluctant of math students. *hint, hint - nudge, nudge* tiny smiley happy Students that feel that they are "bad" at math need that extra boost of confidence and consistency in instruction.  I believe this DVD series is one that would give much confidence to such a student.  Each subject is broken down with such careful detail that students will be able to gain vast insight in these subject areas, helping them to develop stronger skills.  Any math enrichment that helps a student tackle problems with ease and greater confidence, is well worth its weight in gold.  If they no longer live in dread of math, you are giving them the gift of a lifetime.  Math Tutor helps to give that gift.

The price is just right for homeschoolers to afford such a wonderful resource for math enrichment.  Math tutoring can be quite costly and these DVDs offer a more practical and economical solution.  We loved these DVDs so much, we used them on our babysitter (a 16 year old homeschooler from church).  She liked the Pre-Algebra DVD and said it made everything more "approachable".  She even came back to babysit . . . so, there you go!  End of story.  If it gets a 16 year old's approval, then it gets mine.

The Pre-Algebra Tutor: Volume 1

Total Run Time 5 Hours:
DVD Chapter Index

Disk 1Sect 1 - Real Numbers
Sect 2 - The Number Line
Sect 3 - Greater Than, Less Than, Equal To
Sect 4 - Absolute Value and Adding Integers
Sect 5 - Subtracting Integers
Disk 2
Sect 6 - Multiplying Integers
Sect 7 - Dividing Integers
Sect 8 - Powers and Exponents
Sect 9 - Order of Operations

Sample Clips From This 5 Hour DVD Course:

Unlock the Power of your TI-84 / TI-83 Graphing Calculator!
This DVD will improve your usage of the TI-84 / TI-83 calculator or your money back!
Total DVD Run Time: 8 Hours
Disk 1

Section 1: Overview of the Calculator
Section 2: The Mode Menu
Section 3: Basic Arithmetic and Exponents
Section 4: Logarithms and Square Roots
Section 5: Sin, Cos, Tan
Section 6: Scientific Notation and Storing Variables
Section 7: The Math Menu and Catalog Menu
Section 8: Convert between Fractions and Decimals
Section 9: Finding the Min and Max of a Function
Section 10: Calculating Derivatives and Integrals
Section 11: Absolute Value, Rounding, and Integers
Section 12: Converting between Degrees and Radians
Section 13: Working with Complex Numbers

Disk 2

Section 14: Using the Equation Solver
Section 15: Graphing and Tracing Functions
Section 16: Using Tables and Split Screen Modes
Section 17: Find the Exact Value of a Function Using Graphing
Section 18: Finding the Zeros of a Function using Graphing
Section 19: Finding the Max and Min of a Function using Graphing
Section 20: Finding Intersections of Functions using Graphing
Section 21: Finding the Derivative of a Function by Graphing
Section 22: Calculating the Definite Integral by Graphing
Section 23: Drawing on a Graph
Section 24: Graphing and Tracing Sequences

Disk 3

Section 25: Graphing and Tracing Parametric Equations
Section 26: Converting between Rectangular and Polar Coordinates
Section 27: Graphing and Tracing Polar Equations
Section 28: Permutations, Combinations, and Factorial
Section 29: Working with Histograms and Box Plots
Section 30: Graphing Statistical Scatter Plots
Section 31: Calculating Mean, Median, Standard Deviation, and more
Section 32: Performing Statistical Regression
Section 33: Calculating with Matrices
Section 34: Solving Systems of Equations with Matrices
Section 35: Calculating Interest Rates
Section 36: Calculating Mortgages and Loans
Section 37: Calculating Savings and Investments

Joyful & blessed homeschooling to you!
aka The Joyful Socks Mom


Labor of Love Sale: The Oldschoolhouse Magazine


A homeschool family can always do with an extra helping hand, and this is one helping hand we love!

Shop now until midnight September 15 for deep discounts on our U.S. and Canadian subscriptions for our favorite magazine here at The Mac Rak, TOS magazine. This is a limited discount, so hurry—only 5,000 are available!

Get a one-year print subscription—new, renewal, or a gift for a friend—for only $7.95 (U.S. and Canada)! New subscriptions start with Winter 2010.  That's a "steal-of-a-deal".

Don’t want to wait for your magazine? Get a one-year + current issue subscription for $12.95 (U.S. and Canada). This subscription will start with Fall 2010 magazine.

Finally, we have our digital one-year subscriptions for only $6.95—new and renewals.

By the way, have you heard about our new home and school planners for both students and parents? We have a super deal with lots of freebies for your site visitors! Here’s the information:

From now until September 13, buy an E-Planner, Planner on CD, Planner E-Book, or Planner CD with Student Planner and get the 2008 and 2009 Planner modules and the WeE-book insect bundle free—that’s 27 free E-books!

Joyful & blessed homeschooling to you!
aka The Joyful Socks Mom

More from The Old Schoolhouse store


Spelling City Launching Us Back-to-School

Getting Back-to-School with Spelling City

SpellingCity Home Page
The excitement of going back-to-the-books is always filled with an explosion of activity.  The extracurriculars, sporting events,co-op planning, family fun weekends & the newness of books, supplies and bags can keep we homeschoolers running just as much as our public school counterparts.  Behind all the joy of back-to-school lurks a heavy anxiety that can get most normal parents frayed at the edges, somewhere close to the line of insanity . . . oh wait, that must just be me!  "Are my kids ready to rise to the next level of achievement?"  "Will they rise to the excellence that we are hoping to reach in their education?"  Well, if this is you too, here is a super resource to help you rise above the "fray" with your sanity in tact.  SpellingCity.com is a great resource for getting your kids ready for that next and higher level of work that they will experience this year. Forget the workbooks and start them here to be engaged and challenged on the next level.
Spelling City offers many engaging options for students to rise to the next level . . . and in more than just Spelling.  This site offers Vocabulary and Grammar drills for each and every grade level and age.  The site has many resources for parents and teachers to use: wonderful printables, handwriting practices with spelling lists included, writing instructions to use while working, literature & phonics-based word lists, student writing practice and state-specific geography games & printables.  The wonderful and creative games that SpellingCity.com offers for the kids will help them each rise to that next level of achievement: Speedy Speller, Missing Letter, Test Me Spelling, Hang Mouse, Match It, Letter Fall and much more.  So toss the workbooks & lets get to drilling the fun way!
In this great spin on "Hangman", you must guess the correct spelling and word.  When you miss, the kitty-cat gets a little closer to Mr. Mouse . . . yikes!


Catch the falling letters to help Mr. Mouse spell out the word.  Run mousy, run!


Kids race the clock and each other to see who can spell the quickest in all the land!

What am I super loving about this educational resource site?  SpellingCity.com can be used, in many ways, for no charge!  Many games and printables are still available online for FREE.  Yep, that's for me!  They also offer a great value Premium Membership that allows educators, students and parents the ultimate experience and a virtual unlimited educational blessing.  With the Premium Membership beggining at $24.99 for an annual family license ($49.99 for a classroom) the best stuff is right at your fingertips.
A Premium Membership:
  • LetterFallAutomatically tracks student test scores so you don’t have to grade tests or record scores.
  • Tracks students' activities on SpellingCity.
  • Provides a gradebook and individual records.
  • Enables the Premium Games, LetterFall and SpeedySpeller.
  • Allows you to read the students’ writing exercises, respond to them, and keep records, all online! It’s green and efficient.

Check - out a fun spelling test I, myself, could not resist . . .

Here is my FOOTBALL FANATIC spelling test 100% . . . no surprise there!

spellingcity.com - result list header
field goal 

* I received a complimentary membership during the review of this product.  I have received no reimbursement, of any kind, for the review I have just given of this product.  All the views and opinions expressed in the review are my own, and I was not compensated for posting them.*

Joyful & blessed homeschooling to you!
aka The Joyful Socks Mom

Need some super Spelling resources, here are some of my favorites:


A Well-Spent Summer Journal: More Summer School Fun

Summer School Fun continued . . . 

Here is a glimpse of some of the summer schooling activities we have been enjoying.

The Squeaker and Scout working on portraits of their dog . . . Duchess Gertrude Esther the 1st . . . don't ask.  They gave the portraits to our retired neighbors who love our dog and spoil her totally rotten!

We have had lots of fun at our local library.  During the reading program this summer we have enjoyed circus clowns (O.K., no me so much . . . clowns freak me out), snakes and the Incredible Bubble Lady (shown above).

Librarian in a bubble!
Our Juvenile Librarian (her title, not her attitude . . . well sometimes) in the giant bubble.
We love you Courtney!

We pray you are all enjoying a safe and blessed summer schooling season.

Joyful & blessed homeschooling to you!


Muffin Tin Monday: Mexican Food

Muffin Tin Monday at Her Cup Overfloweth

A Little Bit-o-Muffin Tin-Mexican

I have ventured into the fun world of the Muffin Tin Monday post.  I have been a long time "lurker", but no more, I'm ready to dive into the fun.  The Bug acted like I was the coolest thing since sliced bread!  Why?  She got to eat dinner out of a muffin tin. . . O.K.? I'm not sure why that is so awesome, but apparently it is.  I set the tray in front of her for dinner and she squealed with delight, professing over and over, "You are the best mommy in the whole wide world!"  So, if you are a Muffin Tin Monday "lurker", I encourage you to come out into the sunshine and fill up that muffin tin.  You may win mother-of-the-year!

From top-left, clockwise:
Home-made corn tortilla chips, wild blueberry rice cakes, dehydrated cucumbers, chocolate-covered animal crackers (just a little treat, trust me, this is not the norm), taco meat & home-made refried beans.

1 little muffin tin = 1 happy Bug

Joyful & blessed homeschooling to you!


A Well-Spent Summer Journal: Texas-style Independence Day

A Hometown Independence Day
The summer has been flying by and I realized that I haven't been blogging about all the wonderfully fun activities that we have been doing.  So . . . let's back up a little for the in our journal to get you up to speed.

This year for the 4th of July, I got stuck (hard to imagine, I know) on keeping the kids focused on the reality and truth of the celebration of Independence Day.  The big stickler for me this year was being sure the kids knew why we feel it is important to celebrate Independence Day and not just "the 4th".  The difference may be in semantics, but I'm sticking to this one! 

When you are referencing the date, as opposed to the holiday itself, you loose a little bit of its significance.  This is the very same reason you will not her me say 9/11 in referring to the attacks on New York and Washington D.C. that fateful day in September 2001.  I never want to "dumb-down" or "water-down" the reverence for a holiday or remembrance day when teaching our children.  Thus, we practice reiterating Independence Day.

Here are a few things we did on Independence Day.

We started out in our hometown parade.  Sorry, no pictures.  We were in the parade, marching for the local non-profit that I work for, Mission Granbury.  Here is a video clip that the newspaper posted . . . not all that riveting (small town parade and all), but you can see us right after the Pirate little league baseball and cheerleader.  Mrs. Mac is on the opposite side of black truck, with cowboy hat on.  The girls are in the CASA & Mission Granbury float . . . just F.Y.I.

Celebrating the birthday of the Declaration of Independence!
I had the girls celebrate with some little Happy Birthday greeting cakes.  Then we read some stories about the beginnings of our nation.  This book by Mara L. Pratt is one of our favorites.

The Squeaker & the Bug all "cowgirled-up"!  Yep, we're from Texas, so what better way to spend Independence Day than at the rodeo?

Hmmm . . . doesn't look like Mrs. Mac enjoys getting her picture taken as much as she enjoys taking them.  (Thanks Big Daddy Mac!)

Granbury Riders were so fun to watch, but what was the favorite event . . . Wild Brauma Cow Milking!  Yep, it's real!

The Bug & her cuz, Mr. Hockey, enjoy the sights of the rodeo up-close-and-personal.  The older kids (minus the Bug) enjoyed a little Mutton bustin' - chasing after a sheep trying to catch the one with the ribbon on it's tail.

We hope that you all had a blessed and joyful Independence Day too.

Happy homeschooling!