Sunday, February 26, 2012

TOS Review - Reading Eggs

Teaching Julianna how to read has become my homeschooling Achilles heel. I have tried many different approaches...which could be part of the problem.  Anyway, recently we had the opportunity of to review an online reading program called Reading Eggs.

Some information about the learning process behind the Reading Eggs program from their website:

1. Learn skillsChildren complete animated online lessons where they learn essential reading skills. The variety of fun activities within each lesson provides the repetition needed for these skills to become part of the child’s long term memory.

2 Read books:  Children gain confidence by reading books online that only contain words they have already learnt in the program. For further reinforcement, they can also read the real books at home if they have the Reading Eggs book packs.

3. Earn rewards: Children earn golden eggs as rewards for work completed. They can use these eggs to buy reward games.

4. Quiz:  After 10 lessons, children complete a Mastery Quiz. This provides you with a report of what your child is learning. Children can repeat the online lessons as many times as they like. Young children enjoy repetition and it has great benefits too, as it helps them to learn.

It truly is a wonderful experience to watch a child learn a new skill. And when that skill is as important as learning to read, you’ll love being part of that experience. We wish you much enjoyment in the journey you’re about to begin with your child.
My musings:
Reading Eggs is a colorful, fun, educational experience.  It wasn't a big hit in our house, though.  I don't know if it moves a little too slowly through the activities or if maybe I'm throwing too many different things at her (all moving at different levels and using different methods to teach reading).  I think if I had done this program when she was younger, maybe we would have had better success.  For a preschooler, I would definitely recommend Reading Eggs, but it didn't work for Julianna.  They do have a more advanced level called Reading Eggspress, but she's not ready for that yet.

Reading Eggs offers two programs:  Reading Eggs (3-7 yr, setting the stage for reading and then building on it) and Reading Eggspress (7-13 yr, continue strengthening the skills they have learned.)  They offer a free trial, so if you have an emerging reader or just want to give your older reader some extra practice, check out their program.  After the free trial, subscriptions run monthly to yearly.

** As a member of TOS Homeschool Crew, I received a trial subscription of Reading Eggs in exchange for my honest review.  No other compensation was given. **

Thursday, February 2, 2012

TOS Review - KinderBach

Julianna is a budding songstress.  Neither her father nor I are musically inclined, so I'm not sure where her love for creating songs came from.  Recently she got to sing one during the children's church portion of a service.  (I'll have to post about that.  The world needs to sing "Go, go, go, hallelujah and praise your name!" along with the rest of us.) We got her a keyboard for her birthday a couple years ago and have been debating signing her up for piano lessons, so I was excited to review KinderBach.
KinderBach is a preschool  piano curriculum (geared for ages 2-7) that can be used both at home or in a traditional classroom setting.  They use games, songs, fun characters for music instruction. There is also a printable workbook to correspond to the six levels of instruction.
How does KinderBach work? (from their site)
KinderBach breaks down the various tasks and techniques of playing the keyboard and separates them into child portions.  For example:  Before playing a song, rhythm, note identification, note placement, and music patterns are presented as different items through discussion and games.  Learning is gradual and child-paced.  In addition KinderBach uses fun characters to teach ideas, making the process entertaining.

My musings:
I really liked this program.  The video lessons are short and active with songs or fun characters. It moves at a nice pace and covers a lot. The printable pdfs are a definite thumbs up!  Julianna was rather ambivilant to the whole process which is one reason we haven't finished yet.  She tends to march to her own tune, so she's not crazy about sitting down to follow others instructions when she just wants to play independently.  She hasn't quite grasped the concept that you actually have to follow certain rules to make music sound like, well, music.  I'm going to keep going with it through our trial and see if we can complete it (especially now that they offer it for the iPad!) That may determine if we look into formal lessons or not.  

Check KinderBach out if you have youngsters and you are interested in a piano curriculum.  They offer a free online trial. The program is available by online streaming, DVD and now the iPad.  The membership is less than $100 per year, $19.99 monthly or a one day pass for $5.95.  As a special bonus, the nice folks at KinderBach are offering you, my dear friends, a discount.  This coupon code gives 30% off any order - homeschool, classroom, online or DVDs. AND it is good through February 2, 2013! 
Coupon Code:  TOScrew2012

*Disclaimer:  As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew I was given a free trial membership to KinderBach in exchange for my honest review.  No other compensation was received.**