Friday, July 23, 2021

5 Things We Love About CTC Math

CTCMath: Self-Paced Online Math

The following is a sponsored post in collaboration with CTCMath and MommyMaestra. All opinions are my own.

Advanced math is not my strong suit. And teaching high school math can leave both me and my kid frustrated. We've tried a variety of math curricula over the years. We're both really, really happy with this one for high school math. I wish I had used CTCMath for Algebra I, which was really hard for my son. But I'm delighted that we have it now for the next few years!

PSST! Don't miss the GIVEAWAY at the end of this post!

Quick Overview

Program: CTCMath
Class: Homeschool Family membership
Religious Perspective: Secular
Format: Recorded
Grades: K - 12th
Price: There are different membership levels ranging from $29.97/month up to $297/year*
*BUT pricing is half price for homeschoolers! Just use any of the links in this post, to get 50% off!

Self-Paced Geometry

Over and over, I have shared self-paced programs here on MommyMaestra. That's because as a homeschooler, we have really fluid schedules. While some classes have a regular schedule, most subjects are tackled at different times of the day. PLUS, it's important to me that my kid actually learns the content. So if he finishes in 15 minutes or an hour and a half, I don't care as long as he understands the work and it's a bonus if he's mastered it by the time he's done. Some things come quite easily, while others take a little more concentration and study. 

Which leads me to the other part of a self-paced class: the ability to go back as often as necessary to listen to/read the lesson. I love recorded classes. Because it's easy to simply rewind and listen again if my kid didn't understand it the first time. Or because my 3yo came screaming into the room at a critical moment of explanation. The rewind option is a blessing and recorded classes like these don't have a teacher that gets frustrated at having to repeat everything they just said.

CTCMath: Self-Paced Geometry


The Brevity of the Lessons

Each lesson is short. It focuses on one concept for my kid to learn. He loves that it doesn't take ages to complete one lesson and that makes the self-paced aspect SO much more attractive. He's motivated to complete more than one lesson, unlike his experience with other math programs, where he tried to do as little as possible. 

And when you are able to get through several lessons in a day, you feel much more accomplished. "Wow! I did so much today! I feel great about that."

Easy to Understand

This! This is probably the one thing that makes this entire program work for us. Mr. Murray, whose voice is the one we hear explaining each lesson, teaches each concept in simple, direct, easy-to-understand language. His explanations don't require an explanation. 

I think that the best way is to just show you. Take a look at this sample lesson from Geometry. (But note that if you are looking for math for a different grade, there are sample lessons for each grade on CTCMath's YouTube channel - no discount with this link.)


The Accent!

Y'all, this is just a fun thing, but it absolutely makes the list because it makes the whole experience more enjoyable for my son. He has been intrigued with accents for years, probably because his Grandpa was born in England and raised in Australia. And many of his favorite characters in his favorite shows - Jurassic Park, Indiana Jones, Doctor Who - are British or Australian.

Anyway, Pat Murray who is the teacher behind CTCMath and who narrates each lesson, is a native Australian living in Sydney with his family. In fact, CTCMath originally started in Australia and has now branched out around the world. We use the United States version of their math program. 

All this to say that Murray's accent has really changed things up for my son who is much more alert and responsive to this slight change in what he hears on a daily basis.

Self-Grading

Yes! Self-grading is awesome. 

First, let me explain how the lessons work. 

Students login and go to their dashboard. From there, they select the class and the section that they're working on. It's easy to see where they left off.

They click on the next lesson. Then they begin by watching the video lesson. Next, they click on the tab to answer the self-grading questions. 

Students also have the option of printing worksheets with additional questions/equations to solve, but they must grade their work themselves (or have a parent do so) using the answer keys that are included, and then they can enter their grade manually.

One really cool thing about the dashboard is that kids can actually rate their understanding of a lesson/concept by highlighting stars next to the lesson title. So if they feel like they've mastered it - five stars! If they feel fairly confident in their understanding, maybe just four stars. 

There's a lot of emphasis on independent work in this course. Kids complete the work on their own and giving them the option to self-grade really encourages them to take on their role and responsibility in their own education. I love this about the program.

The Giveaway


One winner will get a 12-month family membership! 


CTCMath Free Trial


If you are already convinced this is the program you need for your family, head over and check out CTCMath today. Don't forget that you can sign up for a FREE TRIAL!

If you're ready to buy, be sure to use this link to access the homeschool pricing with 50% off!

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CTCMath: Online Math for K - 12

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Whistlefritz's Spanish Lessons!


Have you seen? One of MommyMaestra's fantastic sponsors, Whistlefritz, has just released their FREE Spanish Home Educator's Guide!

If you have Whistlefritz's Spanish program or are planning to use it this coming school year, then you NEED this guide! It's designed to help homeschooling parents maximize their use of Whistlefritz's Educator's Collection. 

Everything you ever wanted to know about how to implement Whistlefritz's Spanish lessons in your daily routine is here. It provides a daily open-and-go schedule that includes not only the Spanish lesson plans in their curriculum, but also related music, videos, and activities. I just had a look and there are 46 (FORTY-SIX!!) weeks' worth of planning and scheduling inside this book. There's even a checklist at the end that you can print and hang.

Take a look at this example from week 21:  


Isn't this easy? The Home Educator's Guide helps homeschooling families weave Spanish consistently into their daily lives while also having fun and encouraging a lifelong pursuit of language learning.

I like that the weekly schedule it not complicated or overwhelming. It's doable.

Most homeschool Spanish programs would charge for a guide like this. But Whistlefritz is offering it for free. What a gift!

If you're ready to download your copy, just head over to Whistlefritz's homeschool page and sign up to have it sent to your email. 

Happy learning!

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

15 Homemade Paletas to Try this Summer


It's the middle of summer and I don't know what it is like where you live, but here, the projected temperatures for the coming week are 99º every day! So I'm stocking up on fruit for a paleta fest to keep my family cool. 

Does your family do DIY paletas (popsicles)? Summer fruit popsicles make the perfect sweet treat for a warm weather day! They’re hydrating, refreshing, and it’s so fun to try new flavor combinations that you can’t find in stores!

Homemade fruit pops are often more flavorful than store-bought, and taste so much better fresh from the freezer! Plus, with simple ingredients, you can feel good about giving these to your family!

These 15 summer fruit popsicles are all made with summer fruits. From classic flavors like orange and raspberry, to more fun and unique flavors like watermelon boba and blueberry basil, you’ll definitely find a flavor here you can’t wait to try!

You can create your own paletas with simple materials such as popsicle sticks and paper cups, but I've added one of my favorite popsicle molds.

This post contains affiliate links.

Paleta (Popsicle) Recipes

1.   Strawberry Vanilla Paletas: Fresh strawberries, vanilla, and vanilla yogurt make for one unique and summery popsicle from my friend Vianney at SweetLifeBake.com!

2. Mango Pineapple Popsicles: A tropical flavored popsicle with a spicy chili salt twist...

3. Champurrado Paletas: Oh. My. Gosh! Ericka of Nibbles and Feasts might be the queen of paletas. I'm linking to her paleta and aguas frescas book below! Go order ASAP!

4. Paletas de Jamaica y Canela + Paletas de Melón: Hibiscus and cinnamon, or cantaloupe? Yes, por favor! I'll take both with these easy recipes from Yvette over at MuyBuenoCookbook.com.

5. Lemonade Popsicles: This popsicle is perfect when you can’t decide between lemonade or a frozen treat!

6. 3 Easy Mexican Paleta Recipes for Kids: My friend, Frances, shares these three easy recipes for Mexican paletas over on MulticulturalKidBlogs.com

7. Creamy Blackberry Popsicle Recipe: My friend, Christa, of PuraVidaMoms.com modifies Costa Rica's paleta recipe "to create an authentic Costa Rican paleta in the United States."

8. Toasted Coconut Lime Popsicles: A simple, 4-ingredient popsicle made with toasted coconut and lime juice! (Shown in image.)

9. Pineapple-Ginger Popsicles: Ginger, honey, and pineapple blended together for a paleta to enjoy all summer long from Silvia at MamaLatinaTips.

10. Orange Lemon Lime Popsicles: A super citrusy and hydrating popsicle made with 5 simple ingredients!

11. Passionfruit Yogurt Pops: A fun and exotic fruit pop made with rice cereal that makes the perfect summertime dessert or even snack! (Shown in image.)

12. Raspberry Popsicles: A 3-ingredient popsicle made with frozen raspberries, so you can make this one all year-round! (Shown in image.)

13. Coconut Water Pineapple Popsicles: Whole raspberries and chunks of pineapple can be seen right through the coconut water in this summery and hydrating popsicle!

14. Strawberry Chia Seed Popsicles: Add a few healthy chia seeds to your summer popsicle and the kids will be none-the-wiser!

15. Strawberry Yogurt Popsicles: These yogurt-based popsicles are creamy and sweet, and make a great popsicle to have on hand all summer long! (Shown in image.)

THE Paleta Book

This is the only recipe book for paletas you'll ever need. Go. Buy. It! Ericka's recipes are the best. (You're welcome!)


Paleta Molds

If you're like me, you may have a ton of paleta molds in your pantry. Here is one of my favorites and one I want to try...

ZOKU - This is my go-to when we want paletas and we want them NOW! Seriously, you can have a popsicle in 7 minutes with this thing. It's unbelievable! Actually, I have the double one, but I don't think they make it anymore. Now they just have the single and it's hard to catch in stock, but maybe you'll get lucky!

And these I want to try!

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Free Coloring Page for World Chimpanzee Day



Not so long ago, I was a great ape keeper. Okay, maybe it's been 20 years and that is long ago, depending on how you look at it. But the point is that I was once a zookeeper who cared for gorillas, orangutans, bonobos, and chimpanzees. That was one of the most memorable times of my life, and completely changed how I viewed animals. 

World Chimpanzee Day


So in honor of World Chimpanzee Day (today! July 14th), I'm happy to share the news of the newest title in the Bears for Cares book series and campaign founded by Kay and her sister Jazmin. They launched the campaign on Endangered Species Day as a project of Jane Goodall Institute’s Roots & Shoots youth service program. It aims to educate children about the state of wildlife and our earth, and what they can do to make a difference and create a more compassionate world.

Jenny the Chimpanzee” is told in rhyme and encourages young readers to learn about the history and origins of human evolution told by a chimpanzee named Jenny.  And they will be reminded of how interconnected humans are with all other wildlife on this planet. As Lotus writes: “So let’s make sure that we care for each other’s safety. No matter who you are.  Whoever you may be. Whether you are a human or a chimpanzee.”

An added bonus to “Jenny the Chimpanzee” are inspirational quotes from world-renowned ethologist and environmentalist, Dr. Jane Goodall, who is the world's foremost expert on chimpanzees. I had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Goodall when I was working with great apes. Here's a pic! (I'm in the middle wearing a white shirt and standing behind Dr. Goodall.)


 

A Free Coloring Page


Bears for Cares has kindly offered a free coloring page from their book, Jenny the Chimpanzee. I'm happy to share it with you! Just right click on the picture below and save it to your device, then print! 


And if you'd like to purchase your copy of this lovely book, click here.

Friday, July 9, 2021

5 Things We Love About Virtual Biology Lab



The following is a sponsored post in collaboration with College Prep Science and MommyMaestra. All opinions are my own.

One of the biggest challenges to homeschoolers can be providing science labs for their kids. From the expense of buying materials, to safety equipment and space, science labs can be difficult for homeschoolers to complete outside of a co-op or museum course.

This is why I love College Prep Science's VIRTUAL Biology Lab class! Read on to learn our five reasons for loving this program.

Before going further, I want to note here that MommyMaestra shares homeschool resources for families of all faiths. This particular program has a Christian perspective.

Quick Overview

Program: College Prep Science
ClassInteractive Virtual Science Lab   
Religious Perspective: Christian
Format: Live & Recorded
Grades: 7th - 12th
Price: Tuition is $280 for recorded and $390 for live, 2-week intensive




Why do a science lab?

Some homeschoolers may be tempted to just ignore the labs, but the reality is that labs are an integral part of science. They teach some of the very basic skills and one of the tenets of science: The Scientific Method. Kids NEED to learn the process of following a step-by-step procedure and then recording it from start to finish in a lab report.

I can't express how important this whole experience is for high schoolers. And if you are dithering about virtual labs, read on to learn the five things we love most about the Virtual Biology Lab from College Prep Science!

This Virtual Biology Lab counts as a supplement to any biology class and it has 11 lab experiments, including cell mitosis, blood type, and FROG DISSECTION! 

1) It's saves money

Flasks. Petri dishes. Microscopes. Slides. Droppers. Pipets. Test tubes. Bunsen burner. Safety goggles. Forceps...

I think you get the idea. Once you start adding up all the materials needed, it gets a little crazy. And very expensive! I'm pretty sure I spent close to $300 or more for materials when I was teaching General Science to 7th and 8th grade at our local co-op a few years ago.

This virtual lab saves us money. 

2) It saves space

You don't have to find MORE storage space for all of the science gear - OR for the experiments themselves, which are then sometimes forgotten only to be discovered in horror when you mistakenly stumble upon petri dishes that have been sitting for a few days or weeks in a cupboard. 

3) It's safe!

I don't have to worry about my kid blowing stuff up. Or slicing himself with a scalpel. Or my 3yo wandering up and sticking his fingers in acid. Or having to set up an eye wash station (just in case). Why? BECAUSE IT'S ALL ONLINE!!

My boy can still wear eye goggles if he wants to, but at least it's not because he HAS to. 

4) It's easy to navigate

For a kid who is a Minecraft fanatic, navigating any online portal is under scrutiny. But this one is very easy and intuitive. My 15 yo had no problems finding and manipulating the items in the online lab. But just to be on the safe side, the teacher, Greg Landry, does an introductory video explaining how to navigate the lab.

We chose to do the self-paced, recorded lab. Professor Landry also offers a 2-week intensive live program in the summer (it starts THIS MONDAY, July 12th!!). But with sporadic summer schedules, the self-paced program works better for us. You can still be assured that if you or your child have ANY questions during the recorded lessons, it's not a problem because you can just use your College Prep Science portal to send Professor Landry an email.


5) There's NO MESS

Okay. This one is my favorite. I don't have to set up or clean up. There are no stains on my ceiling or floor or dining room table (not from science experiments anyway). I like that I don't have to put down a drop cloth across my furniture or mop every time a lab is done. 

Maybe this doesn't teach my male teen not to make a mess or to clean up after himself, but he has plenty of other opportunities to practice that!

If you're convinced or just want to learn more about the Virtual Labs (Biology/Anatomy& Physiology, Chemistry, & Physics), visit the College Prep Science website.

All of this again on video...

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Spanish for You! Summer Roundup

 Spanish for You! Summer Round-Up

Over the years, MommyMaestra sponsor Spanish for You! has shared a LOT of great downloads, including mini-lessons, games, and audio files. All of them for FREE!

Today, we're sharing a round-up of the summer-themed activities that you can find here on MommyMaestra. Check them out and then go order your homeschool curriculum sets for the coming school year!

Summer-themed Spanish Activities

Affordable Spanish Learning Program


Remember! Spanish for You!'s program is geared for middle schoolers and is the perfect choice for homeschoolers and afterschoolers alike because their concepts are carefully divided up into manageable bundles that are available for immediate download from their website.


If this is your first time here, you can find other free samples from Spanish for You! here. There are some fantastic downloads of games and activities for you and your family to enjoy. If you enjoy this activity, be sure to visit the Spanish for You! website where you'll find tons of additional resources for you to help your young Spanish learner!

Monday, July 5, 2021

High School Writing Video Course

WriteShop I  - writing course for teens

The following is a sponsored post in collaboration with WriteShop. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

As a parent of a teen with dysgraphia, I can tell you that we have tried A LOT of different resources and curricula to teach writing. It has been my greatest source of stress as a homeschool parent, which is ironic because I just love writing. That's why I am so excited about this course from the WriteShop! Read on to see if it is a good fit for you.

Quick Overview


ProgramWriteShop I
Subject(s): writing 
Religious Perspective: Faith-neutral
Format: Books and online video course
Grades: 6th - 10th
Language: English
Price
: $94.50 - $139.95


WriteShop I writing curriculum
 


Homeschool Writing Curriculum

The WriteShop is an incremental writing program for students. This means that it teaches writing techniques in manageable portions without overwhelming kids. This step-by-step approach helps kids develop sound writing skills. 

They have a lot of products on their website for teaching writing to students in K - 12th. But I elected to use WriteShop I for my 15yo who is going into 10th grade and, as I mentioned, struggles with dysgraphia.

WriteShop I has a total of 16 lessons. Each one takes 1 or 2 weeks - YOU choose how fast you want to go. 

Your child will complete a written assignment for each lesson and learn a specific skill set each time. On their website, you can also find a complete description, product details, reviews, and even the scope & sequence of each product they offer. 

I really like that this writing program is geared toward older children (tweens and teens) so that they don't feel like the lesson are babyish even if they are learning basic writing skills. Even the writing prompts are more age-appropriate.

WriteShop I

Online Video Course

You do have the option to just buy the teacher's guide and student workbook. If you're comfortable teaching your child writing, this is a great way to go.

BUT if you are looking to (mostly) outsource the teaching for this subject, then the video course is excellent. They go over each lesson, focusing on the main activities and skill builders. Parents will still have to review/edit the writing assignments, but the actual skill teaching will be done through their online portal which has the recorded videos. 

The nice thing is that if you aren't worried about schedules, your child can just complete this at their own pace. It's your choice.

The video lessons don't waste time. They get to the heart of the lesson and don't drag it out. This is FANTASTIC. It stops my kid from being bored and complaining. The student portal is easy to navigate, very intuitive, and not cluttered up. 

And it even has self-editing tips to help your student. (<-- BIG PLUS!!)

WriteShop I Video Course


I always advise readers and other homeschoolers to download samples of a curriculum or watch videos that the company shares about their products before purchasing. So here is a preview of the video course for you to watch:


Placement Quiz

If you aren't sure which product to purchase for your child, you can have them take the placement quiz! This is a free tool on their website to help you decide at what level your child is in terms of writing.

What I love best

My 15yo HATES writing. He has dysgraphia and we have just really struggled to find the right curriculum to help him. We've used a lot of great programs, but the hardest part for me has been teaching writing to this kid. It is stressful for both of us. 

And I've been especially concerned about this since he has started high school. Prepping for essay writing has had me full of anxiety. But this course is helping me relax and feel more confident in him.

I love that WriteShop offers this video course that does the teaching for me. All I have to do is review his work once he's completed the assignment.

I also like that there is a lot of humor mixed into this course. My middle kid is the one with the best sense of humor in our family. He's always telling jokes and appreciates a good one. So this added aspect, really helps him to relax and be more receptive to a WRITING program.

***It's important to note that you can do the Video Course without books OR you can choose to do the Video Course with the books.

If this sounds like the writing course that you've been looking for, then go and check out the WriteShop! You can find WriteShop I here and all of their other products for younger grades here.


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WriteShop I: Writing Course for Teens

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