Category Archives: Math

Schoolhouse Review ~ Trigger Memory #hsreviews

The Trigger Memory Co REVIEW

We had the opportunity to review Times Tales DVD Digital Download from The Trigger Memory Co. If you haven’t heard of this, you will be very excited that you are reading this review! Below shows what comes with the program and what you need to use. With this you get two downloadable MP4 files as well as three pdf files. You watch the videos and use the pdf files for their worksheets (one of the three files is an answer key). This program sells for $19.95 at the time of this review. We used this with our 8 year old 2nd Grade son.


The Trigger Memory Co REVIEW

So, what exactly is TIMES TALES? I’m glad you asked! This is truly an amazing teaching tool! It teaches times tables to students through stories. Yes…STORIES! The students don’t even realize they are learning their times tables! GENIUS IDEA!! And…IT WORKS!!!

They suggest you listen to Part 1 of the DVD first (about 30 minutes – we had to split it in to two 15-minute sessions) and then do the Part 1 worksheets for a week. Then listen / watch Part 2 (also about 30 minutes – we had to split it in to two sessions – 19 minutes and 11 minutes) and then do Part 2 worksheets.


Honestly I was kind of “ho hum” about this review when we got it but boy was I WRONG! This thing is really impressive! It is quick and easy and OH.SO.EFFECTIVE!

So, what do I mean by this program “teaching through stories”? Exactly that! For instance, each number has a name, seven is Mrs. Week (and Mr. Week) because there are seven days in a week, eight is Mrs. Snowman (because she looks like a snowman), three is a butterfly (because the three looks like the butterfly wings), so on etc. Then each character is shared in a story like this one: There are two trees (the trees are nines). One had eight apples and the other had one apple. So without even realizing it, they learn that 9 x 9 = 81. So fun and so easy! And as you can see below – IT WORKS!

Here is a sample of one of the Part 2 Worksheets which are completed after listening to Part 2 (Part 1 are the same just the lower numbers). There are also flash cards and crossword puzzles. The numbers are shown on the different sheets as their characters and as regular numbers so you start with the character sheets and then move to just the number sheets. Such a wonderful way to work through learning higher times tables!


By the end of the program they are learning division! COOL! My son was actually really frustrated because as he said, “They haven’t taught us that!!” I said, “Just listen. And remember there are always the same three numbers.” So he listened, and not surprisingly, he got it right! He was really happy!

By entering your email address at this link you can get a free sample download.

As a side note, this program has seen GREAT response to students with special needs also!

Ways to keep up with The Trigger Memory Co.:


Now hop over and read more reviews from the Schoolhouse Review Crew! (Keep in mind that reviews will be posted any time between 4/4 and 4/6 so make sure to come back and see them all!)

Here’s praying you have fun learning!


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Schoolhouse Review ~ Demme Learning’s Math-U-See #hsreviews

TopPicWhen I saw that Demme Learning’s Math-U-See digital pack was available for review through the Schoolhouse Review Crew I was overjoyed. My son has been struggling a little with MUS Algebra 2 so I was curious to see what the Algebra 2 Digital Pack was all about. I wasn’t sure by the online description if it was going to be more in-depth than what he already had: the physical products of the instruction pack and student pack. I was hoping “other online resources” meant additional instruction of some sort. Unfortunately I was wrong.

Let me say that we LOVE Math-U-See and have used it for YEARS. It is a product I have recommended to others over the years more times than I can count. So, keep that in mind as I share my review of the digital pack. The digital packs are available for Primer through Pre-Calculus and the price increases with the difficulty of the class. The price of the Algebra 2 Digital Pack (that we are reviewing here) is $61 at the time of this review. This gives you one year of online access.

Demme Learning Math U See ReviewSo, let me tell you more about what the digital pack is and what it offers you and your student.

There is only one login. This gives you access to the instruction dvd (online video), teacher book (pdf) and book and test solutions (also pdf). As you can see below you pick your course on the top left, the lesson you want on the top right and the booklet information is available on the right sidebar. Keep in mind there is NO WAY to hide or make unavailable the solutions. (If that is an area of concern for you.)


A definite way this program is helpful is that you can watch it on many different devices instead of having to have some sort of dvd player. [One reviewer mentioned in our review forum that her student used headphones as well – so that is another wonderful option.] You can use an iPhone or a table or a laptop…definitely adds convenience!

Demme Learning Math U See ReviewSomething important to note: you MUST have the student workbook to use the digital packs.

Another side note: apparently there are digital manipulatives available for those courses that manipulatives are used. That would be very helpful, I would think. Algebra 2 doesn’t require manipulatives so we have no experience with them…but check out other reviewer posts (link is below) and see what they had to say about them!

In general I was disappointed with what the digital pack was but that is only because we already had everything we needed for MUS Algebra 2 and I was hoping there would be additional helpful teaching tools found in this program. There isn’t. It is the same thing you would get in the physical set.

But remember – WE LOVE MATH-U-SEE and know that many families will find the digital pack to be the perfect fit for their family!

Ways to keep up with Demme Learning:

Twitter:  @mathusee #​mathusee #homeschoolmath​ #hsreview

Now hop over and read more reviews from the Schoolhouse Review Crew! (Keep in mind that reviews will be posted any time between 3/7 and 3/9 so make sure to come back and see them all!)

Here’s praying you have fun learning!


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Schoolhouse Review ~ IXL #hsreviews

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We had the opportunity to review IXL an online Math and Language Arts Program. It covers grades PreK-12 for Math and grades 2-8 for Language Arts.

If you have been homeschooling for any length of time, you have probably already heard of IXL. They offer a free program (limited access that will only allow you to use it for a limited time) and they also offer a paid program (unlimited access to everything). We received one year of full access to the PAID program for both IXL Math and IXL Language Arts for this review.

IXL has made a pretty impressive online learning supplement! Their mission: passionate about creating and supporting the best educational technology possible; developing first-of-their-kind products used by millions of learners, from children to adults and deeply committed to solving the real-world challenges faced by students and teachers around the planet.

IXL offers visual representations, listening exercises and interactive activities so as to utilize both the right and left sides of the brain. The site has vibrant images and awards and certificates that are hidden throughout the site. There are hundreds of virtual awards that reflect kids’ favorite animals, foods, places, and hobbies. Within IXL math, each grade level has its own themed game board, filled with hidden prizes, so practicing math is like one big treasure hunt.

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We spent the majority of our time reviewing the Kindergarten through Second Grade Math items but my older son did mess around with Algebra 1 a little and I did hop around in several different areas within the program.

With IXL you are only provided one login name and password. When you login you then pick which person is working on items at that time. You can also switch between users without having to login out and back in again. This is handy when you have several users. The program does not track where you left off or remind you of where to start and every user has access to all items. This could be confusing for younger learners but help from the teacher easily fixes it. (Since P is only six I sat with him the entire time he was working with this program, not only to be able to provide an accurate, knowledgeable review but also to help him navigate around.)

The one thing the program does offer for knowing where you have or have not been are little bars to the side of the options…they are darker if you have visited that area and “whited out” if you have not – as shown below.

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There are many things we appreciated about this program. For example, in the picture below, the student actually MOVES the ruler so they can find out how long the given item is…we thought this was a very impressive, really fun, interactive way to learn about measuring…since that is how it would work in real life.

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Notice the green “speaker boxes” to the left of the sentences above. These are where you can click and the sentences will be read out loud for the student. LOVE this! I am amazed at different online programs that do not offer this for lower elementary learning – so we really appreciated that IXL offers this. [Audio is available for all math items for grades PreK through Fifth.]

Every screen you are working in shows the chart on the right above. It shows problems solved, time elapsed and what their score is out of 100. One thing I would have liked is to have the option to change the number of problems necessary. My youngest felt an average of thirty problems per section was a bit much (but he’s my ‘never wants to sit in one spot for more than a couple seconds’ kid).

The picture below is from eighth grade language arts. I thought it was really neat and fun how I could actually highlight (the green part below) within the text they provided on the screen. Simple but interactive. Nice.

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Below is another eighth grade language arts item. (You can tell what area you are in by looking at the top left of the screen…where the red box is.) In this one I was able to change the verbiage underneath the sign to say what the correct wording of the sign should be. Again simple – but very effective – interaction.

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This program is meant to be used as a supplement or as a review. The reason it is considered a supplement or review item is that it doesn’t TEACH the concepts but only tells how something is done if a WRONG answer is submitted. We didn’t really understand that at first so things weren’t going very well for us initially. But once we realized that it is more for review – it changed everything and we really enjoyed working with it. As you can see below we weren’t sure what answer they wanted submitted so we received an incorrect answer. You can see that it shows the correct answer and then explains how that answer was obtained. My youngest found this frustrating but we were able to talk through why it does things like this so it wasn’t a huge thing for us.

The example below is from my oldest using Algebra 1.

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There are such a huge amount of topics covered in every grade for both math and language arts that I would not be able to list them all here. Head over to their site and check them all out by clicking HERE.

In addition to learning, IXL also offers a “report” area which is found under the “Parent” account. Here are the report choices which offer pretty much everything you could be looking for.

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Below is a sample report. Although they do offer a lot of reports, you have to select each thing for each report: student, grade, subject, etc. It is a little tedious but does provide the necessary information. For me, I would prefer a more simple way to receive a complete report of what each student worked on…something a little less detailed maybe…but that’s just me.

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As you can see this is a very comprehensive online program that just about everyone can get something from.

Additionally, although we didn’t utilize them, they do offer online apps for the iPad, Android and Kindle.

Now…the cost breakdown:

    • Math (PreK – 12) is $9.95 per month or $79 per year.
    • Language Arts (Grades 2 – 8) is $9.95 per month or $79 per year.
    • BOTH Math AND Language Arts is $15.95 per month or $129 per year.

Each additional child is $2.00 per month or $20 per year.

An interesting tidbit, I thought, they offer programs for the following countries: United States, Australia, Canada, Europe, India, Ireland, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa and United Kingdom…that’s a pretty impressive list! If you have any questions about which edition is right for you, contact them at any time at

Now hop over and Read more IXL reviews from the Schoolhouse Review Crew!

Here’s praying you have fun learning!




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Schoolhouse Review ~ CTC Math #hsreviews

CTC Math ReviewWe had the opportunity to review CTC Math‘s 12 Month Family Plan which provides us with one year of access to the homeschool program which covers Kindergarten through Trigonometry for up to five students.

We used it for mostly Kindergarten and First Grade for P. We used it as a stand alone program for him and it worked really well. We started out doing Kindergarten but fairly quickly moved to First Grade. P tends to be REALLY smart in Math…this program confirmed that. Here are some screen shots of different things he worked on:

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This program is REALLY NEAT in the fact that the student can use (drag over) the items for counting. The light, bright blue things are ones that he “pulled over” to count.

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Working on 3D shape recognition. First they went thru which shape was which and then they added numbers (addition) to it. Neat idea!

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The videos are fun to watch and short to listen to (and the guy has a really neat Australian accent!)…most are about three to four minutes in length. Once the student watches the video they then do the lesson associated with that video, usually consisting of ten questions. Once the lesson is over they immediately get a sheet showing their grade.


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This program can be used as your main math curriculum or it can be used as a refresher or an added item to what you currently use.

Working on lessons:
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The younger students also have the option of doing both standard testing or comprehensive testing to “test out of” a section.

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As a fun bonus, the students get award certificates for doing a job well done!

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One of our favorite things ~ you can go to ANY COURSE, STREAM, OPTION you want AT ANY TIME so it isn’t that you can’t move on if you haven’t done something.

J did mess around with Geometry a little bit as well. He prefers doing things with his hands verses online so he preferred using his current math curriculum. Trying to figure out where he would be in this was helped by using the “Lesson Summary” offered for each lesson. This is a pdf version of the lesson that you can open and quickly see what is covered.

Some things I did notice that were different between the younger grades and the older grades (seen on the right of the pic below)…sometimes they have worksheets, solutions and a place to enter their grade. So, it is handled in a way that a more mature student can progress through. (And from what I understand they have it set up so they know if students are cheating.) Some times they are not offered the solutions until AFTER they have entered the answers.

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There is also a “parent area” where you can see a general overview and a detailed overview of where your students are. The parent area is VERY BASIC and doesn’t allow you to assign work or anything…you can simply view what your student has done. Personally this wasn’t an issue for us…we actually really liked the fact that they could work wherever they wanted and at whatever speed they wanted.

Here is what the overview looks like:
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Here is a detailed report:

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You can see a video demo on this page.

Regular pricing is $29.95 per month for one student or $39.95 for 2 or more students. You can also pay for six months or one year which offer additional discounts. To me, this price is a bit excessive for one student but would be worth it (and HIGHLY RECOMMENDED) for multiple students. Please note ~ there is currently a 60% off SALE on this product (at the time of this posting).

We will continue to use this program in our homeschooling adventure!

Read more CTC Math reviews from the Schoolhouse Review Crew!

Here’s praying you have fun learning!




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Giveaway ~ A+ Interactive Math

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Students are encouraged as they work, and are able to continue practicing  mastery of each concept with online or printable worksheets.  A+ even has printed workbooks you can purchase separately, to go along with your program, or use the free downloads. 

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At the end of each chapter, an exam is offered. The student can repeat the lessons,do more interactive review, and practice worksheets as many times as needed while grades are automatically recorded. Younger students will love printing out the certificates of accomplishment to show off to parents and grandparents. 

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Schoolhouse Review ~ Math Mammoth #hsreviews

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We had the opportunity to review Math Mammoth‘s Make It Real Learning. These workbooks (made for grades 3 and up) were created to answer the question so many teaching math are asked, “When will I ever use this in real life?”

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Linear Functions 1 is a 46 page ebook covering things like cell phone plans, government nutrition and music downloads.

Linear Functions 2 is also a 46 page ebook covering things like carbohydrates, fast food and travel.

Linear Functions 3 is a 45 page ebook covering things like college tuition, music & games and shopping.

Each ebook sells for $4.99.

These workbooks involve real world problems…using the appropriate math, the students have to figure out how to make the choice that would save them the most. They contain the perfect amount of problems to go through, not too many – as is often the case.

From the website:

The activities contain challenging parts and therefore allow students to practice real problem solving – not just apply knowledge from textbook examples to other almost identical problems.

These workbooks are meant to be used with someone who understands math language and problems. This is NOT something you can simply hand the student and have them do it. Answers are provided. As stated on the website:

Please note that Make It Real Learning workbooks do not contain the instruction or explanations of the concepts.

Sample page from Linear Functions 1:

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My husband, who is a math teacher, did not have any issues with these (which is actually what it is mainly designed for – use from a math teacher). I, however, was unable to use it with my son as I was not knowledgeable enough about what they were wanting. So, if you (as the teacher) are strong in math, this would be an excellent supplement to your teaching. If you are not, this may not be for you (unless you are willing to do additional investigation – and for the price, it may be worth it).

Overall, these *ARE* something we would recommend to others!

Click to read more Math Mammoth reviews from the Schoolhouse Review Crew

Here’s praying you have fun learning!




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Schoolhouse Review ~ TouchMath (PreK) #hsreviews

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Ever heard of TouchMath? I hadn’t…not sure why…this is an AMAZING program!

Oh my goodness – can you say, “Mom couldn’t open the boxes fast enough?” My son was super excited about this from the second he saw it! This is an wonderful program that uses a serious HANDS ON approach to learning numbers and math.

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I was provided the Preschool Curriculum, the Touch Shapes, the Texture Cards and the 3-D Numerals.

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The curriculum ($59.95) is 203 pages consisting of six modules and is meant to be a complete (not supplemental) program. The modules cover:

  1. Counting and Number Sense
  2. Comparing and Classifying
  3. Sorting, Classifying, Graphing, and Patterning
  4. Identifying, Sorting, and Classifying 2-D Shapes
  5. Identifying, Sorting, and Classifying 3-D Shapes
  6. Representing Quantities and Numbers

The Touch Shapes ($30.00) are 108 plastic shape pieces. There are six shapes in six colors in three sizes. These are wonderful because they show the student that regardless of color and size, it is still the same shape. These are also handy for  sorting by size. We used these quite a bit with this program.

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The Texture Cards ($99.00) are very unique! They are six sets of nine cards (45 cards total). The sets are: TouchPoint Texture, Animal Texture, Shape Texture, Sea Life Texture and Fruit Texture. We only used a couple of these sets in our review time and although this program can easily be done without these, I would highly recommend them for younger preschoolers as I can really see how they would help them learn that a number is something more than just something on paper. For instance, the Animal Texture number 5 shows five donkeys. As the child touches the soft fur of each donkey, and counts to five, they are learning in SO MANY WAYS!

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The 3-D Numerals ($79.00) are such an amazing way to teach learners who need to touch to understand. I absolutely LOVE these! They are such an easy way for kids to learn! For the most part we used these as a way to put numbers in order and to pick which number goes between others and things like that.

“The TouchMath Pre-K Homeschool Program is designed to build the pre-K foundational skills that will lead to success in kindergarten.”…”At the pre-K level, mastery of each skill is not the goal. The goal is exposure to the skills through experiential activities to build the foundation for kindergarten success.”

At first I had a hard time putting all the pieces together for this…but once I figured it out, it was VERY EASY. I ended up printing most of the pages and putting them into a binder with separators for each module. Once that was done, ALL the work for the teacher / parent is prepared for you and I LOVE THAT!

The actual curriculum works by itself – you do not NEED the manipulatives to complete it. However, I HIGHLY suggest them as they are the part that really “completes the picture” for the kids. Although you can use “everyday items” if you’d like – to me this added some FUN to the program. It added items that my son didn’t use other than when learn with this curriculum. That makes is more fun!

In all honesty, I think this program was a bit easy for my five year old son. However, I still TOTALLY LOVE the concept behind this curriculum! I can definitely see how this program would be beneficial for those with special needs.

Here are some the pages he did:

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Make sure to hop over and see what my other crew mates had to say (this program covers PreK through 2nd Grade):

Here’s praying you have fun learning!



Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this product through the Schoolhouse Review Crew in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations.