Archive for March, 2011

Another Way to Learn Math

I had been on a mission to find an online pre-algebra textbook for my son. We have been using Saxon Math. But the thought of adding another textbook and solution book to our pile to haul all over the world was not enticing. I tried to find a textbook for our Kindle, but they don’t really exist. It just wasn’t happening. I finally found two different options. My son is only 9 and had been in Saxon 7/8. My 10 year old who turned 11 this week was in Saxon 5/4. I felt like both could use a break and some review, so we ditched the textbooks at Grandma’s house before we headed over the ocean again. They are there waiting if we want them in the future. (I still have 3 other math learners following behind them.)

Right now I have them both using Khan Academy. There are lessons other than math, but math is how it got started and all I’ve looked at. It starts with basic addition and moves you through various levels as you achieve proficiency.

The blue shows where proficiency has been reached. The green shows where she’s started working. The white hasn’t been started yet. On the left there are suggested exercises. It keeps track of how many right you get in a row. You get different rewards, which show as little icons along the top of your screen, as your correct streak gets higher and higher.

There are several things I like about it. It tells them right away if they get something wrong, no more fussing at them to check their work and to fix mistakes. They can’t move on until it’s right. My daughter is someone who could do every problem wrong on a page–she just spent all that time practicing it wrong! I’m glad now she’s forced to do it right. It also makes them stay at it until they are proficient. She can’t just turn the page and move on. You gotta get it.

It also keeps track of what they’ve done. I have a “coach” page which shows me all of my kids. I can see at a glance how many minutes they have spent on there. I can see what they have finished and where they are stuck.

All instruction takes place through videos. You don’t have to watch the video if you already know how to do it. The problems just come up on the screen and you answer it. The screen is like a white board, so you can write on it to help you solve the problem. My daughter just writes the problems in her notebook though. The program goes through calculus by the way.

My concern is the application. Is it all just computation? Does it have word problems? This may need supplementing. We shall see. We are going to use this through the end of the school year and then make a decision as to what’s next.

Here’s another pre-algebra online course I have found. We haven’t used this yet. I need to look at it more. There are online textbooks for algebra, geometry, algebra 2, trigonometry and calculus. You can find links to these on my Links to All Things Free for Homeschoolers Blog.


March 20, 2011 at 6:40 am 1 comment


Congratulations to Heather at Marine Corps Nomads on winning The King Will Make a Way giveaway. Remember you can download the pdf to read as well. I would love to hear from those of you who’ve read it. A couple people have left great reviews at

Before I write about our America studies, I wanted to let you know that I added some photos to my Asia studies post. I have a photo of our salt dough volcano and my daughter’s Taj Mahal art project.

We’ve only just started back full swing into school. I’ve lengthened our school day and am requiring a certain amount of time out of the kids and not just a certain amount of material to finish. I’ve also added to the schedule their Bible and regular reading which doesn’t usual appear during our official school time because I don’t have trouble getting them to read, but I was feeling like we things weren’t getting done since we’ve all gotten discombobulated in the move and wanted to make sure they were reading enough daily.

They’ve been making state notebooking pages for me. My son has started using Glogster for this since he always prefers to work on the computer. This and digital lapbook designer both produce webpages you can share with others.

They’ve been using different websites to get their info. They are all listed on the Links to All Things Free for Homeschoolers blog. They have been playing different states and capitals games. (There are other games listed on the Links blog as well.)

We haven’t really done any history with the USA study except when states joined the union. Learning a more broad history of the world is an advantage of learning about different countries. Too much of our history studies revolve around America and Europe.

We’re going to flash back to the Middle East soon. I just slipped America in here because it was the easiest to do in the middle of the move.

We read this earlier this year so we didn’t repeat it now, but there is a great book for North America called Paddle to the Sea. There’s a movie of it as well. It’s about the Great Lakes region.

March 6, 2011 at 7:57 pm 1 comment

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