Thursday, November 14, 2019

Working on Math with Elephant Learning Math Academy {A Homeschool Review Crew Review}

We had the opportunity to try out a different online math program these past two and a half months. I chose to have Harold and Hannah use Elephant Learning Math Academy, one of our newest review products from the Homeschool Review Crew. Though it can be used by children as young as 2 ranging all the way up to 16 year olds, the older girls chose not to try the program out. I thought we would give it a try as I was curious if it would show me if the children had any areas they were struggling in, plus it was a chance to try something different.

We were given a 12 month subscription to this online program. Elephant Learning guarantees that your child will learn at least 1 year of math in 3 months as long as the program is used 30 minutes a week. Yes, that isn't a typo. They really only require a child to work 30 minutes a week. Personally, I wanted my children working a bit longer, so I wanted them to work 20 minutes a day for at least 3 days a week. 

When a child first gets on the program, he or she is assessed in their skills. Though to the child it doesn't look any different than the activities they will continue working on throughout the program.  The student's work is analyzed and the program assigns an Elephant Age to the child and gives the child exercises in the areas that he or she needs to work in. 

Let's take a look at what the children have experienced with the program.

Once a child is logged in, they come to their home screen.

This shows an overview of their progress as well as their avatar and a look at how much they have played on the current day. As you can see, Harold's Elephant Age has increased from 5.9 to 9.5 since beginning the program almost three months ago. The circle charts on the bottom right show the percentage complete in each topic the child has been working on. 

Here's a look at Hannah's home screen:

Her Elephant Age has increased from 7.6 to 9.8. 

We can also check out the Playtime Analysis to see how long the child has worked each week. As I mentioned, the recommended weekly time on the program is 30 minutes. Though there were a couple of times the children didn't have a chance to get their work done due to our schedule, their weekly average is still higher than the recommended 30 minutes a week. 

We can also look back on any time range to see how the child performed on every game.

I can go back and see the exact kinds of problems my children were assigned during their time on Elephant Learning. I can see the timestamps, whether the passed, failed, or passed with a milestone, and how long it took them on each game. I can change the range of dates to see the different topics they worked on each week. Which I really appreciate, seeing as the children feel they are always doing the same thing, yet I can see how they have advanced in what they have been working on. For example, when Harold first started, he was working in the following topics:
  • Base 10 to 100
  • Skip Counting
  • Addition-Subtraction: Comparison
  • Addition-Subtraction: Count On
  • Number Composition
  • Addition-Subtraction to 20
  • Decomposing Numbers
  • Counting to 20 in the line
And this week he is working on:
  • Compare Multiply
  • Find percentage of total using number line
  • Division
  • Introduction to Equivalent Fractions
  • Introduction to the Language of Percentages
  • Representation of Fractions
  • Multiplication-Division: Arrays
  • Percentage of a collection
  • Estimate Numbers to 1000
  • Multiplication-Division: Groups 
  • Introduction to the Language of Decimals

And when Hannah first started she was working in the following topics:
  • Counting to 50 in the line
  • Skip counting to 20 in the line
  • Addition Subtraction: Count On
  • Decomposing Numbers
  • Addition Subtraction to 20
  • Number Composition
  • Skip Count to 10 in the line
  • Base 10 to 100
  • Counting to 20 in the line
  • Skip Counting
And this week she is working on:
  • Multiplication in the line
  • Percentage of a Collection
  • Find percentage of total using the number line
  • Division
  • Understanding fractions using areas 1
  • Division
  • Understanding fractions using collection
  • Compare Multiply
  • Estimate Numbers to 1000
  • Multiplication Division: Arrays
So, though the games feel the same, they are working on harder skills now than they were when they began. 

In order to get to their course work, they just need to click that "Continue Coursework" on the home screen.

That brings them to this screen, where they can choose their theme for the day.

Here's a clearer look at the themes, though it is only a fraction of them.

At first we thought that there would be different activities in the different themes. However, we learned that the activities will be the same, the animated graphics will just change. For example, in the following screenshots, Harold was working in the tiger cub theme.

The games all use the tiger cub graphic in different ways.

Here he just had to click on the spot on the number line he thought was correct and click "OK."

The text at the top helps explain what is being learned.

Even though the next screen shot looks the same, the program had moved on to having Harold work with fractions. I thought this was neat because the student can see the relationship between percents and fractions.

The child can move the graphics around the screen if they need to, in order to figure out the answer. Sometimes Harold needs to move them, other times he doesn't, such as in the following problem.

The program then showed him each group.

The problems get a bit harder as he goes along.

Here's a quick look at a different theme. This is one Hannah was using the other day.

The fruits at the left side of the screen show the child how far along in each subject they are. The fruit will go from clear to filled in.

Though the child can choose which theme to use, they have no control over what activities they are going to work in each day. The program has evaluated what the child needs to work on each day, and that is what they work on. I have noticed, on the "History" information, that if a child fails in a game, they are then given the same game later on. Usually the children pass the next time. 

So, what did we think of Elephant Learning Math Academy?

Honestly, I'm torn. I think it is a pretty good program that allows a child to work on topics that need to be worked on. At least according to the way the program analyzes the information. Of course, it can't really take into account if a child is not trying their hardest because they are bored. And, unfortunately, Harold and Hannah have been complaining that they really don't want to use Elephant Learning because there is too much repetition and they are bored. As I have mentioned above, when I looked into what they have been learning, the topics have advanced in difficulty. However, because the "games" are so similar, they feel they are doing the same thing over and over. And when they don't really understand a concept, they feel they aren't getting the instruction that they need in order to fully understand what they are supposed to do. 

Have the children been learning. Well, I have to admit they have been, as their graphs show they have improved since beginning the program. Though I do believe they both placed lower than what they should have. I mean, Hannah took her standardized tests last year and was right on, or above, grade level. Yet her graph shows that her Elephant Age was 2 years younger than what she is. I don't know if part of that was that they were skipping problems in the assessment because they figured if they knew it they didn't have to do it, which is the exact opposite of how it is supposed to work. They are only supposed to skip if they don't know the answer. So, it is possible that they began at a lower age than what they should have, which meant they were working on topics on levels they were already proficient at, which would have bored them from the start. I'm not exactly sure. I do wish there was a way to see the results of the specific questions asked in the assessment. It just seems they both started at a lower age than what they should have. 

That said, even if they had started a bit higher, I admit they have both improved since the beginning. Harold more than Hannah, as he is now at a 9.5 Elephant Age and he is only 7. Hannah on the other hand has an Elephant Age that is close to her real age. 

While Elephant Learning does seem to be a great program where children can improve their math skills, it sadly hasn't been a favorite of my children. There main complaint is that it is boring because of the constant repetition.

You can find Elephant Learning on Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, and Instagram.

Don't forget to click on the banner below to see what my fellow Crew Mates thought of Elephant Learning Math Academy.

Elephant Learning Math Academy Subscription {Elephant Learning Math Academy Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer

Throwback Thursday Blog-Style #282: November 14, 2019

Welcome back to... 

I know, I know, Throwback Thursday seems to be all about sharing pictures from the past, great memories that mean something to you, that you would like to share with others. At least that is how it appears to me. Throwback Thursday wasn't something I was participating in, and then I came up with an idea.

I thought it would be great fun and a help to my blog to share old content, but not just any old content. Each week I will share an old blog post from a previous year, any year, BUT it has to be from the current week (for example, something I've posted around November 14th, from any previous year)  I will go in, edit the post if needed, add a pinnable image if I don't already have one, and share it on Facebook.

Would you like to join in? You do not need to edit your past post in any way, you don't need to create a pinnable image, though it couldn't hurt, in fact it will help your blog traffic to add quality pinnable images to your posts.

Just go into your archives, choose a favorite post from this current week from any previous year, and link it up below. (If you don't have anything from this current week, it is still okay to link up with a post from a previous year around this time. And if you haven't been blogging for a full year, feel free to share any earlier post.)

Please make sure to share from the past as instructed above.  The spirit of Throwback Thursday Blog-Style is to share posts from the past. Please follow the guidelines. I would hate to have to delete your link.
Thank you

I will be pinning posts to my appropriate Pinterest boards and will be randomly selecting a Featured Throwback Thursday post to share next week. Just a note, I will be sharing a picture from your post if you are selected as the featured post, but I will link back to your post. I will ALWAYS give credit and link back. By linking up you are giving me permission to use your picture in the post. 

Here is my Throwback Thursday post
(This year I am going to focus on looking back at past reviews):

Here is this week's randomly selected
Featured Throwback Thursday post:

Gale from Imaginative Homeschool shared

To participate, link up below. It would be great if you could visit several of the other posts that have linked up. Stop by, comment, and pin images so we can help each other.

No button currently, and there won't be one until I can figure it out seeing as Photobucket has changed things. Feel free to still share the picture in place of the button. Just link it to my Throwback Thursday Blog-Style permalink please.

Happy Throwback Thursday!

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Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Historical Fun with the Horses in History Series {A Homeschool Review Crew Review}

I've mentioned before that I love finding new books for the children and I to read. I've also mentioned that Amelia is a fan of learning about history. So, when I learned about Mattie Richardson's Horses in History Series from Author Mattie Richardson/Appaloosy Books, I thought they would be a great read. What made it really good timing is that we are learning about early American history in our homeschool this year. Granted, we are learning about colonial times currently, and these books take place in the 1800's, but I thought they would be fun to read and have on hand for when we reach that period of history. 

We received four paperback books which range in length from 70 pages to 140 pages. 

The author, Mattie Richardson, wrote the first book, Appaloosy, when she was only 13 years old, though it wasn't published until she was 16. Since then she has written five more books. I love her passion for writing and for encouraging other young writers. She is also a musician and of course, she owns a couple of horses and enjoys horseback riding. Even more amazing, she finds time to go and speak and perform Bluegrass. Her four books in the Horses in History Series are:
  • Appaloosy
  • Dusty's Trail
  • Golden Sunrise
  • Day and Night

What really intrigued me about these books is that they are written from the point of view of the horse or horses (as is the case in Day and Night). And though the stories revolve around the personal life of the horse(s) and the owners, there are tidbits of history being learned as the books are being read. 

You do not need to read the books in any particular order, and they are not connected with each other. They are stand-alone novels which focus on different periods in American history. 

In Appaloosy, we are introduced to the main character, Storm the Appaloosa, at his birth. He is the son of Blackhawk and Misty. This story takes place in 1877 during the Nez Perce War. At first Storm thinks he is a free horse, but soon learns that the Nez Perce Indians owned him and many other horses in the area. His life is a series of struggles in wanting to be free while being owned by different people, some more loving than the others. Even though he resisted being "owned" by the Indians, he developed a relationship with the young brave named White Feather who he was given to. Sadly, they are separated due to the Nez Perce war when the white man comes to force the native people onto the reservation. He finds himself taken away by the soldiers, refuses to be broken, and ends up escaping, only to be caught and sold more than once. He then goes from his cruelest master to his sweetest, most gentle owner, a girl named Faith who earns his trust and loyalty. There are still struggles, including a fire, an accident, and a horse-napping, but he finally comes to the realization that he wants a home and chooses to remain loyal to Faith. 

In Dusty's Trail, we go back a decade to the time of the Pony Express which ran from April of 1860 to October of 1861. Our main character Dusty is unlike Storm from the first book in that he was brought up to know he was an owned horse. He is an American Quarter Horse was already broken and enjoyed spending time with his owner. We are introduced to him, as well as his owner Levi, as they are racing down a dusty Nevada valley. We come to learn that Dusty is extremely fast, yet he is a bit of a fraidy cat. And we learn that Levi is a bit rebellious, though he means to do well by his family. Against his mother's wishes, Levi answers an advertisement to become a part of the Pony Express. We learn how the Pony Express ran, with the rider going from horse to horse before taking a break. This of course means that Dusty wasn't always with Levi. Though Dusty worked well with other riders, it was said that they did their best work together. In fact, Dusty ran an extremely long run at one point because of sickness and death of others. This of course puffed Dusty up with pride, which was then punctured when he and Levi were attacked by Pauite Indians and he abandoned his master who was captured. Thanks to the help of a horse named Ace who used to be owned by some Indians, Dusty is able to rescue Levi, becoming brave in the process. 

In Golden Sunrise, the author takes us back further in time to the early 1800's during the time when Texas is fighting for its independence. In this book the main character is a female Palomino horse  named Cheyenne. We meet her and her owner Jared as they are playing in a meadow in Northern Texas. Cheyenne originally belonged to an Indian but was sold to Jared a few years prior to the start of the book. I look forward to reading this book and to learn more about the Texas fight for independence through the eyes of Cheyenne. I have to say, I was excited to learn that Davy Crockett is a character in this book. When it comes to historical information that I have knowledge of, this book is one that includes some I actually already know about. 

But, I have to say, I know the most about the history that is covered in the fourth book, Day and Night.

That said, I have not yet had a chance to read this book. Personally, I have fully read Appaloosy and Dusty's Trail. Tabitha and Amelia are part-way through Appaloosy, though with their other reading for school they haven't had a chance to read it as much as I would have liked. Unfortunately, Amelia isn't as "into" the book as I was hoping she would be. I, on the other hand, am really enjoying them and can't understand why she doesn't care for the book. Though I have not yet read Day and Night, my husband agreed to read it to be able to share his thoughts. 

This is the only book that is told from the alternating point of view of two horses who happen to be brothers, one fighting with the Union army, and one fighting with the Confederate army. Personally, I am used to books like this, so I think I would be okay with it; however, my husband has found it a bit confusing. Other than that, he seems to be enjoying the book.

I think this book is one the children and I will read together as a read aloud when we get to the time of the Civil War (the time period it is set in). I'm especially excited to get to use the Day and Night Enrichment Guide for this Day and Night book. 

The Enrichment Guide is broken up into 8 sections which are meant to be taken at a pace of about one section a week. There are reading comprehension questions, vocabulary, history information, a look at soldier's life, geography, horses and history, biography, and even a section to work on the students own writing skills. It looks like this will be a great way to delve into the Civil War. 

I have really been enjoying these books. Personally, I have always loved horses, and it is neat to be able to read these stories from the horses point of view, learning more about horses and the care of horses at the same time. I really enjoy all the historical information that is included in the books, and appreciate the time the author took researching this information. Additionally, the "Blast from the Past" section at the end of each book is a great resource.

I also like that there are some illustrations in the book, though there are only a few in each book.

I definitely recommend these books to those who are lovers of horses and/or American history.

You can find Appaloosy Books on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Don't forget to click on the banner below to see what my fellow Crew Mates thought about these fun books.

Book Set: Appaloosy, Dusty's Trail, Golden Sunrise & Day and Night {Mattie Richardson/Appaloosy Books Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer

Monday, November 11, 2019

Tuesday's Giveaway Link Up- November 12, 2019

Welcome to Tuesday's Giveaway Link Up with your hosts Karen @ Tots and Me, Emily @ Emily Reviews, Shelly @ The Attic Girl, and Rena @ An Ordinary Housewife.

So glad you could join us as we share our giveaways on  Tuesday's Giveaway Link Ups. 

This link up will be posted Monday at 7 PM est. and run all week long! Make sure you stop in as often as you can to list your latest giveaways.

Here is how to use the Giveaway Link Up

1. Post your reviews and/or giveaways, as many as you have, be sure to add the end date (family friendly please)

2. Help spread the word about the giveaway link up by grabbing our button, Tweeting or posting on Facebook. (Not mandatory- but it helps get more exposure to your giveaways as well!)

3. Take a moment to enter any giveaway that strikes an interest to you!

Featured Giveaways

Universal Pictures Kids Holiday Giveaway 3 Prizes US only Ends 11/15

Featured Reviews

If you would  like to follow the  hostesses, we will gladly follow you back! Simply leave us a message to do so.

Thank you for linking up with Karen @ Tots and Me, Emily @ Emily ReviewsShelly @ The Attic Girl, and Rena @ An Ordinary Housewife .

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Friday, November 8, 2019

Littles Learning Link Up: Dissecting Owl Pellets

Littles Learning Link Up is now on Friday!!

Each month you will find:
  • A seasonal round-up (usually toward the beginning of the month)
  • Posts where I share what I have been up to with my elementary-age children and the preschoolers I work with at our homeschool co-op (including occasional highlight posts where I share how we used ideas that have been linked up here on Littles Learning Link Up).
Each week, I will host a link up, where you can share either what you have been up to recently, or old posts that may go with the theme.  Feel free to link up more than one post.

Each week I will continue to feature a couple of posts from those that have been linked up. 

I hope you will continue to share your wonderful posts, and I hope you will find something new to try with your child(ren).

It would be great for everyone to stop by and visit the other linked-up posts as well. Check them out, leave some comments, pin those that interest you. Let's make this a real party and socialize with each other.

Here's a peek at what we have been up to in our homeschool.

We haven't been doing the greatest job getting back on track with our school times. Tabitha usually gets her history reading in, but I don't always get to it with the other children. They do get math and language arts done as this is done during their computer time. And for November, Language Arts is writing their story for NaNoWriMo. I have also been able to get the younger two to work in the math workbooks, plus Harold has a science workbook. Additionally, Tabitha is reading The Witch of Blackbird Pond, and I am reading, as a family read aloud, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Though both of these are being used with the LitWits Kits we are reviewing, Tabitha was scheduled to be reading The Witch of Blackbird Pond anyway, as it goes with our time period in history, colonial America. 

Something we did make time for was dissecting owl pellets. 

This kit was really neat, I got it off of Amazon.

It came with 6 barn owl pellets, one for each of us, though daddy hasn't dissected his yet.

The children were hesitant at first. Actually, they were completely grossed out at the thought and were refusing to do this. However, once they got started they were quite fascinated, even little Harold.

I mean, it is quite fascinating.

There, a little look at the bones we found.

Let's take a look at that review schedule real quick:

Last week I posted my review of a multiplication practice book from Channie's Visual Handwriting & Math Workbooks.

And this week I shared my review of the new books from Kregel Publications, the Goldtown Beginnings books featuring Jem Coulter. Later in the month I will share reviews of some books from Mattie Richardson,  Elephant Learning Math Academy, and LitWits Kits.

Here are some things I would like to share with you:

Now onto:
Littles Learning Link Up Features

On my last Littles Learning Link Up post, there was only 1 wonderful post linked up. 

Please, don't forget to stop by other posts that are linked up. See what catches your eye, stop by, pin the post to a relevant board, and perhaps leave a comment to let the author of the blog know you have been by for a visit. I know I appreciate others commenting and letting me know they have read my posts, so I am sure others do too.

Here's this week's featured post is:

Homegrown Adventures shared Albuquerque, New Mexico Road Trip
Join the Party!

I would love to have you join in this week! What sort of activities do you do with your young children? Do you have some favorite activities you would like to share? I invite you to link up below. I will be pinning posts on one of my relevant boards, and I would love to feature some of the activities each week from what is linked up.

Please know I may share a picture from your post and link back to it, along with sharing how we used your idea in our school time. By linking up you are giving me permission to use a picture from your post. I will ALWAYS give credit and link back. Additionally, if you choose to try out any of the ideas with your child, please make sure you give credit where credit is due.

Linky will be open through Monday night, to give me time to check out all the posts and get the Features organized. Please take the time to visit some of the other wonderful posts linked up.

No button currently, and there won't be one until I can figure it out seeing as Photobucket has changed things. Feel free to still share the picture in place of the button. Just link it to my Littles Learning Link Up permalink please.

I am sharing over at

Homeschool Coffee Break

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