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Building a Robot with EEME

EEME is a blog sponsor and we received this product free for the purpose of reviewing it. All opinions expressed are my personal, honest opinions. You can read my full disclosure policy for more details. 

Recently we shared Kaleb’s work on building Q the robot from EEME. Before getting to the finished (and fun!!) part of watching his robot move around, there were steps of learning about circuits, how motors work, and so much more. 

In short, a little bit of patience. 

The finished project though – so much fun to shut the blinds in the house, whip out the flashlight, and guide Q around the house! Especially when you see all your hard work pay off.

Q the Robot is a project kit that guides your child through the process of building a 3-wheeled robot who follows light. He is the first in a series of robotics projects from EEME – and there is no coding required to get started! Once completed, Q follows light around using two sensors, or photo resistors. When light is shined directly onto the sensors, Q turns to follow the light. 

Building our Robot

Using the FREE online lessons (anyone can view these!), Kaleb learned first about all the components that go into building this particular robot: breadboards and how circuits are completed, making the motors turn in different directions, powering the robot, photoresistors,  and finally had a chance to start building the actual robot. 

 

If you don’t know a thing about electronics, don’t worry. There are step-by-step videos that will walk your child (and you) through the process, and that includes explaining all the various parts and exactly what they do. 

We initially broke the video lessons for Q the Robot into three segments and over the course of three/four days: lessons 1-10, 11-20, and 21-35. Each of the 35 videos range in length, but average time each day was between half an hour to  45 minutes, taking us a little over two hours to complete the entire project. 

Our first step toward finishing Q was learning about photo resistors. The battery back was temporarily hooked up again with one of the motors to see how the circuit was completed and would function. You can see the photo resistor just to the right of Kaleb’s left hand. Later there will be two that will help “guide” the robot based on the light that shines on each resistor.

After learning about the photo resistors, Kaleb was finally able to pull out the main platform and start assembling the body for Q (lesson #26). 

The back of Q features a single caster that allows the robot to pivot or wiggle back and forth as it moves. 

The next steps (#27-28) may have caused a little more frustration for Kaleb. In assembling the motors and attaching them to the platform, it was a little trickier for him (he kept dropping one of the screws and missing the hole). 

Can I tell you what I loved at this part though? His utter concentration, shown by the tongue that stayed half stuck out of his mouth for the remainder of the building process. 

He was able to finally get both motors attached and labeled either right or left. The labeling is important for the turning of the wheels that are still to be added. 

The power switch and battery pack were the next to be added. We used some velcro dots (provided) to attach the battery pack to the platform – super quick and easy. 

At this point, Q the Robot was beginning to take shape nicely. While Q waited patiently, Kaleb completed a little more wiring. 

And finally the breadboard was mounted to robot body… 

motors were wired correctly (in complete concentration as you can see)…

And Q the Robot was finished! 

The best part though, after all this hard work, was seeing Q in action and having Kaleb explain some of it. Click to watch the video above (you can also visit and watch on YouTube). 

 

What Mom’s Need to Know…

  • Everything’s included – parts, wires, batteries are included in all every kit
  • No experience needed – our online lessons to mentor, guide, and teach your kid (seriously, this is a lovely thing)
  • Safety first – no soldering required, low voltage projects (the mom in me rejoices)

Meanwhile, kids are learning solid concepts and being challenged by building projects using REAL components. They may make mistakes, but in doing so, they learn to review and discover what they can do to make it better and work correctly. 

Perfect for ages 10+

Time Required: 1-2.5 hours

Parental involvement: varies based on child

Start Learning With EEME

There are 3 ways to learn with EEME – FREE online lessons, their robotics kit series, and their electronics kit series.

  1. For free online lessons – families create a free account with EEME and use their web browser to interactively build and learn about electronics circuits.

2. Robotics series – The first kit of the series, Q the Robot, is a project where your child builds a 3-wheeled light-following autonomous robot. The online lessons associated with Q teach how robotics circuitry works.

You can purchase Q here.

3. Electronics series – electronics kits are purchased as electronics kit monthly subscriptions. A new bite-sized kit ships every month complete with all the electronic components needed to build a new project.

Each month’s project builds on the previous month’s knowledge and interactive quizzes, questions reinforce kids’ understanding of the why’s and the how’s. 

Learn more about the electronics monthly subscriptions here.

 

Be sure to check out the first half of our Q the Robot project, and be sure to take a look around the EEME site. If you have kids in the 7-10 range, they have a monthly subscription option where each project focuses on a different electronic concept, but otherwise – go for Q!

Past EEME Projects

We’ve worked on several other projects from EEME. If you’re interested in learning more about their monthly subscription program, be sure to check out the below posts for more information:

Learning About Circuits with Q the Robot

EEME is a blog sponsor and we received this product free for the purpose of reviewing it. All opinions expressed are my personal, honest opinions. You can read my full disclosure policy for more details. 

One of the hardest things about receiving something fun to build is having the patience to get to the finished product. 

Especially when it’s going to be something fun. Like your very own robot. 

A few years ago Zachary had the opportunity to build Q the Robot from EEME and Kaleb is such a hands-on, STEM-loving boy, we wanted him to have the same opportunity. The process of building Q isn’t just snapping a few pieces of wiring together – it’s a chance to learn about breadboards, building circuits, how motors work, and so much more! 

Q the Robot is a project kit that guides your child through the process of building a 3-wheeled robot who follows light. He is the first in a series of robotics projects from EEME – and there is no coding required to get started! Once completed, Q follows light around using two sensors, or photo resistors. When light is shined directly onto the sensors, Q turns to follow the light. 

Building our Robot

Because there is so much to learn with Q the Robot (and even more kits build on this one base project), we’re going to share a little bit about what we learned in the first half of our building – the bulk of the steps needed to get Q moving and rolling, but before the entire body is constructed: circuits, the breadboard, motors, and transistors – and how they all work together. 

One of the things I love about EEME is that they offer FREE online lessons for your kids to view. If you don’t know a thing about electronics, don’t worry. There are step-by-step videos that will walk your child (and you) through the process, and that includes explaining all the various parts and exactly what they do. 

(Ask me how I know.)

Since we have worked on Q the Robot before, one thing I will note is there have been some upgrades that make the entire process simpler for kids to work on. Rather than having to strip any wires, they now provide a few different components, such as wires with pre-installed plugs, that are easier for kids to manage (thank you!!). The overall project functions the same, but for kids who may get frustrated easily, these changes are perfect. 

Step one was sorting all of the pieces and making sure we had the correct number for everything (we did). We also gathered any additional supplies we might need (Phillips head screwdriver, a piece of paper, and scissors). 

Each of the 35 video lessons for the Q the Robot project are 5 minutes or less in viewing time, some even around the 2 minute mark. We broke up our lessons over the course of three days and spent on average about half an hour to 45 minutes working each day. 

After sorting all the pieces, Kaleb took a few minutes to build an LED circuit (lesson 6) so he would know when Q was on or off. One thing that is great about this lesson is learning how to essentially mark points on a graph (find hole 4e, etc…). 

Kaleb next learned about breadboards and how the various holes are connected (lesson #7). For example, everything you see above in row 2 (2a, 2b, 2c, 2d, and 2e) are all connected. There are also four buses (two on the top and two on the bottom between the blue and red lines). 

A metal bar under each hole grouping in a row connects them together. You can connect Row 1 on the bottom half of the board to Row 1 on the top half of the board by inserting one half of a prong into each half and completing the circuit. 

One thing that I think is fabulous about this program are the intermittent ‘quizzes’ that are given to make sure kids understand the concepts they are learning. 

After learning the basics of the breadboard and hooking up our battery pack to make our LED light work, we moved on to motors and how they work (lessons 10 & 11). 

Initially our motor didn’t spin, so Kaleb was able to rewind the video, double check his wiring (which was wrong), and fix the problem so his motor would work correctly. In this lesson we also learned how to make the motor spin in opposite directions based on how the wiring was done. 

EEME Dad explains magnetism and how it affects the motors when electric current flows through – and how flipping how the motor wires changes the direction causes the magnetic field to flip as well (it’s fun to learn these things!). 

Our second day we looked more into how the motor gearbox works, and while this is something Kaleb was a little more familiar with, it was a great review in understanding both of the motors. 

Next step: transistors (lesson #14) and adding them to the circuit. Once the prongs were splayed they were placed on the breadboard. 

He then added a few resistors to the board (learning how to make L-bends), gradually adding the motor wires as well to complete the circuit and get one of the motors turning. 

And rather than just telling the kids to use the transistor, EEME Dad explains exactly how they work (somewhat similar to a mechanical switch). He also explains how the transistor is turned “on” and “off”, allowing the current to flow through. 

Our last few lessons covered how the transistor turns the motor (lessons 17 & 18) and why the transistor gets hot. This was another great stopping point for us since Lesson 20 gave Kaleb the chance to summarize what he had been learning. 

Kid that are able to can type and submit their answers in the lesson. Since I was with Kaleb, he summarized the process to me and any part he wasn’t quite sure on, we quickly reviewed.

One of the things I appreciate about the lessons are the metaphor examples EEME Dad provides for kids – for example, comparing the resistors to a water dam, with the water levels represent voltage. He walks kids through the circuits and explains it in ways that are easy for them to understand. 

Next week I’ll be sharing the rest of our Q the Robot project, but in the meantime, I’d encourage you to take a look around the EEME site. If you have kids in the 7-10 range, they have a monthly subscription option where each project focuses on a different electronic concept, but otherwise – go for Q!

What Mom’s Need to Know…

  • Everything’s included – parts, wires, batteries are included in all every kit
  • No experience needed – our online lessons to mentor, guide, and teach your kid (seriously, this is a lovely thing)
  • Safety first – no soldering required, low voltage projects (the mom in me rejoices)

Meanwhile, kids are learning solid concepts and being challenged by building projects using REAL components. They may make mistakes, but in doing so, they learn to review and discover what they can do to make it better and work correctly. 

Perfect for ages 10+

Time Required: 1-2.5 hours

Parental involvement: varies based on child

Start Learning With EEME

There are 3 ways to learn with EEME – FREE online lessons, their robotics kit series, and their electronics kit series.

  1. For free online lessons – families create a free account with EEME and use their web browser to interactively build and learn about electronics circuits.

2. Robotics series – The first kit of the series, Q the Robot, is a project where your child builds a 3-wheeled light-following autonomous robot. The online lessons associated with Q teach how robotics circuitry works.

You can purchase Q here.

3. Electronics series – electronics kits are purchased as electronics kit monthly subscriptions. A new bite-sized kit ships every month complete with all the electronic components needed to build a new project.

Each month’s project builds on the previous month’s knowledge and interactive quizzes, questions reinforce kids’ understanding of the why’s and the how’s. 

Learn more about the electronics monthly subscriptions here.

Past EEME Projects

We’ve worked on several other projects from EEME. If you’re interested in learning more about their monthly subscription program, be sure to check out the below posts for more information:

(Giveaway) Our Favorite Homeschool Writing Curriculum

There was a time period many years ago where both of our girls hated writing. All the joy, fun, and creativity had been sucked out of that subject thanks to me and the belief that writing could only be done one way (thank.you.very.much), and there was no wiggle room allowed.

(I was desperately wrong, in case you were wondering).

Many of us get caught up in the ‘right way’ to teach something (or maybe that’s just me), and in the process we often forget that learning should be fun and something our kids desire to do. When the creativity literally shriveled up in our girls, it was a moment when I realized we needed to stop and bring the life back into a subject that was dry, dry, dry – and make it fun!

Enter WriteShop…

We picked up a set of holiday StoryBuilder cards from WriteShop before one Christmas break and suddenly, based on three little prompts, the writing floodgates opened and stories began to pour out of our girls. Notebooks were filled (and kept going and going) in just a short timeframe. The love for writing returned.

Ironically, we already had one level of WriteShop on our shelf, but I had put it aside for something else (hello, shiny). We pulled that book back off the shelf, ordered additional levels, and haven’t looked back since! WriteShop has become the writing program of choice for our children, and one that I wholeheartedly recommend to other families.

A Solid Writing Base

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This year, Laurianna (11th grade) has been taking dual credit English classes at our community college that require a lot of detailed writing assignments. I’ll admit that at first I was nervous – would she be able to handle the requirements? 

In her sixth and seventh grade years, she completed both WriteShop I and WriteShop II and went on to work through three years of a high school literature program in which I based the writing rubrics off our time with WriteShop – and you all, she has been SO prepared! The foundation those two years gave her were truly the core of her writing.

Not only did the WriteShop I and II programs prepare her, they prepared me as a teacher to truly instruct her in the writing process (from essays to research papers), evaluate her work, and offer constructive feedback. As I mentioned before, the grading rubrics were highly instrumental in our high school literature program as well and helped in various co-op classes when needing to provide instruction and guidance to those students.

Really truly, the one thing that I keep repeating to my high school lit classes – being able to write a strong paper is one of the most important things in education. Choosing words carefully, writing a persuasive argument, proper spelling – writing is a part of almost every facet of our lives!

A few words written poorly can make all the difference, and I want our kids to have a strong writing background, which I know they will thanks to WriteShop.

I’ll also admit that the teacher’s guides in the WriteShop 1 and WriteShop 2 levels have greatly spoiled me. The grading rubrics and instructions are very clear – such a huge help to a busy homeschool mom, and the step-by-step program is easy to follow for both students and teachers.

Something for EVERY Grade Level

While I’ve shared much of our love for the WriteShop I & II programs, they truly have a writing program or tool for every grade level, and it’s never too late to jump in and start. Our younger children are also using their programs (Junior and now WriteShop I), and we have worked through all the levels of their programs in recent years. We really love it that much!

From grades K through high school, there is truly something for each of the children in your home to use. 

WriteShop Birthday Sale & GIVEAWAY

WriteShop

This month, WriteShop is celebrating their 17th birthday! To celebrate they have some great deals AND a giveaway for you!! Here are the ways you can save and enter to win: 

  1. SALESave 17% on all digital sets and bundles the entire month of January! (WriteShop video courses are excluded from this offer.)
  2. FREE BONUS: Buy ANY digital or print set during their Birthday Event in January 2018, and you can choose any one product from the Writing Extras category. Use the code 17years at checkout During the 17th Birthday Event, when you buy any set (digital or print) you may choose any one product from the Writing Extras category for free by using code 17years at checkout. 
  3. GIVEAWAY: 5 winners may select their choice of curriculum set. WOOT!!!

Enter the giveaway here:

 

FREE Writing Prompts

WriteShop

Don’t miss their FREE writing prompts either! These are a fantastic way to get a peek into the WriteShop programs – and get hooked as our family did! From elementary through high school, there are mini-lessons, story prompts, word prompts, and programs to encourage and help even the most reluctant writers! Here are a few reviews that’s I’ve written in the past:

Writing doesn’t have to be another chore you add to your homeschool day. It can be fun and productive – and inspire your family to creative writing for years to come.

A Beanbag Your Family Will LOVE!

In our home I’m not much for clutter, knick-knacks, or items that do not have a specific purpose (or dual purpose). If it’s something that will just take up space, it’s likely that item will find another home quickly.

More recently something was introduced into our home, and while it takes up a little more space, it has become so very well loved – dare I even say, coveted. Every time I turn around, it has moved because one of the kids has claimed it for the day or week. 

We have been thrilled to have a CordaRoy’s convertible bean bag in our house the last two months. Not only has it provided much comfort all over (it’s been dragged from the basement to the schoolroom and everywhere in between), but it serves a dual purpose – a queen-sized guest bed! It may also hold a special place in my heart since it is the perfect place for a certain 10 year old and me to curl up and read together. 

You all – the people who put this beanbag together are genius. It has been such a wonderful addition to our house and I have been telling everyone how much I love it, especially because you can use it in multiple ways. 

Before we received our CordaRoy’s bean bag, we had purchased a trundle bed to slide under our boys bed when friends came over. Let’s just say, the next morning I found the kiddo sleeping on the floor because the trundle was so uncomfortable. To be fair, we invited this same boy over again to test out our convertible bean bag – he was thrilled to test it out and LOVED it. :) 

Needless to say, that trundle bed is now considered taking up unneeded space and is leaving the house. We have a much better alternative with our bean bag! 

Here’s Why We Love Our CordaRoy’s

It can be used multiple ways – beanbag or bed. I mentioned that I’m not one for clutter. The fact that the bean bag is easy to move around the house and be used as a bean bag some days or opened up to make into a bed, makes it so worth it to us. Our kids are getting bigger, so having the queen-sized option is great, especially for visiting guests. We were able to use a standard set of queen sheets without any issue (bed side is 60 x 80 x 10”). Check out their size comparison chart for a visual: youth, full, queen, and king.

Additionally, there are multiple cover options. We have the charcoal chenille queen sleeper and the color blends in all over the house and is also a soft, plush fabric. Corduroy, velour, faux cowhide and other cover choices are also available. 

It is super comfortable.  Our kids don’t quite fight over the bean bag (other than they each want it in their own room), but this is a bean bag you just sink into and don’t want to get out of. Don’t worry adults – I promise you will be able to get up. Trust me. I’ve done it.

Packed full of memory foam, it envelops you and you will love it. We’ve recently switched to memory foam pillows and the comfort of both together is fabulous. There’s also another member of our house who loves it and won’t stay out – our pup, Addie. She’s rather hilarious in it, curling up whenever she has the chance.

It will LAST. We’ve had other beanbags in the past and hands-down this one feels different and doesn’t compact after a lot of sitting, jumping, or sleeping. Besides that, it has a LIFETIME Guarantee. This may seem insignificant, but after many a flat bean bag, this is a big deal for us. 

Setup is super-easy. When you want to convert the beanbag to a bed or vice versa, it will take only a few minutes (we may have timed ourselves at just over two minutes). One of the kids and I were easily able to do it together (their demo on folding it like a taco is very helpful). Take a quick 30 second peek at the video below to see how easy it is. 

A Special Discount for You!!

CordaRoy’s has offered my readers a 10% discount on any purchase they make. Use the code PXQU during checkout and you’ll save. 

Right now bean bags start at just $99 (youth size), so it’s the perfect time to shop. Additionally, any order over $250 receives free shipping – so double savings for you!

Truly you all – this is something your family (and friends) will use and enjoy for years and something our entire family recommends to yours. I am beyond thrilled with this beanbag and know you will be as well! 

Click HERE to learn more. 

Robotics for Kids – Building Q the Robot

EEME is a blog sponsor and we received this product free for the purpose of reviewing it. All opinions expressed are my personal, honest opinions. You can read my full disclosure policy for more details. 

robotics-for-kids-building-q-the-robot

Over the last year Zachary has learned so much about circuits, and this past month he was able to dip his toe into a bit of robotics thanks to EEME. When you add in his curiosity of robots thanks to movies like Star Wars, the opportunity to create his own robot was something he couldn’t wait to do. I am beyond thrilled with the new line of robotics products coming from EEME – and I think you will love them too. 

Q the Robot

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Q the Robot is a project kit that will guide your child through the process of building a 3 wheeled robot that follows light. He is the first in a series of robotics projects from EEME – and there is no coding required to get started! Once completed, Q follows light around using two sensors, or photoresistors. When light is shined directly onto the sensors, Q turns to follow the light. 

building-q-the-robot-robotics-for-kids-from-eeme-4

Included in the kit: 

  • 4 AA batteries (if you accidentally leave your robot on, you’ll need to replace these – *cough*) 
  • 2 large wheels and a caster wheel
  • 2 motors
  • chassis platform for body of robot
  • a LOT of small parts (screws, nuts, capacitors, photoresistors, labels, velcro, brass posts, switch, resistors, transistors, wires, and LED light) 

Over the course of 34 short lessons, kids ages 10 and up will be able to build their own robot. For our 11 year old, it took a little over an hour.

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I managed to snap a few pictures of Zachary in the building process, but the truth is – he did the bulk of it on his own. Initially I walked into the schoolroom one afternoon and found him snapping his own pictures to show the building process. 

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After snapping a few pictures, Zachary went to work on the body of the robot. With this project we did need to pull a few supplies from around the house, including a screwdriver, scissors, a pen, and a flashlight stronger than 300 lumens. 

robotics for kids - Q the robot from EEME project
All in all, it was a project that didn’t require as much wiring as some of the past projects we’ve worked on from EEME, a little more ‘building,’ and a lot more learning about how photo resistors work. 

Below is a short clip where Zachary explains the various components of the robot and how everything works. (Feed readers can watch here). 

Skills Learned from EEME

playing with Q the robot

One of the things I love most about the projects we’ve worked on with EEME is the independence Zachary has learned in the process. While I typically am around while he works on his latest electronic creation, and was very excited to see the Q the Robot project, I managed to miss out on the bulk of his newest creation because he has become so independent. Zachary pulled out the iPad, logged onto the site for the video tutorials, and completed the bulk of the project without me knowing he was working on it. I only knew he was done when Q started running on the floor behind me! 

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He has learned to problem solve and review if he cannot figure something out – before coming to me with questions. When his robot didn’t initially work, he went back to watch a few short videos and see what he may have missed – turns out it was something he connected wrong. Although it was frustrating for a moment, he is also learning to pay careful attention and not try to skip ahead all the time (something he tends to do). Working with circuits and electronics has taught him there is a process to getting things done

Here’s another quick video showing how Q moves around in the house – just remember to turn the switch off when you’re done, or you may need to replace the batteries (wink). Fortunately, that was MY fault. There is a handy light to alert you the battery pack is still on. 

More Q the Robot to Come!!

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EEME makes hands-on projects and provides FREE online lessons to teach kids electronics, fostering their curiosity for how things work and prepping them for the STEM opportunities of tomorrow. Each project kit is paired with online curricula to not only show your family how to assemble the kit, but more importantly, teach them how it works.

Continuing robotics projects are in the works (one level is already available) that will build on the base Q the robot – and the next step involves coding! Read more about the future EEME robotics projects on their blog

Monthly subscription projects and various project kits are also offered from EEME. Be sure to check out a few of our other project reviews: Project AmpProject DIY Light DisplayProject Attraction, Project Tentacle, and Project Genius

Don’t miss the FREE interactive online lessons to teach your family the fundamentals of electronics. Sign up for FREE to access EEME’s online lessons.

Follow the EEME blog or find them on Facebook, PinterestInstagram, and Twitter.

 

Perfect for ages 10+

Time Required: 1-2 hours

Parental involvement: varies based on child

 

Our Favorite Homeschool Math Curriculum

Almost seven years ago, in 2009, we were facing tears and much drama when it came to math time. One of our daughters knew her facts and could compute facts in her head with little problem, but when it came time for her to figure the answers and write them down on paper, it became a very long and drawn out process. She would second guess herself. Recheck her problems over and over. What should typically take little time, turned into tears and frustration, and led to one girl strongly hating math. 

It was at that point that we put the worksheets aside, turned to some friends for advice, and ordered Teaching Textbooks to try. It was a perfect fit, and we immediately ordered a level for our youngest daughter as well. The changeover was made to the program for all of our kids once they were able to work on the first level of Teaching Textbooks, and we have used it ever since. Truly, it’s a program that I recommend to all of my friends, especially those that dread teaching the upper levels of math. (You know who you are.)

While math was one of my favorite subjects in high school and college (there is something oddly satisfying to me to be able to work out a problem and have a tangible solution to that problem), I will admit my brain has a hard time switching between Algebra 2 and 4th grad math. Call me crazy, but having Teaching Textbooks has been a magnificent relief to my over-stretched brain. For this upcoming school year our kids will range from 5th grade math up through Geometry. The mere thought of that makes my brain hurt – yet happy, since I know we have a solid program in place to teach the kids. 

All Levels of Teaching Textbooks are Self-Grading

If you’ve ever had to grade endless papers, especially when you get to the high school level, you will be most thankful for this feature of Teaching Textbooks. (Pre-Calculus will be self-grading as of August 2016). A few years ago we had a non-grading version of Pre-Algebra, and OY! Let’s just say it was a huge headache. It was well worth it for me to upgrade to the self-grading version and take that hassle off my hands, especially when we took into consideration that three other kids would be using the program as well. As a parent, the gradebook is EXTREMELY helpful. For our high schooler, I can print off a copy of the gradebook to include with transcripts. 

The Kids Can Work on Math Independently

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A laptop and a set of headphones, along with the program, is all it takes to get started. You don’t really need the headphones, but if you have kids that are distractible (or perhaps a parent who can’t focus – ahem), headphones are a wonderful addition. Each of our children can work on their math lessons independently, from third grade and up. The lessons are typically read/spoken to the children, and once they do the solving of the problem, they know immediately if an answer is correct/incorrect. 

For our children, this immediate feedback has been key for them in moving through lessons quickly – and quickly identifying areas they struggle grasping. Because I can see their grades as soon as the lesson is completed, I can also check to see what problems they may have answered wrong, and help them if needed. 

Continual Review and Second Chances

Each level of Teaching Textbooks includes continual review, so you can be sure your children are mastering an area. In addition, kids are also receive a second chance. There are times when our kids figure up the correct response, but type it in wrong, and other times when they get it entirely wrong. Receiving a second chance allows them a moment to look back over the problem, re-figure, and enter in the correct answer before moving on. 

We Can Use the Program With Multiple Children

With four kids, I want to find curriculum that makes sense for our family monetarily as well. While the upfront cost of the program can seem intimidating, when the cost is broken down between four children, it becomes very manageable. Once a level is purchased, we don’t have to re-buy the program (unless the kids use the workbook). 

Our kids work primarily on the computer, and refer back to the workbook, but do all of their figuring and writing on graph paper, making it a great way to pass the programs on to our younger children. 

Thorough Explanations and Understanding

Last year we let our oldest help choose her curriculum for the year and took her input regarding a few subject areas. She decided to try something other than Teaching Textbooks for Algebra 1. Within the first three months of the switch, she was growing increasingly frustrated, even though I was able to help explain concepts, and also find some video clips for harder concepts. By mid-semester she came and asked if she could switch back to Teaching Textbooks. She decided to go to the very start of the Algebra 1 program and work through each lesson. It wasn’t that one program was easier than the other, but the lesson walk-throughs and explanations of Teaching Textbooks gave her a solid understanding and were not as confusing to her as other programs (let’s face it, Algebra isn’t for everyone). 

The Program Travels Well

Although we do try to plan our vacations not during typical school weeks, there are times when we have doctor’s appointments or the kids are at their grandparents. The only thing they need to bring along is the CD-ROM portion of the level and then pop in a disk to complete their lesson. Now granted the kids may not be entirely thrilled about this part of the program, but it definitely is a benefit for me! 

Parental Override on the Grade book

Parents can also go into individual lessons and see how many problems were completed, marked wrong, and also if the solution to a problem was viewed. For several of our children, this is key. While a perfect score isn’t always possible, we do want to make sure the kids fully understand the concepts being taught (especially since math concepts build upon each other). When I look at the grade book each week, one of the key things I check is if our kids have viewed the solution. Each time they get a problem wrong (and after they have a second chance to answer it), they are given the chance to see the problem solved in front of them, and the ‘teacher’ walks them through the steps. 

As a parent, you can also choose to delete an answer to a problem or have a child redo an entire lesson. For one of our children (who gets frustrated with one or two problems wrong), I will delete the answers and let him go back in and retry it. It’s something little, but it makes a huge difference for him. The key is having him master the concept even though I’m not expecting a perfect score. 

When Your Computer Dies…

Over the last three years we have had TWO laptops bite the dust, one an accidental dropping and the other a complete fail. We were able to pull out the hard drive on both laptops, reinstall the programs onto our new laptop, and transfer the grade books over to the new computer with no problem (incidentally, the folks at Teaching Textbooks are fabulous to talk you down from a proverbial ledge should this ever be an issue for you as well). I’m rather adept at it now, so local friends, I’m happy to help if you need it. 

Not Sure Where to Start? 

Teaching Texbooks offers placement tests for your children so you can get a better idea where to start them off. Click here to take a peek.