Review: Stanford’s Gifted and Talented math program.

play quote1I know it’s Tuesday, and in the past we have done Toddler Tuesday, but I don’t have a toddler anymore. She’s more of a child now. That’s not to say we don’t play a lot – because we do. Play is the work of children. It shouldn’t be their break from work, it is their work. But it does mean that Toddler Tuesdays are no more. Instead, I will just post her lessons here too. A lot of them are the same as Nicholas did when he was her age.

Yes, she likes art best. But that doesn’t mean I’m not making sure she gets her full share of math and science. I certainly don’t want to be accused of pigeon holing her so young. So she gets exposed to a bunch of things. But art and play are important.

As I know, my son likes math. The harder the better – even though he whines about it. If it is too easy he simply refuses to do it because he’s already done it and already knows it. Therefore, we make sure his math is hard. Or I try to make sure his math is hard.

We use Stanford’s Gifted and Talented program for math. I generally like it. Except that it can get repetitive. He’s done – according to the program – 54 sections on addition with carrying. That gets a bit tedious. Although the program makes sure that there are only about 10 questions in a section, and mixes them up with different math concepts.

For instance, today he did a section of 10 questions on lines of symmetry, one section of plotting information on a graph, an addition with carrying, a word problems (set 13), more addition with carrying, and fractions.

I’m generally happy with the program. It’s got small introductory videos when they are working on a new concept. It never introduces too much at once  -everything is broken down into these little lessons.

The only thing I’m unhappy with it how it progresses. It doesn’t let him master something and move on. It simply moves him through the progression they have on the computer. If he screws up too many problems in a set – generally because he’s not paying attention – it makes him redo the set. I’m fine with that. What I’m not fine with is when there’s more addition with carrying. He’s done enough, let’s move on. Except that isn’t the way the program works.

They have a new Redbird course out that I’m thinking of trying out for the next semester. That course is supposed to be more adaptive to the child – which would be nice.

But what is really nice is that I don’t have to do the teaching. The computer does it. And he listens to the computer better than he listens to me.


Product Review: Leapfrog Tag Junior

We love our Leapfrog Tag Junior. Some parents are against electronic toys – I understand their point of view. But for us, the Tag Junior has really helped. It allows our son to read on his own. In addition to reading the words of the story, the Tag Junior can be placed over various parts of the page and do different things. Sometimes it makes a sound, sometimes it tells more information, and sometimes it asks the child to find something from earlier in the book. These extras are a great incentive for a child to go exploring in a book.

In addition to the fun, this is something they can do on their own. We have used it on long car ride, when we need to get something done (like dishes or preparing for a lesson, or simply needing some space from each other). Our son will take it into his room and use it during quiet time.

This is not a substitute for a parent reading to a child. But it is a fun toy to use to get a child into reading, enjoying books, and learning more about things.

The only thing is – most of the books are pretty basic. Our son has, at the age of three, outgrown this on an academic level. He has used it for a year and a half. It has been great. We have used most of the books they have – the shapes, letters, emotions, opposites, colors, instruments, and rhymes. We have used the character books (Cars) and the “Mr. Brown Can Moo” book. He has really enjoyed these. He still enjoys reading them for fun. He is not learning as much from them anymore – he already knows is colors and thing – but he is learning the what the words for these things look like and still enjoys sitting down in his beanbag to read with the Tag Junior while I am feeding the baby.

Additionally, you can only keep about 5 books at a time on the Tag Junior. It is not hard to load and unload books, but it would be nice if you could keep more than five on there. However, 5 books is enough for most weeks – just not enough for long car rides.

Overall, we really enjoy the Leapfrog Tag Junior. It has done well, and we are looking forward to the Tag system – which is the next level up.

LeapFrog Tag Junior Book Pal

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