iTooch Apps by EduPad – A Mosaic Review

So another review we’ve been working on is for iTooch.  For other reviewer’s opinions, please click here.

iTooch is by Edupad.  They actually have quite a few apps on a variety of subjects and levels.  Here are just two of the five screen shots I could have taken from the app store:

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The program also comes in Windows 8 and Android.  Actually, as I was reading some of the reviews, it sounded like the Android versions were actually a little better in a few ways.  I’ll try to mention those as I do this review.  Again, please see the other reviews if you want to consider which system to use these on.

So if you want to do high school math or French or 5th grade language arts, you can.  THere is also a program called Recess for playing.  I really enjoyed playing that one, actually.  There are two games.  On one, it calls out a color and you tap that color bubble.  If you miss though (the bubbles are moving!), you’ll end up with another bubble, another color, which will mean it takes you more time to clear the screen which is the goal.  The other recess game is a math game.  It gives you an equation and you have to fill in the missing digit and operation.  Here is a screen shot of each game:

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So my daughter is 7 so I had her try out the Elementary program and we downloaded the 3rd grade math and language arts trials.  There were lots of options though: image_8

So my daughter liked the program in general.  It is appealing visually.  The “little dude” is fun. From reviews, it seems he is even more fun on an Android device. My fave “little dude” was when he turns to stone because you’ve sat there so long.  However, the moment you move the iPad, he isn’t stone again so I couldn’t get a screen shot!

The app gives positive feedback along the way.  The biggest issue I had with it for my daughter (who was getting irritated about it) was that the student has to actually choose to go from practice mode to the evaluation mode.  Obviously, not all 7 year olds or 9 year olds know when that time should be.  Additionally, the test questions were exactly the same as the practice questions.  The only difference was that you couldn’t look back at the lesson and that there were a limited number of test questions.  Now, this is one area it seems is not the same on the Android version.  Another reviewer talked about it moving the student from practice to testing.  

Here are some screen shots to give more information:

This one is during the test.  As you can see, there are only going to be six questions total.  It is timed (the yellow bar on the side).  There is positive feedback when you get it correct

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This shot shows a positive response during the practice mode.  On the side, it looks like there is a limited number of questions. However, you can keep doing them forever.  Unfortunately, my 7yo did!
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Here is a a screen when you make a mistake.  It tells you the right answer.  It is nice and low key which is nice for younger students.

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The below is a lesson screen.  The student can come to this screen any time during the practice session to go over the lesson.  image_3

The following two screens are just of me playing with the work space.  Again, not intuitive for a young student and actually unnecessary on the part she was working on (language arts).  However, if you needed to do double digit multiplication or were learning how to do basic multiplication, needing graphics, this page is a nice way to work.  Have I mentioned that I love that the blackboard looks used instead of perfectly black?
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Lastly, there is the evaluation screen.  I like that it is color-coded.  If the circle is not yet colored in, it means the student hasn’t taken the test on it yet.  If it is orange (or is it red?), it means the student scored a B- or lower.  Green is B+ or better.  A yellow star is for 100%.

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So this gives you an idea of what the app is like.  I think with a little direction, most 6-9 yos could do it without getting too frustrated.  And an older child probably would have been just fine with the less intuitive parts anyway.  I do like that the Android version seems to have automatic evaluations though as well as even more cute graphic activity.  

I give these apps a thumbs up.  If you’re looking for a cute, fun, educational app, you might look at the iTooch apps by Edupad 🙂

 

 

 

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Review: Classical Historian’s Medieval History Memory Game

Okay, show of hands: How many people LOVED history as a student in school?
What?  Why am I not seeing tons of hands raised?
Oh, history was boring?  All you did was read dry textbooks, hear dry lectures, and do a few research projects?
How many good history days did you have as a student?  Less than the number of fingers on your hands?

Well, isn’t that one of the reasons we homeschool?  We can make learning enjoyable!  We can make it stand out as fun while allowing our children to excel also.  And when we choose to educate classically, we give them even more of a chance to learn various time periods as well as history around the world, not just once in tenth grade, but throughout their time as students.

The De Gree family, a homeschool family of seven children, have created an award winning curriculum as well as some supplementary products.  If you want to learn more about their curricula, classes, supplements, and family, you can find them at http://www.classicalhistorian.com or http://www.facebook.com/classicalhistorian .  Additionally, you can find more reviews of these products at :::coming soon::::

The product I was offered to review was the memory game, the medieval history one.

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As it turns out, Ace is a champion at memory games.  In fact, I had to download ones meant for older people onto my ipad because the preschool ones were way too easy.  So getting a memory game in the mail was nice!  Now I could teach him something while challenging him memory game wise.

Okay, so what did we get.  Well, as I mentioned, there are 64 cards, two of each of 32 topics.  They are very sturdy cards with good pictures and a short description like Charlemagne, Nuns, Samurai, Castle, and Machu Picchu. There is an instruction sheet to tell you how to play each of two games, a regular matching game as well as a game where you match each card to the correct category ( PUT CATEGORIES HERE!). My children are really too young for the category game.

Now, on the website, it says the matching game is good for ages 3 plus.  It also says that the game is simply to introduce the pictures and names to the children.  I think it would be nice if they would add a cheat sheet with a sentence or two about each thing.  Remember, many of those of us who are teaching our children got very little, if any, world history in school ourselves.  So it is possible that we wouldn’t know what to tell our seven year olds about Charlemagne or Machu Picchu.  Obviously, our curriculum will, in time, help us fill in the information; and we can always use our friends Google and Bing.  I just think it would be nice to have a cheat sheet.

I have another concern about the program.  It gives four location categories, but the great majority of the cards are from Europe.  Now, I can understand that to a degree.  I even went and looked at another history program and found that a larger percentage of the topics there were also about Europe.  But it wasn’t *as* uneven.  It was close enough that I had to count it to see it with the other program where there is no doubt looking at the answer key for Classical Historian. On top of that, a LOT of topics were Christian/Catholic in nature.  Again, I can understand that to a degree based on the time period.  Now, it is their curriculum supplement and they can have whatever they wish.  I just think that part of a classical history about a time period is about moving away from ego-centrism.  I would have liked some of the more common and general topics to be left out or combined while adding more topics from other areas.

Though I said that, my kids thanked me for letting them play.  I loved that the cards are so sturdy, especially as I had an almost three year old enjoying the game with me.  I liked that there were lots of topics to choose from (we made a smaller game as my children found 64* cards challenging).

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So I definitely think the product is good.  It is also affordable ($14.95).  It is something I can see using again and again with my crew over the next couple years, especially when we make it to that time period.  I probably will make myself an information sheet with key points about each topic to share here and there with the children.  We’ll also be more likely to use certain cards than others, especially while we’re working with smaller groups of cards.

Isn’t it great when your kids actually THANK you for sharing an educational product with them?!?!  That was the best part!

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Review: The Squatty Potty

WARNING:  The following is *full* of *way* TO MUCH INFORMATION!  

So my hubby would say that this is a cr@ppy topic.  Honestly, getting my men to discuss it at all was near impossible.  I may never know the truth about whether or not they use this product or what they think about it.

But this is an *awesome* product that does *exactly* what it says!  Let’s start with the basics.

What is the Squatty Potty? 

The Squatty Potty looks like a funny shaped stool.  It is funny shaped so it fits directly under the bowl part of your toilet.  If you need to go potty without using it (or if your family member or neighbor wants to go without using it), they easily can as the Squatty Potty isn’t hindering anyone’s access to the toilet itself.  The top of it has a slight slope away from the toilet.  This is for your comfort when you are resting your feet on it.  You do not stand upon the Squatty Potty; instead, you sit on your throne with your feet stabilized on the SP (for short).

Why on earth would you use that thing?

The answer to this is simply.  It works.  🙂  Okay, what do I mean.  The purpose of the Squatty Potty is to put your body in the proper position for elimination.  The basics, as I understand it, are 1) you have a muscle that helps you keep your excrement to yourself until you need to and decide to eliminate and 2) that muscle relaxes most fully when you are in a squatting position (ie, you are not relaxing it fully when you just sit upon your throne).  By being in the best position, you can prevent and cure such things as straining during elimination, pelvic floor issues, constipation, and hemorrhoids.

Why did *I* choose this product?

I am *not* being paid for this review.  In fact, they don’t even know I’m making the review (though I’ll probably tell them at some point).  I found this product when looking for websites about pelvic floor prolapse and other such issues.  I watched the video and read the website and was convinced to give it a try.  Really, a natural remedy when I was considering surgery?

First and foremost, let me tell you that it works just like it says it does.  My issues have resolved for the most part (not 100% yet; but it has been a month and they are so much better it isn’t funny).  How do I know they’ve resolved?  First, I “go” more easily.  Second, I’m more comfortable ALL of the time, but also when “going.”  Third, when I exercise, especially doing sit ups, I don’t feel like I’m “going.”  Seriously, good stuff.  “Going” also takes moments for a complete elimination rather than multiple trips.

I strongly recommend this product.

What we got: 

We got a special package that included three Squatty Potties.  I got a 9 inch and two 7 inch.  I also got a couple brochures left in the bathroom for inquiring visitors.  The SPs were wrapped in a plastic bag and shipped in a brown packing box.  Nothing special 🙂

How We Use:

I put a 7 inch SP in the master bathroom as I figured we weren’t advanced users.  Though the potty in the kids’ bathroom is smaller, I ended up putting the 9 inch in there because of how things looked when I tried each of my children out on it.  My 20 year old prefers that bathroom.  I found it comfortable also.  On top of using it for the obvious reason, my almost 3yo stands on it as a regular stool to go pee pee (he is at the beginning of potty training – we have not yet done The Potty Party as he is new to our home).

So Pros/Cons:

So I’ve already sung the praises of the Squatty Potty.  I really believe it does exactly what it says.  My children and I love using it.  Storing it is easy.  I just got the white ones, but you can get wooden ones if you please.

Con?  Well, the biggest complaint I have is that I just don’t need to play online in the bathroom.  That really stinks because I need breaks (having eight children and all 🙂 ).  One real issue I found was that I have had a few times my legs have fallen asleep.  I assume that this is because I am still obese so staying on it too long (usually because of playing online, not because of eliminating) puts me in that position to have my legs fall asleep.  No doubt continuing to lose weight and stopping my online playing would fix the problem.  My daughter and the little children have not reported any cons at all.

In Conclusion: 

I wholeheartedly endorse the Squatty Potty.  Since we only have two bathrooms, I have to decide what to do with the third.  I thought about giving it away.  I thought about waiting til I find a needy person.  I selfishly have considered keeping it because my next house may have three thrones!

For more information, please see the Squatty Potty website at http://www.squattypotty.com.  Here is the video from their website: