Forbrain- Sound For Life LTD Review

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Forbrain – Sound For Life Ltd Review
We had the unique opportunity to try out and review for a product called Forbrain from Forbrain-Sound For Life LTD. This is a headset that uses some pretty amazing technology. Through brain conduction and dynamic filters, it helps to retrain your brain to hear and speak more clearly. This headset can help with so many things! From improving pronunciation (which is where we were looking for help!) to improving long term memory, this headset is built to use your own voice and the vibrations through the bones just in front of your ears to reprogram your brain.

The twins have some speech issues that we have been working on, but that seem to be very slow to improve. The idea is that with this headset, the user will wear it 15-20 minutes a day, every day while doing their normal activities. We chose to have each of the twins wear it for the specified time each day during school hours so that they could do their everyday activities and work. Over the course of the review period, we have seen improvement!

The headset is simple to wear. It looks and feels just like any other set of headphones, with the exception that the earpieces go in FRONT of the ear, and not into the ear itself. The headset also has an adjustable microphone that sits at the mouth level and when you speak, not only do your HEAR yourself, but you also FEEL yourself speak. This was the most amazing part for our kids. They would say a word, then hear me say the word correctly and they could not only hear the difference, but also feel it. This made trying to understand how to form the words and speak them with correct pronunciation easier and less frustrating for them. A lot of the time, we wouldn;t even have to point out that it was spoken incorrectly, they would say, “No, that’s not right.” and try again.

Forbrain – Sound For Life Ltd Review
We will continue to use this headset, and not just for the kids! My husband spends a fair amount of time with customers on the phone and knows that he tends to speak too quickly. After using the headset for a while at home, he is improving his customer service by recognizing when and how he is rushing through and speaking too quickly. I have used the headset and know know that I tend to speak too quietly and string a lot of words together! It’s really an amazing tool that is beneficial to my entire family. The twins look forward to using it during the day and often ask for a little extra time later in the day.

If you would like to see what others members of the review crew thought about their Forbrain, and how they used it, you can check out their links by clicking the banner below. I have read through a few of them and I am amazed at the creativity and the many, many ways this product can be used and even enjoyed while helping your brain to train itself. It’s honestly just amazing!

 

Forbrain – Sound For Life Ltd Review
Crew Disclaimer

MaxScholar Reading Intervention Programs Review

Over the last few weeks, some of my kids have been using the MaxScholar program. This program offers many activities to build and solidify reading skills within the MaxScholar Reading Intervention Program.

 

MaxScholar Reading Intervention Programs Review
MaxScholar is a unique program that focuses on helping children improve their reading. I don’t really think any of my children *need* reading intervention, but I do have two who are having a difficult time moving on past some basic words and their phonics just never really took off the way I had with my previous kids. So, because of that we chose to use the MaxPhonics K-2 program to specifically address those concerns I was having.

However, MaxScholar is a comprehensive, multisensory program that uses the Orton-Gillingham approach to phonics, which has been wildly successful for many years making it a perfect program for those children who DO have learning difficulties, auditory processing disorders, Autism, ADHD, or dyslexia.

MaxScholar was super simple for me to set up, and I loved that we could use it on any device we had. That made it easy for me because I could get each of the two kids going on their Kindles while we used the laptop for other schooling needs. Win-Win for everyone!

Most of our time was spent on the MaxPhonics area of the lessons, because that is where the need was, and each lesson was broken down into several short segments. The phonics lessons are very good about focusing on the letters and not rushing through them too quickly. I really appreciated that since we had used a program that rushed through the phonics sounds without waiting for mastery and this caused so much frustration. It was very difficult to go on when you didn’t understand what you had just been taught, so I loved that MaxPhoncs takes it’s time and includes so many elements to each lesson.

For example, each lessons starts with showing the child a letter or letters on the screen on what looks like a flashcard and tells them what the letter s and what sound it makes. Next, it will show them a picture of something that uses those letters, like a picture of an Apple for the letter A. The lady will again tell your child what sound it makes. After this they are asked to use their finger or mouse to write the letter or letters on the screen.

MaxPhonics

 

The writing part was so helpful for my kids because they were DOING it and SAYING it and it helped to cement into their brains that A says AHHHH and it’s written like this. The multi-sensory approach really helped to make it make sense this time around and I absolutely loved it!

After they did the letter writing practice, there was a game. For the letter A, the children were asked to pick out the pictures that started with letter A. My girls thought this was the most fun and they just loved doing it. I thought it was an excellent way to cement in the concept while having fun, too.

Because we aren’t quite reading yet, I didn’t spend enough time over on the MaxReading side of the program, but I am so looking forward to seeing more of that in  the coming weeks as we advance out of MaxPhonics. I was overall very pleased with the program. It’s simple to set up, it’s very easy to use, and it kept the attention of the kids so they looked forward to it rather than dreading it. In some ways, it seemed like more of a game to them than actual school work so they have been “playing” with it outside of the required time as well.

 

 

MaxScholar Reading Intervention Programs Review
Crew Disclaimer

Hey Mama! Schoolhouse Planner Review

Planners and I have a love-hate relationship. Mostly, I love the idea of a planner, but I hate finding one that fits my criteria because it is next to impossible for all of my “wants” to make it into one, commercially mass produced planner. Enter the Hey Mama! Print Schoolhouse Planner 2016-2017 from The Old Schoolhouse. Could this finally be the one? Am I destined to be planner-less forever? Read on my friends, and you shall see!

 

Hey Mama! Schoolhouse Planner 2016-2017 Review
 

This planner starts in July, so it makes it PERFECT for people like me who’s year runs a little differently from everyone else’s! My years tend to run from school starting to school ending and then summer programs, travel, and skeleton school days throughout the rest of the year. We never really stop doing school around here, but it changes and adapts to what we have going on in the busier summer months. I like that this planner runs from July to July, so it covers MY type of year better. This puts a check on my list of wants for a planner- a planner that runs through the year in a way that makes sense for ME.

Next up, let’s talk about what this planner includes, shall we?

  • Yearly calendars from 2016- 2018 (nice!)
  • FULL page monthly calendars July 2016- July 2017 (BIG spaces!)
  • Weekly Planning Grids, spread out on two pages with room for up to 7 subjects!
  • Attendance charts for 180 days (hello record keeping!)
  • Contact List
  • And More!

The planner also has some very nice homeschool specific pages like a curriculum planner with space for up to 5 kids. I loved this! I have shelves and shelves of curriculum that I think I’ll remember to pull out at specific times during the year that I almost always forget about, so this would make putting it in a place to remind myself so much easier. I LOVE this feature!

Then there are the lists. I’m a list kind of gal. I like to make lists, check lists, and force lists on everyone around me so this was really exciting for me. There are lists for monthly, semester, and yearly goals and THOSE lists are divided up into lists for:

  • Educational
  • Physical
  • Spiritual
  • Relationship
  • Financial
  • Personal talents
  • Life Skills

Whoa. Lists-check.

Let’s talk about those weekly planning pages again, ok? Those pages are what sell me on this planner. They boxes are actually big enough to write something in, you can write a LOT of something in there and keep yourself organized. There is enough room to write up to 7 subjects a day for 5 days per week. This isn’t a skimpy planner, it’s got some serious features that make it so perfect for a homeschool mom or dad who wants to get things set out and written down…..I’m just so impressed.

I have FINALLY found a planner that has all of my wants in one place.

  • It covers the year in a way that makes sense to me, it isn’t a fiscal year or a January-December planner. It’s made for homeschoolers BY homeschoolers who GET it.
  • The boxes are large, generous, and dare I even go so far as to say oversized? Writing down plans will never be such a pleasure as when you are filing in this planner.
  • The lists upon lists upon lists. I’ll leave it at that.
  • The additional resources, the timelines, facts, information, and ideas.
  • The uplifting messages and passages.

This planner was a pleasure to review and while I haven’t even BEGUN to use it, I have already managed to decide on and fill out curriculum and schedules until December by using this gem of a planner.

Would you like to get your own? Use code CREWCODE at checkout to receive this amazing, wonderful, hefty, beautiful, and generously sized planner for just $19 (shipping included)! this offer is only good through July, so don’t wait too long to take advantage of this hot deal!

 

 

Hey Mama! Schoolhouse Planner 2016-2017 Review
Crew Disclaimer

Essential Skills Advantage Review

My 7 year old set of twins has had the hardest time learning to read, mostly because they feed off of each other so goofing off is easy for them. Thankfully, I was able to try out Essential Skills Advantage and their Complete Home Learning Suite which they loved because it was fun (like goofing off) and which I loved because they were learning and now have advanced by leaps and bounds from where they previously were! Thanks goodness….things were starting to get desperate around here.

 

Essential Skills Advantage Review
Members of TOS Review Crew were given a year’s online subscription to the ESA website for up to two children, and in my case both kids were in the same grade (1st). We used a standard laptop to access this program and I tried it with Chrome, Safari, and Internet Explorer web browsers. I by far preferred this one in Chrome because it seemed to be the fastest and worked the best with our set-up. ESA has several program for K-6th grade kids in reading, spelling, and math. For science, there are programs for K-3rd grade and there are also 3-5th grade geography lessons available as well.

 

Essential Skills Advantage Review
 

The set up was incredibly easy, I just set up a password and user name for each of my kids and they were off. I loved that I could start one kid out in Kinder reading for certain skills she was lacking in and then have all the access to the 1st grade reading programs as well. You have complete access to all levels and subjects with your subscription, so that is VERY nice when pacing kids through the year. It also allows you to go back and cover, or review, areas that you were weak in or that need just a little more help to grasp.

We focused on the reading portion almost exclusively, although we did try out a couple of lessons of math as well, just to see what it was like. I like the way the program layers skills upon skills and then brings it all together at the end of the unit. For my kids, this was ideal. They got comfortable with something, practiced, mastered, and then reviewed it at the end. I feel like for their learning styles this was the best way for them to learn.

The website uses bright, fun, colorful graphics for their lessons that I found to be engaging and entertaining. The voice narration is done by a really mellow voice that I liked, because it wasn’t distracting to anyone else trying to do their work at the same time. That’s important! There weren’t a lot of irritating buzzing, beeping, or otherwise annoying sounds with the program either, for right or wrong answers, etc, that also was very appealing to me.

The best feature of all was that the next time you log into your account to get to work, you’re already set to go on the activity that you were doing when you left off last time. That is such a huge thing when you have little kids that want to do everything for themselves! They would have had the hardest time finding where they should have been, or not been happy about letting me do it for them, so this feature is one of my absolute favorites.

We really enjoy the time we spend with ESA and we have seen big improvements in our reading with this program. I loved it, my kids loved it, and it made it easy for us to use. It’s a great program that is affordable at $7.99 a month, and for the broad amount of activities available I really feel like this is one of those value packed programs. Very well worth it, in my humble opinion.

 

 

Essential Skills Advantage Review
Crew Disclaimer

Sunya- The Magic and Wonder of Math and Science Multiplying and Dividing Review

 

Math and Science {Sunya Publishing Review}
 

Math facts are something that a lot of kids, mine included, struggle with. Learning my math facts never came easy to me and it seems that my kids inherited the same struggles. We do all sorts of things to make learning our facts fun and one of the things we’ve recently been doing is playing a new game from Sunya Publishing called The Magic and Wonder of Math and Science Multiplying and Dividing. These products aren’t *quite* ready for purchasing yet, but they will soon be, and you can keep an eye on the website for details if this is something that you think you’d be interested in using with your kids.

As I mentioned, Sunya is a pretty new company and so when we agreed to review this set we got kind of a sneak peek which was very cool. I don’t get to try things out before they are available to everyone very often, so this was something I very much looked forward to. This set includes:

  • Instrustional Game Booklet/Instructions
  • Multiplying & Dividing Playing cards (60 cards)
  • Multiplying & Dividing Number Line Tool
  • Math & Science Fact Cards (30)

 

This game is geared for ages 9 and up, but if your child has their multiplication & division facts memorized and are younger than 9, could easily play as well. Needless to say, my younger kids did NOT play this game with us, although they did enjoy watching. Maybe they soaked up some math facts just by watching…..I can hope!

 

Math and Science {Sunya Publishing Review}
 

The black and white, spiral bound instruction booklet leads you through the rules and ways to play. I would probably take this apart and have it laminated if this was a game my children wanted to play over and over because the booklet is paper and will tear/wear if handled often. There are a few full color pages inside, but it is a mostly black and white instruction, which is fine. Nothing is lost because of it.

This was the one place I did find this game to be awkward. The instructional manual is 25 pages long and very detailed, almost too much detail. I needed to read through these instructions many times over before we could begin playing. There are several visual examples of game play, etc, but the instructions could use to be simplified and condensed for ease of use. There is no possible way that my kids could have figured out how to play without an adult. It was just too complicated and wordy to easily grasp the way the game is played. After I practiced playing on my own and read through the instructions several times, we were able to begin our play.

We chose to play the multiplication game since we have a couple of kids learning those facts right now. To play, one player is the dealer and as the dealer, they place a number sentence on the table (ex. 4 x 6 = 24). Each player is then dealt 4 cards and play begins. Each player must use the cards in their hand to make a new number sentence. If they cannot do that, they need to draw cards from the deck until they have a card that they can use to make a new number sentence.

The first player to play all of their cards and say SUNYA! (which is the Sanskrit word for empty) is the winner and as such, they get to draw a card from the fact card pile. They get to ask the other players the question and see if they can answer.

The game has additional instructions for making it more challenging and for more advanced players. We decided to just play the simplest form because we aren’t ready for the more advanced options, but it is nice to know that we have those options when we are ready for them.

My final thoughts:

After we fully understood the game and started playing, my older girls really enjoyed this game and found it to be a lot of fun. They didn’t think it was too difficult and found it to be enjoyable. I thought that they were doing a really great job of using these math facts and several times they made a number sentence that I didn’t think they would see in their hands. I was surprised and delighted by that!

 

 

 

Math and Science {Sunya Publishing Review}
Crew Disclaimer