Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Reading Eggs & Mathseeds Workbooks! {review}

Most homeschoolers with younger children have probably heard of Reading Eggs.  It is an online, beginning reading program that has now been enjoyed by all three of my older children during the learning to read phase.  Over the years, Reading Eggs has expanded their program to include Reading Eggspress for reading comprehension, Reading Eggs Jr. for preschoolers, and Mathseeds for early elementary math skills.  Recently, they have also created high quality workbooks to accompany their reading and math programs, and we had the opportunity to review 200 Essential Math Skills for Kindergarten alongside the online component.

I have been using the math workbook and Mathseeds program with my third child, who is just starting Kindergarten and is five years old.  Admittedly, we are Charlotte Mason homeschoolers, and don't do much in the way of formal lessons before age six, but she is very precocious and eager, and has regularly asked for school books like her brothers.  Mathseeds is a fun, educational compromise, and she was so excited to get "her" math book!

Initially, we received a PDF version of the workbook with our Reading Eggs subscription while we waited for the physical workbook to arrive.  I chose to print in black and white, but the workbook is colorful.  We previously had a subscription to the Reading Eggs suite, so she had already completed several Mathseeds lessons.  When she received access again, she eagerly jumped right in where she had left off.  I printed pages for the lessons where she was at, and she worked on a lesson a little at a time, either just before or after the online lesson.

Lesson 23 - Shapes and Lines

Once the workbook arrived, she wanted to go back and work through the beginning lessons.  I was fine with that, because we're in no rush at 5 years old, and it only provides reinforcement and boosts confidence when they complete "easy" material.

The activities throughout the book are simple and predictable, but varied enough to keep interest.  Sometimes the student is tracing, or coloring, then drawing numbers and words, or shapes and lines.  They may finish a picture by drawing two bunny ears in the lesson on number two.  They might circle the correct answer, or finish a pattern, or match groups of items to the correct number.  There is minimal writing, which I appreciate.  I think some math programs focus so much on filling in the blanks, that kids aren't able to focus on the actual concepts.

 Yes, she decided the 1 was a person who needed a head and smile!

The workbook consists of 50 lessons, carefully sequenced to cover numbers, operations, patterns, geometry and measurement.  Each lesson has 4 pages, with 2-3 activities per page.  At the end of each lesson is a yellow box where you can track your online progress.

The Year Planner doesn't actually give you a day-to-day lesson plan, but shows you how the workbook lines up with the online lessons and quizzes.  You will also find completion certificates for each section (similar to the certificates for each map online), and a Fun Spot, which is just a fun little activity page.  There is also a four page cumulative review of lessons 1-25 halfway through the book, and lessons 26-50 at the end of the book.  Not having an explicit schedule means you can pace the program in a way that works for your family's schedule and your child's needs.

The online lessons cover the same material, but in the typical online format.  Kids are clicking, dragging and matching up correct answers.  They receive golden acorns, which they can use to buy items for their avatar or their treehouse.

Match the shape to the shadow.

We're still catching up in the workbook to where she is online, at her request and at her pace, so we're still figuring out our lessons and pacing for the rest of the year.  However, when using the online lessons too, I almost think it best to do the online lesson first as an introduction, because there are usually videos that "teach" the concepts.  They can't move ahead online (you can see the individual sections are locked until they complete it) and may get bored with the online component if they've already finished the workbook sections.  If you do the online lesson, then switch to the workbook, you can pick and choose from the different activities based on what they need to practice.

The main thing the workbook doesn't really include is a lot of integrated hands-on experiences.  I fully believe that young children need concrete work with math to gain a better understanding of how numbers can be manipulated.  There are a few pages in the back of the book that are to be cut out and pasted in the lessons (mostly sorting exercises), and the front of the book includes a section called Learning Activities.  These activities are things like making numbers from play dough, using berries to work on operations, or sorting leaves or twigs by size.  While the activities are more general, and are not aligned to specific lessons, it is easy to take these ideas and apply them to the lessons.  Or you may choose to practice math skills through games, cooking, and other practical everyday activities.

That being said, you can find activities for every lesson on the individual Homeschool Worksheets that are included with a Mathseeds subscription.  The workbook pages and the online activity sheets are very similar, but the online version contains activity suggestions for each lesson.

Having them consolidated into one PDF might be a nice feature for those that have the workbook and don't want to open every online worksheet individually.

What did we think?
I prefer physical workbooks over printing worksheets, so it is a nice option for people like me.  I think this is a fairly standard workbook, so its correlation to Mathseeds is really the only unique feature.  If you love Reading Eggs and Mathseeds, and don't like printing worksheets either, then these workbooks are a good option.  As this is my third time through Kindergarten, I know it should be a low-key, informal year, so I don't need a teacher's manual with a ton of "lessons" in it, but I do think including hands-on activities and real life math is key to successfully understand math.  The workbook is colorful and engaging, and Eleanor likes it.  She also enjoys Mathseeds, so alternating between the two, along with focusing on practical math, is a good approach for us.

Eleanor is also using the Reading Eggs portion more casually.  We actually use another program for reading instruction, and this is a fun supplement for us.  In a previous Reading Eggs Review, I shared more about the reading and what it covers.

The Homeschool Review Crew is reviewing all levels of the Reading  (K-5) and Math (K-2) workbooks, along with some who are just focusing on the online suite, so feel free to check out the reviews to get a better look at everything they offer!

Special Offers!

4 free Weeks of Reading Eggs: https://readingeggs.com/crew10/

10% off when purchasing workbooks with the code: WK10QTBH0KE

Online Reading Eggs Suite {Reading Eggs Reviews}

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