Sunday, December 14, 2008

7 Reviews/ 7 Giveaways- Day 7

As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew, I have been given the wonderful opportunity to review many homeschool products over the next several months. I feel truly blessed to be participating in this review group and I'm looking forward to trying out the products and giving you my honest opinion. This week I will post one review and host a giveaway each day. Please read this review and make sure to leave a comment to be entered into the giveaway.

I'm writing today to tell you about two wonderful sets of products from Trigger Memory Systems. I'll be honest, I'll be a little surprised if you've never heard of them before, because I've had my eyes on them for quite some time now. They've elicited some pretty rave testimonials and though I always enjoy a good twist in the plot, you're not going to find one here. These are products that I totally recommend.

Most of you know that I have six kids ages 8 and under, and I am here to tell you that many kids make MANY messes. That is why our children start helping with chores from the time that they learn how to walk. (I'm not one year old stands next to me while I'm changing the baby's dirty diaper and happily takes it to the garbage. He can also deposit sippy cups in the sink and wipe down walls with wet dish cloths.) However, like all kids my little ones still need lots and LOTS of guidance and this has been a source of frustration for me.

That is why I am so happy to tell you that Bedroom Cleaning For Kids and Zone Cleaning for Kids from the Clean N' Flip Series have brought me more relief than any chore chart, schedule, or reward system we have ever implemented. These sturdy, little flipcharts teach children to clean the rooms of their house by breaking it down into very...simple...steps. Once a step is completed, the child simply flips the page to see the next step. The detailed illustrations with each step make these flipcharts usable even for your non-readers.

Our kids use Bedroom Cleaning for cleaning both their bedrooms and the playroom, (Can I hear an 'Amen'?!) since the steps deal with picking up toys, books, and videos which are all mostly located in the playroom in our house. Zone Cleaning has steps for cleaning the Living Room, Kitchen, and Bathrooms including one special job in each zone each day (Monday through Friday) that does not need to be done daily. There is also space for you to write in additional chores with a dry erase marker. I simply hand the flipcharts to the kids and they can actually complete the chores without me!

Bedroom Cleaning for Kids is only $7.95 and Zone Cleaning for Kids is $17.95, but I especially recommend buying the set of two for $22.95. Besides the value, I really think you are going to want both.

When I began lesson planning for this year's school year, I asked G8, my second grader what he wanted to learn about. To my surprise, he said he wanted to learn cursive writing and how to do multiplication. Well, the math curriculum we use doesn't introduce multiplication in 2nd grade, but I figured if he wanted to learn it, then why should I say no? So when I received Times Tales Deluxe from Trigger Memory to review, I knew he was going to be excited.

Times Tales is a memory aide to help make memorizing the most difficult times tables easy. Below is an example:

First, the student learns to recognize that each number has a special symbol in Times Tales (for example: the number 9 is symbolized by a tree house). The numbers are clearly visible in the symbols and it took my 4, 5, 6, and 8 year old only a couple of minutes to easily remember these symbols.

Next you introduce the story pages one at a time (like the one above). You read the simple story two or three times and then ask the student to repeat it back to you. You can turn the page to show a page that has only the illustration without the words, so the student can repeat it to you several times by memory. You don't even explain the multiplication table at this point...the goal is just for them to memorize the story. Once they have memorized all of the stories (this took us less than a half hour), show your student the included flashcards. For the example above, the flashcard will show the Treehouse symbol times the Treehouse sybol. You would ask them what 9x9 is and they will immediately remember the story and be able to tell you that it is 81.

Note: Times Tales is a memory aid to help with fast recall of the most difficult times tables, not all of them. It also does not teach how to multiply. Nonetheless, even my four year old could easily memorize the stories and both my 6 and 8 year old were immediately able to do the flashcards. (None of them had prior introduction to multiplication.) Times Tales Deluxe includes a 2 Part Story Flipchart, Trigger Memory & Regular Flashcards (multiplication & division), Roll 'Em Cube Game, Easy Instruction Manual, Memory Story Discussion Guide, and Various Tests & Challenges. You can purchase it for $29.95 from the Schoolhouse Store.

Okay, it's Giveaway time again...

Today, I am giving away a copy of the Original Times Tales.

This book teaches the upper 6, 7, 8, & 9 times tables and includes :

Story Flipchart

Trigger Memory & Regular Flashcards

Mix & Match Game

Easy Instruction Guide

Memory Story Discussion Guide

2 Practice Test

2 Test Challenges

Entering the giveaway is easy. Just leave a comment with your email or blog address in this post and you are entered! If you'd like 2 extra entries into ALL 7 of this week's giveaways, just grab the 7 Reviews/ 7 Giveaways button from my sidebar and paste it on your blog. You have until Wed., Dec. 17th at 8pm (EST) to enter. Good luck!

For more reviews of Trigger Memory, visit the TOS blog.

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  1. Thank you for all your give-aways. What a sweet idea. =) Deanna

  2. Shanna, nice job on this review. I've been intrigued by TMS, Times Tales in particular. I am glad you included a visual example. I'd like to see a visual of the chore charts too. Are examples on their website? (see how much research *I*'ve done! ;))

    Anyway, I think this is great and you've actually made me think twice about investing in these things - esp the chore items...

    Thanks friend!

  3. Thanks, Shanna, for reminding me to pull out Times Tales. I've had it awhile, but had forgotten to use it.

    I truly need to look into the cleaning charts. They sound really good.

    Melanie McBride

  4. My 5-year-old learned her times tables with Times neat! It really works! Thanks for the giveaway!

  5. I likey likey!
    Pick me, pick me!

  6. I've actually debated getting the chore chart one for my kids. Then make one geared for me to keep my ADD self on track. LOL

    Each day I think this is the best giveaway item. Then, I think back on the other entries.
    WoW! They are all great. Geared just to my kids.
    If only I had the money to buy my own.

  7. Another day of great reviews. We already have the flip charts and they have helped. Not as much as I had hoped but some is better than none.
    I would love to win the times tales. Both of my boys have learned the multiplication tables but have problems with their processing speed and anything that could help them with speed would be wonderful.
    Thank you again for hosting such great giveaways!

  8. Once again you have given a great and thorough review. Thanks.


  9. Please add me to this giveaway drawing. Material looks great.

  10. I always love to fine new ways to help my kids learn. Thanks for the review. Would love to win.

  11. This sounds great, what a blessing this would be.

    Thanks Shanna for all the time you & your family sacrificed this week. It has been so valuable to me to hear all these reviews. :)


  12. I enjoy reading your reviews. Please enter me in your drawings.
    Misti in MO

  13. I'm totally intrigued by the chore flip charts. Thanks for sharing them with me! I will be looking forward to seeing them.

    The times tales looks interesting too!

  14. I have so enjoyed reading your blog. My (almost--8 more days)3 yo DS is the best at cleaning the kitchen floor. He is so proud & does an excellent job. Start 'em young :)
    My 8 yo 2nd grader also wants to learn cursive this year :) We're introducing the idea of multiplication very gently. I have heard great things about the Times Tales. We'd love to win it.

    Hillary in Indiana

  15. Times Tales is wonderful! I bought it for my 3rd grader this year. She had Part 1 mastered in 20 minutes. A few days later she mastered Part 2 in 20 minutes! Every couple weeks I have quickly reviewed through the story flashcards. What a timesaver! And fun, too!

    Since I already own this, I would pass it on to a friend in the event I win this.

    Jill Connelly

  16. Thank you so much for your reviews! I have been considering buying the cleaning flip charts and Times Tales for months but didn't really understand what was in them. Yours is the most thorough review I have read, and now I understand and want them all! Please enter me in the contest for the Times Tales. I started teaching my 8yo multiplication earlier this year but put it on hold. We'll be getting back to it soon, and this would be a great help. Thanks.

  17. Yes Pleas!
    Becky Soyster

  18. I do have your button. I love all of your reviews and this looks like a great learning tool

  19. Thanks for all the reviews!

  20. I've really enjoyed your reviews and appreciate the time you took to do this.

    I'm excited about the Times Tales..I'd heard of this product a while back..but forgot about it! My dd age 9yo is just beginning to learn her 'times tables' and this would really appeal to her.

    Thank you

  21. Thanks so much for doing these giveaways! You are being such a blessing to the homeschool community.
    Charlotte Baker

  22. I am so excited about these can reach me at you
    Carol Jo

  23. Okay ~ once again this looks good. Thanks for all of the reviews and opportunities to enter the give~away contests.

  24. I've heard people talk about the flipcharts . . . but your review was so helpful! Thanks so much!

    And I'd love to be entered for Times Tales -- I have two children who would LOVE it!

    Thanks for all your great reviews!

  25. I have your button on my blog. (near bottom) TY

  26. Thanks for all the neat info,including the give aways, I am new to all the "blogging" stuff so I am not on mine all the time but will try to remember to get your links on there later. (we have 8 kids total so my house is crazy right now,lol)
    ~Carole in KY

  27. These look really fun. I'm going to have to add the chore flips to my list of wants!

  28. This is the first review I've read on the Times Tales. I've toyed with the idea of purchasing it but now I've decided that it will benefit my 3 sons.

    Thanks for the review and the contest.

  29. Thanks for this wonderful website, I have been struggling in the San Diego school system trying to get all I can for my kids with the huge "budget crisis". Our teachers are wonderful but they struggle with teaching a curriculum that requires numerous "test", unfortunatley some of the subjects my children sometimes need additional help. So this is where I step in I am looking for any additional homeschool type material to help assist me, so I am glad I found your website. Please enter me in your contest and I will be following you and your families journey!



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