Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Exercise meets Math

As a 2nd year member of the TOS Homeschool Crew, I have been given the wonderful opportunity to review many homeschool products over the next several months. The only compensation that I receive for my review is the free product. I feel truly blessed to be participating in this review group and I'm looking forward to trying out more products and giving you my honest opinion.

Alright, I'm just gonna be real honest here... exercise and math are definitely two of my least favorite things to participate in. So imagine my surprise when I popped in our new GyMathtics DVD from Exploramania and found that the combination of the two was actually a lot of fun.

Carrie Schneiner is a mom and the founder of Exploramania. She created the GyMathtics videos when she discovered the need for an opportunity for her children to combine education with physical activity. I have to admit, I was pretty impressed with GyMathtics and my kids have a blast with it. We have been using it weekly since we got it.

The math on the first edition of GyMathtics is geared for 2nd-5th grades. (There is a GyMathtics 2.0 with math geared toward 4th and up.) The video lasts for 30 minutes and includes the following:

Shape Stretches Warm Up: Stretch your mind and body with line, circle, and polygon stretches.

Counting Calisthenics: Aerobic movements work your heart as fun counting concepts work your brain.

Pattern Power: Growing and repeating pattern exercise combinations challenge minds and strengthen muscles.

Well-Being Wind Down: Relaxing stretches cool down the body and open the mind to think about healthy lifestyle choices including the Nice Wave Stretch and Big Dream Stretch.

You can see a full list of the math details here and sample video segments of the dvd here.

I found the math seemed just right for my 3rd and 2nd graders if not a little bit challenging, and I could see it being useful review for at least a couple of years to come. I really like the idea of combining exercise and education because we've always felt that it was beneficial to start our homeschool day with a little exercise to "wake our bodies up". With GyMathtics we can wake our bodies and our minds up!

I did notice that it seemed like the first two segments of the DVD were recorded in a basement or some sort of small place. The background was rather dark and the camera was often placed at weird angles (instead of a front view). Also we really don't care for the last segment, The Well-Being Wind Down. Instead of reviewing math facts, the voice-over plays "healthy lifestyle choices" messages. I don't think there is anything wrong with an exercise video suggesting tips on how to make healthier choices, but since it is combined with the cool down segment it gives a little bit of a New Age vibe.

GyMathtics sells for $24.99 and I would definitely suggest checking it out to see if it would be a right fit for your kiddos. You'll find more reviews of this product at the TOS Crew blog.

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