Life at Warp Speed

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Teach Me Kindergarten – free for 4th of July! July 3, 2014

App Store – TeachMe: Kindergarten.

TeachMe: Toddler for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad on the iTunes App Store.

TeachMe: 1st Grade for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad on the iTunes App Store.

TeachMe: 2nd Grade for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad on the iTunes App Store.

TeachMe: 3rd Grade for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad on the iTunes App Store.

The Teach Me series of app for the iPad and iPhone for toddler, kindergarten, first grade, and second grade are well worth the regular  each for these incredibly well designed learning apps. Today, Teach Me Kindergarten is FREE for the first time ever ! All other Teach Me apps are on sale! Each of these apps are well designed for use with multiple children in a family or a classroom situation for up to 30 children since separate player profiles can be created. Four are included with the initial app purchase. The app is designed to test your child’s skill level across a variety of subjects and will increase difficulty depending on their mastery level. You can easily see where they are in the program on the summary page. There are control features that can be set to customize the app for your use to focus of specific subjects or specific questions within a subject. This is very helpful if you have an asynchronous learner.

Unlike many learning apps out there, this app will avoid repeating skills that they already mastered and uses a coin reward system for correct answers. The coins can be banked and redeemed in the store to sticker rewards. The app does a great job of motivating the student to continue to play since that is the only way to earn coins and also teaches the value of deferred gratification by holding off spending you coins immediately as there are rewards of different values available in the store. You can even create your own reward system within the app.

The Toddler app covers basic pre-K concepts of numbers (up to 20), upper and lower case letters, shapes, colors and letter sounds. The Kindergarten app covers Dolch Sight words (pre-K and K), basic addition (up to 10), basic subtraction (10 and down), beginning letter sound recognition in words. The First Grade level covers: Dolch Sight words (1st grade), addition (up to 20), subtraction (20 and down), and spelling.

You should note that the first grade level requires the learner to write their answers. This is a fine motor skill that some advanced learners may have some difficulty with since there is a certain level of accuracy required for the app to recognize the letter or number being written. However, the app will allow the user to ask for the correct answer to be shown so that it can be traced. That being said, M has been using the Teach Me: First Grade app since he has turned 3 with some initial struggles as he was unused to staying within the guide lines of the handwriting “paper.” However, he has really liked learning with this app since he enjoys writing, and it offers him enough challenge while keeping him interested and engaged longer than a workbook can. I was very pleased when the First Grade level was offered since he no longer being challenged by the Kindergarten app.

Highly recommended for toddlers through second grade. Well worth the paid app price. We have been using these apps for years as part of our homeschooling. This is a great resource for gifted accelerated learners as well.


Updated: Teach Me 3rd grade is not recommended currently as a good (must) buy as they continue to use the same UI and reward system which gets a bit tired and young for a 3rd grader. Also, the scope of the skills covered does not match well with general standards for 3rd grade. I would judge it more like halfway between 2nd and 3rd grade. However, if you are using the app for a younger gifted accelerated learner, then it is still a useful app. There are other apps that are more “mature” for the average 3rd grader.


BOB Book Collections @ Costco this month! April 2, 2012

BOB BOOKS – “I read the WHOLE book!”.

I just love using BOB books as part of teaching early reading. They do a great job in helping reinforce specific skills in a graduated manner. Usually, the collections are priced around $10 in the past which is a really great price. You really have to snag these when they are in the warehouse because it only happens a couple of times a year, and they run out fast!

There are five collections of their books in the warehouse right now. I have it down on my shopping list to get the newest collection which focuses on sight words. I can not speak more highly of the quality and design of these books which build a beginning reader’s confidence at being able to read a whole book on their own relatively quickly. These are excellent for both homeschoolers and resource for families who want to gently reinforce reading skills at home without having to deal with an entire phonics curriculum. It is very easy to pull out the book that focuses on a particular phonetic sound that your child is working on mastering.

Here is the description of the collections:

The five Special Collection boxes contain the original Bob Books materials boxed and reprinted in beautiful, oversized, 8 x 8 inch format. Each box also contains bonus stickers, bookmark and door hanger.

  • Collection 1 has 18 books, including all the stories from Set 1, and half of Set 2.
  • Collection 2 has 16 books, including stories from half of Set 2, and all of Set 3.
  • Collection 3 has 16 books, and includes all the stories from Sets 4 and 5.
  • The My First Bob Books Collection has 24 books, including all stories from My First Bob Books: Alphabet and My First Bob Books: Pre-Reading Skills.
  • NEW! Bob Books Sight Words has 20 books and 16 flash cards, including all stories from Bob Books Sight Words-Kindergarten and Bob Books Sight Words – First Grade.

Highly recommended for ages 2 and up. These books are really easy to use if you are working with a young gifted learner.



Preschool Prep DVD sets – Saavy Source Deal until 2/19 February 13, 2012

Filed under: Baby/Toddler,Deals,Education,Kid's TV,Preschool — lifeatwarpspeed @ 4:43 pm
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Letters, Numbers, Shapes & Colors. Offered at $25.

Phonics Set. Offered at $20.

Sight Words set. Offered at $20.

I originally purchased the 7 DVD set (the 4 DVD set plus the Sight Words set) at Costco based on the reviews I had seen of the series. My son just loves this series, and it helped him immensely in his learning journey. Even now, he asks to watch different ones from time to time. However, be forewarned this is not designed for the older child or young children that have been exposed to a lot of children’s television since series is designed to be highly repetitive without a lot of distracting animation or plot lines. So, for an adult, this can be mind numbingly boring. However, for a young child, highly repetitive, very simple presentation of these basic concepts are really what children need to learn.

You will be pleasantly surprised at how quickly your child will master letter recognition among other concepts. I actually would recommend that you do not introduce the numbers DVD until your child has mastered the concept of numerical quantity. I believe it is really quite important that children master that skill well before the abstract concept of numerical symbols are introduced. This will go a long way to helping your child in his mastery of early math skills.

This is a good price for the Preschool Prep series. I am getting the Phonics set which I have long thought was a major missing component of the series since Meet the Letters only introduces the names of the letters. Even though M already mastered letter sounds and sight words for over a year now, I am looking forward to using the digraphs and blends DVDs since that is the next step that we need to tackle in his mastery of phonics. He has a reading vocabulary of at least 800 words, but he really can’t progress as an independent reader until he can master the phonics skill of decoding words he doesn’t know.

Highly recommended for young toddlers up to age 4 or 5 depending on exposure to other television. Don’t forget that since this is a Saavy Source deal, you can designate a school to benefit from a portion of your purchase price.


Update: I can say that this phonics set is very well done. They have been able to do what I have been unable to do via teaching: help my son understand blends and digraphs. I like that the letter sounds DVD does identify vowels which is important. That DVD was less useful since he already mastered that, but he did know his vowels after one viewing which is great.


Early Reading Apps – Free (Doman method comments) October 11, 2011

Filed under: Baby/Toddler,Homeschooling,Kids — lifeatwarpspeed @ 11:30 am
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App Store – Phonics Genius.

Today’s app shout-out if for 3 new free learning apps rolled out recently by Alligator Apps. Helping your child master word families and working on a specific phoneme can be tedious process. Who wants to spend precious time making flashcards? Phonics Genius makes it so easy to customize your learning, adjust difficulty, and even add your own words and voices.

App Store – Sight Words List – Learn to Read Flash Cards & Games.

Another major learning hurdle for the early reader is mastering sight words. This app covers the 315 Dolch word list. It has the same customizable features as Phonic Genius. Both have an infant learning mode which uses a larger font and red print as recommended by those parents who follow the Doman* method and want to skip the effort of making their own flashcards.

App Store – Fry Words.

This app tackles the Fry’s word list which covers the 1,000 most commonly used words in the English language. Did you know that:

  • 25 words make up approximately 1/3 of all items published.
  • 100 words comprise approximately 1/2 of all of the words found in publications.
  • 300 words make up approximately 65% of all written materials.

These high quality apps are very easy to use both for those parents that are working with infants and toddlers who are early readers and for young readers.

Highly recommended for preschool through early elementary or for parents working with babies & toddlers.


*Glen Doman was the pioneer behind the Gentle Revolution movement. The wikipedia entry on him appears to be biased in their point of view regarding his methods in working with brain injured children. I do recognize that his theories and methods are not without controversy. However, he is fairly well known in the homeschooling world and among parents that are interested in teaching language and math to very young children.

I did not strictly follow the Doman method to teach M to read although I did use two tools that are similar in philosophy (M reads at early 1st grade level and just turned 3 two weeks ago.) I have read his books and adapted many of his techniques that worked for our family (language, math, crawling track, and bits of knowledge). The key take-away that I got and try to integrate every day is to do your teaching/your child’s learning joyously. Enjoy it, be passionate and enthusiastic. Do it only if you are both enjoying the learning activity. Be brief and quick in your learning (about 5 minutes tops). Stop before your child wants to stop. Leave your child wanting to do more and eager for the next time you do that learning activity together. If you do so, you will blur the lines between play and learning and learning will become play.


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