First Addition Lessons

Middlest loves math. She loves counting and numbers and, believe it or not, addition! And after all the drilling she overheard with Oldest last year, she’s a lap or two ahead in this race.

So, knowing how much she loves everything math, I pulled a few of the flashcards that are no issue for Oldest and gave them to Middlest. We’ve been playing some fun games, too.

K4 math

We LOVE counting bears. On the first day, I had her count out the number of bears from her flashcard, and we worked through the combination using the side of the flashcard that showed the answer. On day two, we did the same activity, but I had her work through the combination without the answer.

K4 math

Then, we pulled out the chalk board and her Fisher Price duplo blocks (similar to legos).  She linked the right number together, we’d read through her flashcard, then we’d write it on the board.

math with blocks

This picture says it all! She is extremely hands-on, so it really is no wonder that she loves math. And I love that addition is coming so easily for her.

Professor B Math review


Professor B math sets out to “structure the content of arithmetic so it becomes as connected and flowing as a story.” And I must say, I really liked the way concepts were interwoven and presented in this curriculum.
Professor B math

“The program thoroughly structures the content of arithmetic as a developmental, contextual flow (like a story), allowing children’s minds to assimilate its content more quickly (in the same natural way they assimilate stories rapidly) without any gaps in their knowledge.”

Professor B math is a power point curriculum that allows you, the “instant master teacher,” to sit down with your child and work through a presentation together. “Together” is the key, and the slides do not have any sound to ensure that the work is done together. The slides present the new math concept through directions for hands-on illustrations, similar to finger-play, and speech-bubble instruction, “spoken” by the professor bee and read by either the teacher or student.


My preschooler especially loved the finger-play, and as a part of the math story, addition was presented at the same time as number recognition. She would play by making different combinations of two or three (or whatever number the lesson was presenting) with her fingers; by the end of the lesson, the bee was introducing “one and one make two” as the different finger combinations were shown in the slides. It made perfect sense to her, and my three (almost four) year old quickly grasped the addition.

Professor B math | homeschool math curriculum

Professor B math

Professor B math | addition | homeschool math curriculum

The same was true for my almost-first grader, who was introduced to adding and subtracting by twos in the same series of lessons where skip counting was introduced. He could immediately see the connection between this skip counting and the addition/subtraction being taught.

Once the slide presentation is complete, the student is then given an assignment. Sometimes, the assignment was to continue drilling the material until mastery was achieved. Other times, certain worksheets were assigned at the end of the slide; just open the pdf and print off the correct pages. An answer key for the worksheets is also provided, though there are no testing materials besides the placement tests for each level.

This curriculum is definitely intended to aid the teacher not replace her, and at first, the lack of sound and lack of achievement reports was rather unsettling. It felt like something was missing. But I did appreciate the approach to mathematics, and in the end, as I read the script to my children, it gave the feeling of all of us experiencing math together. I was still the teacher, narrating the lesson and answering questions, correcting when incorrect answers were given, etc. But there was a “togetherness” about the lessons that I enjoyed. I even had my oldest sit in on his sister’s lessons and read some of the script for her; it gave him reading practice and allowed him to review earlier concepts.

Professor B

Also, the power point was not just text to be read; the lessons are interactive. The professor bee often asks questions for the child to answer or gives directions for the child to do something. My kids loved this interaction, and my oldest even asked me during one lesson how the bee could hear him.


Also, there is a ton of information packed into this program! Each of the three levels covers three grades: Level I (k-2nd); Level II (3rd-5th); Level III (6th-8th). Consequently, I felt that both of my children were adequately challenged even while using the same level of material. I will definitely continue using this as my primary math instruction for Middlest and let Oldest sit in on the lessons as much as he wants.

The program can now be purchased for $40 for each level, plus $13.95 for an accompanying workbook (updated as of 2/2017).

Though the program took a little getting used to, I’d definitely say that the little bee won me over in just a few short lessons. The logical presentation and the “togetherness” were both elements that I really appreciated. Visit the Professor B website and click on “Sample Lessons” to check it out for yourself.

Read more reviews at the Schoolhouse Review Crew website.



Disclaimer:  As a member of the TOS Crew, I received this product, at no cost to me, in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions are mine.

IXL Math review

When the opportunity came up to review IXL Math, my interest was piqued. I’d explored the website several times before and taken advantage of the daily allowance of 20 math questions that you can answer without a subscription, and I knew it was something my kids enjoyed doing.


IXL Math is an online math program with over 2,000 skills for preschool through algebra, available in over 150 countries and meeting all state standards. It is “math for the left and right brain.” The program provides a list of topics per grade; and though I experimented with just picking and choosing topics for my oldest to cover, I really found that it worked best when I let the kids go through the lessons in order, beginning with the topics that I knew they had down well. I was also pleasantly surprised to find how challenging the topics were.



Each topic provides a number of questions for the students to answer and has optional audio clips for each question so that both the question and the answers can be either read or listened to, which means my preschooler was able to work through the lessons pretty independently. Each correctly answered question earns points; incorrect questions deduct points. By the time the child has earned the 100 point total, they have mastered the topic. The lessons took anywhere from 2 to 3 minutes for the topics my kids knew well to around 20 minutes on new topics. Once a lesson is mastered, the child is awarded a gold medal and different icon toys on their Awards page.



The program does not provide initial instruction on the topics, instead the child is provided with explanations on the questions answered incorrectly. Consequently, for a number of the topics it would probably be helpful to introduce the concept to your child first and then reinforce the concept with IXL Math. I also enjoyed the weekly reports that were emailed to me and kept me informed of total practice time for each child and their accomplishments.

IXL Math is available for a monthly subscription of $9.95 or $79 for the year. And another terrific feature is that a subscription give you access to all of the topics and grade levels, which works especially well if your child is in between grades. IXL Math also allows you to play around on their site and answer a number of the questions without a subscription, giving you a great feel for the site before you subscribe.

My kids ask to do math! For them, it’s not “school”; it’s an opportunity to play on the computer. How can a mom resist that!

Read more reviews over at the Schoolhouse Review Crew.



Disclaimer:  As a member of the TOS Crew, I received this product, at no cost to me, in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions are mine.