Fraboom LIVE!

Last January I told you about an up and coming company developing online programs for kids, Flying Rhinoceros. I enjoyed my experience reviewing PrezQuest for them so I was thrilled to hear that they have expanded their offerings to include three new experiences.

Carter and I jumped in for the Insects class last week and yesterday my 81 year old mom did the Presidents experience with him. We all found it really it easy and fun to use. The character in the Insects kinda freaked Carter out though (in a funny way). He kept telling me that “That is NOT a kid it is a creepy old man”. I kinda have to agree. He found the ‘boy’ hysterical. Next week we are looking forward to the How To Draw Cartoons class. He actually has this one marked on the calendar so he doesn’t forget.

The live teacher really is an ingenius way to grab the kids attention. The first day of whatever series you choose, the class is live and interactive. There is an actual ‘teacher’ there to guide you through the activities. You sign in on the top of the hour any time between 10am-7pm MST. My son LOVES asking questions just to make sure that the person is real and not a set up :) They are. The teacher calls your child by name and interacts with them one on one. The remaining days of the series are activities that you work on with your child. Fraboom provides a very well done activity guide for you to download and print (my only complaint is that it uses a TON of ink so I don’t print the first page).

Seriously, you all really need to check this company out. I absolutely love them. The series of three classes is $9.99. They were nice enough to offer 5 memberships though for me to give away to my readers.

Would you like one of the memberships? Here is your chance to win!

REQUIRED Initial Entry: Just leave a comment on what you think your child might like about Fraboom. You can go to the Fraboom site for more ideas. This company is all about listening to us parents, so honestly tell them what you think!

Optional Bonus Entries. If you already do these, that counts too, just tell me in separate comments:

* Receive 1 Entry for following @chaotic_barb on Twitter (Leave your Twitter ID.)

* Receive 1 Entry for following @fraboom on Twitter (Leave your Twitter ID.)

* Receive 1 Entry for adding me to your blog roll (leave a link to where)

* Receive 1 Entry by Faving me on Mom Faves (Leave your Mom Faves ID)

* Receive 1 Entry – (You may do this one time per day) for tweeting about this giveaway. Copy and paste this —–>@chaotic_barb has a great giveaway going on for @fraboom & I want to win http://bit.ly/Rq2dZ

*Receive 1 Entry-Add to Technorati Favorites (leave your ID)

*Bookmark the http://elementaryspirits.com on delicious

*Subscribe to my  feed

Please leave a separate comment for each entry.  Must be 18 years of age or older. We reserve the right to remove any entry from this giveaway that doesn’t have the requested information. This giveaway ends Sept 4, 2009 11:59 pm EST. Please allow up to 4 weeks to receive your item. If the winner does not respond within 48 hours another winner will be chosen.

Find some more cool giveaways in the Blog Hop:


and don’t forget to add yours to my weekly giveaway linky!

Pokemon Learning League Review

I first saw this advertised in an education magazine and was pretty excited about the concept. Basically, the concept is that the Pokemon characters teach mini lessons. The lessons are VERY similar to the ones found on brainpop.com or time4learning.com except that Ash, Brock, May and Pikachu take on the ‘teachers role’. In theory, this could be a great thing for those young Pokemon fans. Unfortunately, we found the program lacking in many ways. The site claims that it is targeting grades 3-6. From the site:

Primarily for grades 3-6, Pokémon Learning League can also be used with young gifted students, special needs students, and English Language Learners. Because it is a supplemental resource that supports differentiated instruction in core content areas, the program can be used with a diverse range of students and in a variety of learning environments and programs.

My 6th grader has absolutely no interest in Pokemon and the lesson content was far inferior to what you would expect on a six grade level. They are using the characters as a draw and lacks some real substance to the lessons. In contrast, my third grader loves Pokemon. He has what the public school terms ‘special needs’. The lessons were far above his head. The only thing he got from them was the fun of watching the characters walking around.

I probably would not have felt the need to write a review of this program if it weren’t for the price of it! For a family with three children an annual membership is $99!!! I would hate for anyone to plop down that kind of money without a little warning. There are far better online sites to spend that kind of money. Here are three of my favorites:

I Know That
Time4Learning
Brain Pop

We won’t be buying a membership to Pokemon Learning League. It is too bad because it is a fabulous concept. I would like to see it provide more drill challenges. The characters would be great in motivating kids to practice facts. Thank goodness they provide a 30 day trial. Try it out and if you disagree leave a comment. Maybe I am missing something…

Time4Learning

When I first started looking into homeschooling the first question was, of course, “What will I teach?”. My son is 9 years old and has high functioning autism. I knew that he has always learned well from TV shows and computer games. I needed to find a curriculum that was disguised as a game. He was at the point where he hated school and anything ‘educational’. Time4Learning absolutely was the answer for us. The lessons were short and to the point. The characters did a very good explaining the concept and then demonstrating how to complete the problem without losing his interest. The math curriculum was so effective for him that he completed an entire grade level in three months. I had purchased MathUSee to supplement Time4Learning for Math but right now we don’t need it. Time4Learning is our complete curriculum for math. The success and confidence in Math that he has gained from Time4Learning has been remarkable.

He has a lot more difficulty following the Language Arts program because the characters talk very fast and it times out with a message that says “Need more time?” within a few seconds during the reading portions. He always needs more time to process the information. He is more successful with the Language Arts Enrichments than the core Language Arts program and I have simply made the decision for now to use something else for comprehension and story elements. The ILA (Integrated Language Arts) sections of the Language Arts section is interesting and he likes to complete those.

The Science and Social Studies sections are too small to be used as a core curriculum but he likes to do them. We are participating in the Cornell bird study right now and we use Brainpop.com as well to supplement. Not mention, real life!

He loves being able to check his online portfolio and goes to check his progress after every lesson. I love being able to print these reports once a month. Even though I am in a state that does not require homeschool reporting on testing, I still keep a portfolio for him. Every month I print off a report of his lessons and stick it there.

So, as a homeschooling mom and a former public school teacher I would have to say that Time4Learning is well worth the time, money and effort we spend on it. My 6th grader who is still enrolled in public school has a membership as well and uses it to supplement lessons that he needs extra practice on. The fact that he enjoys Time4Learning in addition to a full day in public school speaks volumes in my mind. There is a free trial available so I would suggest taking advantage of it and see if it works as well for you!