Monday, December 15, 2008

Review: Times Tales & Clean 'n Flip Charts

Do you have children who struggle with their multiplication tables?

Does the thought of going over drill after drill cause your eyes to twitch and theirs to glaze over? (Been there, done that.)

How about chores? Do your children perform a not-so-detailed job? (Ahem. No comment) What about doing their own laundry. Do they know how?

Well, obviously you and I are not alone in this regard. But thanks to Trigger Memory Systems' Times Tales and Clean 'n Flip Charts, we can eliminate the "times tables twitch 'n drool" and shoddy chore ethics! Hooray! :o)

Math is a favorite/dispised subject in our house, depending who you ask. My son, Ethan adores math and couldn't wait to get his paws on Times Tales ("Open it up, Mommy! I want to see it!"). Whereas my daughters looked at it like it was a stink bomb, waiting to go off. ("Math? Eeewww..")

Ah, but contraire mon petit ones...(Please excuse the butchered French.) Times Tales is indeed quite different from what you're used to.

Times Tales is a super-nifty, mnemonic-based program designed to teach your child the upper times tables quickly and easily. The simple black & white pictures make this a really fun-yet-powerful "un-math-like" tool.

Honestly, my youngest wasn't aware she was even learning multiplication at first. It was a subliminally supurb moment! She just kicked back 'n listened to Mommy read a silly story about treehouses and apples. No problem. ;o)

I received their "Deluxe" version to review, which includes the following bonus punch outs:

  • Division flash cards

  • Roll 'Em Cube Game

  • Tests and Crossword Puzzle Challenges

The instruction manual walks you step-by-step through the program, which was great considering I didn't understand the little picture stories at first. (Ahem. Ok, so I'm not the brightest bulb in the box...whatever.) If I'd read the instruction manual first, I would've. I was just eager to jump in and read it. (Humph)

I found Times Tales to be really effective for my oldest daughter, who tends to struggle with math. She couldn't memorize the tables outside of 2's, 5's and 10's, so she resorted to writing down each number--one by one--then adding them up. (Example: 7+7+7...count on fingers...= 21)
But after a few sessions with Times Tales, she now has a rapid recall of the story, the picture and the answer.

Yaaaahoooooo!!!! Success!!! (Insert Snoopy dance here.)

Times Tales is a phenominal product that should be on every homeschooler's shelf. You can purchase Times Tales with the bonuses listed above for only $29.95.

This is a great deal as the product is non-consumable (meaning you can use it with ALL of your children), and unlike repetitious drills, your kids will actually ENJOY it.

Interesting footnote; while my friend Tina and her children were over for a visit, we were discussing various curriculums, etc. We got on the topic of math and how it can be a struggle and she said, "Oh! I've got this really neat product that teaches the times tables by using cute little stories. You can borrow it if you'd like. It's absolutely wonderful. Have you heard of it? It's called Times Tales!"

Wow! I assured her that borrowing would not be necessary as I'd been blessed with said item to review. Woohooooooo!!! So there's another positive opinion about this product for you to consider. ;o)

Now, onto the Clean 'n Flip Charts!

Like Times Tales, these babies are fabulously effective and simple to use. First up...Zone Cleaning For Kids!

This dry-erase flip chart teaches kids how to clean the 3 zones of the house (Kitchen, Bathroom, and Living Room). The simple pictures make it easy for even the youngest members of the family to perform each chore with ease.

There's even an optional "Job List" for Mom to record any job(s) that need to be done in addition to what's already pre-printed on the Chart. And finally, the little check-off boxes next to each task provide a sense of accomplishment as each job is completed.

Bedroom Cleaning For Kids teaches them to...well, clean their room. (Pretty self-explanatory.) This is not a dry erase, check-off chart but rather a "read 'n flip through the tasks chart". Still very effective and fun to use, however. And like the Zone Chart, Bedroom Cleaning includes a page at the back to list any extra jobs for the week (Monday: dust shelves, etc).

Last but not least, is Laundry For Kids. This again is self-explanatory, so I won't tell you that it teaches children how to sort, wash, fold and put away their own laundry (oh wait...).

This product wasn't particularly useful to us, as I make my kids learn this once they turn 8 years old. (Yup. Once you can reach, it's time!) However, we did enjoy reading over it and noting that we were doing it "right". :o)

A note on the front page explains to parents that if there is any task they'd rather NOT have their child do, to simply leave the check box on that particular page blank. Everything else can be check-marked so your child knows exactly what to do, step-by-step.

The Clean 'n Flip Charts retail for:

  • $17.95 for Zone Cleaning
  • $7.95 each for Bedroom or Laundry
  • Or all 3 for only $29.95

Trigger Memory Systems has other nifty products available, including free homemaking downloads (ya'll know how much I love freebies!), E-books and games.

I give Times Tales and the Clean & Flip Charts 2 BIG thumbs up! :o)

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