If you’ve been reading my blog any length of time, you’ll know that math and reading can be very difficult for us. They’re basic, foundational and often difficult to get the children interested in them. So when I had an opportunity to review some products from Learning Wrap Ups, my first thought was that it looked like a fun way to get my children involved in math and phonics.
I received several products from the company. I’m going to list them all here and give you the links to the products and their prices, and then I’ll discuss them individually. I received a:
- 2nd Grade Math Learning Palette 1 Base Center Kit ($71.99)
- 2nd Grade Reading Learning Palette 1 Base Center Kit ($61.99)
- Learning Wrap up Basic Math Intro Kit w/o CDs ($44.99)
- Vocabulary Intro Kit ($35.99)
- 10 Days to Multiplication Mastery Wrap-Up and Book Combo ($12.99)
- 10 Steps to Addition Mastery Wrap-Up and Book Combo ($12.99)
- LearningPalette.com family subscription ($60 annually up five students)
All the products that I received were designed for K-5 students. I used them with my nine year old (Firecracker) and my seven year old (Rose).
The first product I received was the 2nd Grade Math Learning Palette 1 Base Center Kit. It comes with a very sturdy and large learning palette base. The base is around 11 inches in diameter. The base has colored rings that the student will pair up with their cards to determine the answers to the cards. In case you’re worried about losing rings, you shouldn’t be. The base also has a plastic cover that screws on to protect the base and the rings when you’re done playing/working. It comes with the cards in a nice tote that’s great for storage.
Firecracker is finishing third (and could use some math review) and Rose is finishing first, so I used the math cards with both children.
The second grade math center kit comes with six sets of cards and their are 12 cards in each set, meaning that when you purchase the math center kit, you get 1 base and 72 cards to go with that base. The titles that came with the second grade math set are:
- Algebra Concepts (Level 2)–This mainly deals with geometric patterns, finding missing numbers and working with coins.
- Adding and Subtracting 2-digit Numbers–This involved a few math facts, some greater than and lesser than, place value and addition and subtraction of 2-digit numbers both with and without regrouping.
- Understanding 3-digit numbers–This is similar to the 2-digit numbers in that it has place value, greater than and less, and adding and subtracting with and without regrouping. There are also a couple of cards devoted to understanding expanded notation.
- Money, Fractions, and Simple Multiplication and Division–This has counting money, making change, skip counting patterns, simple multiplication (2s, 3s, 4s and 5s), and division is introduced as dividing objects into equal groups
- Geometry and Measurement–This is naming and comparing shapes, determining symmetry, reading clocks and calendars, days of the week, temperature and measuring equal measurements (ex. pints in a quart)
- Probability and Statitstics–This has tally marks, probability, venn diagrams, and analyzing bar graphs and charts
These are meant for you to be able to have your students do these independently as a center activity. These are even self-correcting. If you’ll look at the picture above you’ll see that we’re using one of the pattern cards (from algebra concepts) and it is turned over to the answer side, so you can see how the disks easily match up to show you which answers are correct and which ones are not. Because I was using it as a teaching tool with Rose, I often stayed with her to talk through concepts as we worked through the palette cards. This is something that she enjoyed enough that she asked for it, and it’s rare at our house for a child to ask for math!
We also received a 2nd Grade 1 Base Center Kit. It also comes with the same large learning palette base and tote style bag for storage. The second grade reading kit comes with five sets of 12 cards, meaning that you get a total of 60 cards for working on and playing with 2nd grade reading skills. These titles are:
- Capitalization & Punctuation–These provide work in capitalizing proper nouns, using periods in abbreviations and initials, using commas, contractions, possessive nouns, punctuation at the end of a sentence and capitals and punctuation in letters
- Grammar–This covers common and proper nouns, pronouns, adjectives, nouns and verbs, singular and plural verbs, verb tense, and prepositions.
- Vocabulary–This works on synonyms, antonyms, homonyms, compound words, and a few prefixes and suffixes
- Word Usage–This works on abbreviations, endings for plurals, pronouns, and some irregular and regular verb usage
- Reading Comprehension–This has some reading and answering questions and riddles and using context to find missing words
Firecracker loves that the palettes are self-correcting. He doesn’t have to wait on me to check them and to figure out what’s wrong. He only has to flip it over. Sometimes it takes him a few minutes to figure out why he got something wrong. Other times he knows immediately. Being able to check and correct your own mistakes is a great way to learn something!
Something else we received was the basic math intro kit. This kit has five different wrap-ups. These wrap-ups are designed to help you practice your math facts until you have them memorized. The wrap-ups included in this kit are:
With these sets, you have a collection of key shaped plastic math tables that are held together by a large heavy duty brad at the top, and you wrap the attached string around the key according to the math rule printed on the board (ex. +1, x4, +8, etc.). These are also self-correcting because you can take a look at the back of your board and if the string is wrapped around correctly, it will cover the raised areas on the back of the board.
We freely admit that we’re not very strong with our math facts, so it was the addition wrap-up that got the most usage in our house (at least so far). We’ve experimented with the others and realized that we need to just linger in the addition tables for a while. These have, however, become daily tools for math practice and are much more fun than flashcards. It has also brought out a great deal of competition with our children because they’ve spent the most time trying to beat each others’ time for all their tables. In fact, we’ve even had guests over and raced with our guests over who can have the fastest time completing the board. These are so much fun that they even get used on the nights and weekends.
Closely related to the math intro kit is the vocabulary intro kit. When you purchase this, you receive four vocabulary related key sets and they are:
- Compound Words
Firecracker and I have been the only ones who have used these so far. Rose doesn’t read well enough to really use these keys, and without the spirit of competition, they haven’t been begged for the way that the math keys have been. They are fun though, and the intro set comes with a small teacher’s guide that allows you to do different activities with the keys for assigned point values and then chart your student’s completion of all the activities with points. These activities include saying aloud and wrapping, speed wrapping, writing in alphabetical order, searching the dictionary, etc. I fully intend to implement a rewards system over the summer for summer practice with these and completion of the keys that way. I could see doing activities out of the teacher’s manual to get an ice cream or a night out with his Dad to be a strong motivator in completing those activities and earning points.
We also received the 10 Days to Multiplication Mastery Wrap-Up and Book Combo. This includes a multiplication wrap-up and a student workbook called 10 Days to Multiplication Mastery. The workbook is consumable, so you’ll need a workbook for each student you are teaching. This workbook is an awesome combination of using the wrap-ups along with written math problems, a fact table and word problems and other activities in the workbook. I love the combination of these workbooks and wrap-ups. Not only are the children motivated to practice but they’re memorizing the facts as they go.
I started using this with Firecracker, and it’s easy and a lot of fun for drilling those facts until you know them. We worked through some of the book, and then we decided to focus on addition because he’s still having difficulty remembering his addition facts. This was a great idea because we also received the 10 Steps to Addition Mastery Wrap-Up and Book combo.
We didn’t completely work through a step a day, but have spread it out a little more so that we can linger and ensure that the facts are completely memorized before we move from one board to the next. I’m seeing great progress in his addition facts as we continue using the combination of the wraps and the worksheets.
Rose is still working through the concept of addition, but it is my plan to buy her the addition mastery workbook and have her work through it as her primary math in the fall. By then, I’m sure that Firecracker will have moved back into the multiplication workbook or even be exploring some of the other subtraction and division resources on the Learning Wrap-Ups website.
The final product we received was an online subscription to Learning Palette.com. This includes 12 months of access to all levels of K-5 reading and math online palettes. Each student in your family can access their own student account and see which cards they have completed and what their scores are. Teachers can log-in under a main account and receive access to all their students’ scores.
With the cards, you just pick the level and card that you want to work on and drag the colored disk to palette. Once done, the card is graded by the computer.
This is a great tool and cost-effective for families who have children at multiple levels wanting to use the learning palettes. In our case, although we enjoyed the computer palettes, we did not spend as much time with them because the children preferred the physical palettes to the computer game ones. The online version really is exactly like the physical version, but on the computer.
These products were a great blessing to our homeschool. They added math and English fun to our home, and these subjects are not always easy to make fun. The wrap-ups themselves were our favorite of all the products, but we’re very fond of the palettes too. I’m sure that these wrap-ups and palettes are going to be a part of our home for a long time!
If you think that you might be interested in these products, now is a great time to buy. Right now you can get a 20% discount on their products if you use the code HOMESCHOOL as a coupon code!