Posted in Homeschool Information

The SAT: How to Study for SAT Math

how to study for SAT mathMore and more Canadian universities are requesting the SAT test as one of the requirements for admission. I am delighted to have a guest blogger today, sharing how to study for the Math portion of the SAT test for your homeschooler. Be sure to check out the great links she’s included! And watch for a post next week on the writing portion of the SAT. ~ Kimberly

SAT Math problems can be tricky, and the best way to succeed on the three SAT Math sections is to 1) thoroughly review all the tested concepts, and 2) approach each Math question with a solid, step-by-step strategy. There are two types of questions on SAT Math: Multiple Choice, and Grid-ins. The multiple choice questions will always offer you 5 answer choices, 1 of which is correct. The grid-ins are formatted in exactly the same way except they don’t have any answer choices. You must arrive at a numerical answer on your own, then bubble them in on the answer sheet. Good news: the grid-ins have no wrong answer penalty, so always guess!

Here’s how to approach each SAT Math question for maximum effectiveness:

Step 1 – Write down what the questions is really asking. You may need to find 1/y, instead of y. Or you may be asked about the “ratio of lemons in a jar to limes in a jar,” but have to solve for the two parts of the ratio first. Write down the end goal before you start solving.

Step 2 – Write down any key numbers, variables, or equations provided by the question. Don’t just skim the question and start solving. Forcing yourself to slow down and process each piece of information will give your brain time to sort through it. If you see an inequality for example, you might want to draw it on a number line quickly.

Step 3 – Examine the answer choices. Are they numbers, or variables? If they are numbers, would it be easier to plug in the answer choices (or backsolve) rather than doing the algebra? We can always use the fact that 1 out of the 5 is correct to our advantage, testing each choice! If they are variables, can we pick numbers to make the question simpler? For example, we can use “2” and “5” for “x” or “a number.” You can also choose numbers for unknown values in the question-stem. For example, on percents questions, always pick 100 for the starting value! It makes the math much easier.

Step 4 – Solve, writing every step down! Once you’ve decided how you’re going to solve (doing the math, backsolving, or picking numbers), go ahead and put it into effect! Many students make errors by trying to do steps in their head, or all on their calculator. Neatly write each step out so there’s no risk of making a simple math error that would cost you an easy point you should have gotten!

Step 5 – Double-check that your answer makes sense. Before you bubble in your choice, double-check your answer against what you wrote down in Step 1. Are you really done? Make sure you didn’t accidentally stop halfway by mistake. Many SAT Math problems have “intermediate” steps, and it’s easy to lose track of where you are as you solve!

Don’t forget to review your algebra and geometry concepts (luckily, there’s no Trig on SAT Math!). You’ll also need to review some number properties – factors/multiples, odds and evens, etc. Finally, even if you see a question that you have no idea how to solve on SAT Math (there’s likely to be a few), see if you can approximate or estimate. If the answer choices are very far apart, there’s often no need to fully solve. Can you round decimals to the nearest integer to approximate, or is there 1 or 2 answer choices that don’t seem logical?

This brings us to our final SAT Math tip: if you can eliminate at least one answer choice, GUESS! You’ll get +1 for each correct answer, and -1/4 for each incorrect answer, so as long as you can confidently eliminate at least one choice, always, always guess!

Vivian Kerr is a Los Angeles-based test prep tutor, blogger, and content creator for Learnist with 7+ years experience. She offers tutoring online via Skype for all sections of the SAT, ACT, GRE, and GMAT with

Posted in Free Homeschooling Resources, Things to Do, Places to Go

Canadian Maple Leaf Math Challenge – Registration Now Open


Students, parents and teachers across the country are gearing up for Canada’s third annual Maple Leaf Math Challenge, November 20-21, 2012! Registration is now open at  Practice takes place November 12 through 11:59 p.m. (EST) on November 19, 2012. The official Challenge begins12:00 a.m. (EST) on November 20 The Challenge ends 11:59 a.m. (EST) on November 21, 2012.

E nter For A Chance To Be An Ambassador!
Your kids can enter to become a Provincial Maple Leaf Math Challenge Ambassador! All they have to do is send us a written letter or video explaining why they would be the BEST Maple Leaf Math Challenge Ambassador to represent their province. Deadline to submit letters and videos is 11:59 p.m. on November 9, 2012. E-mail submissions to [email protected]. Download the Official Student Ambassador Briefing Booklet now to learn more about the Maple Leaf Math Challenge and becoming a Student Ambassador.


Here are 5 simple steps to help you register:

  1. Go to the Maple Leaf Math Challenge website at and click into Click Here To Register, in the top toolbar
  2. You’ll be given two options for registration. If you’re a Principal or Teacher, click into that box on the left. If you’re a Parent or Student, click into that box on the right to continue your registration.
  3. Provide your e-mail address, read and agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy to continue, and click Submit. You will receive an  e-mail with instructions to get you started.
  4. Once you have filled in your details and submitted the registration – remember each school should only be registered once – you will receive a second e-mail with your sign-in details for the MLMC.
  5. On November 12, when the practice begins, you will be able to sign in and begin warming up for the event on November 20 and 21.

Register your school or child today at

Posted in Resources

MathRider on sale until Feb 26th!

We LOVE MathRider in our homeschool!  We had a free trial and had to buy it!  See my Review of this fun way to drill math facts.

The special sale of MathRider for $37 is about to end!  The price goes up to $47 on February 26th.  Here’s the direct link to the MathRider home page and the free 7-day trial: So go give it a try with your children, and if  you like it, buy before the price goes up!

Love, Luck &

Posted in Resources, Reviews

Aleks Online Math – Review


ALEKS stands for Assessment and LEarning in Knowledge Spaces. It is an online math program (PC and MAC compatible) for Gr. 3 to PreCalculus level, that provides individualized learning and assessment. Through these assessments, ALEKS determines what a student already knows and is ready to learn within a course.  We received ALEKS in exchange for an honest review and have been using it in our homeschool for the past 5 weeks.

You the Teacher/Parent are given a Master Account to monitor and direct your students’ progress.

Master account homepage:

With this account, you can view a detailed progress report on the course and their QuickTables, an attendance report (to check that they’ve been doing that work daily and how long it takes them), and you can create a quiz if you wish, in between assessments.

Each student receives their own account.  Upon beginning a course, the student receives an initial assessment, and then regular assessments are given to see how they’re doing throughout the course.  Student Account Assessment: Photobucket

As you can see, not only can they answer the questions, but they can choose the “I haven’t learned this yet” option as well.

Does your child need practice with operations?  Quick Tables let them practice addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division – regardless of their level: Photobucket

For my 8 year old daughter, ALEKS was her very first experience with a formal math program.  We delay math until about Grade 4 age in our homeschool.  In just 5 short weeks she has mastered 1/4 of the Grade 3 course material.  She found counting American currency rather frustrating though, as it looks quite a bit different from Canadian money.

My son took a little time away from his regular Algebra I program to try ALEKS Algebra I.  He did well with it, and liked being able to choose which sections of “My pie” to work on.  He found ALEKS a bit “dull” in comparison to his current program, but he told me he did like the straightforward nature of ALEKS.

My pie:

One advantage to ALEKS subscriptions is they offer access to all courses, so your student may complete as many courses as they want with their subscription.  I can see this being a real money-saver for a gifted student who is going through multiple levels in a year.

Learn more by watching a quick 2-minute video. Or take advantage of this special offer for my blog readers who homeschool and are new to ALEKS: get a 2-day free trial here (3 hours of use total).

ALEKS can be used by both homeschoolers and schools.  Individual student subscriptions are $19.95 US per month OR $99.95 US for 6 months OR $179.95 US for 1 year.  They also have family discounts: two students for $169.90 US for 6 months OR $305.90US for 1 year, etc.

To see how other TOS Crew families liked ALEKS, click HERE. And if you’ve used ALEKS yourself, leave some stars below!

Love, Luck &

Posted in Homeschool Events, Things to Do, Places to Go

World Education Games 2012 – Math, Science, Spelling – Register now!

Once again, World Math Day is approaching…on March 7th!  Along with World Spelling Day on March 6 and the new World Science Day on March 8th, they make up Mathletics’ World Education Games!  We participate every year and my children have so much fun!   And not only do they drill their math and spelling skills (and now Science too) in an extremely fun way, but they also learn about Geography and flags of the world just by competing with other students around the world.  There’s even a world map download on the site 🙂

Each of the World Education Games is free and a lot of FUN!  Register now and you can practice for a whole month on the site.  Be a part of this great education event, whether you’re a teacher, parent, homeschooler, or student.
  • Students take part in real-time math, spelling, and science challenges using the using the Mathletics game engine.
  • Student play live with other students around the globe.
  • Your students will love it! Be part of setting a Guinness World Record!
  • It will create an amazing buzz around Math, Spelling, and Science.
  • Designed for all ages and ability levels.
  • Simple to register and participate. All you need is internet access.
  • Great prizes
  • And it’s absolutely FREE!!

HURRY, registration opened today and you get a whole month now to practice!  One registration gets you access to all three of the World Education Games.

Enjoy!  You might see us taking part – look for “Hidden Hill Homeschool” 🙂  Adults can play too!
Love, Luck &
Posted in Homeschool Events

The Maple Leaf Math Challenge

All Canadian schools, Home Users and Homeschool students are invited to participate in Mathletics’ The Maple Leaf Math Challenge!  Practice has already begun, and runs through November 8th.  Competition days are November 9 and 10, 2011.
Top students will be invited to be ambassadors for the  World Education Games 2012!  This is absolutely free, so click on The Maple Leaf Math Challenge now, and register your child!

Love, Luck &

Posted in Free Homeschooling Resources, Homeschool Events

Identifying and Reducing Math Anxiety – Free Seminar Tonight!

Landry Academy presents a free 30 minute online seminar tonight, Tuesday July 12th at 10pm Atlantic (9pm ET):

“Identifying and Reducing Math Anxiety” by Debbie Baumgartner – see her bio here..

These free, 30 minute online seminars are for homeschooling families.

You may enter the classroom 30 minutes prior to the start time.  When you sign-in, it will ask for your name. But,
please use your first name, town/city,and state, like this..
Mary – Halifax, NS

You can access the classroom here beginning 30 minutes prior to the start time…

Love, Luck &

Posted in Free Homeschooling Resources, Resources

Free Math Program – Download This Month Only!

Funnix Beginning Math is a 100-lesson computer program designed for children who have not learned beginning math operations AND will be available as a free download from June 1 through June 26. All components of Funnix Beginning Math are included in the download—100 animated computer-based lessons, workbook material, a teaching guide, and a placement test.

Be assured that this program is FREE. No hidden charges, gimmicks, or costs for handling and shipping. This giveaway is like the one conducted in January for Funnix Beginning Reading and resulted in over 41,000 free downloads.

Funnix Beginning Math is very user friendly. Like Funnix Reading, the math program is computer-based. Narrators direct the activities in each 35-minute lesson. A child or small group of children watch the computer screen with a parent or teacher. The children answer questions the narrator presents. The parent or teacher reinforces correct responses and directs the program to repeat parts that were difficult for the children.

Signing up for the free download is simple. All you do is fill out a form and submit it. You will then receive an email with all instructions on how to receive the program.

Now why on earth are they doing this?  Funnix believes Funnix Beginning Math can accelerate math learning for all children. The free download won’t really cost them very much, but it will make them feel they are doing something very helpful for a lot of children.  Isn’t that great?!

So go on over to the Funnix Beginning Math website and sign up for your free program 🙂

Love, Luck &