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Math Made Fun!

Don’t let your kids’ brains turn to mush over the summer break – keep them learning (and having a little fun, too) with these math resources.

Free Online games and activities for  K-8 grades.

Preschool  Math, pre writing  skills, Montessori based preschool activities,  fun games and lot more with all the latest products and free giveaways.

Fun way of learning Math in a Multiplayer Mode for K-8 students, totally free.

Reasonably priced membership based web resource for keeping the elementary grade children challenged and occupied. I liked it with my 2nd grade son.

Free Web based Math Practice for General grade level skills on various skills as well as Math Olympiad Practice

A holistic web based free resources for parents to keep children informed and occupied during the whole year with a variety of activities and resources on a wide range of topics and subjects.

Reasonably priced products teaching tools for parents and teachers  for a huge variety of skills like reading, phonics.

An excellent resource for online practice year-round for a wide range of subjects (Langauage Arts, Math, Vocabulary, Science, Social Studies).

Beestar is an educational organization founded by Sugar Land teachers and parents. Serving the Houston area since 2003, Beestar specializes in developing online math and reading exercises for elementary school kids. These after-school programs foster students’ interest and help them to achieve excellent academic grades. The Beestar system also facilitates parents to participate in their children’s learning process so they can understand and assist their children along the way to accomplish goals.

Since its inception, Beestar is run by voluntary community teachers and parents. Most Beestar developers are also its users, who have witnessed the positive changes the exercise programs bring to the children. They are committed to expand and improve the Web site to benefit more families. The Beestar team’s goal is common: to raise happy confident children with a bright future.

This website offers tons of lessons on videos for all the subjects , Math, PreAlgebra, Algebra, Geometry, Science, Finance, Accounting, Humanities and also Test Preparation strategies and skills. Many public schools  teachers are using these  videos in their classrooms to help students to work at their own pace and  comprehend the concepts completely.

Comprehensive, complete math curriculum in the form of a compact kit for children 4-12. It uses Montessori manipulatives and strategies for math teaching at home.  ShillerMath comes in affordable, multi-year kits: Kit I for 4-8 year olds and Kit II for 9-12 year olds.

RightStart™ Mathematics is a Montessori-influenced math curriculum. Dr. Joan A. Cotter, curriculum developer for RightStart™ Mathematics, is a certified Montessoriteacher. The RightStart™ Mathematics program was the outgrowth of Dr. Joan A. Cotter’s doctoral dissertation. The curriculum follows the NCTM guidelines, while meeting and exceeding state standards.

This unique hands-on program de-emphasizes counting, uses visualization of quantities, and provides strategies (visual pictures) for learning the facts. Understanding and problem solving are emphasized throughout the curriculum.

An award winning research based math curriculum for K-12 grades children using concrete manipulatives at an affordable cost. It is a very effective tool for parents as well as teachers.

A very helpful  affordable resource for parents and teachers to supplement, reinforce and give practice to the students for the concepts already taught. Edhelper helps in creating customized worksheets for each of the student working at different levels in all the subjects. I have used it for almost five years for my students and own children.

I personally recommend the Abacus classes and training for learning math skills among the young children offered through Abacus Learning centers like Aloha Math Centers and also through some Private practitioners in some states.

And if you’re looking for apps, check out this article which lists the top 8 math apps for young children.

We wish you and your kids a fun and educational summer!


Fill Kids’ Summer With Learning Opportunities

Learning, and learning in the summer in particular, wears so many different faces that it doesn’t always fall into the category of “learning” (hear the groan?) as kids come to know it. Learning in summer offers much that the school year doesn’t. Summer brings time that is unstructured, schedules that are less encumbered, environments that are untraditional and ripe for discovery, and opportunities to create and follow your own interests and lesson plans. It is a time of year that is ripe with real learning opportunities for kids of all ages, learning that is not limited to the three Rs and drill and kill. Summer gives us the chance to stretch and expand thinking.

So, let’s reframe and put a whole new spin on that word “learning.” Wherever you are, learning opportunities abound. As parents we can keep our kids’ brains active and sparking, with new synapses forming all summer long. Some of this happens with our help, and some happens if we leave our kids alone (and unplug the enemy screens). Remember, kids need time to play, with and without friends. In those unstructured, unscripted, unplanned times, they are growing ideas. Isn’t that learning?

The following Tips for Parents will help you plan fun summer activities for your kids.

Ideas for Parents to Keep Children Busy

While summer should be a relaxing, fun time for kids, they still need to keep their minds and bodies active. Set firm limits about how much time they’re allowed to watch TV and movies, or play video or computer games. The American Academy of Pediatrics warns that more than two hours a day in front of the TV leads to increased obesity and lowered academic achievement. Instead, provide the kids with a comprehensive list of approved activities, and make sure they have the supplies on hand to do them. Make it clear which activities they’re allowed to do on their own, and which ones they need to do with adult supervision. Here are some ideas for learning, active, summer fun:

Visit the local library: for books, videos, music, games, activities, story times, and summer reading programs.

Sports: have the kids join a team. If that’s not possible, encourage them to play basketball, soccer, baseball, badminton, volley ball, or croquet in the yard or with friends that live nearby.

Other outdoor fun: tree climbing, jumping rope, camping in the backyard, bike riding, sidewalk chalk, building forts out of cardboard boxes, playing with pets, swimming, jumping on a trampoline, or running through the sprinkler. Check out Family Education’s Outdoor Activities for tons of great ideas for kids 6-10 years old.

Projects: Planting a vegetable or flower garden, writing a book or journal, painting a series of paintings on a theme, planning and performing a play, making a movie with a camcorder, etc.

Learn: a new sport or musical instrument, study geology or geography with field trips, or astronomy and stargazing.

Arts and crafts activities: Visit Creative Kids at Home’s Summer Activities for fun ideas.

Start a collection: bugs, rocks, dried plants or flowers, books, or found objects.

Help them plan, advertise, and run a small summer business: babysitting, lawn mowing, pet sitting, selling baked goodies, crafts, or jewelry they’ve made, or have them start plants from seeds and sell them. Read these Money Instructor’s Child Business Tips

Volunteer: Kids learn a lot from helping others. They can help an elderly neighbor, coach a younger team, be a teen volunteer at the local hospital, or organize a charity event such as car wash, barbecue, or mothers’ luncheon. Teens can visit Do Something for volunteer opportunities near them.

Summer camp: have them go to an accredited camp for a week or two for a change of scenery and good fun. Visit the American Camp Association for accredited camps in your area.

Planned outings: visit the zoo, museum, planetarium, beach, park, swimming pool, go camping or hiking, stargazing, or fishing.

Cooking: have them plan, shop, and prepare for a family dinner each week. They can visit the award winning kids cooking website, Spatulatta, for measuring instructions, safety tips, recipes, and more.

Community Events: check your local paper or visit your library to find out about fairs, festivals, and other community events to do as a family.

Board games: encourage them to make it exciting by having neighborhood chess tournaments, a Monopoly day (where everyone dresses as their favorite Monopoly game piece), or play for prizes.

Chores: Ok, doing chores is rarely fun, but it’s important for kids to take part in the family’s chores. They learn responsibility, and feel proud that they can contribute. Require that kids clean up after themselves, and have them help out with laundry or watering the garden. Reward them for a job well done.

Car Games for Kids

The car is a learning environment. Instead of relying on the DVD and other tech devices, turn your child’s brain and senses on. Old-fashioned car games, giving points for answers, involve the whole family.

Play “I’m Going on a Trip” and practice memory and alphabet skills. (Each person adds an item, going A to Z, and each turn repeats the whole list. Person No. 3 says I am going on a trip, and I am taking an Apple, a Basketball, and a Caterpillar. And then onto the the next person. I am going on a trip, and I am taking a …

Play “I spy” using shapes in the world that is passing you by (Who can find a triangle shape?)

Play “Out of State License” spotting.

Play spotting games of all kinds: Who can find a license that has a G in it? Who can find a license plate whose numbers add up to more than 10?

Play math word games: Daddy can eat 3 pickles in 5 minutes. How man pickles can he eat in an hour.

At the grocery store:

  1. Enlist your child’s help in writing the grocery list.
  2. Give your child her own a list to fulfill.
  3. Involve your child in guessing the weight of produce, the total cost at checkout.
  4. Ask the manager if he would show you both the meat refrigerator or the cold storage area where vegetables are kept.

Start a Long-Range Project

Summer is perfect for long range project…because you have the time. Be only the consultant, not the director, in these pursuits.

Put on a production. Your child writes the script, recruits the players, and puts on the show. She makes the lists and invites the audiences (homemade invitations), arranges the theater seating, even bakes the reception goodies.

Hold an art show. Your child is the artist, hangs her work in the home “gallery.” She creates and distributes the invitations; she cooks the reception goodies.

Hold a recital. Your child can perform his talent-a drum show, piano recital, karate demonstration. He makes his guest lists, invitations, and reception treats. He arranges the room and the audience seats.

Hold a creative writing/poetry reading. Your child creates the invitations, the program, the setting, the reception.

Build something from scratch — a skate board ramp, a doll bed, a mouse house. Anything that requires thought, planning, directions, supplies, and elbow grease will keep your child’s wheels turning.

Start any kind of a collection-rocks, shells, coins, stamps, baseball cards. The organization and categorization (and storage) require plenty of skill.

The business of everyday life at home offers plenty of learning opportunities:

  • Pay your bills with your child, letting him see what things cost and how you do it.
  • Invite your child to cook with you-measuring is a math skill.
  • Ask your child to help you clean out or organize almost anything!
  • Sorting, alphabetizing, categorizing take thought and effort.
  • Hold a garage sale of your child’s possessions of his choice. He makes the signs, prices the items, organizes the event, runs the bank…and counts his money made!

Starting with reframing your ideas about learning, whether it’s a project, a field trip, or just the business of daily life, summer is ripe with opportunities for reinforcing old skills and learning new ones. Who says the days of summer are lazy? They are just filled with expanding your child’s thinking and growing his mind.

Let’s Go On A Brain Safari!

EmpowerKidz is pleased to offer award-winning BrainWare Safari to our clients. Here is an overview of BrainWare Safari:
  • A neuroscience-based program that helps students become the best learners they can be.
  • An engaging video-game format that kids of all ages enjoy.
  • Supported by published research demonstrating an average of over 4 years of intellectual growth.
  • An award-winning program developed by an award-winning company. Kudos include: 2006 Parents’ Choice Award, 2007 EdNet Rookie of the Year, 2007 & 2008 Software and Information Industry Association, Codie Award Finalist.

Because learning without cognition is like flying without wings
Cognitive skills are the basic mental processing skills that support our ability to understand, interpret and apply information in the world around us. Underdeveloped cognitive skills get in the way of processing, retaining, and using information. Well-developed cognitive skills are essential for anyone to perform well academically or in a work environment. When basic cognitive skills, such as
visual processing, attention, and memory, operate at an automatic level, they enable an individual to engage more effectively in higher-order thinking and
knowledge acquisition. Improving students’ mental skills helps raise their
learning potential, leading to gains in intelligence, self-esteem, and the ability to learn subjects like math and reading.

Evidence Based
BrainWare Safari looks like a video game – and children love playing it – but unlike video games, it is founded in science and rooted in decades of clinical
experience. In one study, BrainWare Safari was used for 11 weeks at home by students in 1st through 7th grades. Another group of students in the same age range from the same school served as a control and simply followed their
normal routines. Outcomes, as measured by pre- and post-testing with the Woodcock-Johnson III Cognitive Battery, showed:

  • 4 years and 2 months average improvement in cognitive skills, compared to 4 months improvement for the control group.
  • 1 year and 11 months average improvement in tests of achievement (reading and math) compared to 1 month for the control group.

This study has been published: “A study of the effectiveness of cognitive skills therapy in a video-game format,” Volume 38, Issue 1 of Optometry & Vision
Development, 2007.

In another study, BrainWare Safari was incorporated into the curriculum for two classes of 4th and 5th grade boys in an Indianapolis public school. The students
had previous behavior/discipline issues and pre-tested almost 3 years behind their chronological age. After 11 weeks of using BrainWare Safari, their average
performance on the Woodcock Johnson III Cognitive Battery improved by 6 years.

Remarkable Success
Parents Say … This Program Has Been a Gift
“Fourth grade was miserable for my daughter. Even though she did her homework every night and had a reading tutor, she wasn’t able to retain facts, read at a second-grade level, and rarely passed tests in class. Her teacher requested holding her back. She started using BrainWare Safari two weeks before fifth grade. After just 3 weeks of practicing 4-5 times per week for 30 minutes each session, she was not only telling me her multiplication facts, but figuring out our her division facts. Her reading comprehension has increased and her ability to write paragraphs. This program has been a gift.”

Educators Say … I Could See Changes in Their Ability to Think Logically
“It is sad, as an educator, to see many students who come into my class lacking the confidence they need to be successful in school. It is imperative that students are given the opportunities to excel. BrainWare Safari was that opportunity and the students definitely took advantage of it. I could see changes in their ability to think logically and to solve problems. They looked forward to practicing the skills in BrainWare Safari. They just wanted to keep going.”

Parents Say … A Miracle
“BrainWare Safari is a miracle. I would have paid anything for it, now that I have seen what it can do to help my son grow his brain right before my eyes. I am confident that it will transform his academic failure into brilliant success.”

Educators Say … The Program Boosted Their Self-Esteem
“I love BrainWare Safari and so do the students. The program is indeed a great way for the students to learn while having fun. Many of them have shown more willingness to work independently. The program definitely has boosted thier self-esteem as they have graduated many levels. It is rewarding to watch them solve problems and reach success.”

Homeschooling Parents Say … I Find the Exercises Challenging for Myself
“My daughter, who is 8 years old, really enjoys BrainWare Safari. She has Sensory Processing Disorder; her vision and auditory system are impacted by this. The games do a great job targeting the skills she needs improvement on. We’ve found some of the games are similar to exercises her vision therapist was having her do. The one exception though is BrainWare Safari does it in a way that’s more fun. As a parent, I enjoy watching her play the games and find them challenging for myself.”

For more information on BrainWare Safari and other programs offered by EmpowerKidz, contact us:

EmpowerKidz Proudly Offers SOI Programs

Empowerkidz is proud to be one of the few licensed SOI Systems providers in the Sacramento region. Through SOI assessments and intervention programs, our students are making remarkable learning strides – and having fun while they’re at it! Anupma will attend advanced level SOI Systems training in June 2012 and plans to offer exclusive advanced services to our clients.

What is SOI?

“SOI” stands for Structure of Intellect—a theory of the functions and products of human intelligence. It is a system of tests and training materials to develop intellectual abilities. The SOI is based on the work of J. P. Guilford whose search for intellectual abilities, the S.I., began in 1940 and lasted until l959. Your safety in the United States today is due in great measure to Dr. Guilford’s early work.

What is the SOI method for success?

SOI design is simple:

  1. Identify the abilities required for the learning of reading, arithmetic, math, or requisites for any given job.
  2. Test for those abilities.
  3. Teach abilities which are low, maintain those which are gifted, and develop further any that are average.
  4. Compare levels of performance with and without SOI training to document the difference it can make.

This is the design used by business, science, and medicine. Doctors Mary & Robert Meeker’s approach makes traditional education much more successful!

What makes SOI different?

  • SOI derives from theory. It is the application of a theory of human intelligence; it has the solid backing of twenty years of basic research by Guilford and his colleagues.
  • SOI is practical. At the same time that SOI has a solid theoretical background, it is also practical—it identifies levels of abilities required for learning and then offers training to further improve those levels.
  • SOI is cost-effective.

Keep Your Middle Schooler Turning Those Pages

With summer vacation just around the corner, we think it’s a great time to share ideas to keep your kids’ reading skills sharp and help them stay interested in reading through their time off. The experts at Scholastic Books offer savvy reading advice for kids of all ages on their website, and in particular, their article entitled 17 Ways to Keep your Middle Schooler Turning the Pages is a worthwhile read.

If your middle schooler is having difficulty reading, retaining information or just can’t focus, these may be indications of cognitive issues. We can help. Contact us at

Your Brain Needs Exercise Too!

The BrainSkills program is one of the products and services we offer at EmpowerKidz. BrainSkills training is specially geared toward helping children in athletics, but it provides powerful exercises for the brain that benefit all areas of learning.

Here’s an overview of the BrainSkills Core Exercise Program

  • BrainSkills was created by Dr. Gibson and sometimes people will state that BrainSkills is Processing and Cognitive Enhancement (PACE) Online.
  • The brain can be exercised to improve mental (cognitive) function. Stronger cognitive skills can make learning easier and faster.
  • Not all brain training is created equal.  Mental activity in general is a good thing. Doing crossword puzzles and any type of video game, especially educational video games can help. But these types of activities have limited capacity to correct weak cognitive skills associated with learning, especially reading.
  • Dr. Gibson has been working for over 35 years to fine tune the right types of brain exercises in the right combination and delivery to optimize results. BrainSkills is based upon his successful clinical programs that have helped over 25,000 students unlock their learning potential.
  • BrainSkills consists of a series of 10 different exercises that train a variety of key cognitive skills that impact learning and reading.
  • The recommended protocol is to work on the exercises one hour per day, five days a week for 12-15 weeks.
  • Depending upon each student’s beginning skill level, intensity of training and needs, the training period can be shorter or longer.

Core cognitive skills and exercises in BrainSkills address areas including working memory, sustained, selective or divided attention, concentration, comprehension, processing speed, visual processing manipulation, logic and reasoning, sensory-motor integration, and many more critical learning processes.

If your child is showing signs of frustration when performing athletics, or is performing below levels anticipated for his/her age and experience, contact us for more information about our BrainSkills program at We at EmpowerKidz are proud to be the sole provider of this program in the Sacramento area, and at reasonable rates. We look forward to helping your child feel confident and empowered!

The Crisis

You may have experienced, or at least heard about our nation’s crisis in education. Here are a few statistics that certainly justify a cross-country wake-up call:

• Nationwide, nearly one in three U.S. high school students fails to graduate.
• 70% of 3rd graders who read below grade level never catch up.
• 70% of high school dropouts have reading problems.

This list could go on and on but just these three statements are enough to establish that we are beyond a crisis. Practically all efforts at education including education reform have focused on the teaching aspect of the educational crisis.  Certification, professional development, curriculum design and development, and educational services are all related to what teachers (educators) do.  As children have increasingly struggled to learn, education reform has responded by placing a greater focus and emphasis on the teaching process.

The crisis now is not primarily a teaching crisis, but our testing and research shows us that it is fundamentally a learning crisis.  Teaching and tutoring alone cannot solve the problem.

A variety of studies have shown that most students who struggle with learning have one of more weak cognitive skills.  Cognitive skills are the underlying mental tools that allow a person to successfully read, hear, think, prioritize, plan, understand, remember, and solve problems.

Most scientists agree that cognitive skills can be grouped into seven major (core) categories that include: Processing Speed, Working Memory, Attention, Long-Term Memory, Visual Processing, Auditory Processing, and Logic and Reasoning.

With the fact that a high percentage of learning problems can be linked to weak cognitive skills, a student who has difficulty learning typically has one or more seriously deficient cognitive skills. Even a student performing fairly well in school may be an inefficient learner spending a lot of extra time doing homework. Nearly all students can benefit from cognitive skill evaluation and training, but those with weaker skills can gain the most.

Assessing and building cognitive skills is the best hope to unlock new learning potential for these children.  If we want all children to have a chance to be self-sufficient and successful, especially those from lower-income and minority families, we must change how we approach education for those children who need to process information better and faster in order to perform and achieve up to their full potential.

To learn more, contact us at – EmpowerKidz is your Sacramento area resource to identify your child’s learning needs and optimize their capacity to learn.

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