Showing posts with label Physical Ed. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Physical Ed. Show all posts

Monday, November 16, 2009

TOS Crew Review: Exploracise GyMathtics by Exploriamania

I suppose most folks normally count whilst exercising, and so it really isn't out of the realm of possibilities to have an workout program that goes a bit beyond the usual "1 and 2 and 3 and 4..."-like one that teaches actual math concepts to the young ones as they work up a sweat.  Well, the Exploracise Gymathtics DVD was designed to do just that.

This 30 minute program covers math concepts, geared for kids in approximately 2nd through 5th grades, while exercising and toning the children's bodies.  The four main areas are :
  • Shape Stretches Warm Up: Stretching their mind and body with line, circle, and polygon stretches.
  • Counting Calisthenics: Aerobic movements to work their heart as fun counting concepts work their brain.
  • Pattern Power: Growing and repeating pattern exercise combinations challenge their minds, and strengthen their muscles.
  • Well-Being Wind Down: Relaxing stretches cool down their body, and open their mind to think about healthy lifestyle choices including the Nice Wave Stretch and Big Dream Stretch.

The idea is that, as studies have proven, a child will be able to better retain such information because they are using several sensory areas, while their brain is releasing "growth factors" which help them to recall the concepts being presented. I know that for dyslexic children, it is important to get the brain firing on both sides to help break down the wall that comes between the two hemispheres. Moving their bodies is a great way to create new connections, and to lower that barrier.  The Exploracise GyMathtics DVD can meet those very needs in a manner that is not oppressive or ordinary.

Exploracise's product line also includes Thumballs, which resemble soccer balls with math facts all over it, and Mats to complement the DVDs. They have also received several awards for this series, which can attest to the fact that it is a hit with many families.

But somewhere along those perpendicular lines, it lost its ordinal numbers with us.  I have said this before, in a lot of my reviews, that we are just not the kind of family that seeks out such products.  With the presentation of the GyMathtics DVD, I get the sense that I am watching a modern twist of  the Count [altho I doubt the dude knows some of the concepts on this] from Sesame Street mingled with a bit of Jane Fonda's workouts.  I totally get where they are going with this, like when they are listing prime numbers because it isn't so far from simply counting repetitions-but sometimes it is truly a bit of a "stretch" [no pun intended] to mix the math lessons with the type of activity they are presenting.  At times, it was hard to follow what was being taught, and do the actual exercise because you were trying to figure out what to focus on. The gal leading the kids was off on the counting VS what was coming up on the screen  in a lot of instances-not a super big deal, but it could be irritating after awhile.  Frankly, I would not have sought out nor spent the money to own this DVD.  I will continue to try to get my son to work through this, but I am being real honest here-it is not at the top of our priority list. 

For us, it just wasn't so great. We are all about exercising, and totally for math-just not so much the mix of the two you find in GyMathtics.  But, dear readers, that doesn't mean it cannot be a great addition to your homeschool line-up.  If you have kids who enjoy videos like this, then it can be a great way to integrate the promotion of healthy bodies, and math concepts into a 30 minute workout via your DVD player.

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Exploramania Homepage

DVD: $24.99 with free shipping/handling right now

Don't forget to see what my TOS mates had to say about this and many other fine homeschooling products, on our TOS Review Crew Homepage.

***Exploramania provided me with a free GyMathtics DVD to test and use with my family, so that I could write this review.