GrowingForChrist

Faith, Family, Love and Reviews

Crew Review: We Choose Virtues ~ Youth Virtue Journal #grow4christ #hsreviews


 

As a Christian mom, I desire for my children to develop good character and mimic Jesus in their actions and words so when I had a chance to review the Youth Virtue Journal from We Choose Virtues I was intrigued.  As defined from the online Merriam-Webster dictionary virtue is morally good behavior or character, a good and moral quality and the good result that comes from something.  So, I guess that by using the Youth Virtue Journal I was hoping to instill some good behavior and character that was of moral quality in order to produce an ultimately good result in the end, in my oldest daughter as she worked through the journal.  The Youth Virtue Journal is geared towards ages 12 to 18 year old children, so my oldest fell right at the youngest end of that spectrum but since she is an ‘old soul’ I know she’d be able to handle it and work through the journal.

 

The Youth Virtue Journal covers the following character traits: attentive, content, forgiving, gentle, helpful, honest, obedient, perseverance, and respectful in 100 pages with 18 weeks worth of work if you use it at once a week for one hour for two weeks per trait.  Students will have reading to complete, talk about their dreams, discuss quotes by famous people such as Winston Churchill, Abraham Lincoln, Newt Gingrich, Thich Nhat Hanh and many more through out the book with their mentor.  I acted as my daughter’s mentor and made use of the Youth Mentor’s Handbook, which is available as a PDF download – and it takes you through how to use this and how you can be a good mentor to your child or even another child.  I think this would be great to use in group settings where there is a small student to adult ratio whether church or a boys or girls group – and if you’d like Scripture those are also given as a supplemental download.  The original concept of this journal was developed for counseling through the Idaho Court System and does not contain Scriptures inside, so the downloads are invaluable to a Christian home or group that may use this. Along with the journal and the mentor’s handbook I was also given downloads of the mentor meeting report form, youth character assessments and list of Bible memory verses and Bible Heroes.

 

 

 

It comes in a teen friendly style – although my 12 year wasn’t keen on all the illustrations and kept asking me what that figure was, which was distracting, but coming from a child who is a very good artist I can understand.  I again want to mention that as a Christian parent not having Scripture included was a bit of a turn off, even though it’s included as a download you must either have the computer running, transfer it to a tablet or print it out to make sure it’s available as you sit down to work on the journal.  This is meant to be used between a mentor (typically a mentor is not a parent, and since it was designed for those whose parents are probably not active in the child’s life I can understand that) not between a parent and child so there were some things that needed tweaking due to our beliefs as well are our position as homeschoolers – it was important to use the Scripture download as I worked through the journal with my daughter – so we can see how we should view things through a Biblical worldview versus a worldly worldview.  I have to admit that my daughter and I were both at a loss as to how to extend each trait so you’d study it for an hour one time a week for two weeks, it was easy for us to go through each trait per day.

 

While it took some tweaking to make it work for us and even though I read through the mentor’s handbooks (again it’s written for mentor’s in a non-Christian way) I did find it to be a good resource but I could see this being much better for a group that isn’t so much focused on Christianity or a Biblical worldview.  The kit is $17.00 and comes with the physical journal as well as these items: Youth Mentor’s Handbook, Youth Character Assessment for measurable outcomes and list of scriptures appropriate for the Virtues covered in the program.  So if you’re a parent who already discusses their child’s dreams as well as character building with them as you walk along the road, as you go to bed and as you wake then this may not be one of the best resources, but if you’re a parent who is looking for a teen friendly way of working with your teen this may be a great resource and also if you’re working with several teens who need mentors in their lives I can see this being a wonderful resource.  You may also connect with We Choose Virtues on social media such as Facebook, Pinterest and their blog.

 

If you’d like to see what other homeschool parents had to say about this and other We Choose Virtue products please visit the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog.

 

 

 

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Crew Review: Learning Wrap Ups – LearningPalette.com #grow4christ #hsreviews


 

I’d like to introduce you to LearningPalette.com which is a product from Learning Wrap Ups, I was given a full online family subscription for all levels of the reading and math LearningPalette.com for a full year and up to 5 people for the purposes of this review.   A free demo is available on the LearningPalette.com site and I strongly urge you to take advantage of it and try it – I know you’ll be having as much fun as we’ve been having.  If you are familiar with Learning Wrap Ups then the online LearningPalette.com should be easy to master and learn to use, even if you’re not (we had never used Learning Wrap Ups before) it’s easy to get it figured out and begin on your way to learning fun.  LearningPalette.com provides 35 math titles and 20 reading titles which provides over 7,000 questions in a fun, interactive and game-like medium that most children will respond to and enjoy using.  The self-correction feature gives immediate feedback to children in grades K-5th and allows children to work at their own pace, no pressure.

 

I’m going to do my best to explain what exactly one does with LearningPalette.com – after logging in – your screen will show a math tab and a reading tab, you or your child will chose which one to work on, one or both.  After choosing the subject you’ll then select the level, math has basic and levels 1-5 to chose from and reading has basic and levels 1-3 to chose from – after that you’ll have some other choices such as in reading you have:  alphabet, beginning consonants, vowels, rhyming words and beginning vocabulary.  Once you chose the level and title you will be asked to select the card for basic, alphabet there are 12 cards ranging from things like match the letters, match the upper case to the lowercase, find the missing letter and more.  Once you or your child chose the card to work on click load and you’ll be taken to the card so that your child can begin working.  There is also the option to download the common core correlations if that is something you need for your home or school and to view progress reports.

 

A sample online card from LearningPalette.com

 

On the left side of the screen once it loads your child will see colored discs – there are solids discs and ones with holes in the center – which will match up to the palette.  So for find the missing letter card you’ll see a solid yellow disc and then e,_,g and your child will have to match the missing letter which is f so they will move the solid yellow disc into the empty area under f.  I hope this makes sense, if you try the free demo I’m sure it’ll make more sense – I know when I first started using it that it took me a few tries to get it all figured out just right so I could explain it to my easily frustrated 7 year old, although my 12 year old picked up the matching easily.  Once done you’re child can click on check answers and it will automatically grade,  if it’s right they’ll be a check mark and if it’s wrong there will be an x and your child can correct their answer, if you have filled in all the spaces a window will pop up asking if you’re finished and you can then click yes or no.  Clicking yes will grade and you’ll be able to see how long it took to complete the palette, how many were right, and options for trying again, going back to the menu to select another card, review or go automatically to the next card.

 

We used this as a supplement to our other curricula and I had either myself or my oldest daughter working alongside my son (my middle daughter doesn’t care much for online products, but I did create an account for her) and we just worked on various cards as he wanted.  I’d ask him if he wanted math or reading and then tell him which cards were available.  Since he’s 7 I had him stay with the basic and level 1 in math and basic for reading – and he had fun and did very good and he enjoyed being able to check his own work and re-do it without me having to hover over him while he corrected wrong match-ups.  He also enjoyed using LearningPalette.com because we just purchase a new compute for school that has a touch screen so instead of using a mouse he was able to use his finger to move the colored discs around on the palette, giving a bit of tactile learning experience.  If you’d like to use this for your children you can get a one-year subscription for up to 5 people for $59,99 and if you use the coupon code HOMESCHOOL you’ll receive a 20% discount when you order.  We thoroughly enjoyed this online math and reading program and for us it was a great supplement to what we were already learning in our other work (or my son) and you can connect with Learning Wrap Ups on Facebook and Twitter.

 

If you’d like to see what other homeschool parents thought about LearningPalette.com or other Learning Wrap Ups products visit the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog.

 

 

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Crew Review: Kinder Cottage Publishing #grow4christ #hsreviews


Kinder Cottage Review

 

Great literature, Christian faith, family industry – you’ll get all this and more with Kinder Cottage Publishing – a publishing company ran by Howard and his wife, Ann when they had a desire to “ensure that our children grow up with a love of western civilization (literature, history, culture and Christian faith).  Our goal is to create and offer products that help parents educate their young children.”  I was sent a copy of The Tale of Peter Rabbit and Peter Rabbit at the Farm to review and I must say that these books are quality hard covers and I was surprised by the affordability – only $4.00 a piece for the Peter Rabbit series or $30.00 for the set of 10!  I read these a loud to my son, intending for just he and I to enjoy them as the age range is 3 to 9 years old, however my two daughters soon joined us and also enjoyed as I read these a loud to all three of them.

 

Kinder Cottage Review

 

These are reprints of the Henry Altemus Company versions which were published in 1917, the illustrations are full colored and are preserved in these hardcover books and the text is updated but still quite true to the original text.  One page has the larger print sized text, great for those who are beginning to read, and the other page has the full color illustration lending a beautiful whimsical and bygone feeling to the whole book.  These books look very nice on a bookshelf in a child’s room or in a nursery and as I found out are great for lulling a boy who is fighting to sleep off to la-la land.

Kinder Cottage Review

 

The Tale of Peter Rabbit introduces us to the little rabbit, Peter and his antics through Mr. McGregor’s garden and his run in with the gooseberry net and the fitting punishment meted out by Mother when he returns home without his coat or shoes.  In Peter Rabbit at the Farm, Peter runs into some other animals like Goosie Poosie, Pollie Possum, Thomas, the stable cat and others although there isn’t much in the way of a punishment as he’s fast asleep by the end and doesn’t hear Mother’s admonishment.  These cute books measure 5 by 7 inches and can fit easily in a purse or tote for reading on the go and at only 64 pages in length make for an ideal book to read while waiting when little ones become antsy.
Kinder Cottage Review

 

I’m so glad to have had the chance to read these books to my children and share my thoughts with you, as I said I mainly used them to read a loud to all the children and my oldest did read them again to her brother – so they have gotten a lot of use.  I enjoy the simplicity and the old fashioned feeling of both the pictures and text – while dated, most of us don’t use the term fortnight anymore, it was easy to read and answer questions when they came up.  I would love to see the other books in the series be re-published as well one of these days and pass the whole set on to any grandchildren that might come along.  Kinder Cottage also offers abridged versions of some of The Wizard of Oz series and a few other books and items that might interest children up to age 10.  If you’d like to see what other homeschool parents thought about Kinder Cottage, these two titles and others please visit the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog.
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Crew Review: Learning Breakthrough Program #grow4christ #hsreviews


Learning Breakthrough Program Review

 

I was given a book called A Life in Balance by Frank Belgau as told to Eric Belgau to review from the Learning Breakthrough Program which aims to help and inspire parents and others who work with children who need reading improvement, are dyslexic or have ADHD and are looking for alternative treatment.  However this book isn’t only geared towards those with learning hardships as it can also help those who are gifted or may just want a way to exercise their brain to increase their learning capabilities.  Geared towards adults, especially those who work with children it could also benefit teens who may be working with children.

 

From the back cover of the book:

 

In the mid-1960s, Frank Belgau was an elementary school teacher with a revolutionary idea: What if the children our education system had given up on—the ones the experts called “brain injured”—could actually learn to read?

Forty years later, Belgau’s remarkable insights into the nature and treatment of learning disabilities have fundamentally changed our understanding of the mind—and given thousands of young people the gift of literacy.

Written by his son, Eric, A Life in Balance documents Frank Belgau’s heroic attempts to uncover unconventional practices that would unlock their real potential. At its heart was one clear goal: Discovering what would create an immediate, observable improvement in reading. It’s a journey that culminates in the development of the Learning Breakthrough Program, Belgau’s cutting-edge (yet remarkably simple) therapeutic approach that strengthens the body and mind using movement and balance.

More than a treatise, A Life in Balance is an in-the-trenches look at the ceaseless research, powerful personalities, and supreme resistance Belgau encounters in this single-minded effort. And it’s a moving story of one man who simply wouldn’t give up on the most vulnerable among us when others would.

 

 

The book is 216 pages and is actually quite a fast read, however, I am going to go back and re-read it again as there is much information to be had in the reading of this book and I’m hoping to be able to implement some or all of the ideas in regards to my 7 year old son who knows all his letter sounds but putting them together into words is proving difficult.  I’m hoping with using the information in this book I can better help him begin reading and improve upon his written school work as well.  As one who has worked in the handicapped field I’ve seen and learned about many of the past ways people with disabilities and handicaps are and were treated and hearing this account from someone on the inside of the schools makes me sad and I’m glad that there is someone out there who strove to help and make their lives better.

Learning Breakthrough Program Review

Using scientific research skills and common sense this book has many ways of explaining how the brain works and puts together the information that it is given and how using the Learning Breakthrough Program can help with learning that otherwise students may get stumped on.  Towards the end of the book there are some experiments given, such as those mentioned through out the book that were tested in classrooms.  The other aspect of the book is the activities given that you can do in your home to evaluate your child as well as getting them moving and engage the mind such as walk line heel to toe, two foot hop, jump and turn and others.  There are items you can purchase to facilitate even more work that is discussed in this book like the balance board, but I’ve gained a lot from having just read the book itself and I’m coming up with ways to utilize what I’ve learned in regards to helping my son with his reading.  The ‘last’ chapter details how the struggle to make sure struggling learners get what they need without being left to fall through the cracks and this is another chapter I appreciate, instead of thinking the battle had been won the realization that there is still much work to be done and the ‘crusade’ of helping struggling learners continues.

You can connect with the Learning Breakthrough Program on Facebook, Twitter and on YouTube. and if you’d like to read it yourself grab your own copy it’s priced at $16.94 currently.  If you’d like to see what other homeschool parents thought about the Learning Breakthrough Program book, A Life in Balance please visit the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog.

 
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Crew Review: Progeny Press; The Giver and Uncle Jed’s Barbershop #grow4christ #hsreviews


Progeny Press Review

I’m pleased to be able to introduce you to Progeny Press, a wonderful company that specializes in literature unit studies that according to their mission statement on their website “To teach our children to think clearly, to understand literature, and to rely on the scripture for truth and values, and enjoy themselves while they do it!”  This is such an important factor as there are more and more books out today that seek to distort God’s Word and try to lead our children astray and they must learn to see what they are reading and understand it under God’s Word to know if it is good and pure as well as helping them to further the Kingdom of God.  I was given The Giver e-guide and Uncle Jed’s Barbershop e-guide as part of the review, The Giver is geared towards middle school students in grades 7-9 and Uncle Jed’s Barbershop is lower elementary level for grades K-3.  While I was given the download version of the study guides there are also a physical version as well as CD with a PDF e-book that you can chose from as well – however the download version are available almost immediately upon completing your purchase transaction.

 

The Giver e-guide is written by Andrew Clausen and is for the book of the same title written by Lois Lowry – and as I said above is geared towards grades 7-9 but if you have a child who is not in those grades but is reading at that level by all means it can be used by them as well.  The e-guide for this particular book is an interactive guide meaning that students can edit the document and type in their answers, which will save dramatically on ink and paper costs – unless someone would desire a finished copy to include in the student’s portfolio.  It is suggested that for this level it could take 8 to 10 weeks to completely finish the guide, but if one has a voracious reader as I do then it could be completed much faster.  I like that the e-guide gives the teacher ideas on how to use the guide but that they aren’t set in stone so if something needs tweaked for the student it can easily be done – saying that for this middle school level Progeny Press does suggest having the student spend the first week reading the book and working on the pre-reading activities and then working on one guide page a day until the chapter pages are completed.
Progeny Press Review

This did not work for my oldest daughter who is 12 and will be entering the 8th grade in the next month or so – I cannot give her a book and tell her to take a week to read it, our copy of The Giver is only 180 pages, so it’s a quick read.  I allowed her to read the book and gave her the freedom to chose which pre-reading activities to do the first week, I’ve found if I tell her what to do rather than letting her chose she will not want to do it.  After she read the book through and completed two of the pre-reading activities I allowed her to work on as many pages in the guide as she wanted a day, some days she would finish an entire section other days she’d split it up.  Since she is an independent worker I knew the work would get done and she would do it well if I wasn’t hovering and giving her explicit directions in what she needed to do each day.  I realize not each child is like this and so the instructor directions will aid the parent of a child who needs a bit more guidance in getting the work completed.  There is an overview which can be used for a test if you’d like and also essays which can be used as a wrap up to conclude the unit study.  I was not able to find the answer key in my copy so I read the book (we have two copies) along with my daughter so I would know what the answers should be and so we could discussion the more open ended questions about the chapters.  The e-guide is 69 pages and is $18.00.
Progeny Press Review

Uncle Jed’s Barbershop is not an interactive guide so when I was using this with my son who is 7, does write but isn’t reading yet, I printed off the pages we’d need (I didn’t print off the pages such as the instructor’s pages, book summary, etc) so it would be easier for him to write when he wanted to do so and for me to take dictation when writing became to tiresome.  The study guide is written by Rebecca Gilleland for children in grades K-3 and is set in the mid-1900’s American South and the book is written by Margaree King Mitchell  – I easily obtained a copy of this book from our local library.  For this book I read it with my son and we worked through some of the pages each day – I followed his cue – since he’s a boy his attention span isn’t as long as my daughter’s so we could maybe get 1 page done on some days and others maybe only a question or two.  The answer key is included at the back of the guide and since I was working on this with my son I kept those close just in case he needed some re-direction in understanding what we were reading at that time.  This e-guide is 33 pages and is available as a download for $11.99.

 

I appreciate these guides as they make it easy to incorporate literature into our day without making it seem like a chore and each of my children can work at their level on a book that they may enjoy.  There are over 100 titles to chose from and they span K through high school so there is more than likely something for everyone, and with digital downloads they can be used for more than one student, saving money in the long run.  Last year I reviewed another Progeny Press’ studies and we enjoyed that very much as well, you can read my review of Hall of Doors.  Progeny Press is also on social media which is a great way to stay up to date on their products – Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube – so be sure to follow along so that you can stay up to date!  Also don’t forget to see what other homeschool parents thought of these and different Progeny Press titles be sure to check out the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog.

 

 
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Crew Review: Golden Prairie Press; Heroes and Heroines of the Past: American History (Amy Puetz) #hsreviews #grow4christ


One of the favorite subjects I teach my children is history so when I find a great history resource I jump on it and that is the case with www.AmyPuetz.com home of Golden Prairie Press!, started by Amy Puetz as she wanted to bring history alive and be able to work at home due to a medical condition.  Amy has a passion for history and I can so appreciate that as well as understand that passion and that comes to life in her newest offering, Heroes & Heroines of the Past: American History Curricula which I received in digital format.  The digital package comes with the following:

  • Heroes and Heroines of the Past: American History Part 1 e-book (this covers 1000 to 1837)
  • Heroes and Heroines of the Past: American History Part 2 e-book (this covers 1837 to the present)
  • Historical skits e-book
  • Sing Some History
  • Listen to Some U.S. History
  • Additional materials download (includes items such as timelines, coloring pages, videos and more)

Covering thirty weeks it is written for grades 1 through 6 although it could be used for younger or older children if you prefer to tweak it to add more material for the older or omit items for the younger set, if you’re like me and prefer to have everyone studying the same thing to save time.  The digital sells for $98.99 and there is an optional coloring book that can also be purchased if you want to use that, there is also a physical edition which is the same price as the digital version.  I loaded the e-books onto my Kindle Fire which made reading easy and accessible for when we needed it and the music and other audios I loaded onto my iPod for listening enjoyment in both the house and on the go.

I agree with Amy that history just cannot be truly understood unless it’s experienced and in order to experience history we must experience what those that went before us had to go through so Amy has incorporated hands-on learning experiences such as cooking, music, art, games and more that truly bring history to life for the student (and the parent as is the case in our home).  There are 5 lessons per section which means you can do one lesson a day if you do the typical 5 day school week or, like we do carry over a lesson each week into a new week as we only school 4 days a week.  Amy includes how to use the book in part 1 of the first Heroes and Heroines e-book, so read through that first before jumping in – and she reminds you not everything has to be completed, some things may have to be omitted or done at a later date and that is okay!  There are also additional literature books that can be used if you chose to add them – they can either be used for older students in 5th or 6th grades to read alone or as family read aloud books, we didn’t include these in our day but that didn’t detract from the curriculum itself.

Each lesson is further divided into grade levels, which I think is just a fantastic idea – the first part is geared towards 1st and 2nd grades and the second part is for 3rd to 6th grades – both have the same information with the 1st and 2nd grades not having as much added but with the 3rd up having much more information given.  Now that said there might be a lesson that is for all grades – such as lesson 2 which is a story that is written by Albert F. Blaisdell in 1922 about Leif Erikson, and this lesson is for 1st through 6th grades.  Unfamiliar terms or hard to pronounce words are defined or given a pronunciation guide in parenthesis to aid the student in understanding the text, something else I appreciate versus having to run to a dictionary every time an unknown word comes up.  After the lesson comes the fun part, such as questions about what was just read, writing topics (a non-writing student can do dictation, this is what I did for my children who either aren’t writing well or don’t like to write a lot), geography, art, timeline, acting it out and the literature readings.  Each week also includes a Bible memory verse that can be written on an index card as Amy suggests or whatever works for your family – writing it out on paper is what worked for us and hanging it where we could all see it.

The optional literature selections.

I cannot tell you how much we’ve enjoyed using this elementary American history curriculum these past few weeks and we will be continuing to use it as it provides such a great hands on learning experience for all my children.  Did we do everything that was given to do?  Not at all and I love it when the author of a curricula gives you permission to not have to do it all.  Making a clay canoe was a big hit with my son as was the teepee for all three, even my oldest and I had an excuse when my husband walked in to a mess in the living room, “they are doing history”.  Honestly, though I cannot say enough about this well researched US history for homeschoolers – Amy put much work into this curricula which is easy to literally just pick up and go – no time consuming lesson planning needed, it’s all done for you – and this busy mom appreciates that.  Last but not least it’s written from a Christian and Biblical worldview so no objectionable content was found in the lessons we have completed this far.

Please visit the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog to see what other homeschool parents thought about this curriculum.

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Crew Review: The Brinkman Adventures Season Two #grow4christ #hsreviews


 

Do you, like my children and family, enjoy audio entertainment?  If so I need to introduce you to The Brinkman Adventures, an exciting audio adventure that follows the life of the Brinkman family as they give aid and support to missionaries around the world – as well as being missionaries themselves.  I was sent The Brinkman Adventures Season 2 – Episodes 13-24 which begins with a couple of the boys finding a class ring in a river close to their house and the suspense and lessons just keep building.  There are 4 discs and each disc has 3 episodes each and ran for approximately 60+ minutes for each disc for over 5 hours of entertainment that the whole family will enjoy.

 

We were instantly drawn into the stories and we would find reasons to go on car trips just so we could listen to them – that is how fantastic they are.  The interesting thing I enjoyed about The Brinkman Adventures is that they are based on true events and stories however some are dramatized and while the names of the families have been changed they each act their own parts – which is totally awesome in my book.  I also enjoyed how other missionary families were entwined into the stories such as John and Donna Benti – and their sharing of their real life missionary journies.  To find out more about the real life stories you can visit The Brinkman Adventures Real Stories pages to learn more about both Season 1 and Season 2.

 

 

The episodes are geared for all ages as they are family friendly however there are 3 or 4 episodes that do issue a warning that due to some situations it is best that children ages 10 and under listen with their parent present.  That being said I didn’t find the situations anything that either my 7 or 9 year old could listen to without me, we’ve discussed the situations before such as child abuse, so it’s something they are aware of.  It would depend on each parent’s comfort level as to whether they listen before or along with their child and discuss the events as they listen.  The discs sell for a suggested donation of $25.00 or you can purchase an MP3 download version for a suggested donation of $17.00 – very much worth the price for the quality entertainment you’ll receive and when I say quality, the sound effects, the music and the stories are high quality and well done.

 

The episodes are as follows:

  1. The Mystery Ring
  2. Blue Hat and the T-Shirt Bible
  3. How Big Is Your God, Part 1
  4. How Big Is Your God, Part 2
  5. Mexico by Bus
  6. Treehouse Academy (one of my favorites)
  7. Pirates of Mayan Island (one of all of our favorites)
  8. Sapphire Slaves, Part 1
  9. Sapphire Slaves, Part 2
  10. Hadi’s Choice
  11. Castle of  Secrets
  12. On the Run

 

This was a fantastic audio adventure that we all thoroughly enjoyed and will be listening to over and over again and my children are even begging me to buy Season 1, which I did try to find at the convention but was unable to do so, so it looks like that will be on my purchase list so we can listen to them all including Season 2 again as we wait, hopefully for a Season 3 to be released in the near future.  If you’d like to see what other homeschool parents thought please visit The Schoolhouse Review Crew blog to see their reviews.

 

 

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Crew Review: Home School Adventure, Co. #hsreviews #grow4christ


 

What if there were a curricula that put Christ at the head, the sole purpose of it being to teach our children about Him and how to love Him?  Yes, it’s a big feat and one that not many can accomplish, however I’d like to introduce you to Home School Adventure, Co.  I was given a the electronic download copy of The Wise Woman with Literary Analysis Journal Questions, The Wise Woman is written by George MacDonald and the literary analysis questions were written by Stacy Farrell.  Never fear, just because the title has woman in it doesn’t mean it’s just for women – boys can also learn a lot from this book (also available as a spiral bound book) – both boys and girls need to learn lessons about why conceit, selfishness, and pride are sin and how humility, sacrifice and compassion are beautiful – even if the world we live in values the latter and despises the beautiful.  My electronic copy ran 166 pages and covers a dedication, introduction, 14 chapters, vocabulary as well as more about the author, Stacy Farrell and ordering information.

 

After each chapter follows 16 to 24 questions that are used to dig deeper into this story that strives to bring about character training in an engaging way that honors the Lord.  If used as a family read aloud it is geared towards ages 9 to 11, ages 12 and up can use it alongside their parents and high-school students can complete it on their own.  I preferred to use this with my three children as a read aloud and mine are aged 7, 9 and 12 and then I would ask a few questions about the chapter, we didn’t go over every single question.  I read ahead and got a feel for each chapter and then picked the questions that I thought would be good for the ages of my children – I tried to keep some easy, some hard and others in the middle – I wanted them to think about the questions and what we just read.  I would like to have my oldest re-read this on her own and have answer the harder questions, in my opinion the first few questions are fairly easy while the ones toward the end were a bit harder.

 

 

It would be easy to give an older child this book to read, telling them which chapters to read each day and have them answer all or some of the questions – or for those who don’t like to write or who it may take more time for them to form their idea being asked let them take a day or two to answer the questions.  There are many ways to use this book – depending on each families situation – while some may prefer our method to answering the questions out loud and discussing and expounding on the answers others may prefer to have their children write out or dictate their answers.  The story is engaging, not only for children but also for adults – even I learned things from reading this book and going over the questions with my children.  By visiting The Wise Woman product page you can view sample pages, watch a video and even read what others have thought about when they’ve used it.

 

The electronic format that I received is available for $14.95 and as I said above there is also a spiral bound version that is available for $28.95 – of course in my opinion the value of this far surpasses any monetary investment as the lessons learned will be far reaching.  There is a discount code located at the bottom of my review where you can save 10% off a download purchase from Home School Adventure, Co.  I know I will be using this again as the children get older and we need more reinforcement about acceptable behaviors both in our home and towards others, especially the heart of issue of serving others and laying aside our selfish desires in order to bring glory to the Lord.  Home School Adventure, Co is also on social media, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest and Instagram if you’d like to follow along with them.   If you’d like to see what other homeschool parents thought about this product and others from Home School Adventure, Co please visit the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog.

 

 

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Crew Review: Curiosity Quest DVD #hsreviews #grow4christ


 

One item in our homeschool is the use of DVDs and they come in handy when we need a break from our textbooks or because a child is sick or because I may be feeling under the weather – DVDs truly come to the rescue.  So when Curiosity Quest agreed to send two of their DVD combo packs I know my children would enjoy them, especially if it would get them out of school for a day.  These DVDs are shows that have aired or do air on PBS, check your local listings, however we had not heard of the show before so we were in for quite an experience with the DVD Combo Pack – Produce and the DVD Combo Pack – Swimmers of the Sea.  What is great about these DVDs is they are for ages 7 through 14 and they really do keep the attention of both the younger child and the older ones – all three of my children found something to engage them while watching, quite a feat with all the different viewing tastes in the house.

 

 

I’m going to go over the Swimmers of the Sea DVD pack first – as that seemed to be my children’s favorite – they are huge animal lovers.  My 9 year old daughter was especially excited to watch the episode dealing with penguins – she has been fascinated by these non-flying birds since she was a young child.  These also went along great with a science curricula we finished about swimming creatures, so if you’re looking for a supplement with your current science dealing with ocean animals or swimming animals this would be a great place to start.  During this pack you’ll ‘visit’ a salmon hatchery, an aquarium, and the Sea Turtle hospital in Florida.  Joel Greene, the host in the episodes is very upbeat and engaging through out the entire episode, which helps in keeping the children’s attention, including those with short attention spans.  My only issue with this one was during the turtle visit it was mentioned that turtles have been around since the dinosaurs and are over 100 million years old.  Even with that this is a DVD we will watch again and again, and it opened up discussion as to why we don’t believe in evolution or a million of year old earth.

 

 

I’m surprised at times by how little we know regarding how our food makes it to our tables, now my children have seen me garden, but at the grocery store there is quite a bit of disconnect from purchasing the food to how it got there.  Having a son who enjoys mushrooms fresh from the pack (after having washed them) I knew he’d be intrigued by seeing how a company, Monterey Mushrooms, grows, prepares and ships mushrooms for sale.  All my children enjoy oranges so seeing how oranges are picked, packaged and shipped so that we can enjoy them was another bit hit for this pack – and gives a new meaning as to what actually has to happen and those who make it happen, before it gets to our home.  Then we watched about cranberries – we aren’t much into them in our house, although I do enjoy the bitter juice from time to time.  Again host, Joel Greene, kept my children and I attention with his wit and enthusiasm for the education he gives in these episodes.

 

 

Each episode runs for approximately 30 minutes so each is about 1 1/2 hours total and provides a lot of great educational benefit not only to the children, but also the adults – I learned that mushroom businesses aren’t our hunting in the forests for mushrooms!  The DVDs sell for $24.95 and given that they can be enjoyed by many ages and viewed over and over it’s definitely a good bang for your buck – it seems we picked up something different each time we watched an episode.  Through out the episode there are children and adults who are asked questions like “how long do turtles live?” and they give their thoughts and then the expert is asked to give the real answer.  Also are fun facts which are some little known facts that are intriguing about the subject being discussed – although my children ran around saying fun facts in the little tune that was on the DVD.  Since these DVDs are educational and kept my children’s attention the entire time these get a huge thumbs up from me.

 

If you’d like to see what other homeschool parents thought about Curiosity Quest please visit the Schoolhouse Review Crew Blog.

 

 

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Crew Review: Supercharged Science – e-Science Learning Program #grow4christ #hsreviews


We’ve been using a science curricula that we’ve enjoyed but as my children have gotten older we’ve been looking for something less like a textbook and with more hands-on learning and I think we found that during our review period with Supercharged Science.  I was given the e-Science Premium Membership  to use with my children, although I used it mainly with my oldest daughter who is 12 and is working at a middle school grade level – however this program is for all grades, K-12, so I did have my other two use it and I’ll explain that in a bit.  There are two different ‘levels’ of programs the one is for lower elementary children K-8th and that is $37 a month but if you want all grades K-12 it is $57 a month – I was given the Premium and so was able to look at all the levels/grades available.

 

As I said above I was mainly gearing our use towards my oldest daughter who wanted a more hands-on approach and less textbook science curricula, yes it came along at the right time, and I let her basically run with it – choosing which subject areas she wanted to pursue.  Aurora Lipper, the creator of Supercharged Science used to work for NASA and teaches at a university, created this e-science program so that children could work with science the way real scientists and engineers do – hands-on.  Worried that you don’t ‘know’ how to teach science?  Concerned that you don’t have science brain?  No worries, Aurora has taken the worry out of science – you can chose to work along side your child or just let them work on their own as I did with my oldest.   Here is some of what you’ll get in this homeschool science program:

  • classroom style lessons and demonstrations
  • experiments, projects and activities (a lot of them, 800+)
  • textbook readings (all online so no text to buy) for the older students
  • exercises and quizzes
  • and more – if you’d like to learn more you can take a look at a longer explanation here.

 

So what happens after you sign  up and sign in?  Well Aurora has everything divided by both grade and subject area – so if you’re like other homeschool families, as I am, and your child really doesn’t have a grade then take a look at the subjects listed.  In the topics you’ll find everything from matter, alternative energy to thermodynamics and more chose the one or have your child chose the one they want to begin with.  My daughter chose unit 18, Biology 1 to start with and worked her way through – I told her she could chose how long each time to use the program.  It is encouraged that the students take notes as they read, watch and do through out the lessons so make sure to give them access to a notebook or something that they can use to journal their learning experiences.  My son especially liked to watch the videos with his sister and I and found the bug aspirator and the predator-prey column to be especially interesting and now that it’s warming up we’ll actually be able to do these activities and experiments.

 

If you’re still not sure how to fully used Supercharged Science be sure to work your way through, or if you have an older student have them begin with the getting started section which will explain more about how to get the full intended learning experience out of the program.  There are some fun and simple activities to get you started like bouncy balls and flying contraptions to give you and introduction into the whole program without being overwhelming.  Under topics there are several items of note such as new to e-science, unit 0: overview of e-science, and the scientific method which are good to watch if you’re new to Supercharged Science or need a bit of a refresher on scientific methods.

 

 

After you or your child has chosen the unit to start with – then it’s time to begin.  You can download the unit which will tell you how much time is involved depending on how many activities are completed, which lesson segments are for which grades, as well as items needed for the experiments, vocabulary and more – so it’s a good idea to download it even if you don’t plan on printing it out.  There are some lessons that have been recorded so that you can download them and listen to them if you can’t be at your computer at some point – they are in mp3 format so you can put them on a compatible device and listen on the go!  What I appreciated is I didn’t have to stand over my daughter and tell her what to do next – if your child is an independent worker this will be great, the next steps are all hyper-linked and will guide the child to the next part of the unit.  If there is something that needs to be done first they’ll be guided to do that – such as in Unit 5 there is an experiment to make a mystery toy but first they should complete the pendulum experiment – and that is noted and linked so it can be easily found and completed.

 

There will be other areas where the student will download activity sheets and exercises which will open in a PDF document – I found it easier to right click and open in a new window so that the Supercharge Science site was still open as well as the downloaded document – some will need to be printed while others your child could answer the questions in the journal or on a piece of notebook paper.  Another interesting feature of this program is the way you can leave comments on the experiments and Aurora will answer them for you, which also aids other parents and students who may have the same question or you can call and speak to a live person during their office hours.  The whole homeschool science curriculum is well done and very professional, my personal like about it is that the experiments are clearly explained in the videos and it’s not rushed, like I often felt when I was in a classroom, Aurora takes her time and her love of science and teaching shines through.

 

I’d also like to mention that Supercharged Science can be found on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Google+ and they also have a blog.  Be sure to follow along for updates and even ways to interact with other users and comments.  Supercharged Science has also graciously given my readers (and those of other Schoolhouse Review bloggers) a chance to try out the full access to Supercharged Science for only $1 for 30 days (after which you can cancel or have your credit card billed) by using this special link or you can have access to sample experiments by following this link.

 

If you’d like to read what other homeschool parents though about Supercharged Science please visit the Schoolhouse Review Crew Blog.

 

 

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