GPA LEARN: A T.O.S. Review

We have been using the online math program called GPALOVEMATH from GPA LEARN.

Full disclosure time… as most people who know me well are aware, I am NOT a math person. In fact, as soon as I had enough math credit to graduate when in high school, I never took a math class again. I would really like this to be different for my kiddos, though, so I was pleased to see how great GPALOVEMATH turned out to be!

I have four kids, and so far, three of them have been using this program, and enjoying it! I mean, even asking to do more of it, though I expect that has a lot to do with the motivational feature, which I will talk about a little later.

GPALOVEMATH is, as I said above, a web based program which covers grades from Kindergarten through fifth. I currently have kids working in grade 1, grade 1, and grade 3, but one of our twins “Mr. Loquacious” is finding it too easy and asked to be bumped up a grade, as did “The Artist”, who is deficient in math, but is finding this time around that 3rd grade is too easy. “The Puzzler” needs help in the first grade level, so he’ll stay there for now. One of the nice things though, is that I CAN change the grade level they are in, by myself, as opposed to having to ask the company GPA LEARN to do it for me.

One of the things that my kids like for any homeschool program is having it be interactive. This one is! Each grade level has a learning coach who interacts with the student. In the levels we’ve been using, first grade has an Australian penguin who’s name is PI, and in the third grade level, the learning coach is a robot named Abacus.

GPALOVEMATH is set up so that I can log in as myself and have access to each of my kids’ information. I can test drive anything they have coming up, and I can set up surprise rewards for them, which they earn after a certain number of lessons and quizzes are completed, depending on how many rewards I’ve chosen. I didn’t tell them about it, so when it happened, they were thrilled, and as I said up above, started asking for more time on the program, lol! Not only can they earn my rewards, but there are awards set up by GPALOVEMATH which they may work toward when available, such as ecards for places like Toys R Us and Target.

Regardless of which grade my kids are using, they will have over 150 lessons and 10,000 problems. In each lesson, they begin with instruction, then they practice the concept, and finally, move on to the quiz. I think the practice session is especially beneficial to my twins. When they finish a lesson, the program tells them how they did, and they can see how many points they have built up to that point. If they are working toward a specific thing, such as one of the ecards, the program will tell them how many more points they need to reach it. I like that, it’s motivational, and MAY help them develop more patience. :-)

I had occasion to phone tech support at GPA LEARN, and was extremely pleased! “Mr. Loquacious” was having a problem with the final problem on a quiz, and even I couldn’t do it. It called for typing a number into a space. Neither of us could do it, and when I tried to send through the feedback button at the bottom, I couldn’t type into that either. Finally, I gave up and called for support, where a very nice man named Darryn answered. He and a coder named Chad spent a bunch of time trying to help me figure it out, and we just couldn’t do it. He took down my phone number and promised to call me back. Well, in probably 15 minutes, they did, in fact call back. They had me log in as me, and test drive the quiz to see if we could recreate the problem. It still didn’t work. After all of that time, we finally figured out that I had not been using Chrome, which is the browser that works best for this program. *I* felt completely stupid, but Darryn and Chad assured me that this is what they are there for, and I was doing fine. :-)

We really like GPALOVEMATH, and would very highly recommend it.

You can have access to all 6 levels for one child at the cost of $149 for the year or $12.99/month. For a limited time, it is available at $129 with code GPAINTRO15.

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Beautiful Art!

My husband and I had decided some time ago that if any of our kids showed a real talent in something, and a real desire to grow that talent, we would find a way to help them do so. That’s why I took “The Artist” to his first Zentangle class last month. That class was the only prerequisite to attend ANY later class, so this past Saturday, he came with me, and we both attended Zentangle 201: Back To Basics And Bijou, Too. We had a great time, working with the traditional tiles, and also the smaller Bijou tiles. Here is what we did. . .

This is the first Bijou, using the tangle Flux. This one is “The Artist’s”:


This one is mine:


Next, here is a photo of the class tiles:


Next, we used Bijou tiles for the tangle Purk; Here is the one “The Artist” did:


Here’s mine:


And the class tiles:


The final Bijou was the tangle Betweed. Here is “The Artist’s” . . .


And mine . . .


And the class tiles . . .


After doing the little Bijou tiles, we worked with the traditional tiles to make borders, after which we made cuts so that we could insert whichever Bijou monotangle we wanted to showcase. We can switch them out, too!

Here is “The Artist’s” completed set:


And Mine!


This is so much fun, and I feel like I am also creating real art! :-)

Not only that, but yesterday, when I got my rebase on my nails, the lovely lady who does them had something in her samples that to me, and to “The Artist” as well, looked like a tangle, so look what she did for me!


I always get a design on one accent nail on each hand. LOVE this one, it goes with my Zentangle interest! :-)

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Digital Science Online: Visual Learning Systems (My Review)

My four boys and I have been having lots of fun using Visual Learning Systems as a group for a little over a month. We received a subscription to both the Digital Science Online: Elementary Edition (Grades K-5) and the Digital Science Online: Secondary Edition (Grades 6-12)

The Digital Science Online: Elementary Edition (Grades K-5), is divided into two sections. One is primary, which would be the grade K through 2 collection. This included well over 50 units of study, contained within the following subjects: physical, earth, life, and health. This is a great section if your children are in that age/grade range, there are tons of beautiful videos, animations, photos, and activity sheets, etc.

WE did not use this section, because my kids were beyond it, for the most part, but I really wanted you to know that it is there, and that it’s GOOD.

We HAVE been using the elementary a lot, because, frankly, I thought it was the best way for us to work as a group, something which many of my readers know that we enjoy doing. The elementary section of Digital Science Online has subjects like physical, earth, and life, with subtopics or units within them. As with the Primary section, there are lovely, well made videos, animations, photos, worksheets, and hands on activities in some areas. It’s meant for grades 3 through 5.

We have, for the most part, enjoyed this, except for having to crowd around one computer (something I will also address a little later). It was very impressive how, when we would choose a subject, there would then be a list of sub-topics within that subject, effectively giving us a unit study, already all organized for us! The reason I like this aspect so much is that all four of my boys really, really enjoy watching science and nature programs on television. The problem with that though, is it’s hard to put together a group of programs at the same time which would work together as a topical unit.

Eventually, though, with the exception of “The Puzzler”, the boys really wanted to have a go at the higher level, which I’ll talk about in a bit, because truthfully, I thought only “The Artist” would be able to handle the Digital Science Online: Secondary Edition (Grades 6-12).

How wrong I was!

As I mentioned back at the beginning of this review, we were also given access to the Digital Science Online: Secondary Edition (Grades 6-12).

The Secondary Edition has considerably more units of study, with a great number of sub-topics. My kids liked the longer videos, which, once again, I must complement. They are quite beautiful.

I have asked them to stay away from some sections of the biology units, after they pointed them out and said they didn’t think they should look at them. I was very proud of them for this actually, as it shows they have been listening to us and to their teachers at church when we discuss what is or is not appropriate for them.

There are also areas in which evolution is used as a given, where we believe, and teach, from a Creation world view. It was very interesting, however, to listen to everyone of our boys, at different times while watching different sections, saying things like “That’s not true, there’s no millions of years” or “Evolution isn’t real, we know that”. :-)

The Secondary Edition also has worksheets and such, but these are really beyond any of my boys other than “The Artist”. I DO find that “The Batman” and “Mr. Loquacious” can do a lot of them orally, though.

AS I told you above, I really thought it would be better to use this program as a group, because as often as possible, I prefer it when we can do that. This DID work, for a while, but lo and behold, just today, they asked me two questions:

Will this work on our tablets?
Can we do it separately so we can choose our own topics?

Well, guess what, it works on the tablets! I hadn’t even tried, because I’m used to things like this being mostly for iPads, which we do not have. WE have Android Tablets. SO, I told them I would try it on mine first to check, and if so, we’d see if it would work on theirs. It did! :-) Since I had never actually set up separate student accounts because *I* wanted this to be a group learning thing I thought my kids would love to do this together, I chose to call customer support, given that I had forgotten how to set up separate log ins. Guess what found out? Well, while yes, I CAN do that, I don’t HAVE to! They can all log in using the information I used for the one log in, and they can all do it at the same time, on their own tablets or a computer. YAY! The customer service is wonderful. The first person I spoke with was named Louise, and the second was Emily, because they handle different aspects within the company.

One of the reasons I was so pleased to discover that this could be used on their tablets, all at the same time, and that they could be doing different subjects at the same time, as well, is that now, we don’t have to have a “discussion” about what we will learn about “today”. Being able to use the tablets in this way is a definite plus as well for the family who travels, because their children will be able to take this beautiful program along, and learn science their way. It would be great if you’re staying somewhere with provided wifi, and much better than spending all your in room time just watching television.

ALL in all, we really, really like this program. I even had one child come back inside from playing to ask if he could do some more science on his tablet! What better rating is there than that, right?

Want to see what my fellow Crew members think of Digital SCience Online? Just click on the banner right below!

Visual Learning Systems Review

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Our Family Is Mostly Well Again . . .

And now, chaos reigns once more. Now that they can go out and play, I’m having to referee arguments over who has to get the basketball when it’s gone under a bush where there may or may not be bees (it was some flies), who may or may not play with “Mr. Loquacious’s” rubber band ball that he made, etc, etc . . . But still, I’m very glad they are finally better, which I think all of my fellow mama’s can understand!

Today, we ran some quick errands, including delivering a “thank you for visiting” gift to some new visitors who came to our church this past Sunday, and hitting Sam’s Club for a few things I had forgotten to buy last time. Like my husband’s Kcups for his coffee machine. discovered last night that he had only a couple of days worth remaining. Crisis averted! :-)

We came home and learned some cool things we had not yet realized about an online program we’ve been using, something you’ll be seeing the review for very soon (like today or tomorrow!).

Enjoy the rest of your day!

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Koru Naturals . . . My T. O. S. Review

My family and I have had the “pampering pleasure” of reviewing products from Koru Naturals for a little over a month now.

Along with all of the other crew members to be on this review, we received the WONDERFUL Emu Oil.

I also was given the Manuka Oil and Honey Shampoo and Conditioner.

Unlike the Emu Oil, I did NOT share my Manuka Oil and Honey Shampoo and Conditioner. No, no, no, that was just for me. Unlike some of my crew mates, I am the only female in the house, and didn’t have to share. :-)

I want to tell you why I asked for this review when it came up for the crew. Two of my children, “Mr. Loquacious” and “The Puzzler” are biracial. They are African-American/Native American. As such, they have serious problems with drying skin, especially when it comes to their elbows and their knees. Unfortunately, we have not been able to get them to use ANY kind of lotion without great protest. Ever. And we’ve been trying ever since their adoption five years ago. Well, they are 13 years old now, and I have despaired of EVER finding something they won’t fight against. They both have serious sensory issues, so with everything else we’ve tried, there has been a problem with the feel or the smell. Then, the Emu Oil arrived! First after their showers, I had them take just a few drops and apply it to their elbows and their knees. Now, this was the first time, so it was a few drops for the elbows, and a few drops for the knees, but even the twins were (so far) OK with it. There was no scent that bothered them, and it so quickly is absorbed into the skin that there was no “greasy” feel for them to object to. On the advice of my hairstylist, I also started putting a few drops into their hands and having them rub it through their hair, which also is working wonders, and they are still using it without major objection, which makes their skin less raw, and me very happy! :-)

At first, to show them what I wanted them to do, I put the drops in MY hands and worked it into their hair, which led me to an accidental discovery! Just the tiny little bit of residue on my hands, actually began softening them! Since we live in the desert, this is a nice thing! :-) Emu Oil is a great addition to our household, and well worth the $9.85 cost for the two ounce bottle we were given. WE have had it for over a month, it’s being used by a large family of six, and we still have most of the bottle to go, so clearly, a little goes a LONG way!

Now, on to the Manuka Oil and Honey Shampoo and Cnditioner , which as I stated above, I have NOT shared. I have enjoyed using this shampoo and conditioner. It has a very invigorating smell and feel, which helps me a lot when it’s difficult to get myself going in the morning, lol! The Manuka Oil and Honey Shampoo and Conditioner has also been good in that my hair is nice and soft. I was worried about that, as I tend to tangly hair. Be aware that this product does not lather a great deal like brands that are full of sulfates and other chemicals, but that is a good thing. It isn’t the lather that cleans, and if you have color treated hair, all of the chemicals we are used to having in shampoo and conditioner tend to strip the color or make it fade faster. Manuka Oil and Honey Shampoo and Comditioner is a very nice product, and costs just $14.95 for the set.

To find out what other crew members thought of Koru Naturals Emu Oil, along with the variety of other Koru Natural products that were reviewed, please click on the banner below.
Koru Naturals Review

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Homeschooling Art!

Seriously, though, the only one of our kids who is truly inclined toward Art is, of course, “The Artist”. I could fill post after post of his drawings, but today I’m just going to tell you about how much of an interest he has taken in Zentangle, something he’s been watching me do. I will be honest here, and say that I didn’t want to let him in on it, because I was selfish and knew he’d be way better at it than me concerned it would be too much for him, but last week I took him to his first Zentangle class. Here are the results.

This first photo is of the first tile they did, the one on the left is what “The Artist” did, and on the right is what one of the certified zentangle teachers did.


Here is the second tile. The one on top belongs to “The Artist”, while the other two belong to our CZT’s (certified zentangle teacher)


One of our teachers has a wonderful zentangle blog called Dentangles, and I urge you to definitely check it out!


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In Freedom’s Cause: The Real Story of Wallace and Bruce, a T.O.S. Review

During the Review Crew run last year, my family was very lucky in that we were able to review the audio drama “Under Drakes Flag“, so we were THRILLED when the audio drama In Freedom’s Cause: The Real Story of Wallace and Bruce (Single Package) came up on the review list. I jumped all over this one hoping we would be chosen, after how much we had enjoyed our previous (and first!) experience with audio drama done using one of G. A. Henty’s extraordinary books, and we were SO Happy when we WERE picked! :-)

THIS wonderful audio drama was generously provided to us by Heirloom Audio Productions, from whom you can purchase several different packages.

The In Freedom’s Cause: The Real Story of Wallace and Bruce single package includes an attractively packaged two CD set and a miniature copy of the prayer of William Wallace. You also will receive the following bonuses:

  • In Freedom’s Cause Study Guide: Digital Download

A very nice study guide which will be a great addition to the audio drama! This will enable you and your children to have discussion points, additional historical tie-ins, and really brings it together with relevant Biblical study.

  • In Freedom’s Cause Soundtrack: MP3 download

THIs MP3 download gave us all the original music by John Campbell, who is an Emmy-winning composer. He also responsible for the  original score for C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia. This music can be downloaded to any device capable of playing MP3 downloads.

  • Printable copy of The Prayer Of William Wallace

This is a  one page beautiful printable letter size poster  ready to frame for your family’s inspiration, and is a version of Psalm 23 in the Latin Vulgate.

So, back to the actual audio drama. This two CD set runs approximately two and a half hours, and we listened to the entire thing in one sitting. Yes, it was that good. Because we are not a small family, I chose to have us listen to it through our DVD Player, rather than the computer. It was really comfortable, and really, as if we were listening to an actual theater production, as opposed to a book on tape, such as I used to check out from the library before we would travel. With a production such as this, it really is impossible to NOT become “involved” in the action. I will say that I have all boys, but I’m pretty certain that a family with girls would also find this drama to be as exciting as we did.

We were transported to 14th century Scotland, and joined freedom fighters Sir William Wallace and King Robert the Bruce. They were largely the leaders who helped Scotland gain their freedom at the time from their oppressive English ruler. There is certainly plenty of action, along with bravery, such bravery. There is much tragedy in this portion of world history, but I think it is still very much an important part to learn about, and this audio drama from G. A. Henty’s book brings us right into history and makes it easier to learn and retain it.

Below, you can see a trailer for this wonderful production. I do hope you enjoy it!

While WE Listened in our living room, I think this audio drama will be great to use in our car when we travel, as well, and look forward to doing exactly that!

I look forward to many more materials from the books of G. A. Henty. I also am very excited to hear that Heirloom Audio Productions will be releasing a new audio drama, “With Lee In Virginia”!


TO find out even more, check out Heirloom Audio by way of their social media:

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In Freedom's Cause ReviewCrew DisclaimerAs always, I would just love it if you would join me on all of “My Journeys Through Life”! Just go to the “sign me up” button at the top if the blog, enter your email, and you’ll never miss another update! :-)

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