Category Archives: homeschool products

Progeny Press . . . A T. O. S. Review

My children and I have been given the fun opportunity to review a study guide from Progeny Press, our first time ever! 🙂

Progeny Press Review

Progeny Press gives us the chance to study works of literature from a Christian perspective, which I do appreciate. Their guides do use the NIV translation of the Bible, but in the “Note To Instructor” section of the Study Guide, it is clearly stated that the study can be used with any version of the Bible. My family prefers (and always uses) the King James Version.

Because we already owned the book and had been needing a push to get it read, I chose the Study Guide for “The Courage Of Sarah Noble“, which is currently available for the cost of $11.99. This is a downloadable product, so there are no shipping costs, plus, you have the advantage of using it for more than just one child if you like.

The Courage Of Sarah Noble, The E-Guide is suggested for lower elementary (grades K through 3), and my kids are older than that, but we quite enjoyed it anyway. My guys are special needs, two of them still struggle with reading, and the others with thinking skills, so it was a good fit. I would definitely put the reading level of the book at the upper level of the suggested range, but that could just be because “Mr. Loquacious” and “The Puzzler” still struggle somewhat when it comes to reading, and “Mr. Loquacious” dislikes reading altogether! We did think it was a pretty good book, which is based on a true story, something that all of my boys thought was really “cool, mom!”

The book “The Courage Of Sarah Noble” is about an eight year old girl in the year 1707, who goes to cook and clean for her father when he builds their family a home in the wilderness of Connecticut. During her time there, she learns the meaning of trust and friendship as she gets to know the Indians living nearby, and stays with them when her father goes back to get the rest of the family.

The pdf Study Guide is 39 pages long, and if you have reluctant children when it comes to handwriting (or are not proficient with it), the guide is set up so that they may type in the answers, and then print out the pages to keep in a notebook, portfolio, or any type of records you like to keep.

Within the study guide, there are “Before You Read” activities, such as defining a word, looking up a place on a map, or speculating on the “why” of something you will be reading about.

There are “As You Read”
Activities, such as making a list of how many times Sarah reminds herself to “keep up her courage”, and holds her red cloak. We are asked why she holds it, and what it reminds her of.

As we read the book, the study guide broke it up into two chapters per session, with pages for vocabulary, questions, and Bible passages having to do with something in those two chapters.

Question and answer portions we generally do orally, because we like to do unit studies together, and because it makes it easier for all to participate, no matter what their writing or thinking proficiency happens to be.

Finally, there are “Activities, Arts and Crafts” which relate to the book, and which your kids may find to be lots of fun. There is a crossword puzzle, a game that Sarah played with the Indian children, instructions for an art project to create a picture of Sarah and her father, a craft project in which the child can build a pretzel log cabin, and a recipe to make corn meal biscuits.

Finally, our study guide gave us a list of suggestions for further reading, plus an answer key for all of the questions in the study guide.

The Courage Of Sarah Noble, The E-Guide from Progeny Press is very thorough, and we really liked it. I particularly like that it is from a Christian perspective, and that we are not locked into a specific Bible version. It was definitely “tweak-able” for my special needs family, and also for my “King James Version only” family. I also appreciate that as far as I can see from looking at the various titles available, if you do not already own the book you are interested in studying, you will most likely find it at your local library, which definitely saves on the cost! 🙂

Check out Progeny Press via the following social media:

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/progenypress
Twitter – https://twitter.com/progenypress
Pinterest – http://www.pinterest.com/progenypress/
YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/user/ProgenyPress

100 Review Crew members reviewed a variety of Progeny Press Study Guides. To see what they and their children thought, please click the graphic below!
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What On Earth Can I Do? A T.O.S. Review

In our homeschooling family, we have really loved all things from Apologia Educational Ministries, so I was very excited to be given the chance to review for you the fourth volume in their “What We Believe” series, which is designed to aid you as you teach a Biblical world view to your children.

Volume 4 is titled “What On Earth Can I Do?“, and teaches a Biblical worldview of stewardship. We received the entire set in our review package, as listed and pictured below:

The main text “What On Earth Can I Do?” which is a very nice hard bound book, with just under 300 pages, and retails for $39.00

The Notebooking Journal, spiral bound, 236 pages, which retails at $24.00

The Jr. Notebooking Journal, also spiral bound, 184 pages, which retails for $24.00.

and the “What On Earth Can I Do?” Coloring Book, which is softcover, 64 pages, and retails for $8.00.

This curriculum technically has eight lessons within it, but they are broken up into small chunks, so if your family is like mine, you can really take your time with it. The eight lessons are titled with the following:

Your Story Or God’s Story?

Who Put You In Charge?

Will You Be Found Faithful?

Where Is Your Treasure?

Where Does Your Time Go?

Whose Life Is It Anyway?

Why Isn’t It Easy Being Green?

What Will Happen When The Master Returns?

Each of these eight lessons is, as I mentioned above, broken up into several segments. You can either quickly complete each one within a couple of weeks, or you can take your time, allowing yourselves to really dig in deep with questions, discussion, and following rabbit trails.

The first half of the book follows a family during World War 2, and we are really seeing it mostly from the view of the children. At first, I thought it might be too heavy for my children, but it wasn’t. They were very saddened by what was happening in the story, and in the true, historical things we read about, but it did spark really good discussion and questions. For example, in our church, we have close friends who are Messianic Jews, and “Mr. Loquacious” asked me “if L. and E. and Miss S. were alive then, would they have been in danger like that too?” So we discussed what kinds of changes World War 2 made in the world.

The second half of the study follows another set of siblings, this time in Africa. We have not gotten to that part yet, but we look forward to it!

Each lesson contains several important components:

The Big Idea (introduction and brief overview of what has already been learned)
What You Will Do (learning objectives)
Short Story (this is where we read more about the children featured in this section)
Think About It (comprehension questions)
Words You Need To Know (vocabulary words from that lesson)
Hide It In Your Heart (memorization verses)
Integrated Learning (articles related to an element in the short story or tied to the lesson)
What Should I Do? highlights a godly character trait that the child should demonstrate as the right response to what they have learned.)
Prayer (conclude the lesson with a prayer to thank God for the gifts He has given, and all He has done.)
Parables of Jesus (a retelling of a parable of Jesus, imagined from the perspective of one of the characters in the parable, giving cultural details to better help the child understand what is happening.)
Going Deeper (discussion questions to encourage children to think about the parables of Christ and what they may mean for us now)
House Of Truth (Beginning in the first book of this series, the student is given instructions on building a “house of truth”, with one section being built in each book.)

We are very much enjoying “What On Earth Can I Do?”, and really looking forward to completing it. We like very much that it is written to children, and that the stories about the siblings featured are written from their perspective.

While my kids, with their delays, vastly prefer the Jr. Notebooking Journal, I will tell you that the Notebooking Journal is quite nice! For the older child, there is more writing, the puzzles are a bit more difficult, and it does not have the coloring pages that the Jr. Notebooking Journal has. It does have the mini books to make, which are then glued to specific pages to keep.

In the Jr. Notebooking Journal, the puzzles are easier, there is a lot less writing, there are plenty of coloring pages, and it also has the mini books to make and keep.

The coloring book has many of the same coloring pages as the Jr. Notebooking Journal, and would be a wonderful addition to use with the very young child who would then have something related to do while the older ones are reading out loud, and working on the lessons in the curriculum.

What I chose to do was to have “The Batman” take turns reading with me, and we would all discuss the questions in the text. “The Artist” was chosen to work in the Notebooking Journal, “The Puzzler” worked in the Jr. Notebooking Journal, and by his own request, “Mr. Loquacious” worked in the coloring book. He doesn’t like to read or write, even though he can do so.

We will be continuing on with “What On Earth Can I Do”. I am extremely impressed with it. The only “con” for me is the usual one, that the Bible verses are never from the King James Bible, something I find very frustrating, given that it is the one version that you do not have to pay for the right to copy. At the same time, it did give my kids more practice looking up verses, as I prefer them to read them from the King James Version! However, when the Bible verse is a clue to a word in a puzzle, it’s harder for the kids if the puzzle uses a different version. With this one exception, I really love this curriculum, and highly recommend Apologia Educational Ministries!

Check out Apologia on social media:

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/apologiaworld
Twitter – https://twitter.com/apologiaworld
Google+ – https://plus.google.com/105053356034237782125/posts
Pinterest – http://www.pinterest.com/apologia/

To check out what other crewmembers thought of “What On Earth Can I Do?”, please click the graphic below!
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Filed under Apologia, Christian Worldview, home education, homeschool products, homeschooling, Schoolhouse Review Crew Post, TOS Review, What On Earth Can I D?, What We Believe

Golden Prairie Press, A T. O. S. Review

Digital Heroes & Heroines of the Past: American History Curriculum, is a curriculum we were given to review, along with 99 other Schoolhouse Review Crew members.

This curriculum is from Golden Prairie Press, the home of “History At It’s Best”, according to their header.

Digital Heroes & Heroines Of The Past: American History Curriculum is a one year package of 30 lessons, and has been designed for children from 1st through the 6th grade levels. It is available for $98.99.

This downloadable curriculum will take your student from 1000 AD up to the present day, using two e-books.

The first half of the curriculum is Heroes and Heroines of the Past: American History Part 1 e-book, which covers the original people in America and continues on through the administration of President Jackson ( 1829 – 37 ).

You will then continue on with the second half of the curriculum: Heroes and Heroines of the Past: American History Part 2 e-book, covering 1837 to the present day.

We also received the following items, which are included in the digital curriculum:

Additional Materials CD (we received this as a collection of pdf files) which can be used as supplemental materials, including timelines, instructions and videos, coloring pages, and much more.

Historical Skits e-book, which contains 19 skits from the time of Columbus to World War 2. Your children can use these to further bring history to life, if they are interested in acting out what they are learning.

Sing Some History CD, which we received as audio files. This contains many of the songs that are referred to in the curriculum, further bringing the history to life while you and your children listen to them.

Listen to Some U.S. History MP3 CD (we received this as a downloadable collection of mp3 files), allowing you and your children to listen to 20 original speeches, poems, sermons, and documents that are mentioned in the book.

What we like:

The format of the curriculum e-books. I enjoy that we are given two different options for each lesson as far as the reading goes, one for younger students who aren’t ready for more lengthy information, and one for the older kids, which goes into more depth. For my kids, we are actually able to (mostly) use the more in-depth portion, as long as we are using this as a read aloud. This is not a problem, since that’s how we do a lot of curriculum, allowing us to do it all together. I enjoy being able to read right from my laptop, so that we only need to print things like coloring pages, etc.

The sound files! We enjoy hearing what we are learning about, whether it is the music or the speeches and such.

We like the Additional Materials CD for things like coloring pages, the extra sound files, and the timelines. Speaking of the timelines, the thing I like the best regarding them is that there are different versions available. You may choose to print out the fully filled in timelines (perfect for some of my kiddos), or the partially filled in (allowing your kids to fill in the rest), or the blank ones, so that your more advanced kids may fill them in from memory or by looking them up.

Here’s the best thing, as far as I am concerned . . . while there are Bible verses throughout for the kids to read and/or memorize, only the reference is given. The verse is not written out in the text (or at least, I haven’t come across any which are as yet), which means no matter what version of the Bible you use (we are a King James only family), you need to get your actual Bible out and LOOK UP THE VERSE FOR YOURSELF! I LIKE that! There is no reason any child who can read cannot learn to look up verses, and too many of us, especially in curriculum, become lazy and just let the text we are learning from do it for us.

What we don’t care for:

Most of the activities are simply things we rarely bother with. We will probably do some of the cooking ones, but I don’t see my kids making paper canoes and such, for example, or a teepee in the house. However, as some of my friends would remind me, that’s mostly because “I” don’t like the mess involved, so, maybe if not for that, my kids WOULD do them. Maybe “I” need to loosen up a little bit on this one, LOL!

All in all, for my kids, I do enjoy this curriculum, and am pleased that it is digital, allowing me to print as many copies of things as needed for my kids. Although it is designed as a 30 week curriculum, I’m quite sure that we will take considerably longer. We very likely didn’t get as far as other reviewers, because with four special needs boys, I do tend to go much slower when it comes to working our way through curriculum. But that’s OK. In MY opinion, it’s one of the beauties of homeschooling, the fact that you do not have to do things in a specific way or time frame. 🙂

To check out Golden Prairie Press on social media, please go to:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GoldenPrairiePress

Please always remember always that my opinion is just that, and there are many other crew members reviewing the same product. I encourage you to click the graphic below, and go check out there reviews as well!
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As always, I would love it if you would join me on all of my “Journeys Through Life”! Just go and enter your email information into the “sign me up” button at the top of the blog, and never miss an update again. If you DO enjoy “My Journeys Through Life”, please, go to our Facebook page and give it a “like”. I’d sure appreciate it if you did!

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Victus Study Skills System . . . A T.O.S. Review

We recently had the opportunity to review the Victus Study Skills System, written by Susan B. Ison, founder of http://www.studyskillssystem.com. The author explains the Latin word victus means “a way of life,” and the goal of the system is to “equip the student for success in Academics and in life.”
We received the Teacher Edition (priced at $40.00) and the Student Workbook, (priced at $20.00)

Both are easy to read and follow, and the appendix comes with worksheets and tools to use throughout the course. This system can be taught to all ages, with more teacher involvement needed for younger students. It is most appropriate for students from 5th to 12th grade. The author gives a good description of the courses aims, goals and objectives. The author’s “Foundational Cornerstones” for the course ask three questions:

1) Where Am I Now?
Lesson One (Study Habits Checklist) is a self-assessment to help determine what the student is doing now. Lesson Two (Learning Strengths) helps assess how the student takes in information (through Visual, Auditory, or Kinesthetic means) and gives some useful tips on how to help your dominant learning strength or improve a weaker one.

2) Where Do I Want To Be?
Lesson 3 (Mission and Goal Setting) first asks the student to visualize where they were 5 years ago, where they are now, and where they would like to be five and ten years from now. This helps the student visualize long term goals for themselves. They are also introduced to the “SMART” method of goal-setting; the objective must be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound. The lesson ends with an introduction to a system to help them set priorities for long-term goals.

3) How Do I Get There?
Lessons 4 through 10 get into the specific details and exercises to help the student develop good study habits through Time Management, Organization and Study Environment, a study process with the mnemonic “PQRST” (more on this later), Listening, Note Taking, Test Taking, and a final review.

This is the type of course my husband says he would have loved to have when he was back in school. He says he was a “brainiac” who never had to study that much in high school. When college rolled around, however, he struggled until he learned how to study.

If you run a structured home school and you have a student (or students) struggling with some course materials, then this course might be a welcome addition. In our loosely run, lightly scheduled, eclectic situation, however, we did have some challenges.

My husband has had experience with courses like this in the past through his workplace, so I asked him to take the lead on it. We chose “The Artist” to work with, as we were hoping to help him with his habit of flitting about from project to project and help him prioritize things.

They did quite well with Lessons One through Three. They determined how The Artist best takes in information (Visually, with Auditory and Kinesthetic in a virtual tie for second place), and we are using some of the tips to help the weaker aspects.

2014-04-05 06.20.52

Lessons Four through Ten, however, were a bit difficult. For example, the Time Management chapter was good for people still in “analog,” as my husband calls it. It gives tips like, “Write your schedule in pencil to allow for changes.” We’ve been using Google Calendar on “The Artist’s” tablet for several months now for scheduling daily chores, appointments, etc. with good results. Plus, he is already a good note taker, so he didn’t get a whole lot from the Note Taking lesson. We use a notepad application on his tablet so he can transcribe and organize notes from various study subjects into color-coded pages. We also do not use any kind of curriculum that has examinations, so he totally lost interest in the Test Taking lesson.

We were able to find some wheat among the chaff. Lesson 6, PQRST, outlines a great method of reading for better comprehension and learning. The mnemonic stands for:

Preview – get the high points
Question — to determine which facts to look for
Read – “action” reading, to find answers, note, highlight, etc.
State – read aloud what you’ve just read
Test – a daily review of what you read the previous day

“The Artist” finds learning by reading very easy (just like his father). But his father told him that, as he continues in his education to more advanced subjects, he will hit a brick wall at some point! He told “The Artist,” “There will be subjects that just do not jump off of the page and into your head; you will need to know how to pull that information out of the book by force! Better to learn those methods now instead of waiting until you really need them!” “The Artist” was not happy at first, because the PQRST method takes a little longer than just simply reading the page. But he has now incorporated it into his study routine, and we do believe it will serve him well when we start moving to some more complicated subjects down the road.

Now, to the bottom line:

At the beginning, we thought we would not get much from this course. We don’t test, so we have no way to measure whether or not the course is effective for us. And several of the lessons just simply did not apply to our circumstances. However, as mentioned above, this system was helpful in that “The Artist” HAS been able to incorporate some of the methods into his way of learning. While I personally would probably not spend $60.00 on the Victus Study Skills System, as written above, I can certainly see where it could be of immense help to a homeschool student in a structured program, or even a student in public or private school.

Check out Victus Study Skills System on the social media listed below:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/VictusStudySkillsSystem
Twitter: @VictusStudy

To see what other Schoolhouse Review Crew members thought of the Victus Study Skills System, please click the graphic below:
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Mango Languages For Homeschoolers, A T.O.S. Review

My regular readers are very aware of my seemingly never ending quest to actually learn Spanish with my kids, so when, as a Schoolhouse Review Crew member I was given an opportunity to test drive something new from Mango Languages, I really wanted to give it a try.

Up until now, Mango Languages has been available to be used in businesses, schools (K – 12), and in many libraries (though not OUR library system, I checked). But Mango Languages is now introducing Mango Homeschool Edition, which is very exciting news!

Now, I want to tell you right up front that when I say we are test driving it, I mean that. Mango Homeschool Edition is currently a beta version. However, there is still a great deal available to the subscribing family!

I have permission to share the following directly from the vendor:

“What is currently available on the site:

Over 60 different languages
Progress Assessments
Built-in journals, discussions and wikis
Collaborative learning spaces
eNote messaging/chat rooms
Access to embedded/downloadable content
Support from other community members
Calendars to schedule meetings or study groups

Over the next several months, we’ll be introducing other exciting features like:
Enhanced Tracking and Progress Monitoring – including seat time (for students and parents)
Goals and Personal Lesson Plans (both stand-alone and tied into Mango courses)
Resume and Portfolio Builder”

Did you notice that bit about 60 different languages? Let me tell you, this is the very best thing about the Mango Homeschool Edition. When you sign up for your subscription, you are not limited to one language. You may choose, one, or several, or you may do one, decide it is not for you, and change to another! I LOVE that! 🙂

I will be pleased to see better tracking methods however, allowing me to see exactly where the boys are in their progress, along with being able to set goals and lesson plans.

During our review period, we were given a one year subscription to Mango Homeschool Edition for five students (which included one for me as the homeschool mom/teacher). To be honest, once we got our log in information and went to get started, I decided that during the review period I would concentrate solely on “The Artist” for this review. In retrospect though, I think the others probably could have handled it, considering that there were only certain portions of the program I was willing to let him use, so I’ll likely be adding the others in, and maybe even letting them choose what languages they want to try (in addition to Spanish).

We (meaning I) chose Latin American Spanish. It was a little bit confusing getting set up, but then after watching the little videos that are provided, and doing what they said, I got everyone’s accounts set up (that way, when I decide to put the other boys in, we are already set up!).

For the portions we actually used, navigation was quite simple, “The Artist” would just log in to his account, and then into his “Space”. Here he is during one of the lessons . . .

2014-03-10 23.27.14

Whatever language you choose, it will include things such as native speakers giving you audio lessons and pronunciation help, a voice comparison tool (but you need a microphone for this, which we did not have available), which is completely optional, you can do the lessons without it. Not only will you be learning the language, but you will be receiving information about the culture, the customs and the etiquette of the land of your chosen language. There are also grammar and conversational aspects as part of your lessons.

Each unit is referred to as a “Journey”, and is fairly simple to understand, done in flash card style. I do like that. Below is a quick video I snuck while “The Artist” was working in an early on lesson . . .

After that, he wouldn’t let me anywhere near if I had the camera, can you believe it???

Also available on the Mango Homeschool Edition is the “community” aspect of the program. We did not use this portion. It involves online chatting in forums and “eNotes”, a private messaging section. My husband and I are very wary about this sort of thing for our kids, and even though I know that at Mango Homeschool Edition they are working very hard to make certain this is safe for kids, the fact is that this program is being touted as perfect for kids and adults. I just don’t want to take the chance with my kids.

OK, now the bottom line . . .

The cost for Mango Homeschool Edition is as follows:

1 subscription is $18/month or $125/year total
2 subscriptions are $28/month or $175 /year total
3 subscriptions are $38/month or $225/year total
4 subscriptions are $48/month or $275/year total
5 subscriptions are $58/month or $325/year total

Anything over 6 subscriptions is a special group rate that will depend on the number in the group.

The above is the introductory pricing, and is accurate at the time of this posting.

MY bottom line? I probably would not purchase this for our homeschool. I have four children, with special needs, and a lot of what is available on this program is just not going to be useful for them. I would HIGHLY recommend it to someone preparing to travel, however, as I think it would give them enough conversational (whatever their choice of language) to get around.

I AM going to let them all sign up for Pirate (yes, that IS an available language, LOL!), because my older boys have an activity coming up with the teen group in our church which includes pirates and such. They are thinking it will be a blast! 🙂

Here is where you’ll find Mango Languages on social media:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MangoLanguages
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/mangolanguages/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MangoLanguages

To find out how other Schoolhouse Review Crew members felt about Mango Homeschool Edition, please click the graphic below!
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As always, I would just love it if you would join me on all of “My Journeys Through Life”. Just go and enter your email into the “sign me up” button at the top of the blog, and never miss an update again! Also, if you DO enjoy “My Journeys Through Life”, please go to our Facebook page and “like” it. I’d sure appreciate it if you did! 🙂

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Amazing Science, Volume 1 . . . A T.O.S. Review

Anyone who knows me well, KNOWS I am simply NOT good at science (right, Charlene? lol!) So, when I saw that this particular review of Amazing Science, Volume 1 would have SIMPLE experiments, explained by the instructor, Jason Gibson, in a way that even *I* could understand (never mind the children), I decided to go for it!

Jason Gibson has earned advanced degrees in Engineering and Physics, has worked as a Rocket Scientist for NASA, and loves teaching Science and Math (don’t even get me going on how much I have always hated Math, lol!).

The product we received for review is, as I said above, Amazing Science, Volume 1, which comes from ScienceandMath.com.

It comes in one DVD case, which holds two separate DVD’s. On those two DVD’s, we found 23 different science experiments to watch, learn about, and actually do, in very little time, as long as we had the needed materials around the house.

For this review, I am going to focus in on the Color Changing Milk experiment, because all of the boys thought it was cool! I heard plenty of “oooohhh’s” even from the one kid (“that would be “The Batman”) who was complaining about watching when he wanted to play a video game, lol!

Here, we see the instructor on our TV screen, talking about one of the experiments, and explaining the science behind it.
Amazing Science 006
All four boys, watching with definite interest, while Mr. Gibson explains what he is doing, and why.
Amazing Science 003
The Color Changing Milk experiment, which was absolutely the top vote getter for which one to put on this blog post, was a hit. All four boys really loved how it came out! Here are some pictures of the process while getting things ready to go.
This is me, getting things started . . .
Amazing Science 008
Now, we add the four food colors into the milk.
Amazing Science 009
Amazing Science 010
Amazing Science 011

We honestly thought it might not work, because the only food coloring we had was the gel kind, and Mr. Gibson was using the liquid sort, however, if you will watch the video below, you’ll see how well it worked!

You can see how much fun they had, right? 🙂

Here is how our plate of milk looked when they had really finished up as much as possible.
Amazing Science 016

At this point, all of the fat in the milk had clung to the dish soap, so the only way to do it again would be to start over with a new batch. So, we have learned how it is that the soap works better than just water when we wash our hands or our dishes, especially if we are trying to wash off something with fat in it.

Here is “Mr. Loquacious”, rinsing the plate off with cold water, but all of the boys loved what he discovered when he dumped the milk into the sink, BEFORE he actually began rinsing it . . .
Amazing Science 017

Here are some samples provided on the company’s website for the following experiments . . .

“Balloon in a Candle Flame”

“Amazing Magnetic Force” . . .

And if you go to Amazing Science, Volume 1, you will find links to a couple of other samples, as well as the complete DVD chapter index of all that you will get on this set of DVD’s.

Amazing Science, Volume 1 is available as a DVD set for the cost of $ 17.95 (a discount off of the retail price of $24.95), and as a digital download for $14.99. I do think this product is at a very good price point for what you get!

I am supposed to tell you that the intended age range for this product is grades 1 through 3, but let me just tell you, every single one of my boys love it, and so do I. And I am WELL past grade 1 – 3, lol! In fact, there would literally be only one thing that I don’t care for about this package. I wish the company would make a little mini booklet to insert into the DVD case, sort of like the liner notes that you see in music DVD’s, listing the materials needed for each experiment. That would make it much easier to collect the materials needed BEFORE watching the DVD. My kids wanted to do some things for which I really did not have the materials on hand (like copper pipe, a bicycle tire pump, etc), but we did have materials on hand for a few things.

This DVD set would be wonderful for any homeschooling family, but I think it would also be great as a supplement for students who are in public or private school. In short, it’s great for anyone!

I also want to acknowledge my husband Mike, who took all of the pictures, and the video as well, while working on learning to use his new camera. Didn’t he do a great job? 🙂

If you’d like to read what other crewmates thought of Amazing Science, Volume 1 and other products (Mastering 5th Grade Math – Volume 1 – Essentials of Fractions, Algebra 1: Volume 1, & Fractions Thru Algebra Companion Worksheet CD) from ScienceandMath.com, please click the graphic below . . .
ScienceandMath.com Review
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As always, I would just love it if you joined me on all of “My Journeys Through Life”. Just go and enter your email into the “sign me up” button at the top of the blog, and never miss another update! Also, if you DO enjoy “My Journeys”, please go to our Facebook page and “like” it. I’d sure appreciate it if you did! 🙂

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Filed under Amazing Science! Volume 1, education, home education, homeschool products, Homeschool Science, Schoolhouse Review Crew Post

Science4Us.com . . . a T.O.S. Review

Many of you are aware that our boys really, really enjoy things that are, in their words, “science-y”. You may NOT be aware though, that I am NOT a “science-y” type person, so this topic has always been sort of a “learn it as it comes up” kind of thing. Well, being given the chance to review an online science curriculum called Science4Us.com Online Subscription turned out to be something of a God-send!

Science4Us.com offers a FULL online science curriculum for your K-2 students. However, don’t let that grade range limit you at all. It can also be used as review for older students. MY kids are having a great time with it!

Here is a video of “Mr. Loquacious”, talking just a little bit about the program . . .

As you can see, he tends to lose his “Mr. Loquacious” title when being put on a video, LOL!

I feel that this curriculum is very good for either the homeschool parent who wants to set up lessons for their children (or is required to do so by their state), or for the homeschool parent like me, who is more of a “fly by the seat of your pants” type. I do not use a lesson planner, I have never lived in a state which required me to keep records of any kind, which is the way I, personally, feel homeschooling ought to be. We do a lot of “interest led” homeschooling, and believe me, the Science4Us.com Online Subscription works BEAUTIFULLY for our homeschooling method!

Lest you think it won’t be for you though, because you prefer (or are required) to keep records, have lesson plans, etc, this curriculum works for you, too! The Science4Us.com Online Subscription gives you, the parent and/or teacher, well done lesson plans, already prepared for you! The program is set up to allow you to check on your child’s progress, and see what and how they are doing. You have the capability to set specific assignments for your children, and can even set it up with start dates and end dates, or just set the assignment up to end when they have completed it.

MY kids like that when they log in, everything they have already completed now has a gold star on it, and they know to go to the next thing. They also enjoy the animated lessons, the games, and surprisingly, they like taking the “evaluates”, or quizzes at the end of each topic they do. 🙂

The Science4Us.com Online Subscription is EXTREMELY easy to navigate! Even my boys, once I showed them how to log on with their individual memberships, were able to move around with great ease, needing only to ask for help the very first time they were on. That says a lot to a homeschool mom like me who has special needs kids, and almost always has to tweak whatever we are using to work with my children. 🙂

Here is an example of what your child will see after he or she logs in . . .

At that point, they may either choose one of the books at the top right, which my kids did to begin, and then thereafter, they chose from the “recent activity” box, going to the next circle without a star.

Here is “The Puzzler”, who, by the way, asks multiple times a day if he can “do the science thing” . . .
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And here is a shot of “Mr. Loquacious, also working on his own . . .
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Your subscription will include a good overview of the following main topics: Science Inquiry, Earth/Space Science, Life Science, and Physical Science, as well as numerous subtopics. I do feel it’s important for me to mention that the Earth History topic does come from an evolutionary viewpoint, and because of that, it was the one limit I put on my kids. We did not use that portion of the curriculum. I allowed them each to choose their main overview topic, and required that they stick with that one until finishing the unit, but other than that, they were free to work on their own, at their own pace.

If it is important to you to use a “standards based” curriculum, Science4Us.com Online Subscription states that it falls within that. This is not something that matters to me, but I know that some of my readers do feel it is important.

I feel that the price for what you will be receiving is excellent! There are Over 350 Online Lessons, Hands-On Activities and Worksheets, it is web-based, and there will be availability to use it on the iPad in 2014. For those to whom it matters, this curriculum does correlate to state and national standards. In addition to science, Science4Us.com Online Subscription also helps build math and language skills. Here is a picture I took while “Mr. Puzzler” was working on something that added in language arts . . .
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Finally, if you need or want it, there is automated Reporting for Homeschool Portfolios.

All of this comes to you for the very reasonable price of $7.95 per month, per child.

So far, we are really enjoying our time with the Science4Us.com Online Subscription, and I feel confident in recommending it to you!

To find Science4Us.com on various social media, check out the following:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Science4UsSays
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/science4us/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Science4Us
G+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/b/112259351657747584252/

To find out what my crewmates thought of the Science4Us.com Online Subscription, please click the graphic below!
Click to read Crew Reviews
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As always, I’d love it if you joined me on all of “My Journeys Through Life”! Just enter your email into the “sign me up” button at the top of this blog, and you’ll never miss an update again. And, if you DO enjoy “My Journeys Through Life”, please go to our Facebook page and “like” it. I’d sure appreciate it if you did! 🙂

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KinderBach Online Piano Lessons For The Very Young . . . A T.O.S. Review

The KinderBach Online Membership with Teacher Corner was not something I initially was planning to review, but ended up doing so anyway, as I thought my two younger boys, “Mr. Loquacious” and “The Puzzler” would get some fun out of it, and add to their beginning music education. My older boys and myself take actual piano lessons, where we go to our piano teacher’s home, but the younger two are simply not ready for that as yet.

KinderBach says that the best time to introduce your children to making music, and the fun that will come from doing so, is between the ages of 3 and 7. As most of you already are aware, “Mr. Loquacious” and “The Puzzler” are actually age 12, but they do have some developmental delays, so this program has been fun for them. They especially like the coloring pages that come with the program! 🙂
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There are pages to use for most of the lessons, and you can print them out from within the lesson, such as this one here . . .
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There are also activity books available to print out all at once, if you like.

You can even take KinderBach on the go with you, by using the KinderBach app for Iphone or Ipad!

Even if you don’t yet have a piano or keyboard, KinderBach has printable keyboard sheets which will get your students started for the first few weeks.

KinderBach Online Piano Lessons With Teacher Corner yearly membership will give you access to 6 levels of fun and worthwhile musical education for the 3 – 7-year-old, which also includes (to my delight!) a physical component, as you can see in the photos below . . .
Here we see Frisco doing both “up” and “down” motions for the students to follow
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And here are “Mr. Loquacious” and “The Puzzler” following along!
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KinderBach is “Child Paced“, making it a very good program for the special needs child or the child with a short attention span, but still is advanced enough for the child in the suggested age range.

To read the curriculum syllabus by level, please look here.

You will receive all web lessons, via your computer, iPad, Android Tablet, Kindle Fire or Nook. You will also have the availability of all of the Teacher Corner materials, plus the ability to download all of the story books, song books, and coloring pages.

At this time, there are over $400 worth of books in the Teacher’s Corner and more will be added soon. With your membership, you never have to pay more for a new edition. Your membership permits you the to download all updates.

The cost for KinderBach Piano Lessons Online With Teacher Corner is very reasonable, for everything you’ll be getting . . .

To check Kinderbach out via various social media, here are some places they can be found:

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/kinderbach
Facebook for Teachers: http://www.facebook.com/classroomkinderbach
Twitter: @KinderBach
Pinterest: https://pinterest.com/KinderBach/
YouTube: KinderBach Preschool Piano

To sum things up, “Mr. Loquacious” and “The Puzzler” have been enjoying their first Crew Review of this new year, and so have I!

To read what other crew members thought of KinderBach, please click the graphic below:
Click to read Crew Reviews

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As always, I would love it if you joined me on all of “My Journeys Through Life”! Just go and enter your email into the “sign Me Up” button at the top of the page and never miss an update again! Also, if you enjoy “My Journeys”, please go to our Facebook Page and “like” it. I’d sure appreciate it if you did! 🙂

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Filed under home education, homeschool products, homeschooling, Kids, Piano for early education, Special Needs Children

The End Of My First Year As A Review Crew Member . . .

And it has been such a blessing to our family! We have reviewed approximately 50 products and/or curricula, much of which was new to us, and much of which we had heard of, but never really had the budget to buy it without checking it out thoroughly.

The Schoolhouse Review Crew recently voted for the Blue Ribbon Awards, given to the top choices from all of the products reviewed this year, and the results were announced this morning on the Schoolhouse Review Crew Blog.

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Many of the crew have decided to publish our own posts telling you about our favorites from this year, and I am no exception, so here we go!

If you click on the title of any of the following, it will open my review in a separate window so you can refresh your memory as to why we liked it. 🙂

As I said, we reviewed nearly 50 products this year, and it has been hard to narrow it down to what we will be using for our homeschool this year, and what will be set aside for future use. I’m going to tell you what we are now using as our homeschool curricula!

“The Batman” will be using Time4Learning at least twice a week. He is also doing Handwriting Without Tears two or three days per week.

“Mr. Loquacious” and “The Puzzler” will be continuing on with Reading Kingdom at least twice a week, along with Math Rider and Adventus, both at least twice a week.

“The Artist” will be continuing his way through Writing Fiction (In High School) by Sharon Watson on a weekly basis, and will be doing A+ TutorSoft, which we like so much that we purchased the remaining grade levels for him and for the other boys when they are ready! 🙂

I will be continuing TouchMath with “The Batman”, “Mr. Loquacious” and “The Puzzler” until they complete the level we were reviewing, and then they will move on to A+ TutorSoft.

Everyone will be working through America The Beautiful by Notgrass. We really, really enjoyed this one, and it works for us in the area of history, geography, and social studies. We will also be using our God‘s World News subscription in our homeschool, as well as games we reviewed, such as The Presidential Game and Chess House, both of which our children thoroughly enjoy using! All four boys will continue with VocabularySpellingCity for language arts.

We (and this time I include myself in the “we”) will be completing Song School Spanish, and will then continue on with See It And Say It Flip Flop Learning Spanish, which we all enjoyed, and found easy to learn with.

I loved the Homeschool Mom’s Bible, and will continue using it forever, I think! 🙂

All in all, without the blessing of being a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew, I think our homeschooling would not be as enjoyable as it’s becoming, not to mention the friends I have made as a result.

I am also very happy to announce that last night, I received my email inviting me to be part of the Schoolhouse Review Crew again for the year 2014. To read a bit about what membership means to me, please go here. I can hardly wait to see what products we will have waiting for us when we start back up again in January! Until then, dear readers, I’ll just be writing about what’s going on around here, along with possibly my thoughts on current events and things in the news.

As always, I would love it if you would join me on all of “My Journeys”! Just go enter your email information into the “sign me up” button at the top of the page, and never miss another update! Also, if you enjoy this blog, please go to our Facebook page and “Like” it! I sure would appreciate it if you do! 🙂

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French Essentials . . . A T.O.S. Review

When I was offered the chance to review French Essentials in our homeschooling environment, I thought about it for a little while first. My kids and I have been trying really hard to learn another language, but I thought it would be fun to take a break and see how we would do with French.

For this review, we received the Full Access Online Program, which has given me everything they have to offer. You can purchase the Full Access Online Program for $149.95, which will give you every one of the modules (there are four so far, with module five on the way), for a total of over 90 lessons and an entire year to get them all downloaded to your own computer! This is a savings of over 57%, as opposed to purchasing one module at a time for the cost of $69.95. Also, with the single modules, you get only 90 days to get all of the lessons and workbook materials downloaded to your computer.

From the French Essentials Home page:

“French Essentials is a complete, downloadable French curriculum with online features that include culture, fun exercises, lesson tests & more.
Designed by experienced French teachers specifically for home learners, it is clear and easy to use and does not require previous knowledge of French. The well designed lessons teach French in an easy to follow, gradual, step-by-step method with video & audio instruction that allows students to interact with the language in a fun and engaging way.”

French Essentials takes your homeschooler through all four language acquisition skills:

reading
writing
listening comprehension
speaking

They use a multi-sensorial approach, beginning with audio. We were able to read the lessons, then click on various characters, letters and words in order to hear the correct pronunciation. These sound files are embedded right in the pdf that we downloaded for each lesson.

Also embedded in the pdf lessons were little videos of a French-speaking teacher giving us time to “watch, listen and repeat”.

We also were able to download the workbook and workbook answer key for each module, which give us the opportunity to practice our reading and writing with the printable exercises, which are there to help us to reinforce speaking and comprehension as we learn to correctly understand the grammar and sentence structures in the French language.

In addition, included in the package for registered users are the following components:

Online quizzes, learning activities and French Culture. The online quizzes include things like online flash cards, listening comprehension & spelling, 2 challenging games (Scatter & Space race) and a test section that gives parents 4 different evaluation options.

The authors of this program are a married couple who are teachers living in St-Rédempteur, Québec, a suburb of Quebec City with their two children, who both attend school in French and are homeschooled in English. They are so passionate about French culture and the French language!

In their own words, here is how they began this endeavor:

“We began as a small tutoring service which came about through requests for tutoring from friends in the homeschool community. This eventually led to the development of a DVD French curriculum for home use. In August 2010, in order to make it more affordable and accessible, French Essentials was converted from top to bottom into a new downloadable format and http://www.frenchessentials.com was launched.”

If your child (or you, for that matter!) have had any exposure to the French language, there is a placement test you can use here in order to find out where you need to begin. WE began at the very beginning, of course, lol!

Here is what you’ll see when you log in after purchasing . . .

You can also go to the online exercises . . .

Or to the section on French culture!

If you go here, you can see a sample lesson from module one, and here is a sample of one of the videos, also from module one . . .

For more information about how the program works, what you can expect, and several sample lessons and videos from later modules, you can go here

What I like about the French Essentials Full Access Online Program is that as I said above, it has allowed me to download everything to my computer. I like that the sound and video files are actually embedded right into the downloaded lessons, enabling us to read it, hear it, see it, and say it.

What I didn’t like was that for some reason I couldn’t do either the sound files or the videos on the laptop computers my boys use for homeschooling, so we had to crowd around my desktop (which is newer) for our lessons. I had no problem at all on my desktop when I was prompted to install needed programs in order to use the sound files and videos, but on the laptops, I got nowhere.

While my kids were able to follow the read it, listen to it, view the video, and then repeat what was being said, at this time the worksheets are proving to be too much for them. But as I’ve said before, I often need to tweak homeschool curriculum to accommodate their various special needs, and it is my hope that a little later on, they’ll be able to handle them. 🙂 Right now, though, I’m hearing an awful lot of “French is too hard, Mom!” 🙂

I believe this is an excellent program, especially for the home learner. In fact, even though this one turned out to be a bit too much for my kids, it isn’t too much for me, and I think I will continue on with it myself to see how much *I* can learn! 🙂

To read all about what my fellow Schoolhouse Review Crew members thought of French Essentials, please click on the graphic below!
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As 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 of the blog and enter your email information. And please, if you enjoy “My Journeys Through Life”, go here and “like” our Facebook page. Never miss another update! 🙂

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Filed under education, Foreign language homeschooling, French Essentials Full Access Online Program, home education, homeschool products, homeschooling, Language Arts, Schoolhouse Review Crew Post, special needs education, TOS Post, TOS Review