Category Archives: Schoolhouse Review Crew Post

Supercharged Science . . . A T.O.S. Review

My children and I were fortunate enough to review the e-Science Premium Membership from Supercharged Science last year, so we were surprised and happy to be given this review again this year! πŸ™‚

Last year, I was so excited about this that I printed out the shopping list for the unit we wanted to work in, without paying attention to the teacher, Aurora Lipper (more about her later), so I would up purchasing supplies for EVERY SINGLE experiment, LOL!

Then, we went through a period of time with varied health problems and surgeries, and after the review period we never finished the unit. 😦 When the boys found out we were doing it again, they BEGGED to do more of the experiments making crystals, and since we basically still had everything (although I did have to buy some sugar and some alum), that was what we did.

I’d like to tell you a little bit about Aurora Lipper, and Supercharged Science, though, before getting into what we did this time around. She attended Cal Poly State University in San Luis Obispo, California, earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering (with a minor in Mathematics and senior project in Rocket Science) in June 1996. Aurora also, while still in CA, continued her studies in a Master’s program with Edward Air Force Base, later becoming a student pilot, followed by receiving her private pilot license. Aurora Lipper, who is the online teacher at Supercharged Science, is a real rocket scientist, who has a gift for bringing her lessons to a level where even younger kids can understand them, along with no-nothing mom’s in the science department, like me. My kids are special needs kids, with various developmental disabilities, and they are very enthusiastic about this program.

As I told you above, at the request of my four boys, we chose to work more in the “Matter” unit, because they wanted to do more crystals. First, though, we re-watched the video on Unit 3: Matter (Getting Started)
. Then, it was onward and upward!

We did NOT actually begin with crystals, however. We started with an experiment called “The Breaking Point”, in which we learned about tension, compression and elasticity, using a pencil. We learned that wood (such as in a pencil) is very elastic and can bend. We also learned that eventually, there is a “breaking point”, and the pencil will snap. While we looked at the differences in the breaks in the pencil, Aurora explained about tension and compression.

Watching Aurora’s video . . .
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Here, we have the boys taking turns bending the pencil . . .
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And now, “The Batman”, finally breaking it in half!
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They really enjoyed this one. Being boys, they like it when they get to break stuff! πŸ™‚

So, now we were onto the one experiment that all four boys have been DYING to do, Rock Candy crystals. We made a supersaturated solid solution, just like we did when making laundry soap crystals in our previous review, except THIS one was made of water and sugar.

First, we watched Aurora teach us on the video . . .
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And then, we began making our solution.
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Here is “Mr. Loquacious” taking a turn at stirring . . .
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Next up, “The Puzzler” . . .
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Then “The Artist” took a spin . . .
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Followed by “The Batman”.
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After what was a LOT longer time than we expected from what was on the video, we FINALLY got the sugar dissolved! We then divided it into separate glasses, and added food coloring to each one.
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We seeded our skewers with sugar, and then put them into the glasses just the way we had been shown on the video . . .
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And left them to do their work. Sadly, we must have done SOMETHING wrong, because they’ve been sitting a while and there are no crystals yet forming on the skewers. We will try again, though! πŸ™‚

We WERE successful with another crystal experiment, this one involving cleaned out egg-shell halves, water, alum and food coloring.

Here are all of the supplies we used for egg-shell crystals . . .
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Here, the water and alum is being mixed to make another supersaturated solution.
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We set the egg shells, filled with the solution on a plate with an upside down bowl in the center, so they would stay put.
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We then left them to do their work, with me pretty much constantly telling my boys they didn’t need to check them every five minutes! πŸ™‚

Happily, we were successful this time, YAY!
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Aurora said in her video that we can keep making the supersaturated solution with the alum and water, and adding it to the same egg shells, which will eventually give us a simulated geode. My kids are wanting to do this, so we’ll see if there is a bulk food place here where I can buy a larger supply of alum without spending a fortune at the grocery store on it.

We received the K-12 plan for this review, however, you can either subscribe to that at a cost of $57.00 per month, or the K-8 level plan for $37.00 per month.

Do I believe it’s worth the cost? Yes, I do, especially as we would very likely stick with the K-8 plan. Do I feel it is truly affordable? Well, it really is not affordable for us, and I think many homeschoolers would feel the same, sadly. Most homeschoolers live on one income, and have to pinch the pennies very hard. As I said in my previous review, I’d love to see a substantial discount for paying a whole year at once, whenever the family can afford to sign up and do that (like at tax refund time, lol!), or even partial scholarships. Other than that, I can see nothing but positives regarding the e-Science Program from Supercharged Science. We LOVE it!

To follow Supercharged Science on social media, please check out the following:

https://www.facebook.com/superchargedsci
http://www.twitter.com/aurora_lipper
https://www.youtube.com/user/auroram42

https://plus.google.com/u/0/112193545312804826871/posts
http://www.superchargedscience.com/blog/

Other crew members also reviewed the e-Science Premium Membership from Supercharged Science. Please click the graphic below to discover their views!
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As always, I’d just love it if you joined 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 you’ll never miss an 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! πŸ™‚

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Filed under Aurora Lipper, e-Science Program, Schoolhouse Review Crew Post, Special Needs Children, special needs education, Supercharged Science, TOS Post, TOS Review

Spelling You See, A T.O.S. Review

Having been given the opportunity to review with my younger two boys (our twins, “Mr. Loquacious” and “The Puzzler”) an advance pdf copy of a very newly published program, Spelling You See, and knowing that it was coming from the publishers of Math-U-See, a program I have heard nothing but good about, I really wanted to give it a go with both boys.

They are both (finally) coming along nicely with their reading, especially given that when we adopted them four years ago at the age of 8, they couldn’t spell (or read!) much beyond their own names, but having seen phonics programs fail with them, I thought this just might be a good change.

I was given Spelling You See: Wild Tales (Level C) to use with my boys.

I will be completely honest here, and tell you that I was not SURE that this program would work, or even that they would like it at all. My father taught me to read before I ever began school, and he used phonics, even though I don’t believe he called it that, or even knew that was what it was. So, when I began homeschooling, I did what I call “school in a box”, from a big name company, with a very strong phonics spelling program. Guess what? It had worked for me, but not so much with my kiddos.

Before choosing the level I would want to review, I went to Spelling You See to check out their “Readiness Guides“. I did find that both boys easily read the material for Level C, but when asked to write the same material, missed quite a lot, therefore I chose Level C for them.

One of the BEST things about this program, one that means an awful lot to my boys, is that it is not set up by grade levels, rather by skill/developmental level. We have tried things in the past that were marked actual grade level, and they balked mightily about it, because before we adopted them, they were supposedly “in the 3rd grade at their public school”, and didn’t want books that said they were “in kindergarten or first grade”.

We have been really enjoying the way this program is set up, it is perfect for boys with very short attention spans (which I freely admit describes my boys, LOL!).

Here is how this program does NOT work . . . there are no spelling lists, no tests, etc. In Level C, for example, we begin with nursery rhymes, which I happen to think is great, as they are part of our heritage. By lesson 8, they will have moved on to short stories involving different animals.

Each week begins with learning which letter groups to look for to mark while “chunking”, which is what Spelling You See calls marking letters that come in small groups, such as special sounds made by vowels, or consonant blends. After practicing the “chunking” on that week’s nursery rhyme or story, the student then goes to the second page to do copy work, and doing the same exact chunking on their written work. The second day, the two workbook pages are a repeat of the first day. Then, we come to day three, which is in part a repeat of the first day, but the copy work is different in that a different portion of the rhyme or story is being copied each day. Day four, the student will read and chunk the passage, but then he or she will draw or write his or her own story. Spelling You See calls this “no rules” day. On the final day of the week, the rhyme or story is read, the chunking completed, and then your student(s) will write it while you dictate it. You are supposed to use a timer for ten minutes, and stop when it goes off, even if they haven’t finished writing. The goal is to be learning to spell, not to be fast ( I’ll admit, that one is tough for “Mr. Loquacious”, who always wants to “win”).

Here we are during the first week (the only time they didn’t balk at pictures), reading the passage while clapping each syllable . . .
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Here is “Mr. Loquacious, following the “chunking” instructions for the specific vowel sounds called for. That particular week, they were to mark them with the color yellow. Each different “chunking” group is coded with a different color.
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Here is “The Puzzler”, doing HIS chunking . . .
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This program is certainly living up to what I have always heard of the company that produced it. BOTH of my twins enjoy it, and have asked more than once if they can do more than one day at once. The only thing they didn’t care for (and really, the only one who cared was “Mr. Loquacious), was that on the copy work pages they are not given the three lines with the dotted line in the middle. In fact, a direct quote from him was “Mom, they forgot a line on the paper”, LOL!

By now, I’m sure you’d like me to let you know what you will receive (and what it will cost) should you choose to purchase this program . . .

Wild Tales Student Pack (2 student workbooks, covering 36 lessons between them, along with a pack of erasable colored pencils) – $30.00

Wild Tales Instructor’s Manual – $14.00

Do I feel this program is worth the cost? Yes, I do. My twins are seeing “patterns” in words, which I believe will aid in their improved spelling. American English is not the easiest language to learn how to spell, as we all know, and I think this is going to help them. Are we going to continue to use this, now that our review period is over? Yes, we are. As I said before, even my boys are happy with it, which I think is a GOOD thing!

Want to try before you buy? download a sample and check it out for yourself. πŸ™‚

To find out even more about Spelling You See, please check them out on the following social media:

Facebook

Twitter

To read what other Review Crew members thought of this and other levels of Spelling You See, please click on the graphic below!
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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.
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All four boys, watching with definite interest, while Mr. Gibson explains what he is doing, and why.
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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 . . .
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Now, we add the four food colors into the milk.
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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? πŸ™‚

Here is how our plate of milk looked when they had really finished up as much as possible.
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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 . . .
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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? πŸ™‚

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! πŸ™‚

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

Motivated Moms . . . T. O. S. Review

We moms are all super organized, right? Especially those of us who are homeschooling, stay-at-home moms (why DO they call it that, anyway, we are hardly EVER home!), right? Well, maybe YOU are, but me? Not so much. So, when I was given the chance to review the Motivated Moms chore planner, I jumped at it.

There are a variety of Motivated Moms Ebooks and I chose the 2014 Motivated Moms Chore Planner with Scheduled Bible Reading {Color}

Right off the bat I will let you know that I am a definite list maker, so I thought this might just be perfect for me. I mean, the list is already made for me, and even has those handy-dandy little check off boxes, right?

However, there are a LOT of things listed that are just not now (or ever will be) part of my routine on the specified days, and for some things, just never, at any time, like watering indoor (or outdoor, for that matter) plants. Plants don’t even try at my house, they know coming in that they are on death row, lol!

There ARE a lot of things that are part of our family’s routine, they are just not listed when we actually do them, so I am still trying to work out the best way to use this planner in our home. During this review period, I actually was dealing with some unexpected medical issues, so we really didn’t manage to make this planner work as well as I think it can for us.

I really like that I can simply print out one page at a time and it gives us the whole week at a glance, including daily Bible reading. I like that in the left column, we have a list of daily chores, even though some of them I have to cross right off, as they do not fit our family, for example, “feed pets”, because we do not have (nor do I want to have) pets.

I like that in the column on the right is a day by day list of chores that you can do in small amounts of time. If you don’t get it done, it will be there again during a future week.

I don’t like that it is not more customizable. For example, we don’t do chores on Sunday. Not ANY chores. Even dinner for after morning church service is done in the slow cooker, and I (generally) try to get that set up the night before if possible, so the crock can just come out of the fridge, be put into the base, and plugged in. Sundays are very busy for us, so my husband and I really like to try to get in a short nap before needing to be back to our church in the afternoon.

I like to make my shopping list as we notice we are low on something, adding it to the list right then. If I wait to make the list until a scheduled day, I WILL forget something. My husband takes care of paying/filing bills every other week, so having it scheduled on Tuesday, for example, just doesn’t work for us.

There ARE a lot of upsides to this though, in that there are things listed that we rarely think about. I mean, I honestly do not know when the last time the bathroom light fixtures were cleaned, for example, but it’s listed in my planner, and then it will come around again in a few weeks.

I like that there are spots on the list called “pamper yourself”, and “spend time on craft or hobby”.

I think with some “tweaking”, I could probably make this work for my family, but I am not sure if I can wean myself from my current system of writing a list of tasks and crossing them off as they get done. I am the type of person who, if I see (and do) a task that isn’t on the list, I write it down after doing it just so I can cross it off!

Bottom line, if you need or want the accountability of a chore planner, this may be the one for you. I do like it, I just need to tweak it some to make it fit with our family’s schedule.

The ebooks are available in a large variety of choices for $8.00. As I said above, the one I chose allows me to just print one page at a time, each week, and put it on the fridge, however, you may also choose to print the entire planner and put it into a book, and there are some versions which work with smaller binders, as well.

One 100 crew members reviewed various forms of the Motivated Moms planner, including a version available as an iOS App. To read about what they all thought of their time with this planner, please click the graphic below!
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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 an update again! Also, if you DO enjoy “My Journeys Through Life”, please, do go to our Facebook page and “like” it. I’d sure appreciate it if you did! πŸ™‚

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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. πŸ™‚

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! πŸ™‚

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! πŸ™‚

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! πŸ™‚

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At Home In Dogwood Mudhole Volume one: Nothing That Eats . . . A T.O.S Review

Well, and isn’t that a mouthful of a title, LOL! However, the title of this book was precisely what intrigued me enough to want to read it when it was offered for review to those of us who are members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew, so I was very happy to be chosen as one of the reviewers!

I am going to admit to you, my readers, right here and now, that I have been totally dragging my feet when it came to writing up this review. You see, getting it written up would mean getting it posted and linked to the crew blog, and I really, really don’t want to. Why? Because, this is my very last review product from the crew for the year 2013, and while I HAVE applied to remain on the crew for the year 2014, I am truly going to miss doing this in the interim! I will be writing a post about my time on the crew very soon. πŸ™‚ But, I digress . . .

Back to “At Home In Dogwood Mudhole Volume One: Nothing That Eats“, written and published by Franklin Sanders from At Home in Dogwood Mudhole, which is quite a read! As I said, the title alone made me want to check it out!

This is a BIG book, coming in at 379 pages. It is not a novel, and I knew this from the description, but rather a collection of letters written by Franklin Sanders . . .

which were then published in his monthly newsletter, The Moneychanger over a period of 17 years.

In this, the first of three volumes to be published, Mr. Sanders tells us, in a series of letters about, well, his life, and that of his family. We read about their several moves closer and closer to being where they can live off the land, and how, when they get there, his wife’s consistant admonishments that they bring home “nothing that eats” end up being quite useless, as he and the children do, in fact, keep adding to the collection of farm animals and pets.

The family winds up in a place called Dogwood Mudhole, Tennessee, which, as I discovered in the book, is a real place, not just the name of their farm, which is what I had thought before reading the book. It all began with the desire of Franklin and his wife Susan’s desire to “go back to the land” when the Y2K scare was looming. I happen to be part of the generation that remembers when that non-event happened, and how my own mother was so worried about it that she filled her tub and all the sinks with water just in case all of the utilities went dead at midnight on December 31, 1999. Of course, that did not happen, but I guess I understand the concern a lot of people had, after all, we had never lived through the changing from one century to another before!

As I said before, this book is a collection of letters, written and published in Franklin Sanders newsletter The Moneychanger, so it really is more of a picture of the life of himself and his family written as it happened, rather than as a recollection or memoir would be.

I got a very interesting (and different!) picture of southern history, as Franklin Sanders is very much a history buff when it comes to the Confederacy. For myself, as the adoptive mother of biracial children, the enthusiasm for the Confederacy made me uncomfortable.

Franklin Sanders is unabashedly Christian, and makes no bones about it, however, his troubles with the IRS and jail time as a result, bothered me. As a Christian, I believe the Lord says we must obey the laws, unless the laws DEFINITELY go against God’s laws. I’m not so sure that the issue of whether or not one must collect tax when selling gold or silver should be considered to go against God’s laws. I think Mr. Sanders is right when he says that the constitution declares gold and silver to be money, and therefore you should not have to collect taxes when exchanging money (gold or silver) for money (paper), however, I think that by God’s law, he would have showed a better testimony to follow the law and then protest it afterwards.

At Home In Dogwood Mudhole Volume One: Nothing That Eats” is a very good read, if you are not expecting something to read like a novel. It doesn’t. One of the things I actually enjoy about it is that because of the way it is written, as a series of letters written as they happened, this is a book that you can pick up and read whenever you have a free moment or two. I do like having books like that around, as frequently, my reading time comes in unexpected little patches of time these days! πŸ™‚

There is even a “no-risk” guarantee offered on the website:

No Risk Guarantee

If you don’t laugh, cry, gasp, hug your spouse or jump up and down, we’ll refund your money and you can keep the book to use as a door stop.”

I thought the guarantee was just hilarious, myself, having never read one quite like it!

At Home In Dogwood Mudhole Volume One: Nothing That Eats” is available here. The oversized paperback costs $22.95, and is also available in pdf, Kindle and ePUB versions for $ 16.95.

To read what other Schoolhouse Review Crew Members thought of the book “At Home In
Dogwood Mudhole Volume One: Nothing That Eats
, please click the graphic below!
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Filed under At Home In Dogwood Mudhole Volume One: Nothing That Eats, Christian faith, Franklin Sanders, Schoolhouse Review Crew Membership, Schoolhouse Review Crew Post, TOS Post, TOS Review, Ultimate Blog Challenge 2013

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-RΓ©dempteur, QuΓ©bec, 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. πŸ™‚ Right now, though, I’m hearing an awful lot of “French is too hard, Mom!” πŸ™‚

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! πŸ™‚

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! πŸ™‚

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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