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Learning About the Old Testament and Ancient Egypt With an Online Course From Veritas Press . . . A T. O. S. Review

For a good number of years, my eldest, “The Batman” has repeatedly asked to learn about ancient Egypt. For all of those years, I’ve tried and tried to find unit studies, lapbooks, anything, that would be Biblically based, and would be at a level he could handle, but absolutely nothing I found would work for him. Enter, this review from Veritas Press!

We were fortunate enough to receive a full year access to the Veritas Press Self-Paced History: Old Testament and Ancient Egypt, which costs $199.00, as well as the physical Old Testament & Ancient Egypt Flashcards, which are available for $19.95.

Veritas Press Self-Paced History: Old Testament and Ancient Egypt covers the period from creation through the fall of Egypt to Rome.

The Veritas Self-Paced History is suggested for grades 2 – 6, but in our family, this is literally one of the first educational programs I have not had to make major tweaks to accommodate our special needs kids. 🙂 Now, “The Batman” is 21, but with his developmental delays, his educational level in many areas is much younger. He is REALLY enjoying this class! I am so glad I was able to get this review! I have many times over the years, received catalogs from Veritas Press, and just thrown them away, because first, I thought their material looked too difficult for my kids, and second, because we don’t follow the “Classical Curriculum” method of homeschooling. Veritas Press, according to their website, is a Classical Christian Education provider, following the “Trivium“, which approaches education in the order of three stages of learning; grammar, dialectic, and rhetoric.

We, on the other hand, are extremely relaxed, eclectic/unschoolers, so I wasn’t sure this would be a great fit around here, but so far, he is doing very well, and without very much help in navigating his way through the class site! 🙂

Once we received our access, all I had to do was go online and register myself as the teacher/parent, creating a user name and password. After that, I simply had to add “The Batman” as a student, creating a user ID and password for him, and then register him into the course chosen. I had a few false starts and problems, but a quick phone call to customer support took care of that! One definite issue was that we needed to use the Firefox browser instead of Internet Explorer. Once we did that, things started to go much more smoothly. 🙂 “The Batman” and I watched the tutorial on how to use this course. The tutorial was actually interesting to the both of us, and gave “The Batman” plenty of opportunities to practice the different things he was being taught how to do, so that once he began the course, he was able to do them by himself.

OK, so by now, you’re likely wondering how the Veritas Press Self-Paced History: Old Testament and Ancient Egypt works, and how we are using it, right? Well, this class is COMPLETELY done online, up to and including the quizzes and worksheets, which is great for “The Batman”, who has very poor fine motor control, and thus, very poor hand-writing. He is very much enjoying that part, for sure! The lessons are all done at the student’s own pace, hence the name “Self-Paced History“! This is good for us, because we are definitely a “go at your own pace” kind of family. 🙂 The only thing he is using that is not online are the very nice Old Testament & Ancient Egypt Flashcards, which you can see below:

This is the front of one of the very large, colorful cards.

The reverse side of the card nicely sums up what is being taught, along with giving ideas for additional resources.

Of course, he is also using his own Bible, because the course uses the New King James Version, whereas Our family uses only the King James Version, and we want to be certain that he doesn’t miss something by using a different version of the Bible.

There are suggested literature resources to add in if you choose, but since so far they have been books that we do not own, what I have had him do at the end of each lesson where there is extra reading, is to read the summation of that portion of the book referred to. This is working out OK for now, but I know that he would like very much to have the go-along books, as he is so very interested in this time period. If you do prefer to have the Literature on hand, there are three different literature kits available for the Veritas Press Self-Paced History: Old Testament and Ancient Egypt. They are:

Old Testament & Ancient Egypt Self-Paced Literature Kit Level 1, available for $110.30 (a savings of $17.44), and is recommended for children who would be generally in 2nd or 3rd grade, and comes with 13 books.

Old Testament & Ancient Egypt Self-Paced Literature Kit Level 2, available for $88.35 (a savings of $16.39), and includes 10 books.

Old Testament & Ancient Egypt Self-Paced Literature Kit Levels 1&2, in case you have children at multiple levels, available for $151.14 (a savings of $27.47), and containing all of the books in both levels.

I am seriously considering at least the purchase of the level two package for “The Batman”, so that he can read them along with the lessons and have them to keep.

One of the things I really enjoy is that at the beginning of each lesson, we review a memory song about the 32 events we (I say we, because I find I am learning along with “The Batman”, as are the other children) are going to be learning. Repetition is a great thing when it comes to something like this, and basically, we are learning a Biblical timeline through this song. Both “The Batman” and I like very much the fact that if he logs off before finishing a lesson, the course remembers where he was, and when he logs in again, he is asked if he wishes to pick up where he left off. He can also print off the quizzes and such when he finishes them, something he loves to do so that he can show them to his dad when he gets home from work. 🙂
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The lessons themselves are quite fun, using videos of characters who speak and move, fun games, fun songs, and tests/quizzes that are in different formats, helping “The Batman” to remember that there are different ways to answer the on-screen questions. Sometimes, he has to drag things to the correct order, sometimes he has to click the correct answer, and so on. This has been good for him, as he has always been one to not like things changing too much. Each “lesson” runs anywhere from 10 – 20 minutes, which is really just about perfect for “The Batman”, and there are 160 lessons in this course. Here he is, along with HIS Batman, going through a lesson. 🙂
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I am very pleased with this course, and would definitely consider more Self-Paced History courses from Veritas Press, though I’d need to plan ahead for my budget, as I would want to have the literature bundles as well. As I said before, because “The Batman” really loves this time period, and wants to learn as much as he can, I intend to ask his dad if we can manage to order the literature bundle. It is so rare that we’ve been able to find something this good, that he actually WANTS to learn about. I believe it’s more than worth it, and then the books will become part of our permanent educational library.

You can learn more about Veritas Press through their various social media links:

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99 other crew members reviewed this and other products from Veritas Press. Please do go and check them out by clicking the graphic below:
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Weekly Wrap-Up . . . When I Actually Got Stuff Done!

So, this week was a LITTLE more productive . . . we managed to work on some educational review products nearly every day. I was also able to get “The Batman” and “The Artist” to get on their piano practice every day except for one.

Yesterday, I got up early and got a review completed (there will be a few more in upcoming weeks), worked on some review products with the boys, and prepared (mostly) supper. My husband came home and whipped up potatoes and corn, as I was very wiped out by then.

Today, I managed to get almost all of the laundry done, for the first time in weeks! 🙂

In preparation for our upcoming move, my husband and the boys did a bunch of yard work last Saturday, and will be doing more tomorrow, as we’re supposed to leave it looking good. While he and 2 of the boys do that, I’ll be taking the 2 older boys out shopping for clothing items they need for summer camp, which is fast approaching! I never thought the day would come when we would feel OK about them going, but I’ll tell you, they have such a wonderful youth pastor at our church, along with his wife. They are so great with all of the kids, and have really helped a lot with our boys, working to understand their limitations. His wife is also our piano teacher, and a very good one, too! We’ll be in our first recital since leaving MI this coming August. I’m hoping my husband will be able to record us so you all can see what we’re doing!

Well, that about wraps up our week!

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Feeling Sad and Nostalgic Today . . .

Two years ago, I left my very best friend “Annie’s” house for the last time, because we were getting ready to move from Michigan to New Mexico, for my husband’s job. At the time, she and her children lived about two and a half hours west of us, having moved to be near her family about a year after the death of her husband. We had for years, spent our kids’ birthdays together, either at her house or at our house. It was the best thing, too, because she and her children love my kids, no matter what their differences and difficulties have been, and always treated them the same as any other kids, even though they aren’t. That has not always been the case in the lives of my children. Kids can be so mean, once they realize another kid is different, you know?

So anyway, we realized that there was no way we would be able to go there in June for the birthdays of her two oldest, which are two days apart, and since “Mr. Loquacious” and “The Puzzler” share a birthday in May (being twins, you know), we decided to go and spend a few days at our friends’ home in May, and just do all four of the kids’ birthdays over a couple of days! Over the years, we were often able to visit for 3 or 4 days at a time because we both homeschool.

We did my boys birthdays on Tuesday, the 15th.

My friend is really awesome at making themed cakes. This is what she did for “Mr. Loquacious”, who really wanted a Lego themed party . . .
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For “The Puzzler”, who loves all things Thomas The Train, this is what she made . . .
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Here I am with the kids, waiting for the candles to be lit . . .
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And here is my dear friend, getting the candles ready for the birthday boys. The picture is a little blurry, though!
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My boys, very happy with their the cakes . . .
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Later, after presents, because we ALWAYS do “Pin the something on something”, I had ordered a pin the Lego shark in the water kit and a pin the smokestack onto Thomas set. Here are all the kids with the Lego mask blindfolds on, trying to hit the right spot.

“Mr. Loquacious”
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“The Puzzler”
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“The Batman”
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“The Artist”
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Next up, we have my Friend’s children . . .

“J. L.” . . .
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“L. E.”
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“L. A. ”
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Here’s how they all looked in the Thomas blindfolds . . .

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As always, I had ordered goodie boxes with themed favors, so each kid got a Thomas one and a Lego one!
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So, that was the party for my twins, on Tuesday. On Wednesday, the 16th, we had a birthday for “J. L.”, and his sister “L. E.”, whose birthdays are two days apart. Their birthday was chocolate theme. You can’t go wrong there, right? 🙂
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Everyone loved their parties, and their presents!

Wednesday evening, we went to my friend’s church, Midland Baptist Church. While we were there, we got somebody to take one final picture of “Annie” and me.
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The next day, the 17th of May, 2012, we had to leave and go back to Port Huron, so I could get to work on packing and readying for our moving sale. I had done absolutely fine the whole time we were there, but when it was time to leave, the hardest thing was to not cry. And I didn’t, until we were out of sight of the house, then the sobbing started, so I pulled over and sat for about 30 minutes until I was OK to drive.

I miss my friend “Annie” so much. For years, we had been each other’s support system, we both have been raising challenging children, although the challenges were and are different. We always knew we could call on each other if we needed someone to keep our kids when we had to do something. In fact, she kept mine for 4 days when I went for my bariatric surgery in 2011.

We began as unlikely friends, who became very close. “Annie” has been my confidante, my Titus 2 woman in my life. I will always love her, and all of her children, so much, and will never stop missing them.

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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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Weekly Wrap Up . . . More Drama!

As I told you last time I did a wrap up, “Mr. Loquacious” has had a chronic nosebleed problem. Since the Sunday night when he blacked out at church, he’s had a number of new nose bleeds, and so this morning had an 8;00 appointment with the specialist. Well, he will next be having surgery to hopefully correct the problem. Of course, he is very unhappy about this. 😦 Now, we wait for the surgery scheduler to call, and the earliest he can have it will probably be in May.

Other than that, this past week has been slow and easy with homeschooling. We did some science experiments from Supercharged Science, those who are in piano lessons did daily practice, and we’re working on a history curriculum that is an upcoming review. Plus, our homeschool co-op at church had the end of the year creativity fair Friday night, so the two youngest, “Mr. Loquacious” and “The Puzzler” participated in that while “The Batman” and “The Artist” were at a youth group activity that was a pirate theme murder mystery party. Pictures will be coming in a post very soon! 🙂

Hope this week will be a bit simpler to deal with!

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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! 🙂

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! 🙂

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! 🙂

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! 🙂

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/

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Weekly Wrap – Up . . . A Bit Less Busy!

So, this week was more of a regular week, no special meetings at church, etc, which was good, because as I may have said in a previous post, I’ve been dealing with some health issues that we’re trying to get regulated.

The boys and I took it very easy this week, as far as school stuff, although I did ask for daily piano practice. “The Artist is up to 50 minutes per day, and next week he goes to 55, then one hour per day the following week. Our teacher says at his level, he should be doing at least an hour per day, 5 days a week. I am at 30 minutes, as is “The Batman”.

I will leave you with the following video of the song I sang at church Sunday night a week ago, which was written by a good friend back in MI . . .

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