Monday, April 29, 2013

G is for...Glorious Day

When I asked my children for something that started with 'G', these were their words...
Grace (Caroline's middle name), God and Glorious!  This is what come to my mind.  

God's Glorious Grace

Blogging Through the Alphabet

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Review: Math Rider

Do you remember trying to memorize your math facts as a child?  Well, I do and it wasn't easy!! My kids feel the same way, so I'm always on the lookout for something to help them with their math facts.  

Recently we were asked to review Math Rider which is a intelligent math facts game. Math Rider is a cleaver riding game where your children will work on their math facts all the while trying to complete a quest.  The download cost is $47, with Life Time updates!!  That is right LIFETIME updates for only $47. You can add up to 8 players.   It is suggested for 2nd-6th grade, but my 1st grader is working on it too.

How is works:
Math Rider is downloaded right onto your PC and once downloaded it starts with just one click.  You can set up a profile for as many as 8 people, so each child can go on their own quest.  It covers addition, subtraction, multiplication and division for numbers 1-12.  Your child can pick the level of difficulty and the program keeps track of the skills they master.  There are three levels easy (0-5), medium (0-10), advanced (0-12) and master. The child is sent on a quest and they move through it by taking the rides.  During the quest your child is answering the problem as their character rides their horse "Shadow" and jumps each gate as they get the answer right.  They can see their quest progress by looking at the map.  As they increase the level of difficulty they will reach the end of the all their quest to master their facts.

How we used it:
Once we downloaded Math Rider my children were very excited to get started, which made me very excited.  We set up a profile for each one.  My 1st grader is doing addition, my 4th and 6th grader are doing multiplication.  They actually spent 45 minutes working on it the day we got started with it.  Now they so a couple runs a day working on their facts.  My 6th grader is moving right along, but my 4th grader is still struggling, but continues to work on it.

What I thought of it:
It was easy to download, easy to set up and lots of fun to use!!!  My kids can open the program with just one click and work on it without help.  It has really helped the all of them and there is no more complaining about working on those multiplication facts!!!  I will say that my 1st grader has tried to work on it, but he isn't fast enough to get the answers plugged in, so we will wait a little longer for him.  Overall, I know this will be a great way for my kids to continue working on ALL their math facts!!

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Monday, April 22, 2013

F is for...Freedom

Homeschooling gives me many freedoms, but it gives my kids some too!!
Morning recess...on a Monday.

Fun to see my 17 year old- my 7 year old playing together.

Blogging Through the Alphabet

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Review: Progeny Press' The Golden Goblet Literature Study

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Progeny Press offers literature studies from the Christian Perspective.  Their study guides include creative thinking, comprehension, literary analysis and Christian application. They are a "one-stop shop for everything literature."  They offer over 100 titles of novels and study guides for Kindergarten, elementary, middle and  high school.  They use literary technique analysis, vocabulary, essay assignments, writing activities with a Christian world-view to guide you through the study.  We were able to use the instant download for the Golden Goblet Study Guide for our review.  This study sells for $16.99 for the instant download or CD. You could also get the printed copy for $18.99

The guide gives a synopsis of the novel, a brief biography of the author, pre-reading activities, an overview, after-you-read activities, additional resources and Teacher Key.  The guide chapters cover the novel by combining two to three novel chapters per guide chapter.  Each chapter in the guide has vocabulary, fill in the blank questions, Think About the Story (essays), Dig Deeper (Christian perspective), Optional Activities and Notebooking activities.  The 'Thinking About the Story' section covers literary terms: similes, imagery, irony, foreshadowing, etc. 
How we used it:
 I had my 6th grade daughter work on the Golden Goblet study guide as her reading and literature work. The file is PDF which allows her to type her answers directly to the file. At the beginning of the guide there are Pre-Reading activities such as researching Ancient Egypt or going to a museum.  Once she worked through the pre-reading activities she got started reading.  They suggest that you use one section per week which was two to three chapters.  I had my daughter read (she also used an audio book) the first three chapters then we worked on the guide together.  She has found that she works better if she reads through the questions before she begins her reading.  The guide has fill in the blank (essay questions), multiple choice, matching, crossword puzzles, etc. She usually can read the two or three chapters in a day or two and then take a day to do the study guide.

What we thought of it:
We have used Progeny Press before and have liked every guide we've used. Being able to download the file and get started right away was great and I loved that she can do all of her work right in the PDF file;  that helps keep things organized and together.  I found that my daughter using this study guide along with reading a novel has helped with her reading comprehension.  I like the Christian application portion which I find beneficial to help her see the biblical insight. We look forward to finishing this guide and check out another one from Progeny Press.

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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

E is for...End Times??

E is for...End Times??

With ALL the horrible things that are happening in this world I can't help but think this has to be the end times.  Yesterday, we horrible.  Seeing that someone would use a bomb with the complete intention of hurting and killing people is inconceivable.  We continue to cry out, "Come Jesus Come!"  All of this evil in the world is the work of Satan.

"But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days.  People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents,  ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God--having a form of godliness but denying its power."                                                                                                                    2 Timothy 3:1-5

I am not a Bible scholar, but this man is, Bob Russell.  Bob was the  pastor who started Southeast Christian Church in Louisville KY. He has retired for the pulpit, but continues to minister through his blog.  Check out his blog post form July 29, 2012 "The Escalation of Evil"

Blogging Through the Alphabet

Monday, April 15, 2013

Review: Knowledge Quest's iPad app, Timeline Builders

 photo 61867_10151551915578243_1408297526_n_zpsc18fa83b.pngWe have been studying Bible History and working on a timeline which required printing pictures, coloring, gluing and so on. Then we were asked to review Knowledge Quest's Timeline Builders iPad app. It is great for all ages, designed for 10 and over.  TimelineBuilder is a great tool, you can edit timelines; add events; add images; and move the events around. With this app you can customize any timeline with beginning and ending dates.  When creating a new event you have many options start and end date, descriptions, and selecting images from the web.  It can be very personalized.  Timelines built in TimelineBuilder are saved automatically and can be shared to your image library, via email or with other users of TimelineBuilder.  Multiple students can create their own timeline at the same time.  You could have an Ancient History timeline saved at the same time another child is making a US History timeline.  This can be purchase for only $6.99 for the App Store.
You can get this app for only $6.99

How we used it:
We were working on a very time consuming timeline project with my 6th grade daughter's history curriculum so when this review came up we got very excited.  I had her go back from the beginning of her current timeline and create it in the app.  She was able to do this completely on her own and enjoyed doing it.  She just follows through her history and includes the important events she has learned.  She can then go through the app to find the picture she wants to put on the timeline.  That is done on the app, it give you options where to get the picture and keeps the app open at all times.  She has also personalized her timeline by choosing the background and naming it.  She worked on it everyday until she was caught up and now continues the work as she needs to add  new events.

Create an event page.

iPad Screenshot 3

What I thought about it:
I love it!!!  Timelines are a great way for students to see history move and the ease of this app makes it fun to use.  It takes all the time consuming work that typical timelines create away and allows for the student to work more effectively and quickly.  We can continue to work through timelines we create and add new ones as we study new times in history.

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Review: Supercharged Science, eScience

Do you feel that science is hard to teach or it's hard to make fun and exciting? Are you looking for ways to help your student with their science? Look no more!!!  Supercharged Science will do all that for you.  With their eScience online curriculum you can cover over 1,000 science activites, experiments and projects for all ages K-12.  Some of the units included are The Scienctific Method, Mechanics, Matter, Motion, Chemistry and many more. 
 Membership benefits: (from their website)   
  • Videos of teaching real science to your kids, just like I do in an actual classroom
  • Text-book type reading to support the material in the videos
  • Hands-on activities and experiments, with videos that guide your kids through them. These activities and experiments are what really ignite a passion for science in most kids.
  • Homework exercises/quizzes so you can see what your kids are really learning, and tips for how to keep track of your progress in a real a science journal
  • A live science class in difference science areas every few weeks where you can connect with me personally
  • Parent resources for helping you give your kids the best science education they can get
  • A place to ask me questions (lots of them!)
  • Recordings of everything so your kids can do the program on whatever schedule AND at whatever pace suits them.

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Once you sign up you get access to the first 7 units plus additional sections like "The Scientific Method."  Then each month you will get access to the next 2 units in order.  If you need access to a unit before that time you can just email them and they will give you the unit.  There are a total of 19 units.   Supercharge science can be used with K-12.  This material can be used by all your children however you choose to use it.  You can watch the videos and work the experiments without reading a thing.  For the older students there is tons of  information with an addition of a textbook for more in depth reading.  When you signup for the 9-12 grades you will get the K-8 content free.  You can enroll in the full online e-Science program for $37 a month for the K-8 level or $57 per month for the advanced grade 5-8 and High School level. 

How we used it:
When we got started I was a bit overwhelmed with the website and all the material available to us, but thanks to Aurora Lipper who teaches the material and watching her getting started video we were ready to get started. I was mainly using Supercharge Science with my high school freshman.  We started on Unit 1 since that was what she had just started in her science curriculum.  It was easy to see where to begin using the Conversion chart which covers other curricula with suggestions of where to start. Once she started there was so much information for her to look through and watch.  The information available to her helped her understand the many concepts that she was learning. The experiments that she worked on were fun as well as beneficial   They do have Shopping Lists available which made it easy to make sure we had everything she needed. Each of the units has a separate high school textbook that added a lot of depth to the units.  We jumped around to some of the other units to see what everything looked like.  We decided that this is a great supplemental program to the science we are already using for my high schooler.  We did some of the Getting Started Activities with my younger children.

What I thought:

Supercharge Science is a wonderful resource for us and we have really enjoyed using it.  We aren't science people so we really need this detailed and well organized site to lead us through the science material.  It was a bit overwhelming for my daughter and she had trouble reading the textbook on the computer and following some of the directions.  She did enjoy working on the experiments as did my younger children as they watched her.  I can't say enough about Aurora and the videos that go along with each unit they were greatly appreciated and helpful to me as a teacher.  I think this is a great supplemental resource for my high school student, but think I could definitely use it as our primary science for my elementary and middle school aged children.

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Monday, April 8, 2013

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Review of ABeCeDarian Reading Program

I think one of the hardest things to do as a homeschool mom is to teach a child to read.  I have struggled with this over the last nine years, but luckily I am teaching my last child to read right now.  Just as we got started I was asked to review a wonderful reading program and it is exactly what I have been waiting for.

 The ABeCeDarian Reading Program is a research-based, comprehensive, multi-sensory decoding program that addresses the key areas of phonemic awareness, phonics, and fluency.  A great tool for teaching reading to your children.  It is also a great resource for children with learning disabilities or struggling readers.  

Key Features (listed on the website)

  • Explicit, comprehensive, multisensory phonics instruction
  • Sound blending and segmenting explicitly taught and practiced
  • Letter/Sound correspondences taught in the context of reading and spelling words
  • Letter sounds taught before letter names
  • Code knowledge organized by sounds with engaging sorting activities
  • No rules!
  • Precise practice routines and error correction procedures
  • Integrated handwriting and spelling instruction
  • Expert oral reading fluency practice

What we recieved:

Books in Level A are for Kindergarten through mid First grade and Level B is for mid First grade through Second grade.  We started with the middle of book A2 since he already knew his sounds and lots of words.  Level A1 is for non-readers or very beginning readers.  Each lesson includes sound blending, sound segmenting, learning letter/sound correspondences and reading and spelling words.  Once a child finishes Level A, he should be able to read over 100 words.

Letter tiles and word cards

How we use it:
There is lots of information that needs to be read through before you start. I do suggest taking some time to prepare to start the lessons.  Like I said, we started in the middle of book A2 because Evan already knew all  his sounds. He was able to work through a lesson or two each day, he was able to work really fast through the workbook.  There is a lot of free supplements that you will want to print out.  There are letter tiles, work cards, fluency word lists, etc.  This really enhanced the lessons and made it really fun.  We are getting ready to start the Level B1 book and I'm really looking forward to getting started with that.

What I thought about it:
I absolutely love it!!!  Yes, there is a lot as a teacher that you have to read through to get started, but it is really worth it.  If I had this when my daughter was younger, I believe teaching her to read would have been so much easier since she has Non-verbal Learning disability.  This is a great way to help the struggling reader as well as the new reader.   I am so impressed with how quickly Evan picked up the material and how much fun he had doing it.  It doesn't take long to do the lessons which is a great thing.  The only thing I am disappointed about is that I don't have anymore kids to teach to read!!!

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Review of Computer Science for Kids

My son getting the opportunity to work on some basic computer programming has been a great addition to our homeschool. He has been using Computer Science for Kids'  BEGINNING SMALL BASIC PROGRAMMING TUTORIAL ($59.95)*. Computer Science for Kids offers Self-Study Programming Tutorials for Middle School, High School and Beginning Adults.  The Beginning Small Basic Programming Tutorial is an interactive self-paced tutorial explaining in depth the new Small Basic programming environment using many Small Basic program examples. This course is written for the beginner programmer and can be used by kids (10+) as well as adults.

The Small Basic Program consists of 11 Chapters, sample chapter.

1. Introducing Small Basic
2. Small Basic Program Basics
3. Your First Small Basic Program
4. Small Basic Program Design, Input Methods
5. Debugging, Decisions, Random Numbers
6. Small Basic Looping, Subroutines
7. More Small Basic Looping, Arrays
8. Small Basic Graphics, Mouse Methods
9. Timers, Animation, Keyboard Methods
10. More Programs
11. Introduction to Advanced Programming Languages

The program is written in easy to follow terms. You will learn about program design,  text window applications, graphics window applications and many elements of the Small Basic language. There are several detailed computer programs to show the fun of Small Basic programming,  including a savings calculator,  a number guessing game, a card game, a state capitals game, Tic-Tac-Toe, a simple drawing program, fun logic games and a basic video game.   

How we used it:
My son that used this program is a high school Junior so he worked on his own.  I downloaded the Microsoft Small Basic program files.  All the files are compressed into a zip-file to make it smaller when downloading it to your computer.  He goes into the files and either prints the instructions from the Chapter or reads them on the computer. He then follows the directions and works through the class.  He can do half a chapter to a whole chapter per day and has moved through it quickly.  He is given step-by-step directions to follow once he opens the Microsoft Small Basic program.  

What we thought about it:
He has enjoyed working through the program and getting to learn how to do some Basic programming.  It has been very well explained and he didn't have any trouble following the directions.  He has come and told me numerous times that he thinks this program is really cool.  He is looking forward to getting through the rest of the program.  

*Regular price for Beginning Microsoft Small Basic Programming Tutorial is $59.95, right now you can get it for $34.95 through July 4, 2013.

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Monday, April 1, 2013

C is for...

C is for...the Cross

 "For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit."   1 Peter 3:18

"For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God."   1 Corinthians 1:18

"May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world."  Galatians 6:14

“He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.”  1 Peter 2:24

Praying that I stay on my knees at the foot of the cross, to never forget what Jesus has done for me!!

Blogging Through the Alphabet

A Journey Through Learning Review

Is school with your children getting boring?  Do you hear, "Mom I am bored," way to much through your day?  If you answered yes, you need to check out lapbooks. Lapbooking is like educational scrap booking  any subject your child is interested in.  I have always loved lap books, but here lately I have gotten caught up in books, so using lapbooks wasn't even on my radar, but thanks to A Journey Through Learning I'm back in the swing of things!!!  We received The Earth, Knights and Castles, Astronomy,  Letters, Numbers and Shapes.  Two of my boys worked on The Earth (grades 1-4) and we also worked on the Knights and Castles (grades 2-7) lapbooks.  What fun!!!

The Earth is $13.00/ instant download and $21/printable. 
Castles and Knights is $13.00/instant download, $14.00/CD, and $21.00/pintable. 
The rundown on how lapbooks from A Journey Through Learning work.  

  • Go to A Journey Through Learning and pick out the lapbook you want to do and purchase the instant downloadable version or  a printable one, some titles even have CDs.
  •  Once you have your materials you will want to look through and get your file folders folded.  It usually takes two to three file folders to do each lapbook.  On the AJTL website you can watch videos on how to fold them. 
  • You will then need to print out the minibooks and study guide pages.  AJTL lapbooks are organized so well that you don't have to look around to find what you need.  The study guide information is right where you need it, before the  minibooks that goes along with it.  
  • You will then read to your children the study guide information so your child can then write the information into the minibook and glue it into their filefolder lapbook.  
  • You can use other books or materials to enhance the lessons, but AJTL has all the information you need to do the whole lapbook.  
I used the Earth lapbook with my 1st grader and 4th grader.  We did the lapbook four days a week, doing a couple minibooks per day.  It only took us a couple weeks to cover the whole lapbook.  We did use a couple books we had here at home to look through and get a little more information.  We also used the iPad to look up anything they wanted to see in more detail.  My 1st grader thought there was too much writing, but my 4th grader didn't have any trouble.  We have started working on the Castle lapbook now and it is a lot more in depth for my 1st grader.  He is able to work along with a little help from me.  I am excited to work through it and make our own shields.  I love lapbooking and it is a lot of fun, especially when everything you need is in the lapbook material.  They are a great way to teach something and make it fun without taking up a lot of time trying to get all the stuff together.  

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