Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Ninth Grade Literature Set by Memoria Press ~ A Schoolhouse Crew Review

With Drake being in high school, we were really wanting to incorporate more literature into his schooling. We were able to do that easily with the Ninth Grade Literature Guide Set by Memoria Press. Even though Drake is older, this worked well for some of the literature he hasn't read. This entire set as a whole would make for a wonderful year of literature. 

If you're familiar with the homeschooling world then you have probably heard of Memoria Press. They are a classical Christian educational company that was founded in 1994 by Cheryl Lowe. 

Memoria Press prides themselves on a classical education, and their products are characterized by simplicity, quality, and affordability. They specialize in making sure that their products are easy to use by parents who are not familiar with the subject being taught. 

What we received for this review ~

Memoria Press was extremely generous to us for this review. We were given the entire 9th Grade Literature Guide Set! This will be extremely useful for us to compare and contrast all of these Medieval works!

We received:
Beowulf Student and Teacher Guides
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight Student and Teacher Guides
Canterbury Tales Student and Teacher Guides
Henry the V Student and Teacher Guides

All of the Student Guides are consumable.
We did buy the actual Beowulf book for this review. 

Memoria Press Literature Guides Review
How we used this in our school ~

With so many works to choose from, Drake chose to do Beowulf first. This literature guide is intended to be used with Beowulf: The Warrior retold by Ian Serraillier. You are able to order the book from the Memoria Press website for $10.95 plus shipping.

When I first got the literature set and we determined which book he would read first, I sat down with the Teacher's Guide to read through it. The first thing that I found helpful was that it gives you a step by step plan on how to use the study guide with the text. This entire guide is based on the Central One Idea, or main idea. This guide is to help the student through the 4 stages of the Trivium to the acquisition and expression of the Central One Idea. Both the Student Guide and the Teacher's Guide of all sets are broken down into parts. The Teacher's Guide provides quizzes and exams in the back.

Drake is so independent that after I looked over it, he took off and started it the same day. He read through the pages that explain the 4 stages of the Central One Idea and how to mark a book. We both learned something from this because it gives great examples of how to mark the book properly and make notes. 

Each student guide starts out with an introduction and some comprehension questions. Following the introduction the student is taken into the first part of the reading. Each part is broken down into 3 parts. First is the Pre-Grammar/Preparation part which is kind of like a warm up. It gets them prepared for the poem by drawing upon prior knowledge, experience, and interests. The second part is the Grammar/Presentation stage. This includes some reading notes, vocabulary, and some comprehension questions. Lastly is the Logic/Dialectic portion which includes discussion questions. This is a great time to have a discussion with your student about the reading they have done. After he completes each Part, then he takes a short quiz. When he's done with the entire thing, he will take a final exam. 

What we thought ~

This is a very intense literature curriculum with a lot of writing involved. Drake didn't mind doing it, and will continue through the entire set, although he is not fan of all of the writing. If your child is one to complain about extensive writing then I would not recommend it. I think it's very thorough and well put together, and it is a great companion and help to the student so that they can dig deeper into the reading and have a better understanding of it. I love the fact that you get guides for 4 different works in the package. I love that the Teacher's Guide for every set is laid out and easy to understand with the quizzes and exams in the back. All of the different guides are broken down into parts just like Beowulf is, and that is one of the huge assets to this curruiculum. My kids all do better when things come in smaller doses.  All in all I think the Ninth Grade Literature Guide Set by Memoria Press  is a very nice set for anyone who is really looking to connect to these Old English and Medieval works.

Make sure you follow Memoria Press on social media!

Memoria Press was generous enough to let 100 of us review their products. If you would like to read reviews over other grade levels, click the banner below.

Memoria Press Literature Guides Review
Crew Disclaimer

Essentials 2nd Edition by Logic of English ~ Schoolhouse Crew Review

Picking a Language Arts curriculum has proven to be one of the hardest decisions for me as a homeschooling parent. You can believe I was super excited to be reviewing Essentials 2nd Edition by Logic of English. It has proven to be much more than just the run of the mill language arts program. It is packed full of everything you need to teach your children how the English language works including 74 written phonograms and 31 spelling rules!

What is Logic of English all about?

Logic of English is a language arts curriculum based on phonics, and is intended to introduce students, ages eight and above, the linguistic structure of English. With one curriculum it will cover three levels of instruction, so it makes it super simple to teach multi-level kids at the same time. Logic of English includes everything you need to cover spelling, grammar, and vocabulary.

What we received for this review~

What we did not receive would be a shorter list! It amazes me how generous Logic of English was to give us the complete set that includes everything you need to use the program. When I first received the box, I was shocked at all of the components that go with this set, but learned fast that they are all needed and all an important part to it. 

The Essentials 2nd Edition Complete Set includes:

I told you there was a lot to this set, but you will soon see how it all works together. Don't let the amount of components scare you!

Where do I start with all of this stuff?

When I found out I was reviewing Logic of English, I was so excited because we were actually in between language arts curriculum so it was perfect timing. When I received the box that day, I couldn't believe how intensive it was, and this was just a first impression! I had no clue what a phonogram was or a morpheme or any of the other words I was seeing right off the bat. I found out quickly that I needed to make sure I studied the Teacher's Guide and get myself very familiar with it before we started using it. It's not the type of program that you open the box of supplies and jump right in. I had never taught language arts like this before so it was all new to me.

After opening my box I realized that I had to get organized! I now had all of these flash cards that I needed to do something with. There are a ton of ways to organize them, so I will just show you what I did. I got this neat little bin at Wal-Mart for around a $1. It has worked great. I may actually put them on a ring so we can flip through easily, but I haven't decided yet. I just took the card in the front that states what each set of cards are, and I turned it up so that it almost made dividers for me. 

After spending time in the Teacher's Guide, and getting organized, you will need to give the placement test to see which level, (A, B, or C) that your child will need to start on. It is located right inside the Teacher's Guide and you can make as many copies as you need of it to use for your children. It took me about 20 minutes to give the placement test, and I learned that we should start on level C. After taking the placement test it may start you on some of the Pre-Lessons. Don't skip this step as it will help the children understand the phonemic awareness. I had intended on only using this for Gavin, but because of how it's taught, I thought Edyn could sit in on it too. Even though she is older, it has already helped her in areas that she had weaknesses.

How we used this in our school~

Ok so this program is 15 lessons long not counting any Pre-Lessons that you may have to do beforehand. Each lesson is broken down into 5 daily lessons and each daily lesson is broken down into even smaller units. They say that each daily lesson is supposed to take 30-45 minutes and I have found that this is true. It was taking us close to an hour for most lessons. Sometimes if I felt like it was particularly long, we would break the daily lesson into 2 days. My kids work better in shorter segments, and this program is easy to adapt to that. At the beginning of each lesson it gives you an overview of what that lesson will cover. This will help you know of any flash cards or spelling rule cards that you will need to have prepared for your lessons. 

  • Day 1 - Essential Concepts ~ This is where any new phonograms and spelling rules will be introduced.
  • Day 2 - Building Words ~ You will start off with a review of the phonograms and then start your introduction to this week's spelling words. 
  • Day 3 - Words in Context ~ Review and then this is the grammar portion of the lesson
  • Day 4 - Words in Action ~ Review again and then this section is mainly about vocabulary. You may also see the symbol for an essential reader here. (This is the day it has shown up for us so far.)
  • Day 5  - Check Your Understanding ~ Review of everything
One thing that I really like about the Teacher's Guide is that as you are going through it teaching the lessons you will see little symbols. This will tell you whether it's a concept to teach all of your students or whether it's for level A,B, or C. It will tell you if it's time to use the Student Workbook or the Essentials Reader.

A few things I want to touch base on:

Teaching the phonograms - You may be asking what a phonogram is. It's basically a symbol that represents a vocal sound. Being that my kids know a lot of words but have never learned all of phonograms individually, I was concerned that starting to learn this way would confuse them. It hasn't at all. They can look at all of the phonograms that we've learned so far and tell you exactly what sound they make. There are flash cards that you will be using throughout the program for all phonograms and morphemes! I love this!

Teaching the spelling - The spelling words for each lesson are broken down into Levels A,B, and C and color coded so it's easy to find which level you need. Teaching the spelling with Logic of English is a bit different than anything I've taught before. It's called Spelling Analysis, and it's not just memorizing how a word is spelled, it's applying the phonograms and spelling rules to the words to understand why they are spelled the way they are. There is a detailed process that you do with each word. Don't worry it's laid out for you in the Teacher's Guide but you also get a separate Spelling Analysis card that you can keep right in front of you each week as a quick reference. Most of the spelling is done in the Student Workbook but sometimes they will need their Spelling Journal to add words to it. The journal separates words that they are learning so that it makes them easier to remember. 

Essentials Reader, Teacher Guide and Activity Book - We have only used this a few times so far, but it's very nice and well put together. The reader is a story or poem to help with reading comprehension. The activity book is a companion to the reader, and has worksheets to go with each lesson. We got the download and only printed the activity book. He reads the reader online, and this has saved on printer ink. Gavin is the only one that has used it so far, but he did enjoy it!

Games and hands on activities - Sometimes you may start a lesson off with a game. My kids really love anything hands on so this is some of their favorite activities.  They loved using the game tiles to learn syllables and vowel types. 

What we thought ~

I could honestly go on and on about this curriculum. There is just so much to cover but hopefully I gave you an idea about it. I really do love it. It's so in depth and intense. I would highly recommend this for anyone who has kids that struggle in this area and especially anyone who is learning English as a second language. I really believe that this would be perfect for them. 
My one and only suggestion would be to include an answer key for the teacher. I was really surprised that it didn't have one in the Teacher's Guide with it being as large as it is. I think it would be much easier to check over their work. With this being a new way of teaching for me, there were a few instances I wanted to make sure what they did was correct, but had to go back and try and figure it out by reading through the text rather than quickly be able to see the correct answer. This definitely doesn't take away from the program, but would just be a great asset.

All in all we give Essentials 2nd Edition by Logic of English a thumbs up. You can definitely tell that a lot of thought and hard work was put into this program. If you are looking for an intense, but easy to understand language arts curriculum, then this one is for you!

Be sure and follow Logic of English on social media!

Logic of English was kind enough to let 100 of us review their program. If you would like to read other reviews, simply click the banner below. 

Logic of English Review

Crew Disclaimer

Monday, March 28, 2016

Bible Verse - Week 22

Romans 8:39

neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

This was my daily scripture today on my bible app and I just can't stop thinking about it so I decided to make it our verse this week. It is absolutely amazing that nothing...absolutely nothing will separate us from the love of our God. His love overpowers all!!

Have a blessed week everyone!

Saturday, March 26, 2016

U is for Unexpected Unschooling ~ Blogging through the Alphabet

When I first started researching homeschool, I found out quickly that there are many different methods to it. You've got traditional, classical, Charlotte Mason, eclectic, Montessori, and unschooling to name a few. This had me so overwhelmed after I began that I almost gave up! I read through most of the methods and a few sounded like they could be good fit for us, and I definitely wanted to do some further research on them. Out of all the methods listed, unschooling was the furthest from my mind. It just sounded crazy to a person like me who knew nothing but public school my entire life.

We started off doing traditional style school, and I realized pretty quick that all I was doing was recreating a public school atmosphere at home. The kids weren't happy, I wasn't happy, so we just decided that it wasn't working for us. I mean why would I want to recreate the school I had taken them out of. In my opinion, for MY kids, public school completely stifled their love of learning. This may not happen for all kids, but for mine it was just the truth. So in trying to really figure this homeschool thing out, I just decided to try different methods and curriculum until I found something that worked for us. Some things stuck and some didn't. I decided that we would just be eclectic homeschoolers.

Through all of my research, I would always find myself back to researching John Holt and his methods of unschooling, or unschooling families who already live this lifestyle of learning. In the beginning what I thought was such a wild way of learning was now seeming to make so much more sense to me. This unschooling or child led, organic, natural, self directed learning was sounding better and better. My kids are born natural learners and they are born with a passion to learn, but no books? No worksheets?  No TESTS? I was slowly getting out of my public school mindset but to just let my kids take charge of what they wanted to learn? That's absurd!

Unschooling by definition is "an educational method and philosophy that advocates learner chosen activities as a primary means for learning." The question was, how could I incorporate this into our "school". I decided that we would ease into this method of learning because it was so new to me.  I also wanted to see what would happen if I let them learn a little more organically rather than try to shove so much information down their throat at one time. As eclectic homeschoolers, we did math the traditional way, because...it's math and I just couldn't let go of it. Language Arts is a mix of traditional and Charlotte Mason (they actually really enjoy copy work so why mess with it.) We also use the Charlotte Mason method for history and science, and they love learning it that way.  As I started letting them take some direction on their learning, a funny thing happened. It made me realize that they do know themselves better than I thought. We started having discussions about the history or science we were learning, and I could see where their interests were peaking. I let them start directing me on what they wanted to learn in science, and before you knew it, we were learning about weather, climates, and the human body. They wanted to learn these things and were actually retaining the information that they learned. It was like a breath of fresh air really. They read about different subjects, watched documentaries on it, and learned.

As we continued our schooling as eclectic homeschoolers, we started to have some unschooling tendencies. I realized that I wanted our structured learning to be done quickly, so that the kids could play, and work on things that they wanted to learn. Read books that they wanted to read.  They get excited about the things they want to learn and tell everyone about it. My son wanted to learn cursive, and begged me to teach him. I did, and he loves it. This was completely unschooling. He asked to learn cursive, and I made that happen. I became a facilitator and gave him what he needed to learn it.

Edyn taught herself to loom knit. She wanted to try it and I bought her the supplies. She watched YouTube videos and taught herself everything she needed to know. She even made hats to sell and also for gifts. So, her loom knitting turned into a small business for her. She learned about taking special orders, profits and also overhead. She learned that her time was valuable. All of this because she wanted to learn how to loom knit.

Edyn's loom knitted owl

My favorite thing about our unexpected unschooling has been that Edyn has taught herself how to do  make-up well enough that she could be a make-up artist at 14. Again, through YouTube videos she has taught herself techniques and practices everyday. Now she even has her own YouTube channel for her own tutorials. (It's called GardenofEdyn in case you want to check it out!) We realized that through this natural, self directed learning that she has a God given talent! She has even had a professional make-up artist tell her that she does indeed have a gift!

Edyn doing her Adele inspired make-up tutorial..and yes they look a lot alike!

She also has a passion for photography. She has taught herself how to use her DSLR camera, and learned how to work it so that it's not just on auto. With her YouTube videos, she has learned to film herself, but she's also taught herself how to edit her videos on the computer. She amazes me with her knowledge of these things and especially since they are all self-taught!

I know that we can't officially call ourselves unschoolers because we do still use books to learn also, but I will say that we are eclectic homeschoolers with unschooling tendencies. I wish I was the type of person that could just let go and let them unschool it all....but right now I can't. I really enjoy watching them teach themselves and mastering different tasks. I feel like they do still want to learn, and letting them take the lead with some things is giving them the confidence they need to know that they CAN teach themselves without me standing over them all of the time.

I really have so much respect for true unschooling families. Unschooling is definitely not un-parenting! If anything it's even harder because you basically follow your child's lead, and we all know children's interests can change from day to day!

I am super excited about what some unschooling "tendencies" has done for us. I really hope that we can go down that road a little more and more as time goes on. Do you have unschooling tendencies or are you an unschooling family? I would love to hear from you so that I can learn more about it, and what it has done for your children!

To read other Blogging Through the Alphabet posts click the link below!

Blogging Through the Alphabet” style=

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Captive from FishFlix.com { A Schoolhouse Crew Review }

You can definitely say that we are a movie watching family. We watch movies probably more than anything else, so I was really looking forward to reviewing this DVD of Captive from FishFlix.com. I thought this would be the perfect at home date night for me and my husband!

What is FishFlix.com?

FishFlix.com Review
If you have never heard of FishFlix.com, they are an online Christian movie store based in Mora, Minnesota that was started over a decade ago. They have a plethora of good, wholesome, Christian based movies that can be enjoyed by the entire family at competitive prices. They have all types of Christian movies with categories such as Bible Teaching, Children's Movies, Christian Family Entertainment, Documentaries, Educational, and many more. You can rest assure that ordering from FishFlix.com, you will receive amazing customer service and a quality product.

About the movie~ **Rated PG13**

Captive is a movie that is based on a true story. I LOVE these kind of movies. I especially love movies that capture something that I can actually remember happening. I will never forget this event as I sat glued to my t.v. watching it unfold. Captive is a story about redemption that will keep you on the edge of your seat!

It was 2005 in Atlanta, Georgia and Ashley Smith, a young mother played by Kate Mara, was struggling with a drug addiction to crystal meth. Her husband had been killed by a drug dealer, and her daughter was taken away by the state. Ashley had just gotten a new apartment, and was trying to get her life straight so that she could have her daughter over to her house.

Meanwhile, Bryan Nichols, played by David Oyelowo, was on trial for rape at the Fulton County Courthouse. He learned from his lawyers that he had a newborn son, and decided that he must see him at least one time. Bryan Nichols escapes and ends up killing multiple people in his path. He overpowers a guard, beats her, and then steals her clothes so that he can get away easier. He runs straight for the court room where he kills the judge who's trying his case and also the court reporter. Later that day after his escape and a few car jackings he also ends up killing an FBI agent at his house.

Ashley (Kate Mara) and Bryan (David Oyelowo) reading The Purpose Driven Life

Still trying to escape the police, he sees a vulnerable Ashley outside and takes her hostage in her own apartment. Bryan continuously threatens Ashley over and over again, but God never leaves her side. She decided to take the calm approach and talk to Bryan and find out what his story was. He slowly began to trust her a little bit more and more as the hours went on. Ashley, never losing sight of the fact that she was supposed to meet her daughter the next morning, continued to almost befriend Bryan. As the hours ticked by, Ashley picked up a book called "The Purpose Driven Life" by Rick Warren. She started reading it to Bryan and they learned that they BOTH had a purpose in life, and that God has a plan for everyone!

What we thought

This was a great movie and we thoroughly enjoyed it. Like I said, I had watched it unfold many years ago so it was interesting to see the behind the scenes of all that happened. The acting was great and it kept me involved through the entire movie. Captive received the Crystal Dove Seal Award for 2015.

Captive is rated PG 13 for it's obvious violence and some adult situations as drug use. I definitely wouldn't recommend that younger kids watch it.

If you are looking for a good movie for an at home date night or to watch with the older kids, Captive from FishFlix.com will not disappoint!

Want to win a 5 move prize pack?

FishFlix.com will be having a drawing for a 5 movie prize pack including:

To enter to win over $80 in DVDs, all you have to do is join their email list HERE. It's as simple as that!

Be sure to follow FishFlix.com on Social Media!

To read reviews of other movies that FishFlix.com offers just click the banner below. 

FishFlix.com Review
Crew Disclaimer

Thursday, March 17, 2016

T is for Today..and burnt cinnamon rolls.....Blogging through the Alphabet

This is today. One picture sums up my entire day so far and it's only 11:30 a.m. It's actually a good picture of what my week has been like. I feel like burnt cinnamon rolls. 

I hate weeks like this that I am stressed out and overwhelmed. It doesn't happen often, but I haven't had a day to just relax in...I can't even remember. Sometimes I just feel like I'm being pulled in 500 different directions. "Mommmm I need toilet paper." "Mommmmm I'm hungry." "Mommmm, I'm scared." "He's touching me!!!" "Oh gah, vegetables again?"

I get burnt out on cooking, laundry, cleaning, making lists, and dare I say it, even homeschool. DON'T say it. I will find you and I might not be nice. Yes homeschool is my choice, and one I will never regret. 

As with most homeschooling and stay at home moms, we don't just sit around eating brownies and watching Grey's Anatomy. I mean who wouldn't want to sit on the couch all day and do that, but there's only 24 hours in a day, and lately I can't seem to fit much else into my day. Sorry McDreamy, but I've got dishes to do. (High 5 to working moms who really have to do it all, I tried it, and I wasn't good at it.) 

So, with all of that being said. and all of my griping and complaining about it. I am equally thankful for all of those messes and piles of laundry. I really do try and keep this frame of mind even when I want to cry because there is jelly on the counter....again. Even when I have to fold 34343 towels...again. Even when I have to keep the kids from arguing...AGAIN. 

This..my family, my chaos, is my life, and I wouldn't change it for the world. I will one day have clean counters, and one load of clothes, and it will be quiet. It will be like plain dry toast rather than burnt cinnamon rolls. This life with kids and messes and housework is what I know. It's what God had intended for me. God's plans for me are always good, even if they aren't always easy. 

So T is for today, AND tomorrow because today I feel like burnt cinnamon rolls, and I would take that over plain dry toast any day. 

If you would like to read more Blogging through the Alphabet posts, or link up your own, click the pic below!

Blogging Through the Alphabet” style=

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Rainforest Journey by EdTechLens - A Schoolhouse Crew Review

Do you have a child who loves to study about climates, or even plants and animals? Gavin, my 5th grader loves all of those things. He loves science in general, but anything to do with climates or animals is his favorite. The last few weeks we have been using Rainforest Journey, an e-learning science program, from EdTechLens.

Rainforest Journey is an online, supplemental, life science program that is geared for kids in grades Kindergarten through 5th grade, although my 14 year old was enjoying the lessons just as much as Gavin. The program includes lessons, lesson reviews, assessments, primary source materials, and hands on activities.

Rainforest Journey EdTechLens Review

What we received for this review:

EdTechLens was generous enough to give us a one year on-line subscription to one grade level of content. We chose to use the 5th grade level since that's what "grade" Gavin is supposed to be in. I just want to point out that even though we are a homeschooling family, this is also available to purchase for a class room setting in a public school.

How we used this in our homeschool :

Since we are pretty eclectic with our science curriculum, we decided to just focus on the Rainforest Journey, and use it in conjunction with some Charlotte Mason style learning mixed with a little bit of a unit study approach.

When we first got access to the site, I logged into the parent/teacher dashboard so that I could look around, and decide how it would fit best into our week. You will initially need to set a few things up, such as your students, and what you would like them to have access to. You can also name your class so that it's easily found on the dashboard. This was fairly simple for me since I only have one child at this level, but this is very well organized for a public school setting with multiple classes and students. After setting up your student's info, he/she will receive a randomly chosen user name. Our user name wasn't too hard to memorize, but I do wish there was a feature that the student could choose his or her own username. My son uses the same one for almost everything, and this would make it a tad bit easier for him to remember.

After you've completed those few short steps, you are ready to go. You will come to a screen that is the Course Outline, and lists all of the Units that will be covered with the Rainforest Journey.

As you can see, the Units covered are:

  • Unit 1 - The Big Picture of the Rainforest
  • Unit 2  - Adapt or Die!
  • Unit 3 - Animals
  • Unit 4 - Plants and Fungi
  • Unit 5 - Ecosystems
Each Unit is broken down into chapters and lessons, similar to a text book. Also included are the vocabulary words for each unit and the assessments.

Since the child is able to work at their own pace, you can quickly see what has been covered.

From this screen, you can also go to Manage Class and Teacher Resources. The Teacher Resources tab has your course materials list which includes the lesson reviews, unit assessments, and hands on activities.

Rainforest Journey EdTechLens Review
So now that we've talked about the parent dashboard, lets discuss the student side of things. We decided to use Rainforest Journey twice a week on the days that we do science. It would have been difficult for us to fit it in a 3rd day, and honestly my son was trying to fly through it. At his pace, we would have been easily done in a couple of weeks.

As far as what devices you can use, Rainforest Journey is easily accessible for all. We used it on our laptop, but Gavin also pulled it up easily on his Ipad. Both devices worked equally well.

The student dashboard is very similar to the parent dashboard. It is also in an outline format and will take the student through the course in sequential order if you have it set up that way. This is what I chose to do with Gavin, rather than him be able to just move all over.

Each Unit starts off with a really captivating photograph and a brief description of what the Unit will cover. I have to say, the photography in this course is absolutely amazing. This is what Gav has enjoyed the most.

Each chapter also starts off with more beautiful photography and the list of lessons that the chapter will cover.

The lessons again, begin with with more engaging photos or videos that continued on every page. There is also a brief reading part. One thing I like is that it has audio narration so that if you have a non reader, or they just want to listen, then they have that option. This can also be used with children who have special needs.

Like I said, we did this 2 days a week. The lessons are quite short so it did not take us long. Gav would listen to the reading and then we would do the Lesson Review together. For each Unit we would print out the vocabulary words and make flash cards for them. I was really proud at how fast he learned and remembered the vocabulary. After he finished the Unit then he would take a short assessment. He did very good on them and was able to learn quite a bit. I had no clue he was learning as much as he did until we got to that assessment.

After the assessment is done, then it goes to the parent dashboard to be graded. On the child's dashboard, he will be able to view all of his test results quickly and easily.

What we thought:

The photography is amazing, and Gavin did learn a lot! We will for sure complete the journey! He can sit and do this by himself which is definitely a positive.  Rainforest Journey by EdTechLens has definitely been a great supplement to our homeschool, but I am not sure yet if I would order it again due to the cost. At $50, I would want to be able to use it for longer than just the few short weeks it would take us to go through it. We are a homeschooling family on a budget, so I'm not sure it would be cost effective for us. Other than that, I think it's well put together and all in all a great program. Both of my kids loved looking at the pictures and learning all about the rainforest!

Follow EdTechLens on Social Media!!

If you would like to read other reviews, please click the banner below.

Rainforest Journey EdTechLens Review

Crew Disclaimer

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Demme Learning Geometry Digital Packs - A Schoolhouse Crew Review

Math has always been one of my son's favorite subjects...until we got to Geometry. The Digital Packs by Demme Learning's Math-U-See has changed that. I am so thankful for the chance to review the Geometry level of this curriculum, because it has given my son his confidence back to tackle Geometry head on, and he even likes it now!

Whether you are a veteran homeschooling family, or a new homeschooling family, chances are you have heard of Math-U-See. Demme Learning, the creators of Math-U-See, have been around since 1990, so they are definitely not a new company.

What we received:

We received one full year of access to the Geometry Digital Pack for our review. I purchased the Geometry Student Pack to go along with the digital pack.

Demme Learning Math U See Review

Choosing which level to start with:

Math-U-See is a complete curriculum and offers levels from the introduction of math to secondary math. It is very simple to order because each level is explained in detail of what it covers and also includes the Scope and Sequence and a sample lesson. For each level there is also a placement test so that you can make sure you are buying the level that will suit your child best. You can also order a physical set to all levels, but it is not needed with the Digital Packs.

Levels offered are as follows:
Primer - A gentle introduction to mathematics 
Alpha - Addition and Subtraction for single-digit numbers and other topics
Beta - Addition and subtraction for multiple-digit numbers and other topics
Gamma -Multiplication for single and multiple-digit numbers and other topics
Delta - Division for single and multiple-digit numbers and other topics
Epsilon - Fractions and other topics
Zeta - Decimals, percents, and other topics
Pre-Alegebra - Negative numbers, order of operations, solving for the unknown, and other topics
Algebra 1 - Graphing, simultaneous equations, exponents, polynomials, unit multipliers, and more
Geometry - Points, lines, planes, angles, circles, triangles, quadrilaterals, Pythagorean Theorem, conic sections, proofs, and more
Algebra 2 - Factoring polynomials, quadratic formula, graphing conic sections, and other Algebra 2 topics
PreCalculus - Trigonometry, identities, polar equations, logarithms, sequences, limits and other topics to prepare for Calculus
Calculus - Derivatives, integrals, calculus applications, differential equations, and more

What exactly is a Digital Pack?

Demme Learning Math U See Review
The Digital Packs are basically the Instruction pack, but available from any Internet browser. You get a full year of access to the Digital Pack you choose which includes the instructional videos, instruction manual PDFs, and access to an online version of the digital manipulatives.  You will have to buy the Student Pack to go along with each level, but that is all you have to buy to use the Digital Packs. These will include the worksheets, the review pages, and tests. If using the secondary levels, it will also include the honors pages. You will also get all solutions right there on your level page so it makes grading fast and simple. 

How we used the product:

After you get logged in and to the level that you will be working on, you will be at your level's main screen.

To get started, all you have to do is go to the "Select a Lesson" drop down menu, and you will see every lesson there is to offer. The introduction to the entire course is also here.

After you select a lesson, it will bring you to that lesson's page. It will have all you need there for that particular lesson. As you can see from the picture below, it is all laid out for you to easily access.

Drake is in high school now so he's pretty independent. Math-U-See has proven to be perfect for the independent student. When we first received it, I sat down and watched a few videos with him to make sure that he understood what was going on. Before I knew it, he was ready to grade his first test.

He is doing about 2 lessons a week right now. The way he does it is, he watches the videos online, and then opens his workbook to get started on that lesson's worksheets. After completing all worksheets, he takes the test and I grade it. After you've completed everything, if you choose to, you can write the scores down on the course log they provide for you. It's so simple!

The lessons are labeled A, B, C, D, E, and H for the Honors worksheets.  Drake likes to not only do the regular work, but he has challenged himself to also do the Honors part of the workbook.
He is doing great right now, and normally finishes all worksheets in one or 2 days. I realize this isn't for everyone, but as long as he is understanding it, and doing good on his tests, I let him progress.

What we thought about it:

We love it! The only suggestion I could make, that would make me love the Digital Packs even more, would be that it was just a bit easier to access. I would love to just be able to bookmark that page and go right to it rather than logging in and going to the dashboard first. It's definitely not a deal breaker though.

I asked Drake what he liked best and this was his list:
  • He really enjoyed the teacher because he makes the lessons easy to understand
  • He loves that he can pause the video at any time and then rewind it to have the concept explained to him again
  • This works on his phone, just as good as it does from his laptop
  • He can take this anywhere and not have to be in the living room at home bound by DVDs
  • He doesn't feel overloaded with physical work. It's just enough for each lesson.

I can honestly say that we will continue to use this in our homeschool, not only for my oldest son, but for the others as well.

If you are looking for a math that will not only teach your child the concepts well, but also instill a love for learning math, then the Digital Packs from Demme Learning would definitely be an asset to your school!

Be sure to follow Math-U-See on social media!

If you are interested in reading reviews for levels other than Geometry, you can click the link below. 

Demme Learning's Math-U-See Review

Crew Disclaimer