Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Applesauce ~ Wordless Wednesday

Last Friday we got an amazing deal on apples. 38 pounds of organic fuji apples for $12!! I knew I wanted to make applesauce, that's what we did.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

American Mid-Late 19th Century from Hewitt Homeschooling ~ A Homeschool Crew Review

Literature in high school is very important in my opinion. For the last few weeks Edyn has been working through Uncle Tom's Cabin using the Lightning Lit & Comp set, American Mid-Late 19th Century from Hewitt Homeschooling.

Edyn is definitely not my reader. She has a lot of trouble focusing on what she's read, so she doesn't really enjoy it. I still want her to have a good foundation in literature, so I was really excited to be on this review. This program covers 4 books that I think are timeless classics, and it would help round out her English for the year.

  • Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
  • Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
  • The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane
  • The Call of the Wild by Jack London
What did we receive?

For this review we were given the student workbook which includes the work text part of the program. We were also given the Teacher's Guide which includes the answers to discussion questions, grading tips, and even a schedule that you can follow for working the program.

The workbook is a paperback that is around 170 pages long. It includes an Introduction that talks about reading literature, poetry, and even writing a paper. It also includes the Comprehension Questions and Literary Lessons for each book in the series.

How did we use this in our school?

Upon receiving our materials for the review, I started by reading through the Teacher's Guide and the student textbook. I felt it was important that I had some knowledge of the student text even though Edyn was going to really try and work the program with little help from me.

There are 4 Units that make up the workbook. In each Unit the novel they are working on is included as one lesson, and then they will study either a short story or some poetry.

 I love the fact that they give you a schedule to follow. You can choose from using a Semester schedule or using the Full Year schedule. We chose the Full Year since Edyn struggles with reading. The schedule they give you tells you exactly what you need to finish for each week.

We started with the classic Uncle Tom's Cabin. This has been our main focus since we started the course. Since we are following a weekly schedule, her main assignments have been reading and working on her comprehension questions. She would take the time to read and answer the questions herself. We would then go over them together to insure that she was understanding what she was reading, and answering the questions accurately. She has not done any of the writing exercises as they don't come up in her schedule until week 10.

The comprehension questions have been such a great asset to her while reading the novel. They work perfectly for helping her to retain the information she's reading. This is especially important for her considering she has trouble focusing on what she's reading.

In week 12, she will start her first lesson on poetry and Walt Whitman. By the time she finishes this Unit she will have 3 writing exercises that she has completed.

What did we think?

I really am impressed with this program. It has been perfect for us to complete the literature portion of her English for the year. I love the comprehension questions and the extra lessons that are included in each Unit. If you are looking for a great addition to your homeschool English program, I would definitely check into the Lightning Lit & Comp Set, American Mid-Late 19th Century from Hewitt Homeschooling.

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Hewitt Homeschooling was very generous in letting 90 of us on the crew review their products. If you would like to read other reviews, just click the link below. 
Hewitt Homeschooling {Reviews}

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Earth Science: God's World, Our Home from Novare Science & Math ~ A Homeschool Crew Review

Science has always been one of Gavin's favorite subjects. He loves studying about any part of it, whether it's Astronomy or weather. When he hit middle school, I wanted to give him something a little bit more challenging, but I wanted him to also be able to understand it. While teaching science it's important to me to have not only a Christian based curriculum, but also a thorough program to follow. Earth Science: God's World, Our Home from Novare Science & Math is just that.

Who is Novare Science & Math?

Novare Science & Math are fairly new to the homeschooling world. I recently wrote a review on Nature's Beautiful Order from Memoria Press, and while on their website, realized that they had recommended using this program. Being that I love Memoria Press, I know and trust that they would recommend good solid products.

Upon reading more about the company, I learned that they approach these subjects a little different from other curriculum out there. Their philosophy is based on three core principles which are Mastery, Integration, and Kingdom Perspective. They have come to realize that a lot of science and math curriculum have fallen short, and that a lot of college freshman have to take remedial classes to fill in the gaps. They want to use these three core principles to give students a more solid understanding of what they are learning, and actually have them retain what they've learned in the past. Although they are trying to create a teaching philosophy that works for the benefit of the student, they also want to keep Christ at the center of it all. That of course is always important when talking about any subject, but especially when it comes to the creation of Earth.

What did we receive?

We were given the hard bound textbook along with the Resource CD information via download. (The download was for review purposes only. You would receive an actual CD.) I was very impressed with the quality of the book. The textbook is nicely put together with 15 chapters and is meant to be used over one school year.

In this course your student will learn about:

  • Earth in Space
  • Visualizing Earth
  • Thinking About Earth
  • Matter and Minerals
  • Rocks and the Rock Cycle
  • Plate Tectonics and Mountain Building
  • Volcanoes and Earthquakes
  • Weathering, Erosion, and Soils
  • Surface Water and Groundwater
  • Landforms
  • Unraveling Earth History
  • Oceanography
  • The Atmosphere
  • Weather
  • Climate and Air Pollution

How did we use it in our school?

First off when I got the material I was honestly a little confused on where to start. There were several different resources to look at, and I am very thankful that those were given to me. Although I found them a little overwhelming at first, by the time I read through them I had a better understanding of what I was supposed to be doing.

I would definitely start with the resource that is called Recommendations for Teaching the Course. I found this extremely helpful in getting me started. It goes over grading, ideas for teaching the course, and there is even a section dedicated to homeschool use.

They do supply you with a sample course schedule. This was very helpful to me so that I could see how they intended for the material to be used. It gives you a good idea how to plan your assignments.

The Resource CD will also include your quizzes, exams, and keys to both.

Another source that I found really helpful was the Weekly Review Guides. These are perfect so that your student can learn and retain the information.

Ok so now that we have covered the extra resources that compliment the textbook, lets discuss how our family used it. Since I like to have things laid out for me I tried following the suggestions they had first. First, we went over the vocabulary words at the beginning of the chapter we were working on. We even made flash cards for those words, and this seemed to work really well. We would read the text a little bit every day, and then answer the questions. For Gavin, this was a little overwhelming. He loves learning about anything science, but it just seemed like a lot of info for him to retain. Now please understand that this in no way makes me think any less of the curriculum. It is solid, and there is so much wonderful information provided.

I decided that for us we needed to slow down a bit, and take it in smaller sections at a time, and then we would review the questions together. This helped some, but it was still just a tad too much information for him all at once. I honestly think that it's an age thing, and not a problem with the curriculum itself. Gavin is in 6th "ish" grade and I think that he would do better with this around 8th grade. We continued on, but took a relaxed approach with it for now.

What did we think?

I think this a wonderful curriculum for an older middle school student. I definitely want to revisit this again for his 8th grade year. It is solid, and I think that an older student would excel with it. The book is smaller than most text books, and has great color pictures that compliment it. I think this is always a great factor considering how many texts books we homeschoolers have anyway. The Resources they send with the textbook are very nice to have. I think they do a great job explaining their suggestions on studing this program. I honestly am looking forward to getting back to this in a year or two. If you are looking for a good solid curriculum for an older middle school student, Earth Science: God's World, Our Home from Novare Science & Math  is one I would highly recommend.

Please also check out their other products. I am very interested in their Physical Science and General Chemistry curriculum to use in high school.

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41 of us on the Crew were blessed to review their products. To read more reviews, just click the banner below!
Biblical Based Science {Novare Science & Math Reviews}
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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Homeschool Planet from Homeschool Buyers Co-op. ~ A Homeschool Crew Review

I am a planner girl through and through. In fact, my husband just built me a beautiful desk dedicated just for planning. I use washi tape, stickers, stamps and more. So, I said all of that to say, I am a PLANNER ADDICT lol. It really doesn't matter to me what kind of planner it is, because I will love it. I have tons. Now, when I saw that I had a chance to review an online planner called Homeschool Planet from Homeschool Buyers Co-op., I honestly thought there was no way it could compare to good 'ol pen and paper.

Let's be honest. I really do have three paper and pen planners. I have one for homeschool, one for my reviews/blog, and one for family/life. This gets the job done but is it very easy to keep up with all three? Not really. I am constantly checking one or the other to make sure that I haven't missed something or I haven't forgotten to write something down.

So, that brings us to Homeschool Planet. If you are looking for an online all in one planner, this is definitely for you. They have literally thought of everything to make all aspects of planning in your life simple. It is available on laptop or mobile, so you can have easy access to your planner no matter where you are.

Set up is so easy and takes no time at all. The first thing I did is make everyone an account. It is VERY user friendly and easy to set up "My Family." This allows you to add everyone on that you want to be able to access this planner. That way everyone can always see exactly what's going on. It even allows you to have separate log ins. This way the kids can check their assignments easily. They even allow you to customize the dashboard in colors you choose, and add pictures of everyone that will be included.

Let's talk a little bit about the dashboard itself. It is user friendly not only on set up but with every single thing that you try to add. I personally love the calendar layout for the month, so that's what I tend to keep it on. I can see all of our assignments, events, or tasks all in one glance. You have the option to keep it on Month (which I do), week, or day. I do like these options if I have quite a few things listed so that I can kind of condense it a bit. One thing that they have gone above and beyond with is the widgets on the side of the dashboard. You have several different options. You can have the weather, a bible verse, and a daily quote all in one place.

Let me tell you one of my favorite things about it. You can have a to do list or grocery list at your finger tips. What about a reading list? This gives you the ability to add something quick without having to go find paper and pencil. Do you need to print it out and take it with you? You have that option too!

Looking at the screenshot of my month, you can see the things I have already added. I haven't added much school yet because we aren't on a major schedule with it being summer. However, I have added our chores, Bible reading, and some important dates such as family visiting and birthdays.

Adding events to your calendar is quick and easy. Homeschool Planet gives you many options for everything you add. Starting dates, ending dates, whether or not you want to add a task, and/or a special note. Do you want to add it to just that particular day, or do you want to add it to that day of the week every week? You have every option that you would have with pencil and paper.

I have mainly used this as a life planner, but in just a few weeks when things settle down, I will be adding most of our school assignments. We will be back on a little bit more regular schedule so I will have a better idea of how things will go. I can already tell you that adding an assignment and making lesson plans will be easy and painless just like what I've told you so far.

First you will want to create a class. From that point on you are given different options for that class. I love this considering we only have a 4 day school week. I can pick the days that I want, and it will add the class to only those days. Once you set it up, it will show up on your main calendar. Again, all right at your fingertips.

Another option that I find completely helpful and very useful is that if something comes up and you have to change your schedule, it's super easy to shift everything forward.  It takes a matter of seconds to do that. This way your entire schedule isn't ruined due to one bad day.

Homeschool Planet also makes it very easy to keep track of attendance, grades, and even has an option to create reports and transcripts.

Last but not least let me tell you about the lesson plans that are available in the  Lesson Plan Marketplace. They have professionally designed lesson plans that you can purchase that will fit right into your planner. It takes the guess work out of trying to do it yourself. If you sign up this month in June for a FREE one month trial, they are offering you a FREE lesson plan that is worth $5 to $15. There is no reason not to try it!

I have to say this is one of those things that I reviewed, and didn't realize just how much I was going to love it. It really does give you a command center for your whole life. If you have been looking for the perfect planner but they all keep falling short, or you're like me and have a ton of different planners, Homeschool Planet from Homeschool Buyers Co-op. could be the answer you've been looking for!

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50 of us were blessed to review this product so if you would like to read other reviews, just click the banner below!

Homeschool Planet {Homeschool Buyers Co-op Reviews}

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Crocheted dishcloths ~ Crochet Corner

I love to crochet, and I love to save money on reusable things. I have been seeing all of these crocheted dishtowels on Instagram, so I decided to make one. I think it turned out super cute, so I'm excited to start using it and see how I like it. It was quick and easy to make, and I got to use up some of my extra yarn stash.

You can get the pattern HERE.

It's made with 100% cotton yarn rather than acrylic. I will let you know how I like it! Do you have a favorite dishcloth pattern? If so, leave it in the comments so I can check it out!



UnLock Pre-Algebra from UnLock Math ~ A Homeschool Crew Review

I always love reviewing math programs. There are so many out there and each one has it's own set of strengths. For the last few weeks Edyn has been using UnLock Pre-Algebra from UnLock Math.

UnLock Math, an online math curriculum, was started by Matthew and Alesia Blackwood. Alesia had the dream of becoming a teacher from an early age, and is now certified to teach Mathematics for grades 7-12. Both coming from a homeschool background, they realized that there was a need for a good math program that would be parent friendly and would take care of everything for them including teaching, testing, and grading.

Homeschooling math can be one of the most challenging and difficult subjects to take on. Homeschooling high school math can be even harder. I have always been very good at at math, but I can tell you that I have forgotten some of the steps to Pre-Algebra and Algebra since I've been out of school. Finding a math that is a complete curriculum, and that has to have very little help from me has been challenging.

I also have a child with learning disabilities. I have always said that I need programs for her that are broken down into small bite size pieces. Otherwise, she can't process all of it. This is the reason I was so excited for UnLock Math. I love the fact that the videos are unique and follow their concept of ENGAGE, EXPLAIN, ENTERTAIN. This is so important for a child who suffers from severe A.D.D. If the video is boring, she won't retain any of the information. I believe UnLock Math may be the key to helping her completely understand the concepts of math.

How does it work?

I love how this curriculum is set up. First of all, I don't have to beg her to do it. She loves being able to log in and get started with minimal help from me.

First off you will have two log ins. A parent log in and a student log in. I have always loved this option. With UnLock Math, you can log into the parent side and get straight to the student dashboard from there. You can skip the step of having to log out and back in with the student's info.

From the parent log in you can manage your students and courses. You can also manage your account, billing information etc.

Once you get to your student dashboard, you will find most of the information for your student's progress here. The set up is so easy to understand, and there are several pieces of information available to you and your student at a glance.

If you look at the screenshot above you can see her grade at a glance, and yes an 80 is very good for her. You can also see how much of the program she has completed. You have easy access for a progress report and also easy access to the grade book. I love that it's all right there at your fingertips.

On the left of the screenshot you can see where the different Units are listed. This is easy to see for your student, and keeps them going right along in the correct order. A quick click of the rocket for the Unit that they are working on will take the right to the screen they need to be.

A quick look at the grade book will show your student's progress, and give you all of the details you need to see where they are excelling or struggling with something. If she doesn't understand a certain task, then she goes back and does it again until she does.

Upon entering a Unit, your student will have a screen that looks somewhat like the screenshot below.

They will have lessons, quizzes, and tests right here all in one spot that's easy to find. They will start with their first lesson, and work their way through. Yes it's that simple.

Once they start the lesson, they will be taken to the screen that has everything they need to get started for the day. It is so easy to follow!

First into their lesson is the Warm Up. This is 5 questions that eases them into some math for the day, plus its a review of what they've learned prior to that day. After the Warm Up, they will watch the video that explains all about the lesson they are focusing on for the day. The videos are so clear and very entertaining, and not super long. Your student has a chance to get right to work, and start trying out the Practice Problems which is what they will work on next. They will have 10 problems to practice what they just learned in the video. If they do good on the Practice Problems, they can move on. If not, they can open them up again, and they will have NEW problems to work on, and they will take the best grade.

After they have completed the Practice Problems, then they will move on to the ten Stay Sharp questions which is more review of what they've learned prior. I LOVE all of the review that this program offers. In my opinion, it's how the child will retain what is learned!

Last but not least is the Challenge Question. This just offers your child a problem that really makes them put their thinking cap on to solve. They are normally a lot of fun! There are also reference notes at the end of each lesson that can be printed.

What did we think?

This has been a great product for Edyn, and has definitely been everything they claim and more. I have no issues at all getting Edyn to do her math everyday. She has had the confidence to get it done, and has been doing really good. If she has an issue with anything, she just goes back and does it again. It's that simple. If you are looking for a great online math curriculum please check out UnLock Math. Here are the courses that they have available:

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65 of us were blessed to review this product. If you would like to read reviews not only on Pre-Alegebra, but all of the courses they offer, just click the banner below.
Pre-Algebra, Algebra and Geometry {UnLock Math Reviews}

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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Adventures of Rush Revere Book Series from Adventures of Rush Revere #1 New York Times Bestselling Book Series by Rush and Kathryn Adams Limbaugh ~ A Homeschool Crew Review

I love history and I love books that bring history to life. American history is my absolute favorite! For my kids that is a different story. History for them is boring and definitely not their favorite subject. Recently though, that has changed. We have been reading the Adventures of Rush Revere Book Series from Adventures of Rush Revere #1 New York Times Bestselling Book Series by Rush and Kathryn Adams Limbaugh. These books are amazing!! As long as I've been homeschooling, I don't think I've ever been so pleasantly surprised over children's books before. When my kids ASK to read any kind of a history book, then you know it's good.

I'm sure at some point you've heard of Rush Limbaugh. If not, he's a political commentator and a very conservative radio talk show host. He and his wife, Kathryn Adams Limbaugh are the authors of these fabulous books. Just from reading the books, you can see their love and passion for American history!

There are five books in the series, and we were blessed to receive all five! I could not believe the quality of the books upon receiving them. The illustrations are so bright, colorful, and plain fun to look at. Even the pages look like old papyrus paper. We were really impressed with all of the little additions to make these books special. Look at the presentation! It definitely gives a great a first impression.

These are some of the pictures in the first book. They are really nice!

Let me give you a general idea of the characters in the books. Rush Revere is a substitute middle school history teacher. He isn't just your ordinary teacher though. He has a very cool horse named Liberty. Liberty can talk, and let me tell you, the things that come out of this horse's mouth keep my kids rolling with laughter! Not only can Liberty talk, he can time jump back into history. All it takes are the words "Rush rush rushing to history" and you are on the best history adventure ever! 

Each book covers a different part of history. We have only finished the first book because we are actually studying American history right now, and these have fit perfectly into our curriculum. We have used the first one as a read aloud and plan to do the same with the others. I knew I wanted to use them as a read aloud because I thought I would enjoy them too, and I was correct! Even if my kids didn't like these books, I would finish them on my own. That's how much I love them. I really can't see ANY child not liking these books though. Both of my kids have enjoyed them just the same, and I have one in high school, and one in early middle school. I think even younger kids would enjoy them although they are geared for middle school aged kids.

About the books ~

Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims

Our first book is where we get to meet Rush Revere and his time jumping horse, Liberty. We will "Rush rush rush into history" all the way to the year 1620 where we will encounter the Pilgrims and the Mayflower with our friends Tommy and Freedom. We learn all about the trials and tribulations that the Pilgrims had to go through to get to the New World. We will meet and talk to famous people in history such as William Bradford, Myles Standish, and Samoset and Squanto. We even get to experience the first Thanksgiving!

Rush Revere and the First Patriots

In the second book in the series, we time jump to right before the American Revolution. I can't wait to start this book. Rush will take us on an adventure that allows us to encounter more people of American history such as Samuel Adams, Patrick Henry, and of course, King George III of Great Britain. The kids, Tommy, Freedom, and Cam, will also have to deal with Elizabeth back at school as she tries to tell their time jumping secret to her father, the principal. 

Rush Revere and the American Revolution

Next we jump right into the year 1775. We will get up close and personal with some of the soldiers that fought for our American independence! We will meet more historical men such as Dr. Joseph Warren, John Hancock, and George Washington. In the present time we will learn that Cam's father is in the military and is deployed. Cam has had an attitude change while he is away. Book 3 is action packed and full of excitement!

Rush Revere and the Star Spangled Banner

When Tommy's Grandfather becomes ill, Rush brings the Manchester Middle School crew on a field trip to Washington D.C. They will learn all about the American government when they visit the Washington Monument, and even the White House. Here in the year 1787, we also encounter more important people in history including Francis Scott Key and of course James and Dolley Madison. After dodging several obstacles, Tommy will bring back a very important notebook for his Grandfather. 

Rush Revere and the Presidency

In our final book of the series we learn that Cam decided to run for student-body president. Rush Revere takes him back to the first presidency to learn all about the decisions that have to be made in such an important position. Cam thinks that being president is an easy task, but will soon learn that it's not all about being popular, and is actually about serving others. He will be introduced to early American Presidents such as George Washington, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson. 

What did we think?

Again, I have to say that we have thoroughly enjoyed the first book in this series. It has been such a wonderful addition to our American history studies. These books are so well written, and will keep you on the edge of your seat with exciting meet ups with people that have had an impact in our American history. Mr. Limbaugh and his wife do a fantastic job of keeping the reader engaged, and have made learning fun. As an adult, I have had a wonderful refresher on our history, and have enjoyed every minute. These books aren't just for homeschool kids. They would be perfect for any student! In addition to the books, the website is also a huge benefit to the student. They have games, activities, and even a study guide for each book! They literally have thought of everything. 

I would highly suggest you order the complete set of the Adventures of Rush Revere Book Series from Adventures of Rush Revere #1 New York Times Bestselling Book Series by Rush and Kathryn Adams Limbaugh. I can't wait to get started on the next book in the series, and I can tell you that we will actually be sad when the series is over. 

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100 of us were blessed to be able to review these books. If you would like to read more reviews, just click the banner below!
Adventures of Rush Revere Book Series {Reviews}
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