Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Eclipse 2017 ~ Wordless Wednesday

Well we weren't in the best viewing area for the eclipse, but it was still amazing to watch on tv. I can promise you this, in 2024 we are watching it!! We got some fun pics with our cell phones though,

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Adelaide James ~ Wordless Wednesday

My beautiful niece Adelaide James was born on August 11, 2017 and we just love her to pieces!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

No-Nonsense Algebra by Math Essentials ~ A Homeschool Crew Review

High School Math. Three words that are always interesting whether you're a homeschooler or not. I absolutely love math, but my kids do not. I'm always up for reviewing math products because there are so many different ones and they all have something different about them. For the last few weeks we have been working through No-Nonsense Algebra by Math Essentials, and Edyn has really enjoyed it!

Math Essentials was developed by Rick Fisher, a math instructor with over 31 years of experience! He has devoted his time to not only teaching his students, but also developing award winning math materials.

What did we receive?

We were given the No-Nonsense Algebra book which is a soft bound book and approximately 175 pages. When you buy the book, you get free access to all of the teaching videos, so we were given our code to be able to access them.

How does No-Nonsense Algebra work?

I am using this program for Edyn as a full curriculum, and she has done very well with it. It is actually perfect for her because the teaching method works well for her. It's very thorough to insure that the student understands the concept being taught. It uses a different approach than other programs by having 5 key parts:

  1. Introduction and Explanation
  2. Helpful Hints
  3. Examples
  4. Written Exercises
  5. Review
At the end of each chapter there is also a Chapter Review section and a Final Exam that is also included.

How did we use this in our school?

After opening up her book, and getting her pencil and paper ready, we read the Introduction to the concept she will be working on. Side note, I love how they stress the importance of writing the problems down and working them out on paper. I am a firm believer in this.

In the Introduction is where the concept is explained, and you will be able to find the Helpful Hints. These are super important to go over because they will contain the important tips and short cuts.

Next we watch the free video lesson that goes along with it. The videos are great. They are clear and very easy to understand. Each video that we have done runs somewhere in the neighborhood of around 10 minutes. It's nice to be able to stop, rewind, or completely rewatch the video if you need more instruction.

After she watches the video we move back to our book. We do go over the examples that are given because Edyn needs to be able to see those problems worked out. Also, those examples help her if she gets stuck on a problem that she's working out herself. It's just another tool she can go back and look at if she needs to.

From the Examples, we move on to the Exercises. The first thing I want to point out is that they give you the perfect amount of problems to work. I don't like when a program gives you 5 or 6 problems. That's not enough in my opinion for the student to become confident with. They need to be able to work enough problems that they can master the concept.

When she's done, we check them by finding the solutions in the back of the book. I love that!! It makes it so much easier to check.

Finally she works on the review.

What did we think?

I have to say I am very impressed with this program. It is simple and easy to understand for both parents and students. Not only do you get an ample amount of explanation in the book, you also get the videos with step by step instruction. I would call this program a solid program that is geared towards making sure the student understands what is being taught to them. I would definitely recommend No-Nonsense Algebra by Math Essentials to anyone who is looking for a complete Algebra curriculum.

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No-Nonsense Algebra {Math Essentials Reviews}

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12 Weeks!! ~ Wordless Wednesday

Today I got to see my sweet grandbaby! He or she is getting so big, and we love him or her so much!

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

In the Reign of Terror by Heirloom Audio Productions ~ A Homeschool Crew Review

I always get excited when I see a new audio drama up for review from one of my favorite vendors! In the Reign of Terror by Heirloom Audio Productions has definitely lived up to the edge of your seat twist and turns of a G.A. Henty book.

If you've never had the pleasure of listening to an audio drama from Heirloom Audio Productions, then let me tell you a little bit about what to expect. Heirloom Audio Productions is known for recreating the stories of the legendary G.A. Henty. Mr. Henty was a war correspondent, a big guy with a big beard, who lived for adventure.  Unless you've lived under a rock, then you know he was a master story teller. He loved to share his stories with his family, and throughout the years, he went on to write 122 books! Heirloom Audio Productions takes these stories and makes them come alive.  I am an avid book lover, and I also love audio books. This is not your ordinary audio book. This is a true listening adventure that includes real actors and sound effects. It takes you to a whole different world while listening to one of these works of art!

What did we receive for this review?

We were very excited to receive the 2 CD set along with all of the extra digital download features! The bonuses that come in the download are always amazing! 

In the Reign of Terror Adventure Playlist ~ This is how you can listen online. I love to have the option to listen on my phone and not have to worry about having a CD player. 

In the Reign of Terror Original E-book ~ This is the original e-book with all new colorful graphics.

Official Soundtrack ~ The original music by Emmy-winning composer John Campbell. 

Printable Cast Poster ~ Printable promotion poster featuring the star studded cast. 

Inspirational Verse Poster ~ Printable copy of the inspirational verse quoted in In the Reign of Terror, "What man intends for evil, God intends for good."

Desktop Wallpaper Download ~ Beautiful artwork for your computer background.

Official Script Download ~ I LOVED this. It's super cool to see how the script was laid out. 

Study Guide and Discussion Starter ~ This is such an amazing bonus feature especially if you're wanting to turn this into more than just a "read aloud." It's perfect for helping younger kids understand and remember the story. I love how the study guide starts out giving you a little background on G.A. Henty, Maximilien Robespierre, and Marie Antoinette. Each set of questions is broken down into 3 parts.

  • Listening Well ~ This are great comprehension questions to keep your student listening all the time. 
  • Thinking Further ~ These questions make your student think a little bit more. They may be asked about a character's thoughts or actions, or they may be asked to look up something in the story.
  • The Defining Words ~ This gives your student a change to broaden their vocabulary. It's a wonderful addition to the study guide.
Heirloom Audio Productions also has something new that seem like so much fun! It's called Live the Adventure Club. This club adds even more fun to your listening experience and includes super cool fun and engaging activities for your kids! It's definitely worth checking out. 

In the Reign of Terror ~

This story. I almost don't have words for it. It's definitely the saddest of all of the G.A. Henty stories I've heard so far. It made me cry because of what innocent people had to endure just because of their lineage. Harry is 16 years old and moves to France to become a companion to a Nobleman's children. This is just a short time before the French Revolution. He quickly becomes part of their family by winning their trust and showing that he's willing to do what it takes to protect the family. As time goes on the mob is getting closer and the family must put in place their plans to flee. This takes Harry on whirlwind journey to protect his new family. This is a wonderful story about what man intends for evil, the Lord intends for good.

The story talks about the differences in the American Revolution and the French Revolution. I like how it talks about that the American Revolution wasn't really a revolution at all because they did not revolt by using a mob. They had actually tried to solve it peacefully, and war was their last choice. 
In the Intro Mr. George, the narrator talks about how the difference in the two was what was in their hearts. The American's turned their faces to God and the French turned away from God. 

What did we think?

We always love anything that Heirloom Audio does. This story really spoke to my heart because I don't think I realized what these poor innocent people went through. It was definitely my favorite so far because of how it completely drew me in. 

These CD's are always perfect for long car rides or even if you want to have something different than a family movie night. You will not be disappointed in the star studded cast or the gripping sound track. Both are always amazing. If you are looking for an audio adventure, In the Reign of Terror by Heirloom Audio Productions won't disappoint. 

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In the Reign of Terror {Heirloom Audio Productions Reviews}

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August goals

It's finally August. I am pretty sure it was just January, but my life seems like a whirlwind lately. I have had so much going on the last few weeks, that taking the time to actually sit down and put my thoughts down here on my blog have been kind of put on the back burner.

So, as you know we really tried to get our school year going awhile back, but this summer has been crazy with lots of visitors, which we love, but it has gotten us a little behind on where I wanted to be already with this year. That just means that we will have to work extra hard, and maybe even have some work time on Fridays.

I really need to schedule some time to spend on my blog. My days just seem too short with not enough hours, and if you're alive then you know what I mean. I have to say that part of that is my fault. I have been on a backwards sleep schedule and I end up going to bed late, and waking up kind of late. I am trying to turn that around so that when we get back into our school year next week, we can get up and get started early. So I guess my first goal is go to bed early.

Also speaking of schedules, I have started using FlyLady to clean my house. I had tried it awhile back and it overwhelmed me, but now that I have the app it has really helped keep me on track. I love that she uses zones, so you are only working small spaces at a time. I love it!

Next up our goal is to start our budget. We are about to start the Dave Ramsey program, and I am super excited about it. I am ready for us to take control of our money and become debt free! I think that being on a budget, and a cash envelope system will help us keep our money and spending in check.

Last but not least, I'm going to hopefully start meal planning monthly rather than every two weeks. I'm hoping to even post a few of them here. I think it will be easier to not eat out those few times that we do a month. Every time we eat out it's about $40. We normally do about three times a month so you're easily looking at over a $100 a month for just three meals. I know I can do better than that!

So, if I missed some then I can add an update. Right now our goal is a house. We are wanting to put some roots down and buy the house we've always wanted, or something pretty close. I'm looking forward to this adventure!

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

English Grammar Teaching Method from English on a Roll ~ A Homeschool Crew Review

For the last few weeks we have been working on a really fun and different English program. My kids love manipulatives when they are learning because it seems to help them remember things better. English Grammar Teaching Method from English on a Roll has been a really different experience for us in our homeschool.

Grammar is extremely important to me, so I will try almost any English or language arts type of program. I feel that I have a pretty good knowledge of grammar, but honestly there is so much to learn. Little rules here and there so I don't think that you can ever review it too much. I have always heard that English is one of the most complicated languages to learn, and I truly believe that.

If you have ever taught homeschool, grammar is normally going over the rules and maybe doing some worksheets or working online. English on a Roll is different because it uses MSL, or Multisensory Structured Language. This method, which has had a large amount of research, uses simultaneous teaching to the auditory, visual, and tactile learning styles. It starts with the basics and builds on them a little at a time to the more complex lessons. It also uses direct instruction which is continuous interaction between the teacher and the student. Another important facet is repetition and review. This is key to using this program! Last but not least, synthetic and analytic teaching which is building the whole with parts and breaking the whole into parts.

What did we receive?

The manipulatives are a block set of 40 different color coded all plastic cubes with case. They are very well made, and that was very impressive to me.

The teacher's manual is a 140 page soft bound book.

How did we use English on a Roll?

This program says that it can be used for anyone ages 5 and up. It is also geared for ESL students or anyone who needs extra help in grammar.

We decided to jump right in and use this a few times a week. When I first opened the book and thumbed through the first few lessons, I thought that this was entirely too easy for my kids, and it wouldn't really be anything new since they are 12 and 14. The first lesson honestly took us minutes to go over because it really was ONLY review for them. But, as the lessons progressed, they turned into more lengthy discussions, and I could really start seeing the benefits of the program.

There is very little preparation needed to get started. The book tells you everything you need for each lesson including which cubes that you will need to get out of the box for that particular lesson. I love anything that saves me time! There are pages in the front that also tells you which cubes are what so that you can find them quickly in the box. The book also tells you if you need to copy any of the pages for your student. This is covered in the copy right. There are even hints and tips on how to effectively teach each lesson.

The very first lesson is on pronouns. This was surprising to me considering lessons we've done in the past normally start with nouns and verbs. I do think that if you are trying to learn English as a second language then it makes complete sense. Anyway, I just wanted to mention that.

Like I said, the book tells you all that you need to prepare for each lesson. You will only give your students the cubes needed for the lesson that they are on. We would go over the lessons and worksheets, but their favorite part was definitely working with the manipulatives. They enjoy the section called Conversation and games. For instance, they may roll one of the cubes and then make a sentence with the cubes that are left. It was fun to see what they would come up with.

Our thoughts on the product was that it has been a really fun experience for us. I am going to continue with the book until it's done because it is great review and they have even learned a few new things. I would definitely recommend this to anyone who is teaching ESL or even someone that is just needing the extra help.

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English on a Roll {Reviews}

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