Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Drive Thru History Adventures with Dave Stotts ~ A Homeschool Crew Review

I am super excited to bring you this week's review because it's one of our favorite products we have reviewed so far. I love anything to do with history, and Dave Stotts brings it to life with his amazing videos from Drive Thru History Adventures.

I was not a history fan growing up, and especially in high school, it was my least favorite subject. It was normally reading from a textbook, or listening to a teacher read from one, and then proceeding to work on a fill in the blank worksheet. You know what I'm talking about. Blah blah blah...write write write. There was no life brought to what was being taught. Maybe a picture or two, but it never actually put me right back to that time period.

I have since found a love for history for all time periods, and I am always looking for ways to make it fun and interesting for my children. I don't want them to have the same ill feelings towards learning history as I did when I was in school. I want them to develop a love for learning about the past, so that they can appreciate it's importance and what it has taught us.

With this review we have been introduced to Dave Stotts, and literally his adventures through history. He is passionate about history and has traveled the world for 15 years to bring us Christ centered, fact filled, fun information to help our children fall in love with learning history!

How does Drive Thru History Adventures work?

The main idea of this curriculum is video learning, but there is so much more to it. This works perfectly for my kids, because it keeps them engaged and interested in the subject they are learning.

Starting off, the website is extremely easy to navigate and use. It is also packed full of additional information other than that of the main curriculum!

As you can see in the screenshot, the curriculum is easy to find in the drop down menu.

With this program you are offered three separate curriculum choices.

  • Bible History
  • American History
  • Ancient History
Since we are working on American History this year, we chose to start with the American History Adventures. Every adventure is divided into episodes, and then within each episode is the components that go along with it.

You can for sure just watch the videos and gain so much valuable information from them, but Mr. Stotts has gone above and beyond to bring you a well rounded curriculum with this. Within the episode is the video which is approximately 30 minutes long in each adventure. Like I said, this is the meat and potatoes so to speak of the curriculum, but if you are wanting to really dig in, then he has given you the resources to be able to do that.

I want to talk to you a little bit about the videos and what they include. Dave really does travel around the world to bring you to places that maybe you can't just hop on a plane and visit. He is informative about each place that he brings you to, but also makes you feel like you are right along side him. Whether he is at the birthplace of Christopher Columbus or walking the Boston Freedom Trail he brings you factual information while even adding in a little comedy to keep you on your toes. Yes, he's pretty funny, and my kids love him! I love that we have already been able to see amazing places such as Plymouth Rock and the Old North Church.

If you are wanting to take this video and turn it into a complete lesson, he includes the resources that help you do that.

Within each episode, he gives you extras such as quotes, pictures of the people you are discussing, and also suggested readings such as Paul Revere's ride by Henry Wadsworth. He offers up discussion questions for you to go over after the video, and also printable worksheets with answer guides. He also has a Dig Deeper section that brings you even more resources to add into the lesson.

How did we use this program in our school?

I actually stopped all other curriculum while using this, because I was quite impressed with it from the start. We have been watching one to two videos a week, and also using all of the resources that I spoke of earlier. We will normally start off with the summary that he provides and then watch the video. We do the discussion questions together, and then we will do some of the extra resources and reading each day. It's easy to do one episode a week, and have plenty to discuss.

What else does Drive Thru History Adventures offer?

As I mentioned earlier in addition to American History, also offered is Bible History and Ancient History. I can't wait to start the Bible History next! Dave travels to 50 different sites in Israel to teach us all about the life of Jesus that is recorded in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

We will finally be learning about Ancient History which covers "Christianity and the Birth of Western Civilization".

Also offered is the Adventures TV which is a multitude of videos that can be watched on many different devices such as your TV, tablets or phones. All of the history videos can be seen from here, but in addition, you can also watch videos Dave has made such as Weekly Updates and behind the scenes!

What did we think?

We have loved this history curriculum from Drive Thru History Adventures from the start, and I believe that it's perfect for all ages! It has been an invaluable source for me because it has been one more key to making history fun for my kids! I could honestly go on and on about this remarkable product but I would highly suggest you check it out for yourself!

Drive Thru History Adventures is offering some pretty great specials right now! Those who sign up for the annual membership will receive a set of The Gospels DVDs. Click HERE to get the code!

Also, they are offering 20% off to the readers of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine! Here is a link to the latest digital issue.

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Monday, February 26, 2018

Meal Plan Monday!

This week's meal plan is really nothing special!

Monday: Hamburgers and Tater Tots
Tuesday: Black Beans and Yellow Rice
Wednesday: chic fil a night....we have somewhere to go so out to eat it is!
Thursday: Honey Soy chicken and rice
Friday: Fend for yourself night

Have a great week!

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Ultrakey Online Family Subscription from Bytes of Learning ~ A Homeschool Crew Review

I think learning how to type is an extremely important skill because now days, computers are a major tool in most job industries. Gavin has been sharpening his typing skills the last couple of weeks using the program Ultrakey Online Family Subscription from Bytes of Learning.

If you are not familiar with Ultrakey typing program, it is a completely online based program that uses voice instruction, animation, and video to teach the course. For the online family subscription option, you can choose from either a 3 user family, a 5 user family, or an 8 user family. It is priced based on the amount of users you choose from $29.95 to $49.95.

We have tried a few typing programs before and they worked for awhile, but Gav eventually became bored with them. Ultrakey is a program that I would say is no frills, but also not boring. Most of the programs Gav has used before just turn him off by becoming monotonous and blah. Ultrakey has just enough content to keep him interested in continuing to use it.

How does it work?

When we first got our log in information for the program, it was slightly confusing and overwhelming, but after reading through all of it, it all made sense.

Parents get a free account as to be able to manage the entire family, and this account does not count towards your users! Here the parent is able to enroll students, adjust settings, and set goals. You can also manage each student, adjust settings, monitor progress, produce reports and certificates plus more. There are a number of settings that you can tweak and set to each student, so it is very easy to customize.

When your student is all set to start, you will log in and come to your dashboard. The dashboard is clear and easy to navigate.

To get prepared for the course,  Ultrakey will ask you to set a goal, or they will set one for you. The student is then given an opportunity to adjust settings to fit their liking by setting a different background picture, setting the keyboard display, and even how the hand display is set.

Also, as your student gets started, they will be taken through a series of Intro movies. These movies are very well animated and talk about things such as posture, how the fingers should be placed, how the lessons and skill checks work, and much more.

After the student has gone through the intro process, which I think is very well put together to get them started, they will start on the actual lessons. Home Row is the first lesson and they will move on through the remaining letters, and finally end with the numbers.

When a lesson is complete, the skill check is unlocked, and they have to complete that before continuing on to the next lesson. To me this is perfect for Gav because he can't move on until he's satisfied the skill check. This way he isn't overwhelmed, and trying to move on before he's ready to.

What did we think?

I honestly have to say that this is my favorite typing program that we have used, and I love how easy it is to customize it for your students. It is very thorough in teaching not only the letters on the keyboard, but how important it is to have good posture while sitting at the keyboard.

I would highly recommend checking out the Ultrakey Online Family Subscription from Bytes of Learning if you are in need of a stellar typing program for your family.

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UltraKey {Bytes of Learning Reviews}

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Happy 3rd Birthday Mila!!! ~ WW

Today is the girl's birthday who made me a Lolli! She's the apple of my eye, and the sunshine in my heart! I never thought I could love someone else's kids as much as I do my own four, but having grandloves has taught me that I definitely can!

Happy 3rd Birthday Mila!!

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Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Wulf the Saxon by Heirloom Audio Productions ~ A Homeschool Crew Review

I am back with my first review for the 2018 year, and of course it's a Crew favorite! If you love history and audio adventures, then Wulf the Saxon from Heirloom Audio Productions is definitely for you!

If you have never had the pleasure of listening to an audio drama from Heirloom Audio Productions, let me tell you a little bit about what to expect. What they do is recreate the stories from the legendary story teller, G.A. Henty. Mr. Henty was a war correspondent, a big guy with an even bigger beard, and he lived for adventure. His passion comes through in every story he tells. He loved to share his stories with his friends and family, and throughout the years, he went on to write 122 books! This is where Heirloom Audio comes in. They take these beautifully told stories, and turn them into adventures that come alive as you listen to them. I am an avid reader, and I also listen to a lot of audio books. These audio dramas are completely in a league of their own. They are not your average audio book. These are brought to life with award winning actors, amazing sound effects, and the beautifully written sound track that goes along with it. As soon as you start listening, you enter the world of G.A. Henty, and his love for adventure is brought to life.

These wonderful adventures are perfect for listening on long car rides, or even short car rides if you break it up into parts. They are also great for a family listening night because it almost brings you back to the times of sitting in front of the radio and listening to different programs. For the review, we were given the two CD set, which again is perfect for the car, but they also offer an mp3 download so that you can listen on your phone or computer!

So lets talk a little bit about Wulf the Saxon. Our story starts off with Mr. George, the story teller,  speaking to two young brothers. He's on his way to research more on the book he's writing. He tells the boys that the book is about the people of France and England. He goes on to explain about the different ranks of the people including the King, Dukes, Earls, and Thanes. The curious boys want to know more, so Mr. George offers up a story that sets them off on an adventure.

This takes place in the year 1065 when Edward the Confessor is King of England. Our main character is Wulf who is a Thane, or landowner. He gets in a bit of trouble and is sent back to where he came from to take on his duties as a thane. He is eager to prove that he is honest and noble just as his father was before him. He gets a pardon from the king, and is sent back to London to serve Earl Harold Godwinson. Harold takes him in and makes him a trusted part of his inner circle. Wulf and the rest of his people decide to go on a journey where they become shipwrecked on the shores of Normandy, and are soon kidnapped. This is where the adventures begin. There are many different themes in this story, and it includes battles and even a love story. It does not lack adventure or history!

Our thoughts? I hate even saying this because I am a TRUE fan of all of Heirloom Audio Productions audio dramas, but this one fell short for us. I have to say it is definitely not because it lacked anything on their part, I just think it wasn't our favorite story. I found myself having to rewind it and listen again, because we just couldn't stay focused on it. It just wasn't holding our attention. I still can't wait to listen to the next one, because just as with books themselves, sometimes you have one that creeps up and isn't your cup of tea. That is how Wulf the Saxon was for me and the kids.

Other than the story not being our favorite, the actors, the sound effects, and the beautiful soundtrack was on point as usual!

Last but not least, I do want to mention the Live the Adventure Club. This is a fantastic addition to all of your Heirloom Audio Production products. It includes all kinds of resources including, chapter read alongs, chapter quizzes, parent resources, and so much more. Make sure you check it out especially if you are a fan like we are, and listen to all of the adventures!

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Wulf the Saxon {Heirloom Audio Productions Reviews}
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Monday, February 19, 2018

Meal Plan Monday

Time to get your meal plans ready for the week! I am trying a couple of new recipes this week so I will be sure and link them next to the day! The majority of our meals are gluten and dairy free, but sometimes I do have to make adjustments. I will use GF flour and unsweetened almond milk as substitutes. Have a great week!

Monday ~ Chicken and Rice

Tuesday ~ Spaghetti using GF noodles and home made sauce

Wednesday ~ Salisbury steak meatballs and mashed potatoes

Thursday ~ Burritos and Spanish rice

Friday ~ Philly cheese steak sloppy joes with home made hamburger buns (these are amazing!)

Saturday ~ Black beans and yellow rice

Sunday ~ Bacon and hashbrowns

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Welcome to the world sweet grandson ~ Barry Sinatra

Yesterday, on his due date, my beautiful new grandson made his grand entrance into the world. I couldn't be more proud of not only him, but his mommy and daddy too. They all did an exceptional job through this journey. I can't wait to share more pics of him as they come in!

 Barry Sinatra
7lbs 1oz and 22 inches long
Born February 17, 2018
at 12:07 a.m.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Painting furniture for our new house ~ WW

Since I will be decorating the house with a farmhouse theme, we are starting to get out furniture redone. I will post more pics when it's done!