Friday, April 28, 2017

Drive Thru History, The Gospels~Homeschool Review Crew

Drive Thru History The Gospels
   I received the DVD set of The Gospels in the Drive Thru History~With Dave Stotts® series for review.  We have loved watching the series as it goes thru the life of Jesus in 18, 30 minute episodes.  Some of the included topics are: Jesus Grows Up, Jesus Begins His Miracles, The Last Supper and His Resurrection.  The series covers his entire life.
   This set comes in a book format with a nice cover.  It would make a great gift for someone!  Included in side the book are the DVDs as well as pages with beautiful pictures, Bible verses as suggested reading that correspond with the videos and study questions that go along.  There are many Bible studies out there and the Gospels are books that are studied often.  With this series there are study guides already made and would make a great high school or adult Bible Study!        

       Living out in the rural area we do, we usually spend one day a week going to "the city" to run errands, since most things are about an hour away.  Once we received the Drive Through History DVD set, “Mom I know we don’t usually watch anything in the car, unless we are going on vacation, but can we watch The Gospels as we run around?"  Was something that my daughter had said several times.  My kids couldn't get enough of it!  They begged me to stay in the car!
     History had always been a struggle for me in school. For some reason the information never wanted to stick in my head.  Maybe if there would have been a series like this it would have stuck better for me?  I don’t know, however I do know that I am thankful for this for my children.  It breaks up the monotony of the books during the day.  Thru the humor that Dave adds into the DVD's,  the scenery from his travels, and the factual information this series provides it makes it fun and interesting to learn about Jesus' life!
      We have enjoyed this series as many other Drive Thru History episodes.  I actually got to meet Mr Stotts as well at the Midwest Homeschool Convention.  It was such a pleasure to talk with him and meet the man in the TV, as my kids say!
Drive Thru History The Gospels

    From Drive Thru History:
          "General age range is 5th grade-adult, however there are many younger kids who love to show too!  We like to say that while the entire family will enjoy the TV show as family entertainment, the optimal age for getting the max educational value is middle school and older. Our target audience is Christian families who wish to teach their children history from a Christian worldview.  While most of our viewers are homeschooled, many private and public school students enjoy the show as well."

  You can check them out on social media:

Check out what my friends on the crew are saying!

The Gospels {Drive Thru History® Reviews}
  Thank you to the Homeschool Review Crew and Drive Through History for this opportunity!
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Thursday, April 27, 2017

Planet 316~A Homeschool Review Crew Review

        My kids have had a lot of fun working thru the Daily Bible Jigsaw at Planet 316!  Planet 316 is a company that knows the importance of getting God’s Word to everyone, even the littlest ones.  One of the ways they have done this is thru downloadable apps for the computer or handheld device.  It doesn’t matter if you have a computer, Android or Apple device/table, they have you covered!
      Here are the current options for playing this game:
     All you need to do is download the app, create an account, and go!  You are ready to start completing the puzzles to see what the day’s verse is.  My two younger kids came up with the idea that they would take turns working thru the puzzles. Each day they would rotate whose turn it was to complete that day’s puzzle.   After the second day they were helping each other just to see what the verse and the picture was!screenshot_02
     The puzzles do not take that long so they are great for little attention spans and there is a new puzzle every day!  SO there is excitement each day to see what the new verse and picture is.  When I say my younger two, I am referring to an eleven year old and a 13 year old!   They are not all that little anymore however they have loved working on the puzzles.
     Earning Coins
     All games have their perks and this one is coins!  You can accumulate coins by doing the daily puzzle or the power piece.  With the power piece you have a few seconds (like 30 seconds or so) to put that piece in it’s place. If you don’t get it in time nothing happens, however if you do you are awarded more points!  You can also get coins by watching a video (they are ads of random games).
     Got coins?  What do you do with them?
          The coins will give you the option to have more tools to finish the puzzle.  Some of the options are:  Guide (which give you a picture of the puzzle when complete), sweep (takes the pieces all to the outer sides) and magnet (locks one of the puzzle pieces with the one piece that it is supposed to be connected to).  All of these things are to help you get your puzzles complete faster. 
     I think that this app would be a great thing for anyone, especially little ones who have short attention spans.  It would be a great thing when waiting at a restaurant or at the Dr.

                                                         Follow Planet 316 at:

Twitter:  @planet_316 

Check out what my friends on the crew are saying!

Daily Bible Jigsaw {Planet 316 Reviews}
Thank you to the Homeschool Review Crew and Planet 316 for the opportunity to review this App!
Crew Disclaimer

Thursday, April 20, 2017

SpeedyPrep~Schoolhouse Review Crew


SpeedyPrep is an online subscription site that prepares your student for taking the CLEP test.  I received a 6 month subscription for the purpose of this review.

     Why use SpeedyPrep?
       SpeedyPrep has designed a study site to help you do what the CLEP tests set out to do... pass the tests and essentially the classes!  Taking these test is a great way to save money and time working towards your college degree.
         What is a CLEP test?  
       Basically it is tests that show you have a college level of knowledge on a specific topic.  Taking (and passing Smile) these said tests will allow you to gain college credit for classes that you do not have to take.  If you can pass the test it is proven that you have a college level understanding for that specific course. 

         Where did SpeedyPrep get their information from?
       The study information was selected or created by master teachers and college professors.  With the desire to help the students, SpeedyPrep is constantly checking their information to make sure that they are up to date with any changes made by the college board!  So you know that you are using the most current information.
          They say that it takes 21 days of a new routine to get it into your brain so do it with out thinking.  Well that really goes with anything, I think.  They know that it takes your brain several times of exposure to the same material for it to be stored and retrievable from the brain.  Okay this may not be the case for every person.  I know a few who only have to hear/see/read something one time and they have it!  I think, thought that the majority of us fall into the first category.

      Go to SpeedyPrep and create an account to activate your subscription.  Once you do that you can start checking out the classes!  Pick your class from the list of 24 courses currently offered.  Take American Government for example, with this course there are then over 20 sections like Civil Liberties, Political Parties, Political Opinion etc for you to work on.  As you work thru the sessions completing each fill in the blank answers, you are timed and your score is kept.  The number of questions varies by section.  Whether you answer the question incorrectly or not there is an explanation and or a video explaining the topic.  This is reinforcing the correct answer if you didn't know it!  At the end of the session your time and number correct will be displayed as well as the percent.  For each session there is a progress bar that will tell you how far you are to get to 100 percent. One you reach 100 percent in any given course, you are ready to take the CLEP test for that class!
    SpeedyPrep incorporated this progress bar to guarantee it's classes. If you have worked thru the Speedy Prep course, received that 100 percent and do not pass the test they will refund your study session!
    SpeedyPrep requests that if you are going to take this route that you have had the high school equivalent of the same class.  So they don't recommend you taking the Algebra course if you haven't had Algebra in high school.

    **The cost of this online subscription study course does not cover the cost of the CLEP test or any other fees included in taking that test. 

  So what did my son think?
      Overall, and after working thru some of the sessions, He thinks that StudyPrep is a great tool!  He liked the layout of the questions however felt that some questions could have been multiple choice.  That being said, you continue to work thru and see the answers and the next time you remember what the answer was {that is that repetition thing kicking in:)}
    My take?
      I think that having the option to test out of classes is a great thing!  Why sit thru a class when you already know the information.  Now you have the chance to study for some of your classes and go ahead and test out of them.  By taking this route to college you will save time and money!  I don't see how it could be a bad thing!
    The only thing that I didn't like was that you needed to answer in the correct "form".  So if the answer was 14 and I answered it numerically "14" and the answer was fourteen, it counted it incorrectly.  I say that the answer was correct, however it will be scored as and incorrect answer. That didn't happen to us more than a few times and I understand it it is just something that I noticed.

      Check out what my friends on the crew are saying about SpeedyPrep!
College Level Examination Program Preparation {SpeedyPrep Reviews}
You can find SpeedyPrep:
Twitter:   @speedyprep

Thank you to SpeedyPrep and the Homeschool Review Crew for the opportunity to review this product!
Crew Disclaimer

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Homeschooling from Scratch~Keeping on Track thru the whole year

Binder Picture

       Keeping a commitment for an entire year can be a really hard thing to do.  Each year as a homeschooling family you really need to recommit to the new year.  For me that starts with the homeschool conference that is coming up this weekend.  I have planed for it and I think I shop and participate in it smartly using my time there the best possible way.  So how do I keep up the pace through out the year and get everything complete? 
       It gets tough sometimes, I have to admit.  I will share with you a little secret.  We had to go to schooling year round a few years ago because I was having health problems.  It turned out to be not as serious as we originally had thought and now I am doing awesome!  Praise God!  However during that uncertain and testing time we were not always on track with our studies and had to go thru the summer to get our studies complete before the next year.  Don’t worry the kids got about a 3 week break that summer! Whew! 
     After that summer I kept thinking there has to be an easier way.  Life is not always, okay never really, predictable I think.  In the best efforts to get said things done life likes to throw curve balls whether it be that you got up and just 20170310_000754didn’t feel well to something as crazy as out of town things or family emergencies that need to be handled now! After our short summer year, I came up with excel spread sheets that worked for us and I purchased an 8.5x5 inch binder for each.  Planners for the kids!  It worked great!  My kiddos are also required to do chores and at first I had those in there as well and calendar pages!  I was super excited!  Okay honestly the kids were not!  We used these for 2 years and I got tired of cutting the paper, since I made them myself.
     I then went to full size 1” binders.  With the larger binder the kids can also put any loose leaf assignments behind subject tabs that I can easily access.  So if our day gets crazy all their work is in an easy for me to get place to look over for the next day.
     The planner pages have been a successful thing at our house!  Here is a sample

   As you can tell it isn’t anything fancy!  It gets the job done and keeps us on track!  How we use them, is when the kids have completed their assignments,  they are to use a highlighter and cross off that assignment.  I don’t care if they do all of their math lessons or history lessons in one day, however I don’t want them to go any farther ahead than the week.  I have to remind them that going farther will cause them to possible to do an entire day of a subject they don’t like!  We found it best to stay at a week max for working a head.  Just as with anything else, there is no wrong or right answer with how you plan your year, week or day.  This is just one way that I have found with 4 kiddos at home in 4 different grades to keep on track.  It works for me, it may not for you .you have to find what you can work with and stick to. 
    Check out what my crew friends have to say today on the 5 Days of Homeschooling Blog Hop!
5 Days of Homeschool Annual Blog Hop - 2017

Readers in Residence Volume 1 (Sleuth) By Debra Bell~Homeschool Review Crew

Apologia Educational Ministries Readers in Residence
         I received the full set of  Readers in Residence Volume 1 (Sleuth) as a part of the Homeschool Review Crew to review.    It is a reading program written by Debra Bell and published by  Apologia Educational Ministries. It has been designed to help your child read to learn, instead of learning to read.  How is this different?  Learning to read is what we all do (or did) when we were between the ages of 3 and 6, starting with letters and sounds, moving to sight words and then finally sentences and books. In working thru this process we are not necessarily taught to read to learn, or pull information out of and comprehend what we are reading.  Learning to read isn’t the end of the literacy or learning road!
    So what does this program provide?
    The Student Book:  
       *It provides detailed instruction in reading for inference
       *Shows students how to identify a text’s genre and then deploy the reading strategies relevant to that genre.
      *Teaches close reading techniques
      *Helps students to recognize and analyze the author’s craftsmanship
      *Shows students how to use context clues to make educated guesses about the meaning of unknown words
           The Answer Key:
         Gives you all the tools you need to help your child work thru the program from making a daily schedule to keeping tack of progress and evaluating your child’s work!
Apologia Educational Ministries Readers in Residence
         Readers in Residence is written to be a fun but challenging program. Challenge is good for kids but you don’t want to frustrate them, therefore this program is written with flexibility so that you can challenge but not torture your child as you work thru it.  The program is laid out to be used 4 days a week, however there isn’t a set time on when your child should end the program or how long it should take them to get thru it.. totally at their own pace.
  The philosophy of the program encompasses 6 things that reading is or should be:  Reading should be a pleasure, a learned experience, an apprenticeship, an internal process and diverse.
    With this program your child will work thru 3 well know and books:  Sarah Plain and Tall, Charlotte’s Web and Because of Winn Dixie.  Then they get to pick 3 other books, a Historical Fiction and Animal Fantasy then your own choice.  As they work thru the books there are different activities like a making predictions, meeting Authors and unit projects (including storyboards and a character map) that make the program more than just reading.  It keeps the child’s interest, I think.
      Working thru this program I feel has made my daughter more aware of the details of the books she is reading, instead of just reading to read, (or get thru the assigned daily reading chore).  When we first got the set, she was super excited when she saw it because Charlotte’s Web was in it and even more excited (if that is possible) when she saw that the student book was larger than the teachers book!  She loved the book list (even though she has only  read half of them). It was excited and easy to get her to sit down and work on it.   She loved the idea that it can be done in a group setting as well. She would like to get together a book club this summer!  
   My take on the program was anything to help kids get into books and learn from them is a great thing!  I loved the choice of books as well, the explanation of the program and the lay out is easy to read and follow. I think this program is a great eye opener to the details of reading.  I think it helped my daughter finally understand how to determine the plot of a story and the main characters (instead of listing everyone in it).  We enjoyed working with this program!

          You can check out Apologia Educational Ministries:
Instagram:   @apologiaworld
Twitter:   @apologiaworld
Check out what my friends on the crew have said about this program
Readers in Residence Volume 1 (Sleuth) {Apologia Educational Ministries Review}
  Thank you to Apologia ministries and the Homeschool Review Crew for giving me the opportunity to review this book!

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Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Homeschooling From Scratch~Grading and Recordkeeping

Homeschool Records
       When we first started homeschooling, we used an online program.  After that first year we decided that that type of program wasn’t a good fit for OUR family.  It’s one of the things about homeschooling that I love the most, if it doesn’t work, try something else! With that program I didn’t have to worry about grading or attendance as the computer/school did it.  The school did the record keeping since the kids were enrolled in that program, even attendance!  After that first year we branched out on our own and the responsibility of keeping all that info became mine!
        Recording Gradesgrades super job
      Grading  is something that I have heard different stories from different people since the beginning of our journey.  Once again homeschooling is tailored to your wants and needs so there isn’t any correct or incorrect way to do it.  However it needs done in some fashion.  Our public school don’t give A’s and B’s grades until like 4th grade or something.  Earlier grades get satisfactory and unsatisfactory or something of the sort.  I think the general rule is pass and fail for each person but it looks different.
     Some people grade and record that grade.  Others grade once the assignment is complete and have the child redo anything they missed until they get all correct and record nothing except A’s for the entire year, since they essentially make then all correct.  Some people grade and move on, unless they failed the assignment.  Again, not of these are THE method, you need to do what fits the best and gives you the information you want and need.  I personally do the 3rd one mentioned above.  If a child doesn’t received a passing grade they have to redo that lesson or I will supplement with some sort of worksheet or other approach to the material they are struggling with.  My personal preference.
     Record Keeping
school record 1 There are many ways to keep the actual records of your homeschool.  The first thing that you need to do is to check with your state to see what is required of you to keep/turn in.  In Ohio we are not required to turn in actual grades each year but an assessment by a certified teacher or test scores.  We have opted to do the assessments each year because it works for us.  You need to check with your state to see what is required.
     Your records need to be easily accessible but don’t have to be fancy.  You can use a note book/binder and prop it up on the shelf or go as elaborate {the program I use has been called by friendsSmile}as an online service.  I have been using My Homeschool Grades for the past several years.  I love the ease of imputing the grades, you can even have their schedule in there and their extracurricular activites/acheivements for transcript service!  This came in handy when I needed my oldest son’s transcripts.  I just hit a button and it printed right out.  It was all at my fingertips. 
       There are many online program that you can use from varying prices and features.  I have listed a few:
                           My Homeschool Grades
                           Homeschool Tracker
                           Homeschooling Records
                         **I have only used the My Homeschool Grades so I do not know how the others work or what they all offer.
     Homeschooling is a personal choice that need to be made by the family that it will involve and in some families it is made each year.  Just like this decision your grading and reporting will be the same.  You may use one system on year and a new on the next.  It is totally up to you!  You just want to make sure that you are doing what is required by your state.

  Check out what great stories other crew members have today in the 5 Days Of Homeschooling Blog Hop!
5 Days of Homeschool Annual Blog Hop - 2017

Monday, April 17, 2017

Menu Mondays~4/16/17

    Breakfast~Cereal with milk Fruit
    Lunch~Ham and cheese baglewiches, chips
    Supper~Ham, green bean casserole, deviled eggs, glazed carrots, broccoli casserole
    Snack~ice cream cake
    Breakfast~Crockpot Cinnamon French Toast
    Lunch~Ham and cheese crossiants with garlic & Parmesean potatoes
    Snack~ice cream cake
    Supper~Grilled Hamburgers and dogs, baked potatoes and baked beans
    Snack ~yogurt
    Breakfast~Cereal with Milk and Fruit
    Lunch~Peanut Butter Banana Burritos, Yogurt and chips
    Snack~Cincinnamon Rice Crispy Treats
    Supper~Grilled chicken salads with homemade knot rolls
    Snack ~popcorn
    Breakfast~Oatmeal with fruit
    Lunch~Ham and cheese roll-ups, potato salad
    Snack~Fruit salad
    Supper~Macaroni and cheese with broccoli with bbq pork chops
    Breakfast~Cereal with milk and fruit
   Lunch~Ham and Cheese Pannini with potato salad and fruit
    Snack~homemade granola
    Breakfast~ bacon, egg and cheese burritos
    Lunch~Grilled Cheese
    Snack~peanut butter and crackers
    Supper~Pork roast with spaetzle salad broccoli
    Snack~vanilla pudding
    Breakfast~French toast with fruit
    Lunch~grilled cheese with yogurt and chips
    Snack~ice cream
    Supper~BBQ grilled chicken, corn on the cob and green bean with salad
    Snack~angel food cake with strawberries