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Friday, March 29, 2013

A Journey Through Learning Lapbooks TOS Review

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I received 4 different lapbooks to download from 
A Journey Through Learning Lapbooks.  


I was required to choose which one (or more) that I wanted to review.  

We chose 
"The Earth Lapbook".

 The Earth Lapbook is recommended for grades 1-4.

Instant Download $13.00
Printed $21.00

What Is This? -

These are educational lapbooks with great quality created by two homeschool mothers.  

You can purchase independent lapbooks or lapbooks that are part of a curricula such as Apologia.  You can look up different lapbooks by subject or you can just search through all of them.  They have so many to choose from.  Some of the independent lapbooks they have are Veggie Tales, math, Bible, sports, literature, spanish, seasonal, etc.  

Click HERE to view a list of all the different lapbooks they have to offer.

The company also offers $1.00 express lapbooks and a $5.00 lapbook of the month!  To see the month of March $5.00 lapbook, click HERE.

The lapbook we completed, 'The Earth' contained 42 pages.  It came with detailed instructions on how to assemble, what supplies I would need and even how to store my completed lapbook.   

The supplies needed for this particular lapbook were:

the printed lapbook pages
2 file folders
1 brad

To store your lapbook, you'll need: duct tape (any color), 3 ring binder and a hole punch. 

There is a reading page before each activity.  This page can be read by the teacher or the student (depending on how well the student reads).  

After the page is read, there is an activity page.  Some pages were black and white for the student to color themselves, while other pages were colorful.  The student then cut, pasted and did the work required then placed them into their file folder.  These pages included lines for some writing assignments.  It also contained pictures of each step so you could follow allow with.  

We used this everyday for about 4 weeks.  I read the reading page to my son (who is 9) and he did the activity page. 


This company also offers unit studies, copywork pages, notebook pages and much more.

What I Thought -

My son really liked this lapbook and we had a lot of fun doing it together.  He followed the directions well with my assistance and did a great job.  He loves the hands-on schooling and he liked the fact that he could look at the picture and determine where things go inside the lapbook all by himself.  He learned several new things about his Earth.

Ahhhhh, completion.  Kids love that they not only created something themselves, but that they completed something.

If you have never tried lapbooking before, you need to.  Kids love to cut, paste, and color so why not have them be educated at the same time?  They get to be artistic and they can even choose what type of lapbook they'd like to do with the many selections offered by A Journey Through Learning Lapbooks.  I highly recommend this company to any child of any ages.


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Thursday, March 28, 2013

Homeschooling Pioneers or kooks?

I recently came across an article about homeschooling.  Some doctors and lawyers were getting into the homeschool tradition and they mentioned that they thought homeschoolers were ladies in long skirts and then called them 'religious kooks'.  lol.  Yes, Kooks.  The majority of the article was pretty good, with the exception of the 'kooks'.

I wonder what a kook likes like?  Hmmmmmm.

Well, I just want to say thank you to the 'religious kooks' in the world!  If it wasn't for these ladies in long skirts (as they were also called) you and I wouldn't be legal to homeschool our children.  We need to call these wonderful ladies.....pioneers!  It's people like the 'kooks' who we should tip our hats to.  These ladies fought and stood up for what they believed was the best education for their children.  And if their reason to homeschool was religious, does it matter?

People homeschool for many reasons: religious, socializations, living situation, disabilities, I could go on.  There are several different reasons why one homeschools.  My original reason was not for religious reasons at all.  My children were in a private Christian school in our church!  My reason was honestly, I felt that I could do the same job (if not better) than they could and have the benefit of being with my children all day.  Lets face it, children grow up fast.  Every day is one step closer to them leaving the nest, which is our goal of course.  The goal of raising good Godly young adults to go into the world and make a difference. 

Proverbs 22:6
Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.  (NIV)

So again, thank you KOOKS for your dedication and strength to fight for our homeschooling rights!


Monday, March 25, 2013

Math U See TOS Review

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I was sent the following for review:


The Geometry Instruction Pack   Price $57.00
The pack includes the hardcover Instruction Manual (253 pages) & the DVD set (includes 2 disc).

The Geometry Student Kit    Price $32.00
The kit includes the softcover student text (371 pages) & softcover test booklet (88 pages).  Both of these books are 3 hole punched and have easy tear out pages for your convenience.

MUS does offer an on-line Geometry class as well for $350.00 (books & DVD are not included in this price.)

For this course, you'll need a straight edge or ruler, a protractor, and a compass.  You may also use a calculator is desired.

What Is This? -

Math U See is an extensive Math program that teaches students with using manipulatives.  These help teach the math concepts using multi-sensory to children K - 12'th grade.  

MUS has arranged their products by topic, not grade level.  

There are placement tests available for your student/child to take to determine where they should start.  Click HERE to find out more about the placement tests.

MUS doesn't just want to 'teach' math to students, they want to help them master each level so that the student can demonstrate and understand each and every concept.   

For a sample lesson, scope & sequence and / or overview click HERE.

The student workbook / text has 3 sections for each lesson.  The Lesson Practice, the Systematic Review, and the Honors Lessons.  

The Lesson Practice is the assignment that the student does to make sure he/she understands the lesson just learned.  

The Systematic Review reviews the new material as well as concepts that the student has previously studied.

The Honors Lessons help the child with problem solving skills.  These pages are completely optional but recommended if your student plans to take advanced courses in math and/or science. 

Each lesson has a test in the test booklet.  These help demonstrate the mastery of that new concept in that lesson. 

The length you spend on each lesson is up to you (the teacher) and your student.  It is recommended to spend the time you need so the student masters the concept as well as do the first few problems togetherThis program stresses that you shouldn't just do all the worksheets to finish them.   

The Goal:
The book states, "The goal is not to fill in worksheets, but to be able to teach back what has been learned."  The goal is for the student to be able to teach the lesson to you, which would prove that  he/she has mastered the concept.

Whether you are homeschool mom and want to teach the Charlotte Mason, Classical or Relaxed method, or a private /public school teacher in a classroom, MUS has something for you. 

 My son is currently using this now 3-4 times per weekHe watches the DVD lesson while having his book open to the lesson practice page.  After the DVD lesson is taught, he then finishes the first section, the Lesson Practice.  I check his work.  If he gets any problems wrong, we go over it and depending on how many were incorrect, I have him do the next section, Systematic Review.  I then check those answers.  As long as he has mastered the new concept, I give him the option of doing the Honors Lessons.  He does choose to do the Honors Lesson quite often.

A little about the company & creator -

In the late 1980's, Steve Demme, the founder of Math-U-See, was teaching his concepts to students in public & private schools.  In the 1990's, homeschoolers started showing interest in his math approach.  He has been training teachers (and homeschool co-op groups) for over 20 years to use his math concepts.

In 1994, MUS was created.  Ten years later, he introduced his DVD's In these DVD's, he instructs the math lessons to the students himself.

For a few video samples of these instructions, click HERE and scroll down.  Mr. Demme has his own family run a company called Demme Learning which is the publishing brand for MUS.  They are located in Lancaster, PA.  

Demme Learning has also won several math awards. 



To watch a video from Mr. Demme on an overview of MUS, click HERE.

What I Thought -

I have heard many good things about MUS.  We have tried many math curricula in the past and we had finally found something (not currently MUS) that worked for us so we were determined to stick with it.....until now.  :)
I am definitely adding this to my curricula in the future.  I wasn't sure about having my child watch an instructor teach math on a DVD.  I have always taught him from a teacher's edition myself in the past so this was new.  I really like the way that Mr. Demme presents the lessons and give the students examples.  He interacts with the classroom students on this DVD and he gives them opportunities to ask questions.  These questions are the ones that my son may have needed to ask in the lesson 

I also liked that they don't list the products by grade level but they let you decide (by taking the placement test) on where your child/student should start.  Every child learns at a different pace and not in the 'cookie cutter' grade levels, so as homeschoolers this was a big plus.

My son really seems to like it too.  He likes that the video lessons are not long drawn out lessons.  He doesn't like math very well, but this program he wanted to do and actually started doing the Honors Lessons without being asked!  This is huge for us!  I am very happy with this program and I highly recommend this to students.

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Friday, March 22, 2013

Pros Of Homeschooling & Pros Of Public Schooling

I thought I'd list some pros of homeschooling & pros of public schooling.

First, I'd like to take a minute and tell you that I am NOT completely anti-public school.  I think that every family is different and you need to do what is best for your family.  And under certain circumstances you may not be able to homeschool.  Or if you have your children in the public school or private school setting and you are not interested in homeschooling at advice is to PAY ATTENTION to what they are learning!  You may be surprised.  (That topic is for another blog later on.)

So here we go....


You don't have to worry about offending another classmate with your Christian beliefs.

You can learn about what interests YOU.

You have the freedom to move ahead in any or all subjects due to the fact you don't have other children that are holding you back.

You never have to worry about failing.  If you are behind in something, you just stay on that area until it is mastered.

You have the whole world as your open classroom.

You don't have to eat school lunches.  ;)

You don't have any sick days.  Ok, maybe this is a con.  lol

You can vacation whenever your family wants too and beat the Christmas vacation & spring break rush!

You can homeschool in your PJ's.

You have the luxury of sleeping in if desired.

YOU choose your social circles.  (Parents, YOU choose a positive social group for your children.)


You get to eat school lunches.

Your social circles pick you by 'keeping up with the Joneses' in social status.

You do NOT get your mother for a teacher, you get a teacher chosen for you.

You are free to get up early and be the 'cookie cutter' public school kid.

You get to have a dress code; daily.

You get to learn about evolution and cannot speak about creation.

I think we all get it.  There is no cookie cutter homeschooler.  We do not sit home and shut ourselves off from the outside world.  If some do, it's because the world is turning into an evil place and we choose not to be part of it.

Romans 12:2
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Once you get to know homeschoolers, we are pretty cool.  We accept everyone because we understand that God created everyone and we are to love our neighbour as ourselves.

Thinking about homeschooling?  There are several homeschool bloggers and web sites out there besides me that have wonderful advice.  Here are a few of my favorites.  Check them out and enjoy.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Classical Academic Press TOS Review


I received the following books for review:

An Introduction to Formal Logic

Recommended for students 8'th grade and up.


The student book / workbook is a soft cover with 324 black and white pages. 
Price is $26.95
ISBN13: 9781600510335
This book is available as an e-book in both Kindle & ibook (Apple) formats (prices vary through & Apple).

Usually this course is studied with "The Art of Argument" (course on informal logic), but not a pre-requisite.


An Introduction to Formal Logic

The Teacher Edition is also a soft cover containing 351 black and white pages.  
Price is $29.95
ISBN13: 9781600510342

The teacher edition is exactly like the student workbook but has addition material.  It not only contains the answers, but it also offers sample essays, dialogues and arguments.  It contains some great teaching tips as well. 

What Is This? -

This workbook contains 4 Units / 9 chapters.  Like mentioned above, it contains 324 black and white pages.  There are several lessons within each chapter / unit.  

The company provides (free) schedules for you if desired.  You have your choice of a semester long schedule or a year long schedule.

Click HERE to view either schedule. 

Each chapter has 'points to remember' listed before the lesson begins.  The student looks over these, then begins reading the lesson.  After the lesson, there is a 'define' area.  This is where the student must define the important terms introduced in the chapter they just read.  There are also a few question to be answered.  Lines are provided for the student to write on if desired.  Last, there is a 'Deduction in Action' section to read.  This contains review material for the student to read.

They offer a sample chapter of each book.  
To view, click on which book below you'd like to view.

What I Thought? -

My son used this 4 times per week.  He would read one chapter and then do all the review activities.  He enjoyed the course.  He used this independently.  Some of the review questions we did together though.  He's seemed to catch on very quickly.  

This logic course was recommended for 8'th grade and up, but I feel it could easily be used as a high school course equivalent to one full credit.   

There is not a test or quiz book offered with this course, just the review after each lesson which was fine for us.  I didn't feel that any tests or quizzes were needed due to the fact that I could tell whether my child understood it by looking at his answers in the review after each and every lesson.  

I felt that this course was an asset  to our homeschool.  We have been looking for a 'logic' course for a while and didn't really know where to begin looking.  We were happy to see this come up for review so we could investigate the world of logic.

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