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Monday, April 29, 2013

Homeschool in the Woods TOS Review

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in pdf format.

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CD $22.95
Download (pdf) $21.95

Recommended for grades: 3-8

What Is This? - 

This is a printable lap book that contains 22 different projects to do.  These projects go over important history events throughout the 20'th century.  Transportation, music, food, art, major movements, the stock market, are just a few of the projects in this package. 

Some supplies are needed for these lap book projects but they are pretty basic things you would have already in your home or office like pencils, glue, scissors, colored pencils or markers, file folders and/or a 3 ring binder for example.  

What you will receive for the download - 

Introduction and Directions- 
These pages supply instructions on how to assemble and use the product.

LapBook Project Masters- 
These are the 22 projects that you would print out and do.

Reading Text Pages- 
These are the reading pages.  You have the option of reading them off of your computer, or print them out in full page or mini-book.  Depending on the reading level and/or ages of your children, some may be able to read these themselves.

First, you would read the booklet (reading text pages), then you can begin to work on your projects.  Once those are completed, you then place them in your folders (aka lap book).

Below is a sample of the 'Movements That Made a Mark in History' project-

You have 4 movements to read about. (We printed out the mini book as seen below.)

You put together the little booklets, color them, and then place them on the template.  (This one is placed in the lap book already.)  

This lap book also has several additional resources that you can follow.  For example, there is a list of dozens of books to check out at your local library and even music recommendationsYou can really get deep into the study or just use the information provided.

How I Used the Product-

I used this with my 10 yr. old son several days per week.  I printed off the reading mini booklet and a few projects to start.  We read one section, and then completed that project.  We then placed that finished project in our lap book.  We chose to do it this way for a few reasons.  First, placing the projects in the lap book itself is the fun part for my son and it would take us too long to do ALL the projects before he got to the fun stuff. ;)  Second, we do many lapbooks during the year and this is how we have always done them.  So as you can see you can alter the process to fit your homeschool needs.  We didn't use the other resources provided, we found that what came in pdf format was enough for us.

We are still working on this lap book and this picture below is one of the projects we are looking forward to doing.  

It's the 'Art Movements of the Modern Era'.  (This is a photo of what the finished project will look like.)

What My Son(s) & I Thought-

My youngest son loves lapbooking and he really enjoys the hands-on learning style.  He liked assembling the different projects (they are very unique), and he found them fun and challenging.  I did however feel that the reading was way above his comprehension level.  While reading the mini book to him, I had to stop several times and explain what I was reading about.  I feel that it should be geared more to middle school and jr high level.  The positive to this is that I did find that the reading had wonderful and very important historical events that all children should not just read, but take in & memorize.  I discussed several of these with my younger son and explained them in detail.  It was good conversation and opened great teachable moments for us. 

I had my high schooler do a few of the projects and he found them very interesting and he even got creative and mixed the assembly of this lapbook up a bit.  He had no problem comprehending the reading and enjoyed it.

The lap book instructions were a bit confusing for me to follow at first, but once I read through a few times, I understood it.  But in all fairness, this lap book is definitely more advanced then any lap book we have ever done.  With it being way over my sons comprehension level, I would feel confident using this in a few years with him again, while in middle school.

Overall, it is a very good study 'in-depth' study for the 20'th century era. 

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Monday, April 22, 2013

Tell your children you love them......everyday.

Life throws curve balls.  We need to make sure our kids feel secure when the curve ball crosses the plate.  Maybe your phone bill came and you are worried because it was too high.  Well, kids don't know whether you are struggling with money, or just upset that the bill is high.

We struggled financially years back but my kids always knew that we loved them.  We can't always hide our problems from them.  We can try, but things get overheard, or they can just feel tension.  I always assured them that the Lord God will supply all of our needs.....and he has.  We may not live on a huge ranch or in a glamorous mansion, but he has supplied ALL of our needs.  My husband has a wonderful job, my children have what they need, and we are healthy.

We also pray and support missionaries.  My children learn about what it is like in other countries.  How some don't know where their next meal is coming from and they can't claim to the love the Lord publicly.  We thank our Lord for what we have daily in our lives.  We also pray for those who don't.  God hears every prayer that we pray.  I hear my boys tell God that they love him......and it makes me smile. 

So tell your children that you love them daily.  They may say, 'I know mom'.  But you've planted that 'I Love You' deposit in them daily.  It builds up ........... and they know that you love them.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Progeny Press TOS Review

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 I was sent "The Hobbit" Study Guide 
 in instant download format for my review 
from Progeny Press.

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'The Hobbit Study' Guide 
Instant Download (pdf) $18.99
Printed Booklet $21.99
CD $18.99

Note:  This price is the study guide only.  The book will need to be purchased separate or borrowed from your local library.   

Recommended for middle & high schoolers.

Here are a few things also needed for this guide:
A good dictionary, a thesaurus, a Bible (NIV is what is used in the guide, but you can alter), and sometimes a topical Bible / concordance. 

What Is This? -

This is the study guide for the book "The Hobbit" by: J.R.R. Tolkien.  I received the instant download version of this guide.

The download comes with 3 files: 

* the guide itself
* the answer key
* the Read Me pages

Before you begin, you'll need to read the Read Me file because this guide offers (included in the download purchase above) an Interactive Study Guide.  The student has the choice of doing the study guide on paper or typing in the answers directly into the computer file online.  They do not grade them though, this you will have to do.  But all the directions are in this Read Me section if you plan to do so.  

In the guide itself, there is a note to the instructor that tells how to use the guide step by step.  There is also a Synopsis of the story and also information about the author, J.R.R. Tolkien.  It also contains questions for the chapters that build critical thinking and comprehension skills.  There are Bible verses to look up in each chapter review section 

The chapter reviews consists vocabulary sections, characterization sections, chapter questions and extra activities.  They mix it up a bit and have different styles of vocabulary assignments.  

For example, chapters 1-3 worksheets have the vocabulary in multiple choice style.   

But in chapters 4-6, they are printed as fill in the blank style by picking a word out of the 'word box'.  

The Biblical portions have scriptures to look up and then questions to answer.  The questions are not typically 'yes' or 'no' type answers.  The student must use critical thinking to answer some of these.  

The answer key is simply written.  Here is an example:

This guide states that it takes eight to ten weeks
to complete, generally working on one section per week.

When finished, this study guide is worth 1/4 of a high school credit.

How I Used the Guide -

I had my high school son use this guide.  We borrowed the book from our local library.  I printed off a few lessons from the guide at a time for him and placed them in a file folder with fasteners.   

He used this program daily.  Since the study guide had the chapters review listed as chapters 1-3, then chapters 4-6, etc., he read the first three chapters over a few days, then picked up the guide and finished the work inside for those chapters inside and so on.  In the note to instructor it states the guide works best when the student reads the entire book first, then go to the guide.  We chose to do it a bit different.

What I Thought -

I was impressed with how thorough Progeny Press created the study guide.  We have used other study guides in the past but Progeny Press seem to put the extra effort into the critical thinking part.  I liked how they changed the form of the vocabulary sections (like mentioned above)We like variety.

My son, who is an avid reader, seemed to like it.  Like many teenage boys, he isn't fond of writing.  This guide forced him to write lengthy answers down, not just 'yes' or 'no'Mom liked that; he managed.  :)

I really liked that the course / study guide was equivalent to 1/4 of a high school credit.  This would be great to have my son pick out 4 of these study guides to do for one full Literature credit next year since he loves to read.

Overall, I was pleased with the product.  I would highly recommend this study guide over all the ones I have come across in my 9 years of homeschooling.

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Coming Soon......Review on Mango Lanuages!

Looking for a foreign language for your homeschool, yourself or someone you know?  

Stay tuned for my review coming up the end of May on Mango Languages!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Knowlege Quest TOS Review on Sacagawea ebook

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$4.97 for Kindle edition  
through Amazon.
Recommended for ages 10+

What Is This? -

This is a historical novel of a Shoshone tribe girl named Sacagawea.  The ebook contains 16 chapters.  The story takes place in 1809 in the mid/north west.  She and her sister were kidnapped when they were young teens.  The tribe that took them made them slaves and then wives.  During this time, she met 'Man-With-Red-Hair', also known as William Clark.  He accompanied another white man named Meriwether LewisShe found both men quite interesting.  She watched Lewis make scratches in his journal, and she respected both men unlike her husband.  Sacagawea was treated badly by her husband, but she kept hope that someday she would make it back to her Shoshone tribe and homeland. Clark & Lewis, unlike her husband, treated her as an equalThey knew that she was a hard worker, smart, and he respected her.   

A few years after she was kidnapped, she gave birth to a son.  She didn't realize how much she could love someone that much.  She would love and protect him with everything she had inside her.
Shortly after the birth of her son, Lewis & Clark were about to journey through unknown land and they knew that Sacagawea was familiar with this land.  They needed her.  She knew the land was her way back to her homeland.    She went on that hard long journey and it would change her life.   

This book takes you right into the life of Sacagawea and lets you be there with her through her life experiences before and during her journey with Lewis & Clark.  

About The Company -

Knowledge Quest is a company with products to help you teach geography / history.  This company offers maps, timelines, books, mobile apps and classes.

Click HERE to see a video about Knowlege Quest.

How We Used This e-Book & What I Thought -

I read this to my 9 yr. old son 3-4 times per week.  I wasn't sure if he was going to be interested in this book.  A book about a Shoshone girl's life didn't seem too appealing at first to him.  But as I read, he started asking questions....which is a very good sign.  

This ebook is filled with interactive links that have loads of information.  For example, when the book told us about the men 'digging out canoes', the link connected us to a video of a man actually digging out a canoe.  My son loved that!  We watched that video a few times.  Another link we liked was when it described their clothing such as moccasins and leggings, the link showed us pictures of what they looked like.  Another link showed us buffalo hooves and told all about them.

We felt like we were really in the storyThe story displayed detailed maps to show where their journey started and where they traveled.  We didn't have to spend time searching for pictures on the internet or through books because the links were all there and they took us right to the examples and videos.  All the information packed in this book is not only amazing, but they were right at my fingertips.   

We really enjoyed this book and I would recommend this to anyone who wants to teach their children about the different indians, their lives and the journey of Lewis & Clark.  It was a wonderful experience. 

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Thursday, April 11, 2013

Spring time is learning time

Spring time is finally here!  I was beginning to think that it wasn't going to make it this year.  The beautiful 'Wild & Wonderful' West Virginia has had several days of 80 degree weather!  L O V E   I T !

This is a great time to teach your children botany / flowers.  There are so many things blooming.

Here are a few things to teach your children, yes even young ones.

* the difference between annual and perennials

* what type of bed is good - "Make Your Bed" will have a new meaning ;)

* which flowers need more sun than others and how to find out

* what kind of insecticide is good / natural pesticide vs. chemical

Let's face it, kids LOVE to get dirty.  They love to play in the dirt, mud and water.  So slap on the sunscreen and go to your local garden center (my favorit is Lowe's) and start planting!

Disclaimer:  All is my own opinion.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Are Homeschooling Conventions really beneficial?

I have been homeschooling for 9 years now.  Hard to believe that much time has passed.  Would you believe that this past weekend was my very first visit to a homeschool convention?  Yes, really.  I attended the Midwest Convention in Cincinnati, OH.

I thought the reason for these conventions were to view curriculum, but I learned this weekend that this isn't the only reason why people attend. Don't get me wrong, all the many curriculum vendors were wonderful!  They had toys, textbooks, games, brain builders, homeschool magazine offers, planners, T-shirts, notebooks, computer programs, DVD's, etc.  It took hours for me to go through them all and explore - which was a blast by the way :)  But I realized this weekend, that these materials are not the only tools we use to homeschool our children.  These conventions are filled with wonderful speakers & workshops that are so beneficial to anyone homeschooling, anywhere!  This was a MUST for me and I didn't even know it...... until I attended. 

One of the speakers I had the privilege of listening to was a woman who has 9 children as well as a few grandchildren.  Her youngest is elementary age.  She spoke many words of wisdom backed up with several scriptures to encourage and remind us what we are to be teaching our children and why it is so important and spiritual.  The value of life lessons, the overwhelming love and patience of our Lord, and the encouragement we are to give our little ones is so important.  I took plenty of notes and also placed them in my heart as well as my mind.  These many words of wisdom were needed in my homeschool.  The things she said, I was going through or at least had been through recently.  The examples she gave of her own trials and hurdles made me laugh, thinking of how I tackle these things daily.  The most important thing I placed in my heart and mind was that God is always here to help us teach our children.  When we struggle, get frustrated, get discouraged and are just plain tired.......God is here.  We just need to reach out to him.  Of course, as Christians we know this, but just like children we need to be reminded and encouraged or we don't apply it. 

I sat in quite a few of these workshops and all but one was beneficial.  (The one that wasn't beneficial is for another day of blogging, lol.)

So if you have never been to a homeschool convention, please attend.  Go with a group of moms, share a hotel room to help expenses, and be prepared for your homeschool to be revived!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Easter - Jesus is still the reason for the season

I hope everyone enjoyed their Easter weekend.  Some remember Easter as a sad time.  Even though Jesus did die on Good Friday, we forget the best part....... that he arose from the grave on that third day! 

Matthew 28:6-
He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.

What a special day to celebrate our Lord Jesus Christ.  
I get a bit aggravated at how the media and society commercialize Easter with fluffy bunnies, colored eggs and chocolate.  Don't get me wrong, I love chocolate and these other things too, but making that a focal point of Easter drives me nuts!  

When my kids were small enough to participate in the egg hunts, I let them.  But they know that Jesus, again, is the reason for the season.  We participate in Christmas w/ gifts, trees, etc.  but we still enjoy the season for how it is meant to be celebrated.... the birth and life of Jesus Christ.