Saturday, June 30, 2012
Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Busy Mom’s Guide to Parenting Teens
978-1-4143-6461-2, 5¼ x 8 softcover, $12.99
I'm sure we all remember those stressful times when our kids were infants, wondering why they are fussy, are they getting enough to eat, and on & on. Just as many if not more questions can arise once our kids hit those teenage years. The 7 chapters in The Busy Mom's Guide to Parenting Teens gives advice on our teens physical & emotional changes, tobacco, alcohol 7 drug abuse, as well as sex and why we should preserve it for marriage. Oh & maybe the biggest one.....the conflict we face with our teens.
Monday, June 25, 2012
Amber & Delaney both have iPods and their favorite app is iTranslate. They will spend hours looking up words to write out stories & plays. So they were overly excited when they heard we were going to review Homeschool Spanish Academy. At first I thought I would have to pick one student for the program but during our trial call I was informed I could have 2 students as long as they weren't more than three grades apart. So I had 2 very happy girls.
Homeschool Spanish Academy is interactive immersive lessons with 1-on-1 instructions from native Spanish-speaking professional instructors. By using Skype video conferencing young children through adults can learn to speak Spanish.
When we first signed up we had a Skype call from Tech support just to make sure our computer & internet could handle the Skype feed. During the initial call our video was a little delayed but it did not interrupt the sound or flow of the call. The first session is free if you would like to try it out, then we had 7 weeks of class.
When you first sign up you can choose your instructor, we didn't have a preference so we just choose any. We were assigned Rosa Menchú and my girls liked her & felt very comfortable with her so we chose her every time. Homeschool Spanish Academy uses Schedulicity to schedule the classes. It was very easy to use. After you login you can select your teacher & date and then you can see all the times the teacher has open and you can choose one that will work for you. A confirmation email is sent & then a reminder email is sent the day before the class.
Since Amber (age 11) & Delaney (age 10) didn't know much Spanish we chose to use the early language program. During the free session Rosa asked my girls about the Spanish they already knew. They only knew some greetings, count to 10, and a few other random words. Rosa started them with family words. While she talked about the Spanish words for members of the family she asked the girls questions about our family. She made notes about the names & ages of each family member so she could personalize the Spanish lesson with people the girls know. While we worked on older & younger, fruits, colors, days, months, and numbers she could ask the girls how old everyone is & what their favorite color & birthdays are. Rosa would speak Spanish to the girls & they would answer her in Spanish unless they didn't have a clue what she said and then she would prompt them in English.
While we were on the Skype video Rosa would put up a worksheet to show the pictures, words, sentences, etc. that the girls were learning or reviewing. She would also send us an email with the worksheets & quizes that they needed to complete. We added our worksheets to our Kindle Fire to review & they looked great on there. During the sessions Rosa would have them answer together & sometimes she would have them answer separately.
There are several different pricing options. You can choose early language, middle school, high school or adult program. Each group has 4 levels with each level having 2 sub-levels. Within each sub-level there are 14 classes, at least 5 quizzes, and at least 4 exams. The classes can be used with one student or two as long as they are within 3 grade levels of each other. The classes can be different for every student. Rosa started my girls where she thought they needed to be in the class but I noticed she went back to a lower lesson to cover something my girls were missing.
We all loved this program!! My girls started exactly where they needed to be & worked at a pace that was perfect for them. Rosa was a very good teacher. She was patient with my girls & gently corrected and prompted them when needed. Amber & Delaney both felt very comfortable with her even though they were nervous at their first session. The conversational way of our class made it easy for my girls to practice & remember what was being taught. It really helped that they could work on this together because it was easier for them to practice.
Sunday, June 24, 2012
Thursday, June 21, 2012
IXL is an online math program that goes from PreK to Algebra with Geometry & Trigonometry coming soon. This math practice website can be used with any curriculum. Each student has access to all the topics in every grade & the student can work on sections by grade or by topic. There are an abundance of math problems for every learning style. They approach math concepts from all angles, offering visual representations, word problems, and more. The practice environment encourages students to learn from their mistakes. You can keep up with your students learning through the reports and e-mail updates. They indicate exactly which problems the students missed, where they have trouble, how they've progressed, and how much they understand.
IXL is used in over 150 countries and matches up to all 50 states standards. The comprehensive state reports lets you know if your child is ready for a standardized test.
The emails that are sent are very brief and only state what the child has achieved & provides a link to print off their certificates if they have reach the goal. Once a week there is a family email sent that lists the stats for each child. IXL offers 37 reports to monitor progress & trouble spots for your child & you can view the actual problems that the child missed along with the answer they chose.
All three of my girls (ages 7, 10, & 11) had access to IXL. They all three enjoyed working on the problems but what really shocked me was when Amber said she actually likes IXL. Amber does not like math! Ok, she likes fractions and story problems but she doesn't see the need for a bunch of numbers on a page that need an answer. She said the main reason she liked this program is because she could move around where she needed to be very easily. If she didn't know how to complete the topic she could skip down a grade if it was easy she could move up one.
IXL can be purchased by the month or the year. The monthly plan is $9.95 or yearly for $79. for one student. Each additional student will be $2.00 a month or $20.00 a year.
Sunday, June 17, 2012
Modest Mama did an excellent job explaining on her posts. Amber followed her directions and finished the skirt with very little help in just a couple of days. Amber was very proud of her accomplishment & Alaina was very happy to wear her new skirt.
Friday, June 15, 2012
Amber loves to try new recipes and the newest one she tried came from the Creation Illustrated magazine. She made the Mint to Be Green Smoothie from the Spring 2012 issue.
The Homeschool Review Crew received a years worth of Creation Illustrated magazines to review. We received all four of our issues (Fall 2011, Winter 2012, Spring 2012, Fall 2012) at one time. The minute we opened up our package the girls all wanted a magazine. It worked out perfect they all three had one & so did I, good thing dad was at work.
As you can tell by the covers, the pictures are amazing and the same quality pictures are inside as well. The magazines are in full color glossy print and are very pleasing to the eye. Creation Illustrated is divided into three sections: Creation Illustrated In Nature, In Scripture, and In Living. There are articles from different Creation Days, Creation Highlights, Creation Stewardship, Genesis Cuisine with recipes, Children's Story, Instructional Guides, and puzzles. Some of the articles talk about animals, plants, stars, and so much more.
Creation Illustrated has been called the "Christian National Geographic". Well it is so much more than that. I love that there isn't any evolution but the scripture verses throughout the articles make this magazine even better. It is also very refreshing to pick up a magazine & only see family friendly adds.
If you can't tell the whole family has been enjoying these magazines tremendously!!
Creation Illustrated was created by Tom & Jennifer Ish because they wanted to serve God. They decided to show God's tender mercy through His handiwork in Creation Illustrated. They wanted to provide a balance of mental, spiritual, and physical enrichment in each edition and they have been succeeding for 19 years.
Creation Illustrated can be purchased for $4.99 an issue or you can receive 4 issues a year with a subscription.
- 1 Year $19.95
- 2 Years $37.95
- 3 Years $53.95
Pearson has been a big name in school curriculum for a long time and now they are branching into the homeschool market. Pearson Homeschool offered several products from their homeschool selection to members of the Homeschool Review Crew.
We received The Growth of Our Country 5B from the Pearson myWorld Social Studies Series. This is the second half of the 5th grade Social Studies curriculum. Included in our kit was a 330 page student handbook, a myStory Video on DVD-Rom, and a Teacher Resource Library on DVD-Rom.
The Growth of Our Country 5B is divided into 9 chapters:
- 9. Civil War and Reconstruction
- 10. Expanding West and Overseas
- 11. Industry and Immigration
- 12. Struggle for Reform
- 13. Good Times and Hardships
- 14. World War II
- 15. The Cold War
- 16. America Changes
- 17. Americans Today
The myStory Video on DVD-Rom contains a short video for each chapter.
The Teacher Resource Library on DVD-Rom contains the complete text that is in the student handbook. A Lesson Plan Summary is included with a suggested time frame spent on each area. All questions are answered on the page in bright pink. Activities, activity cards, blank maps, forms, outlines, charts, and colored maps are also included. There is a Podcast for the teacher in each chapter, it explains how the chapter works & the main points a child should know after completing the chapter. When you run this DVD it has a drop down list on the left side to access each chapter & what is included within each one. The tests open up as a word document or PDF form but the text & maps will open up in Adobe Reader.
The Growth of Our Country is a 5th grade curriculum but all 3 of my girls participated somewhat while using this. All three of them (age 7, 10, & 11) loved the videos. We thought they were very informational but held the attention of all three of the girls. They have watched the DVD several times, even in their free time. Each video has an adult & child discussing the issue while they are out at national parks, museums, Ellis Island, and more.
The student handbook is very attractive. I like that there are questions, charts, summarizing, and sequence include throughout the text and not just at the end of the chapter. I think that helps my kids to think about things while they are reading. My kids really liked the pictures, there are actual photos from the event or place, copies of actual newsprint and posters from the time being discussed.
I listened to the Podcast from the Teachers Resource DVD for each chapter first, and then we watched the video for the chapter before reading the text. I like having the video first because it got my kids thinking and asking questions before we actually started the book. We didn't actually write in our book since we were all doing this together, we just discussed the questions and charts in the lessons we completed. Now that the review period is over I will have Delaney (age 10) complete the rest of the book & she can answer the questions in the book. I am usually very involved in each class with my kids and I feel this curriculum worked well together and I think it will work great to have the child read and answer the questions on their own with discussion and help from the teacher.
The myWorld Social Studies bundle for 5th grade is $69.99 each and can be purchased at Pearson Homeschool.
Thursday, June 7, 2012
Each of my girls got an iPod Touch for Christmas last year & they love apps. They have all kinds of game apps to play, but I am always on the lookout for apps that they can actually benefit from rather than just for entertainment. Our latest app is from the Mobile Education Store and it is called Story Builder.
Story Builder is designed to help children improve the formation of a paragraph, improve integration of ideas, and improve higher levels of abstractions by inference. The use of audio clips helps improve auditory procession for special needs children.
There are 3 levels of play in Story Builder.
- Level 1 will ask 4 questions relating to a picture.
- Level 2 will ask 7 questions and the student will have to make inferences about what happened before and what will happen after the picture.
- Level 3 allows the student to make up any story for the picture.
Under settings you can change the color display and question display. When they are turned on the background of the question will be red and the question will remain on the screen while the child answers. Intermittent means the question is red & shows up while it is being read but will go away while the child is answering. When they are turned off the background remains the same color and the question is only read to the child & not seen. If the Answer Introduction Reinforcement is turned on the first couple of words to an answer sentence will appear after the question is asked. If it is turned off there will not be any words to help the student.
I added Story Builder to all 3 of my girls iPods and my iPhone. Amber (age11), Delaney (age10), and Alaina (age 7) used the app. They all three thought it was really fun to listen to themselves tell the story. The questions that are asked about the picture really get the kids thinking about what is going on, what has happened before, and what will happen next. My girls all like to write stories and this app has helped them in different areas. It has helped Alaina to pick out details for her paragraphs & stories on the app & the ones she writes. It has helped Amber & Delaney think about what is going to happen in the rest of their paragraphs and stories. We emailed a story to ourselves but we got an error saying we didn't have a program associated with this. We could see the picture but could not hear the audio.
I think this app would be wonderful for a child who struggles with picking out details in their writing. A child that needs to work on pronouncing their words correctly could also benefit greatly because they can record their answers and listen to them right away then record them again if they need to.
Story Builder is available for $5.99 and can be used on the iPod touch & iPhone. Check out other requirements here.
Monday, June 4, 2012
Farm Rich offers a variety of frozen products. There are Stuffed Pretzel Bites, Mini Pizza Slices, Philly Cheese Steaks, and mushrooms to name a few. It was hard to decide.
Disclaimer: I received 2 coupons valued at $6.99 each to purchase any Farm Rich products to use with my family in exchange for my honest review. Farm Rich is also providing 2 coupons values at $6.99 each to one lucky winner.