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Sunday, June 30, 2013

Moving Beyond the Page Schoolhouse Review #hsreviews

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When I first found out we were going to review 2 Units from Moving Beyond the Page we were excited, but once we opened our box from them we were overjoyed. We received A Girl Named Disaster as an online literature unit and Africa Today as a physical social studies unit. 
Moving Beyond the Page offers full comprehensive curriculum packages for students 4-14. The curriculum packages contain Language Arts, Writing, Science, and Social Studies for all levels with Math for ages 5-9. Each unit can be purchased individually. The units come as a spiral bound workbook or as a printable online unit.  

We received one physical unit and one online unit. We were allowed to chose which ones we wanted to study so I asked my girls what sounded good for the summer. They chose A Girl Named Disaster as our online literature unit, so we went ahead and chose Africa Today as a physical Social Studies unit to go along with it.  

We received the book titled A Girl Named Disaster and access to the online curriculum unit, Africa Today workbook, Geography Of the World, an Encyclopedia of the Ancient World, and a Cannonball Gourd. 
A Girl Named Disaster
The Literature Unit for A Girl Named Disaster comes with the curriculum, the book, and the cannonball gourd. They can be purchased as a set for $23.92 for online access to the curriculum or $27.98 for the physical workbook. This Language Arts curriculum can be completed in 19 days and is recommended for ages 11-13. There is a complete list of prerequisites and summary of skills to see if your child is ready for this unit.

  • A Girl Named Disaster, $6.99 ~ This 310 page book is a story about an 11 year old girl named Nhamo who lives in a traditional African village in Mozambique in 1981. She doesn't really fit in with the rest of the tribe and is only really liked by her grandmother. For her own safety her grandmother sends her away on what should be a short trip on the river. Instead it turns into a year-long adventure as Nhamo faces challenges she never imagined. She has to be courageous as she enters into a world she never knew existed. 
  • 4" Cannonball Gourd $4.00
  • A Girl Named Disaster Language Arts curriculum online $12.93 ~ There are 12 lessons in this unit with each one having 3 parts.
    • Into~ Includes an introduction of the reading material for the day, a list of items needed, things to think about, things to know, and a Reading and Questions section that tells the child what to look for while they are reading that they may need for their written work. 
    • Activities~ Some of the activities include map work, coloring flags, making an African Quilt, editing sentences, History, and more. 
    • Conclusion~ Here we have Life Application with discussion questions and things to review with your child.  

The online version is very easy to navigate for the parent or the child. Here is the screen that contains your units. We only have one online unit.

After clicking on your unit you will have access to all the lessons. Once a lesson is completed it is checked off and marked out. You can go back to any lesson that has already been completed as long as you still have access to your unit.

This is a sample of the unit. Each lesson has three sections that are easily located in the tabs. 

Africa Today

Africa Today is a Social Studies Unit is for ages 11-13 and can be completed in 19 days. This Social Studies package can be purchased as a physical book for $56.97 or with online access $52.91. It includes Africa Today workbook, Geography of the World, and an Encyclopedia of the Ancient World.

  • Geography of the World: The Essential Family Guide To Geography and Culture, $19.99~ This is a 304 page 8 1/2" X 11" softcover book. It covers each continent & describes the people who live there. Each country or groups of countries then have their own maps showing its cities, towns, and geographical features. 
  • The Usborne Internet-Linked Encyclopedia of the Ancient World, $19.99~ This 7 1/2 X 9 1/2 colored softcover book has 400 pages. This beautifully illustrated encyclopedia covers the first farmers of the Middle East to the mighty empires in Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece and Rome.
  • Africa Today Social Studies workbook $16.99, online $12.93~ The 200 page workbook is spiral bound and divided into 7 lessons and a Final Project. It starts with an overview of Africa and continues on through each major section. The student will create a wall map of Africa, keep a journal of current events, and explore African folktales. 
Our units were suggested for kids ages 11-13. The online units can be printed and used with more than one child, but the workbook is consumable and copyrighted so each student will need their own workbook. Amber is 12, Delaney is 11, and Alaina is 8, they worked on the units together with Amber using the consumable workbook.

I read A Girl Named Disaster out loud during our family read aloud time. We answered and discussed the questions out loud, Amber & Delaney worked on the writing assignments, and they all three enjoyed the activities. They liked coloring the flags and creating the Guidebook to African Animals the best.
Amber used the Africa Today workbook, but I included all three of them in the discussions and research. Amber really liked that there are a variety of projects included in this unit. She loves maps & she really likes to write, but she also still enjoys other activities. She loved creating her wall map throughout the unit & liked the charts, mini books, and creating a brochure. The additional books that are required for this unit are so nice. They include beautiful photos and illustrations that make research enjoyable and come alive for the unit. My girls also liked just flipping through the books to look at the pictures and read things that caught they interest.

We were given an online unit and a physical unit, they both have their pros and their cons. We are a book loving family in any form and we really like the spiral workbook. The pages can be completely flipped to the back to make it easier to use. I just feel more organized having a book, and its easier to use it anywhere in the house or if I include everyone in the discussion questions and we move to the couch. The downfall is you have to purchase additional worksheets for each child, so it may become more expensive. The online unit was very easy to navigate, it is cheaper and the worksheets can be printed for all the children within your family. Once you activate your online unit you will have access to it for 90 days. Customer service is very accommodating and will extend your unit if you need more time. You may purchase all your units at once and wait to activate them when you are ready.

My girls knew a little about Africa when we started our units, but they knew very little about the cultural traditions of the tribes. It was an eye opener to them to see how different people still live in other cultures when our society is so modernized.

Moving Beyond the Page has so much to offer and we enjoyed our units so much we are looking forward to purchasing more in the future. My girls have their eye on a couple of science units that they would love to use.


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Thursday, June 27, 2013

Brown Sugar Sandcastles

I had a cake order with a beach theme. After icing it I decided to add some fondant decorations. 

I thought it needed a little something else, so I added a brown sugar sandcastle. 
It was really fun. I'm thinking someone needs to have a beach wedding theme with a sandcastle as their topper.

Amber & Delaney were at youth camp, so Alaina wanted to be in the kitchen with me, so I gave her some icing, a plate, and a bowl of brown sugar. 

She made a brown sugar castle & added water with people swimming. 
We both had so much fun playing in the brown sugar. I'm thinking this might be a fun activity for VBS next year.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Cascade Platinum Sponsored #MyPlatinum

I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Cascade. I received a product sample to facilitate my review and a promotional item as a thank you for participating.

I love to cook & bake and I could easily spend every day in the kitchen. My friends are always asking me for my recipes or cooking advice and I like sharing our favorite recipes on my blog. Of course with every recipe I need a good picture to go along with it. Sometimes I will spend a lot of time preparing my food, making it look good on the plate and I even remember to take a picture of it only to notice hard water spots and streaks on my dishes and silverware when I look at my photos. 

I have been using the new Cascade Platinum Pacs and not only do they keep my dishes from becoming cloudy, but they actually shine. 

I love when my plates sparkle in my photos!
Even my kids like to take pictures of their food!

These Platinum Pacs are the best dishwasher detergent pouches from Cascade. They fight grease with the power of dawn, fights tea & coffee stains, leaves a brilliant shine like the other Cascade products but they also are better at leaving your dishes spotless & are tougher on food enzyme action. It is absolutely the best at leaving the dishwasher looking clean without leaving a film. 

Cascade Platinum works because it has an advanced triple recipe designed to leave your dishwasher virtually spot free and help reduce the build up of hard water on the dishwasher walls. This new Cascade Platinum just became available in February and comes in fresh or lemon burst scents.

Cascade is the #1 recommended brand in North America by KitchenAid, Maytag, Whirlpool, & GE Appliances. All you need is one pouch per load, and if you want outstanding spot protection you can still use Cascade Rinse Aid in each load.

Enter to Win a $10,000 KitchenAid Kitchen Makeover!!

Cascade Platinum is hosting an Instagram contest. You can enter photos of how Cascade Platinum makes your dishes shine for a chance to win a $10,000 KitchenAid Kitchen Makeover and a years supply of cascade. There are also weekly winners who could win a KitchenAid Dishwasher and 6 month supply of Cascade. I'm thinking everyone will want to win this contest.  

If you love Cascade you can connect with them on Facebook.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Lily Lapp Schoolhouse Review

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The biggest form of entertainment in our house is reading a good book. I read out loud to my family every night and we always have a list of books to keep us going. My girls also love to read, they will beg me every night if they can read in bed.

The series we are reading now is The Adventures of Lily Lapp from Baker Publishing Group. I had never heard of them until we received book one Life with Lily and book two A New Home for Lily to review with the Schoolhouse Review Crew.

Lily Lapp is a young girl in an Old Order Amish family. Her books take us on adventures that she experiences at home, at school, with her brother & her friends. Although she lives in the United States she lives a completely different lifestyle than we do, but she is still a little girl and makes mistakes and gets in trouble just like all little girls.
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Life with Lily is the first book in The Adventures of Lily Lapp series. We meet Lily and her family living on an Amish farm in upstate New York.  Lily gets a new baby brother and into a lot  mischief when her friend Mandy Mast comes over. This 288 page book is recommended for ages 8-12 and can be purchased for $12.99.
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A New Home for Lily is Book Two. Lily Lapp and her family move to a new Amish community in Pennsylvania. There she meets the most annoying boy ever, gets used to a new school, and makes new friends. Lily gets into mischief with her brother & she can’t understand why God can’t give her a baby sister instead of another brother.  This 266 page book is recommended for ages 8-12 and can be purchased for $12.99.

The very first day we received our books Delaney (age 11) started book #1. Alaina (age 8) wanted me to read them out loud, but I wanted to finish the book we were on first. I told her she could read one of the books, but she thought they were too thick for her to read. They are recommended for her age and she could read them, she was just intimidated with how long the books are.  Once I started reading it, she loved the story and would beg for more each night.

We all really like these books, they are very sweet and clean. My girls have seen Amish people in Indiana when we go visit our family, but they didn’t really know much about the Amish way of life, so they were very intrigued with how they live. Amber (age 12) is at the age where she questions everything and there are some things she couldn't understand about the Amish. For instance when Lily’s family moves to Pennsylvania they have to make new clothes and head coverings to match everyone else in the church there. When Lily questions her mom, she doesn’t have an answer for her, just says that it is tradition.

Our favorite part of A New Home for Lily is when she wants to make jello for her grandmother. They buy their jello in a big package and she wanted to make enough for everyone so she scooped out a cup of powder for each person. She started adding the boiling water when her  mom came in, they ended up having to add so much water that they had a bucket full of jello.
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I really like reading The Adventures of Lily Lapp. I like to read stories of where girls wear dresses and the children go barefoot. I also like to play like I live on a farm like Lily and experience the things that she does. My favorite part of Life with Lily is when her dad said he was going to get a horse small enough for Lily and her brother Joseph to ride. Lily was very surprised when her dad hooked the minature horse to her sled.
~Delaney age 11
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On The Adventure of Lily Lapp website you can meet all the characters and play games, including recipes, puzzles, quizzes, and coloring pages.  Delaney got on the website and printed out all the coloring pages to color while I read to them. The coloring pages are the pictures that are included in the books, so they could color the same thing we were reading about. Amber even drew some pictures to go along with some chapters.
Lily at the kitchen counter. ~Amber age 12

The Adventures of Lily Lapp series is written by Mary Ann Kingsinger and Suzanne Woods Fisher.

Mary Ann Kingssinger was raised Old Order Amish in Pennsylvania, she married her husband who she had known from her school days. After leaving the Amish church she started a blog, A Joyful Chaos, to share warm memories of her childhood with her children.

Suzanne Woods Fisher has many wonderful memories of her Old Order German Baptist grandfather from Pennsylvania. She has written many fiction and nonfiction books about the Amish and was very happy to share Mary’s stories with her own children. 

I am very happy to introduce these stories to my own children and if you sail over to the Crew Blog you can read other Crew reviews.
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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

No Bake Cheescake

My husband would rather eat a cheesecake from a box mix than one of my homemade baked ones. The rest of us don't really like the box mix, so this recipe is our compromise. 

No Bake Cheesecake
1 sleeve graham crackers
3 Tablespoons sugar
1/2 stick of melted butter

1 8 ounce pkg cream cheese (room temperature)
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup powdered sugar

3 1/2 cups strawberries
1 cup water
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch

~Crush graham crackers and mix with sugar. Add melted butter stir and press into pie pan. 

~Whisk heavy whipping cream until fluffy using a mixer (or use cool whip).
~Beat cream cheese in an electric mixer until creamy scraping the sides of the bowl often. Add sugar until combined. 
~Fold whipped cream with the cream cheese mixture.
~Fill pie pan.

~Stir sugar and cornstarch together and set aside.
~Crush strawberries in blender then heat strawberries and water for 5 minutes.
~Add lemon juice. 
~Stir cornstarch/sugar mixture to strawberries and bring to a boil.
~Boil 2 minutes or until thick. Let cool.
~Add sauce to the top of the cheesecake.
~Garnish with fresh fruit.

Adventures in ODYSSEY A.C.T.S. and Giveaway

Disclaimer: I received a free Adventures In Odyssey Album in exchange for promoting their Act of Service Challenge & Contest. No other compensation was received and all opinions are my own.  

Summer is under way and I know some kids get bored with all their extra time. Adventures In ODYSSEY is encouraging everyone to use their imagination to come up with ways to serve in their Acts of Service Challenge.

Sometimes kids think that they are to young to serve others, but if they use their talents & their imagination they can come up with ways to serve others in their own neighborhood, church, or community. Mowing the grass for an elderly neighbor, volunteering to help at VBS, or picking up trash at the park are all ways kids can serve.

My girls have found a few ways to serve this summer without really thinking about it. Amber is very musical and she volunteered to help with music at our church VBS. It was a great experience for her, she was a big help to the teacher, and she was a wonderful example to the kids who attended. I have decorated cakes for years & my girls like to make cakes when they have a chance. A young man at church turned 13 & they decided to make him a cake. He wanted a 3D basketball cake and I think they did a great job with their first try at a 3D cake. They enjoyed making the cake, and the recipient and his mom were very surprised and pleased.
Ask your kids, they may have their own ideas of how they can serve. If you are having trouble coming up with any ideas you might find some in the FREE Summer of Service Kit.

Kids who join A.C.T.S. can pick up a service log and collect fun character stickers for hours served at participating bookstores throughout the summer, or download a serving log online at At the end of the summer, kids can record and upload a short video telling how they serve and why they’d like to become an Adventures in Odyssey Ambassador.

  • 100 Winners will get the new Adventures in Odyssey Album.
  • 2 Grand Prize Winners (one boy & one girl) will travel on an exciting Good-Goers Mission Adventure to Costa Rica this November with a parent. 

Have your kids read any of the Imagination Station beginner chapter books? My girls love them even though they are below their reading level. They are constantly asking me if there is another one coming out. I have a FREE download for the first book Voyage with the Vikings. I think your kids will be begging for the next one too.


I have a great giveaway!! I am giving away the first 3 books in the Imagination Station Series.

One of my readers will win the first 3 books in the Imagination Station Series. Just enter the Rafflecopter below.

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Prima Latina Schoolhouse Crew Review

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Memoria Press is a family run publishing company founded in 1994. They produce simple, easy-to-use classical Christian education materials for home and private schools. They are currently developing and testing a K-12 classical curriculum at Highlands Latin School in Louisville, Kentucky.

We had the pleasure of receiving Prima Latina to review. This Latin program is an introduction to Christian Latin for grades 2-4. The complete kit can be purchased for $90.90 and contains a Teacher Manual, Student Book, Instructional DVD Set, Flashcards, and a CD containing Pronunciation Guide, Songs, & Prayers.

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Prima Latina Student Book is a 132 softcover workbook that can be purchased for $14.00. This book is divided into 25 lessons (free sample) with a review lesson after every 5 lessons. Each lesson contains 5 vocabulary words with their English derivatives, a Latin phrase, and one line of a prayer that is completely learned after 5 lessons. The appendix contains all the vocabulary words, and Latin phrases learned. There are 7 Student Goals for Prima Latina:

  1. Learn alphabet and pronunciation of vowels and consonant sounds.
  2. Pronounce, spell, and translate 125 Latin words.
  3. Learn 25 practical Latin expressions & 4 prayers.
  4. Learn numbers 1-10.
  5. Learn names of popular constellations.
  6. Understand concept of English words derived from Latin.
  7. Grammar

The Teacher Manual is a 137 page softcover book (free sample) and can be purchased for $14.00. This book is exactly like the student book except it contains all the answers, Teaching Guidelines, Vocabulary Worksheet, Tests & Keys.

The Instructional DVD Set contains 9 hours of instruction on 3 DVDs and can be purchased alone for $45.00. Leigh Lowe is the author of Prima Latina and she also teaches the lessons on the DVDs. She explains  each concept along the way.

The Pronunciation CD contains 36 tracks and can be purchased for $4.95. Leigh Lowe pronounces each sound or word that is taught on the DVDs.

Prima Latina Flashcards can be purchased for $14.95. Vocabulary with derivatives, Latin sayings, and Conjunction & Declensions are included.

Each lesson contains 5 parts: the Lesson, Vocabulary and Grammar Forms, Practical Latin, and Latin Prayers. It is recommended that the student read the information in the workbook for each lesson, watch the lesson on the DVD, and then complete the workbook.

Prima Latina is very easy to use. There is no teacher prep other than putting the DVD and handing the workbook to your student. Aliana, age 8, is using this curriculum and it is going well. She said she doesn't like Latin, but she is retaining the information. Leigh Lowe teaches the lessons in a way that she can understand what is going on. I really like that during the lesson you can see Leigh, but you can also see the words on the screen that she is introducing. She speaks and pronounces each word very clearly on the DVD & CD, so that Alaina could understand how each word should sound. The workbook is printed in black and green and looks nice & clean. There is not an excessive amount writing and the spaces are big enough for Alaina to fit her complete answers.

Half of all English words are from the Latin language, and Prima Latina is a good, easy to use beginning Latin curriculum. It is written for teacher's who have no Latin background, and it will get your child ready for the Latina Christiana series from Memoria Press.

Members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew also reviewed Geography I you can read those reviews on the Crew Blog.
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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Dirty Rice Recipe

I am lucky that my husband will eat anything I cook. Even if he doesn't really like it, he never complains and he very rarely cares what we eat. Today the Schwans guy stopped by and Mike went to the door. We love their salmon steaks, so he decided he wanted to try their catfish and he wanted me to make dirty rice to go with it. My entire family likes rice, but I have never made dirty rice. I looked online to see what all was suppose to go in it, and I found several that were very different. I'm not really good at following a recipe how it is written, so I just made up my own.
Dirty Rice
1 lb. Johnsonville Hot Italian Sausage Links (we love this, but you could use any sausage)
1 diced onion
1 clove garlic
1 green bell pepper
4 cups cooked rice
Pepper to taste
1/4 cup parsley

  • Cook rice according to package.
  • I removed the casing from my sausage and cooked it in a large skillet until done.
  • Add onion, garlic, and bell pepper and cook until tender.
  • Add cooked rice, pepper, and parsley.
  • Stir to combine & serve.

We ended up having our catfish with dirty rice & corn. My girls weren't to fond of the dirty rice, but Mike loved it.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Christianity Cove Schoolhouse Crew Review

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Not only do I teach my own kids at home, I also teach Sunday School. The ladies in our church take turns teaching a class for 3 months at a time. I usually teach several classes of different aged kids throughout the year, and I am also in charge of crafts for VBS every summer. I am always on the lookout for different activities & craft ideas for my classes. I just discovered Christianity Cove when I received Make & Take Bible Crafts and Bible Memory Games to review.

Christianity Cove offers free or inexpensive  lessons, games, crafts, skits, and activities for Sunday School or Children’s Church. They believe you don’t have to spend a lot of money on Children’s Ministry to get the point across.
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Make & Take Bible Crafts is a 144 page e-book for $29.99. There are 47 crafts taught in this book that take 20 minutes from start to finish. There are 20 crafts from the Old Testament, 20 crafts for the New Testament, and 7 crafts for Christian Virtues.  All the craft ideas are inexpensive and use every day items, that you probably already have around the house. The easy to follow instructions require no special craft talent. Scripture verses and stories are included, so everything you need is in one place.

The Make and Take Bible Crafts e-book is set up very nice, there is a picture for each craft, then a list of materials needed and the scripture that goes with the craft. The craft preparation and directions are the final thing for each one. Some of the crafts are easier for younger children and there are some that can be used for older elementary.

I haven’t taught Sunday School during this review, but I used some craft projects  with my daughter age 8. I let her go through and pick out which crafts she wanted to work complete.
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Alaina (age 8) said she liked all the ones she made, but her favorite craft was for Samson. She used a piece of cardstock to draw Samson & Delilah then she used a hole punch above Samson’s head so that she could pull his hair back and make it shorter.

Bible Memory Games is a 166 page e-book that can be purchased for $29.00. There are 42 activities to aid in scripture memory. The scriptures learned are broken down into categories with 6 verses in each category. The themes include Salvation, Love, Good Behavior, Heaven, Faith, Faith over Fear, and Seeking God. The verses can be learned by category or individually. Each scripture  uses 2 visual games, 2 audible games, and 2 hands on games for different learning styles.
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There are worksheets, clapping games, creating songs, memory games, treasure hunts, and more included in the Bible Memory Game e-book. The wide variety of activities could easily be repeated over and over using any bible verse that you want to memorize. I will be using these ideas the next time I teach Sunday School, and I continue using them with my girls (ages 8, 11, & 12) now. There are some games that will be more easily used for younger children and there are some that could be used with anyone wanting to memorize scripture. My girls favorite is creating songs, it is much easier for them to memorize if we learn the verses with a rhythm and then we can work on them any time and any where.

Christianity Cove has a lot to offer that can be used for Sunday School or bible time at home. The Schoolhouse Review Crew had several different title to review, so sail over to the Crew Blog to read about those.

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Monday, June 10, 2013

Let's Make a Web Page Schoolhouse Review

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My kids love to be on the computer and they pick up things on it very fast. Delaney just finished using Let’s Make a Webpage from Motherboard Books and she was very pleased with her results.
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Let’s Make a Webpage is a 60 page e-book for ages 8 and up. It can be purchased from Motherboard Books for $19.95.

I had Delaney use this e-book and she is 11. It was very easy for her to follow along and complete her page. There were only a few places that she wanted my help, and she finished it in one afternoon.
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The instructions have you use CoffeeCup to create the webpage, and you can download this and use it free for 30 days. There 10 lessons that introduce your child to making web pages. The instructions teach you to build a webpage and use it on your own computer as a home page.

Lesson 1 has the student complete an interview to use on the webpage. Instructions for downloading the CoffeeCup Site Designer is given step-by-step with screen shots to help the student know what to look for on their own computer or what they should be seeing. Adding text, color, photos, background textures, sound, and adding links are all covered in this book.

Delaney chose to interview her brother who is currently stationed in Afghanistan. She thought of some questions to ask him for her interview. She  added her text and then found a picture of the two of them that was taken a couple of years ago when he just graduated from basic training to use. She liked her photo so much that she decided to use it as a back ground and add her text to it. She was able to resize and position her text to look nice on top of her picture.

I think this is a very well written curriculum for beginners. The e-book was very easy to download to our computer & then we sent it to our Kindle Fire. Using our Kindle for this book worked out great because Delaney could easily see the instructions & the e-book. I love that the screen shots were included in the text, this left no doubt in Delaney's mind of what she was looking for. She had so much fun with this curriculum that she is wanting to start her own blog now.

Motherboard Books was created by Phyllis Wheeler because she was worried about her own homeschool kids falling behind in computer skills. She is a Mechanical Engineer who has taken many programming courses over the years and decided to offer a class to homeschool children. She then decided to record what she was teaching to create computer curriculum.

Let's Make a Web Page makes building a web page easy for kids. Motherboard books also provides Logo Adventures which helps kids 8-12 with MicroWorlds programming. There is also a Free Internet Scavenger Hunt for your kids to enjoy. 

Members of the Schoolhouse review Crew also received Logo Adventures, sail on over to read what they thought about it. 

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