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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Shadow Puppets #shadowpuppets #puppetshow #kidspuppet

Amber & Delaney's class on Wednesday night at church has been working with puppets. Their teacher wanted the kids to learn how to use puppets to tell a bible story, after all they will be the teachers of the future. I think they all had a great time in the class.

Shadow Puppets 
Amber is the narrator

Monday, August 25, 2014

UberSmart Math Facts Review #hsreview

UberSmart Math Facts Review
If you read my blog you know that most of my kids are not fond of math, they would much rather read a book or write their own story than anything math related. This summer my girls have been using UberSmart Software from UberSmart Math Facts to work on their math facts. 
UberSmart Software is a windows based computer program that is actually downloaded onto your computer. It drills math facts for addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. It is available for $24.95 and is recommended for grades K-6. This program can only be used on a computer with Windows 7, 8, XP, and Vista. 
UberSmart Math Facts Review
This math program is used to review Addition/Subtraction facts that go through the 9s, and Multiplication/Division that has the option of going up to the 20s. There is three ways to use this program. Younger children can learn by using the Dot Cards. These cards look like the face of dominoes. Flash Cards are there for the older kids, and then there is the Keyboard Entry which would be like a speed drill.  
UberSmart Math Facts Review
Every time you open up UberSmart Math Facts you will get a screen that will have six tabs. 
  • Learn ~ This is where you chose Dot Cards for Beginners and Flash Cards for Intermediate. Here the fact is shown and you can click the Show button to see the answer.
  • Practice ~ You may choose to practice on the Dot Cards and Keyboard Entry for beginners, or Flash Cards for intermediate students. With the Dot Cards you get to select an answer, in Keyboard Entry the beginning student just types the number for keyboard practice, and in the Flash Cards the student types the correct answer.
  • Test ~ Here we have Assessment Tests for beginners and Mastery Test for intermediate. For these test you click the answer, but you have to click the next button to get a new fact. 
  • Compete ~ You will select the student and what level they are, and what facts they would like to work on here. Once a fact is given the card will move on automatically and you should be ready to answer the next fact card. 
  • Report ~ Here you can look at reports of the students progress, mastery, assessment, and completion. 
  • Maintain ~ This section is where you access the student accounts and information.
UberSmart Math Facts Review
I set this program up for all three of my girls ages 9, 12, & 13. My 9 year old is the only one that likes math. She thinks it is fun and she has really enjoyed using UberSmart Math Facts. The other two know their facts, but I had them work on this through the summer to build their speed and to build the confidence of my 12 year old. Each of my girls used this program several times a week. It is suggested that they use the program daily and I could see an improvement when we did use it every day. With the official start of school at our house I am planning on having them each use this twice a day for a short period of time. 

I really like that this program just covers math facts. There is no game aspect, no time wasted waiting on a graphic or video. The student just moves from one fact to the next. I also appreciate that this is a one time cost and the program is on your computer forever. No subscription fees or extra cost for multiple students. 

UberSmart Math Facts was created by David Kocur. His wife asked him to create a program to help the kids learn their addition and subtraction facts. He thought he would just find one to purchase, but didn't like any of them. He decided to write his own and after having success with his own kids decided to make it available to others. Even his daughter with learning disabilities due to epilepsy mastered her math facts and learned to do long division by the end of that school year. 
UberSmart Math Facts Review
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Friday, August 22, 2014

Orange Chicken

My kids are starting to enjoy cooking. Tonight Amber decided she wanted to cook. She wanted to make orange chicken by herself. She even wanted to cut the chicken and fry them. I let her do it all. She even cleaned the kitchen and loaded the dishwasher. She wanted our plates to look special so she even made a carrot flower.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Happy Kids Songs Review #hsreview

Happy Kids Songs Review
I can't believe that Alaina is almost 10!! Out of all my kids she has enjoyed playing with toys more, reading picture books longer, listening to little kid songs the longest. Sometimes she drives us crazy with wanting to listen to the same kid songs over and over. Lately she has been listening to songs from Happy Kids Songs
Happy Kids Songs has 8 volumes containing 5 songs each. We received three volumes: Friends & Sharing (Volume 1), Happiness & Attitude ( Volume 5), and Manners & Character (Volume 6). All the songs are recommended for children ages 3-8, but younger kids and some older kids will still enjoy them. Each song can be purchased for $.99 or each volume is $4.95 a piece. We also received the Happy Songs Workbook: Hands-on Activities to Build Character, Social and Emotional Skills to go with them. 
Happy Kids Songs Review
Friends & Sharing is Volume 1 contains 5 songs.
  • Sailing on the Seven Cs
  • Everybody Wants to Find a Friend
  • Sharing Friends
  • Happy as Happy Can Be
  • Together
Happy Kids Songs Review
Happiness & Attitude is Volume 5.
  • Shake It Out and Dance
  • Who Knows What's a Kudo
  • I Don't Understand
  • Be Good to Yourself
  • Better Together
Happy Kids Songs Review
Manner & Character is Volume 6.
  • H-o-n-e-s-t-y
  • The Magic Word
  • Quirks
  • The Golden Rule
  • Six Little Kids
All the songs contain uplifting encouraging lyrics set to upbeat popular music styles. The lyrics teach character and values to help children feel good about themselves and get along with others. There are songs that deal with being helpful, using the golden rule, honesty, manners, responsibility, and more. The music uses several different styles and instruments in upbeat tunes. 
Happy Kids Songs Review
The Happy Kids Songs Workbook: Hands-on Activities to Build Character, Social and Emotional Skills is 125 page softcover book available for $12.56. This workbook is recommended for children ages 3-8. The workbook contains the lyrics to all the songs included in the 8 volumes from Happy Kids Songs. There are also coloring & activity pages for the child and learning activities to do together. The book is divided into 2 sections. The first section is 80 pages and contains the lyric page and an activity page to reinforce the concept that is in the song. The second section is 86 pages and contains the adult directed activities. The pages included with they lyric page is reproducible and contains coloring pages, matching activities, easy crossword puzzles, dot-to-dots, easy drawing pages, and simple answer questions. The parental section contains activities for each song. There are discussion ideas on the topics covered in the songs, activities to make question and answer cards, art, crafts, and games. 
Even though Alaina is on the older side of the recommended age range she still enjoyed listening to all the songs. She listened to the songs and sang along with the lyric pages included in the workbook. I also had her listen closely to see what instruments she could hear in each one. The activities pages in the workbook are mostly for younger children, but Alaina still liked to color the coloring pages. The crafts are Alaina's favorite part from the adult directed activities. Making puppets for the Everybody Wants to Find a Friend song was the one she wanted to do first. Happy Kids Songs would make a fun addition to any home with young children. The workbook is very easy to follow along and the adult directed activities are very easy to follow along and implement with very little preparation. 
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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Whizzy Gizmo Review #hsreviews

Wizzy Gizmo Review
When my kids are studying I think it is easier to remember things if all the key facts are in one place. Lately we have been using the Fast Track Bible Pack: New Testament from Wizzy Gizmo to review all the key points of the New Testament books of the Bible. 
Wizzy Gizmo Review
The Fast Track Bible Pack is a set of 27 cards that are 5X8 inches. There are actually 28 cards, one for each book of the New Testament and one card with all the books listed in biblical order. This set of bible study tools is recommended for all ages and can be purchased for $14.99.
Each study card is set up the same way. On the front of the card is a brief description of each book and a selected verse. At the top there is a number to represent which book came first, second, third, and so on. On the right side of the card are boxes that contain the number of chapters in the book, author of the book, and the approximate date it was written. 
On the back of the study card we see key facts about each book at a glance. The top of the card tells us the name and theme of the book. Under the theme there are 5 sections that cover key facts for the book, each section is a different color. The Outline is in a green box, Key Chapters are in a blue box, Key Passages is pink, Key Doctrines is turquoise, and the orange box tells us about the Key People.

During our family devotions we have been reading straight through the bible. We were almost done with Mathew when we received our New Testament cards. Now before we begin a new book I  use the cards to quiz my girls (ages 9, 12, & 13) before we start reading. I asked if they know how many chapters are in that book, who the author was, when it was written, and if they know the gist of the book or any key verses from it. Then I would read the front of the card to them and we would discuss what it said. After that we go over the outline and take turns reading key scriptures listed on the back. 

I wanted to go through more of the cards before my review was due, so the girls and I took one card a day to go over. We basically did the same thing as our family devotions, but instead of reading through the whole book, we just read the selected passages on the bible study card and discussed them. I leave the cards sitting out in the living room and it is handy to pick up one to review information or quiz the girls at random throughout the day. 

These bible study cards are not just for kids, adults can benefit from using these cards in their own bible study or review of the bible books. I teach a lot of Sunday School classes and these cards will come in handy when it is my turn again. The website offers a lot of suggestions on how to use these cards with all ages. 

Members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew received other items from Whizzy Gizmo. You can read those reviews by clicking the banner below.
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Friday, August 15, 2014

Fun Wedding Cake #weddingcake #funweddingcake @Lisacay

Different wedding cakes are a lot of fun. This one was a first for me. I used 2 (12X18) sheet pans, 4 (12X12) squares, 2 double layer 8" round cakes, and one 18" half round cake. 

Thursday, August 7, 2014

3 Tier Anniversary Cake #Anniversarycake #weddingcake

 I love doing anniversary cakes, especially if they have been married along time. This cake was for an elderly couple and the wife was over joyed with the cake she chose. 

Old Western Culture: The Greeks Review #hsreviews

Roman Roads Media Review
We have homeschooled a long time and one question I get asked a lot is, "What about high school?" It is easier to homeschool higher grades now more than ever. Most homeschool parents did not receive a classical education, but would love to provide a good one for their children. That is when you get a master teacher to teach the class for you. Roman Roads Media does just that. We have used Visual Latin and Dave Raymond's American History before, so when we were offered the chance to review Old Western Culture: The Greeks we couldn't pass that up. 
Old Western Culture: The Greeks Year 1 is recommended for students in 8-12 grade. It is divided into 4 units: The Epics, Drama and Lyric, The Histories, and The Philosophers. The DVD/online course covers history, theology, philosophy, poetry, and art by using great works that influenced the Western world. This is a full year curriculum taught by master teacher Wes Callihan. Each unit contains 12 video lessons that last about 30 minutes, completing the unit in 9 weeks. A student will spend from one to three hours a day completing the reading, watching the lecture, and answering the questions. Once completed the student will have earned one credit in literature and one credit in social studies. 
Roman Roads Media Review
There are 16 DVD's, PDF Workbooks, Teacher's Edition, Exams with answers, a course guide for each unit, a suggested schedule, and additional PDF texts. The DVD full curriculum is available for $224 or you can purchase the self-paced online streaming for $199. The PDF files come with the curriculum or you may purchase actual books for an additional price. The required reading materials can be acquired however you like. Either by purchasing the books, finding them for your mobile device, or e-books to use on the computer. 
The Greeks: The Epics is the first unit and covers The Iliad and the Odyssey by Homer. Wes Callihan shows us the beauty of Homer's poems as he covers the plot, poetic devices, background, philosophy, and history in a story telling fashion. While we study these classics we get to see over 100 exhibits of historical artifacts, and famous renditions of Homeric scenes in classical painting.
The Greeks: Drama and Lyrics is part 2 of the series that goes back to the beginning of drama and some early comedies and tragedies known to the Western world. It covers three tragedians from the Ancient Greek world, Sophocles, Aeschylus, and Euripides and Aristophanes, a Greek comedy writer. Greek lyric poetry passages by Pindar, Sappho, and Quints of Smyrna are also introduced. There are a lot of Greek poets and playwrights covered in this unit, so Roman Roads has published a book that contains 7 of the 10 authors. This e-book is included with the purchase and makes it easier on you. 
The Greeks: The Histories is the third part of The Greeks. In this unit Wes introduces us to three influential early historians. We learn about Herodotus, "The Father of History", Thucydides' History of the Peloponnesian War, and lastly we read Xenophon's Anabasis, the account of ten thousand Greek soldiers on a journey through enemy territory. 
The Greeks: The Philosophers is the last unit of this course. We learn about the works of Plato and Aristotle. It includes Plato's Apology, Crito, Phaedo, Phaedrus, and Republic.  Aristotle's Metaphysics, Ethics, and Poetics are also included. Wes explains how the Christian church and society have been influenced, both good and bad, by the ideas of these men. 
Roman Roads Media Review
We received the The Epics, Drama and Lyric, and The Philosophers as on-line streaming and The Histories on DVD. We also received the download PDF files of the student workbooks and answers, exams and answers, and Guide to the Art for all four units. The Histories Guide to the Art book came with our DVD. 
The lectures in The Greeks DVDs are given by master teacher, Wesley Callihan.  He has a bachelor degree in history, has taught college level courses, has written curriculum for several Christian Schools, has had books published, is a speaker for classical Christian educators, teaches Latin in the summer, and is an ongoing contributor to the classical Christian education movement.

I have been using this primarily with Amber (age 13), but Delaney (age 12), Alaina (age 9), and myself have been involved in at least some aspect. Alaina just happens to be in the same room with us while we are watching the DVD, but that is about all she does. At least she is getting an introduction to The Greeks and to sitting through lectures. 
I originally wanted to start with unit 1: The Epics, but when our DVD (The Histories) arrived the girls thought it was nicer to sit on the couch and watch the lectures from the TV instead of watching on the laptop. We started out following the schedule but with it being summer time it didn't go as planned. I do love having the schedule to keep everything in order, and once school officially starts at our house we will follow it exactly. All three of my girls and I watched the lecture together. Alaina usually played quietly in the same room, but the rest of us just watched. I was hoping Amber and Delaney would work through this together, but Delaney wasn't really into it. She is a little young for this so she just watched the lectures. I had Amber complete the reading assignments and the workbook pages. A lot of the questions we went over together, so we could discuss the answers. Each lesson starts with a brief review, then after the new lecture the reading assignment is given and there are questions to answer in the student workbook. We all enjoyed going over the art that is included in the Guide to the Art. 

Amber and I are both learning a lot from this course. I think it suits high school level or even adults can learn and appreciate this course. It is taught from a biblical perspective which I really appreciate. We are looking forward to continuing on with the rest of the course. The online streaming worked really well & really there is no difference between that and the DVD, but my girls like watching the lectures on the TV instead of on the computer. 
The Old Western Culture: A Christian Approach to the Great Books is a four-year course recommended for grade 9-12. Each year would give the student a credit in literature and social studies. 
  • Year One: The Greeks
  • Year Two: The Romans
  • Year Three: Christendom
  • Year Four: The Moderns 
Roman Roads Media wants to provide the teacher. The courses use a series of lectures to inspire the student and to help them become college ready. Crew members received several products from Roman Roads and you can read those reviews by clicking on the banner below. 

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Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Mathletics Review #hsreviews

Mathletics Online Math Review
Math is not my kids strongest subject. They can use as much drill as they can get to increase their knowledge and build their speed. Lately Delaney & Alaina have been using Mathletics from 3P Learning
Mathletics is an online program to help K-12th grade kids in public, private, or homeschools enjoy math and improve their results. A one-year membership is $59.00 per student. The 7 key points of Mathletics are engage, target, diagnose, assess, report, fluency, and mobile.  

We received two yearly memberships and I used them with Delaney (age 12) & Alaina (age 9). I have my own login and the girls both have their own. Once the student logs in they have the option of using several different sections. 
Each student can create their own profile & avatar. The student earns coins in order to buy more things for their avatar. 
Live Mathletics~ Students are able to compete against other kids from around the world in their level.
Activities ~ Here students get to work on problems in their grade level. 
Problem Solving ~ This includes games to play. Each time the student earns a gold bar from completing activities they unlock new games. 
Concept Search ~ An animated math dictionary is here. Not only are the words defined a visualization showing the concept is also included. 

Rainforests Math ~ Is interactive math activities for grades K-6. 
 Times Tables Toons ~ The times tables are sung by a cartoon band to help kids remember them.  
Parent Account ~  In The Parent Account you can use the walk through to see each lesson, have access to a dictionary, see charts, watch the presentations, and download and print worksheets for each level. 

The Mathletics app for mobile devices is free. We added the app to our iPad mini so the girls could access Mathletics easier. They could do most of the things that are on the website except Times Tables Toons and they cannot change their profile avatar or background. 
Mathletics Online Math Review
Alaina is my only child who actually likes math. I had her work on the 4th grade level. Delaney doesn't like math at all. I put her in the 5th grade level because she can really use some review. I actually started her in a higher level, but she was having trouble, so I moved her down to 5th grade. I can change the girls' course 5 times in my yearly subscription. That includes grade level or state standards. They both love to change their profile and their favorite math section is the Times Tables Toons. They love the little jingles and Alaina even sings them throughout the day. 

I actually think that the levels are very challenging for each grade level. The 5th grade level covers 
equations, patterns, distributive property, and more. The 3rd grade level has place value, fractions & decimals, estimation, add, subtract, multiply and divide. 

Mathletics is very easy to get set up in. The only thing I kind of struggled with was the state requirements. Our state was not listed & I wasn't sure which one to pick. This program is a wonderful addition to any curriculum. I like that the student can choose the topic they would like to work on. It makes it easier to review certain things. I also like that they know immediately if they missed a problem. The best part is that the kids really enjoy using this, the app made it easy to use any where in the house.

Once a week I receive a Mathletics Weekly Report in my email. This email is very brief but it tells me how many times the student logged in for the week and how many minutes they used the program. It also tells me what topic they worked on and in which level. They are given a grade and I am told how many awards their received.  
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