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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

USAopoly Review #hsreviews #USAopoly

My girls love to play games. We are always on the lookout for new ones that the whole family will enjoy. We recently added Tapple: Fast Word Fun for Everyone and Wonky: The Crazy Cubes Card Game  from USAopoly to our collection. 

I thought I had never heard of USAopoly before until I started looking a their website and I recognized a lot of games we already own. Trivia Pursuit, Jenga, Memory, Clue, Trouble, Yahtzee, and I could keep going. After showing my girls what all they had to offer they are really wanting Nefarious: The Mad Scientist Game!

As soon as my girls opened our package they couldn't decide which game to play first. They have played them both so many times I can't remember which one they decided on that day.
Wonky: The Crazy Cubes Card Game is a fun card game with blocks. It comes with nine different colored and different sized blocks and fifty-four playing cards. Each person is dealt seven cards and the first person to get rid of all their cards wins. The cards tell you what blocks to play on the tower when it's your turn. You have to be careful, because if you make the tower fall you have to draw four new cards. There is a catch.......The blocks are not flat, they are rounded on a few sides. A great way to keep the game interesting and from my girls lots of giggles. Some cards let you skip the next person, reverse the order of play, or a wild card lets you choose which block to play. 

When my girls play Wonky they laugh and laugh. I'm not sure what is so funny about this game, but they become silly every time they play. This game takes a little bit of skill to get the uneven blocks to stand on top of each other. Of course the girls thought it was a lot easier to get it to stay if they just stacked them instead of using the cards and actually playing the game. The cards are what makes the game more challenging and fun.
The second game we received is Tapple: Fast Word Fun For Everyone. This is a fast paced word game that anyone can play. It comes with the Touch Activated Press & Play Letter Eliminator (TAPPLE wheel), 36 category cards to give you 144 categories to play. A player takes the first category card from the pile and each player takes turns saying a word to fit the category, but each letter on the TAPPLE wheel can only be used one time. If you can't think of a word or you say a word that doesn't belong in the category you are out for the rest of that round. You need to collect three category cards to win. You must be the last player still in the round to win the card. 
We all love Tapple. It is a great game for extended play or if you only have a few minutes to play you can just play one or two rounds. It's great that the categories on one side of the cards are easier and the other side is harder for more advanced play. The girls liked that there are so many categories and they were quick games. My favorite part of this game is that the category cards actually store in the bottom of the TAPPLE wheel. That means no rubber bands or cards falling out of the box.

We have played these games together and the girls have played them over and over with just the three of them. They have played them so much that they have been sitting on our coffee table since the first day we opened them. These games are perfect for family game night, games for kids, or if you like your children learning through play. They would also make great gifts.
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 USAopoly Review

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

YWAM Review #hsreviews

YWAM Publishing Review 
When we study history we like to use a spine, but we love adding as many real books in as we can. Although we haven't been studying American History this school year adding in an adventure with Daniel Boone has been a nice little break. We just finished reading the Heroes of History biography Daniel Boone and using the Curriculum Guide for the book from YWAM Publishing.

We love to read real books about history; biographies, historical fiction, etc. So when I look at WYAM Publishing all I can say is WOW!! I can drool over their selection of products all day. They offer 26 titles in the Heroes of History, 42 titles in the Christian Heroes, and 22 titles in their Heroes for Young Readers. Plus curriculum guides, audiobooks, fiction books, Spanish materials and so much more.
The Heroes of History biography Daniel Boone is 215 pages long and was written by Janet & Geoff Benge. It starts out with five-year-old Daniel and ends with him being laid to rest with his wife, Rebecca. Daniel has a thirst for adventure even after trying to settle down. After falling in love and having children he still was not content with populated living. We get to experience Daniel's life as a boy, blazing new trails, being a politician and land owner, fighting, living and escaping from the Indians.
The Curriculum Guide is a great companion to the Heroes of History series books. Once you access your guide you will have a screen that allows you to read about Daniel Boone, meet the authors, access bonus material and the unit study. The Unit Study covers History, Geography, Essay Writing, Creative Writing, Reading Comprehension, Public Speaking, Drama, and Art. Our unit study was divided into 2 sections. The first one contains eight chapters that include key quotes, writing assignment, hands-on activities, community resources, chapter questions, and more. The second section contains worksheets that include Daniel Boone fact sheet, maps, and a timeline. The bonus feature section includes games, puzzles, maps, extra information. This section is constantly changing.

You can also meet the authors. This is a set of short videos about the books and the authors. Their Heroes of History books have been printed in nine language and there have been millions of copies printed. These video segments shows Warren Walsh from Emerald Books ask Janet & Geoff questions about their lives and writing the books.
I read this book out loud to all three of my girls. We loved it! It was so nice to see so many different sides to Daniel Boone's life. Each night after reading the girls did not want to stop, they were enjoying hearing about all of his adventures. We also answered the questions out loud. This allowed us to get into more discussions about his life. I loved the maps that are included with the curriculum guide. I am from southern Indiana, so my girls have been to Kentucky and other eastern states several times, but the maps really help them see exactly where Daniel explored. The curriculum guide has a wide enough range of activities that it can be used with children of all ages and learning styles.
We found the Meet the Author section very informative. Delaney loves to write and has written several short stories so this is a great resource for her to be able to hear from published authors. It was very interesting to find out how many books Janet & Geoff read while doing research for their own books and how they visit places their characters lived. I loved that Janet said she actually feels she knows the people they research and their families.
 YWAM Publishing Review
We enjoyed the Heroes of History so much we will be reading more in the future. The book along with he curriculum guide offers a nice break from our regular school work or the books are great to read on their own. 

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Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Fascinating Education Chemistry Review #hsreviews

Fascinating Education Review
Science can be interesting and fascinating, but sometimes if you are just reading from a textbook it can be very boring. Fascinating Education offers high school level Physics, Chemistry, and Biology as an alternative to traditional textbooks. Amber has been using Fascinating Chemistry the last few months and is finding it very interesting.

Fascinating Education was created by Dr. Margulies. He is a neurologist and understands how the brain works. He knows how we learn, focus, and retrieve information. His approach uses the audio-visual technique. This process uses the right hemisphere of the brain by using its ability to process images better than just reading the text.

The courses are taught with the assumption the student has no previous knowledge of the subject. Each lesson is given by using colorful images like a power point presentation while the lesson is taught. The student has access to the script of the audio and there is a test for each lesson. Dr. Margulies starts off by introducing an everyday observation and then he asks questions. Then the answer to that question leads to another question, and then another. The topic is covered one step at a time by answering questions. 
Fascinating Chemistry covers four ways that atoms bond to each other to create molecules and how each bond determines the properties of that molecule. The course is divided into 18 lessons with several subtopics for each one. There are some labs included and there are plans for more to be added. You will need a secondary password to access the labs because some of them use harmful chemicals and would need adult supervision. 

When the student first logs in they have a list of each lesson. This makes it very easy if you need to study a particular topic. You can access the lesson, the script, and the test from this screen.

The Script uses a few of the slides within them. These can be read online or you may print them out to follow along during the lesson.

On the side bar of each lesson the student can access the Lesson Menu and a Glossary. The section the student is currently viewing will turn light blue and the ones already completed will turn grey. The menu makes it very easy for Amber to see where she is in the lesson. Listing each subtopic individually makes it very easy to control how long is spent on science each day. It is also a big help when Amber needs to go back and review a certain thing. 

Some of the lessons contain math problems with the slide show and there is a test for each lesson. The tests and answer keys can be printed and completed on paper or answered online. If the tests are taken online they will be graded for you. The printed tests require a secondary password, so students cannot have access to the answers.The test scores are not maintained within the program.

Fascinating Education Review
Amber has been using Fascinating Chemistry for her primary science this year. We love the way this is taught. The questions asked make you want to listen for the answer and sometimes everyone in the room was watching the lesson because they wanted to know the answer too. I like that we have access to the entire course and can easily go back and review anything we need to. I will admit that Amber isn't doing very well on the tests, but I know she is retaining information she is learning because she has been explaining things to me. When we went to the state fair there was a display talking about neutrons. Amber had to explain to us everything she had learned in her science about neutrons. She said the things she is learning is very interesting to her and can easily recall things.

Amber has used Fascinating Biology in the past and other Schoolhouse Review members received the Biology and the Physics. Be sure and click to the Crew Blog and read some other reviews.

Sample Lesson 
  Chemistry Curriculum
Fascinating Education Review
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Saturday, September 19, 2015

Digital Nature Photography Review

A few months ago I bought a Canon DSLR. I knew I wanted two different lenses because years ago I had a nice Minolta 35 mm with two lenses. I just use the setting for landscape, portrait, close-up, or auto. I haven't even messed with things I'm unfamiliar with like the shutter speed, aperture, ISO, or any of that. Then I received John Shaw's Guide to Digital Nature Photography from Blogging for Books.

This book is perfect for anyone wishing to know more about taking nature photos, even beginners. There is a lot of terminology and things I was unfamiliar with, but it was a very interesting read and easy to understand. It is also a very beautiful book. There are over 250 extraordinary photos which makes this a great book to leave out on the coffee table for easy reference and peaceful viewing. There are six section:
  • Gear-This is the best chapter if you are getting started. It goes over choosing a camera, setting it up, tripods, filters, and more.
  • Getting Started- Stops, modes, metering auto and manual exposure plus more is covered in this chapter.
  • Lenses- This chapter tells us what lenses do, talks of focal lengths and depth of field, plus teleconverters, chromatic aberration, and more.
  • Composition- Here we learn to see photo-graphically, about lighting, framing and placement, vertical or horizontal, and working a subject.
  • Close-Ups- The definition of close-up is explained along with macro lenses and close-up flash.
  • The Photographer At Work-This final chapter discusses what equipment John Shaw uses, how he changes his settings and how he works in the field and the digital darkroom.
This book is a great easy read to learn about photographing nature and is a must have to refresh your memory later. I have learned so much going through this book and I'm trying new things with my camera slowly so I can practice and remember why I did them in the first place.

My adult daughter takes so many scenery pictures that are beautiful and some day I hope I am able to use my camera as well as she does. With this book I am on my way. 

For over four decades, John Shaw’s authentic voice and trusted advice has helped photographers achieve impressive shots in the great outdoors. In his first-ever book on digital photography, Shaw provides in-depth advice on everything from equipment and lenses to thorough coverage of digital topics including how to use the histogram. In addition, he offers inspirational and frank insight that goes far beyond the nuts and bolts of photography, explaining that successful photos come from having a vision, practicing, and then acquiring the equipment needed to accomplish the intention. Easily digestible and useful for every type of photographer, and complete with more than 250 jaw-dropping images, John Shaw’s Guide to Digital Nature Photography is the one book you’ll need to beautifully capture the world around you.

  • PRICE:


  • ISBN:



    Mar 17th, 2015


    Trade Paperback


    Photography - Subjects & 

  •  Themes - Plants & Animals

Disclaimer: I received a copy of Digital Nature Photography free of charge in exchange for my review. All opinions are my own and no other compensation was received.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Super Teacher Worksheets Review #hsreviews

Super Teacher Worksheets Review
I have been homeschooling for a long time & I have a huge selection of curriculum, but there have been times when I just want a worksheet that covers one topic. Well I have found the answer to that problem and I wish I would have had access to it years ago. Super Teacher Worksheets offer an Individual Membership that gives you access to probably any worksheet you will ever need.

Super Teacher Worksheets offer over 10,000 worksheets for just $19.95 a year in their Individual Membership. You can print as many worksheets as you need for your household or you can also get a school license. 

There are worksheets that cover every subject you can think of and there is a worksheet generator if you can't find something you need. They are constantly adding new worksheets and I noticed seven new ones just from today. There is also more than worksheets. You can print flashcards, poems, stories for reading comprehension, puzzles, games, and color-by-number.

There are worksheets for math, grammar, reading comprehension, map skills, homeschool printables, teacher printables, and so much more.. The worksheets can be used for preschool-eighth grades or higher if you child needs help on a certain topic or just needs reminded on how to do something.
From the Super Teacher Worksheets home screen you can click on a different category on the left or things promoted in the center or banner at the top. You can also access the My File Cabinet. This is a place where you can save worksheets for future quick access. When you are in a subject you will see the list of worksheets. On the blue bar you can access the PDF worksheet or several icons. The icons allow you to change the language of the worksheet, see a quick view, add it to your filing cabinet, or see if it is aligned with common core.
 Super Teacher Worksheets Review
I spent along time just clicking on worksheet after worksheet and I could not believe how much there was for my kids. Alaina really needs to work on telling time. We have too many digital clocks in our house and our big clock in the living room has Roman Numerals. I found several worksheets to choose for her on this. She knows the hours & half hour times so I only printed the minute worksheets and I found Time for Bingo to add in a little fun for her. I also found some worksheets for her on Roman Numerals. She used the beginning worksheets and I had the older girls use the advanced Roman Numeral ones.
 Super Teacher Worksheets Review
When I let her look through the worksheets she went straight to the Autumn Printables to look for puzzles and games. Then I found her a color-by-number scarecrow, but I gave her the one that she had to reduce the fractions first. She didn't get that one done as quickly as she had originally thought she would.
Super Teacher Worksheets Review
My older kids are learning Spanish, so I went in and found them some Spanish worksheets that they could use. There are also flashcards that can be printed out for more Spanish practice. I may print those out for Alaina, so she can learn some Spanish along with them. Some of the worksheets can be printed in Spanish. The directions are all written in Spanish. I had my older girls read the directions in Spanish to see how much of it they could understand. If it was a simple worksheet we just read the directions on the computer screen.

Super Teacher Worksheets has so much to offer and these are just a few of the ones we used. Make sure you head over to the Crew Blog to read how other families used these worksheets.

Super Teacher Worksheets Review

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Wednesday, September 16, 2015

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