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Thursday, March 31, 2016

Logic Of English EssentialReview #hsreviews #phonics #spelling #strugglingreaders

Logic of English Review

Logic of English is a company that wants to improve English literacy around the world. They take a common sense approach to learning to read and spell. We recently received Essentials 2nd Edition to review.
The Essentials program is recommended for students in grade 2-6 for a complete spelling, grammar, and vocabulary program. It can also be used with older students that struggle with any of these areas, or if they just want to know why English words are spelled the way they are. I chose to use Essentials with Alaina because she is not a very good speller. She reads very well and has a vast vocabulary, but she struggles with her spelling.

We received the Essential 2nd Edition Complete Set Volume 1 which includes:

Teacher's Guide Volume 1 ~ This 632 page hardback book covers lessons 1-15. All the lessons are scripted which makes implementing the lesson very easy on the teacher's part. There are also teacher supports and tips throughout the book. The activities, application, practice, assessments, and a review make up each lesson. The introduction is very important in this book. It contains many tips to help with the lessons, pre-lessons, and the placement test. It also contains the key to the symbols used throughout the teacher's guide. The back of the book contains list of spelling rules, phonograms, morphemes, grammar definitions, and a list of spelling words.

Student Workbook Volume 1 ~ This is a 316 page softcover workbook. There are several pages for each lesson. They include matching, writing definitions, dictation, composition, writing parts of speech, word searches, and bingo pages.

Spelling Journal ~ This is a softcover journal with 72 pages. Each page is organized into sounds and then spellings. The student will have their own reference book where they can look up the sound they need then find the correct spelling.

Phonogram & Spelling Rule Quick Reference ~ This is an 8 1/2" X 11" glossy heavyweight fold out that offers students spelling help quickly and easily.

Flashcards ~ There are cards for Spelling Rules, Grammar, Basic Phonograms, Advanced Phonograms, Phonogram Game Tiles, Phonogram Game Cards in cursive & bookface, and Morpheme Levels A, B, C. 
As you can see there are a lot of components to this curriculum and it is a little overwhelming at first. The main things are the Teacher's Guide and the Student Workbook. I took several days to read the introduction and to get myself familiar with how this program works. Each lesson should last a week with Day 1 covering the new phonograms, new spelling rules, and letter sounds. Day 2 reviews the phonograms and the spelling rules. A spelling analysis is done and the student writes in their Spelling Journal. Day 3 has a review of previous phonograms, spelling rules, and grammar along with new grammar and dictation. Day 4 has a review, has vocabulary words, dictation, composition, and reading. Day 5 also has a review and check the students understanding of what has been taught.
There are actually three levels in this one curriculum. Levels A, B, and C have three levels of spelling and vocabulary words to make teaching multiple grades easier. There are a lot of flashcards so you will want to get a container to keep all of them in one place.

After figuring out how this was set up it is very easy to use. The Teacher's Guide is meant to be read out loud to the student and then Alaina could work in her student book and spelling journal. The continual review that goes on each week is helping her to remember some phonograms that she would get mixed up before. I'm curious to see how her long term retention will be as she progresses in the program.

As we were using this I couldn't help but think about a boy we know that has some hearing problems early in life and his speech hasn't developed the way it should have. His mom has been unsure how to help him with his speech and this book could help them. How you form and say letters and words are physically described to help with correct pronunciation.

We were first introduced to Logic of English a couple of years ago when Alaina used the Rhythm of Handwriting Cursive book. She liked her cursive book and she has been enjoying using Essentials with her little box of flashcards. 
  Logic of English Review
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Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Thursday, March 24, 2016 My Son My Savior DVD Review #hsreviews #fishflix #ChristianMovies #MySonMySaviorDVD Review

We are very selective on the entertainment that we watch in our home. One place we like to look for family-friendly movies is We have watched several of their movies and our newest one is My Son, My Savior. Review
My Son My Savior Mary, Mother of Jesus is a 42 minute DVD. This movie goes through the life of Jesus as seen through his mother's eyes. It starts with a young Mary learning about prophesies from her father, not knowing that they would come true through her. We see her youthfulness and innocence when an angel appears to her about conceiving God's son. Her cousin Elizabeth is excited when Mary comes to visit her and gives her encouragement. There is concern in Mary's face as her betrothed learns that she is pregnant even though she is still a virgin. After Jesus is born you can tell how much Mary loves her new baby. When Jesus is lost we can see the panic in Mary's face as her and Joseph search for Him. After finding Him she has questioning eyes when He explains to her that He was about His Father's Business. Mary is in the crowd while Jesus is teaching and we see love, hurt and anguish in her face as her first born son is dying on the cross.

The bible doesn't tell us much about Jesus growing up. We only see Him when He is teaching in the synagogue and then not again until He starts His public ministry. It also doesn't say much about Mary either. We can all only speculate as to how things were. I was glad to see that there weren't things added to My Son My Savior that isn't biblical. It is made up of all the stories the bible tells us about Mary and Jesus, and the words of Jesus from the bible are quoted in the movie. It is different because we are viewing Jesus from Mary's view as a mother.

We liked that the movie stayed to the biblical account. The costumes and scenery were relevant to that time and give us a good example of how people lived then. Seeing Mary's emotions toward her son gives a glimpse of Jesus' life from a different perspective. It makes you think what if Jesus were my Son or my close relative. Corrina Crade who plays Mary did an excellent job showing her different emotions.

My Son My Savior can be purchased individually or in bulk at a cheaper rate if you want to hand these out as part of your ministry. is an online store that offers Christian and family-friendly movies with free shipping on orders of $40 or more. They have selections for the entire family and some of our all time favorites are available here. There are thousands of titles including children's movies, Christian living, holiday movies, comedy, and so many more categories as well as a $5 Bargain Bin. I'm really wanting to check out some of their comedy movies and of course Alaina wants to search through the cartoons.

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Members of the Crew received several different titles to review. You can head over the the Crew blog to read those reviews. Review
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Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Wordless Wednesday Spring Snowstorm

Last week we had 70 degree weather & now that spring is officially here......we have snow. The visibility is very low and the interstate is closed.
My apple trees had such pretty buds on them I am hoping this storm doesn't hurt them. 
Wordless Wednesday at Life at Rossmont

Friday, March 18, 2016

EdTechLens Rainforest Journey Review #HSReview #EdTechlens #OnlineScienceResource #InteractiveScience #homeschool

Rainforest Journey EdTechLens Review
Alaina loves when she gets something brand new just for her to use for school. Being the youngest of five homeschooled kids she uses a lot of hand-me-downs and a lot of our review items her sisters use too. Recently she has been enjoying Rainforest Journey Grade 5 from EdTechLens.

If you are thinking Rainforest Journey is about the rainforest you are correct. It is a life sciences online curriculum for grades K-5. The 34 lessons for each grade cover the same topics to make it easy to have all of your children learning together but the older elementary grades are more complex.
Rainforest Journey EdTechLens Review
There are five Units in Rainforest Journey. Each Unit is divided into chapters with several lessons each. They also contain vocabulary words, illustrations, and assessments.
  • Unit 1 The Big Picture of the Rainforest ~ This section has two chapters: Looking Inside the Rainforest and Water and Light.
  • Unit 2 Adapt or Die~Three chapters cover: Structural Adaptions, Behavioral Adaptions, and Genetics.
  • Unit 3 Animals~ Has five chapters covering: Invertebrates, Amphibians & Fish, Reptiles, Birds, and Mammals.
  • Unit 4 Plants and Fungi~ Plants and Fungi are the two chapters in this unit.
  • Unit 5 Ecosystems~ Ecosystems is the only chapter in this final unit.
  •  Primary Sources~ This section contains Expert Interviews, Primary Source Videos, and a real Trip Journal. 

Rainforest Journey has real pictures and videos of the rainforest. Under each one is the text that can be read or you can have it read to you. There are also real noises that you would hear if you were actually there. Each lesson can be completely viewed online or you have access to the PDF if you would like to save any lessons or print them out. At the bottom of the page there are two buttons. One will take you back to the previous lesson and the other will take you to the next lesson. There is a page of vocabulary words for each Unit. The Assessments include sorting pictures into categories, essay questions, and multiple choice. These can be answered in the screen or there is a paper version if your child doesn't like answering questions on the computer.

Each student has their own login and the teacher has a login. When I am logged in I have access to all of the lesson in case I want to see what is going on in the lesson. I can change passwords for my students and I have the option of allowing all the lessons to be unlocked at once or for them to unlock after the previous one is completed. I can also view her progress and her quiz results.

Alaina used Grade 5 of the Rainforest Journey. She is learning so much in this course and she is always excited to share what was covered in the lesson with the rest of the family as soon as she was finished. Alaina and I both love that you can see her progress. By the picture above you can see the green is what she had completed and the pink is what she still had left when we took this picture. Early on she logged into my computer to complete a lesson. It had saved my password for EdTechLens and she didn't realize it and worked on her lessons. She didn't know it had happened until she got back on her iPad and she said it shows I didn't do this lesson, but I did it on the computer. She didn't want to go back and redo the lesson, so it is still showing up pink. She likes seeing where she is.
I really like this science class. I could take my iPad mini to the couch and snuggle with my favorite blanket to do my science. My favorite part are the quizzes. I think they are fun. there was one question where it asked me what animals need sun and which ones don't. I got to drag the animals into the right box. Sometimes I had the lady read the page to me and other times I just read it myself. Sometimes there are videos and other times there are just pictures in the lesson. My favorite lesson was the one on camouflage animals.
~Alaina, age 11 

Rainforest Journey is the first course from EdTechLens. I think they have done a wonderful job with this program. The bright vivid colors in the pictures and the sounds of actual noises in the rainforest really make this program come alive.
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Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Monday, March 14, 2016

Demme Learning Digital Packs Review @mathusee #​mathusee #homeschoolmath​ #hsreview

Demme Learning Math U See Review 
We started using Math-U-See several years ago when Morgan was having trouble with every other curriculum we tried. It worked for her, so I continued using it with my three youngest kids. Demme Learning has come out with Digital Packs to make accessing the videos and manipulatives easier than ever.

Alaina has been using Math-U-See Delta this year for school and for the last several weeks she has been using the Delta Digital Pack with it. 
The Delta Digital Pack comes with 12-months access to:
  • Delta streaming instruction videos ~ The instruction videos are exactly the same thing you receive on the DVD.
  • Instructions Manual PDFs ~ The lesson summary that is included in the physical instruction manual is available exactly as it looks in the book.
  • Lesson & Test solutions~ The solutions and answers to the lessons and tests are here just like in the back of the physical teachers manual.
  • Digital Manipulatives~ This is the same concept as the real blocks, but so much better.
  • Downloadable Math-U-See Resources ~ In this section you can print record-keeping sheets, additional worksheets, graph papers, and access to the skip counting songs.
  • Worksheet Generator~ Worksheets can be generated for each MUS level. Not only can you create a worksheet for each level, but you can select the starting level and ending level to cover on the worksheet.
  • Online Drill~ Any fact family can be chosen for these drills. You can choose all the facts in addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division or you may choose only what your child is learning or reviewing.
  • Record Keeping Sheet ~ This is same record keeping sheet that is included in the student workbook.
You will need to purchase the student workbook and tests to fully use the Digital Packs.

Delta covers division with multiple digits, roman numerals, expanded notation, large number place value, finding the area of a triangle, and more. You can view sample lesson and the table of contents to see everything that it covers.
 Demme Learning Math U See Review
Alaina has been accessing the Digital Pack including the digital manipulatives on the iPad mini and the laptop. We found it way more convenient to use the iPad, so she could go anywhere in the house and not disrupt anyone else who is working on something else. She hasn't really needed to use the manipulatives in awhile, but she has been playing around with them on the iPad. There is a blank grid with blocks at the bottom and other controls at the top. The manipulatives can be switched from integer mode to decimal mode. The blocks are numbered and colored, and there are two ways to get the blocks onto the grid. You can either tap the one you want or touch and drop it there. Once they are in the grid you can move them around by touching and dragging them around. You can also use the blank area to write on. If you click on the pen and paper icon the blocks at the bottom will turn to a colored circle that you can chose one to write with. The blank grid can be changed to contain dots where the corners of each unit block should be, dotted red squares the size of the 100 red block, or a coordinate grid.

We have used Math-U-See for a long time in our homeschool. We love the program and we love Mr. Demme. The Digital Packs have some great advantages. First of all I love not having to use the DVD. We only have one TV and DVD player in our house and it's in the room the girls do the majority of their seat work. It never fails that someone is ready to watch their math lesson when the other girls need help with something else and then there is just too much noise. The flexibility of taking the iPad in the other room makes it easy to view the lesson any where and any time. My girls get the manipulative part of this homeschool program and usually only have to actually use the blocks a couple of times while learning something new. It is much easier to pop the digital manipulative up and work with a few problems instead of getting out the entire box of blocks. I also love having access to the teachers manual and answer keys online. For the younger grades I don't utilize these as much as I do for the older grades. Guess what, if it doesn't get used every couple of days it usually becomes hard to find. 

I love having everything in the same place and accessible with just a touch of the finger. Alaina loves the flexibility of it & is happy to move to the other room and lay on the couch to watch her streaming instruction video.

Demme Learning Math U See Review

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Happy 15th Birthday Amber #birthday

Amber's 15th birthday and some things will never change with her. She had to have a Dairy Queen Ice Cream cake this year.

And here is a picture from a couple of years ago. She had an ice cream cake that year too.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Here to Help Learning Review #HSReviews #writing #homeschool #homeschoolwritingsucess #HTHL

Here to Help Learning Review 
It's so nice having kids that like to write. I have some kids that love to write and always have a story in their head, some that hated to write and had to be forced to write anything, and some that don't mind writing if someone tells them what to write about. Alaina is one of my kids that likes to write if she has something specific to write about, but she can't always come up with something on her own. For the past month she has been using a new writing program from Here to Help Learning.
Here to Help Learning Review
Here to Help Learning is from a Christian perspective and will help homeschool children in grades 1-6 learn to master paragraph and essay writing. It can be used with individual students, multiple students or in a COOP setting. Grades 1-3 usually complete the Launching Paragraph Writing and grades 4-6 complete the Launching Essay Writing. The levels are called Flights and each one contains 32 lessons. It is recommended that each lesson be completed in two days.

Alaina has been using Flight 1 of the Launching Essay Writing part of the program. This is the first level for essay writing. All the lessons are set up the same way. The first day there are a few video segments to watch together and the second day the student completes the Flying Solo Assignments which is the independent work.
Day 1 includes the filmed instructions that has a couple of different segments and should take about an hour to complete.
  • Pre-Flight Checklist ~ This segment tells the students what supplies they will need for the lesson.
  • Flight Check In ~ Here the students are told to turn in their homework, and new worksheets are added to their notebook. There are also Discovery Tickets to be handed out and they can say their memory verse along with the film.
  • Take-Off ~ A writing warm up is included in this section and the students can say the writing process as they hear it here. 
  • Full Throttle ~ The main lesson is in this segment as well as any discussions and crafts. 
  • Flying Solo ~ Is an encouragement to the student before they begin their independent work.
Day 2 students complete their independent work and the recommended time for essay work is 60-90 minutes.

The filmed instruction starts with Beth Mora dressed as a flight attendant in the cabin of an airplane. She gives a Pre-Flight briefing to the viewer and instructs them to get their supplies ready and to check their attitude. The actual lesson part of the videos are given to a group of children and shows their involvement and input into the discussions. Character traits and memory verses are part of each lesson and children are continually encouraged to praise and thank God. The last filmed segment brings us back to the airplane and encourages kids to fly solo. The flight attendant introduces Captain Knucklehead (a dog) and he gives the Flying Solo assignment. Children are encouraged to do their best and told to get any help from their parents that they need. The flight attendant also tells the children if they feel like they are drowning they can stop, pray, and begin again.

The worksheets and directions to the parent for each lesson are directly underneath the video. It includes the instructions to the parent as to what needs to be printed for each student, and what they need to turn in.

There are plenty of resources available for the teacher to help the student with the writing process. There are grammar rules, lists of words that are frequently miss used, plural rules, and so much more.

At the end of the year each student will have completed six essays. They are taught the complete process from brainstorming to self publishing. The students will have six completed books to show for all their hard work.

 We baby sat my friends one-year old daughter for a couple of days and she watched all the videos with Alaina. 

Alaina really enjoys watching the videos. There is a little humor in them and she can see how the process works by seeing the kids interact in them, and  she loves Captain Knucklehead. I really like that the writing process is repeated over and over with the students. I printed out some of the resources and I included the writing process chart for her to keep in her notebook. I think this has really helped her see the big picture by understanding the process. She is the youngest of five kids and her sisters all love to write. They always have ideas to write about and Alaina sometimes gets frustrated that she actually has to work hard to get something written. By following the writing process she is becoming more confident in her writing. 

"Stop, pray, and begin again. Knowing that the Creator of all things is here to help you at any time."
~~Mrs. Mora the Flight Attendant

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Thursday, March 3, 2016

Movie Reel Cake #moviereelcake #lisacayscakes

A few weeks ago I made a movie reel cake. This cake was covered in chocolate icing and I used fondant to create the metal frames. It was a lot of fun and really very simple. The recipient loved it.
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