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Thursday, May 26, 2016

Sunya Multiplying & Dividing Review #hsreviews

Math and Science {Sunya Publishing Review}

We get to review a lot of product in our home and school. Sometimes they are new, some have been around for awhile, and sometimes they have been updated. We have been playing a brand new game from Sunya Publishing. Sunya - The Magic and Wonder of Math and Science Multiplying & Dividing

We love card games at our house and my girls like when we have new learning games because I let them play just about any time they want to. That's what has been going on at our house the last few weeks with the new game of multiplication and division from Sunya. We received two decks of cards, a spiral bound instruction guide, and number line. This game is recommended for ages 9-adult for 1-5 players. 

The 25 page book is spiral bound and includes the game rules for a few different types of play, meaning of the word Sunya, history of the Hindu Arabic Numeral System, history of the Brahmi Numerals, a small glossary, parts of a number sentence, and famous math quotes.

One deck of 60 cards has numbers from 0-9 including two wild cards and a card with the multiplication symbol, the division symbol, and the equal sign. The other deck of 30 cards contains math & science facts and riddles. The number line is 8 1/2" long and 3" tall and has instructions printed directly on it. 
All three of my girls and myself played this new game. The winner of the game is the first person to get rid of the cards in their hand, therefore being "Sunya", while making correct math sentences. Before starting the game you will choose if you want to play multiplication or division. The dealer makes a correct math sentence on the table. Each player is dealt four cards to keep in their hand and the remainder of the cards are placed in a draw pile. Starting at the dealers left that player will use their cards to make another correct math sentence by placing their cards on top of the cards that were already played. If the player cannot make a sentence they will draw from the draw pile until they can make a correct math sentence. When someone is out of cards they must announce they are "Sunya". If they fail to say it and someone catches them they must draw a new card and they are still in the game. 

The winner of the game gets to choose a math & science fact and riddle card from the pile and reads it to the other players. The winner can also give clues to help the players out if need be. If the winner would rather not choose a fact & riddle card they can ask a question about the information from the history of Sunya or the glossary.

The math & science facts and riddle cards are so much fun. We love trying to solve riddles and everyone loves when they have one that stumps the rest of the family. It was so hard not to read all of them before we played the game. Some of the riddles were pretty simple and we all knew the answer right away and some of them are pretty hard to figure out. 

Sunya - The Magic and Wonder of Math and Science Multiplying & Dividing is such a new game that the publisher is asking our opinion about the instruction booklet being printed in color or black and white. The one we received is in black and white with a couple pages printed in color. Of course the colored pages are more pleasing to the eye, but I'm a very thrifty person and would much rather have black ink only in an instruction booklet if it meant I could save some money. 

This game has made a great addition to our house. It is a great way to help students work on their math facts in a more engaging way. Not only did we play the game, but Alaina also enjoyed just using the cards to make different math sentences for fun. 

Sunya Publishing also has Sunya - The Magic and Wonder of Math and Science Adding & Subtracting. Members of the Review Crew also received this game, so make sure you stop over and read some of those reviews. 
Math and Science {Sunya Publishing Review}
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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Science Shepherd Introductory Science Review #hsreviews #homeschoolscience #onlinescience @scienceshepherd

Science Shepherd Review

I have seen several of my friends talking about Science Shepherd on social media, but I had never had a chance to look at it. When Introductory Science came up to review I showed Alaina and she was excited to try it.

Science Shepherd Review
Introductory Science is recommended for ages 6-11. There are two workbook choices to choses from, Level A and Level B. The science course is divided into 35 weeks and covers Earth Science, Life Science, and Physical Science. There is a short video for each lesson including activities, then there are worksheets in the workbook. The Level A workbook is for younger students ages 6-8 and Level B is recommended for children ages 9-11.

The video segments are from a guy sitting at a desk talking to us and then there are students that demonstrate what he is saying or pictures are shown while he is speaking. These students also perform the experiments and activities for the lessons. Some of the video activities show a picture and then ask a question to go along with it. There are answer choices that the students must observe, think, and predict to choose the answer. They can write their choices in the student workbook and the instructor explains the answers to them. There are so many introductory science topics covered in this program including creation, meteorology, geology, oceanography, biology, and more.

The student workbook is spiral bound with 383 pages. There are one or two pages per day and a review at the end of each week. There are short answer questions, matching, multiple choice, crossword puzzles, word searches, and activity pages to go along with the video activity. The Answer Key is a 41 page softcover book and contains all the workbook answers.

Scott Hardin, MD is a homeschool dad of six children. As his children got older he developed the Biology program for high school students, and Life Sciences for middle school that was easy to implement and allow parents to feel confident in home educating through high school. And then he decided to make a science course for younger grades.

Since Alaina is 11 we chose Level B for her to use. Being the youngest of five homeschool kids she is always so excited to get something new that is just for her. She watched the video segments from her iPad mini. I created a short cut on her home page so she could easily log on. She really liked watching the video especially when then young science students were on them. She also liked the workbook. She liked that there were different types of questions and puzzles.

Alaina is also my organized child that needs to know how much work she needs to finish for each school day and week. She was thrilled when she first opened her notebook and saw that each new worksheet is clearly labeled, so she new exactly how much she needed to do per day and for the rest of the week.

I think this program is very well done. It is very easy for Alaina to access the video and know exactly where she needs to be for the day and what worksheets she needed to complete. The variety of questions and activities are a good mix, and the supplies needed for the activities are easily attainable. Although Alaina really likes this program and she even asked if she could work on it through the summer, she did say it was pretty easy. She is an avid reader and reads above level for her age, but I think this would be better suited for ages 9-10.

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Monday, May 23, 2016

Gaggia Love #gaggia #esspresso #loveesspresso

Two years ago Mike and I decided to buy an espresso machine and coffee grinder for our anniversary present to each other. We didn't want to spend an large amount of money, but we also didn't want a cheap machine that we wouldn't be happy with. After doing a lot of research, watching Youtube videos and reading a lot of reviews we decided to buy the Gaggia New Baby from Whole Latte Love.
It has lived up to our highest expectations. We use it daily and I would purchase the same machine over again if need be.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Memoria Press Astronomy Review #hsreviews #classicaleducation #homeschooling

Logic, Greek Myths and Astronomy Memoria Press Review
I have to admit that I haven't done any formal study of Astronomy with my younger girls. We have a constellation app on y phone, we pick out constellations when we are out after dark, and we have discussed our solar system in general science but that is as far as it has gotten until now. Alaina has been using the Book of Astronomy from Memoria Press.
The Book of Astronomy is recommended for grades 3-5 and comes with a teacher guide and a student book. There are four units that cover the constellations, summer, fall, winter, and spring skies, the zodiac, the solar system, and so much more. The teacher guide and the student guide are exactly the same except the teacher guide has the answers filled in and the appendix contains unit tests and overheads. 
Alaina has been using this Astronomy book and she has really been enjoying it. She started out learning about constellations including their shapes, their seasons and their brightest stars. Each constellation has a brief introduction, boxes with the stars that form the constellation that the child connects to make the shape, and a chart to list 15 of the brightest stars and its constellation. The description includes how the the constellation got it's name and who named it. There are unit exercises throughout the book that are fill in the blank, tracing the constellations, and tables to fill in. Scripture is also used in the book along with a few black and white pictures. The appendix contains charts, definitions, and pronunciation guide. 
Alaina is my doodling child and she is loving all the drawing of the constellations in this book. She also made her own flash cards to help her study on her own. She took index cards and wrote the 15 brightest stars on them along with the constellation it belongs in, the season it appears in the sky, and a number indicating the brightness of the star. She color coded her cards and gave the brightest star a big "1" gradually making her numbers smaller with the "15" being the smallest for the fifteenth brightest star. On the backside of the card she drew the constellation the bright star belongs in. She has been learning one constellation a day. She reads the text, draws the constellation by connecting the stars, and filling in the questions or charts. She then spends a few extra minutes making her flashcard and drawing the constellations over and over. She is always wanting to share what she has learned with everyone else and tries to get them to recognize each constellation as she goes. This course has been really fun for her and she is retaining so much of the information. 
I like how simple this book is put together yet it contains so much information. Alaina hasn't had any trouble understanding what is being taught and I love that it discusses the sky in the different seasons. This is a great addition to any classical education. 
Memoria Press offers full classical curriculum for all grades that is easy to use. It is a family run publishing company founded in 1994. We have used many items from Memoria Press over the years that we have purchased and we have reviewed several. All the curriculum we have used has been very easy to implement and my kids have enjoyed using them all. 
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Members of the Schoolhouse ReviewCrew received the Book of Astronomy Set, the Traditional Logic I Complete Set, and D'Aulaires' Greek Myths. You can read those reviews on the Crew Blog.Logic, Greek Myths and Astronomy Memoria Press Review
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Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Graduation Cupcakes

IEW Poetry Memorization Review #hsreviews #readingreadiness #poetrymemorization

Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization  IEW Review
Andrew Pudewa is like a celebrity at our house. I have listened to him speak so many times at home on DVD or MP3. My kids have listened to him in the background and during some classes so much that everyone in our house recognizes his voice as soon as I press play. We recently added Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization to our collection of products from Institute for Excellence in Writing
Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization  IEW Review
Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization is all about memorizing poetry. Well, on the surface it is about memorizing poetry but it is actually teaching children to memorize language patterns while building their vocabulary and eventually making them better writers. This poetry memorization course includes ninety-six poems and speeches divided into five levels. It is recommended for all ages and everyone should start at the beginning. It comes with:

  • Teacher's Manual~ This is a two hundred page spiral bound book. The introduction has so much information on why it is important to memorize plus how to use the book. All the poems are included with teacher notes in the page margins. The first four levels include poems and level five offer speeches. There are also lesson enhancements included in the appendix.
  • Student e-book~ This is a free 177 page download that can be printed for all of the students in your home. IEW actually sent us the spiral bound copy of the Student Book. All the poems in level one include a cute little picture to go with the poem. The first part of level two does also and then they gradually decrease as the book progresses. The speeches in level five do not have any pictures. After each level there is a blank page for the student to choose their own poem and there is also a Certificate of Completion to reward the student.
  • Five CDs that include a recitation of all the poems and speeches. They come in a beautiful brown case embossed with IEW. You also receive access to the files as MP3 downloads from the website if you wish to put them on a mobile device.
  • Seven audio MP3s:
    • Nurturing Competent Communicators
    • Mastery Learning, Ability Development, and Individualized Education
    • Ten Thousand Times and Then Begins Understanding
    • On Listening
    • On Speaking
    • On Reading
    • On Writing
  • Bonus DVD: Nurturing Competent Communicators ~ This is the seminar given by Andrew Pudewa to a group in 2015. Andrew talks about why there are so many people that cannot write properly and how we can make writing easier for our children through memorization and reading aloud to them. 
This is a very easy program to implement. You can actually pick up the book and get started right away. I read the introduction and watched the DVD Nurturing Competent Communicators before we began. It was very encouraging to understand why memorizing can be beneficial to our children. It made me feel like we weren't just memorizing something cute and then forget it soon afterward. I have always had my kids memorize scripture but I have never understood the importance of memorizing other works until now. 

I gave each of my girls a copy of the poem and the we listened to Andrew Pudewa recite the poem on the audio CD as we read along. We would also repeat the poems at random times throughout the day. The first few poems are short and were very easy to memorize quickly. Once we learned one poem we added the next and would recite them together. The poems advance in length as you get further into the book and they take longer to memorize. Right now my girls (ages 11, 13 & 15) are all staying together, but that may change once they get longer. My girls really like the check off sheets for each level. They could mark off the day they have recited all of the poems they have learned. I also think the pictures in the beginning poems are great for kids to have a visual of the poem in their head and help to recall the stanzas. 

After getting started using this I realized that my oldest child would do this with his memory work for youth camp. Each grade level had a list of 14 memory verses, 16 challenge verses and 8 longer bonus verses that would give their tribe points if they were memorized. Since most of the kids attend every year they could get the list for the next year as soon as camp was over. Michael would start working on his list as soon as he got home. He would start with the first one and as soon as he memorized that one he would add the next one. He would recite the ones he had memorized every night before bed and then work on the new one. The first day of camp he would find a camp instructor or helper and recite all memory, challenge, and bonus verses at one time. The higher the grade level the longer the verses they had. This has helped him tremendously with his oral communication. His college speech classmates are in awe of how well he can give a speech on any topic without using his notes to help him.

I really wish I had known the importance of memorizing poetry years ago. My oldest daughter had trouble memorizing scripture like her brother but she probably could have memorized some cute poems easier and could have eventually worked up to memorizing longer scripture passages. 

We are having a lot of fun memorizing together and the poems selected are all really good. My girls have read ahead because they like them so much. They have also read some of the speeches to see if each other could guess who gave it. They are all wondering if they'll ever be able to memorize the longer speeches, I'm sure they will be able to when we get there.

If you have never heard Andrew Pudewa speak you are missing out. He offers such valuable information on teaching our children and he makes it all seem so simple. 
Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization  IEW Review
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Sunday, May 15, 2016

The League and the Lantern Review & Giveaway #theleagueandthelantern #flyby

I am always on the lookout for good books. Usually when we find an author we like we look for other books they have written. We just finished reading The League And The Lantern by Brian Wells.

The League And The Lantern is a new adventure book for middle school aged children. It takes three junior high kids on a mystery adventure lasting 48 hours in the streets of Chicago. After escaping from a school field trip that goes wrong Jake, Lucy, and TJ have to solve a mystery that dates back to the Civil War. They learn they cannot trust anyone and must rely on each other.

I decided to read this book out loud to my family. The girls all liked it, especially Alaina. She thought so many things were funny. This is a great read for older elementary and junior high aged kids. I think boys would especially like it.

The League and the Lantern was written by Brian Wells. He was having trouble finding engaging entertainment option for his kids. Knowing that other families had the same problem he decided to create a fast-paced adventure with humor that included family, friendship, and compassion. Brian decided to take 140 top vocabulary words that middle school children need to succeed and used them in the story. He also has the characters learn lessons in mercy, compassion and charity through events that kids deal with on a daily basis and in not so ordinary events. 

When a hardcover copy of The League and the Lantern is purchased from another free copy will be donated to a child who would not be able to purchase one.

I have one copy of The League and the Lantern to giveaway to one of my readers. To enter use the Rafflecopter Below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

Friday, May 13, 2016

ARTistic Pursuits Sculpture Technique Review #hsreview #homeschoolart #artinstruction #artinstruction

ARTistic Pursuits Inc. Review
Alaina can make something out of nothing. She will keep the oddest piece of plastic, lids, cups, and things the rest of the family would consider trash. She can put them together to make all sorts of crafty things. She was thrilled to get the Sculpture Technique Construct from ARTistic Pursuits Inc. because she gets to build something. 

ARTistic Pursuits Inc. Review

The Sculpture Technique Construct is a 83 page comb bound book and is recommended for children ages 11-18. It is divided into four units.
  • Unit 1~ Creating Form in Papermaking
  • Unit 2~ Creating Planes in Cardboard
  • Unit 3~ Creating Motion with Papier-mache
  • Unit 4~ Creating Volume with wire
The table of contents also includes a list of all the supplies needed by unit. Then each unit starts by discussing the material needed, the tools and equipment along with basic instructions and safety issues. Form, planes, motion, and volume are also discussed and samples of each are given. The instructions are very easy to follow in the whole book. There is a picture depicting each instruction to make it clear what needs to be done. There are also colored pictures scattered throughout which shows people completing the project and finished pieces. At the end of each unit there is an evaluation to reflect on what the student has accomplished. 

The units do not need to be completed in order the book is written. We just purchased a new water heater and we had a couple of big pieces of cardboard, so Alaina decided we should start with Unit 2: Creating Planes in Cardboard. There is a great description of what cardboard actually is and how it is put together and made. Our first project had the girls put together a 2-D construction to show the relationships of planes. Different forms are discussed and there are templates in the back of the book to create different three dimensional shapes. Several different techniques for combining cardboard pieces together are also discussed and demonstrated. The final project is an 3-D architectural model. 

Alaina started on a project she wanted to make. She had no trouble deciding what kind of structure she wanted. She did have trouble getting her pieces proportionate so they would fit together. She had Amber help her draw them out so that they would fit together and Amber and I cut them out. The girls spent several days working on their architecture. Alaina didn't really understand the 2-D structure until they started working on their buildings and then she figured out what we were talking about. 

A week or so after the girls had been working with cardboard Amber & Delaney were going to the homeschool teen banquet. The theme was fairy tales and the girls were supposed to dress up. Delaney wanted to be the Mad Hatter and Alaina suggested making her hat out of cardboard. They used some of the things they had learned in the Sculpture Technique book to construct the hat and then covered it in felt.

All three of my girls want to go back to Unit 1 now to learn to make their own paper and create objects with it. The Schoolhouse Review Crew members received several different books from ARTistic Pursuits. Head over to the Crew blog to read those reviews.  

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ARTistic Pursuits Inc. Review
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Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Homeschool Teen Banquet

Our homeschool group has a teen banquet every year. This year the theme was fairy tales and the kids were to dress up. Delaney knew right away that she wanted to be the Mad Hatter.
Amber couldn't decide. I told her with her dark hair she should be Snow White or Dorothy because when she braids her hair she looks like her. We started with Snow White since that costume was easy.
She didn't like it. She said she felt like an old school teacher and she was not wearing that hair any where. So the night before the banquet we started over and made a costume that looked like Dorothy. I'm not a good seamstress and I really don't like to sew but we got online and found a picture. We found some fabric at Wal-mart for $1 a yard and went home and got busy.

This is what they ended up looking like. They had a lot of fun eating and playing games with other homeschool teens in our area. 

Zeezok Music Appreciation Book 1 Review #hsreview #musicappreciation #homeschoolmusicprogram

Music Appreciation for the Elementary Grades {Zeezok Publishing LLC Review}
We love learning about people, what their ambitions are and what they actually accomplish in their lives. We just spent four weeks learning about the composer Paganini in the Music Appreciation Book 1: for the Elementary Grades from Zeezok Publishing LLC
Music Appreciation for the Elementary Grades {Zeezok Publishing LLC Review}
The Music Appreciation Book 1 covers seven composers from their childhood to their adult lives. It consists of a student activity book, seven composer biographies, music CDs, and a lapbook CD. The composers can be studied in any order you choose. Since Alaina is my only elementary student left at home I asked her who she would like to start with. She decided on Paganini because she didn't know anything about him and she likes his name. 
We started with the Nicolo Paganini section in the activity book. Alaina used two book marks to keep her spot. One she kept on the weekly lesson outline and the other she kept on the page she was working on. She loves when her workbooks have an outline of what she needs to do. She is my checklist kid and she draws a little picture next to each assignment as she completes it. The activity book pages are very pleasing to the eye and there are 33 pages that cover Paganini immediately followed by a quiz and the answers to the questions. There are plenty of colored pictures, photos, maps, and more. A small icon is at the top of each section indicating the different activities. There are character qualities, comprehension questions, tidbits of interest, when to read, when to listen to the CD and when to complete a lapbook project. Since Paganini was born in Genoa, Italy there is a map of Italy marked with all the places he traveled. A hands-on project included an Italian recipe for spaghetti soup that Nicolo may have eaten after a long day of practicing. Of course we had to have it for dinner and everyone liked it and we wrote in down in our everyday cookbook. 
I'll admit I was interested in learning about Paganini too, so I decided I would read the first chapter of the biography out loud to Alaina and then let her read the rest of the book. My husband was home at the time and of course the other girls wanted to listen. Well, we were all enjoying the book and I read several chapters at once and I ended up reading the whole book out loud in just a couple of days. Alaina went back and read it herself as she worked on her study. The biography was so interesting, it reads like a story and is full of information. As a young child Paganini heard a "sick" note that his father played on the mandolin. His father decided right then that it was time for Paganini to start studying music. He had such dedication and determination growing up by learning to play to the best of his abilities starting on the mandolin and eventually playing the violin in front of friends, congregations, audiences, even royalty on some very rare instruments. Despite his unhappy childhood he went on to give his first concert at age 11 and later wrote compositions that were so hard accomplished musicians struggled to play them. There is also sheet music for Rondo and Allegro for the violin with piano accompaniment. Amber and Delaney can both play the piano part of the song, but Delaney has only been playing the violin for a little while and can't play the violin part yet. 

We listened to the Paganini tracks from the Music Appreciation Music Discs right away and then listened to the rest of the CD. There are five CDs that include music from all seven composers. We have had one of the CDs in our CD player ever since we got them in the mail and then Alaina went back and listened to the Paganini tracks during her study when indicated. 
The lapbook CD contains the templates and a picture of the completed lapbook pages for all seven composers. I used the menu to go straight to the Paganini lapbook and printed just the pages we needed right away. The pictures are in color, but Alaina loves to draw and color so she wanted them printed in black ink only so she could color them herself. The activities included a Nicolo Paganini Character Trait Wheel, instruments he played, special things about a violin, definitions, a few Italian words, and more. 

Alaina is 11 and she has been using this on her own. She is loving this study and is constantly telling us about things she is learning. Even my older girls who have taken classical piano lesson for years learned a lot about Nicolo Paganini. Alaina has decided to start on Joseph Haydn next because she thinks he has the second best name of the classical composers that are included in this music appreciation study. 
The Music Appreciation Book 1 would make a great addition to any homeschool or for any child that wants to study composers. There are enough variety of activities for just about any learning style. 
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Music Appreciation for the Elementary Grades {Zeezok Publishing LLC Review}
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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Pink Elephant and Martini Glass Birthday Cake #lisacayscakes #pinkelephantcake

I had a lady order a cake with two little requests. She wanted two pink elephants and a martini glass. She also wanted some sugar cookies to match. This is what I came up with.

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