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Friday, May 19, 2017

Captain AbsolutelyReview #hsreviews #faith #CaptainAbsolutely #ComicBook #Character

Focus On The Family
My kids love Adventures in Odyssey. Alaina listens to at least one episode every morning while she does her morning chores and if she is cleaning her room she will listen to them the whole time. When the Homeschool Review Crew was offered Captain Absolutely from Focus On The Family to review I knew Alaina would want to read it. 

 Captain Absolutely
If you are familiar with Adventures in Odyssey then you know who Wooton Bassett is. He is not only the mail carrier for Odyssey, but he also writes a comic book. Captain Absolutely is that comic book. It has taken five years to complete because it was written two pages at a time to first appear in the Focus On The Family Clubhouse magazine. 

Wooten wanted to write Captain Absolutely to inspire kids to defend truth, justice, and lots more truuuth! The comic is about how you see the world & how your values change your perspective of the things around you. 

All superheroes have some sort of superpower and Captain Absolutely is no exception. There are two friends in the library when one of the computers explodes! Josiah King finds himself in a secret room full of different copies of the Bible. While he is waiting to be rescued he reads the bible but he doesn't notice there is a radioactive leak in the room that changes him into Captain Absolutely. He must defend God's truth by going against the evil villains. His friend Darren Gray is trapped in a room with philosophy books and after he breathes the toxic fumes he becomes the evil villain Dr. Relative. Captain Absolutely believes the bible is absolute truth and full of God's wisdom. Dr. Relative believes in relative truth. He thinks everyone makes their own rules and right and wrong can change depending on the moment. 

The softbound comic book is 105 pages and has colorful glossy pages. The comics include bible references and a little humor throughout. Captain Absolutely explains making good decisions, defending the truth, forgiveness, and repentance to name a few. In the back of the book, there is a description of each character including their worldview. There are also a couple of pages of Big Questions. These questions go along with what is happening in the comic book and there are page numbers listed so you can go back and read the pages that go with the questions. They are a great way to talk to your kids about things going on around them. 

We belong to Odyssey Adventure club and receive the Clubhouse magazine so Captain Absolutely comics are not new to us. We haven't been reading the magazine for five years so Alaina was excited to finally get to read all of them in the comic book. I usually get distracted looking at the pictures when I read a comic book, but Alaina likes them. I'm glad she likes this one because of the morals it teaches. 

Social Media
Facebook @AIOFanPage
Twitter @FocusFamily
Pinterest  @FocusFamily
Instagram @focusonthefamily

Captain Absolutely {Focus On The Family Review}
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Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Wordless Wednesday My Roses

Wordless Wednesday at Life at Rossmont

Homeschool Rescue Review #hsreviews #homeschoolrescue

Only Passionate Curiosity Homeschool Rescue
No matter if you are new to homeschooling or if you have been at it for a few years there are those days where we all struggle. It might be your kids, but it is often the moms' who need the help and encouragement. Homeschool Rescue from Only Passionate Curiosity is a great place to get the help you need.

I can remember when we first started homeschooling back in 1995. We only had two kids, my husband had a normal work schedule, we had a set time for school every day, we weren't involved in very many outside activities, and we kept the same schedule every day. Since then we have added three more kids, my husband is always on call now, the kids have friends, activities, summer jobs and volunteering, plus way more stuff in our house. The actual schooling part is easier for me now, but the time management has become more difficult and sometimes I feel I have lost control.
Only Passionate Curiosity Homeschool Rescue
In Homeschool Rescue Heather Aliano offers help for not only newer homeschool families but even families that have been at this for many years can also benefit from it. There are five modules and the course can be completed in 60 days, although you can take as much time as you need.

  • Module 1 ~ Triage Your Homeschool
  • Module 2 ~ Time Management Systems & Organization
  • Module 3 ~ Curriculum Planning & Organization
  • Module 4 ~ Setting Students up for Success
  • Module 5 ~ Teaching Older Students

Each Module includes a video given by Heather where she encourages you to take a look at what is going on in each of these areas of your homeschool. She offers advice on how to make the changes necessary to get yourself and your school back to being productive. The lessons within each module also include homework and other resources. You also have the option of downloading the audio, the transcript, and the note pages for each lesson.

Another part of Homeschool Rescue is the private group Facebook page. This is a great place to connect with other homeschool families that may be going through the same things you are right now. Anyone can ask questions, offer advice, or just to encourage one another. Heather is part of the group and is an active participant.

After all these years of homeschooling, I really needed Module 3. We have a plethora of curriculum and books. Sometimes this is a blessing and other times it is a curse. I usually let my girls have a say in what text they would like to use for the school year and they will sometimes use this to their advantage. Instead of sticking it out when things get hard they will sometimes want to switch to a different curriculum. Heather talks about the curriculum being too easy or too hard and offers some advice and questions to answer to help determine if your choice is right for each child.
Only Passionate Curiosity Homeschool Rescue
Homeschool Rescue is a great resource to give your homeschool a checkup. It helps you take a look at your school and areas of your life that need some changes to make it run smoothly.

Heather truly wants to offer help for homeschool parents. She is only going to offer Homeschool Rescue as a "live class". This is not actually a live class where you have to commit to being available at a certain time each day but by starting new people at the same time gives Heather the chance to offer more personal help and encouragement with the class because everyone will be new at the same time. Your subscription will not expire, you will have lifetime access to Homeschool Rescue and the Facebook group for $97. 

Homeschool Rescue class that will run June-July is available now

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Homeschool Rescue {Only Passionate Curiosity Reviews}
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Thursday, May 11, 2017

Algebra for BreakfastReview #hsreviews #mathsupplement #mathenrichment #algebrareinforcement

Algebra for Breakfast
One thing moms learn after having more than one kid is they all are very different. My adult son is loving all of his higher math classes in college, but all four of my girls would rather do anything else than math. My girls still living at home would have to admit they have been having a little bit of fun using Grades 5/6 math enrichment from Algebra for Breakfast.

Bob Hanzen created Algebra for Breakfast because he wanted to help even younger children understand algebra. He loved math as a child and after becoming a math teacher later in life he realized most children didn't like it. He started looking for ways to get kids to connect with math without just memorizing everything. He started identifying principles that would make algebra and math fun and rewarding. These principles can also work for higher maths and sciences too. He started holding Summer Algebra Institute camps and after these were successful he wanted to help kids everywhere, so he started Algebra for Breakfast online.

Algebra for Breakfast is math enrichment for Grades 3/4 and Grades 5/6. There are a couple of different ways to purchase the program. The Full Members Package contains:

  •  1-month access to Algebra for Breakfast
  • Set of 164 math manipulatives
  • Math dice
  • Skip Count CD
The program uses short video lessons, physical tools, and printable worksheets to help kids understand algebra. I wanted to use this with Alaina, so I chose the Grades 5/6 for her. We received access to Algebra for Breakfast, Skip Count songs download, and the Math Dice. There are 40 lessons with each one having at least one video lesson. Some of them also included a previous video segment or a video specifically for the parent, a worksheet, and an answer key. It teaches fun games using the number cards or a deck of regular cards & dice, but it also has the student working on skip counting, negative and positive numbers, finding the unknown, trinomial factoring, and more. 

The first lessons are prep activities to learn how to play the card & dice games. The only real prep is creating a set of Number Cards and then printing any worksheets for the lesson. Alaina and I watched the video lesson together and then I would print the worksheet for her. She likes math more than her other sisters, but she has been leery about algebra because her older sisters complain about it so much. Once we started using Algebra for Breakfast she said she doesn't think it will actually be that hard. 

Amber said even math games need snacks!

There were a couple of videos that I even had my older two watch after Alaina and I did because I thought they could benefit from them. Of course, we included the big sisters in on the games because they are fun and they are very competitive when it comes to games. Algebra for Breakfast is a fun math enrichment program that would be great to use over the summer with any child in 3-6 grade or even older kids that may not understand algebra. 

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Bob Hazen's Algebra Lessons {Algebra for Breakfast Reviews}
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Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Wordless Wednesday The Pencil Grip Thin Stix #hsreviews #MessFreeCreativity #ThinStix #WordlessWednesday

Alaina has been having so much fun with the new Thin Stix 6pk of Classic Colors from The Pencil Grip, Inc. I'll have a full review coming soon, but wanted to share some of the fun we are having with these.

Disclaimer: We received the new Thin Stix free of charge from the Pencil Grip, Inc. All opinions are my own and no other compensation was received. There will be a full review coming.

High School Essay Intensive Review #hsreviews #highschoolwriting #SATprep #ACTprep

Institute for Excellence in Writing
There are so many things to think about when you homeschool especially when you get to high school. Taking the ACT or the SAT, writing college applications are just a few of those things that need to be considered. I want to make sure that my kids are ready for these next big steps and we have been using the High School Essay Intensive from Institute for Excellence in Writing to make sure they are.
Institute for Excellence in Writing High School Essay Intensive
High School Essay Intensive is an essay writing course that will prepare high school students for the writing portion of the SAT, the ACT, and the college application personal essay. It includes 6 1/2 hours of seminar on five DVDs, student handouts, and the Portable Wall for Essayist. The DVD case is padded vinyl and very good quality. This is the second edition updated in 2016 for the new SAT & ACT.

  • DVD Part 1a ~ General Strategies for Essay Writing: Length and Structure
    • Initial Exercise
    • A Hurt and Rescue Operation
    • What is an essay?
    • Two Questions Writers Need to Ask
    • Translating Assignment Length to Paragraphs
    • Types of Paragraph
    • The TRIAC Paragraph Model
    • Essay Models
  • DVD Part 1b ~ General Strategies for Essay Writing: Invention and Style
    • Canons of Rhetoric
    • Invention
    • Practicing Common Topics of Invention
    • Practice with TRIAC Outline
    • Style
    • Sentence Patterns
    • Literary Devices: Schemes and Tropes
    • Practice with Sentence Openers and Figures of Speech
  • DVD Part 2 ~ Understanding and Preparing for the New ACT Essay
    • ACT General Guidelines
    • The Assignment
    • Strategies for Planning
    • Strategies for Writing
    • Strategies for Proofing
  • DVD Part 3 ~ Understanding and Preparing for the Redesigned SAT Essay
    • General Guidelines
    • The Assignment
    • Annotating
    • Handy Annotation System
    • Annotating Practice
    • Strategies for Planning
    • Strategies for Writing
    • Using Effective Vocabulary
    • Strategies for Proofing
  • DVD Part 4 ~ Strategies for the Personal" Essay 
    • General Guidelines
    • Sample Essay Prompts
    • Strategies for Planning: Pop out from the Crowd
    • Strategies for Writing, Editing, and Proofreading
    • A Not-So-Secret Secret
    • Final Practice
    • Concluding Comments
    • Last Bits of Advice for Life
  • Portable Walls for the Essayist ~ This Portable Wall is a tri-fold resource that contains many tips to help the student write a good essay. It also has a pocket on one side. 
  • Student Handouts ~ There are 25 worksheets that go along with the course. There are places to write definitions, lists of prepositions, -ly adverbs, and writing prompts.  
This course is given by Andrew Pudewa. We get to sit in on an actual class where he is teaching the Essay Intensive. His classes are not boring he does throw in a little humor. Not only is he teaching writing an essay he also gives tips to the students so that they are observant to how they normally write and to use that to their advantage. He also encourages the students to take notes whenever they have the opportunity. 

Delaney has been using this course, she is my writer and was very excited for something new. She writes mostly fiction so she could use some instruction on writing an essay. Since she is not taking the SAT or ACT in the next couple of months she decided she wanted to start at the beginning of the course. In Part 1a Mr. Pudewa starts with a writing assignment. It also covers the general types of essays, how to organize paragraphs for the body of the essay, and how to think about what to write. Delaney never has problems with coming up with something to write about, but if she is writing an essay about something she isn't very interested in she tends to rush through it. So far this course has helped her organize those thoughts so that her essays are more organized. Delaney writes every day, she has a journal, several stories started, she has a notebook with story ideas, she also has a notebook with characters she has made up along with their names and character traits. Mr. Pudewa suggests keeping a notebook of things you read that catch your eye, so Delaney started that notebook too. 

IEW is not new to us. We have reviewed product for them and we have purchased their products several times. Everything we have used from IEW and Andrew Pudewa has been a great addition to our school. 

Social Media
Twitter @IEW

High School Essay Intensive {Institute for Excellence in Writing Reviews}

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Thursday, May 4, 2017

Lamplighter Publishing The Secret BridgeReview #hsreviews #classicliterature #lamplighter

The Secret Bridge {Lamplighter Publishing Reviews}
I read out loud to my family every evening before bed. We started this tradition back in 1991 with our first child before he was even a year old and it still continues. I should have kept a log of the many books I have read out loud. Out of all those books there have been some that I didn't finish, that we barely tolerated, and some that I have read several times. I just recently finished reading The Secret Bridge from Lamplighter Publishing out loud to my family and this one will definitely be pulled back off the shelf and read again later.

The Secret Bridge {Lamplighter Publishing Reviews}
My youngest daughter loves things that are pretty, she loves colorful notebooks, bookmarks, paper clips, and pens. When we first received our book she opened it and she was in love with the book itself. It is a turquoise leather-toned embossed hardcover book with gold foil stamping on the title plate. It is very soft and smooth to the touch and it feels like I would imagine an old book printed in 1899 would feel. 

Lamplighter Publishing aims to develop Christlike character one story at a time. They offer reprintings of rare books from the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. They do not publish books merely for entertainment or because they are good stories. They choose stories that will help children lay a Godly foundation. The characters not only show us an outward compliance to God, but a Godliness that will carry them through the trials they encounter. The republished works are edited with a Biblical framework that reflects Godly character. They also include footnotes at the bottom of a page with bible reference or definitions of uncommon words or phrases used in the book. 

The Secret Bridge was written by Amy Le Feuvre in 1899. We see a young girl named Bridget who has lost everything she has ever known. Her mother died while she was an infant, her father recently died and she went to live with an uncle that she finds has also died. She is left alone and penniless. She meets a young man that tries to help her, but she doesn't want to accept his charity or pity. They decide to wed but to keep it a secret until he returns from a sea voyage. Bridget is forced to keep secrets about her marriage and secrets she unveils about her own life while her husband is away. Not only is Bridget awaiting the return of her husband and learning to love him through the letters he sends she also learns to wait for Christ as a bride awaits her bridegroom and falling more in love with Him through his letters in the Bible. 

We all really enjoyed this book. There were adventures, poverty, riches, love, and hate by the seaside. The connections with the people are slowly developed to reveal the truth. I think Bridget's life is a great reflection of the Christian walk. Bridget needed saving from this wicked world and she learned to love and trust the man who rescued her. Just like people who become Christians. We know we need to be saved from this world, but we learn to love and trust Christ more and more while we walk with Him. I only have girls left at home and they do like a good love story, but we do not read romance books. I appreciate that this book gives us a good clean love story with morals. Lamplighter Publishing is not new to us, we already own a few of their books. I feel this is a company that I can trust and let my girls read what they publish. 


Social Media
Lamplighter Publishing
The Secret Bridge
Twitter @lamplighterbook
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The Secret Bridge {Lamplighter Publishing Reviews}
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Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Birthday Cake for Three Ladies

I got to make this birthday cake recently for three young ladies. They all three have different interests and the lady who ordered it wanted the three sections to reflect those. Ellie is into photography, Jasmine turned 21, and Ollie loves to play volleyball.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Drive Thru History The Gospels Review #hsreviews #drivethruhistory #thegospels

Drive Thru History
Some people are very good at telling stories. Stories that are true or fictional they just have a way of drawing people in and keeping your undivided attention the entire time. Dave Stotts is one of those people that can tell a good story in his Drive Thru History® series. We have been watching Drive Thru History® - "The Gospels" the newest special edition. 
In The Gospels, Dave tells us about the story of Jesus while taking us to the locations mentioned in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. There are 18 episodes lasting about nine hours that uncover biblical evidence to show the bible is true. We are taken back in history as we see archeology, geography, and the art surrounding Jesus' life. This edition comes with three DVD discs and a study guide to make the most out of the tour. 
  • Episode 1 ~ The Historical Landscape
  • Episode 2 ~ The Announcements
  • Episode 3~ Jesus is Born
  • Episode 4 ~ Jesus Grows Up
  • Episode 5 ~ Jesus Starts His Ministry
  • Episode 6 ~ Jesus Returns to Galilee
  • Episode 7~ Jesus Begins His Miracles
  • Episode 8~ Jesus Teaches with Authority
  • Episode 9~ The Sermon on the Mount
  • Episode 10~ Jesus Travels the Sea of Galilee
  • Episode 11~Jesus Travels North
  • Episode 12~ A Final Trip to Jerusalem
  • Episode 13~ Jesus Arrives in Jerusalem
  • Episode 14~ The Last Supper
  • Episode 15~ The Trial of Jesus
  • Episode 16~ The Crucifixion of Jesus
  • Episode 17~ The Resurrection of Jesus
  • Episode 18~ Who is Jesus?
Drive Thru History The Gospels
Dave Stotts spent two months driving around Israel to uncover the history from the Gospels. You can tell that he has a passion for teaching history on-location. In these episodes, he travels around Israel in a 1976 Land Rover to bring history to life. He shows us places Jesus taught, where he lived, and the people from His time. As he is walking and driving around we see the countryside, the cities, and the villages as they look today. Then there is artwork of how things could have looked 2000 years ago. As he is giving us this tour and explaining the history, the people, the archeology, and the geography there will sometimes be important labels, maps, timelines, and quotes on the screen.
The study guide is included inside the DVD case and looks like a regular book. There is a summary to go along with each episode along with discussion questions and scripture references to read. There is also pictures, artwork, quotes from scripture and people along with other facts pertaining to each topic. There are no tests or quizzes this is to encourage people to read the bible and help them engage in each episode
Drive Thru History The Gospels
We already own several Drive Thru History® DVDs, so when we were offered The Gospels to review my girls and I we very excited. All three of my girls and I have been watching each episode. Dave does a great job presenting the Gospels and keeping us all interested through each episode. The way he explains things using the culture of the time shows why some of the Bible passages say what they do. Being immersed in the Gospels help the girls see why Jesus used the parables he did to get their meaning across. Plus it is very interesting to see things like an early fishing boat, and the architecture and to imagine the crowds of people that would gather around. Of course, Dave's sense of humor is present. Alaina thought it was hilarious when Dave was talking and there were a few labels appearing on the screen and one of them simply said "field". Another time he shows us how he crashed his bike on the Ancient Road and she had a fit of giggles then too.  

The Drive Thru History®-The Gospels would make a great addition to not only homeschools, but also for Sunday School, youth group, or family devotions. The content is engaging and very memorable. 
Drive Thru History The Gospels
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Drive Thru History®
Drive Thru History®- The Gospels

The Gospels {Drive Thru History® Reviews}

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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Planet 316 Review #hsreviews #dailybiblejigsaw

Planet 316
Alaina has been loving the Daily Bible Jigsaw app from Planet 316. She loves the puzzles and she knows since it is a review item I'll let her do it every morning before she starts school. 

With Daily Bible Jigsaw you get a new jigsaw puzzle to complete every day. All the puzzles are beautiful pictures and once they are completed a bible verse is added to the puzzle. The app is free, but you may purchase coins to add to the experience. 
Daily Bible Jigsaw by Planet 316
We downloaded the free app onto an iPhone 5 and we were given 500 coins so we could experience every aspect of the game. My original plan was to use this daily puzzle myself, but as soon as Alaina saw what it was she wanted it as well. Since the app is free we could both get the app, but realistically I knew she would have more time to play with the app than I would so I let her have the coins we received for our review.  
The daily puzzle is free to complete each day and a puzzle piece is added to the calendar puzzle for each day you complete a puzzle. If you complete all the daily puzzles for the month you will see a bonus picture with a bible verse. If you miss a daily puzzle you can use your coins to access them. On the phone app, you use your finger to drag your piece to connect it with other pieces. If you want to rotate the puzzle piece you just tap on it and it will rotate a quarter of a turn with each tap. The purchased coins can be used for magnets that will automatically connect puzzle pieces together to make completing the puzzle faster. You can also use them to sweep all the puzzle pieces to the side of the screen, rotate all the pieces at once, or you can remove all the inside pieces out of the way at once until you have the border together. 

You also have the option of racing against your friends or other people to see who finishes their puzzle in the shortest amount of time. If you choose to connect your app to Facebook you can share your completed picture with the bible verse on your wall. Alaina is not on facebook so she did not use either of those options with her app.

Planet 316 offers videos and games for computers and mobile devices. The Daily Bible Jigsaw game is available in Google Play for Android devices, in the Apple App Store for iOS devices, and on Facebook Gameroom or in a web browser for Facebook
Completing puzzles are good for your brain and by using the Daily Bible Jigsaw it is a lot easier than getting out an actual puzzle. Plus you get a new puzzle every day & you can compete against your friends to see who is the fastest puzzler. Alaina has been loving this app because she loves puzzles and she loves cute little critters. I really like that there is a bible verse. Although she has her own devotions every day and we have family devotions every evening it has been nice to have one verse to think about during the day. 

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Daily Bible Jigsaw {Planet 316 Reviews}
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