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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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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

My Daughter Has Been Published #amwriting #proudmama

My daughter is always writing. She has several notebooks with that she is continually writing in. They each have different stories in them and she even has a notebook with just characters she has created. Since we homeschool she has more opportunity to write when the mood strikes, and when she has a story in her head she likes us all to leave her alone until she gets what is in her mind written down. 

She had been looking for contests and other places to enter some of her work & someone introduced us to The Phoenix which is a high school literary magazine for homeschool students. This is a new magazine and she entered a story she titled The Pen of Mr. Biro. Her submission was accepted and used in the first of edition of the online magazine. 

Needless to say, we were all so excited for her & I knew she would be thrilled to have a hard copy, so we had one printed. It turned out so nice and she is very proud of her accomplishment. 

If you would like to read Delaney's story or any of the other works that were chosen for the first edition you can do so in the online magazine. Delaney's story is on page 38.

If you are a homeschool high school student you can submit literary works for the next edition of the magazine you may do so by June 2, 1017.

Thank You Jackson Fields for publishing a magazine for homeschool students. 

Thursday, April 20, 2017

SpeedyPrep Review #hsreviews #collegeprep #clepprep

I guess when your sixteen-year-old starts talking about college and wanting to take a few classes in the fall for dual credit and what she wants to do with her life she is growing up. But am I ready for this next step? I wasn't, but it is here & I have to be ready!

Our family is not one to just go with the flow and do things the way most people do, so when the subject of college came up my first thought is how can we save money on college courses and how can she get college credit from home. When the Crew was offered to review SpeedyPrep I knew this was something we would be interested in.

Speedy Prep uses the College Level Examination Program guidelines published by the Colege Board to create their 'fill in the blank' flashcard format to help people study to take a CLEP exam. They offer CLEP prep for 24 subjects, and you don't even need prior knowledge of the course before starting to study to take the CLEP. The flashcards are used to study the subject with some video content to supplement. If you answer the question incorrectly the correct answer will appear with an explanation. If you answer the questions enough times and read the explanation you will start to remember the information. The mastery learning principle is used in this course, so once you answer the same questions multiple times it will advance your progress bar. Once your progress bar is at least 90% you are ready to take the CLEP test.

Each course includes an introduction that tells you things you need to know about the course including themes and the topics that are covered and the percentage of test questions there are for each topic. When you start the course there is a list of topics to study. You may choose to study one topic at a time, multiple topics together, or all of the topics together. Some of the questions are multiple choice with one or more correct answers and some of them are fill in the blank. If you have no idea what the correct answer is you can leave it blank and click the answer button to read the explanation. As you are answering the questions if there is a video to go with that particular question a link will be provided in the answer explanation. Once a session is completed you can see the percentage of questions that were answered correctly, the time you spent on the session, and your overall course progress bar. You then have the option of studying the same section again or study just the questions you missed.

To track your progress the study session results will show you the date, time, and duration of each study session. You will also be able to see the percentage of questions answered correctly and the number of correct answers out of the total number of questions.

Amber has been using SpeedyPrep to study United States History I: Early Colonization to 1877. She hasn't reached the mastery level so she isn't ready to take a CLEP test for this subject, but her progress is improving. At first, she was unsure about the format because it is different than anything she has studied before, but now she is starting to like it. Her sessions scores also show that she is remembering things. The first session she didn't get very many correct, but her newest session she scored 56 out of 66. The questions are very in depth and the explanations are very precise but contain enough information to answer the questions.

She has an appointment to take the ACCUPLACER test at our local community college so she can take some dual credit classes in the fall of this year. She has no desire to CLEP out of college level Algebra because she needs all the help she can get in math, but she wanted to see what college Algebra would be like and she wanted to have a little understanding of it, so she decided to do a few sessions in SpeedyPrep College Algebra.

If  Amber masters American History I or any other subject she studies using SpeedyPrep and decides to CLEP out of those classes that will be great, but if she decides she would benefit more from taking the class that will be fine too. I know the time she spends using SpeedyPrep will help to ensure she is ready for college level classes. 

SpeedyPrep is now part of the Home School Legal Defense Perx Program.

Social Media
Twitter @speedyprep

College Level Examination Program Preparation {SpeedyPrep Reviews}
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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Wordless Wednesday Homemade Macaroons

A couple of months ago we purchased macaroons at Sam's club because we were out of town and I had a daughter that was dying to eat one. We saved our box to make our homemade ones easy to store.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Readers in Residence Volume 1Review #hsreviews #readersinresidence #homeschoolreading

Apologia Educational Ministries
Apologia Educational Ministries has a brand new homeschool reading curriculum from Debra Bell called Readers in Residence Volume 1 (Sleuth).

Readers in Residence is a reading comprehension, literature, and vocabulary program to teach children in grades 4-6 how to read to learn. Students will read Sarah, Plain and Tall, Charlotte's Web, Because of Winn Dixie, and three more books of their choice. They will read for understanding, learn to recognize elements of literature, identify figures of speech, and increase their vocabulary. It comes with the all-in-one student text and workbook, and the answer key. 
The student text and workbook is a 562-page spiral bound book. It is very pretty to look at with colored pictures and squiggles throughout. There are six units, one for each book read. The six books read are from three genres of narrative fiction. The suggested daily schedule recommends using this curriculum 4 days a week completing the entire curriculum in 32 weeks. It also recommends starting a book club with your friends or relatives to make reading more enjoyable. 

Each Unit includes an introduction to the author, a rubric, checklists, reading assignments, and reading comprehension questions designed to help students understand basic events and help them make accurate inferences about the story events. Some of the activities include creating a book cover, charts, and diagrams. 

The Answer key is a 232-page softcover book that includes an introduction to the program, guidelines for evaluations, and answers to certain questions. Some questions do not have an exact answer, so some do not have answers or they may have suggested answers. 
Readers in Residence is recommended for children in grades 4-6. I decided to use this with Alaina, who is older than the recommended age range for a couple of reasons. She is a good reader and she has good reading comprehension, but she doesn't like to read. All my other kids have always enjoyed reading and constantly have a pile of books to read. Alaina has a few favorite authors, but she doesn't like to step out of her comfort zone. Since she enjoyed using Writers in Residence last year & because Alaina was already familiar with the books included in Readers in Residence I thought she might actually enjoy these books as opposed to forcing her to read something she didn't really want to. Some of the suggested books to read for the On Your Own Units are recommended for grades 6-8 and this has been a good fit for Alaina. 

Alaina has been enjoying Readers in Residence. One of the main reasons she likes it is because there is a daily schedule and checklists for each Module. She said she knows exactly what she needs to do each day and she loves to mark off each box. Even though this curriculum is written directly to the student we still like to discuss books out loud together. That is probably why they suggest starting a book club with your friends or your family members. So some of the questions we talked about together, this is especially helpful on the inference questions. If Alaina wasn't sure about something I could lead her into thinking ahead. She also likes the symbols that are included. There are colored boxes with binoculars that list what will be learned in that module, and when an excerpt from the book is included in the student book it is indicated by a picture of a book. There are also blurbs in the side margin that include definitions or things to think about. 
Apologia Educational Ministries Readers in Residence
A full year of language arts is covered when you use Readers in Residence along with Writers in Residence. Sleuth is Volume 1 in the Readers in Residence curriculum with Volume 2- Detective, Volume 3- Investigator, and Volume 4-Analyst already being planned. 

Social Media
Instagram @apologiaworld
Twitter @apologiaworld

Readers in Residence Volume 1 (Sleuth) {Apologia Educational Ministries Review}
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Friday, April 14, 2017

Five Minute Friday Empty #amwriting #fmf

The Five Minute Friday prompt this week is empty. 

The word empty makes me think about how things will feel around here in a couple of years. When our oldest two kids left home it was kinda hard, but I still had three little kids to occupy my time. Now that my youngest child turned 12, and I have one child with a driving permit, and the other one with her license I feel like the next 6 years will go by way to fast. Already with activities, jobs, volunteering, and Amber talking about taking a few college classes, it is becoming very real. 

And then.........what will I do?

There will be no more toys, no more school books, and no kids running around giggling every day. I know that our goal as parents is to raise our kids up to be productive adults and move out! It just seems like things will be empty. Even now that they have a little more freedom with Amber being able to drive them around my house is very quiet sometimes. 

What do other stay-at-home homeschooling moms do when their kids grow up. I told my husband that I would get a job until he retires so we can save a little extra money, but he thinks I will just want to travel and visit all 5 of our kids if they live in different states. He may be right, but it is the thought that counts.....right?

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

CompuScholar Digital Savvy Review #hsreviews #computerprogrammingforkids #codingforkids #computerskills

CompuScholar, Inc.
My kids think it's funny when I tell them about my first computer class in high school. They can't believe that something that simple was actually a class for high school credit. Now it is my kids turn to learn about computer technology by using Digital Savvy from CompuScholar, Inc. 

CompuScholar, Inc. used to be known as Homeschool Programming and Amber used the KidCoder Visual Basic from them a few years ago. Crew members were offered our choice of Digital Savvy, Web Design, or Java Programming to use with our kids. I figured everyone needs to know about the digital world even if they don't want to go into web design or programming, so I chose Digital Savvy to use with my kids. 

CompuScholar, Inc. Digital Savvy
Digital Savvy is a one-year course that is an introductory Information Technology class for students in grades 6-12. The only prerequisite is basic keyboarding, using a mouse, and basic computer navigation. There are 25 chapters with additional supplemental lessons. The first few chapters cover computer hardware and software, operating systems, computer maintenance, and then there are chapters that cover spreadsheets, presentations, digital images, social media, creating a webpage, careers and professional skills and more. Each chapter has several lessons that contain a lesson video, lesson text, and a quiz. There is also hands-on activities to allow students practice time and to see if they understood what they learned in each chapter.  

The parent and student each have their own login. The parent account has access to all the lesson content the student does, but also contains a Teacher Guide and the Quiz Answer Key. The students' quizzes are self-graded and can be seen in the student account or the parents. The parent is responsible for grading the activities and projects. 
Amber and Alaina have both been using Digital Savvy. I had Amber start with the first chapter and she is working her way through the program. She started first and Alaina didn't really have any interest in the hardware and software of the computer yet, so I let her choose where she wanted to start. She decided to start in chapter 15 and has worked through to chapter 17. These chapters are about Digital Images, Internet Communications, and Social Media. I think she chose to start with those because she already has some understanding of those and they interested her. She is on some forms of Social Media, but there are some we will not allow her to have until she is older. That didn't hinder her, she still enjoyed covering that chapter. This program has been very easy for the girls to use and the directions are very easy to understand. 

CompuScholar is an online computer program that helps you understand computers and the programs you download on it. I have been doing lessons 15, 16, and 17. Lesson 15 is about editing images and after you finish the whole chapter you do an activity that goes with the chapter. So in lesson 15, the activity was to draw on the computer and editing photos. It was a lot of fun! Now I'm working on social media and today I learned about Pinterest and in each chapter, there is stuff about that specific thing. I will give it 5 stars!!

CompuScholar is an easy way to learn about computers, but not so easy that it is boring. It teaches you about simple things such as a mouse to more complex things such as the inside functions of the computer. CompuScholar is a good program to learn the basics of computers and I look forward to learning more.  
CompuScholar, Inc now offers seven different online programs and textbooks including courses about game and Android programming. You have the option of purchasing the self-study course or the teacher-led course by the month or yearly.  

Social Media
Homeschool Programming Facebook
Homeschool Programming Twitter  @hsprogramming 
CompuScholar Facebook
CompuScholar Twitter @compuscholar 

Even if your children aren't interested in learning to code or programming computers they will still benefit from what CompuScholar has to offer and surprisingly young kids can learn so much.  

Stop by the Crew Blog to read reviews about Digital Savvy, Web Design, or Java Programming. 
Digital Savvy, Web Design & Java Programming {CompuScholar,Inc Reviews}
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Thursday, April 6, 2017

Cody Park Ice Cream

My girls have always loved going to Cody Park to get an ice cream or other fun treats. They are only open from April-August so stopping by on one of the first days they are open is a read treat. Most of the time we stop after our soccer games. This picture above popped up in my news feed this morning on Facebook from four years ago.
And now this summer Amber is working there and she gets to make a lot of ice cream!!

Shepherd, Potter, Spy, and the Star Namer Review #hsreviews #siblingrivalry #geography #Bible #survival

Shepherd, Potter, Spy--and the Star Namer {Peggy Consolver}
When you read the Bible do you ever wonder what it would be like to live back then? To witness the ten plagues, to see Moses part the Red Sea, or watch the Israelites follow the cloud by day? We just finished stepping back into time in the book Shepherd, Potter, Spy--and the Star Namer  from Peggy Consolver -Author.

This book takes us back to Canaan when the Israelites take over the Promised Land. This story is not from their side but is about Keshub, 13-year-old boy from Gibeon. We get to see how he grows from being a young shepherd boy to becoming involved in the life of the Hebrew leaders. Keshub is the youngest of five brothers and while he is watching his flocks he dreams of doing great things. Slowly by doing his job well and protecting his flock he starts to prove he can take care of things even though he is young. He is gradually given more responsibility and not only does he hide the son of the evil king of the Amorites, but he kills a lion, catches a thief, and becomes a spy and a slave.

Peggy Consolver is the author of Shepherd, Potter, Spy--and the Star Namer. She had taught Sund
ay School for many years and enjoyed looking at the maps in the back of her Bible to visualize the stories that were told in it. She began writing historical fiction from Joshua 9 & 10 from a young shepherd's point of view. After struggling with describing the area she decided it would be easier if she visited those places herself. So in 2010 she spent 18 days in Israel with the Association of Biblical Research. 
Shepherd, Potter, Spy--and the Star Namer Peggy Consolver
Peggy has also created a study guide called Digging Deeper Into HIStory to go along with the book. It is a thirteen-week bible study to inject adventure and excitement into a teen Bible study, youth group or family devotions. There is a sample of the study guide that contains maps, videos, research links, and much more. This study would make a great addition to reading the book. 

I like reading historical fiction out loud to my family, so I decided to read this one during our read aloud time. The book actually covers scripture from Genesis 10 to Psalm 114, but mainly Numbers 20 through Joshua 12. This was perfect timing for us because not long ago we started in Genesis and have been going through the Old Testament for our family devotions. My family is very familiar with the Bible stories this book covers, but we really enjoyed feeling like we were there. Although things are completely different in our time haveing a teenager as the main character helped my kids relate more to the story. It gave them a glimpse of how life could have been back then. 

Social Media
Peggy Miracle Consolver
Shepherd, Potter, Spy and the Star Namer
Study Guide

Shepherd, Potter, Spy--and the Star Namer {Peggy Consolver Reviews}
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Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Memoria Press American HistoryReview #hsreviews #memoriapress #classicalchristianeducation #classicalyhomeschooling #classicalchristianhomeschooling

Memoria Press

Everything we have used from Memoria Press has been a great addition to our homeschool. I recently received The Story of the Thirteen Colonies & The Great Republic Set as well as 200 Questions About American History Set from them to use. 

When our package arrived in the mail my adult daughter and her friend were here for a visit. I was anxious to open the box and get a good look at the products even though I knew it would be two more days before we would get started using it. We are a trivia and game loving family so the kids immediately wanted to open the American History Flashcards. I started reading them from the top of the pile and my kids were having a blast answering the questions & hearing the answers to the ones they did not know. When we were about 3/4 of the way through the pile my daughter's friend who attended public school and is a college graduate said we made her feel stupid because she didn't know any of the answers and she wanted to know if she could study American History while she was visiting. 
The Story of the Thirteen Colonies & the Great Republic Set
The Story of the Thirteen Colonies & The Great Republic uses the text written by H.S. Guerber and edited by Memoria Press and comes with a softcover Student Guide, and a Teacher Guide. The 211-page text was originally written in two volumes at the turn of the 20th Century. Memoria Press thinks they are the best quality text for the middle school students, so they combined the two volumes into one. It is divided into 85 short chapters with only one or two pages in each. The 104 page Student Guide is divided into 32 Lessons and has an extensive Appendix. Each lesson is set up the same way and include Facts To Know, Vocabulary, Comprehension Questions, and an Enrichment section. The Appendix includes maps, charts, song lyrics, the Constitution with the Amendments, the Emancipation Proclamation, and more. The Teacher Guide is set up exactly like the Student Guide but also includes the answers as well as the student tests and their answers.
200 Questions About American History Set
Grades 5-8
200 Questions About American History comes with 200 question flashcards, a softcover Teacher Guide and Student Book. It is a great accompaniment to any good American History course. The Recommended Texts & Weekly Schedule included in the student book has the course being completed in 34 weeks using The Story of the Thirteen Colonies & The Great Republic and Story of the World, Volume 4 by Susan Wise Bauer together. The Student Book has drill questions from the text, a timeline of events where the student should fill in the date, questions about notable quotes, and the presidents. The answers are included in the Teachers Guide along with the tests and answer keys.
Alaina has been using both The Thirteen Colonies & The Great Republic Set and 200 Questions About American History Set. We have always studied history together, so I read the text out loud to her and we talked about what I just read. Then she would work on the vocabulary and questions in her workbook. Some days we would use the Comprehension questions more as a discussion and then she would spend more time writing her composition. When we used the 200 Questions flashcards I would add in the new ones and we would go through them all. Even my high school girls thought it was fun to see who could answer the most. 

Social Media
Twitter @MemoriaPress
Not only are both of these sets a great for a middle school classical education it would also be helpful to people who are older that don't have a knowledge of American History. 
First Form Greek, Iliad/Odyssey and American History {Memoria Press Reviews}
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