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Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Carole P. Roman Book Review #hsreviews #CarolePRoman #childrensbooks #culture #history

We love reading good books that take us back in time, where we can experience the past for ourselves. Alaina was thrilled when we received three more books written by Carole P. Roman. We started reading the Carole P. Roman Books and Collections in 2013. This time we received books from the If You Were Me and Lived In... series. 


If You Were Me and Lived in...Viking Europe is a 75-page softcover book. It shows us what it might have been like to live in 870 AD. We are shown what Norway could have looked like as well as the landscape during that time. We are introduced to the Vikings and learn what their names could have been, how they shopped, and how their class system was set up. We get to meet the members of the family and the jobs they each accomplished. In the back of the book we are introduced to some important Vikings from history and there is a glossary of ancient words used in the text.


If You Were Me and Lived in... the Ancient Mali Empire is a 76-page softcover book that starts in 1332 when Mali was a world power. There are illustrations to compare the city from 700 years ago to today. We learn what our name may have been if we had lived during this time period and how we might have lived, dressed, and ate. In this book, we learn about kings and their caste system as well as creating provinces with mayors. We even learned what Mali means in the Mandinka language. The back of this book also contains a list of famous people from the Mali Empire and a glossary.


If You Were Me and Lived in... Mayan Empire Is a 65-page softcover book taking us back 1500 years ago. We see the differences between the Mayan towns then and now. They had different writings and chose their children's names very carefully. These people worked hard for their food and prayed to shrines in their homes. Their practices included reshaping the heads & noses of their children at an early age and the parents tattooed their bodies & filed their teeth. The back of this book contains a list of things the Mayan contributed to the world, famous names in the Mayan Culture, and a glossary. 


The If You Were Me and Lived in... series is written for children ages 8-15. Although they look like a children's book and tell a story that is very easy for children to place themselves in that time era they also contain a lot of information that can open up discussions with older children. 



Although I chose these books for Alaina we all enjoyed reading them. We love to see the comparisons of the places today compared to their specific time period. Some of the things the people practiced make great conversations with my teens. We like seeing how these people lived and how we do some things differently and some things the same. 
Carol P Roman Children's Book Author
Carole P. Roman has done a lot of research to create this series. The books she writes are good to read for their story, but also the information they contain. Carole uses facts and information that are interesting to kids as well as things they need to know. Writing these books in this fashion makes kids feel like they were actually there and make remembering details easier. They are also great books to read over and over. Alaina still has all of her books from Carole P. Roman in her room even though some of them are for younger readers. She doesn't read those anymore, but she said they were so good she wants to keep them forever. 


The Homeschool Review Crew received several different books from the If You Were Me and Lived In....Historical Series, If You Were Me and Lived In...Cultural Series, Captain No Beard Series, Oh Susanna Early Chapter Book Series, and Bedtime Stories. We have never read any of the Captain No Beard books but they sound like they would be good with titles like Fribbet the Frog and the Tadpoles & A Flag for the Flying Dragon.


Carole P. Roman started writing books on a dare from her sons and now she has written over 50 award-winning children's books that appeal to both boys and girls of all ages.  
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Thursday, March 22, 2018

Youth Group Progressive Dinner

A few years ago I planned a progressive dinner for our church youth group. My teens make sure I plan one every year since then. It is a lot of fun for the kids and I think the adults. I like that the adults make the kids feel welcome and hopefully it helps bridge the gap of the age difference and that these kids know that there are adults in their lives that want encourage them. I think it is also good for the adults that volunteer to prepare a meal and host the children in their home.

If you are unfamiliar with a progressive dinner it is simply a dinner where each course is prepared and served at a different house. Several drivers load up their vehicles and stop for appetizers, salads, main course, and of course dessert and games.

I usually plan how many courses by how many people sign up to host the kids. This year our menu was:

  • 1st house: Appetizers- nachos & cheese sticks
  • 2nd house: Soup-chicken noodle
  • 3rd house: Salad- taco salad
  • 4th house: Main dish-lasagna
  • 5th house: Dessert: Sunday bar
  • Games back at the church building

I always enjoy planning and driving the kids. This was my car load for the evening. And here are a few food pictures from our stops.  

















I had several games planned. I think the favorite of the night was the noodle game. The kids had way more fun with this than I ever thought they would. Even the older teens wanted to play it several times. I gave each kid a dry spaghetti noodle we used a box of mini penne rigate to dump on the table. The object of the game was to see who could get the most penne on their spaghetti without using their hands. They were to hold the spaghetti in their mouth.



Zirrly Super Bead Review #hsreviews #zirrly_ #zirrly #superbeads #waterbeads #fusebead #fusebeads



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Alaina is my crafty child, she is always on the lookout for new projects to make. When I asked her if she wanted a set of Super Beads from Zirrly she couldn't wait for them to get here. The Crew was offered seven different kits and Alaina chose the 3D Car and Truck set. 
The Super Bead kits come with everything you need to complete the projects. The 3D Car and Truck kit will make a 3D car and a 3D truck. Our kit included: 

  • Beads: red, yellow, black, white, and orange 
  •  A spray bottle
  • 2 puzzle trays
  • 1 plastic tool
  • 2 templates
  • 4 sets of wheels (2 for each vehicle)
  • plastic pipes
  • Instruction manual
To get started you simply fold the tabs back on the template so you can lay the puzzle tray on top of it. Then you add the beads to the try matching the color underneath it. The beads do have a top and a bottom so you must be sure the beads are placed correctly and that they are pressed down firmly and they are all straight and level. Once all the beads are in place simply remove the template from underneath the board and then spray the whole design. It is recommended to hold the spray bottle 1 1/2 inches away from the beads. You want to make sure all the beads are sprayed, but you do not want to spray them too much. Allow the project to dry for about 60 minutes before removing them from the tray. When the beads are dry to touch carefully start lifting the beads with the plastic tool working around the outside of the project first. After removing all the pieces successfully the sides are attached using the plastic rods. The wheels are attached using the wheel rods. 

The new Super Beads are unique. There is no glue or heat required to create any design, and the finished product remains flexible and will not crack. If your project does happen to come apart you can refuse them by simply spraying them with water. Children and adults can have fun using the beads. Alaina is 13 and she didn't need any help. If you have younger children they may need some guidance.

Alaina was excited to get her kit and she got started using them right away. She is old enough that she didn't need any help. She enjoyed creating her vehicles and thought it was pretty easy. She did have a little trouble with one side of her truck, but I think she just didn't get enough water. She resprayed it and then was able to pull it off the tray.

Zirrly not only offers bead kits they also have craft supplies, wood crafts, ceramics, fabric crafts, and so much more. I was surprised when I started looking at all of their craft kits. The finger puppets are so cute and the DIY Foosball & Ping Pong Games would be so much fun not only to make but to play with. 

The seven bead kits the Crew was offered were the Jungle Animals, 3D Animals, Birds, Spinning Tops, Jewelry Set, the Mega Pack, and the 3D Car and Truck. You can read those reviews on the Crew Blog. 
Super Beads 3D Car and Truck

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Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Home School In The Woods Á La Carte Projects Review #hsreviews #hsitwalacarteprojects


Home School in the Woods  Á La Carte products
Home School in the Woods offers a lot of hands-on products to teach children both world history & U.S. History. We have used several of their products in the past and this time we got to choose items from their Á La Carte Projects. 

Years ago I purchased the Timeline Collection: All Historical Timeline Figures Cd as well as the Suggested Placement Guide from Home School in the Woods. The first lapbook we created from them was Hands-On History Activity-Pak: Composers. We have used the Timeline Collection for so many projects during our homeschool years and my girls still talk about the Composers Pak. This time we were given a dollar amount to choose up to three items from the Á La Cart Projects. Alaina still loves projects for school so I let her choose what she wanted. She chose The Industrial Times & Grocery Sales Flyer, The Jamestown Replica, and Pirate Panoply.
Home School in the Woods  Á La Carte products


The Industrial Times & Grocery Sales Flyer is recommended for students in grades 3-8. This is a creative writing project where the student creates a newspaper about the Industrial Revolution through the Great Depression. There are 12 pages to make up The Industrial Times. Each page has several spaces for different articles and pictures. The article sections are all lined and already include a title. The student just does some research for the topic or writes from what they already know to create a newspaper article. The Grocery Sales Flyer is a double sided flyer to advertise items sold in a grocery store in September & October 1908. It includes two sheets of products that can be cut out and attached to the flyer and the student can write a description and cost of the item. There is also a sample flyer and some additional examples of product descriptions and item costs. Of course Alaina's favorite part of this Á La Carte Project was the Grocery Sales Flyer. She had fun researching items for sale back in 1908 and comparing their price and labels to our products today.






The Jamestown Replica is a download that will be a 3D model of the Jamestown fort how it would have looked over 400 years ago. After downloading the file the directions are very easy to follow. They indicate exactly which pages need to be printed on cardstock and if they should be on different colors. The only additional materials needed you probably already have around the house. You will need glue or double-sided tape, scissors, paper clip, toothpick, colored pencils, and a ruler. There are three pages to be colored and cut out before assembling. Alaina is 13 and she completed the project on her own. The directions were easy enough for her to follow on her own. This is a fun activity if you are learning about Jamestown or just a fun little activity to complete.
Home School in the Woods  Á La Carte products

Pirate Panoply is actually a game to learn about the different parts of a pirate's outfit and can be played with multiple people. Each player will need a picture of the pirate in his skivvies to use as their game board and one set of the pirates clothing for their pieces. The only additional thing you will need is a die. Laminating the clothing and attaching velcro to each piece is also suggested and would be very beneficial if you have younger children or plan on using the game boards over and over. Each player takes turns rolling the die and attaching the corresponding piece of clothing to the pirate. The first person to completely dress the pirate is the winner.  What exactly is a panoply? Alaina learned the meaning of this word and we all had fun playing the game.

Home School in the Woods  Á La Carte products

Home School in the Woods is ran by Amy Pak and her family. They do homeschool in the woods and they really understand history. By adding their products to my children's education they can visually see history come to life. The hands-on activities really get them involved in the past of the United States and the world and they think they are having fun.

Members of the Homeschool Review Crew were offered our choice of the Á La Carte Projects which included games, timelines, newspapers, lapbooks, and more from different time periods. I like the looks of The Penny Rug Notebook and The Art of Quilling, so stop by the Crew Blog to read those reviews.

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Thursday, March 15, 2018

NatureGlo's eScience Review #hsreviews #escience #natureglo #math

natureGlo's eScience
My kids and math don't always get along. My adult son loves it and is taking a lot of higher level math classes at a university. My girls, on the other hand, are fine with math they can see. They get money, time, fractions, all basic math but when it comes to higher levels they struggle with it. NatureGlo's eScience helps students see the connection between mathematics, art, nature, science, and history in their MathArt Online 4-Class Bundle. 

MathArt Online
The MathArt Online 4-Class Bundle helps students see math differently by using history, science, nature, and art. All 4 classes last 6 weeks and is recommended for students ages 10 and up. We had access to all 4 classes in the bundle that includes Math Connections with the Real World, MathArt in Ancient Cultures, Mathematics in the Arts & Sciences, MathArt - Patterns in Nature. Alaina used Math Connections with the Real World. 

Math Connections with the Real World covers Fibonacci numbers. There are six lessons starting with an introduction and the history of the Golden Ratio and Fibonacci numbers. The lessons then go on to show us how these relate to the real world in art, history, literature, nature, and music. We learned from Cleopatra & Egyptian Tombs, looked at nature and rabbit breeding, talked about mathematics in music and looked at musical instruments, and more.  

Included in the lessons are pdf files to download which include PowerPoint presentations, project handbooks, lapbooks, and study guides. There are video segments to watch, activities to complete, literature suggestions, and additional web resources. When you start each lesson you have a numbered list of exactly what needs to be completed and once the student is finished there is a button to select to show the work is completed. The math concepts include addition, subtraction, multiplication, percents, squaring, cubing numbers, and high school geometry and algebra.

MathArt in Ancient Cultures takes us back to Ancient Babylon & Plimpton 322, covers Ancient Greek math and the Platonic Solids, Ancient India, Zellige Moroccan Tiles, and more.

Mathematics in the Arts & Sciences talks about Renaissance Artist Piero della Francesco, Patterns in Nature, Aborigianl Art & Celtic MathArt, and Fractals in Nature and Technology.

MathArt - Patterns in Nature looks at circular patterns, animal coat patterns, geometrics of the universe, the hexagon, and more. 


Sometimes it is hard to put down the textbook and just study something for fun instead of just to learn it. We can do that with any subject besides math because I'm always afraid my girls will get more frustrated with numbers if we don't stick to what we are doing every day. My girls have always struggled with math and that is one textbook that we use every day. The MathArt Bundle has been a good way to take a step back and look at math a little different. By combining math with subjects Alaina loves has helped her see math as being more relevant to her everyday life. 

The classes are set up to last 6 weeks each and there are enough activities and resources to pick and choose which ones to complete. If you decide to finish them all it will probably take you longer than 6 weeks to finish. 

The MathArt Bundle can be used with the entire family or the classes are also available live. This would give your student a chance to attend class with students around the world. Be sure and check out what other Homeschool Review Crew members thought about MathArt and watch the free sample class on beluga whales

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Thursday, March 8, 2018

CursiveLogic Review #hsreviews #cursive #ilovecursive




A handwritten letter is becoming a thing of the past, but they can be one of your most cherished keepsakes. As a child, I wrote letters to my great-grandmother. We lived in the same county and I don't remember when we started writing to each other, but when I look at her cursive words on the page it speaks so much more to me then the words they spell.

I think it is very important for children to learn to write in cursive for many reasons. Alaina already knows how to write in cursive but wants her handwriting to look nicer so she has been using the CursiveLogic Quick-Start Pack and the Art of Cursive from CursiveLogic.

CursiveLogic is a shape-based approach. It combines visual, auditory, verbal, and kinesthetic elements to ensure every student succeeds.  It is taught by grouping cursive letters by shape and combining them into a string. Each shape group uses a different color and has its own catch phrase. By using muscle memory students can understand cursive letters easily and will be writing cursive words in one week.

Cursive Logic New Edition
The CursiveLogic Quick-Start Pack comes with one workbook and 6-month access to an instructional webinar. The workbook is a 112-page spiral bound book. The spiral is at the top of the page making this great for left handed or right handed students. The letters are taught in 10 lessons and at the beginning there is a section on getting started and teaching notes. In the back of the book are dry-erase practice sheets that can be completed over and over. You can also learn how to fully use this method with your children by watching the step-by-step instructional webinar. It will show you exactly how to go through the lessons.
The Art of Cursive Logic

The Art of Cursive is a beautiful coloring book. It contains practice pages for cursive letters as well as practice quotes and 27 coloring pages. They are printed on a heavyweight paper in case you like to color with markers they will not bleed through. There are blank lines on each of those pages to practice your cursive writing directly in the book. The cursive letters are not taught the same as in the student workbook. They are very brief and are recommended for adults or children that already know how to write in cursive but just want to practice or be refreshed on how to form certain letters. The pictures are very detailed and are very pretty when finished.
Cursive Logic Sample Page

Alaina already knows how to write in cursive and she learned by using the older version of CursiveLogic. She really likes how the letters are taught by using different colors because it helped her remember how they were formed. Since she already knows how to write in cursive she has been primarily using The Art Of Cursive to improve her handwriting. She has been using some of the pages in the student workbook on those strings she needs more practice on. She absolutely loves coloring these pages and they have been great practice for her. I love that the spiral is at the top of the student book. It makes practicing writing so much easier when you don't have the spiral in the way. The pages are arranged so that you start at the front of the book and work your way through and once you get to the end you flip the book over and work your way back to the front cover. That way the spiral is always at the top of the page.

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