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Thursday, July 26, 2018

Smart Kids Radio Review #hsreviews #edutainment #KidsRadio #SongsforKids


Smart Kidz Radio

When my kids were little we had CDs of music that was just for them. The only problem with that is we would listen to the same songs over and over again in the car or at home. I can still sing them all!! My girls are all getting bigger but they babysit for a three-year-old so they have been listening to Smart Kidz Radio from Smart Kidz Media when she is here.

Smart Kidz Radio
The radio is very easy to use. Once you login your radio is the first thing you see and you simply press the play button. The songs you hear are all very encouraging and are about good skills like behavior, living, survival, bedtime songs, and other kids favorites that encourage a positive self-esteem. The breaks in between songs also discuss moral issues little kids experience such as fighting with their siblings and why we shouldn't.

There are also podcasts that you can choose to listen to. They include stories and a few songs. Some of the stories are Cinderella, Rumpelstiltskin, Three Musketeers, Treasure Island, Aladdin and His Magic Lamp, and more. Right now you can listen to the Itsy Bitsy Spider, The Sharing Song, and Let Your Light Shine which is a story and a song.

The live stream program is played 24 hours a day 7 days a week for a designated period of time and then a new program is rotated in for another set amount of time. They will soon have an upgrade option where you will have access to the On-Demand Programming for a small fee. This will allow you to access hundreds of songs and stories when you want them.

Smart Kidz Radio
Smart Kidz Radio Station is free to use and is only one free educational item from Smart Kidz Academy. They offer over 2,000 educational products. They have books, videos, eBooks, interactive games, learning songs, sing-a-long songs, 200 Smart Cardz decks, and parenting resources. The Smart Cardz system is a new flashcard technology that helps kids learn new academic concepts.

Smart Kidz Radio is free to listen to. They care about kids growing up with a positive life. They want to make the world a better place. By encouraging the kids while they are young the world can become more kind, cleaner, and peaceful for everyone.

We listened to Smart Kidz Radio with our three-year-old babysitting kid. She really liked listening to the songs and danced around to several of them. She didn't care for the stories, but once she gets a little older she probably would. This radio station is great to listen to while working around the house or while working on any arts & craft projects or just coloring. It is a lot easier than dealing with a pile of children's CDs laying around.

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Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Wordless Wednesday

My little friend in my blackberries!!

Northwest Treasures Review #hsreviews #geology #dinosaurs #apologetics

Northwest Treasures
We were just recently introduced to a company called Northwest Treasures. They offer homeschool geology curricula and fossil kits for grade PreK-12. We got to review two of their online courses Taking the Mystery Out of Geology and Dinosaurs and the Bible. Other Homeschool Crew member received Geology and Apologetics. 

Northwest Treasures started out by taking unusual items to homeschool conventions when they realized people wanted to know more about the science behind the treasures so they expanded to rock kits with books. Now they offer physical courses, field trips, high school curriculum, as well as Geology for "Little Eyes" for preK-3 grade.

We accessed our video content on Vimeo. It was very easy to use. We were given a promo code to use directly on Vimeo and then we can access all of our videos there on iOS, Android, Apple TV, Roku, and Chromcast. You will need internet access and we didn't have any trouble with the video quality. 
Dinosaurs and the Bible Online Course
Dinosaurs and the Bible is a six-part class recommended for grades 5 through adult and comes with worksheets and answer key for each lesson as well as an exam at the end of lesson 6. There is also an optional dinosaur fossil kit that can be purchased separately to make your study even better. You will discover what the Bible says about the dinosaurs, learn when they lived, and how they died out. The six video segments last from 16-21 minutes. 
  • Lesson 1 ~ How We Got Our Modern View of Dinosaurs 
  • Lesson 2 ~ The Classification of Dinosaurs
  • Lesson 3 ~ Dinosaurs and the Bible
  • Lesson 4 ~The Extinction of the Dinosaurs
  • Lesson 5 ~ Dinosaurs and the Ice Age
  • Lesson 6 ~ Fossils, Age, and Soft Tissue
Each Lesson video is given by Patrick Nurre. He believes in the Bible and a young earth and includes this information in each segment. While Patrick is speaking we see slides of maps, fossils, charts, and anything that shows what he is talking about. I didn't pay attention to how many in any of the lessons, but some of the pictures were taken by Patrick. 


 Take the Mystery out of Geology Online Course
Taking the Mystery Out of Geology is a short 20-minutes class given by Patrick Nurre. It will help you understand geology from a Biblical perspective and how the flood and the Ice Age come together. There are vocabulary words to learn that will help you understand the science of geology.


My girls and I learned about dinosaurs together by watching each lesson. We learned the history of how we view dinosaurs today and how they are classified today by scientist and how they should be classified with the Bible. We also learned about biblical and secular ideas for the disappearance of the dinosaurs. And of course, we got to look at the Genesis Flood and the Ice Age and how that affected the dinosaurs and the fossils that were left behind including the soft tissue discoveries. We chose to answer the questions included on the worksheet together out loud. Each worksheet asks questions pertaining to each lesson.

Although my girls aren't really interested in geology they do like dinosaurs and liked learning more about them. Patrick does a great job presenting each lesson and you can tell he is very knowledgeable on the subject. If you plan on studying geology, apologetics, or dinosaurs in your homeschool or just want to further research your own interests Northwest Treasures is a great place to find resources for the entire family. 

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No Longer Little Review #hsreviews #raisingrealmen #halandmelanie #boymom #tweens #homeschooling



Raising Real Men
I can remember when my kids were infants and there were some nights I sat up with them all night because they were sick or fussy and I remember thinking the night and the tired days were dragging on forever. Well, they don't last forever and they grow up all too fast. I just received an advanced reader copy of No Longer Little: Parenting Tweens With Grace and Hope from Great Waters Press.

This is not the first book Hal and Melanie Young have written. They are award-winning authors of Raising Real Men and My Beloved and My Friend: How to Be Married to Your Best Friend Without Changing Spouses. They have four boys and two girls so I think they know a little bit about raising kids. They had heard how raising teenagers could be but nothing about the tween years and how hard they can be so Hal & Melanie decided to write their own book to help other families get through this time.
No Longer Little by Hal and Melanie Young
No Longer Little is a 204-page softcover book. It is written to parents of children ages 8-14 and is divided into twelve chapters. It offers help to parents to make these years great and encourage them to not ride the emotional rollercoaster that tweens try to get them to ride on. 
  1. Getting Bigger: Hormones and Body Changes
  2. The Rollercoaster: Emotional Upheaval
  3. Brains Turn To Mush: Why School Goes Away
  4. Many A Conflict, Many A Doubt: spiritual Questioning
  5. The Awakening: Sexuality and Virtue
  6. Social Struggles: Overcoming Awkwardness
  7. Media, Gamin, and Discernment: More Then Amusement
  8. Conflict At Home: Family Relationships
  9. Transitioning: Youth in the Bible
  10. Celebrating Growth: Coming of Age Ceremonies
  11. Producers, Not Consumers: Work and Stewardship
  12. The Next Big Thing: High School and Beyond
Hormone changes start in our children way before the outward signs are present. Hal & Melanie learned this from raising their eight kids through it and they realized how crucial the tween years are for their physical and spiritual development. They start out by explaining what can be expected of our boys and girls during this time. They use examples from their own family to show how some kids may behave. If you have older kids you know that no matter what kind of student you had when you first started homeschooling there is a time when your student fails miserably. The book explains that it is nothing we have done nor is it the child's fault and there are tips on how to deal with those times our kid's brains just aren't' working the way they used to. The book talks about inappropriate internet usage, bullying and being bullied, online gaming, and relationships. Hal and Melanie explains how to encourage our kids to have a biblically based view of relationships and how to glorify God in those relationships whether they are family, friends, or those of the opposite sex. When their kids were ready to become adults they chose to have a ceremony to initiate their children into adulthood and they tell us how each of their children had chosen party themes that interested them. There is even a sample invitation to help with planning your own. The last chapters talk about being good stewards and how kids can earn their own money and then lastly how to encourage them into deciding what to do with their adult lives. 

Hal & Melanie are a wealth of knowledge and encouragement. I have read their work and followed their articles for many years and this new book is a great addition to their other work. As most of you know we have two adult children and three teenagers in our home right now. Our oldest is a boy and then we had four girls. After reading No Longer Little I have heard some of the same comments over the years from other people that the Young's have. I feel their advice and encouragement are spot on and I wish I had been given their advice twenty some years ago when our oldest was still little. Their style of writing makes you feel like you are having a conversation with goods friends and that you have known them personally for years. They keep their writing very real by giving real-life examples and using some quotes of conversations that they have had to deal with. This book is a must-read for anyone with kids and should not only be read well before they reach the tween years, but reread latter when you are actually going through the situations.

The Homeschool Review Crew also received Hal and Melanie Young's new book Love, Honor, and Virtue: Gaining or Regaining a Biblical Attitude Toward Sexuality. This book is written directly to boys in their teens and twenties to help them fight for moral purity. 
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Love, Honor, and Virtue  AND No Longer Little {Great Waters Press Reviews}

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Thursday, July 19, 2018

Progeny Press Review #hsreviews #Literature #StudyGuides #UnitStudies #ReadingComprehension



Progeny Press
Delaney is my writer and she has been trying to expand her writing by choosing themes that she wouldn't normally write about. One thing I thought might help her is reading good literature that she wouldn't normally choose for pleasure. When we were offered the Perelandra - eGuide from Progeny Press to review I knew it would be a good choice for her.

Perelandra is the second book of a space trilogy written by C.S. Lewis. You do not have to read book one Out of the Silent to enjoy Perelandra. C.S. Lewis wrote this book during WWII. While the Nazi regime was conquering their neighbors Lewis created his fictional characters to battle the evils with creatures on other planets.

Perelandra
The Perelandra -eGuide is 58-pages and should take eight to ten weeks to complete. Not only do you need the book Perelandra but as with all high school guides Progeny Press recommends you have a good dictionary, a thesaurus, encyclopedias, a Bible, and the Internet will be helpful sometimes.

This eGuide contains a section for all 17 chapters of the book, a note to the instructor, a book synopsis, background information on when it was written, information on C.S. Lewis, a synopsis of Out of the Silent Planet, prereading activities, an essay & activity section as well as additional resources and the answer key.

Progeny Press recommends working through the prereading activity of your choice while reading the book the first week. The next week the student will complete the rest of the study guide while using the book to reference. This works well because some of the questions require cross-reference with other parts of the story.

The prereading activities include reading other works to compare them to Perelandra, creative writing, research, biblical comparison, and more.

There are eight sections covering the 17 book chapters. Some of the sections cover one chapter, some cover two, and others cover three. They are all set up in the same way but with varying activities. They all start with a vocabulary section, questions, analysis, and a Dig Deeper section. Some of the vocabulary sections include fill in the blank, matching, writing out definitions. The question section are short answer questions about what was read. The analysis section contains more thought questions as we look at why things happened. Bible reading and writing about personal experiences are just a couple of the different things included in the Dig Deeper section.

The essay & activity section gives the student options for rewriting sections of the book, creating artwork from something described in the book, Bible reading and comparisons, and more to choose from. The additional resources include other books written by C.S. Lewis and ones that are similar to Perelandra.

This is not the first literature study we have used from Progeny Press so Delaney knew what to expect from it. This is something she likes to work through by herself. Sometimes we do literature questions out loud to further our discussion, but with these, she likes to work through them on her own The reason I wanted Delaney to use this eGuide is to help her break out of her writing niche. I like how Progeny Press helps you notice how authors create their stories and I'm hoping this helps Delaney. This is not a book Delaney would have chosen to read on her own, she has been enjoying it and she feels the questions in the eGuide have really helped her understand the themes and ideas in the book.

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New Study Guides for Literature From a Christian Perspective {Progeny Press Reviews}
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Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Wordless Wednesday Bridal Shower Cake





Code for Teens Review #hsreviews #CodeForTeens #computerprograming #programing #JavaScript


Code for Teens
I think it is important for every child to learn a little bit about computer programming. Even if they aren't interested in computer science they should at least have a little understanding of it. Code for Teens has a JavaScript course called Code for Teens: The Awesome Beginner's Guide to Programming Volume 1.

This book is written directly to the student by Jeremy Moritz. He is a homeschool father of six so he knows that homeschool parents are busy and do not always have the time to learn something new to teach to their kids. A a lot of parents may not have the knowledge to help them with coding if they run into trouble. He also wanted his kids to be able to explain their code and write their own from scratch instead of just copying it directly from somewhere else.

This course can be completed on any computer running Windows, MacOS, or Linux. You will need internet access and the web browser Google Chrome to complete the course, you cannont use a smartphone or tablet. The 221-page book is very nice with glossy pages and bright colors. There are also fun cartoons throughout the book from Jeremy's wife Christine.

JavaScript is the most common programming language and is used in most websites. Each of the 10 chapters build on each other and things can be repeated as necessary, and all the answers are included in the back of the book. All important words in the text are in bold print and the definitions are included in the glossary. Since the book is written directly to the student they can work at their own pace checking their own work as they go.

The text is very fun and easy to understand. The chapters have hands-on projects, quizzes, drills, and reviews. To get started you only need to pull up Google Chrome and follow the directions in the book. The student will create a "workbook" to record and save all their information. The code that the student should write is blue text in the book and the response from the console is printed in red making it very easy to see what to type and what the response should be. There are plenty of explanations of why things work the way they do. Jeremy also includes comments about why programmers do certain things. He wanted to give students problems that they need to think through and come up with a solution. So he has the students create fun realistic projects that have varying outcomes. They are assigned the task of solving issues for age-related movie tickets, choosing menu options to create a soup, changing peoples responses to all lower case letters, and by the end of the book they can create games.

Alaina has been using Code for Teens: An Awesome Beginner's Guide to Programming and is really enjoying it. She thinks it is fun and likes the challenges of finding solutions to the problems. I like that she is understanding why certain things work the way they do and why you would use them. This has been a great summer project for her and as of right now she is wanting to continue with Volume 2  for an introduction to HTML and CSS.

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Thursday, July 12, 2018

Math Refresher for Adults Review #hsreviews #MathEssentals #Math

Math Essentials
One thing I realized when we started homeschooling is that there were things I had either forgotten or didn't learn when I was in school. When my kids started high school there was so much I needed to brush up on and math was the main one. I recently received Math Refresher for Adults from Math Essentials and it would have been nice to have this when my older kids started high school.


Math Refresher for Adults
Math Refresher for Adults is a 270-page softcover workbook written by Richard W. Fisher. It teaches general math, geometry, problem solving, pre-algebra, and algebra. Starting with addition and subtraction it covers fractions, decimals, percents, geometry, integers, charts & graphs, word problems and ends with pre-algebra and algebra. It also comes with an access code to watch video tutorials for each lesson as well as advanced algebra tutorials.

This book is not intended to be used straight through unless you need to be refreshed on every math topic. The table of contents is very detailed making it very easy to find what math concept you need to work on. Each section is set up the same way. There are lesson pages, with a review page covering all the topics at the end. The layout of each page is exactly the same. There are review exercises, helpful hints, additional problems, and a blank space for note taking. Most pages also include a problem solving question in word problem format. In the back of the book there is a glossary, answer key, and charts that include important symbols, multiplication table, prime numbers, squares & square roots, and a fraction/decimal equivalent chart.

Although this is a workbook Richard suggests writing the problems on a blank sheet of paper. He thinks this helps with accuracy and understanding. He also suggests that you should get an 80% before moving on. In each set of problems there are two Sample Problems. These two problems should be worked and checked for accuracy before completing the rest of the problems. This way you know if you understand the concept.

The video tutorials are taught by Richard W. Fisher. They vary in length but all the ones I have watched are short and get right to the point. Richard walks us through the topic as we see the problems on the white screen. He is great at making each topic very understandable, but if you miss anything you can pause or rewatch the tutorial.

I have been using this book myself. I started with the pre-algebra and algebra section because this is where my kids usually start having trouble. Delaney will be doing algebra this year and I know she will need some help so I thought I should refresh my memory so I can help her instead of her having to call her older brother. The lessons just like the video tutorials are very concise and get right to the point. There is no droning on and on about something so that you are lost by the time you get to the problems. Plus the helpful hints get right to the point and it is very easy to look back and see a hint I may need to read again. I didn't feel like I had to wade through a bunch of text to find what I needed. I also love the two Sample Problems. This is a great idea & lets me know if I am ready to complete the problems before spending time doing them and missing several or becoming frustrated.


I think this is a great resource to have on hand. Even if you don't need to refresh yourself before helping you kids, they may need it for review of topics before taking the SAT/PSAT or any other test they may need to take. Or even if you want to practice your math skills before re-entering the workforce or going back to college after you are finished homeschooling your kids.

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Saturday, July 7, 2018

Party Bird Island Swan Float #samsclub #cousins



While we were in Indian for the 4th of July we stopped at Sam's club to get some food for our big crowd. While we were there we saw the Party Bird Island and thought it would be a lot of fun. We figured it would either be fantastic or it would pop within a few minutes of use. We bought it and it was a huge hit. The kids played on it all week. They were in and out of it and it held up wonderfully. Each evening we would pull it out of the pond and tie it up so it would blow away.

Before we all left to head back home we deflated the swan and stored it in a large bag in the barn. Everyone is very hopeful that it can be used again next summer.


It was so pretty just floating in the water and everyone could see it as they drove down the street. This was well worth the price and my sisters and I are hoping they put them on clearance at the end of the summer because we thought it would be even more fun if we had 2 or 3 of them.

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