Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Homeschool Rescue *Review

Only Passionate Curiosity Homeschool Rescue

I have actually been homeschooling for over 14 years now. That is so hard to believe. I have not in any sense 'arrived'. Only Passionate Curiosity designed an online course called Homeschool Rescue
that I was able to review, just as I was starting to pull my hair out... again.

I may be graduating my third son this week, but I still have 4 more to go, and I truly needed to take a look at our homeschool as we approach this next season.

Homeschool Rescue is a 60 day ecourse, but don't let the time mention scare you away. You have unlimited access for life and can take this course at your own pace. Heather even graciously sent out an email reminding us of this, that you are not behind! Already feeling overwhelmed with school, you don't need to feel overwhelmed with getting help. This is at your own pace, but you should be able to get through a lesson each week. There are 20 lessons total, divided up into 5 modules.

Only Passionate Curiosity Homeschool Rescue

The course first takes a look at your homeschool and trouble shoot what may need tweaking. Each lesson provides a printable worksheet to evaluate your school with. Each worksheet helps you put into practice what you just heard through the video. It helped me set aside my actual goals for our school. Having that in hand written, gave me the freedom to plan according to each child, rather than compare to other homeschoolers or even the public schools and what they are doing. Often times, their goals are not the same as mine.
Heather takes a hard truth revealing look at ourselves as well. Shut off those phones, set aside the distractions that make the teacher unavailable like they should be. That part really spoke truth into my day.

For me the time management portion was very helpful. With home educating 5 children at once, I do tend to get overwhelmed and there are always kids who fly under the radar. Simple things like not scheduling appointments during the morning of a school day because you know full well you won't get to it in the afternoon. Don't let people take advantage of your time, thinking you have more because you are homeschooling. It is ok to say No to things.

Module 3 addresses curriculum and organizing your school supplies and space. That is a must for me! Again a module that really addresses the heart of the school. With having many children, they each have a different learning style that I need to take in account when choosing curriculum. Heather does have a bonus lesson in module 1 that address learning styles.

Module 4 looks at self esteem, how to encourage kids to get their work done, incentives and consequences. It also takes a look at following through, which is something I falter in. I just get 'tired' and it is easier to quit. The encouragement in this ecourse is the best I have found!

The last module tackles those teens. Getting them to work independently and learn time management skills. I have one going into high school this year, and though I have three already done, I do feel like we can be refreshed in starting with my 4th son because of going through this course.

In addition to the course there is the opportunity to be a part of a facebook group with other moms going through the same program. Encouragement and like mindedness multiplied as you work your way through the lessons and homework. Advice, encouragement, and maybe even friendships.

This type of course should be utilized by homeschool groups. I have not in my 14 years of educating, seen anything like this for helping the homeschool parents to evaluate their school, and grow in ways they should be.

I have not gotten through the entire course, I have had to give myself grace as we gear up for a graduation and party to follow. But I do know I will be finishing the entire course before we start back up with school this summer. I want to be the very best teacher I can for these 4 students left at home, and Heather has been such a blessing in motivating me to do that.

Only Passionate Curiosity Homeschool Rescue

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Homeschool Rescue {Only Passionate Curiosity Reviews}

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Saturday, May 13, 2017

The Woman's Study Bible NKJV *Review

The NKJV Woman's Study Bible  published by Thomas Nelson

This study Bible has a beautiful cloth cover, that just shouts Woman's Study Bible. I don't think I have seen such a gorgeous cover on a Bible. I got plenty of complements when I took it to church. The Bible has been redesigned in full color, and the interior is just as gorgeous at the exterior. You can also get this in leather or hardback with a slightly different cover design.

This in-depth Bible, along with a notebook and pencil is all you need for a rich study of the Word of God. Packed from edge to edge with pertinent information to add to the study of the scriptures.

Each book gives a background page of the author, audience, themes of the writing and a complete outline.

Study notes at the bottom include additional scripture references, Hebrew meanings, and further explanation of the passages. Of course, these are meant for study and discernment, not to be interpreted as scripture.

Quotes and spiritual insights from over 80 esteemed Christian women, sprinkled throughout the text.

The character studies of the women of the Bible are excellent. Some women I hadn’t even given much thought to, are brought out and explored a little more in depth. Topics of interest to women are also scattered throughout the text.

Graphs and maps add to the excitement of learning. There are also topics of interest for women included throughout the Bible

Appendix with index, concordance and maps help give additional reference for your studies.
Very thorough look at God's Word, with a focus of drawing out specific references to women as well as sharing more information on the women from the Word.

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Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Institute for Excellence in Writing ~High School Essay Intensive *Review

Institute for Excellence in Writing

Institute for Excellence in Writing is on the forefront with focused writing, and
High School Essay Intensive    has been a huge asset to helping my son learn the basics of essays.

Institute for Excellence in Writing High School Essay Intensive
This program comes with 5 DVDs and a 28 page handout. It also has a tri fold guide titled Portable Walls for the Essayist that is  great tool to keep nearby as they are writing.

This program is multi facetted. It can be used to learn to write basic essays. It is also helpful to prepare for the essay portion of the ACT and SAT tests. My 18 year old did not take the essay portion of the ACT, so we focused on the first part of the intensive, General Strategies for Essay Writing. Part 1 on the DVD which is divided into two parts.

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
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

Though we have looked at essay writing during high school, my son was struggling with what an essay was. He said with this program, that it was the first time he actually understood writing an essay and the purpose of it! That in itself speaks for this program. He would watch the DVD and take notes on the handout. In the first lesson my son said he liked that Andrew Pudewa didn't take baby steps but 'threw him in the fire' with giving him 20 minutes to write an essay. These types of essays aren't the typical style of essay that you will write, but they are the type you will need to know for the ACT,  SAT, and competitive writing.

Andrew Pudewa strongly encouraged note taking as he watched the DVD. Firstly because it models what needs to be done in college, and secondly it looks good when Mom or Dad ask what you learned with the High School Essay Intensive, and you have a handout full of notes.

My son really liked the tricks and techniques section where he was taught  how to figure out the number of topics you need to write a specific length paper. That you don't have to guess on how to do it, that you can mathematically figure out what you will need to succeed at say a ten page paper. He also liked the technique to find out what type or style of essay a specific professor likes. Then write with the style they prefer, to increase your grade.

Another part that was really helpful to him was learning about types of paragraphs and their jobs. He learned about the thesis, topical sentences and conclusions. This program from Institute for Excellence in Writing was really a break through for him. He plans on continuing through the rest of part 1B and then go on to Part 4, Strategies for the "Personal Essay". He has expressed that he finds this program will be very helpful for him as he gets ready to start college.

Excellent resource for any high school student!!

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

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Wednesday, May 3, 2017

ArtAchieve Draw the World! *Review


ArtAchieve gave us the opportunity to learn Art from around the world with the Entire Level 111 program. It is much more than just an art program, ArtAchieve looks at the history behind the art project, including a photo of what inspired the art lesson. You can look at literature, science and additional history to go along with the art lesson, giving you a unit study approach with art as your focal point. I am a huge unit study gal, so this really speaks to me and to having all of our learning meld together. My 12 year old is a huge art lover and reviewed ArtAchieve Level 11, pretty much finishing each art lesson, well after the review time. We both were thrilled when given the opportunity for Level 111. This is truly one of our favorite art programs.

Another component I love is that you can purchase individual lessons. So if you are studying frogs for instance, you can purchase just lesson 1 on the Hawaiian Frog and not have to purchase the entire year. For us, we typically do each lesson so the entire level works best. I do love that there is an option. Here is a photo of my daughter's Hawaiian Frog, I thought it turned out amazing.

Each lesson gives you a heads up of the supplies you will need, most being some you already have around the house. There is also a Color Media page which lists out all of the supplies so you can plan ahead. We did have to buy a gold paint pen, and white charcoal pencil for one of the lessons, but that was the first time we needed anything 'special' that we didn't already have.


Each lesson takes from 45 minutes to an hour and half depending on how complex it is. This does not include the cross curricular connections. The last two lessons in the series are a bit more complex. One is based on Da Vinci work, and uses geometrical shapes and collage materials. The final lesson is on making a movie or film with a story board.

The variety in the offerings is outstanding. Though some of the actual art pieces are made of stone, or wood, they are transposed onto paper.

Each lesson is offered in video and power point presentations. Most lessons have a printable warm up lesson to get started. We choose to watch the video to learn the lesson and they are right around half an hour for the more complex lessons. It is very helpful to watch the video and have John show us how to work on the project, step by step.

Each level does increase in complexity. Several in the Level 111 were recommended for grades 4 or 5 and up. I want to try my hand at some of these as well, so they are certainly geared for the entire family.

Social Media Links:
Facebook:   @ArtAchieve
Instagram:   @johnahofland
Twitter:   @ArtAchieve
Pinterest:   artachieve
Google+:   ArtAchieve


Art Lessons Inspired From Around the World {ArtAchieve Reviews}

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Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Enriching your Homeschool with Pureflix

Adding media to your homeschool with great companies like PureFlix gives a variety and newness to your homeschool! PureFlix films are some of our very favorite for their family friendliness.

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Friday, April 28, 2017

Drive Thru History® – The Gospels *Review

Drive Thru History

Our family  has long loved Drive Thru History® and have watched nearly every episode they have made. Probably our very favorite history program to date! Drive Thru History® – “The Gospels” is the latest in their DVD series, and it is exceptional.

Drive Thru History The Gospels
This set comes with 3 dvd's on which are 18 episodes at 30 minutes each. 9 hours of Historic excitement. Excitement in History? You typically wouldn't hear that out of my mouth, as I have not been a history buff over the years. When you are taught History through a text book, by your typical history teacher, you find it hard to be excited. Programs like Drive Thru History has given me personally a new excitement for history, specifically Bible times.

There is also a study guide with this particular series, that is built right into the case that holds the DVDs. This is a full color study guide with beautiful local history photos. Each lesson in the study guide gives a summary of the DVD, and then offers discussion question. I would gear these question at about 5th grade and up, though younger students may be able to join in the discussion with some of them.

Because we use Drive Thru History as our lunch hour study, we didn't use the discussion questions or study guide this time through. I am planning to rewatch this series (yes it is that good!) and use the questions the 2nd time through. These dvds are so packed with information that you will catch something new the second time around for sure.

Drive Thru History The Gospels

Dave Stotts, the host is very energized and passionate about what he is teaching. He is funny, and very entertaining for all ages. Even my 2 year old will say "Time to watch Dave?" at lunch time.
Dave takes us on a driving history to the places Jesus walked. I  may never get to Israel to see these great sites, but watching this program is a close second. No crowds either!

Drive Thru History The Gospels

The series takes you through the life of Jesus of Nazareth, with Biblical references and historic records.

Each episode includes;

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

There are so many historical sites to see in this series! He travels and showcases over 50 sites. Like I said earlier, you can certainly watch this series more than once because it is truly jam packed with historical significance! The gospels are well presented in this series and it is told chronologically which is always helpful. Jesus life is brought to 'life' for my children and myself and this has honestly been one of the best programs we have ever used.
Don't just take my word for it, see what my crew mates thought by clicking on the banner below!

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The Gospels {Drive Thru History® Reviews}

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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Planet 316 Daily Bible Jigsaw *Review

Planet 316

Planet 316 has a free new app called Daily Bible Jigsaw . This app works for for ios, google play, or on facebook. The app is free to download, but you can also purchase coins to help with some of the moves in the game. It is a basic puzzle game like I used to sit around the family room table and play.  I was also given 500 coins to use in the game to try out some of the helpful hints.  

Daily Bible Jigsaw by Planet 316

Each day there is a new puzzle to solve. You can go back and solve a puzzle you may have missed, but it will cost you a few coins. There are also some bonus puzzles that you can do for free, if you aren't getting enough with the daily puzzle. Each puzzle will only take about 5 minutes to complete.

All of the puzzle pieces are brought out on the board and you can play just like this without any need for coins. Click on the piece to rotate it, and start assembling the puzzle.

I always use the edges button and spend 2 coins to remove all of the inside pieces, just like I do with an actual puzzle. There are additional 'helps' that cost coins as well.

The middle pieces are then added in. I could move the entire puzzle hooked together to get any of the pieces that may be hidden under the current puzzle pieces.

The completed puzzle is then attached a scripture verse with it. I enjoy that it brings it back around to the Bible, thus the name Daily Bible Jigsaw. The photos around easter were of Jesus, but the other ones have been animals or nature scenes. The scripture at the end really adds the Bible element.

For those of competitive nature, you are given a list of the top times of that puzzle, and can see if you are beating out other friends. This was one of my worst times for a puzzle and only earned 1 star. Then you have friends who get the puzzle done in under 2 minutes!

You can go to the calendar after each game and see that it is building a larger puzzle. Each day you complete the puzzle you are given another piece.

A couple other puzzles I finished.

Additional tools you can use are
Magnet which connects 2 pieces for a few coins
Edge tool will push unconnected pieces to the edge for 1 coin
Visual Guide will let you have a peek at the completed puzzle for 2 coins
Rotate will rotate all the puzzle pieces for 2 coins.

Again the only tool I used was edges to get rid of the middle pieces right away.
I am not a big game player, but this was a really fun one to play and the kids would even sit with  me and try to help.

Social Media Links:

Twitter:  @planet_316

See what my other crew mates thought of this fun new app by clicking on the banner below.

Daily Bible Jigsaw {Planet 316 Reviews}

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