Thursday, May 25, 2017

The Typing Coach *Review

The Typing Coach

The Typing Coach offers a one year subscription to The Typing Coach Online Typing Course
which can be used by several of your own children at one time. It is only $17 per person. Get everyone in the home typing!
A lost art truly, my oldest two are hen peckers when it comes to typing, and I so wish they would have learned to type correctly. I remember taking typing class on the old fashioned typewriter, oh the memories of clicking the keys, the zing of the return, and the smell of white out. Those days are gone, but the need to type is not!

The Typing Coach

The course introduction gives videos on how the course works and tells you exactly which items you need to print out. You will need to have these printed to work from for the typing practice.
I also needed to watch the video on the practice and testing center before we started. We were a little confused at first to listen to the typing instructions and not knowing where to type. There is the testing center for tests, but you will need to utilize a word processing program for practice.

The first step is having good posture. The Typing Coach encourages you to not skip any of the lessons, that each are important and to go in order. If you are going to be working on typing as a job, you will really be appreciative to have learned the proper hand position and posture for good typing skills.

It is recommended to do this program daily. It only takes a few minutes each day, but it helps with the practice and building on each other. My 12 year old did it 4 times a week.

We did start with the slower paced lessons, as my daughter has had zero experience with typing. This started her out slowly by learning the home row, top row, and bottom row.

After these we did move on to the regular paced lessons. The goal is no errors in your typing, then the speed with come with practice.
You listen to the audio of the lesson, and then practice in your word processor until you are comfortable to take the test.   It was unique to listen to the audio on one tab and to have the word processor in another tab and to be typing. It is different than the typing games I have seen for little kids. The Typing Coach really works for all ages, because it doesn't have all of the games attached to it. I think I will have my 18 year old work through it this summer before he has to tackle college classes, so maybe he can learn the skills and not be a hen pecker like his older brothers.

The testing center is where you take the test and determine how long you will be typing for from 1-3 minutes. The records are saved and the administrator then has access to them to see how the student is doing.

It really is a basic typing program, that when combined with practice, gives results!

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The Typing Coach Online Typing Course {The Typing Coach Reviews}

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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Thin Stix 6pk of Classic Colors *Review

Thin Stix by KwikStix

If we could incorporate arts and crafts into every part of our day, we would!! I love doing reviews for art products and have found a unique product from the The Pencil Grip, Inc. 
that finally my 2 year old can participate with, the Thin Stix 6pk of Classic Colors
These are a solid tube of non toxic tempera paint. They look much like a marker on the outside, but the inside is more like a dry crayon. I didn't even know paint could be in a solid form like this!

I do enjoy getting water color paints out for my 2 year old, but she has to do it with much more supervision and protective measures (for my table and floor), that when she was able to use the Thin Stix. The older kids get to paint often, they are big into using easels and watching videos and painting shows. My little one is always disappointed that she can't paint like the big kids. I chose to let her be the sole user of the Thin Stix and she was thrilled that they were 'her paint'.

The classic colors are perfect for her and the learning she is doing with basic colors. She can not only use them for fun art projects, because she is so young we can utilize them for color matching and coloring worksheets as well.

We weren't sure at first just how 'messy' they would be so we took her outside and put up paper for her to do her artistry.

These are a great size for her little hands. I like how they are thin, and she can begin being trained in how to hold pencils. She is actually into making smaller details when she draws, so the thinness of the Thin Stix was helpful for her to 'write' her list she was making.
The caps are easy for her to get off and on herself, making her feel a little more self sufficient in her creating. She also can spin the bottom dial to get the Thin Stix to roll our more paint. This was one thing she needed monitored with as she would try to roll it all of the way out! No problem though, we just rolled it back down.

There was no worry of mess once we got started. The paint dries within 90 seconds. There was no smearing, no mess, no paint all over her hands or clothes.

Once we tested out the No Mess theory, and were successful, we let her go to it on creating inside! What a huge blessing for this sweet darling to be able to just sit and paint like her older siblings.

The Thin Stix 6pk of Classic Colors was perfect for my toddler. She had no mess, no trouble using them, and was able to easily put them back in their box for later use. The Pencil Grip, Inc., also sells these in 12 and 24 packs. They also have metallic and neon colors. My older kids have been chomping at the bit to try these Thin Stix. I wanted these to be special for my toddler, but I am planning to purchase the larger set for the older kids to use. This is a product all homeschoolers should have in their art supplies.

The Pencil Grip, Inc

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No Mess Art with Thin Stix Classic Colors {The Pencil Grip, Inc. Reviews}

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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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