Wednesday, September 26, 2018

I Know It ~Review

I Know It Interactive Math Lessons K - 5 grade

Our Friends at Super Teacher Worksheets has launched a new fun Math Supplement program called
 I Know It. It is an interactive, Math practice site for elementary aged children. And  they offer a free 60 day trial to interested homeschoolers and teachers.  The free trial page is here:

My 10 year old was chosen out of our family to review this program. The most common math concepts from K-5th grade are included and they are adding more weekly. With a family subscription, you can use it for up to 4 kids. I only have one in elementary school right now, but wow, this is great for those larger families with lots of little ones. 

I Know It Interactive Math Lessons K - 5 grade
We have been working on multiplication and division in his regular math program, and he definitely needed the extra help, so we chose to work on these assignments with the I Know It program. 
In level C, which we are, there are all of these categories to work from. And within each of these categories there are even more choices!

We used the program on our PC. It can be used with laptops and mobile devices as well. When I am logged into my teacher account, I can see all of the children I have as students. I can then assign them specific assignments if I want to. I can either assign them, or have them just work on what they would like.
Because I am only working with one child on this, it was easier for me to just work on it with him, and assign the lessons as we went. I did look through the assignment steps for the teacher and they are very straight forward and easy to understand if you do choose to utilize it.

One thing that I found very  helpful for my son, was that there is an option that the problem can be read to him. He is a struggling reader, and the help was very nice. He performs well in Math, but when a lot of reading is required, he has a struggle with that portion of it.
Each lesson has 15 problems to solve. It is very encouraging for getting them correct, with words of affirmation, and animation from the robot.
On the flip side, there is a buzzer sound if it is incorrect. You can turn off the animations in the teacher settings if you wish. I think they were a fun addition to keep his attention.

There is not any teaching with this. They are just problems to solve, that is one reason I would say it is a supplement to your regular math programs. It is an additional way to explore different math concepts that they have already been taught.

This was a fun way to do math, and my son really enjoyed it. He never balked at having to do the extra math work, I think because I Know It made it fun!

Interactive Math Lessons K - 5 grade {I Know It Reviews}

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Thursday, July 26, 2018

Progeny Press ~Review

Progeny Press

Progeny Press offers literature study guides from a Christian perspective, for books that aren't specifically Christian in nature. We chose to review The Scavengers eguide.

Scavengers eGuide

You will need a copy of the reading book The Scavengers by Michael Perry. This book reminded me of the Dystopia genre. Similar to some of the popular movies out recently. From the website
I wedged my fists on my hips and I announced that Maggie was yesterday, and from this day forward I would answer only to Ford Falcon.

When the world fell apart, most people moved into the Bubble Cities. After her parents chose to live OutBubble, Maggie decided it was time to grow up and grow tough. She renamed herself Ford Falcon, and she spends her days scavenging in a junkyard while fending off occasional attacks from solar bears and GreyDevils.

Although times are hard, Ford's family has been making do. But when she returns from a bartering trip to find her home ransacked and her family gone, Ford must prove she is brave enough to face this wild world alone and overcome whatever obstacles stand in the way of rescuing her loved ones. "

The Eguide is recommended for grades 5th through 8th. I like the flexibility the guides give me in teaching my daughter. She is a big reader, much more than her brothers. With homeschooling 4 children now, I need to juggle who I am spending time with, and often that time gets scheduled with the toddler or helping with math problems. The Progeny Press Guides give my daughter an opportunity to work solo on her reading and comprehension, plus enjoy it while she is doing it!
She would work on one section per week. This will get her done with the study in eight to ten weeks. It is recommended to read the entire novel first before doing the study. We read it as she would do the study instead and it seemed to work out fine for her. It was probably a little easier for her to remember what she read when she would read a few chapters and the work on the assignments for the week. 
Each Progeny Press guide has some pre reading activities that can get the student excited for the book. These can mostly be done off line and even with siblings. 
The lessons begin with a vocabulary study. This eguide is interactive so you won't have to print out all of the pages. There are answer options for each of the vocabulary and the student can utilize it right from the computer. It is a good thing we got another computer for the upcoming school year, as it seems more and more products are becoming geared for the computer. 
Thinking about the story is the next section in the lesson. Here not only are they answering questions about the story, but looking at key literature and grammar terms .
The Digging Deeper section is typically done at the end of the week. This gives the student an opportunity to dig deeper into some of the topics read, and compare them to some Bible text. This is a great feature in Progeny Press, is that it is Bible based. You can get any sort of literature guide to help kids understand their reading. To get them to see things through a Biblical worldview though, you will want to use Progeny Press. 
There are a couple optional activities at the end of each lesson. If you want to draw the study out and make it longer, these are great rabbit trails to follow. Because we were working through this during summer break we opted out of the optional ideas this time around. I think we will be sure to work on some of those in future studies however. They do look like well thought out, and fun projects to learn about. 
Progeny Press has study guides for all age groups. The guides are much the same for each piece of literature. Great for independent study, but also would work well for a read aloud for a group of students. Be sure to check out their variety of books as you plan this coming falls line up. 

You can also get a printed hard copy of this study or purchase it on a disc.

Find Progeny Press on these social media sites.


New Study Guides for Literature From a Christian Perspective {Progeny Press Reviews}

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Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Bible Study Guide For All Ages ~Review

Bible Study Guide for All Ages

Bible Study Guide For All Ages Is just what it says! A complete study that can be used with all of your age groups. Broken down into the following categories. 

Bible Study Guide for All Ages
With my crew we used the Advanced, Intermediate, and Beginner. My oldest is in 8th grade, but I utilized her with the Advanced as well and she would help out as an instructor for the beginner student. I had my 8th grader was in Advanced. My 3rd grader worked in Intermediate. My 3 year old worked in Beginner.

The study goes through the entire Bible in 416 lessons. Each lesson gives specifics but also fits into the whole picture of the Bible.
For my crew I needed the Student Pages for Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced. I received the first quarter lessons 1-26. . In the first quarter, the first 14 lessons are in Genesis, and then in lesson 15 it moves to Daniel. Lesson 21 it jumps to the gospels, so you aren't spending all of your time in the Old Testament, you get some New Testament in each quarter. There are 16 different Student Page books. If you were wanting to study a specific area of the Bible, you could choose the ones that fit. We have been through Genesis a lot, actually are in 2 Kings right now in our own study. For future use of The Bible Study Guide For All Ages, I found that The Order of Study page was helpful in pin pointing where we would need to be for Kings.

The Student pages are copyrighted so you will need a book for each student. They are fun and illustrated and each student will want their own.

I also received the Advanced Teacher Key to help if I had any trouble with finding the answers with the kids. There were also additional questions and helps to make the study flow smoothly. 

Each lesson we would read through the scripture verses in our Bible that were suggested at the beginning of the lesson. The teacher guide also gives additional scriptures that we would look up.
There is a Wall Map you can purchase, as well as labels you can get to put on it. We just used our regular world map and would try to locate the lands mentioned to label. I can see the benefit of having a map that can be colored in thought and utilized for each lesson.
We also got a beginner time line, which has great visuals for my 3 year old to remember the stories she is learning. The advanced time line looks just as great. You will need wall space for this, which we didn't have. We just looked through them on the floor.

The Large Bible Book Summary Cards have one card per book of the Bible, so you can use these for each unit you study. They have visual reminders and prompts for you to remember what that book of the Bible contains.

There is also a CD of memory songs if that is something your kids work well with. Since mine were a bit older, I didn't think this would appeal to them.

I was thrilled when my son came home from church after they had used a new curriculum to find them using Bible Study Guide For All Ages! Not only great for homeschool families, but wonderful for youth groups too!

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Bible Study Guide For All Ages {Reviews}
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Thursday, June 21, 2018

Silverdale Press LLC ~Review

Silverdale Press
We have gotten away from doing unit studies for awhile. Silverdale Press LLC presented the perfect opportunity with their White House Holidays Unit Studies to jump back in. The holidays included in this Unit Study are;
  • Labor Day - 3 lessons
  • Veterans Day - 3 lessons
  • Thanksgiving - 5 lessons
  • Christmas - 4 lessons with 6 activities per lesson
  • MLK - 5 lessons
  • Valentine's Day - 5 lessons
The unit studies are geared for ages 5-18, so pretty much everyone. In my opinion good unit studies do cover a complete age range like that, as we use unit studies with all of our students at one time.

We chose to study Labor Day as it is the next holiday upcoming for us. This is a digital download and is 53 pages long. I chose to not print it all out, but you could do that if you wanted to.
Sadly I don't even know how many of these holidays started, or the true meaning behind them. Bump that age suggestion up to adult!

The lessons in this study are broken down into 2 age groups. K-6 and 7-12. I have kids in both categories and could have easily used both of the sections. I chose to use the K-6 even for the older kids simply because we haven't done a lot in the way of history. I wanted it to be fun for them, along with learning, and not overwhelming. I plan to use the 7-12 section later this fall when we are closer to Labor Day, just to revisit it and see what material stuck with them.

One of the great things about Unit Studies, is you can take them just as they are, or use them for springboard and rabbit trails to learn more. We tend to go off on rabbit trails when we learn, been doing that since they were little. When a Unit Study says it takes a week to complete, it typically takes us twice as long just because we are going that one step further. By looking at the lessons from the K-6 study, I was able to go a bit above this, but not quite to the extent that 7-12 go. Either way works! Sticking to the study, or adding on.

We first learned about Eleanor Roosevelt and how she was key in fighting against child labor laws. We then looked at photos of child labor and analyzed them to see if the work was appropriate for children, or was it hurtful to them.

Next we learned about McGuire and Maguire and the first Labor Day parade. It started with the union labor parties and trying to make them feel happier by having a parade to celebrate them. Many of the posters made during that time were political in nature and trying to get more help for some of the needs going on.

Next we learned about Pullman and the strike of the railway workers. This lead to a look at some of the trains at the time, and comparison to our trains today. We discussed what the future of the train may look like as well. A fun little rabbit trail on train history.

This was just one of the Unit Studies in the White House Holidays Unit Studies. This is a great book that looks at history and presidents during that time. Great to use alone or a springboard for things that you may find your children even more interested in .

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See what my crew mates thought of the unit studies and see some of the fun things they chose to do with them by clicking on the photo below.

Persuasive Writing & Classical Rhetoric: Practicing the Habits of Great Writers & White House Holidays Unit Studies {Silverdale Press LLC Reviews}

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Wednesday, June 20, 2018

MaxScholar ~Review

MaxScholar Reading Intervention Programs

My son has been struggling with reading and his tutor recommended MaxScholar
as a program that went along well with what we were working on. It was perfect timing for us to use the Reading Intervention Programs.

MaxScholar has MaxPhonics, MaxReading, and MaxWords. In each category the student is given a pretest to see where he is currently working, and it then puts him where he is best suited to start. My son struggles with reading but does know the alphabet. He was put into module 2 in the MaxPhonics.
There are 4 modules in the MaxPhonics.

There is a teacher and a student account. With the student account, Maverick can log himself in and work on the next lesson himself. The teacher account shows me a Dashboard where I can look at Maverick's progress. It also has the options for grouping kids and using it in a classroom situation. I can generate a report to print for him to see his progress. One of the things I really like about the dashboard is that I can look ahead at the materials that will be covered. I can look over a lesson plan to see what type of additional things I should be working with him on. It gives me a heads up of what is to come, which I do find helpful. Because of his struggle with reading, it is nice to be able to print out some additional pages for him to read through, especially when we are not on the internet.

With the student log in, he can only work on the next item. The rest are locked. If I log into the teacher account, I can preview all of the lessons, which is very helpful. I wanted to get an idea ahead of time what he would be working in, but didn't want it to mess up with his account and place him somewhere he may have not completed.

We have not worked with this program nearly enough this summer. With a death in the family and multiple trips, we have had an upset to our homeschooling plans this summer. That is the beauty of homeschooling, and using MaxScholar though. We can pick right up where we left off, without 'missing' anything due to life happening.

Each letter on MaxPhonics, uses visual, tactile, and auditory learning. It goes through each letter, but not in order. I find sometimes this is best to learn the sounds when they are not in order. There is a lot of repeating which helps with fluidity. The songs are a bit babyish for a 10 year old but you don't have to listen to them.

You can get an even better idea of MaxScholar and the different programs and modules by checking out the reviews of my fellow team mates. Click on the photo below to get to a listing of over 50 reviews.



Reading Intervention Programs {MaxScholar Reviews}

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Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Something Fishy at Lake Iwannafisha ~Review

The Critical Thinking Co.™

The Critical Thinking Co.™ is aptly named as it is my 'go to' for logic and critical thinking curriculum. This month we reviewed Something Fishy at Lake Iwannafisha as a team with my 16, 13 and 10 year old. The entire book is a 'whodunit' mystery that we needed to solve. 

Something's Fishy at Lake Iwannafisha

We tend toward mystery type shows when we sit down together as a family. The kids referenced several of them as we were talking about this review for Something Fishy at Lake Iwannafisha. It was not necessary for them to have watched any of these type of shows in order to use this book. The first item given to the detectives was a great amount of back ground and forensic information to process. 
The Forensic Evidence Lessons included Anthropology, Arson, Ballistics, Counterfeit money, Autopsy, Handwriting Analysis and Fingerprints. There was over 20 pages of lessons to read up before getting started. I did take the lessons directly out of the book with the perforated pages and gave them to the kids in a file folder. Some of the worksheets can be printed off online through a link in the book, but not all of the pages. There will be a few here and there you need to scan a copy of to have a complete set. 

After the kids read through the evidence lessons we got started on the story. They had to list evidence they found, and how it may be applicable. They decided who they may need to interview, and what type of evidence they needed to look for. 
In the book I had additional information to give to them when they asked for it. They wanted to jump right in and figure out all of the crimes, and I had to help them stay focused and not jump to conclusions. This was great in having patience and working together as a team. 

This particular book is geared for grades 5-12. That great range allowed for our larger family to work together and I really feel they enjoyed it as a team. 

The Critical Thinking Co offers logic and critical thinking curriculum for all ages. You can search on their website for a specific grade and age or even for a specific topic. They also have curriculum for language arts, math, science and social studies. 
As I am gearing up for a new school year, I enjoyed looking through the website to find additional tools to use to work with my kids. I really think it is a great idea to have some critical thinking built in to each year. I think some times this skill gets over looked, and The Critical Thinking Co is trying to remedy that with their great line up of tools!

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The Critical Thinking Co.™

My Crew mates had a selection of books to review. Click on the banner below and find additional reviews for Something Fishy at Lake Iwannafish as well as several other great products shown below.
Critical Thinking, Understanding Math & Vocabulary {The Critical Thinking Co.™ Reviews}

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Thursday, May 24, 2018

Home School Navigator ~Review

Home School Navigator
For the past few weeks we have been using the Home School Navigator Reading and Language Arts Curriculum indigo level from Home School Navigator

There are six different levels of curriculum. We had access to all 6  levels as we got started. We found that Indigo was the best level for my 13 year old. It is the highest level, rated at a 5th grade reading level. We had 4 weeks to look through the various levels before we chose which one we would stick with. 

Each week I would download the weekly guide. It lists each project that the student will be assigned for the week. It is 5 pages, so you can either download and print, or just have it downloaded to refer to. It helps give you an idea of what is expected for the week. Helpful especially for us as we don't have traditional school on Thursdays, so my daughter has to factor that into finishing up Thurs work before the end of the week. 

The weekly guide also indicates which handouts are needed printed, and the materials list for the week including the books you need to have on hand. Thankfully when we weren't able to find the book from the library, a youtube video was provided with the book being read to her.

Home School Navigator

Each day would have 6 different categories to work through;

Read Aloud : The student will either read the suggested readings, or if you are having a hard time finding it, they have uploaded videos of them reading the book to the student. We were able to find just one of the recommended books so far. They do re read the book, which my daughter wasn't really interested in, but I told her she may catch more out of it the second and third time around.

Literature/Comprehension ; There is usually an imbedded video to watch in this section that will explain the context of the activity. This category to me was really the meat of the program. This is where the student is learning how to talk about what they are reading. To analyze it, and utilize worksheets to better explain what they are reading.

Writing/Grammar; This is set up in a writing book you make. This is sometimes asking questions of the reading and responsively writing to it, and sometimes it is just a free writing for a certain amount of time.

Phonics/Word Study/Vocabulary; This keeps the same word study for the week, and introduces a list of vocabulary that go together, like having the same root word. There are games and activities to play with the words, in addition to writing sentences and learning the words.

Computer Skills is often doing your writing and journal on the computer. Good for them to get in the habit of writing with the computer and learning to type.

Independent Reading is reading for 30 minutes and can be anything you or the student choose. There are no other requirement.

If you live in a state where you need to prepare a portfolio for review at the end of the year, there is a great option to upload their work each week and then later print out. This is really helpful for keeping the language part of the portfolio up to date.

In addition to the Reading and Language Arts Curriculum, Home School Navigator also has Interactive Notebooks for the older levels.  I had really wanted to do this with my daughter, but a death in the family threw us off track with it.

The interactive Notebooks remind me of a lapbooking style where you are making little booklets about the story. The book in the Indigo level is Holes by Louis Sachar.

There are 9 months worth of weekly language arts and reading. They are divided up into months, and then into weeks. Clearly enough for a year long school year. We were generously given a one year subscription for review, and I have found it really has helped my daughter have a clearer vision of what she needs to do daily. I am not a great planner, and with home educating three other students, it helps to have her be able to work independently on her language arts.

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Home School Navigator Reading and Language Arts Curriculum {Home School Navigator Reviews}

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Wednesday, May 16, 2018

PandaParents ~Review

Panda Parents Kindy Curriculum

My 3 year old enjoyed PandaParents  digital format of MESSYLEARNING FOR PRESCHOOLERS AND KINDERGARTNERS during her school day. This program is geared preschool ages 3-6.

The digital program is a monthly program that includes a pdf book, access to online videos, and downloadable, printable worksheets. We were given a three month access to get us started. We chose to work with the title Scotty Skunk Hears a Scary Sound.
The other two monthly titles we were given were; A Jolly Jingling Journey and Mommy's Baby.

Scotty Skunk is scared of sounds while he is sleeping. The 30 minute video firstly introduces us to the letter S. The Big and Little S, and the sound that it makes. It then tells us how Scotty is a Skunk and what happens when Scotty is scared.. he sprays. Little Muffin had to take a bath in tomato sauce to smell better.
After the introduction the letter, there is a story about Scotty trying to find a place to stay where there isn't a lot of noises. He has noise from airplanes, and animals, storms, tractors, you name it. Scotty wants a peaceful place to sleep.
The story goes through all of the seasons starting with winter and ending with fall and Scotty's need for a home in each of them.

There are somewhat natural breaks in the video, but I do wish there were concrete breaks. I would like to see it broken into 3, 10 minute videos rather than one 30 minute. It was hard to know when to stop the video and if I stopped it and she knew there was more, she would want to watch  more. A 10  minute video would give us a definite stopping point.

There are over 45 worksheets to use with this book and video. They each vary a little bit, but some are repeat ideas. They are best spread out over the month to work on. My daughter loves to do worksheets and could have easily done 10 in a sitting but I limited her to three each time.

The concepts included in the worksheets are
Memory skills
Fine motor skills
Math Skills
Matching and more..

Each of the worksheets go along with the story. The video is a reading of the story. My daughter much preferred listening to the video. The voices were animated and much more interesting than mom reading it.

My daughter found the video very interested. Seeing it a few times, she was able to remember and predict what was coming next. We would watch the video once a week and do work pages 2 or 3 times a week. The excitement for it didn't last the whole month. I am wondering about having  separate videos to watch over the course of the month, giving them something new each time.

She loved the worksheets that looked like real workbook pages for her. She enjoyed showing them to everyone and telling them what she learned.


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Messylearning For Preschoolers and Kindergartners {PandaParents Reviews}

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