Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Drive Thru History Adventures ~Review

Drive Thru History Adventures

Drive Thru History Adventures has been our favorite history series through our homeschool adventure. We have several of the series on DVD that have been watched repeatedly, and were excited to continue with this Homeschool History Curriculum.  This is a series that catches the attention from the toddler through to the adults. So if we have the DVD's, why would we need an online subscription to the series?

Drive Thru History Adventures allows access to the 
Bible History Adventures
American History Adventures
Ancient History Adventures

You can use your laptop, tablet, iPhone, or computer. History on the go! 

Drive Thru History Adventures

We even hooked up the laptop to the TV for a larger screen and sound when we watched them as a family.
Dave Stotts is a funny guy, with a passion for history and truth. He brings the truth of the Bible to each episode, and connects it to the world around us.
We really enjoy watching him as he roams from place to place, changing vehicles and costumes.

In addition to the streaming of episodes, there is curriculum for each episode! I have always desired to have just a bit more to make it feel like 'school' and book work for learning History. Well now, I can print out the pages and the kids and I talk about it after the episode. I also have the answers if I was multi tasking during the viewing and missed it.

We spent our time in American History Adventures. We need more American History and it came at a perfect time. We watch it during our lunch hour. Shhh, the kids don't know they are doing school during lunch! Well they  may when we work on the review pages, but by then lunch is done and we are back to school. This has been a great asset to the episodes. Each episode also has additional resources to go along with it.

Each episode will have a video as well as a summary of what the video will be about.

Drive Thru History Adventures
Each episode contains artistic renderings of that time period.

There are also downloads of some of the writings that will help further the study such as the Declaration of Independence, Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, The Magna Carta, Washington's letter to Governor George Clinton and more. Each pertaining to the time that we watched in the video. Each of these can be found in the Resources tab and on the individual episode page.

Additional there are side roads you can take to delve deeper

Drive Thru History Adventures

One of the exciting parts I really enjoyed from Drive Thru History Adventures was Drive Thru History Adventures TV. There are 18 videos with Dave Stotts that give weekly updates. There are videos on Christmas, Thanksgiving traditions as well. The videos are from 1-15 minutes in length.
In addition to these videos there are Side Road Videos where you can watch on the History of Presidents' Day, Saint Valentine, Coins of Herod the Great, and our favorite, The History of Cheese!

I was excited to hear in the recent update that they are working on a Gospel series from Acts to Revelation, with many more ideas for future episodes. As they get them completed they will be made available in the Drive Thru History Adventures as well.

There is also a private Facebook Group where you can interact with others using the Adventures, and see additional updates from Dave. And even greetings!

The videos take you to places you can only dream of traveling. All focused on Jesus, and His Story and how it relates to History.

Join now and get a bonus Gospels  DVD with a annual subscription. Check out Drive Thru History Adventures for the coupon code.

Drive Thru History Adventures
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Starfall Education Foundation ~Review

When we first received The Starfall Home Membership from Starfall Education Foundation 
I thought it would be helpful for my older student in regards to progressing with his reading. He is 10, but more on a Kindergarten level reading. I was pleasantly surprised that The Starfall Home Membership was a bit easy for him. It boost his confidence, and really encouraged him that he was able to quickly progress through it. I was excited that the family membership could be used for more than one student, and was able to fall back on my 3 year old to help with the review. Why hadn't I thought of her early on? I tend to think most programs online will be too hard for her, not realizing she is growing up in the age of electronics and can manage my iPhone better than I can!
She has been loving the Starfall program on the computer!

It was helpful for her as well, that we have a touch screen computer. I am sure given time to practice with a mouse, she would have been able to figure that out as well.

Starting with my 10 year old. Starfall has both 1st Grade Reading and 1st Grade Math. I chose for Maverick to focus on the Reading, primarily the phonics portion. The phonics portion is broken up into units. We started with Unit 1 and found it to be a bit easy, so we looked through the units until we landed in Unit 5 to start. We did make sure to watch the helpful videos in each unit though, and these have been really helpful for him to remember some of the rules with vowels. I think he learns best with rhymes and songs.

The Starfall Home Membership was a great match for my 3 year old. She would get up first thing in the morning and want to do school. She didn't get to do it as often as she would have liked, since we only have one computer for school. She knew she could get some time in while her siblings were still asleep, and she took full advantage of that.

I really love that can explore the site on her own. She can go from doing ABC's to colors, with the touch of a finger. That the button she is supposed to push next is highlighted for her and she learned quickly how to maneuver her way through.
Some of the things she was able to explore were:
Making a calendar and learning about them.
Talking Library where she could listen to books be read to her.
ABC's where each individual letter has it's own lesson.

These were the sections that worked well for her age. Additionally there are decoding books, learning to read, phonics and more as she gets familiar with the letters and sounds.
My oldest who is almost 23 used Starfall, pre computer. I recall having a work book he used and small booklets he learned to read from . It is exciting that my 3 year old can use the same books, online to read that her oldest brother did. The longevity of Starfall, is a clear indication that it works!

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Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Bytes of Learning UltraKey Online ~Review

UltraKey Online Family Edition

We have been working with Bytes of Learning yearly subscription to UltraKey Online Family Subscription. We were given up to 7 users on this subscription which is perfect for a large family.  You can purchase individual and school subscripitions as well.

The student with the  most interest was my 13 year old daughter. She has been wanting to learn to type for some time, and hasn't had great success with other typing programs. She saw her Uncle typing at our house one time and she mentioned, wanting to learn to type so she didn't have to do it with 2 fingers like him. It was a struggle to watch him type! 

This program works best with North American keyboards, but they are working on a version for UK, Australia and New Zealand. 

It is compatible with Windows, Mac, Chrome books and Ipads. We used ours with Windows on a laptop.
We were given an exclusive link for our family, which I had to hunt down in the email sometimes. I wasn't computer savvy enough to realize I could somehow save it in my favorites to make it easier to get to.

Within the exclusive link, you can have sign ins for each member of the family. You begin this program by setting a goal. I had the computer set a goal for my daughter since she is brand new to typing.

To prepare the student for lessons, there are 2 movies that will be watched. The first is on Posture, and proper way to sit and square yourself up to do your typing. The second movie is on fingering which gives you the names of the fingers, keys and readies you for the lessons. The movies are just over 1 minute in length, and then has a small test to make sure you learned it. When you start the lessons, you have about a 3 minute video to watch. You can't get to the lessons until you watch these videos first.

The lessons also build upon themselves, beginning with the home row and adding in letters as you go. It also teaches numbers in a series of lessons. You need to be skillful in each lesson to move on.

There is a typing forum where you can take typing tests or use the typing tool for practice.

The dashboard allows me to manage each of the students. I can set goals, adjust settings, see their progress, and print out reports and certificates.
I can print out a diploma, typing certificate, and merit award. These are fun for the younger kids to get a reward as they progress. I am going to have to set up my 10 year old to learn this, he would enjoy getting the printed certificates.

I had planned on my college student trying this program, but he was always busy working on college work. So I played around with his account.

It was fun to go through the various typing tests and realize I may need some more practice, at least to get rid of some poor habits of mine. I tend to put a space after the end of the sentence, even when I was supposed to be starting a new paragraph. That dinged me quite often. It does hem you in and make you think more about your typing. It is set that you can't back space and fix your errors either.

I think my daughter is getting a lot out of this program. UltraKey online has been her favorite learn to type program so far and she has tried several of them. It is very straight forward, and easy to learn with. Perfect for every homeschool student to learn to type and not be like my brother the hen pecker.

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