Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Homeschool Review Crew: Greek ‘n’ Stuff Review

A daily part of our homeschool day is to spend time in God’s word, usually with a Bible curriculum, sometimes without. I find that it really helps us all focus and sets our hearts in the right place when we start our day reading the Bible and praying. Now that Katie is 13, I thought it would be a good time for her to start spending some time in the Word on her own. I was happy to receive the NIV version of I Can Study Jonah & Ruth Alone With God (13 Week Study) from Greek 'n' Stuff for her to try out!

Alone With GodBible Study
Jonah & RuthNew International Version

Written by Karen Mohs, I Can Study Jonah & Ruth Alone With God was written for the middle to upper elementary age group, is thirteen weeks long, and is a consumable workbook meant to be used by one person. Each lesson has six parts, one lesson for each day of the week, Monday through Saturday. The first five lessons cover Jonah, and the last eight cover Ruth. There is a memory verse for each lesson, as well as questions to go along with the days reading, and a “Think and Pray About It” section.

The lessons are structured the same each day. First, you begin with prayer, asking God for help in studying His Word. On Monday you get the scripture for the week. Tuesday through Saturday the instructions say to read or recite the memory verse. There are questions each day for the verses for the week, so I think it would be helpful to read the entire section daily, in addition to working on the memory verse. There are boxes with thought provoking questions scattered throughout, and on the last day of the week there is the “Think and Pray About It” question. These are great questions to really mull over, and to ask God how you can apply them to your life.
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What We Thought:

Katie has really been enjoying this study! She grabs her Bible every day and just sits somewhere quiet and works through it. Although Jonah and Ruth are both books she knows well, it has been good for her to read through them again, with the questions giving her things to think about that she may not have considered before. She likes that it isn’t a big time commitment every day, and yet she still is getting something good from it.

I think the format is great. Having prayer time to ask God for help studying His word as a box to check off is a good reminder for a young person to take that time to talk to Him before beginning. I like that the questions are a combination of text specific questions, and thoughtful “what would you do/ what do you think” types of questions. I like that there are also tidbits of background information included, like the writer of the book, or information about the setting and time period. Overall I think this is a solid Bible study, and will be looking into other books in the Alone With God series when Katie finishes this one.

My fellow Homeschool Review Crew members reviewed a wide variety of materials from Greek ‘n’ Stuff. Be sure to click the banner below to check out their reviews!

Teach Me Some Greek {Greek 'n' Stuff Reviews}

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Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Homeschool Review Crew: Home School in the Woods Review

As you may already know, we are huge fans of Home School in the Woods around here. So even though we’re on a summer schedule right now that usually includes the basics like math and reading, I jumped at the chance to review one of their Lap-Paks! I chose Wonders of the World, and it’s been a fun addition to the same old thing!


Hands-On History Lap-Pak: Wonders of the World 
A homeschooling family of six, the Pak family started Home School in the Woods in 2002 when they published their first set of timeline figures. From there they branched out, creating more and more products that help make history come alive, making them a go to hands-on history company for homeschooling families with multiple product lines.

The Lap-Paks series includes Benjamin Franklin and Knights for grades K-2, and U.S. Elections, The 20th Century in America, and Wonders of the World for grades 3-8, with more titles to come.
Wonders of the World covers Ancient, Medieval, Modern, and Natural Wonders. Through reading and hands-on activities, students learn about:

Ancient Wonders:

  • Hanging Gardens of Babylon
  • Great Pyramid of Giza
  • Temple of Artemis at Ephesus
  • Statue of Zeus of Olympia
  • Mausoleum of Halicarnassus
  • Colossus of Rhodes
  • The Pharos (Lighthouse) of Alexandria

Medieval Wonders:

  • Stonehenge
  • The Leaning Tower of Pisa
  • The Colosseum
  • The Hagia Sophia
  • The Great Wall of China
  • The Catacombs of Kom El Shoqafa
  • The Lost Porcelain Pagoda

Modern Wonders:

  • The Channel Tunnel
  • The CN Tower
  • The Empire State Building
  • The Golden Gate Bridge
  • Itaipu Dam
  • The Panama Canal
  • The Netherlands North Sea Protection Works

Natural Wonders:

  • Mount Everest
  • The Grand Canyon
  • The Northern Lights
  • The Harbor of Rio de Janiero
  • The Great Barrier Reef
  • Paricutin: The Volcano in a Cornfield
  • Victoria Falls

Hands-On History Lap-Pak: Wonders of the World
How we used it, and what we thought:
My printer and I always get to spend some quality time together when we start a new Home School in the Woods project. I usually break the printing up into two sittings. The Wonders of the World Lap-Pak has 23 projects to complete, and includes an Introduction, Text Assignments and Directions, Text booklet, Directions for Lapbook assembly, and all of the projects. I printed all of this in the first sitting, along with all of the pieces for the first half of the projects. Everything you need to complete this Lap-Pak is included in well-organized convenient PDF files; all you need to add is paper and ink, and a few common household items.

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One thing I really liked about The Wonders of the World is that they include audio files of all of the lesson text. Usually we read the text aloud, and then do the project that goes with the text. This time we’ve been listening to the audio instead of reading the text, and it’s been a fun change. This has been a great summer study to do while we didn’t have any specific history planned. My 13 and 11 year old love the hands-on projects, and have been really enjoying learning all about the different Wonders of the World.

Whether you’re looking for something to complement your curriculum, or something that stands alone, Home School in the Woods truly has something for everyone. From their Time Travelers American History Studies to their Timeline Trio, you’re guaranteed to find something you never knew you needed, but can’t live without! We used Renaissance & Reformation from the HISTORY Through the Ages: Project Passport World History Studies earlier this year, and loved it! My girls kept asking when we could do the “fun” history!

Other members of the Homeschool Review Crew were blessed to review a large array of their products. Be sure to click on the banner below to read more! Also, Home School in the Woods is rolling out something new and SO exciting! A la Carte gives you the option to purchase individual projects without having to purchase the whole unit. Enter “alacarte” in the discount code bar to receive a free Eerie Canal project! So much to check out!
Hands-on History {Home School in the Woods Reviews}
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Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Homeschool Review Crew: Hewitt Homeschooling Review

My 13-year-old daughter loves to read, and she loves to write. She is also a big fan of workbooks, which may sound like a weird thing to mention, but she actually gets excited at the sight of a shiny new workbook waiting for her to fill. I thought the Grade 7 Lightning Lit Set from Hewitt Homeschooling was going to be a perfect fit for her, and I was right!!

 Lightning Literature and Composition Pack
Grade 7

The Grade 7 Lightning Lit Set is a literature and composition program that helps students deepen their understanding of literature and apply that understanding to their writing skills. This set comes with the Teacher’s Guide, Student Guide, Student Workbook, Stories and Poems for Extremely Intelligent Children of All Ages, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, All Creatures Great and Small, and Helen Keller-The Story of My Life.

The Student Guide is written to the student, and includes 36 weeks of work broken up into two semesters. In the Student Guide you find:
  • Introduction/While You Read: Includes a brief biography of the author, and gives information on the literary lesson and questions to consider.
  • Vocabulary Lists: Reference for words students may not know.
  • Comprehension Questions
  • Literary Lessons: Along with the writing exercises, these are the heart of the Lightning Lit series. Topics covered include plot, rhyme, and character.
  • Mini-Lessons: Additional practice that includes reading or an introduction to other composition skills.
  • Writing Exercises

The Student Workbook is meant to be completed after the reading and lesson and before the writing exercises, and includes seven types of activities related to:

  • Literary lessons
  • Mini-lessons
  • Composition skills
  • Thinking skills
  • Grammar and Mechanics
  • Puzzles
  • Extra-challenge pages

The Teacher’s Guide includes a schedule, discussion questions, an answer key, and more!


What we thought:

The Grade 7 Lightning Lit set is a big hit here! I copied the suggested schedule from the Teacher’s Guide and gave it to Katie, and she was off and running. She really enjoyed the first short story, “Rikki-Tikki-Tavi” by Rudyard Kipling. (I really enjoyed reading it, too, and we got in the habit of calling one of our cats Rikki Tikki Tavi after he was hunting a snake in our back yard.) The Literary Lesson for this story was Plot line. After reading about Plots in her Student Guide she completed activities like graphing a plot line, identifying parts of a plot,and writing a good opening. She finished the unit with a writing exercise where she identified each of the parts of the plot line in her favorite story. She just finished reading The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and is working through the workbook pages now.

There’s so much to like about this program. The guides are all well laid out and easy to use. I really like the combination of reading and discussing great literature while learning about the literary elements, and writing exercise that cause her to think deeply. I am a fan of literature based education, and this one is definitely a keeper!

Hewitt Homeschooling offers other great curriculum, as well as a paper evaluation service. Be sure to click below to see what my fellow Homeschool Review Crew members had to say about their other products!

Hewitt Homeschooling {Reviews}

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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Homeschool Review Crew: UnLock Math Review

As my girls get older, math is one subject I feel less and less confident teaching. Thankfully there are great options out there for moms like me who feel overwhelmed by math. We recently received a subscription to one of those great options: UnLock Pre-Algebra by UnLock Math.

UnLock Math pre-algebra
UnLock Math offers online math courses taught by a math teacher who breaks things down into manageable chunks so students can understand and apply what they learn. UnLock Pre-Algebra is 16 units long. In addition to the lessons, there are also quizzes and tests for each unit, as well as midterm and final reviews and exams. It is meant to be used daily over the course of a typical school year and covers:
  • Whole Numbers
  • Integers
  • Variables and Expressions
  • Rational Numbers
  • Fractions
  • Equations
  • Inequalities
  • The Coordinate Plane
  • Decimals
  • Percent
  • Polynomials
  • Triangles
  • 2D Geometry
  • 3D Geometry
  • Analyzing Data
  • Probability and Stats

Each unit follows the same structure. The student starts with a Warmup exercise to get their minds into math mode. Next they watch the instructional video, which is usually under 10 minutes. After the video, they move on to the Practice Problems to reinforce what they learned in the video. These can be done as many times as the student needs to feel comfortable with the concept, and only the highest grade is recorded. Next comes the Stay Sharp questions. These are review questions from previous lessons. These can also be done multiple times. There is also a Challenge question, which is just as it sounds. Last comes the review and then a test. There are also quizzes throughout each unit.

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What we thought:

There’s so much I like about this program. I think the student dashboard is great; my 13 can login and see at a glance what she needs to work on next. There is also a great pie chart that shows the progress made for the current unit. Ease of navigation is at the top of my list for online learning, and this site is excellent in that regard. I also think the Reference notes for each lesson are a great addition to the video lesson.

I especially like that the work is all graded as she goes. That means all I have to do is look at the course gradebook to see how she’s doing. No grading for me! I think the printable progress report feature is great as well.


Katie had just finished Pre-Algebra in our usual math curriculum when we received this subscription. I chose the Pre-Algebra level because there were some concepts she struggled with this year that I thought could use some additional learning and reinforcement. UnLock Pre-Algebra has been perfect for that. She will continue using it throughout the summer, and we have been thinking about purchasing UnLock Algebra 1 to do next.

UnLock Math has other levels in addition to UnLock Pre-Algebra. There is UnLock Algebra1, UnLock Algebra 2, and their newest addition UnLock Geometry. To see what my fellow Homeschool Review Crew members had to say about each of these programs, click on the picture below.

Pre-Algebra, Algebra and Geometry {UnLock Math Reviews}

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    Homeschool Review Crew: Adventures of Rush Revere Review

    We are starting a year long study on American history this year, so we were really excited to receive the Adventures of Rush Revere Book Series from Adventures of Rush Revere #1 New York Times Bestselling Book Series by Rush and Kathryn Adams Limbaugh!

    Adventures of Rush Revere
    The Adventures of Rush Revere Book Series is a five book series written by Rush Limbaugh. This fun series brings history to life as we follow the adventures of history teacher Rush Revere and his time-traveling talking horse Liberty as they travel back to visit some exceptional Americans of our past.

    In book one, Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims, we meet substitute history teacher Rush Revere and discover that his horse Liberty not only can talk, but can time-travel as well! Together they travel back in time to witness the Pilgrims journey to the New World, and meet some exciting characters such as William Bradford, Myles Standish, and Squanto along the way. This book gives a new perspective on a well- known piece of history.

    In book two, Rush Revere and the First Patriots, Rush and Liberty are off to Boston 1765 in the midst of a brewing revolution. Here we meet American greats like Samuel Adams, Ben Franklin, and Paul Revere.

    In book three,Rush Revere and the American Revolution,Rush and Liberty and a couple of friends head to 1775 where a battle for freedom is in full swing.

    In book four, Rush Revere and the Star-Spangled Banner, the Time-Traveling Crew lands in and exciting period of American history with lots of things happening. James Madison and the Constitution and Bill of Rights, and Betsy Ross and Francis Scott Key.

    In book five, Rush Revere and the Presidency,the Time-Traveling Crew visits America as a free country, making stops along the way to visit George Washington and other early American presidents.

    My 13-year old daughter wrote her own book review:

    “In Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims, Rusty “Rush” Revere is a middle school History teacher. He started his first day at the school, and introduced his new class to his horse, Liberty. But Liberty wasn’t your average horse. He was a talking horse who was struck by lightning and became a time machine. Along the way, Rush Revere met the queen bee of the school, Elizabeth; helped to unlock trouble making Tommy’s full potential; and discovered a little about the mysterious Freedom who always seemed a little different than the rest of the class.

    Mr. Revere’s time-traveling powers were first introduced to Freedom and Tommy. He took Tommy to different parts of the Pilgrim’s journey to the New World, and met William Bradford and Myles Standish. Another time Rush took Tommy and Freedom to the first Thanksgiving, where they met Squanto.

    I thought these books were well written, but I think the target audience may be younger than me. These books are very informational. I think that what makes them so easy to read without feeling overwhelmed by all of the historical information flying at you is that the characters in the book actually travel to the events. It makes the books fun while you learn.”

    Adventures of Rush Revere
    The Adventures of Rush Revere Series is a beautiful, high-quality hard cover set. Every book has great photos of all kinds of historical artifacts. American history is told with an adventurous, fun voice that makes learning enjoyable. I’m looking forward to reading all five books again aloud as part of our history program this year.

    To see what my fellow Homeschool Review Crew members had to say, click below!

    Adventures of Rush Revere Book Series {Reviews}

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    Wednesday, June 7, 2017

    Homeschool Review Crew: K5 Learning Review

    As the school year is winding down, I’ve been thinking about ways to supplement our lighter summer school schedule. The Online Program from K5 Learning seemed to be a good way to fit in some fun interactive lessons.

    K5 Learning
    K5 Learning is an online supplemental math and reading program for kids in grades K-5, and includes practice in the following areas:
    • Numbers and Operations
    • Measurement
    • Geometry
    • Data Analysis
    • Algebraic Thinking


    • Phonemic Awareness
    • Phonics
    • Sight Words
    • Vocabulary
    • Reading Comprehension


    • Adaptive instruction
    • Optimized visual interface
    • 150,000 word database

    K5 Learning is easy to set up. You begin with a free online assessment in reading and math. The assessments are a bit lengthy, but they do break them up with short games to give the student a brain break. When your child is done with the assessment, you are sent a report that gives you an objective evaluation of your child’s math and reading skills.

    reading assessment  math assessment

    Francesca (my 5th grader) did her assessments all in one sitting. If I had that to do over again, I’d probably break them up. Even with the breaks in between, she was a little tired of answering questions by the time she finished. She did well, though, despite her frustration. In reading she scored a 700, which put her above her 5th grade range. Her score made her exempt from Phonemic Awareness, Phonics, and Sight words lessons because it was the highest score she could achieve in those areas. This report showed me that her reading lessons would focus on Vocabulary and Reading Comprehension.

    In math she scored a 510, which was within the 5th grade range. This score placed her in the high 5th grade range for Numbers and Operations, the intermediate 5th grade range for Measurement, and the low 5th grade range for Geometry. This helped me to see her strengths and weaknesses, and what areas we needed to focus on.


    Once the assessment was finished, the program customized her lessons according to her assessment results. If you find that the lessons aren’t exactly at the level they should be, you have the option to change the level and adjust as you see fit. This program is easy to navigate, with the student home page giving them the option to do a reading lesson, a math lesson, or a spelling lesson.  Once the assessment was over, Francesca used this program independently. She just logged on and chose the area she wanted to work on that day. Once the lesson is finished, there is an option to do corresponding worksheets. I think that’s a great way to reinforce what she just learned about, and a good way to incorporate the different ways of learning.

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    There is also a parent login page, where you can view reports, see your child’s progress, change levels, and add spelling words to the spelling lessons.

    Francesca got frustrated with the math section because there were topics covered that she hadn’t learned in our math curriculum, and since this is a supplemental program, it didn’t teach concepts. She enjoyed the reading program, though, and it gave her a fun break from the usual work. Overall I think this is a good supplemental program for both homeschoolers and public schoolers to use for extra practice or during vacations.

    To see what my fellow Homeschool Review Crew members thought, click below.

    K5 Learning {Reviews}

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