Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Homeschool Review Crew: YWAM Publishing-Christian Heroes: Then & Now Review

My girls are voracious readers. As they get older and are experiencing many new genres of fiction, it is especially important to me to provide them with quality literature. I was thrilled to receive Corrie ten Boom: Keeper of the Angels' Den from the Christian Heroes: Then and Now series by YWAM Publishing.

YWAM Publishing

Christian Heroes: Then and Now is a wonderful series of true stories that tell the tale of ordinary men and women whose trust in God helped them to do extraordinary things for His people and His kingdom. There are so many exciting titles to choose from that I couldn’t pick just one. I decided to let my thirteen year old decide, and she chose Corrie ten Boom: Keeper of the Angels’ Den. (I was pleasantly surprised at her choice because there were a lot of more familiar names I thought she’d go for, like C.S. Lewis, Clara Barton, and Laura Ingalls Wilder.)

Corrie ten Boom: Keeper of the Angels’ Den tells the fascinating story of the life of Corrie ten Boom and the heroic efforts she and her family made to help and protect Jewish people during the Nazi invasion and occupation of Holland during one of the most horrific tragedies in history.
Along with the book, we also received a downloadable study guide that includes corresponding lessons in:
  • History
  • Geography
  • Essay Writing
  • Creative Writing
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Public Speaking
  • Drama
  • Art

There are six comprehension questions for each chapter. There are also Key Bible Verses, Essay Questions, Creative Writing, Hands-On Projects, Audio/Visual Projects, Arts and Crafts, Community Links, and more. Some examples of the projects include: “Many books and articles have been written about Corrie ten Boom, but she always gave credit to her whole family for their efforts to help the Jews. Explain the roles her various family members played in resisting the Nazis. Why do you think Corrie is the family member most often remembered?” or “Make an illustrated timeline of Corrie ten Boom’s life. On the timeline, also record major world events,
such as the First and Second World Wars and the stages in the development of the European Union


What We Thought:

When we got Corrie ten Boom I decided to read it first before handing it over to Katie. I couldn’t put it down! This is a beautifully written story of an amazing woman who endured unimaginable hardships while never giving up helping the people who needed her. Her life and faith is such a moving testament to the amazing power and strength God gives to His people.

As expected, once I gave it to Katie she zipped right through it. We used the comprehension questions to discuss each chapter as she went along. The Essay questions and creative writing assignments offered a great way to really dig into the story and challenge Katie to think deeply about such a terrible time. Since she finished the book so quickly, I’ve decided to have her read the book again at a more leisurely pace to be able to take full advantage of the study guide. There are many more activities and projects we didn’t get to, and they’re worth slowing down and really devoting some time to.

Overall I really loved this book and the study guide. This series offers great role models for my girls, and I look forward to reading the rest of the books together. To see the other titles reviewed by the Homeschool Review Crew, click below.

Christian & History Heroes {YWAM Publishing Reviews}

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Friday, May 26, 2017

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Homeschool Review Crew: The Typing Coach Review

My thirteen year old daughter Katie has decided she likes typing her papers way more than she likes writing them by hand. She has never taken a formal typing course before, and so she has learned some bad typing habits. This was a great time for us to try The Typing Coach Online Typing Course provided by The Typing Coach.

The Typing Coach

Created by a veteran typing teacher, The Typing Coach Online Course uses audio, video, and written instructions to deliver a program that will have you typing at least ten words per minute with no more than one error per minute by the end of the course. In addition to the audio, videos, and written instruction, there is also an online assessment center with timed and scored proficiency tests.

The course is divided into seven lessons, designed to be completed over ten weeks. Since the goal is mastery, however, you can take as much time as you need in each lesson. The lessons cover:

  • Having good posture
  • Home row
  • Top row
  • Bottom row
  • Shift keys
  • Typing practices
  • Number row 

The first lesson has a video demonstration of proper posture. The following lessons have an audio file that you listen to as you type in a word processing program. You listen to the audio as many times you need to, while typing lines you print from the student packet. The object of these lessons is to train you to type from a page without looking at your keyboard or monitor. Once you feel confident, there is a Learning Check you take on the website. You need to pass the Learning Checks with no errors to move on to the next lesson. Again, the object of this program is mastery, so you may find yourself doing these lessons repeatedly until you have the keys memorized with no errors.


How We Used It:

The very first thing I did was have Katie take the Before and After Snapshot. This is a three minute assessment that gives you a starting reference so that you can see the progress you’ve made when you finish the course.

Next, I printed the Student packet, the Learning checks packet, and the Progress chart and put them all together in a binder. Katie then did the lesson on Having Good Posture. She did not have very good posture as she plopped herself in the chair the first time, so it was a good lesson for her. I made sure to remind her at the beginning of every lesson, and the instructor was good about reminding her to check her posture during lessons.

After the first lesson on Having Good Posture, Katie worked through this program independently. She did have some frustration in the beginning, because she worked on the lines from the Home Row lesson, and felt like she had them down. When I came in to give her the Learning Check, she didn’t do well at all. I think part of the problem was that she needed to get a feel for how the Learning Check worked. It counts every stroke, so if she hit the space bar too many times, etc. it would count that as an error. Once she got the hang of it she felt better. I was sure to explain to her that the program is teaching her to really know where each key is, and that wasn’t something she could rush through. Speed comes after knowing all of the keys, and these lessons really focus on that mastery.

I think this program would be a good fit for anyone who likes repetition and has a strong desire to learn how to type.

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

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

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Friday, May 19, 2017



This week we had a lovely dinner to celebrate Bishnu’s 14th birthday.


I was also so spoiled once again on Mother’s Day. My family went all out with beautiful decorations, delicious food, and lots of family time.


And this isn’t really a celebration, but we planted an apple tree in our front yard this week! We’re so excited to grow our own apples that it was a pretty festive day.

How was your week?

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Homeschool Review Crew: Homeschool Rescue Review

We’ve been homeschooling since my thirteen year old was in preschool, so I’d say I’m a pretty seasoned homeschooler by now. Although we LOVE homeschooling and are certain that this is the life God has called us to, sometimes I get burned out. We are getting close to the end of our school year, and I’m tired. Homeschool Rescue by Only Passionate Curiosity came at a perfect time to encourage and refocus me!


Only Passionate Curiosity Homeschool Rescue
Are you a homeschooler? Do you sometimes find yourself feeling frustrated or overwhelmed, wondering how on earth you will ever get it all done? Do you ever worry about whether or not what you’re teaching your kids is enough? Wondering if you’re enough? Homeschooling is hard work. Throw in all of the other responsibilities that come with being a wife and a mom, and it’s easy to get discouraged and start to doubt yourself. Created by a homeschooling mom, Homeschool Rescue is just what you need to reset your homeschool and find your focus again!
Homeschool Rescue is an online course that utilizes a variety of tools to help you get your homeschool back on track. There are five modules in this course, with three to five lessons in each module. Each lesson includes a video, thought provoking homework, and resource links and documents. There is also a private online community where you’ll find encouragement and support, as well as lots of great bonus content. And once you join, you are a lifetime member!
How I used it:
I could tell from the very first module that this was a course I was going to have to put some serious thought into. Right from the beginning Heather grabbed my attention and challenged me to take a hard, honest look at where I’m at. I pondered our homeschool; what I like, what I wish I could do differently. After you’ve been doing this for years and finds what works for your family, it’s easy to coast and do things as you’ve always done them without taking a breath to assess things. I focused on what things I would like to do more, and things I’d like to do less of. I set some new goals for myself, which is something I haven’t done in a while.
Only Passionate Curiosity Homeschool Rescue

Although I got something useful from each lesson, I think my favorite was the module on teaching older children. My thirteen year old is starting a program next year that focuses on the students taking more responsibility in their education. Study skills and time management were two things I wanted to work on with her this summer, so this was full of practical information for us. Have I mentioned the planners? I love a good planner, and there are so many beautiful ones to choose from as part of the bonus content!

There is so much I like about this course. The homework pushes you to dig deep and take a good, honest look at yourself, your homeschool, and your family. I like that you get a lifetime membership. We go through different seasons in our lives, and it will be good to have this course to come back to again and again when I find myself struggling. Heather has such a heart for supporting homeschool moms, and it really shines through in this course she’s created.

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

Homeschool Rescue {Only Passionate Curiosity Reviews}

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Friday, May 12, 2017


We did this fun experiment as part of our unit on space recently. We needed three balls the same size but with different masses, so we used a rubber bouncy ball, a ping pong ball, and a golf ball.

We then dropped each of those balls from three designated heights, to test if the mass and the height affected the size of the crater formed. (We’re studying meteoroids, meteors, and meteorites at the moment.)

20170504_094406     20170504_094627     20170504_094748

We discovered that yes, mass and height do affect the size of the crater formed. We were pretty sure that would be the case.

Then we decided we needed to test out bigger, heavier objects.

So we tried an orange and two different types of baseballs using the designated heights from the experiment.

20170504_095134     20170504_095210

But then we needed to try it just a little bit higher.


And higher still.


After dropping those from the highest spot we dared, we decided we needed to try dropping something bigger. Like a basketball.


This is why I love science. We took a fairly straightforward experiment and ran with it. We need to go higher!! We need something bigger!! Experimenting at its finest.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Homeschool Review Crew: Algebra for Breakfast Review

Math has always come fairly easily for my fifth grader, but this year she has become a little less cheerful as the concepts get a bit more complicated. I was excited for the opportunity to have her try out the Grades 5/6 lessons from Algebra for Breakfast.

Algebra for Breakfast

Created by Bob Hazen, Algebra for Breakfast is an online video based math enrichment program for grades three-four and five-six. In both levels kids will learn the basics of algebra through video instruction, worksheets, games, and manipulatives. The math dice and special manipulative blocks you need for the program are included in the Membership Package. 

Bob Hazen believes that online learning is most effective when done in segments. There are about fifty lessons in each of the levels of Algebra for Breakfast, which strategically unlock over a ninety-day period to maximize learning.

The video lessons are taught in a classroom setting. Some lessons have a short intro video, and each lesson has worksheets to print after watching the video. These worksheets further reinforce the learning from the video. There is also a parent’s corner that contains the answer keys for the worksheets, and a place to submit a question in each section.

Capture     Capture2     Capture3

What we thought:

Francesca doesn’t love online learning. She’s kind of fidgety and loses interest in things quickly. I had a hard sell on my hands when I introduced her to Algebra for Breakfast, but I ended up being pleasantly surprised with the results.

For each lesson, we sat down together and watched the video. I found it was helpful for me to sit with her and redirect her attention when building with the manipulative blocks. She was easily distracted by what was going on in the classroom, so I think without me sitting there with her she would have just sat and watched and gotten off task. Once we finished watching the video, she completed the accompanying worksheets. Altogether the lessons probably took us about half an hour to complete. Since this is a supplemental math program, I thought that was just enough time. It was long enough for her to learn, but not enough that she was feeling like she had to do math twice in a day.

There are a lot of things I like about this program. I like that the video lessons are short, manageable chunks. I really liked the worksheets. I thought there was a good combination of teaching methods to appeal to different types of learners.

Francesca really liked working with the blocks. I think they appealed to her fidgety side. Being able to work the problems he was discussing seemed to help her focus better. She hadn’t ventured much into algebra in her current math program, so she was learning the basics from the ground up. It was really great to be able to watch her mind work, to see her face light up and her excitement when something clicked for her. And although she started out resistant to the idea of an online math program, she quickly decided it was actually fun!

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


Bob Hazen's Algebra Lessons {Algebra for Breakfast Reviews}

Check out Algebra for Breakfast on Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/AlgebraForBreakfast/


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