Friday, March 27, 2015

FANTASTIC FRIDAY 3/27/15



Today's Fantastic Friday is fantastic because it is my best friend's birthday!!!!!! We met 31 years ago, and have been best friends ever since! We have had our share of ups and downs, and have always pulled through. I honestly don't know what I'd do with out her!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Thankful Thursday

Photo: Google Images search for "Thankful Thursday" www.Thedailybalance.com


What are you thankful for? Today I'm thankful for the rain. I'm trying to get grass to grow, and the rain is a huge help!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Terrific Tuesday



What is making your Tuesday TERRIFIC? For us, it's playing outside today.

Lord Heritage HomeSchool Office Review

HomeSchool Office Review
I was blessed with the opportunity to bring you a review of Lord Heritage HomeSchool Office.  The HomeSchool Office is a web-based scheduling program that allows you to integrate all of your students, their activities both inside and outside your homeschool, and any and all homeschool projects and assignments. You can keep track of attendance, grades, and even a "To-Do" list! You can also keep track of any other teachers or school district members who have an active part in your child's education. 

The Details

This is the main "Hub" so to speak. Home is your main page. Team is where you can add teachers, school district information, students, resources, and Friends. (Friends are similar to online address book.) 



This is the Team tab. 


This is the "Plan" tab.

Plan is your homeschool plan. Here is where you can add recurring subjects and projects (under master schedule) and they will show up on your calendar. You can view the whole year at one time under "School Year Plan." You can set your budget for any sort of expenses under the "Budget tab," and then "Projects" is where you can store specific project details. "Plan" is where you can also weight each subject, and decide how much time and credit is to be given to each subject. 
The Order tab is a calendar where you can input daily objectives. This month has been a very rough month for us with a death in the family and terrible weather, so I've not taken the time to work on our March Calendar. I did a day's input so you can see what it looks like.

The "Work" tab has the same look as order, but lacks the ability to modify the way "Order" will.

The "Evaluate" tab is where you keep track of grades and progress. 
You can choose between each student, then select the subject you set up under the "Plan" tab, then the assignment. You can then keep track of each assignment and the grade given. 

The "Report" tab is a really great tool for keeping track of transcripts and all of the other tabs. You can go in, select the areas you want, the quarters you want, and export to to Word.  I've not used this for more than one school year, nor did I try to add more than one school year, but it appears as if you can keep track of previous years in the "Report Tab." This would be a big help, especially for older students who may need to show colleges what courses and projects they have completed in their homeschool studies.

**Edited note: I received confirmation that YES it DOES keep track from year to year. Also, if you begin HomeSchool Office midyear, you can easily go in and add earlier grades for transcript and record keeping purposes.**

I'm not much of a "planner"type person, but I found some helpful tools with Lord Heritage Homeschool Office. I do wish there was a way to incorporate a household budget, and household calendar. That would be very helpful for me, and would be a fantastic component to Homeschool Office. It would be great to be able to schedule in doctor's appointments, cleaning schedules, etc. in with the regular homeschool day. (You CAN add these things into each calendar, but I would like 1 solid calendar for these.) And I would like to see a way to integrate a home office, household calendar, and the homeschool office into a single program. A way to adjust and keep track of a household monthly budget in addition to the homeschool budget would be awesome. The addition of these suggestions, in my opinion, would make Lord Heritage Homeschool Office pretty perfect. But again, I'm not much of a school only planner, so keep that in mind with my suggestion. 

**Edited note: I received confirmation that you can keep a household calendar, or multiple calendars with your own schedule organization. You can choose which of these you wish to view and which you wish to turn "off" at any time. That's the beauty of the "Order" and "Work" tabs, and the "Master Schedule." 

Overall: Lord Heritage HomeSchool Office is a really good planner for those who utilize online or electronic planners. It is also very beneficial if you have more than one child, multiple educators who have a hand in your child/children's education, or you deal with the school district often. It is really nice to have the budgeting tab, as well as the "friends" tab for easy access to that information. I like the running "To-Do" list, even if it doesn't have a household budget. The Report builder is a very nice tool that would really be a big help if you need to build a transcript. I also want to point out that they have fantastic customer service!!!!


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HomeSchool Office Review
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Friday, March 20, 2015

World Autism Day



World autism day is April 2nd, 2015! Please consider Lighting it up BLUE for Autism awareness!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Easter Stories: Review



Easter Stories is a collection of short stories written by a variety of authors, such as C.S. Lewis, Leo Tolstoy, and The Brothers Grimm. At 389 pages, it is beefy and makes for a wonderful read-aloud book with stories that have stood the test of time. These stories share the Christian meaning behind Easter in a captivating and engaging way. Illustrated with original woodcuts, and you can't go wrong with Easter Stories: Classic Tales for the Holy Season. We thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and bringing this review to you.



About the book:

Everyone who believes Easter is about more than Easter egg hunts will be grateful for this new anthology of short stories that illumine the true meaning of the season. Selected for their spiritual value and literary quality, these classic tales capture the spirit of Holy Week and Easter in a way that will captivate readers of all ages. Parents and grandparents will find that children love to hear these stories read aloud, year after year.

Easter Stories includes time-honored favorites from world-famous storytellers such as C.S. Lewis, Leo Tolstoy, Selma Lagerlof, Oscar Wilde, Elizabeth Goudge, Maxim Gorky, Ruth Sawyer, Anton Chekhov, and Walter Wangerin – as well as many you’ve never heard before. Illustrated with original woodcuts.


Overall:

We really enjoyed this book. I used this with my son as a read-aloud book, bedtime stories, and I even had him read some of the stories and summarize for me. The stories are short, classic, and bring to light the true meaning of Easter. This will definitely be a mainstay in our home, brought out year after year to celebrate the Easter holiday. We LOVE it!


Best of all, you can enter to win your own copy! Enter below!



a Rafflecopter giveaway



a Rafflecopter giveaway "Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.


Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

GAP LEARN: Review

Critical Thinking Company Review
Hello everyone! For the last several weeks we have been reviewing GPA LEARN's awesome online math program, GPALOVEMATH. And we LOVE IT! GPALOVEMATH is a totally online, streaming program, for math. It is not a download, so you can access it in a variety of manners* provided you have a high speed internet connection. The program covers grades K through 5th, and you can interchange the grades as needed. The program is based off a fantastic rewards systems that makes students WANT to do the work. It is entertaining, and easily adaptable to what you want to accomplish. 

About the program:

As the parent, you get your own "Dashboard." This is where you can tweak rewards, view your child's progress, and unlock specific lessons as needed. Each child has their own dashboard, too. they can access this via their own user name and password, or through the parent dashboard. Here is a screen snip of the child's dashboard to illustrate the "learning paths." You can go in and pick and choose which topics to cover, or you can use the "recommended path." 

To get the to math activities, you simply click on "Learn." Pictured is what you will see if you choose "Recommended Path" from the drop down menu. 

Now, once you're here, you can start the Love Math fun! Each grade has its own learning coach. For the purposes of this review, we focused only on 4th grade. But as I stated earlier, you can mix and match grades as needed for a more individualized plan. The 4th grade Learning Coach is an owl who is also a wizzard. You are in the land of Adds-A-Lot. It's a lot of fun to listen to Professor Owl, and go on his quests! At first, my son did not like the computerized voice of the character. It is a new concept for him, and for all of those with kiddos on the Autism Spectrum, I know you know what I mean! So we were delayed in getting started since I had to ease him into it, and get him used to doing a different math program, AND a different format. Now? He LOVES IT! He often repeats some of Owl's classic phrases like, "AbsoHOOTley amazing." He now regularly laughs at Owl and his anticlimactic excitement, and funny owl related phrases! That, in and of itself, is amazing for this momma!

  Each lesson has an objective, and the child gets ample instruction from his/her learning coach, then they get a practice session, then a quiz. At the end of the quiz they "win" a reward and points. The points can be used for goods in the market place. This is great because kids get that little extra practice they need to make sure the concept is learned, and they get positive reinforcement to motivate them to do more. 

In game:


Marketplace:

Rewards:


Overall:
Overall we LOVE GPALEARN and GPALOVEMATH! It is such a fun idea, and makes learning math fun and exciting. It not only teaches math concepts, but it gives students the chance to save their points for Marketplace rewards, which not only teaches smart spending, but also patience. It also reinforces good work with positive reinforcements that make kids WANT to do more, to earn more rewards and more points. My son now asks if he can do more math to earn more points! That's amazing! I also want to point out, I'm not a technology'ish person. I had a slight issue, and needed the help of their tech support. I sent an email message late one night, and by the next morning I had a reply. They were very thorough and polite, and made sure I completely understood. VERY good customer service!

Does it pass my 4 ingredient test?

1.) Customization: Is it easily adaptable? Can we customize it to fit "us?" Can we modify or set our own schedule? Can we take breaks, jump ahead, or flat out skip?

YES! It is easily customized to fit your needs. With the ability to "hop" grades, you can choose from K-5th grade with the click of a button. If you want to skip a concept you can, if you want to repeat, you can. As the parent, you can unlock and repeat any lessons you choose, in any order you choose.

2.) Value: Is it long lasting? Will it cover multiple grade ranges? Are you locked in to one specific grade level? Are their hidden fees?
It most definitely is long lasting. Memberships are monthly or yearly. You can choose between the grades, as needed. You are NOT locked into a certain grade level. There are absolutely zero hidden fees!

3.) Attention span: Is it boring? Is it engaging? Is it varied enough for ADHD? Does it last too long?
As you all know, my son has ADHD in addition to autism. These lessons are PERFECT! They are short enough that he doesn't lose his attention span. He enjoys "playing" his math game. The program says your child can complete 4-5 fun lessons each week to complete a grade in 10 months. The lessons can be completed in 15-20 mins, so it definitely does not last too long at all. We often do 2 lessons at a time because he enjoys it so much! It is a great online Math game/class!

4.) Does it tie into other things we already have?
It meets or exceeds all math standards. If you want to supplement, you can easily do so. I added some paper work just because I like for my son to do the same concept in a variety of formats. So yes, it DOES easily tie into other things we already have! You can use this as an online math game, a math tutor, or your main math staple. 


**NOTE** There have been some changes to Kindle Fire, and the Kindle Fire does not support GPALOVEMATH at this time. Samsung Galaxy, MAC, Apple Safari 6&7, Windows, Chrome, and Mozilla Firefox are all acceptable platforms.

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GPA Learn Review
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Gender roles

Why do we have to blur the lines of gender roles? Is it so bad to claim it is a man's job to take out the trash? Is it so bad to just tell a kid it's not nice to call someone gay, and let it be? Why tell them that they may be gay, and just not know it? Why not let kids be kids? Why does it matter if that kitchen set is marketed toward girls and the cars are marketed toward boys? Are we not able to tell our boys that even though this kitchen set may feature girls on the packaging that it's totally acceptable for them to play with it as well? Or can we not tell our daughters that they can play with HotWheels cars even though they have boys on the front? Would that not be MORE effective in the long run? 

Monday, March 16, 2015

Texas K-9 Unit Series Books 1-3 Review, plus giveaway!

Hey everyone! I'm excited to bring you this review of "Texas K-9 Unit Series" books 1-3, "Tracking Justice," "Detection Mission," and "Guard Duty" This three part series is written by 3 wonderful authors: Shirlee McCoy, Margaret Daley, and Sharon Dunn bring to you a tastefully written series that surrounds you with both suspense and intrigue, and just enough romance to keep it interesting, but not have you covering your eyes during the steamy scenes! that's the best part of this book series, you can truly enjoy the heart pounding suspense, AND the romance without feeling awkward or like you're reading something you wouldn't want your grandma to catch you reading! 



About the Series:


"Love Inspired Suspense authors Shirlee McCoy, Margaret Daley and Sharon Dunn will get your pulse racing with tales of Texas cops and their loyal K-9 dogs tracking down a crime ring. Enjoy three action-packed Texas K-9 Unit romantic suspense novels in one box set! When a boy goes missing from his bedroom, a police detective must assure a desperate single mother that he and his trusty bloodhound will find her son. A woman with amnesia has to rely on an officer and his border collie to stay alive when she can't remember who tried to kill her. An FBI agent is called in to protect a single mother when the rookie K-9 officer witnesses a murder and becomes the killer's target."

About the Authors:





Shirlee McCoy

Shirlee McCoy has always loved making up stories. As a child she daydreamed elaborate tales in which she was the heroine — gutsy, strong and invincible. Though she soon grew out of her superhero fantasies, her love for storytelling never diminished. Shirlee knew early that she wanted to write inspirational fiction and began writing her first novel when she was a teenager. Still, it wasn't until her third son was born that she truly began pursuing her dream of being published. Three years later she sold her first book. Now a busy mother of four, Shirlee is a homeschool mom by day and an inspirational author by night. She and her husband and children live in Maryland and share their home with a dog and a guinea pig.


Margaret Daley

Margaret has been writing for over 35 years. She started writing in the late 1970s because she wanted to see if she could put a whole story down on paper. That book is still in the drawer and will never see the light of day. But she was able to finish a book, which was her goal. She loved teaching and working with students with special needs, and recently retired from teaching to write full-time. When she isn't working, she loves to read, travel, and go to lunch and a movie with a friend. She and her husband, Mike, to whom she has been married for over 40 years live in Tulsa. Besides teaching and writing, she is also a mother of one. Her son, Shaun, is married with four daughters.


Sharon Dunn

Sharon Dunn first fell in love with mystery and suspense about the time she read Nancy Drew mysteries in the fifth grade. Her first book in the Ruby Taylor mysteries Romance Rustlers and Thunderbird Thieves was a finalist for the Romantic Times Inspirational Book of the Year. The second book in that series Sassy Cinderella and the Valiant Vigilante was voted Book of the Year by American Christian Fiction Writers. Her hobbies include reading, working out, hiking, trying to find things around the house and making pets out of the dust bunnies under the furniture. Before she started writing, she used to sew. Now she just collects fabric and patterns and fantasizes about projects. After nearly twenty seven years of marriage, Sharon lost her beloved husband in 2014. She lives with her three nearly grown children, two cats and a nervous border collie named Bart.


Win your own copy!!!!!




That's right! You can win your own copy of Shirlee McCoy's latest book, "Protection Detail." Just enter below for your change to win!



a Rafflecopter giveaway





"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.


Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.” a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, March 13, 2015

The Critical Thinking Co. Editor in Chief Level 1 Review

Critical Thinking Company Review
Hey everyone! Getting my son to willingly do Language Arts is like pulling a tooth from an angry alligator, so imagine my surprise when he actually asked to do his work from Critical Thinking co.'s workbook, Editor in Chief Level 1.

Editor in Chief Level 1 is a consumable, paperback workbook full of Language Arts goodies intended for 4th and 5th grade level students that will help them learn valuable editing skills, and reinforce their writing skills. There are 69 pages that cover 12 lessons, beginning with "content" and including capitalization, punctuation, spelling rules, nouns, pronouns, adjectives, adverbs, articles, verbs, agreement, conjunctions, prepositions, interjections, confusing word pairs, negative words, homophones, homographs, run-on sentences, and sentence fragments. The lessons build on each other, and are short enough to not get boring.


How we used the book:

Critical Thinking Company ReviewThis is described as a full curriculum for Language Arts. While it does cover a large variety, I would not personally use it as a stand alone Language Arts/Writing Curriculum with out adding anything else. Others may feel differently, as I am sure it is more than enough for typical students to grasp the concepts. For students who need more review over a longer period of time, this book is excellent, but I still reinforced the topics covered in a number of formats. As most parents of ASD kids know, transferring concepts between formats can sometimes be troublesome, so I wanted to make sure that wasn't an issue for us. 

We used this as both a main source of Language Arts, and as a supplemental workbook. The book is large enough that it covers a great deal of material, but it is easily transported as needed. At the time of this review period, my uncle was gravely ill (he has since passed,) and I had no problems taking this workbook with us when we were on the go helping take care of him, or taking it to the sitter's. It is "beefy" enough to use as a stand alone, but I still felt the need to supplement with more variety in format for the reasons stated above.


 We started with Content. This was a lesson in both correcting errors, but also paying attention. Your child is to read a passage, and look at a photo/diagram with information. There are 0 errors in the content diagram, so they must read the passage and compare this with the diagram, correcting errors as they go. There is an optional lesson to rewrite the passage with the mistakes corrected. We used this to target copywork, as well as penmanship, in addition to merely correcting the mistakes. This was a struggle for my ASD son, due to the nature of what he was tasked to do. He found it somewhat difficult to go back and forth between the diagram and the written passage, changing the passage as he went. But after the first couple of lessons he caught on quickly, and really enjoyed the lessons after that.

Lesson 4, Spelling Rules, was another favorite of mine. What I liked the most here was how the rules of spelling are listed on the first pages of the unit. That was a really nice reference point to return to when there was a question or explanation was needed. Each lesson has these reference pages, but spelling is a struggle for us, so it was VERY helpful in our situation.

Lesson 10 (Confused Word Pairs/Negative Words) is another he had a little difficulty with at first, but double negatives is not a topic we have previously discussed at any length. Again, after the first couple of lessons, and the rewriting activities, he easily grasped the concept and was able to complete the lesson, and do quite well.
At the end of every 3 lessons is a mini review of what has been covered in the previous 3 lessons, and a review that covers everything up to that point. So after lesson 3 there is a mini review of lessons 1-3, after lesson 6 there is a review of lessons 1-6 and a mini review of just 4-6, and that pattern continues through all twelve lessons.  This is really awesome for our end of the year portfolio. Instead of several pages of worksheets to show progress, I will only have to show the last test that covers everything in the book. 


Overall:
Overall, I really like this. I kind of wish there was a little more variety in structure inside the lessons. Maybe a few pages with the passages, and the option rewriting activity, and some with 2 passages, or perhaps some other type of practice exercise. With that said, I like how there is a number of passages that are informational, and the lessons are short. The non-fiction passages actually worked to spur on further discussions a lot of times, so that was really nice! The lessons and passages easily maintain a short attention span. It challenges your student to think differently. Often times they read a correct passage, and must correct mistakes outside the passage. This forces the brain to think differently, and correct the passages instead. There is the right amount of repetition for retention, but not so much that it's obnoxious. Another thing I really like about this workbook is that it lists the number of mistakes to be corrected in numbered circles, and the type of mistake that needs to be corrected. The book is on grade point, as far as I'm concerned, and is a useful tool to add to your Langauge Arts arsenal. 

4 Ingredient Test:

1.) Customization: Is it easily adaptable? Can we customize it to fit “us?” Can we modify or set our own schedule? Can we take breaks, jump ahead, or flat out skip?

There is no set schedule. The lessons do build upon each other, so I do suggest going in order. You can also use this as a supplemental book, if you choose. 

2.) Value: Is it long lasting? Will it cover multiple grade ranges? Are you locked in to one specific grade level? Are there hidden fees? 
It is intended for those on a 4th or 5th grade level. There is a level 2 that goes beyond that. This particular book would be a good review for older students, and a good measure for older 3rd graders. For $19.99 (as of today's writing,) you really can't go wrong! 


3.) Attention span: Is it boring? Is it engaging? Is it varied enough for ADHD? Does it last too long?

There is a lot of variety in the passages. They are short, and worked well for my son even before his meds had fully taken effect. 

4.) Does it tie into other things we already have.

This would work well with all of our writing and Language Arts materials. 



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Critical Thinking Company Review
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No Longer A Slumdog Review


"No Longer A Slumdog" is a book written by Dr. K.P. Yohanna, founder and international director of Gospel of Asia. The book details the accounts of children living in severe poverty and abuse in India, who find joy and life along with the love of God. "No Longer A Slumdog" shares REAL stories of REAL children, and how they were saved from the harsh lives they were living.

The book is an easy read, but the content is gut wrenching. Stories of children being abused in a variety of manners is hard to comprehend. How can we live in a world where any child goes hungry? How can people lock kids up in closets or small rooms, depriving them of their most basic human needs? This book is very good (and graphic) at showcasing just how this is a reality for many children across South Asia.

While I found the book to be an easy read, I wasn't happy with frequent requests for money. I understand the need for help, and the need for fundraising, but a chapter at the end of the book would suffice for this. I feel the repeated asking is more of a deterrent than a help.

I do think it is important for all to read this book, and understand that this isn't an isolated situation that is unique to only India, or South Asia as a whole for that matter. But there are children all over the world, and in my own country of the United States, who suffer. Yet despite the struggle, the hardships, the horrible-HORRIBLE-living conditions, these kids were able to break away thanks to the Love of God. This book is great for explaining India's Caste system, and how Jesus can break that system. No one is alone when they have Christ! I encourage you to order your FREE copy of this book, and read it for yourself!

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Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Monday, March 9, 2015

Visual Learning Systems Digital Science Online One-Year Subscription Review

Visual Learning Systems Review
I can't say enough great things about Visual Learning Systems and their Digital Science Online Science !! I was given a one year membership for both the Digital Science Online: Elementary Edition as well as Digital Science Online: Secondary Edition. Digital Science Online is a science program where you can stream videos that are an average of about 15 minutes in duration on a HUGE variety of science topics that cover Earth, Life, Physical, Integrated, Biology, and health. Each video includes a downloadable and printable teacher's guide that includes a nice cover sheet, table of contents, contents and standards statement, objective, video summary, pre-tests, post-tests, and a multitude of student activities that include writing, vocabulary, and experiments. Digital Science Online Elementary Edition covers primary, elementary, and Digital Science Online: Secondary covers middle/high school grades. To say I was very excited when I found out I was chosen to do this review is an understatement! My son, as many with autism, is a very visual learner.  This proved to be a fantastic resource that focuses on visual learning, while still offering paper work.

Visual Learning Systems Review




Visual Learning Systems live up to their name with their fantastic videos! The videos are short, but in-depth. The narrator is calming, but engaging. The graphics are nice, and we really loved how it shows things in action. For example, earth worms moving in the dirt, etc. The videos can be kept small, or you can expand them to full screen. They are also easily streamed on an iPad. This made it very convenient for us being on the go a lot. We were easily able to take our science with us, with out toting around a bunch of books. 



Each video includes what I call a print packet, and this is the teacher's guide. It has a guide for the parent/teacher to be able to introduce the video, as well as an assortment of fantastic student activities. One of these activities is a worksheet the student is to use while watching the video. This really helps the student to watch the video effectively, while thinking critically. I found the use of this particular print out was very beneficial for my son to really grasp the concept given in the video. This is also great for his end-of-the-year portfolio. I appreciated the fact that the packets not only included things like a pre-test and post-test, but also activities that help to reinforce writing and vocabulary. There were some days we used Digital Science Online, and the printed student activities, as our writing and language arts activity. Here is a Screen Snip of one layout of activities. Some categories have more than this. We have had Teacher's Guide's with as many as 25+ pages so far!



This is not religious based, and does touch upon secular ideals and philosophies. I was easily able to explain these to my son, but if you are sensitive to that sort of thing I suggest watching the videos and previewing all printables before you child does the lesson.

Does Visual Learning System's "Digital Science Online" pass my 4 Main Ingredient test?

Visual Learning Systems Review

1.) Customization: Is it easily adaptable? Can we customize it to fit “us?” Can we modify or set our own schedule? Can we take breaks, jump ahead, or flat out skip?

YES! YES! YES!  You can choose to print off only what you want, or nothing at all. You can add to it if you wish. There are no set schedules to follow, and you can easily pause, or re-watch, whatever you wish. You are not tied-down at all. 

2.) Value: Is it long lasting? Will it cover multiple grade ranges? Are you locked in to one specific grade level? Are there hidden fees? 
When you have an online subscription you get to choose which grade level you want. If you wish to utilize a concept under the Primary tab, you can. If you want to use Elementary, that's ok, too! If you choose the secondary edition, then you can choose between all of the options under the middle school and high school ranges. That's one of the BEST things about Visual Learning Systems and the Digital Science Online! You are not stuck in only one grade level, but you have the freedom to move about. I would like to see them incorporate an option for both editions, that would make it even more perfect! Right now, you get your choice of edition, with all of the awesomeness it includes, for just $99.00/year! It's so well worth it the money!

3.) Attention span: Is it boring? Is it engaging? Is it varied enough for ADHD? Does it last too long?

It is most definitely NOT boring! The videos are short enough that attention is not lost, and the child is not bored. My son is easily distracted, but the videos easily hold his attention, and he loves them. He asks to do his science work, and will often meander around the videos on his own, watching more than I have assigned!

4.) Does it tie into other things we already have.

You can easily supplement if you wish, though I never really found the need to do so at this time. If you want to go more in depth, you can quite easily. This is not a religious based program, so anything will really work well with it. 

Overall:
Overall, WE LOVE IT! It is our main, "Go-to" science program. We use this nearly every day! It is packed with information and resources!
I suggest that at the very least you sign up for a FREE TRIAL and try it out for yourself!  This will DEFINITELY be a mainstay in our homeschool!!
For more reviews, please check out The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew!
Visual Learning Systems Review
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Saturday, March 7, 2015

Egglo Entertainment Review

Egglo Entertainment Review
Hi everyone! We have had so much fun reviewing Egglo Entertainment's AWESOME glow in the dark eggsThe Egg-cellent Easter Adventure BookEgglo Treaures Scripture ScrollsEgglo Bible Verse StickersThe Egglo Glow in the Dark Egg Hunt Event Curriculum, and Easter Egg Stickers. SHEWWWWWEY that's a long list of fun products!

For this review, I received a physical book, 1 box of 12 glow in the dark eggs, 1 package of scripture scrolls, physical stickers, and a digital download PDF of the curriculum. 
Egglo Entertainment Review
About the Product: Egglo Entertainment's Glow in the Dark Easter Eggs shine to symbolize Jesus as the Light of the World. What better time to showcase this than Easter time?  The glowing eggs with bible focused extras work together to put Christ as the center of Easter. With fun activities, snacks, and glow in the dark fun, you can be assured there will be many hours of great fun and learning of the meaning of Easter.

 The eggs, with lovely crosses on them, split apart so that you can easily insert the scrolls, stickers, candy, etc...and you can easily store them this way for a more compact means of storage. The eggs glow with a powerful and bright glow. I was pleasantly surprised by this. I "charged" them for about an hour in the sunlight, and they were able to glow brightly. I also placed them on the counter under a fluorescent light for about an hour, and they were very bright. The blue eggs glow brightest, followed by the yellow, then the pink-This may have been because they were not very close to the charging light source. The scrolls are small enough to fit in the eggs, while leaving room for any other goodies you may wish to include. I would be careful with kids who may be a little more rough than others, as one scroll pulled apart as I was unrolling it. The stickers have the right amount of adhesive on them, so they easily stick, and they are individually cut so that you can include them in the eggs if you want. The curriculum download is a PDF file, and it is very colorful. In it is a lot of party activities, snack ideas, party invitation templates and cards, coloring sheets, posters, and various guided readings with questions and answers. It is a very nice guide for leading a party with discussions and activities on the true Christian meaning of Easter. You can really do a LOT with this Curriculum PDF!


Egglo Entertainment Review

How We Used This: 
First, we talked about how and why the eggs glow. From both a symbolic aspect of Christ being the light of the world, to the scientific aspect of how they do it. We talked about other things that glow, and how. Such as Fireflies. Then we just had fun with them! We charged them, we hid them, we found them, we charged them again. Rinse and repeat! We used the varying colors to do some basic fraction work. We colored our own cardstock eggs, and we talked about the life cycles of other animals who lay eggs. It's amazing how many different topics we covered thanks to a dozen glowing plastic eggs!

 I had planned to use these with the scrolls, having him pair the ideas on the scrolls with the Bible Verse Stickers on a poster board chart, and then using the others as rewards. This would have worked perfectly, but he did not want to adhere the stickers HAHA! It's an autism thing!  The book is a VERY colorful picture book style book. It's great to read to smaller kids, and wordy enough that middle to older elementary kids can still enjoy it. I read it to my son, then I had him read it and do a book report on it. It was small enough that he could easily read it in one sitting, and the illustrations kept his attention. The curriculum download is colorful, and packed with great ideas! We had a lot of fun with the coloring sheets, and we used a lot of the Egg templates to decorate these with our own drawings. You could easily create coloring books, using a variety of the artwork in the PDF and the posters as the covers, for a church group or Easter party. There are sheets that correspond to both the Egglo Egg-cellent Easter Adventure Book as well as coloring sheets specific to the Biblical account of Easter. There are a lot of game activities that you can use as the guide suggests, or make up your own. We did a "Memory style" game with some , and printed off most on card stock. There's a page in the guide that matches the Bible Verse Stickers. This could be printed on cardstock and used as a fun matching game. I am thinking of ordering more eggs so that I can make a wreath for my front door! I think these would be fantastic in decorations! They would charge in the sunlight, and glow when the sun goes down! These would also make for great sensory play. So many different uses! 


Egglo Entertainment Review



Overall: These are so much fun! We have had some rather interesting weather the last 2 weeks with more than 2 feet of snow, significant flooding, and widespread power outages. As a result, we headed to Mamaw's house, since she had power. The products were easily packed so that we could take them with us for some fun! My son loved looking around Mamaw's house in the dark, hunting the eggs. They were easily seen in the dark, and provided a lot of laughs. The curriculum download is full of ideas and activities.  I love how colorful the graphics are in both the book and the curriculum download. Egglo Entertainment's Glow in the Dark Eggs, and all of the goodies that go along with them, would be a fantastic addition to any church group and/or family who want a more Christ centered Easter Holiday!


Here are our Egg-cellent Egglo Glow in the Dark Eggs Photos!!






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Egglo Entertainment Review
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Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Scholastic Books 50 NON-FICTION Books for $50.00!!!!


Hey Everyone! Scholastic is having their Once a Year only $50.00 NON-FICTION Books for only $50.00!!!!! These are for grades K-2 OR grade 3-5! 

This sale ends April 3, 2015!


Just click here!
Scholastic 50 Non-Fiction Books for $50.00

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Thunderbolt Kids Free Curriculum


Hi everyone! I ran across this in my never ending hunt for frugal homeschooling ideas. This seems to be a fantastic resources for science, and you can download PDFs of all the books and comics for FREE! So take a look, learn about the cause, and be blessed by the great science resources found here! Have a great day!