Saturday, August 29, 2015

The Bridge Builder: The Life And Continuing Legacy of Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein REVIEW



Hey everyone! Today I am bringing you a fantastic review of "The Bridge Builder: The Life and Continuing Legacy of Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein." This is the account of a man who considered to be a true hero in the religious world, who has made it his life's work to bridge the worlds of the Christians and the Jews. "The Bridge Builder: The Live and Continuing Legacy of Rabbi Yechiel" is the account of his life, the hardships he faced, and the mountains he has had to climb. The book details how the Jewish community felt he was trying to convert Jews to Christianity, and how he showcased the plight of the Jews to Christians and gave them the ability to help if wanted. The funds raised have gone on to help Jews in need around the world.



Rabbi Eckstein founded the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews in 1983 to promote understanding between Jews and Christians and build broad support for Israel and other shared concerns. The Ministry's vision is a hope that both sides can overcome the 2000+ year division and come to a time of cooperation and understanding. In addition to several other meaningful projects,
they also create materials for teaching about the significance of connecting Israel and Christianity through such resources as A Woman of Valor: Celebrating The Proverbs 31 Women In Our Lives, A Man Of Faith: Reflections On Godly Leadership From The Ancient Shepherds Of Israel (both devotionals by Rabbi Eckstein), and Seven Fruits of Israel: Recipes And Devotions From The Holy Land (by Yael Eckstein).


About the book and the author:
Hardcover; 272 pages
Zev Chafets is the bestselling author of fourteen books of fiction, media criticism, and social and political commentary. He has been a frequent contributor to the New York Times Magazine and is a former columnist for the New York Daily News

BOOK RELEASE DATE:  AUGUST 11, 2015



Overall: 

Overall I found this to me an interesting book to read. It is inspiring to see one man's determination take him to such highs and lows, and to read how he overcame so much-whether you agree with his position or not. 


Would you like to win your own copy?!

One lucky blog reader will win a copy of this book! Just enter below!







SOCIAL • C O R N E R  

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Website to PurchaseAmazon


"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.”

Friday, August 28, 2015

Dig-It! Games Roman Town (iOS App) Review

Dig It! Games Review


We really enjoy game based learning and educational games. That's why I was so excited to find out I was going to be reviewing Roman Town (iOS App) by Dig-It! Games. Roman Town (iOS App) is an educational app full of learning games that reinforce independent learning and critical thinking. Geared toward the middle school crowd, Dig-It! Games and Roman Town really are fun for everyone. I thoroughly enjoyed playing the games myself! For this review, we received the app and all of the in game purchases. Note: The app is free, but there are areas that can only be accessed by purchasing the full game. 


Dig It! Games Review


How we used it:

Dig It! Games Review

We used this as a fun, learning game, to reinforce what we have learned about Ancient Rome thus far. We had the unique experience of getting to see an exhibit of Pompeii artifacts, including the body casts, so it was very interesting to get to play this game while thinking of that exhibit, as well. 


Loaf of bread: This is a loaf of bread found during excavation at Pompeii. I was blown away by this! 



Some of the body casts. My photos did not turn out as well (shaky hands,) so I found these on a google search. I wish I could communicate the emotion and feeling while walking into that room and seeing these body casts. I tried to put myself in their place. What it must have looked like, felt like, sounded like....I can't even begin to imagine it all. There was a video playing when we first arrived for our tour. It was almost movie like, and was basically putting each visitor into the daily life in Pompeii, then the eruption. Many did live, because there were several hours to evacuate. The problem was, not many believed they were in harms way. So they stayed too long, and were unable to leave.

Roman Town (iOS App) brought back the memories of this exhibit thanks to the rich history that is taught through the app. Each character you speak to has a tidbit of information or a fact to share. The games you must play share insight as well, creating a web of game based learning.

Dig It! Games Review

Often, Mr. B would play alone. And equally often, I would sneak the iPad away from him and play the game myself. The critical thinking games truly require critical thinking! This is not one of those apps that you can just easily breeze through. Ohhh no! I had to play one of the games about 8 times before I finally won! It was nice to actually feel challenged!

Dig It! Games Review

Dig It! Games Review

I really like the "ancient games." It was a way to introduce not only Ancient Roman culture, but also discuss ways children's play has changed over the years. 


Overall:

Overall, Roman Town (iOS App) is a really fun way to learn and explore history, develop cultural understanding, and reinforce critical thinking skills. 


Does Dig-It! Games Roman Town (iOS App) 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?

This is an educational game app for iOS (iPad.) You can't really skip ahead or anything like that, but you do have freedom within the confines of the game.



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?

The app is geared toward a middle school learning base. It would be appropriate for multiple ages, and I really enjoyed it myself. There are fees. The game is free, but the there are in game purchases to be aware of.


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


We did not find it boring at all. It is varied enough that it kept MY attention, and that's saying a lot. The variety of games is pretty good, and they are challenging enough that you really have to try on them. So it's no boring at all.


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

This would fit perfectly with any study of Ancient history, Pompeii, Rome, etc. 


If you would like to read more reviews on Dig-It! Games, please click the banner below and check out more from the Schoolhouse Review Crew!


 Dig-It! Games Review


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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Homeschool Myths Series

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a post touching upon some popular homeschool myths. The response I received was huge! So I thought I should do a series of posts on the topic. So myths that will be covered include:

 1.) The Myth homeschool families save money because their children do not need "back to school" clothes or school supplies.

 2.) Socialization

3.) Testing

 4.) Religious zealots

 5.) Lack of "proper" education

 6.) Lack of oversight or accountability

 Etc...

 Please feel free to list some of your personal thoughts or things you have also heard! I'll try to include as many as I can!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Classroom Friendly Supplies World's BEST Pencil Sharpener EVER Review!


Do you need a good pencil sharpener? Are you tired of those suction sharpeners that pop loose? Or how about the ones that you have to permanently mount to get it to work? That electric sharpener just not up to par? And we all just LOOOOOVE the little hand held numbers, right? Nothing like a cramped up hand before the writing as even started! Well, let me introduce you to the Best Pencil Sharpener EVER from Classroom Friendly Supplies!

For this review, I received one Groovy Green pencil sharpener. 


About the Classroom Friendly Supplies Pencil Sharpener:





  • A "must have" for every teacher.

    • A unique and practical teacher gift.
    • Old-school retro look.
    • Quiet sharpening eliminates classroom interruptions. 
    • Automatic stopping once the perfect point is formed. This prevents over-sharpening.
    • Works on standard sized pencils.
    • Clear plastic disposal tray for easy cleaning.
    • Easy to use (as young as 5 years of age.)
    • Sturdy metal frame (approximately 3"x 3"x 5")
    • Portable or mounts to a surface. Clamp included.
    • A true "green" pencil sharpener. Ideal for environmentally friendly schools and classrooms.
    • Did I already mention that it was quiet? 
    • Sorry, we ship to the USA only.


    When I say this is the best pencil sharpener, I mean it! With it, you get a mounting device that allows you to move it around. If you aren't fearful of commitment, like me, you can also order a permanent mount that lets you affix it to a structure more permanently. Each pencil I sharpened came out PERFECTLY with a sharp and pristine point. I never even knew I wasn't getting a well sharpened pencil before using this sharpener! Even better, it is QUIET!

    How it works:

    See those black tabs? You pull those out, and kind of squeeze them together. You insert the pencil, and then turn the crank on the side! The sharpener grips the pencil for you, and moves it inward into the sharpening blades. You then remove a perfectly sharpened pencil! There are several colors to choose from, and there are also replacement parts if needed. This is very heavy and sturdy sharpener that you can't find anywhere else! I have already recommended this pencil sharpener to my friends and family.


    Overall:

    WE LOVE IT! Definitely, 2 Thumbs up!

    But wait, there's more! Do you want one of your very own?!?!?! Well, enter below for a chance to win! Yes, that's right! The vendor has graciously given me one to give away to a lucky blog reader! So please, enter today!



    a Rafflecopter giveaway


    Disclaimer: I received this product for free from the listed vendor in exchange for my non biased, honest review. I was not required to write a positive review, nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions I have expressed are my own, or that of  my family. I am disclosing this in accordance to FCC regulations. 

    Friday, August 14, 2015

    Blog Hope Day 5 Back to School Traditions and Gifts.


    My son doesn't get toys and gifts for everything. He gets gets for his birthday and Christmas. I will also get him some little something for Valentine's Day (usually one of those little $1.00 boxes of chocolates, a small stuffed animal and a balloon....roughly $3-$5.00) And he will get an Easter basket that usually has a $5-$10.00 gift in it. With that said, I inadvertently started a "tradition" with him a couple years ago. I purchased one of these clear plastic cinch bags at Walmart full of supplies. I think then it was  a little cheaper than it is today. I left it "Toothfairy" style for him to find when he woke up for his first morning back to school. It was a huge hit! This made him really look forward to the start of our official school year for the next year. I haven't picked up his "Back to School gift" for this year yet. I've not quite decided what to get. I was thinking maybe a new insulated lunch bag since we've been enjoying picnics in the park (something his autism symptoms haven't allowed for a while.) or maybe an all together new bookbag since his are all rather old now. Maybe you all could give me a few suggestions! I know we live in a world where kids feel they are entitled to a gift for every occasion, and going back to school may not be a big deal for a lot. But for us, this makes for a fun little treat to start the year off right. He enjoys it, and it's sort of like an "award" for completing the previous year and being "promoted" on to the next grade.


    Do you have any back to school traditions or suggestions for a back to school gift bag treat? If so, drop me a comment and let me know!

    Thursday, August 13, 2015

    1st Day of School (Day #4 Blog Hop)


    Today is the 1st day of school for our school district. Do you know what that means? CELEBRATION!!!!!!! (I need a cool party hat emoti right here!) As tradition goes, we spend the first day of school sleeping in, playing, having fun, and enjoying things we couldn't do if we didn't homeschool! This is a holiday for homeschoolers!


    What does the first day of school mean for a homeschooler?

    1.) We have the park to ourselves! If we go during school hours, we can typically enjoy the playground, etc. to ourselves.

    2.) The mall isn't overrun with teenagers. 

    3.) The pools are still open, and uncrowded! This goes for splash parks, too.

    4.) Science centers/Museums are quiet. There's not a herd of little feet pounding the hallways. We can take our time, and enjoy it to the max with no waiting lines!

    5.) Empty theaters. We LOVE going to see movies during school hours! Adults are at work or in college, kids are in school....Ahhh! Any seat we want!

    6.) Back to School Clearance: Now we can shop the clearance racks in style!

    7.) The neighborhood is quiet! No more teens walking around the road at night. Though I do miss the laughs and squeals of hearing the neighborhood kids play,

    8.) Grocery shopping during school hours = no long lines! I'm not sure why, but grocery shopping during school hours is much better than after. Odd, right?

    9.) No wait at the dr's office for a check up.

    10.) Speaking of the mall, the kids stores are virtually empty now! We can shop with out lots of people!

    11.) The best think about Back to School? We get to thoroughly confuse people when we do any of the above during school hours HAHAHAHAHA! 

    Wednesday, August 12, 2015

    My 2015/2016 Curriculum Choices....thus far. Blog Hop Day #4



    There is a certain wondrous excitement when it comes to homeschool curriculum. There's also a bit of an addiction that can occur haha! I have never used a "boxed" set, instead I have always elected to build my own curriculum. This is beneficial for multiple reasons.

     First, I can tailor each subject to our specific needs. When dealing with special needs, the ability to be flexible with curriculum is essential. I also have to make sure that anything we choose can be tailored to fit US. I look to make sure we aren't locked into a specific grade or level, or that the expense isn't too much if we need to change levels. I also make sure there are no hidden fees, and it is long lasting in case we have to take our time.

    Next, cost is important. If I could afford nearly $1000 or more for curriculum, maybe I'd change my mind. But since I can't, I try to come as close as I can with the resources provided to me.

    With all of that said, here is what we plan to use for the upcoming year, keeping in mind that review products will be added as necessary, and may even replace things depending on how they work out with us!

    Reading: and  Language Arts: We will be using various worksheets and workbooks to cover the basics of grammar and parts of speech. I plan to integrate a literature program that will cover both reading and language arts. I've not yet fully decided on which one I plan to purchase. I hope to try out both Progeny and Moving Beyond the Page, and make a decision after that. We will DEFINITELY continue to use Dynamic Literacy WordBuildOnline  and Star Toaster.

    Science: We will be using Visual Learning Systems Digital Science Online. I like that I have an assortment of topics from which to choose, and I can tweak it as needed. We can complete an entire topic in one day, or I can stretch it out to last a week. Mr. B really likes the videos, and the associated print package that goes with each topic is great.

    Math:  We both really, REALLY like A+ Interactive Math. If you choose the family package, you can choose whatever grade you need. This means if you have a child who is on multiple grade ranges, you can easily choose the level you need at any given time. This works great for us since Mr. B isn't as good with subtraction, so he needs a lower level there, but he can do very well with pre-algebra. I also like UnLock Math to develop independent learning. Mr. B really enjoys the videos from both of these programs.

    Social Studies: We LOVE Homeschool In The Woods!! It is a fantastic, hands-on program that brings history to life in a fun and memorable way. We love to sit together and work on the projects together. They offer both US History and world history options. We have never been disappointed with Homeschool In The Woods.


    I will supplement as necessary, and change it up when I see Mr. B becoming tired or bored with a particular product. I like to interchange and keep things fresh to spur on his interest. But as of now, these are the choices!

    Don't forget to check out more great blogs during this amazing Back To School Blog Hop! 



    Back to Homeschool Blog Hop

    Tuesday, August 11, 2015

    Daily Schedule; Back to School Blog Hop Day #2


    This is how I felt when I heard the bell ring at school. It was a mix of OMG I GOTTA GO NOW, and instinctive auto pilot. I'm sure I could probably rig up some sort of bell system for our homeschool, but that might be a little overboard haha! So, how do I schedule things?

    Well, first of all, I prefer to remain flexible and fluid. Part of autism is rigid routines and an inability to adapt to changes. When Mr. B was very young, I saw him beginning to develop this inability and I sought to find a way to help him. I ultimately decided a non routinized and unscheduled life early on was the way to do this. Yes....I know, kids thrive on routine and schedules, less stress...yada...yada...yada. BUT, when that child is so bent on that routine that a sudden outing to the grocery store to grab a forgotten ingredient, or something not going EXACTLY as planned or EXACTLY as it is "supposed" to go is grounds for instant meltdown, we can forget schedules for a bit! With that said, I keep things changing. But this doesn't mean I have no game plan. This simply means, I'm free to make changes.
    Our daily schedule varies, but it varies with the same elements. We wake up, get dressed, have breakfast, and start school work. We do not do the same subjects every day, and sometimes we may not even do our lessons in the same room, or even in the house! I make sure to change it up so that he's not so rigid in the what and the where that he can't cope if a wrench is thrown into the plan. After all of the school work for that day is complete, he is free to do as he wishes, unless we have other plans. It's really as simple as that.

    But, how do I plan his lessons? I take it week by week. I decide on what goals I want to achieve before we even begin our school year. Then I let him help me choose the appropriate materials to achieve these goals. I plan out a week's worth of work, including any worksheets or other prep items, and arrange it by day. Some days have more work than others, some days we may elect to spread the work over a few days so that we can enjoy a "sun" day. So long as he completes the week's worth of lessons that week, we're good. This also means we have the flexibility needed to work in fun field trips, play dates, unexpected appointments or obligations, or sudden trips to the grocery store. We are also developing coping mechanisms that Mr. B will be able to use in order to properly handle changes to his daily schedule and routine.


    Check out more great blogs participating in the Blog Hop! 


    Rebecca @ Raventhreads
    Annette @ In All You Do

    Back to Homeschool Blog Hop

    Monday, August 10, 2015

    The Truth Behind Some Popular Homeschool Myths.



    I remember being in high school when the neighbors from down the road approached me to ask if I would tutor their homeschooled children. I had no idea what to expect, I didn't even know kids could be taught at home! These were the days before the internet and social media. I taught them karate, algebra, and even some life skills. Their families wanted to make sure the kids knew what to expect in a public school setting, etc. It was at this moment I formed a large assortment of stereotypical thoughts about homeschoolers. My mom had looked into homeschooling me, so I could focus more on my martial arts training (I was good y'all!) and so I could avoid some health issues I was experiencing....but the laws at the time in my state prevented me from being homeschooled. So that also shaped my world view some. It wasn't until Facebook when I found out a couple of friends were homeschooling, and they were nothing like my preconceived notions of what homeschooling truly is.

     My son was, at that time, in a special needs pre-school, and his teachers at the time were pro-public school so I was going with that....right up until his Kindergarten orientation, and then the game field changed and I was thrown into a world of which I knew next to nothing. I polled my friends (super formal of course, via Facebook status update) to ask them what they thought of homeschooling families, and what myths or stereotypes they have heard. Since this is a back to school special (hosted by The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew and Homeschool Blogging Connection,) I'd like to address some of the popular homeschooling myths! And if you wish to read more great Back to School blogs from the Back to School Blog Hop, just click this link and you'll find a whole list!

    1.) Homeschooled children are unsocialized.




    Sigh....if you only knew how much I LOATHE this statement. First, children should be in school to receive an education, NOT to socialize. With that out of the way, see all those kids being followers of that one kid who is causing a lot of trouble on the playground? Yeah, not the kind of socialization I want to reinforce. See all those kids in the restaurants acting up, being loud and rowdy because they have been cramped in a school desk for 8 hours that day? Yeah, not the kind of socialization I want to reinforce. See those kids who blindly follow all orders because they aren't allowed to question any type of authority, even if they know that authority is wrong? Yeah, not the kind of socialization I was to reinforce. My son is socialized in a way that is going to benefit him as an adult. He is taken out in public! He is taught how to behave in ALL settings, not just in a desk or at a table with others who are typically his own age, and most likely matching to his own social and ethnic demographics. No, he is socialized around young, old, rich, poor, educated, uneducated, his ethnicity and all others we encounter during the day. He can conduct himself during a formal business meeting, a college class during final exams, the doctors office, grocery store, playground, etc. And he can do so with proper manners, behavior, and reactions to whatever is thrown to him. John Dewey saw schools as a place to learn to live, rather than a place to just acquire a skills set.  So yes, homeschoolers are unsocialized in the way sitting in a classroom for hours each day will socialize one, but they are socialized in a much more productive and meaningful way that has a direct impact on life in society. I'm more concerned with his ability to carry a conversation with those of a different demographic category rather than his ability to sit quietly at a desk for 3 hours. Pierce vs. Society of Sisters shows why there's so much emphasis placed on "proper socialization" being attained only via. public schools.  They sought to eliminate parochial schools to eliminate the influence of catholic culture. I'm not one to limit his exposure to those who are different from us. THAT is socialization.

    2.) Homeschoolers are not taught proper academics. They are trained to be parents (mothers mainly) or farming.



    Ok, so I admit to having thought this myself. And yes there ARE courses out there to teach girls how to be motherly or homemakers, and courses to teach boys to be bread winners.But they are not the sole curriculum set. AND, those courses are taught in public school as well...it's called Home Economics! Also, this gender divide is seen in school when boys are encouraged to pursue science and math fields, and girls are steered toward social sciences. There were classrooms here that were fully gender segregated! (How's that for socialization?) In our state, we MUST teach 5 core subjects: Reading, Math, Science, Social Studies, Language Arts. How we choose to teach those are our choosing, but our children must show progress through the subjects or pass an end of the year assessment exam with a 50% or greater score (nearly 10% higher than than the score of our state public schools!) There is a whole world of Homeschool curriculum that is leaps and bounds beyond what is found in our local public schools. Plus, we can take the time to fully explore and investigate the subjects and topics, and move at a pace that allows Mr. B to completely master a topic, rather than move at the speed that majority of the class is on, or that is dictated by the governing body. The academics offered and taught to homeschoolers is second to none! Homeschoolers frequently outscore than public school peers on SAT/ACT exams, receive scholarships, and excel in college. Homeschool students are already acclimated to self paced learning and detailed learning that is found in college. They choose majors that are of interest to them, which is most like areas they explored to the max as a homeschool student. Mr. B has actively taken part in a French class AND meteorology classes on the university level before his age even hit double digits. That is the beauty of homeschooling. The student develops a true love of learning, and WANTS to learn more.

    3.) Parents are not educated enough to teach their children.




    The first public school in the United States opened in 1635 in Boston. Of course, this wasn't for boys. the first school for girls wasn't until nearly 100 years later. Teachers required no expertise, except in the topic they were teaching. No 4yr degree needed.  The ability of the teacher was a local decision that had nothing to do with educational level. How in the world were children taught who went to "school" before 1635, or the female students, or the ones who simply couldn't afford to go to school?! GASP! The HOMESCHOOLED by "Uneducated" parents or taught in groups by teachers who were not any more educated than the parents. My dad did not have a college degree, yet he was more intelligent that the great majority of people I've met, and equal to the rest. My brother has a 2 year certificate from a career college, I have a 4 year BA and 4 minors....my brother is as smart or smarter than me and just as qualified to teach a child! Curriculum companies plan out their products with directions and guides, and even video instruction. And if the parent feels it is needed, there are tutors available also. How do "uneducated" parents help with homework? Why are they entrusted with their child's education at home when the school sends home hours of homework if they are not qualified to teach their children? Beyond all of that, parents are the leading peer reinforcement group a child has. Who better to teach them?

    4.) We all sleep until noon.



    I'd be thrilled to sleep to 9 or 9:30! No...just no! You see, logic says this can't be possible! We have our kids with us all the time. We still have dr's appointments, grocery shopping, errands to run, etc. We have to keep house, go to the bank, etc....etc....etc... There is no way we could sleep until noon, educate the kids, and still do everything that needs to be done on a regular basis. Sleep until noon...HA! I wish!

    5.) Homeschooling is only for Christian Fundamentalists or those who wish to brainwash their kids. 


    We are Christian, but that isn't why we homeschool. We are not anarchists, we don't hate the public school board, we are not anti-teacher. Actually, I have several public school teacher friends! And I know as many or more homeschoolers who are agnostic, atheist, pagan, Muslim, Hindu, and a few others as well. I'm not saying religion doesn't play a part for some, but that's not the case for all. And there's no brainwashing going on here. We homeschool because one on one instruction is best for Mr. B to reach his full potential.

    6.) Homeschoolers do nothing but fun things to learn. 



    Well, not every myth is false! We do do a LOT of fun things, and they all have an educational component. We go on dozens of field trips, we play a lot of games, we read a lot of great books, and we take part in a lot of group activities. Why should learning be dull and boring? Who says learning can only happen in a stuffy room full of tables or desks and chalk dust? The world is our classroom, and we take advantage of as much of that classroom as we can!



    There are more myths and falsehoods, but those are for another blog. Homeschooled kids are the same as any other kid! They like to laugh, play, have friends over, and just enjoy life. You have some who struggle with their classwork, some who are very gifted and brilliant, and then average students who just want to hurry up and get their "homework" finished. There is no one size fits all model of a homeschooler or a homeschooling family. If you know one family who homeschools, then you know one family who homeschools!


    Please check out a few other Back to School Blogs that are going on this week! Rumor has it, a few of them may have a GREAT giveaway going on, too!
    Marcy @ Ben and Me
    Chareen @ Every Bed of Roses

    Back to Homeschool Blog Hop

    Thursday, August 6, 2015

    Proving the Never Wrong

    When I was told Brady would never speak, never show true emotion, never play like other kids, never...never...never...I made a decision to push him and prove all those nevers wrong. Temple Grandin was a super hero to me at that time, and still is. She's 100% right. You have to teach skills, even skills that a neurotypical kid would pick up on their own, and ASD'er may not. I have had to teach Brayden each social skill. But more than just teaching WHAT to do, he has to be taught WHY. That is so often overlooked I think. Well, that and the pushing. It is so sad to me when I hear of a parent who just accepts a diagnosis as the final answer-giving in to tendencies, restraining (don't even get me started on this one!) and giving up. It would have been easy to just accept what all of the so called experts had said, but that was never an option. PUSH your kid, make them strive to be better, and TEACH them.

    Wednesday, August 5, 2015

    Back To School Blog Hop 2015

    BACK TO SCHOOL BLOG HOP 2015!

    This year I am taking part in a Back To School Blog Hop! Each day, for at least 5 days, I will bring you back to school tips, advice, and an insight in our back to school routine! I will also be taking questions! So get those questions to me! 

    Back to Homeschool Blog Hop

    Mark your calendars - 10 to 14 August - it's time for this years Homeschool Blog Hop. The Schoolhouse Review Crew will be joining forces with Homeschool Connections to bring you a week full of back to school encouragement.

    We have 56 homeschool Mom's sharing their combined wisdom and insights covering everything Homeschool related. That's 280 posts of encouragement and information just for you!

    Meet Your Back to Homeschool Blog Hop Hosts


    Marcy @ Ben and Me

    Rebecca @ Raventhreads
    Annette @ In All You Do

    Aurie @ Our Good Life
    Jennifer @ A Peace of Mind
    Katie @ DailyLife
    Melissa @ Mom's Plans
    Annette @ A Net In Time


    Crystal @ Crystal Starr
    Shawna @ Tenacity Divine
    Jacquelin @ A Stable Beginning 
    Leah Courtney @ As We Walk Along the Road

    From our Archives:
    1. 5 Days of Real Life Homeschool
    2. 2014 Back to HomeSchool Blog Hop
    3. Review Crew 5 Days of . . . Blog Hop!
    4. 5 Days of Homeschooling Essentials Blog Hop!
    5. Summer Blog Hop ~ 90 bloggers!
    6. 5 Days of Preparing for the Holidays Blog Hop!
    7. 2012 5 Days of Blogging — Back to Homeschool Blog Hop!
    8. 5 Days of . . . {65 bloggers, 325 blog posts}
    9. 5 Days of Teaching Creatively: Delight-Directed Teaching

    Tuesday, August 4, 2015

    Funtastic Unit Studies Review

    Funtastic Unit Studies Review
    Hi everyone! Today I'm bringing you a review of Funtastic Unit Studies and their Science Unit Studies for Homeschoolers and Teachers. Science Unit Studies for Homeschoolers and Teachers is a roughly 200 page book full of hands on science activities and ideas for students aged 4-13. Each chapter unit, 20 in total, covers a specific topic, and there is a list of supplies that you will need to complete each unit. The supply lists are easy to find things that you may already have on hand. The first half of the book is for younger students aged 4-7, while the second half is more for older students aged 8-13.  Some topics covered include The Five Senses, Dinosaurs, Human Body, Weather, and The Solar System. For this review, we received one Science Unit Studies for Homeschoolers and Teachers book. 


    How We Used It

    The book is arranged in units so that you can fully explore a topic in about a two week time frame. That time frame will be dependent upon your personal style, and I found that we tended to work a bit faster than that. The first half of the book is intended for younger students, and the second half is meant for older students. I found this to be pretty on par for the age groups, but also easily adaptable to be used with all. One could easily adapt a younger aged activity for an older student, or an older aged activity for a younger student. It is nice to have a book that can span age groups in this fashion. I would like to see the option to just buy one age group or the other for those who may wish to not have both halves of the book. That might be a nice option. 
    The Supply list for this unit.
    Here is the page from the book. 

    There is a copyright on the book. You can't make copies, unless the activity specifically says to do so. The activity was to build your own solar system. You would need something like a clothes hanger, tape, and a form of line like thread or fishing line. (The book gives a specific supply list for each chapter, but I modified with what was handy in our craft bin.) 


    You were to cut out each celestial body after coloring, and then suspend it from the hanger. 


    As you can see, we did this particular activity when there was news of solar flares HAHA! Mr. B absolutely REFUSED to cut it out, for fear his flares would not be OK. So instead of a way cool, hanging solar system, we have a way awesome work of art!



    The next activity we did was on the skeletal system. The point behind this activity was to color and cut out the skeletal bones, and attach them using something like brads so that the joints would articulate. We modified this one, also, to make it an x-ray since we had been discussing x-rays earlier that week.

    The supply list for this unit.


    The page from the book with the "bones."




    Our finished X-Ray!



    Finally, we checked out the additional resource list that was included with this section.

    Supply List

    As I mentioned above, each unit has the supply list in the very beginning that lists the supplies needed for that unit as well as additional resources. While this is a great feature, I found it made me a little overwhelmed. I would much rather see each activity have it's own supply list since that would appear like a smaller list. I can definitely see the use of having an entire unit's worth listed, but I would find a break down of lists per activity to be much easier to mentally grasp and tackle. The supplies are easy to find, and they are comprised of things most will have on hand already. If you don't have them already, they are inexpensive and easily found at your local discount or craft supply store. 


    Directions and Explanations

    The directions are easy to follow and the explanations are well written. There are graphics that are included to help with explanation. Actual photos of completed projects (even additional "modified" projects) might be a great addition to a next printing. 


    Overall:

    Overall, we found Funtastic Unit Studies Science Unit Studies for Homeschoolers and Teachers to be a great resource for hands on activities and fun! Mr. B enjoyed the activities, and I enjoyed doing them with him. I found the ages listed on the table of contents page to be particularly helpful. I really like that there are activities appropriate for a wide age level, though a separate book for each might be desired by those who do not have students/children who span those ages. You get a lot of bang for your buck with this unit studies book! 



    Does Funtastic Unit Studies Science Unit Studies For Homeschoolers and Teachers 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?

    Since this is a book resource, there's no time limit or hidden fees. You do have to supply your own supplies, but those are relatively inexpensive if you don't have them already. You can jump ahead, etc. but I found each section in a unit builds upon the one before it.



    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?

    The book is geared towards ages 4-13, and the appropriate ages are listed for each of the activities in the Table of Contents.


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


    It is quite varied with hands on activities that do not require a great deal of time. It is appropriate for ADHD, though the graphics are a bit lack luster. That could be good if graphics are a distraction, or bad if you need them to get attention.


    4.) Does it tie into other things we already have.You could easily tie this in with other areas of your schooling.



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