Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Rainy Day blues

ZZzzzzzzzz I wish I could write a better post for today, but I'm so.... SLEEPY ZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz!

The Methuselah Project REVIEW





The Methuselah Project (Kregel, September 2015)

I love books! And this one is no exception. Pilot Roger Greene is flying his mission when he goes down over enemy territory. He knows there's no point in trying to get away, and deduces his best chance for survival is compliance until he can be rescued. He has no idea what he about to go through! 


About the book:

"Nazi scientists started many experiments. One never ended.

Roger Greene is a war hero. Raised in an orphanage, the only birthright he knows is the feeling that he was born to fly. Flying against the Axis Powers in World War II is everything he always dreamed---until the day he's shot down and lands in the hands of the enemy.

When Allied bombs destroy both his prison and the mad genius experimenting on POWs, Roger survives. Within hours, his wounds miraculously heal, thanks to those experiments. The Methuselah Project is a success---but this ace is still not free. Seventy years later, Roger hasn't aged a day, but he has nearly gone insane. This isn't Captain America---just a lousy existence only made passable by a new found faith. The Bible provides the only reliable anchor for Roger's sanity and his soul. When he finally escapes, there's no angelic promise or personal prophecy of deliverance, just confusion. It's 2015---and the world has become an unrecognizable place.
Katherine Mueller---crack shot, genius, and real Southern Belle---offers to help him find his way home. Can he convince her of the truth of his crazy story? Can he continue to trust her when he finds out she works for the very organization he's trying to flee?

Thrown right into pulse-pounding action from the first page, readers will find themselves transported back in time to a believable, full-colored past, and then catapulted into the present once more. The historical back-and-forth adds a constantly moving element of suspense to keep readers on the edge of their seats."

Author:


"Rick Barry is the author of Gunner's Run, another World War II novel, Kiriath's Quest, and over 200 articles and fiction stories. In addition to being a World War II buff, he is the director of church planting ministries at BIEM, a Christian ministry operating in Eastern Europe. He holds a degree in foreign languages, speaks Russian, and has visited Europe more than fifty times. Rick lives in Indianapolis, Indiana."

Please find Mr. Barry on:

Website  Twitter  Facebook



My thoughts:

This is a really good book. It is well written, and flows nicely, even between the past/present chapters.  It is definitely an interesting story line that is suspense meets sci-fi meets war tale meets Christian Values- with a touch of romance just to sweeten the deal.. I've never come across another book quite like this one.  Mr. Barry knocks it out of the park with The Methuselah Project.  Overall, I really like it!


If you would like to buy the book: Buy The Methuselah Project

To see more reviews of this book, visit: The Methuselah Project Reviews


**I received this product for free in exchange for my honest opinion. I was not required to write a positive review, nor was I compensated in any other way. The opinions expressed here and mine alone, or my family's. **

God Made All of Me Review


God Made All Of Me is a book of necessity in my opinion. Justin and Lindsey Holcomb  do a fantastic job of approaching a delicate topic in a child appropriate manner. Well written with lovely illustrations, "God Made ALL Of Me" approaches "private parts" in a loving, gentle, and child appropriate manner that is not at all awkward.  At 32 pages and 8.5x8.5, the book is not large at all, it's about the size of a regular picture story book.

About the Book:

"God Made All of Me: A Book to Help Children Protect Their Bodies (New Growth Press, September 2015)

"God made every part of you!"

It's easy to convey the message to children that their bodies---or particular parts of their bodies---are shameful. This misconception fuels confusion, embarrassment, and secrecy, and often prevents children from recognizing or reporting sexual abuse.
God Made All of Me is a simply-told, beautifully-illustrated story to help families talk about these sensitive issues with two- to eight-year-old children. Because the private parts of our bodies are private, the home is the ideal environment where a child should learn about his or her body and how it should be treated by others.

God Made All of Me starts from the fundamental truth that God created everything and applies that truth---the doctrine of creation---to kids and their bodies. It equips parents to talk with both boys and girls about their bodies and to help them understand the difference between the appropriate and inappropriate touch of others. God Made All of Me allows families to build a first line of defense against sexual abuse in the safety of their own homes.

God Made All of Me is the first children's book written by Rid of My Disgrace authors Justin and Lindsey Holcomb. Parents of young children themselves, the Holcombs regularly counsel victims of sexual abuse and are profoundly aware of the dangers kids face. Their simple and relatable story, designed to help children protect their bodies, will be an important resource for every family with young children."

About the Authors:


Lindsey Holcomb, MPH, counsels victims of sexual assault and domestic violence and is the cofounder of REST (Real Escape from the Sex Trade). Lindsey has provided crisis intervention to victims of sexual assault and domestic violence and conducted a variety of training seminars to service providers. She is also the coauthor of Is It My Fault? and Rid of My Disgrace.




Justin Holcomb, PhD, is an Episcopal priest and professor of theology and Christian thought at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and Reformed Theological Seminary. He is the author ofOn the Grace of God, Know the Heretics, and Know the Creeds and Councils, as well as the coauthor of Is It My Fault? and Rid of My Disgrace. He also serves on the boards for REST (Real Escape from the Sex Trade) and GRACE (Godly Response to Abuse in Christian Environments).


How we used it and what we think:


When I got the book in the mail, I thought maybe the illustrations would be too "babyish" for my 10 year old. Of course we have talked about "private parts" and inappropriate touch, but I don't think you can have that discussion too much in today's world. I gave the book to him and asked him to read it and write down any questions he had as he went. Then we sat down together and went over the book page by page. This was an invaluable tool to open a dialogue into appropriate vs. inappropriate touch, and even appropriate vs. inappropriate secrets. That is soooo important to remember: inappropriate secrets! I teach mine that there is no secret that is to be kept from Mommy, period. This book is great to explaining these things. It is written in such a manner that the child is not scared, confused, or embarrassed. I really, REALLY recommend this book. It is perfect for young kids, but it was still good for my 10yr old. And for special needs, it's priceless. 



If you would like to purchase your own copy, please visit: 



**I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review, nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions expresses are mine or that of my family. **

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Middlebury Interactive Languages Elementary French 1: Grade 3-5 Review

 Middlebury Interactive Languages Review
Growing up, I was always amazed by languages. I made it a life goal to learn at least one other language. I actually learned to count to 10 in Spanish before I learned in English! In high school I took four years of French, then I went on to College where I earned a minor in French. So you can imagine how excited I was when we were given the opportunity to review Middlebury Interactive and their French Courses!

Middlebury Interactive French Courses are immersion based online language courses of varying levels that introduce your child to the French Language, and systematically teach the language while immersing your child into the language via commonly known stories so that your child can learn easily and more meaningfully. Middlebury Interactive Languages offer not only French, but other languages as well, included Spanish, German, and Chinese. For this review, we received a full 6 month semester of Elementary French 1: Grades 3-5.
 Middlebury Interactive Languages Review
Learning a language in an immersive environment is the most natural way to learn. We are not born speaking the language of our parents. We do not memorize vocabulary words or sit in classrooms as toddlers to learn our native tongue. Instead, we live it. We experience it every day. We are totally IMMERSED into our native language, and this is how we ultimately learn that language. That is the idea behind immersion programs to teach a second (or third, fourth, etc...) language. You are not just learning vocabulary words and sentence structure, but instead you learn the natural way-by being exposed to the natural flow of the language. This is how Middlebury works to a large degree. From the start, in lesson 1, the story of "Little Red Riding Hood" is told in total French. It is not slowed down, with each word clearly enunciated, but instead it is read as if the person reading it is reading to a fluent speaker. As a long time French student, I can tell you this is a GREAT way to learn. It is easy to memorize words and match them. Un is one, vert is green, il is he, elle is she, etc...but when you link all of those words in a sentence, a non-fluent speaker will say each and every word slowly and individually. But that is not how true language is spoken. We don't tend to say things like "Hmmm.... I do not know," but rather we blend our words and sounds together. The same can be said for any language. In French, "I don't know" is "Je ne sais pas." But in speaking, it sounds more like "Jzhun saypah" Knowing how words are blended together is just as important as knowing the words. 



Middlebury's Elementary French one for grades 3-5 is broken into several units, that are then broken into sub lessons. 






Each main topic is centered on one specific area, such as "Greetings" or Numbers."





Under each main topic, we find the subtopics. Those subtopics are then broken into activities. 






When you click on each of the subtopic activities, the work takes place on the screen just to the right of the table of contents, and the stories are all in French. 






Once you have finished a lesson, the program checks it for you so that you know what you have finished correctly. 






 I do wish the screen wasn't so blank before starting opening the table of contents, as seen above. That did confuse Mr. B a few times as he felt lost or couldn't find the table of contents. You must click on the little box up in the top left corner to bring everything open. It would be nice if that was already open, or if there were words or something there instead of just the little box and huge, blank boxes. 


Overall:
Overall, immersion programs have proven time and again to be successful and great for learning a new language. I was very impressed, from a former French student perspective, by this program.  I was blessed in high school with a teacher who grew up with French as her native language being French Canadian, then again in college with a native French speaking professor. Both of these wonderful teachers knew what it was like to try and learn a new language, and they believed the best way to learn it was to experience it. That is what Middlebury brings. They bring an interactive language course that allows the student to truly experience the language they are learning, rather than depending on flash cards or vocabulary. By focusing on one story throughout the course, Middlebury Elementary French grades 3-5 constantly reinforces the exposed language to kids so that it will come naturally. By using a well known story, "Little Red Riding Hood" the process of "matching" the words is expedited so that the story makes sense. The first thing Mr. B said was, "even though it is in French, I understand it because I know the story. This is great!" At the end of the first lesson, students are able to say words. 



Does Middlebury Interactive Languages Elementary French 1: Grade 3-5 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?

There is no set schedule. I would not skip as lessons build on previous lessons. You can modify in that you could add additional supplemental work which I do. Since I have experience in the language he is learning, I am able to verbally quiz him and keep the French going even after lessons, but I realize that's not the normal. You could easily add more supplemental work if you feel the need. 

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? 

This does cover multiple grade ranges. This specific course was intended for kids in grades 3-5, but other grades are available. There are no hidden fees, and your access is subscription based. The idea is that you complete the course within the 6 month subscription period. 

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

It is engaging and challenging, so the boredom factor was nonexistent for us. The lessons are short enough and fun enough that it worked well with both the autism and ADHD factor. If your child has a difficult time distinguishing words in English, then you may want to check this out for yourself first. 

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

There really isn't anything for it to tie into. There's nothing Unit Study like about this. It is intended only to be a course from which your child can learn French.


 Middlebury Interactive Languages Review

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Monday, September 28, 2015

A Wedding At Orange Blossom Inn REVIEW


Hey everyone! I'm pleased to bring you this review of Shelley Shepard Gray's newest novel, A Wedding at the Orange Blossom Inn. This is the 3rd in her Pinecraft series. A Wedding at the Orange Blossom Inn features Emma Keim, a widowed mother of 3 little girls who is plagued by her in laws and family who think she needs to stay focused on her deceased husband without moving on with her life. Also featured is Jay Hilty, widower and father of 3 boys who are nearly grown, teen, and young aged. Jay has recently moved to Pinecraft to try and escape from the life he had with his wife, who died young.

The story begins with Frankie, the lovable family dog belonging to Emma and her girls. Frankie loves pizza, and Jay Hilty had just ordered a large one for his boys. Frankie found it, ate way too much, and passed out from excessive pizza intake! Emma and her girls go on a search to find Frankie, and this is how they all meet. The story progresses onward to a love story that involves Emma, Frankie, and their friends in a very Brady Bunch like story line (Here's a story, of a lovely lady, who was raising up three very lovely girls....etc.) But as a twist, Jay's older son has also fallen for the niece of the Inn keeper, where they are staying. So it is a race to see who will win in love first, father....or son!

My thoughts:
I really enjoyed this book. At first I thought the Brady Bunch overtone of Emma being a widow with three daughters and Jay being a widower with three sons, and of course the ornery family dog,  was a bit cheesy. But the more I read the more I liked this fun and cute aspect. I also enjoyed and appreciated Emma's calm and cool response to her family concerning her own life, and the dynamics of Jay and his boys with their relationship. All want to move forward, but no one really knows how. No one wants to disrespect their passed loved ones, but they can't stay dormant forever, either. Also, I feel it important to note that I did not feel as if I had to read the first two books to fully enjoy this one. While I do want to read the first two, this one was good enough to stand alone. I was not left with a sense of confusion or anything like that. 


If you would like to learn more about Shelley Shepard Gray and the Pinecraft series, please visit her on social media! 




To purchase a copy, visit: A Wedding at Orange Blossom Inn

**I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion. I was not required to write a positive review, nor was I compensated in any other way. The opinions expressed here are my own or that of my family. I'm disclosing this according to the FTC regulations.**

Friday, September 25, 2015

USAopoly Review

 USAopoly Review
We LOVE games!!!! We have weekly family game night, and we try to fit in a monthly game night with friends and extended family. We LOVE games! That's why I was so excited when I was chosen to do a review for USAopoly. USAopoly graciously allowed me to review TWO games! I received Tapple and Wonky. These games are fun for the whole family. You can use them as educational tools, or just let the learning come naturally and play them for fun! Tapple is a great word game that really tests your brain power at times, and Wonky will test your hand/eye coordination, steady hands, and knowledge of physics!
 
For this review, I received both physical games, new, and in their original packaging. 

 USAopoly Review
Tapple is a fast paced word game that is seriously fun for the entire family. Mr. B and I started playing by ourselves, but our laughter and giggles prompted M to join us! You have category cards with 4 categories on each card. The idea is you have your category, and each player is to hit the red hand button in the middle. This starts a 10 second timer. They then have 10 seconds to tap a letter and give a word that corresponds with the category. The more outside the box, the better! For example, if the category is TV shows you could easily use the word Audience for A. You decide as a group if the answer fits the category or not. Once that play says his word/phrase, then it moves to the next and they hit the red button and the 10 seconds begin again. 
USAopoly Review
Wonky is just...WONKY! HAHA! It is a strategy game of sorts that will test your knowledge of physics, and your steady hands.There is a deck of cards, and 9 wooden cubes of various sizes. Each player is dealt a hand of cards. Some cards show specific blocks that must be used, some are passes, and so will allow the use of any block. The idea is to build a tower of blocks, and the one who causes the tower to fall down is out. You play until there's only 1 player left. 

How we used this:
Well, Mr.B and I started to play on our own one evening. We usually have a weekly family game night, but M had to work at home so he was distracted. That, and my hard drive finally konked out and he was installing a new one for me. Sadly the photos of us playing are on the temporary drive, so those will be edited in tonight! Anyway, Mr. B and I sat down to play Tapple. After the first minute or so we were laughing so hard, M started to ask what was so funny. We were having a GREAT time! Eventually, M came in to see what all the giggling was about, and decided he HAD to try it too. Mr. B and M kept "accidentally" cheating by hitting the timer button, or waiting to hit the timer button! CHEATERS! HAHA! But we played several rounds, and the laughs never stopped!

We decided to put Tapple away and go ahead and try out Wonky. Ohhhh my, I wanted scream! HAHA! These two would work on a strategy together to make the towers so that they would fall on my turn! they would play passes or M would make suggestions to Mr. B on what blocks to choose, and how to place them, so that it was nearly impossible for me to build he tower. They got a huge kick out of it!

Autism:

Tapple is a really great game to help build communication and vocabulary in students with autism. The timer forces them to think quickly, and the open ended categories allows for them to develop a greater abstract way of thinking. The categories also allow them to link phrases/words to more abstract thinking. Wonky helps to build fine motor skills, foreshadowing and strategy skills, and helps to develop coping mechanisms for OCD and "lining up" behaviors. I will warn, if your child has a difficult time processing when things don't work out their way, Wonky may need to be integrated slowly as the towers DO fall, and fall quite easily. That's the whole point of the game.

Overall:
 
Overall, we love these games and they have become Game Night staples for both family night and our monthly extended family/friend night. From an educational standpoint, they are great for vocabulary, categorizing, fine motor, and physics. One could easily work in lessons of Potential and Kinetic energy, gravity, weight distribution, etc. From a therapy point of view, I find these to be great tools to use to build vocabulary and thinking skills, not to mention to help to do develop proper turn taking and sportsmanship skills.

I will not be doing my standard 4 ingredient test for these games, as they aren't products that really fit the need for that. I will say that the games come with everything you need to play them, with the exception of batteries for the Tapple game. You will need those. Tapple has a great design in that it houses the cards in the game itself, on the underside. While I find this to be a great attribute, I'm fearful the cards will accidentally come out lol. Some type of additional "safety" on the storage spot would be great. Also, the packaging of Tapple is well thought out, but it's not really great for storage. I do not like open or nearly open front boxes for storing games since you can't really stack a game on top of that without risking damage to the game. So a closed front box would be GREAT. With all of that said, the packaging was easy to open, and that was much appreciated!

Wonky is well packaged with ample room in the box for everything to be easily put away. I hate when I feel like I need an additional set of directions to repackage a game to put back on the shelf haha! With Wonky, this isn't an issue. Everything is stored in a lovely cloth bag, and the back fit easily in the box. The box in an add shape, but it's not so odd that we couldn't easily stack it with our other games.
We really found Tapple and Wonky to be a lot of fun for all of us. I would like to extend a big THANK YOU to USAopoly for allowing us to review both of these great games! If you would like to read more reviews on both of these, please visit the Schoolhouse Review Crew! Just click the banner below! 
 USAopoly Review
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Tuesday, September 22, 2015

If I could go back in time....

I'd try really hard to see if we could negotiate the terms of Gnats being on board the Ark.

Monday, September 21, 2015

YWAM Publishing Heroes of History Thomas Edison REVIEW

YWAM Publishing Review


After hearing so many great things about YWAM Publishing I was super excited to be chosen to do a review of the Heroes of History book "Thomas Edison: Inspiration and Hard work." This is a really good book that presents the life and work of Thomas Edison in a story format. It is not a stiff text book style at all, and makes for a very enjoyable read. For this review I received both a physical copy of the book, as well as a physical CD-Rom disk for the curriculum guide unit study.   This link will take you directly to the downloadable guide. 

How We Used This:
 
Mr. B really enjoys bedtime stories being read to him, so we used this book as our nightly read aloud. He really enjoyed the learning material, and it was great that it was presented in such a way that he was able to listen to it before bed and not get too worked up to sleep. If you have ever watched the series, "Liberty's Kids" about the Revolutionary period then you may be familiar with the format.  I liken it to a book version of that series. It uses real history to tell stories of his life in a fun way.

We also used the curriculum guide to go over specifics in terms of comprehension style questions and vocabular/spelling words. The guide also has a list of great essay question options, but we are not quite to the essay writing level, so we skipped those. One thing I really enjoyed about this guide is that it is written for 1 student to work on, but easily adaptable for a group. So often I find great products, but many of the activities are intended for multiple students. While that is great if you have multiple children, I only have the one. So it is a breath of fresh air to find studies and activities that are written for a solo student.

Another favorite is the list of quotes that you will find at the beginning of the guide. These are great as inspirational messages, copy work, writing prompts, discussion points, etc.

Even though I found the guide to be a bit "wordy" and wished there were more photos, printable activities, and the like, I did find the list of activity suggestions to be quite helpful and thought provoking. Having web addresses included to show maps of various places in the book is also a huge plus. 

The guide does mention some experiments one can duplicate that are talked about in the book also. We chose to make a telegraph Now, we all know Edison did not invent the telegraph, but he did make some improvements to it and his work with telegraphy shaped his career. The book begins with him showing his phonograph to a group of men, and the men being amazed. This invention, and many of his others, was made possible because Edison worked as a telegraph operated, and he used his extensive knowledge to basically change life around the world with the likes of the phonograph and movie camera. Holding nearly 1100 patents, it's interesting to remember that Thomas Edison only had 3 months of formal education. In other words, he was homeschooled!!!!!

As I said before, we decided to create our own telegraph. We used 2 brads, a small piece of foam, 2 rubber bands, a small piece of cardboard, a nail, a D-Cell batter, 2 paperclips, some sand paper, magnet wire and a general copper wire. 


We began by wrapping the wire around the nail about 100 times, leaving about 8" of wire at each end. Then we used the sand paper to remove the enamel from about 1" of each end of the wire. AFter that we attached the ends to each end of the battery using the rubber band to hold it in place. This was to test it to make sure it worked. This will create an electromagnet. Next we took the nail and stuck it in the foam. We partially straightened a paper clip to go over the wrapped nail. We used the brads, as you can see below. On one side of a slightly separated paperclip we have one brad securely in the curve with part of the magnet wire wrapped around it. On the other end the clip is positioned just above the brad with the ends of a regular rubber covered copper wire wrapped around the brad and attached the "-" side of the batter. When you tap the paperclip against the brad you complete the circuit that is built, thus creating the electromagnet. This draws the paperclip to the nail creating a click sound.


The finished product. We had some issues with proper spacing, but a little tweaking here and there fixed it. It's a fun and quick little project to try out, and to get a feel for the life and times of Mr. Thomas Edison, a Hero of History.

Does YWAM's Heroes of History Thomas Edison 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?

The book you will want to read like any other book. But the guide is flexible enough that you can pick and choose what you want to do, and even alter it if needed.

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?


This could easily cover multiple grades and ages. You could use this as a read aloud to younger students, or independent reading for older students. The guide is adaptable enough that you can spread it across multiple grades, and even reuse it once the younger kids get a bit older.  Of course, there are no hidden fees.

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

We found the material was presented in a fun and entertaining way that was not boring. You can adjust the duration to fit your needs.

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

This could easily tie together reading, geography, science, and history. The curriculum guide is a Unit Study, so it encompasses a multi-subject format and approach.

YWAM Publishing has a huge assortment of Heroes of History, Christian Heroes, etc. I highly suggest you take a look at them for yourself. Please check out the banner below for more reviews of YWAM Publishing!

YWAM Publishing Review
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Sunday, September 20, 2015

The Finishing School REVIEW


So this isn't really my type of book, but when I was offered the opportunity to review The Finishing School, I thought...WHY NOT?! And I'm so glad I did! First, let me preface by stating that I do a lot of reviews. A LOT! And usually there is a nicely printed, usually on letterhead of some sort, letter thanking me for my time, etc. Never, until this review, have I ever received a handwritten thank you note from the author! That was an instant plus! So thoughtful, and so caring to take the time to personalize a note for me! I felt Joy, and that is EXACTLY what this book teaches. 



In the finishing school, you will learn:

~ 3 keys to experiencing joy
~ 4 steps to combating fear and anxiety
~ 5 tips for intentional Bible study
~ 6 keys to a rest-filled Sabbath
~ 7 ways to make prayer happen daily
    and much more!

I can honestly say this book could not have come at a better time. I have been living in such a stress filled, lack of joy, fear and anxiety ridden state for so long that chaos was reigning. Valerie's writing is so calm and refreshing, and.....easy going. It really feels like you are having a conversation with a dear friend who truly cares about your and your life and happiness and well being. This book will bring you closer to your work and walk with the Lord, and closer to yourself.

Each lovely written chapter ends with a worksheet to help you on your journey to a better, more joyful YOU! Best of all, you will also find a recommended reading list to delve deeper into the topics you choose. I really think this book is a great asset to everyone, especially everyone who needs a boost! This book has it!  

Friday, September 18, 2015

Fascniating Education Fascinating Chemistry Review

Stinky Kid Math Review
We LOVE all things Science in our homeschool, so I was just tickled to death to have the chance to review Fascinating Chemistry by Fascinating Education. Fascinating Chemistry is an online based homeschool chemistry curriculum designed for high school students. Fascinating Education uses easy to understand "real world" language to teach science concepts, making it easy to understand and follow along. The curriculum breaks down each subject into its smallest parts and teaches it in a real world like manner.
Stinky Kid Math Review
Fascinating Education features courses in Chemistry, Biology, and Physics. For this review, we were blessed with a full year's access to Fascinating Chemistry. NOTE: This is a HIGH SCHOOL level program. Mr. B is only 10 and in 5th grade, but autism has blessed him with a very advanced understanding of science. I do not suggest this course for younger students as it does seem to be on par with the high school crowd. I just wanted to make sure that was made clear. 
Stinky Kid Math Review


Fascinating Chemistry offers a full curriculum of chemistry goodies. There is a huge emphasis on using real language and downplaying the more fancy big words and terminology. I am a fan of using real world verbage, but I also value the technical terms when needed. I found this to be a nice blend of the two. I also really appreciate the real world application and examples. The videos are very nice and offer a nice audio-visual component to really reinforce the lesson. 
Mr B. really enjoys the colorful presentations, and he is easily able to follow along since he's not getting stuck on trying to decipher technical terms instead of focusing on the lesson. Another bonus is the script of each lesson. It's nice to print out so that your student can go over it first, or use it to follow along with the lesson. Each lesson is followed by a test, so that you can keep track and follow up on any confusion or weak areas.
Overall: 

Overall, I like Fascinating Chemistry. I think it is age appropriate for the high school crowd, with upper middle perhaps using it with a little help. I don't think I would use it 100% as a stand alone science curriculum since I like more beef in terms of hands on and written work, but it is a great way to explain topics and explore the subject. It would be great to use as a refresher, or as a supplement for a more traditional curriculum. I think this would also be fantastic to use to introduce any of the subjects as well, to prepare in advance. I don't think this would necessarily give your students EVERYTHING they need if they are going to pursue the sciences at a higher education, but it would certainly help give them an advantage in the topic! I really wish I had had Fascinating Chemistry during my high school and college years! It would have been a huge help! 
Does Fascinating Education 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?

While you are in control of the speed and schedule, I do not suggest skipping ahead. You do have the ability to stop and take breaks when needed, or replay any videos, so you can modify and set your own schedule in that respect. But lessons do tend to build upon one another, just the nature of the topics at hand, so you don't want to skip.

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? 

With your paid membership, you get access for a full year. For Chemistry, that is 18 lessons plus quizzes and text scripts. Each membership is only 1 course, so you do not have access to the other courses. They do offer a bundle plan where you can bundle more than one class in the event you have multiple students you wish to partake in these courses.

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

The videos are not very long, so they are good for short attention spans. The topics are broken up by these short videos, so that is good. The graphics and color are nice, also. 

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

This is just a science class, so it will not tie into things like history or reading.




Fascinating Education Review
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Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Super Teacher Worksheets REVIEW

Super Teacher Worksheets Review

I have been a subscriber to Super Teacher Worksheets since the beginning of our homeschool journey many years ago. It is the only worksheet subscription site I have ever renewed on an annual basis. Super Teacher Worksheets is a great membership site that has hundreds and hundreds of worksheets that cover topics such as reading comprehension, math, social studies, science, language arts, and even teacher helpers such as certificates! For this review, we were blessed with a 1 year Individual Membership. They do have a number of free samples on the site, so please check it out for yourself!

Subjects covered:







And that's just the front page!

What we LOVE about Super Teacher Worksheets
Well....we love EVERYTHING! Honestly, I use worksheets from this site on a daily basis. My son's portfolio are full of them each year! The worksheets are well designed, and look great in addition to the educational benefits. The answer sheets are the same as the worksheets, with the answers in red. Each worksheet comes in a PDF format for easy printing, and you can choose to print all or some of the pages. I rarely print the answer sheets, so I like the option of printing as I need. 
Super Teacher Worksheets Review
Super Teacher Worksheets has a great assortment of holiday or seasonal choices, as well. I love that I can choose holiday specific work to make our homeschool day more fun! The calendars are really nice! I admit to printing them, and coloring them myself!
Super Teacher Worksheets Review
The worksheets are geared mainly for Pre-k/K to Grade 5. I would LOVE to see more Grade 6+ work on there, especially since Mr. B is in 5th this year. So I'd like to take this opportunity to say, PLEASE SUPER TEACHER WORKSHEETS!!!!!  Can we PLEASE have more 6th grade+ work?

Sorry...I had to! 
Super Teacher Worksheets Review
We also really like the graphics that are included on the worksheets. These are a lot of fun to color and make our normal worksheets look like works of art when we are finished!
Super Teacher Worksheets Review

These little booklets are really fun, especially for the younger kids. We used these a LOT during the younger grades! 


Super Teacher Worksheets Review

These are probably my favorites of Super Teacher Worksheets. The Reading Comprehension, or any of the social studies/science articles. You can choose fiction or non-fiction, even biographies. They increase in difficulty through the grades, and include writing and vocabulary practice also.

I could write a novel shouting the praises of Super Teacher Worksheets. they are by far one of my most favorite homeschool vendors. I only wish they would add more new content at a higher grade level! I know 6th-8th+ plus would be a huge hit, and I'd keep on renewing my membership every year! 

Overall:

Overall, I've been a loyal Super Teacher Worksheets subscriber for years, and I have been because they truly deliver a fantastic product at a great price. My only suggestion would be more history worksheets to cover things like Middle Ages, Ancient Civilizations, Modern History, etc. AND a higher grade level. If they add content for grades beyond what they have now I will continue to be a loyal subscriber for years to come! 
 
Does Super Teacher Worksheets 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?

You are 100% in control! Print as you like, whatever you like, when you like!


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?


There are NO hidden fees, and the value is incredible! Your membership lasts for 1 year, and you have access to the FULL site for that year. That means every grade level.


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

This is one reason I have always been a loyal Super Teacher Worksheets subscriber. Everything we've ever used has been attention grabbing and varied enough to ADHD and Autism. I love that I can tailor it to fit us, and we can take breaks as needed. It is really a great bang for your buck.

4.) Does it tie into other things we already have?
 There are so many various topics, I can't see how it couldn't tie in. 



Super Teacher Worksheets Review
Crew Disclaimer

Monday, September 14, 2015

Doonesbury should not have been included in our local comics this sunday!

Doonesbury 9/13/15 strip

Wow....just...wow. Sure, let's involve kids in a bunch of controversy and encourage drug use at the same time! I just....no words.

Monday Mayhem!

Shew mercy! It's a day! I'm trying to book our trip for Mr. B's next doctor's appointment, I'm learning Windows 10 and reinstalling all of my stuff to a new hard drive, I have 3 weddings and a bunch of family sessions to edit thanks to crashed harddrive, and oh yeah...that homeschool thing. It's Monday folks! GOD BLESS!