Thursday, July 27, 2017

Nichole Nordeman Every Mile Mattered REVIEW

Do I have a treat for you! The Newest CD from Nichole Nordeman, Every Mile Mattered. 

This is a great CD. Her voice is so fluid and soft, and relaxing. The words and meaning behind the lyrics are great. I love love love LOVE Every Mile Mattered. I love the title song. It has such meaning to me. Every step you take, every choice you make, every good thing and every bad thing that happens in your life has brought you to the person you are today. The slightest change in circumstance or choice would have changed who you are today, and the journey is worth it. That is the overall message. Sometimes I sit here and I wonder to myself if I am just wasting time, if I am where I am supposed to be. If what I have gone through or what I have done is even worth it. But like this particular song says, all matters. It's all worth it in the end. I am here today, the person I am, because of the road and the "miles" I've traveled. You really do need to check this out!

She has a book “SLOW DOWN” coming out in August. You can pre-order now! If you have never heard the song, you must. You just must. I can't listen to it without crying, so I know the book is going to be AMAZING! The takes us through the early days of childhood and telling our children to slow down and not grow up too soon. It's......ok, I'm crying NOW thinking back to the lyrics!

Be sure to check out her blog at!

I honestly LOVE this CD. And I would like for you to have a chance to win it yourself! Just enter below for your chance 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.

Learning State Facts with the USA Activity Bundle {REVIEW}

Mr. B LOVES all things U.S.A related. I knew he would be thrilled to receive the USA Activity Bundle by The Crafty Classroom. This bundle set contains three books full of state learning awesomeness!

U.S.A. State Birds features matching cards, realistic drawings to color, and fact sheets about the state birds for each state. There are 27 birds in this book to learn about!

U.S.A. State-By State 50 States Mazes is a lot of fun! Here, each state is represented in a fun and challenging maze!

U.S.A. State-By-State Activity Notebook is a great tool to have if you are studying the 50 states. Your child will learn the location of each state on the map, the capital, and a few other facts such as the state flower, abbreviation,  and the flag.

For this review, we received all three of these in the USA Activity Bundle
USA Activity Bundle
How did we use this?

Normally with something like this, I would print it off one page at a time so that Mr. B could work on specifics when I wanted him to do so. Since he's an older student, I printed off the whole bundle, and separated out the books so he could work on them as he wanted with no set plan in mind. He loves geography, especially United States geography, so I knew he'd really do well with this.

His favorite part has to be the Mazes and the Activity Notebook. He likes the State Birds too, but his preservative thinking is on the state facts right now, and not the birds.

These were great to print off and stick in a binder, separated using dividers. I actually separated them by state. So I printed off everything, and then each state had it's activity page, maze, and bird right there. Then we arranged in alphabetical order because it was driving me crazy having them arranged by order of when they were admitted to the union haha!

Mr. B was able to take these with him to his mamaw's house to keep him occupied, and he also took them while on out of state doctor's visits. We also worked out of these books when the weather outside was too hot or rainy-which has been several days during this review period. 

I have REALLY liked the State Birds pages! I love learning about the birds, and their names, the watching around the house to see if I can identify them myself. It's also been quite therapeutic for me to curl up with a page printed off, on a clip board, with my handy colored pencils! 

Overall, these have been a real hit! I would recommend them for any study on the United States or U.S. Geography. They are colorful, but not distracting. They cover enough material to spark interest for independent study, and the lessons are short, hands on, and fun.

Does The Crafty Classroom 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?

These are physical downloaded PDF eBooks. You can use them as you like. For us, I arranged in ABC order. You could choose to do them in whatever order you wish. At first, we were going to go in chronological order, but decided against that. It is perfectly fine to jump ahead, and skip around.  

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?
I would personally say this is best suited for the younger student-around 2-3rd grades. Mr. B just enjoys doing this kind of thing, so he liked it. You could use it for an older student as a supplemental thing. 
3.) Attention span: Is it boring? Is it engaging? Is it varied enough for ADHD? Does it last too long?
We did not find this boring at all. The mazes are quite challenging, and fun. And Mr. B enjoyed looking to the state flags and facts. Each page is pretty short. 

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

YES! This is great to supplement with any sort of United States history or geography. 

The Crafty Classroom sent The Homeschool Review Crew a variety of products to review. In addition to The USA Activity Bundle, you'll find products such as the Pre-K 26-week curriculum program called Alphabet Curriculum Notebook, or the Kindergarten Learn to R.E.A.D. Curriculum Notebook, and more! Click the banner below to check them out! 
Crafty Classroom {Reviews}

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    Wednesday, July 26, 2017

    Wordless Wednesday

    ACTÍVA Products REVIEW

    ACTÍVA Products

     ACTÍVA Products recently sent us their Rigid Wrap and CelluClay Quik-Sculpting Kit and the
    ACTÍVA Products' Favorite Sculpture KIDS CRAFTS  eBook for review.

    Rigid Wrap and CelluClay Quik-Sculpting Kit

    This is a box full of crafting fun! Inside you'll find rolls of plaster coated gauze and a powder that is very plaster'y like-that's the CelluClay. These are used together with forms made from cardboard, foam, etc. to create various projects and pieces. There's also the handy dandy free eBook that gives you some inspiration for projects, and a great how to on them! 

    How we used this:

    I wanted to make a bowl, and Mr. B wanted to make a totem pole. I wasn't really sure about how much product was included, so I was pleasantly surprised when I found there was ample quantities of rolled gauze and clay powder to use. There's more than enough for both of those projects, and then some!

    The free digital book gives great directions. It called for a paper towel roll to use for the totem pole. Of course, I didn't have any haha! So I taped together 2 toilet paper tubes instead. We cut out "wings" from cardboard, and I taped those on, too. Then I cut strips of the gauze. I cut them short, and thin, so we could better use them. After that, I covered the whole thing paper mache style-paying special attention to the wings to make sure they were well attached. Then we let it dry. I set it on non-stick Reynolds wrap. It was easily lifted from the non stick side, with no sticking at all. The directions call for plastic wrap. I couldn't reach the plastic wrap as it is on the second shelf, and I'm short haha!

    I checked on it after an hour, and it was nearly completely dry! I truly thought we'd have to wait a while, but nope...we didn't. After it was dry, it was time to paint it! We used craft paints mostly to paint with.

     For the bowl, I found a bowl the size I wanted to make. I covered it so that the plaster gauze wouldn't stick. Then I cut the strips of gauze, and placed them over the bowl. I made sure to do a lot of crossing over so it would be good and strong. I used a lot more on the bowl than we did on the totem pole. Once it was dried, I trimmed the edges, then I took some small strips of the plaster gauze and I covered the rim to make a lip. Once that was done, I mixed the CelluClay according to the directions in a plastic baggie, I then formed the little peppermint shapes and placed those on. I allowed everything to dry, then I painted it. Isn't it just the cutest?!  Ok, ok, I know. It's horrible LOL! But I tried! I'm just not that good lol. I should have added a few more layers. And I didn't want it jazzed up, I just wanted it play to hold paperclips and rubber bands. So in their eBook they make a peppermint bowl. I followed the same directions, but just painted it a solid color.

    After making the totem pole, Mr. B said it looked like a great cross. So we ran with that inspiration! As you can see, we made it a totem pole of sorts. On the bottom is the serpent, symbolizing the fall of man. Then we have the Great flood. And at the top is a crown of thorns, with blood to symbolize the blood Christ shed for our sins. This is something I will preserve and keep for years to come.

    Overall, we've really enjoyed this. I have several projects lined up for a few different subjects he has coming up. I plan to purchase another kit so we can do even more things like building planets, a pirate ship, and more. This is easy to use, kinda messy-but that's ok haha, and a lot sturdier than I initially thought it would. I'm pretty impressed by it. All materials are non-toxic and gluten free, and I know that is always a major factor for several of my readers. I really do recommend this product to others! 

    Does  ACTÍVA 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 a physical arts and crafts project. You do have to work within the limitations of the product, such as drying time. 

    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 would be good for smaller children all the way through adult. Smaller kids will be adult help. 
    3.) Attention span: Is it boring? Is it engaging? Is it varied enough for ADHD? Does it last too long?
    It's not boring at all! It's ART! But, some kids who have problems with patience may not like waiting on it to dry. It takes an hour or two to dry-more depending on the layers. I really should have allowed my bowl to dry completely, then added more layers. But I was impatient! 

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

    YES! This is great for all sorts of hands on projects! 

    See what the rest of the Homeschool Review Crew made! Click the banner below to read their reviews! 
    Rigid Wrap and CelluClay Quik-Sculpting Kit {ACTÍVA Products Reviews}
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    One of our FAVORITES is having a MAJOR Summer SALE!

    Back-to-School Notebooking Pages Membership Sale

    We LOVE! It's a great way to supplement and truly customize your homeschool experience. There are dozens and dozens of pages for virtually any subject, with more being added ALL THE TIME.

    Right now, you can get a LIFETIME membership for only $72.00! And they offer a very convenient and affordable installment plan where you'd pay $10, $31, and then a final payment of $31 over the course of three months. 

    As a lifetime member, you get access to ALL of the current and future pages available! It's such a GREAT deal, and you get so much bang for your buck. 

    If you sign up TODAY, you will also receive 1 year access to the Notebooking Publisher web-app, and a $100+  eBook package FREE!

    This sale is so great, it can only last a very short time. So signup before July 28th

    **This post contains affiliate links that do not affect the cost of your subscription at all! By purchasing from these links, you help our family immensely, at no cost to your own! Thank you so much!**

    Saturday, July 22, 2017

    Friday, July 21, 2017

    Letting Go

    Sometimes, you just have to let go. 

    It's not easy. I feel as if I was done very wrong. I feel as if a certain group of people took advantage of my kindness, and then threw me to the curb without so much as a thank you for your trouble. And I don't like that. I've held on to these feelings for a month. But then I think, who am I hurting? These people probably don't even think about what they have done, or me. They are, in a sense, strangers to me anyway. Why do I feel the need to avoid functions where they may be, in order to avoid them and their ways. What good am I doing to myself, them, or anyone else? What am I teaching my child in this case?

    Too often we get caught up in our emotions. We are, after all, only human. But what do we do? Do we sit back and truly view the situation in an unbiased manner? Of course not! And typically, we seek out the advice of those we know will side with us. Again, we are human. We desire that validation, that group camaraderie that will say "I'm with you! They are bad! You are good! You are in the right!" But those are not always true tidings. We are not always in the good and right, are we? And then what? 

    On another side, we worry. We fear. We dread. We seek the advice and counsel of those who have been there, and done that. But we are not them, and they are not us. Their experiences could have been vastly different for any number of reasons. About 3 years ago, my mom had to undergo a procedure a few months after I had had the same procedure. I told her to not worry about it at all, it was only painful for about 2 or 3 minutes-and then a little uncomfortable for about a half an hour after that. Well, she went in thinking it wasn't that bad and she ended up in severe pain for 3 or 4 DAYS! She is not me, and I am not her. My experience is different. 

    Today I sit here contemplating. I was wronged but a group, but I do not feel as if they went out of their way to wrong me. They took advantage of my help and my kindness, and let their own greed get the better of them. I also sit here with medicine changes from a new doctor, and I'm fearful of starting one because I've heard others have had unpleasant side effects that lasted anywhere from a couple of days to even years. Why am I doing this to myself? Why beat myself up because of what others have done to me? Why be worried about a medicine I've yet to even take myself? I could take it, and be just fine! I won't know until I do, and I won't be able to truly "let go" until I forgive the others. I need to just hand all of this over to God, and let him take care of it for me. He's bigger than me...He can handle for more than I. 

    Tuesday, July 18, 2017

    Doctor Aviation

    Doctor Aviation

    Every now and then a product comes up for review than I want for myself. That's the case with this 6 month aviation course subscription by Doctor Aviation. Growing up, I often heard the story of my dad and his friends taking a ride with a friend who just happened to be a pilot. Little did they know that the pilot friend had had, perhaps, a bit too much to drink before offering to fly them over our city. The pilot passed out cold, and my dad was forced to take the controls. He had always wanted to get his pilot's license after that, but never had the chance.

    His sister lived in Seattle, and she would fly in every few years. Oh how I LOVED going to the air port to pick her up! My dad would leave quite bit early so that I could sit there longer in the waiting area watching the planes land and take off. It was always so exciting for me. She worked for Boeing, and she would tell me all about building the planes. To me, she was like a rock star! I wanted to be a pilot in the worst way, so when I was old enough to take the ASVAB test in high school, I jumped at the chance. The USAF was going to be my ticket to fly! I took the test, and scored in the top 2%! I scored high enough to get me where I wanted to be. The only problem? I was too short! Yes, I was too short to enlist to be a pilot. There went my dreams of flying F16s! I'll never forget the snarky suggestion that I could be air traffic control, with out the need to duck. GRRR!

    Finally, in 2006, my chance to fly finally came. I nervously boarded that United Airlines flight. The turbulence was positively horrible, and no one informed the pilot there was a first time flier on board. The storms were severe, and there wasn't really any way for her to fly around them. Once we landed in Chicago it became abundantly clear why God made me a little too short to fly. Me + Flying didn't exactly agree. Airsickness is real friends. And it's bad.
    Even with all of that, I would still LOVE to learn to fly. So I was pretty stoked to be chosen to review Doctor Aviation and the online course.

    Doctor Aviation

    How I used this:

    First, log in is EASY! Top right corner, right there! Easy to find, easy to navigate. My kind of site! Once I swooned over the easy login, I got started with Lesson one. I decided to work at roughly a 1 lesson per week average. Lessons are 45 mins or so in duration, and it proved a bit difficult for me to watch one all the way through with adult stuff to do during the day. House cleaning, cooking, and keeping the kid and animals alive had to take priority over my guilty pleasure. So it takes me a few days to get through the video thoroughly enough to make sense of it all.

    I like that I can stop and go back as needed. I can watch the video once, twice, or more as needed. I can pause and go back as needed, too.

    I figured out that the lesson notes were much more than just a recap of the lesson. It's like a study guide of sorts that you can use after you watch the video, or look over it and use it while you watch, with fill in the black questions that help you really connect with the course. 

    There's also a "To Learn More" tab. "To Learn More" has suggested articles, books, websites, videos, and activities. Now, I'm supposed to be using this as an adult course, but some of these activities and readings are just too good for a homeschool mom to pass up!

    Detailed study on the Wright Flyer? YES, PLEASE! History of Airplanes? SIGN US UP! I mean really, this is pretty great stuff. A lesson a week is a good pace, but I could use this to get 2 or even 3 weeks of science and  history material for our homeschool. I love when a product covers more than one base!

    I have made it to Lesson 5, taking time to go in depth on a couple of lessons. The lessons build upon one another, so it is very important you don't skip anything. And don't forget to "Mark Complete." I couldn't figure out why I was on Lesson 4, and it was showing 0% complete. Well, silly me, I'd just go through and never check complete on anything. Smart one here, right? HAHA!

    At the end of the 3rd lesson, there's a review exam. I really like this aspect because it holds me accountable to really paying attention, and trying my best. Ok, and here's the part I found kinda cool. You can take this for credit, and after Lesson 5-where I am now-you can have a proctor contact Dr. Aviation for a copy of Examination 1 to take for proper credit. I like that there's a credibility thing there with the test proctor.

    Overall, I'm very impressed by this. It's much more than a history course that teaches the basics of airplanes. It's more than just the physics of flight. The topics cover everything from history and physics, to maintenance, running a large airport, running a small airport, instrumentation, and more! I'm very, very impressed! I never thought I'd get this much out of course! 

    Please check out The Homeschool Review Crew to see how others used this product! 
    Aviation Course {Doctor Aviation Reviews}
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    Monday, July 17, 2017

    Bonding Time With My Girl (movie review)

    Mapelle Films
    I do not have a biological daughter, but I've never thought that mattered. My niece was born when I was 14. From day one, I was there to pick her up, help her, take care of her, and teach her. Her dad worked out of town, and her mom worked round the clock 4 nights and 3 days every week. So I stayed with her. I took her to school, I did all of the school functions. I was even homeroom mom! We did play dates, and homework. And I was there to sit up, watching her all night long when she would have asthma attacks in the middle of the night. She didn't have to be born from me, to still be mine. Now that she's grown, she's like my daughter mixed with a younger sister mixed with a best friend. She considers Mr. B her little brother, and they certainly treat each other as siblings. We share clothes and make up like sisters, secrets like best friends, and advice like mother/daughter. I was very excited to share Trust Fund by Mapelle Films with her. If you're interested, there's also a book titled, "Love Was Near" that can accompany the movie, for girls ages 12+ to read following the film. There's also a downloadable Study Guide that I found to be a wonderful addition! We did not receive this book, but other members of The Homeschool Review Crew did. So be sure to check out their reviews.
    Trust Fund Movie
    This movie is about a dad and his daughters. It's a sterotypical "Prodigal Son" style movie, but with a female "son." Audrey and Reese have a good life, but their mother is dead. Their father, Mr. Donahue has a very successful business, so the girls certainly aren't doing with out. Reese, the younger sister, has a shocking discovery when she finds out her mother left her and her sister Ten MILLION dollars in inheritance and their dad never told them. She manages to hack into his company's systems, transfers her half to her own account, and jets off to Italy. Why Italy? Well, she was on a trip there before for a writer's workshop, and fell for a man by the name of Milo. When she returns home, she can't stop thinking about him. Once in Italy, Milo talks about financial problems, and Reese hands over her money to him. You can imagine what road this leads her down...

    Reese is impatient. She feels as if she's meant for something greater than her comfortable life she lives. She no longer trusts her father, and doesn't want to wait on him to give her the money. Her sister ridicules her in front of co-workers, and that's really the straw that broke the camel's back. She feels like she has to live up to the same image as her sister, and to her it's just too tall of an order to fulfill.

    I really like the message this movie sent. It allowed me to open up a discussion with my niece about God's time. God's time in perfect time. She may get impatient to find love, marriage, wealth, etc. But she shouldn't rush it. She doesn't know what God has in store for her, and she needs to focus on His time, and trust in Him. But, should she falter, she can find forgiveness.

    The acting was very good, and the characters were believable. Yes, I know that it's pretty rare to have a 10,000,000 inheritance, but with that aside-it's a very believable story line and character base. Jessica Rothe is an excellent Reese. She truly captures that "I'm meant for more than this" attitude. Louise Dylan's Audrey is exceptional. She's the older sister who longs for the attention and love she perceives her father giving to her younger sister. She's jealous, but she doesn't show it in the same way. She more or less wants her sister dealt with in a way she sees as being fit, and she wants to be seen as the winner, the best, the "good daughter."

    The interpersonal dynamics were really good, and we were both drawn into the film. The background sounds and music were well done, without being overly distracting or anything of that nature. The suspenseful moments had us! Is Reese going to get caught up in her Boyfriend's illegal actions?! It's very well shot, well executed film!
    The bank called from Mapelle Films on Vimeo.

    The Study Guide was a great way for us to pause, and talk about what was going on in both the movie AND in our lives currently. I think we focused more on Reese's story than Aubrey, because there is much to be learned from Aubrey, as well. She too has sinned against her father, but in a different way. And she lets her jealousy get the better of her.

    Trust Fund allowed me to instill the lesson that I will always be here for my niece, no matter what. No matter what she may feel, think, or be told-She ALWAYS has me, and she will always have a home here. Nothing is Greater than God.

    Click the banner below to be whisked away to the Homeschool Review Crew blog where you can read more reviews!
    Trust Fund Movie {Mapelle Films Reviews}
    Crew Disclaimer

    Thursday, July 13, 2017

    Behavior Management Reinforcement Part 1

    I wanted to get this post up, but to be honest I am still working my way through this particular segment. So this is going to be a multi-part thing.


    What is reinforcement? Some may think you are merely rewarding your child for doing what they are supposed to be doing anyway. And, at times, that may actually be the case if the child isn't doing it already. You see, that's the nature of special needs. Sometimes, most of the time, our kids aren't doing what they are supposed to be doing in any. Kids on the spectrum especially! Aspergers kids need a reason for everything they do, and it seems like they need a self benefiting reason a lot of times. If they do not see the benefit of the action, well there's a good chance they aren't going to see the need for doing the action.

    There are different kind of reinforcement. Negative Reinforcement is giving a negative consequence for to a behavior. I'll give you an example one therapist wanted me to do once. We were trying to get Mr. B to understand the difference between No and Yes, and use No appropriately. At the time, he NEVER said no. If you said, "Do you want ketchup?" He would just stare blankly at you, until you gave him the ketchup and then he would resort to a screaming fit for an hour. So the idea was to offer something I knew he didn't like or want, like ketchup at the time. If he didn't answer, give it to him. When he would cry say, NO you did not want Ketchup. Rinse and repeat. Giving him what he didn't want was a negative reinforcement. It taught him NO, and to say NO when he did NOT want something. Of course, as a mother, you can imagine the number of times throughout the last 12 years I've regretted that lesson HAHA! But I digress...

    Negative consequence is seen when people train dogs using choke or shock collars. that sort of thing.

    Positive Reinforcement is the opposite. That is when you give a positive consequence for a desired action. ABA therapy and Discrete Trial is largely based on Positive Reinforcement. Sticker Charts, Reward Jars, Praise-all of those are POSITIVE Reinforcement. And this is where we are.

    Mr. B is so smart, that the last time we tried a full on Positive Reinforcement behavior plan, he tried to outsmart the plan because the psychologist we were working with had me rewarding him for stopping negative behaviors. This led to him doing the negative behaviors to get a reward for stopping. I didn't want to do that again.

    So far, we have a few different systems in place, and really we should have 1 cohesive plan. In the bathroom we have his Early Morning Routine (Subscribe and you will be sent a link to access the Free Printable for that) And there is space to the side for stickers or checks. For every 7 checks he gets for each action, he gets $1.00 to add to his savings. Yes, these are actions he should do on his own, for the sake of doing them. But I'm rewarding the action of remembering and taking the time to do them properly at this stage. Eventually he WILL do them just for the sake of doing it.

    Doctor's offices offer stickers after visits. The Dentist has cool tooth brushes. A therapy clinic at reward coins, and the kids could drop their wooden coins in the cup to spend. Mr. B. would never save his, and would always opt to "buy" a sucker every visit.

    Now I'm trying to come up with a reward system list. A comprehensive plan that will meet our needs, and I'm coming up short as we speak. 

    Fascinating Education REVIEW

    Fascinating Education
    We were recently provided with a Full Year Fascinating Chemistry course by Fascinating Education. Mr. B loves all things science, and we go through soooo much. We have reviewed this same program before, in September 2015, but at the time Mr. B was only 10. This is a high school program, and while he is gifted in the area of science, I thought it would be best if he had a repeat. 
    Fascinating Chemistry
    Fascinating Chemistry is an online based program that uses audio-visual methods of teaching their Chemistry, Biology, and Physics courses. They recommend you start with Chemistry and progress through Biology and then Physics.

    What I like most is that they really break down the subject to its lowest elements (see what I did there?!) so that you and your student can fully understand. They use real world language so you don't feel like your sitting in a conference full of scientists using a bunch of lingo that you simply can't understand.

    How did we use this?
    First I want to say Login is easy and obvious. You know me and my love of an obviously there Login link HAHA! This one is located in the top right corner. Just click and login. That makes this momma very happy haha! And if he happens to click off the page I can easily pull back up the course with out a bunch of unnecessary clicking. I just go to the Members tab and there's an option for Course Access. SO EASY!

    Mr. B does best with lively, colorful videos. I printed off the included script, more for myself than him. He would occasionally refer to it during the videos, but mostly I used it so I would know what was going on since I didn't always have time to watch the videos. We do not have external speakers on the computer right now, so he has to use ear phones to listen. As a result, only one can watch at a time.

    The overall layout is great for kids on the spectrum, in my opinion. The lessons are clearly labeled, and below each lesson you'll find button links to the Lesson, Script, and Test-all in different colors to differentiate the buttons easily. 

    If you notice on the left hand side, there's a list of what is going to be covered on the slides. You can click on those to navigate through the lesson. This was great for us because sometimes Mr. B's attention would dwaddle off and we would have to go back and repeat something. And also, during the tests, if he was unsure or could remember we could go back to that portion of the video to see what he missed. 

    The video lessons are very visual, but not cluttered. This is great for him.

    The what you know so far section is a great review without being boring. I  know a lot of times, Mr. B. does like to do reviews. Once he knows something, he knows it, and he doesn't like to be reminded of it. But the way this is presented, to him it's not really a review to make sure or question what he knows, but to just validate it in a sense. Whatever the reason, this works for him and I'll take it!

    You can also move around as you need to. So if your child already knows the structure of an atom inside and out, you can check out the script, take the test and move on. The scripts are great, and they use the same slides from the videos so it is cohesive and all together. They are not just one or two pages, so be prepared for that. These are in depth and cover the entire lesson. Lesson 7, for example, has 17 pages! 


    The videos are short. They aren't overly long, and only cover one topic at a time. This is great for fleeting attention spans. Each overall lesson is less than an hour, and we spread these out over the course of a week. At the end of each lesson is a test. The great thing is that you can print off these tests-with an answer key-to be taken pen and paper style. That's my preferred method for tests, so that's what we did! Mr. B willingly will do his schoolwork, and will actually ask to do it! He likes to take the printed scripts with him in a binder, so he can read them in the car or at his mamaw's house. The labs are easy to do, and fun. I like the inclusion of those. I love that this is so user friendly, and offers both paper and online work. It's multi sensory approach works well for Mr. B. 
    The Homeschool Review Crew also reviewed Fascinating Biology and Fascinating Physics as well. Be sure to check them out by clicking the banner below!

    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.

    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. The script is also very good for ADHD and Autism.

    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. While it is not from a Biblical approach, I found nothing that would offend a religious standpoint. 

    The Homeschool Review Crew also reviewed Fascinating Biology and Fascinating Physics as well. Be sure to check them out by clicking the banner below! 
    Biology, Chemistry & Physics {Fascinating Education Reviews}
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    Monday, July 10, 2017

    Make-a-State Activity-Pak Homeschool in the Woods REVIEW

    Home School in the Woods

    By now everyone knows how much we LOVE Homeschool in the Woods. Their products offer students an amazing way to learn history that is hands on, and the lessons really stick with you because of that. We have had the great fortune to review for them several times. We also have used several Time Traveler American series before becoming a review member. So you can probably imagine the girly squeal I unleashed when I found out we were chosen to review the Make-a-State Activity-Pak they now offer. And I will fully admit to having a VERY difficult time choosing my top picks for this review. The Review Crew was given an amazing selection to choose from, and I really had to think and pray hard! I'm really thinking we need the Old Testament Activity Pak and the New Testament Activity Pak, as well! Maybe even the Composers or Artists paks!  And about 8-10 other options haha!

    Hands-On History Activity-Paks: Make-A-State
    The Make-a-State Pak is one of several from the Activity-Paks series they offer. These Activity-Paks include projects and a couple of activities for a targeted topic, such as the states or Old Testament. These do not include the same text pages and such that you may be familiar with from the Time Travelers series or the Project Passport series. The Make-a-State set does include a brief page for each state, but text and supplies are not included with the Activity-Paks.

    The Make-a-State pak includes a "Name that State!" file folder game as well as recipes, state facts, and all the printables you need to create an amazing state themed lapbook! There's also a suggested reading list, in the event you want to stretch this out and read more about each state. 
    Our Experience:

    I initially wanted to do the states in alphabetical order, but Mr. B wanted to do all of the states he has visited, first. So we started with Ohio. Now I like to use Homeschool in the Woods as a great backbone to branch off of for our social studies. We may do a lesson or two, then branch off and do our own research for a while, then come back and do another lesson-rinse and repeat. We elected to do more in the way of actual activities first, and explore here and there as desired this time. So, we were off on an adventure to Ohio! 
    Hands-On History Activity-Paks: Make-A-State
    I first printed out the everything we would need for the study as a whole, and for the state of Ohio itself. I like the included directions for printing, and I personally changed some of the paper choices since we've done so many things from Homeschool in the Woods I've figured out what works best for us. Keep in mind, you will need to print a lot, and use a lot of paper-both regular paper, colored paper, and cardstock. You'll also need basic arts and crafts supplies such as colored pencils, glue/glue sticks, tape, scissors, exacto knife, and of course file folders. We have a laser printer, so ink really isn't too much of a concern for us. I can print roughly 3500 pages for $13.00. If ink is a concern for you, you may wish to have this printed else where. I have suggested in the past that they offer printed packages. I know even though ink isn't a worry for me, I would still purchase a print package that had everything already printed for me! I would love to see this as an option, especially for those traveling homeschoolers or those who may not have adequate access to print services.

    After printing, I set down to organize. The same pages are included for the states. So you don't have a folder for each state or anything like that. Your student will be tasked to finding the information on their own for the most part, so they will also be learning a lot in the way of research. So each state becomes its own hands-on research project.

     I printed out multiples of each page so that I could spread them among the states we would be doing first. Then I organized everything into separate file folders, so each state would have it's own folder, and all the print outs for each state were held within. This made life so much easier! Mr. B had everything he needed in each folder, and there was no waiting for anything. I highly recommend having everything ready to go so you don't have to stop mid lesson to find glue sticks or to print a needed page.

    Mr. B has been so excited over this. He said he could spend all day long coloring the states haha. He colored the state post card pages to show the kind of landscape they have in different areas. So he has them various shades of green to distinguish the types of forest and trees, there are red splotches to indicate more urban areas or areas with higher population, etc. He has put a lot of effort and time into a task that should have been relatively quick and simple. It's really great!

    There are more pages to color, but these pages are just what I grabbed. We've worked through these 3 states thus far, and he's really enjoying it!  The graphics are rich, like you'd expect from Homeschool in the Woods. They are lovely, and make for a true work of art.

    I love the "Key Facts" are on key graphics! How cool is that? 

    Mr. B uses these in a variety of ways. I've printed on multiple copies of the regional pages. He uses these to color in graphical representations of population, climate, poverty, education, water, etc. 

    See what I mean about the graphics? I love them. 

    Homeschool in the Woods is now offering an A-La-Carte option, too! How cool is that?! This is where you can get just a few projects for a specific topic, but not the entire study. If you go now to the a-la-carte page, and enter in promo code alacarte, you can receive a FREE Eerie Canal project to celebrate the 200th anniversary! 

    Previous Reviews:

    U.S. Elections Lap-Pak 

    Project Passport Ancient Greece

    Project Passport Middle Ages 

    As I mentioned before, the Homeschool Review Crew was given a plethora of goodies to review. PLEASE click the banner below so you can read about more great products! 

    Hands-on History {Home School in the Woods Reviews}

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