Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Super fun Planet 316 REVIEW

Planet 316
Last year we did a really fun jigsaw puzzle app review for Planet 316. That game was so much fun, it was downright addicting! We still play it! Well this time around, I have a review that's for the younger crew, but....I gotta tell ya...I have had just as much fun as Mr. B has this go round! The Planet 316 Story Bible and the companion Planet 316 Story Bible App have been far greater blessings than I had even imagined when we set out on this review journey. I honestly can't even put into words how much Mr. B has enjoyed this, nor how much he has learned from this! It's been amazing.


Planet 316 Story Bible and Bible App
About the Book: 
The book is a hardback book with glossy, colorful pages. Each story is arranged in Bible order, so you and your child can study together. The pages are on the thick'ish side, and this allows for greater durability. This 7"x8" book has a few pages more than 300 pages, and on those pages you'll find over 100 stories included in this Bible, from Creation to Revelations. It's also important to note that the actual Bible chapter and verses where the stories are located are also included. 


 


About the App:

The app is a free app, and will only work with the book. If you have an issue finding the app in the App Store, there is a QR code on the back of the book that you can scan that will find it for you. The app is a bit larger than some others we have, and we had to wait until we have a WIFI connection to download it. Was it worth the wait? YES! That app has got to be the COOLEST thing EVER! Seriously! It makes this book completely interactive! You hold your phone or tablet over the pictures and they come to life! They turn 3D and even move! I was honestly blown away! I spent a good hour myself just playing with it! 
How We Used This:
The stories are written in such a way that the parent can easily read them, and an older child can read them on their own. We did both. At first. Mr. B read this on his own. And by at first, I mean over the course of about 3 days or so he sat ALL DAY LONG and read from cover to cover. He was THAT engrossed into this book. He absolutely LOVED it. After that I'd re-read the stories to him at night as a bedtime story. Over the Easter weekend, I was blessed to keep my younger cousin's son for a few days. He was a little afraid to be staying in a strange place, so I pulled out our copy of the Planet 316 Story Bible and started reading it to him. I read well over 100 pages to calm him and get him to sleep. We started with David and Goliath and we went all the way to the Parable of the Sower! The next day he asked if I would read him some more! We took the boys out for Pizza over an hour away at a Pizza Shop that happens to be a favorite of ours (otherwise, why in the world would we drive over an hour one-way?!) Since both boys had read so much of the storybook Bible, they both got into a rather deep conversation on the Bible in the backseat. I wish I could have recorded it! A 9 year old boy and a 12 Year old boy spent over an hour talking about the Bible, with the 9 year old asking questions and the 12 year old answering them accurately, and with such heart felt meaning in the conversation. It was truly a blessing to be in that car that night. 


After that, Mr. B we went to church on Easter Sunday. Mr. B had re-read about the death and resurrection of Christ, and he had asked me a lot of questions about it. So the next day at Church, Mr. B approached the elder and told him he would like to say a few words. Then, Mr. B took his Planet 316 Story Bible up to the pulpit and proceeded to flat out preach a sermon for nearly 20 minutes! At the end of church, Mr. B one again took to the pulpit to add on to what he had already said! If you would like to see the video of this, please check it out on my Facebook page for my blog. 

Overall:

Overall, I can't say enough wonderful things about Planet 316 and The Planet 316 Story Bible and the companion Planet 316 Story Bible App.  We both, of course, highly recommend it to others! This is been a huge blessing to us, and I look forward to much more time spent using this story bible and app! 


Please check out the Homeschool Review Crew for more reviews! 


Planet 316 Story Bible and Bible App {Planet 316 Reviews}
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Wedding Wednesday


What better way to get the whole gang?

A+ Interactive Math REVIEW

A+ Interactive Math
We reviewed A+ Interactive Math (By A+ TutorSoft Inc.) a few years ago and loved it so much I actually bought a subscription to use later. As you can imagine, we were pretty thrilled to get the chance to review them again. This time around, they offered the crew 2 choices: Adaptive Math Curriculum Online and a Family Math Package.  For this review, we received a one-year subscription to the Family Math Package. 
Family Math
The Family Math Package gives you access to all levels of A+ Interactive Math. For this review, we mainly focused on 6th grade math. We started at the beginning because it was a perfect fit for us. Mr. B is currently working on fractions, and that's just what happened to be first. 
The first step is to log on. You know me, I need in your face billboard obvious log on. Nothing is more in your face than a big red button!
It's that easy. Now, if you have more than one student you just click on that blue button and you can launch each account individually. Need to change grade levels? No problem. Again, it's billboard obvious and I Love that!
Now, back to what we did...
We started with 6th grade math, and we started at #1, Fractions. The lessons are played on the screen, and they are normal conversation. What I like about this is that the voice isn't overly robotic, but it's also not flawed as it would be if one were speaking all at one time. There are no Hmm...or um sounds at all. This keeps the distractions to a minimum for Mr. B. There's color, but it's not over the top. The lessons are also color coded to really drive in the lesson, and that has worked very well for Mr. B. 
Mr. B had a difficult time figuring out how to navigate at first. It's not hard at all, but he didn't  know to click on the little + beside each section to reveal more. One he figured that out, it was smooth sailing. We did a lot of worksheets printed out, so the computer did not autocomplete or autograde. I'm not the best at going in each time and marking everything complete, and when I am bad about choosing the date he actually completed it on. The good thing about this program is that you can go back and choose the correct dates, if you remember them. For me? I just pick a date and go with it haha. There are still sections I need to mark complete when I have the time. 
But as you can see, he's made quite a bit of progress in the area of fractions. We had to spend a good deal of time on certain concepts, but overall I'm quite proud of the progress he's made over the last 6 weeks. 
What I love about A+ Interactive Math is that you can choose if you want to printed work or online. Here's a screen snip of one of his tests I can print. I did have him do a couple of worksheets online, but he likes to do them in printed format, too. 
Then they do the work online, the computer grades them for you. And there are a LOT of worksheets! 
Mr. B also loves recognition for completion. It's a great motivator. A+ Interactive Math offers completion certificates that you can print off. These are great as a motivator to encourage your students to keep pushing ahead. 
We didn't encounter any problems with the program, but you do need to maintain a good internet connection. If you  know you may experience issues, you can also print off parts of the textbook, the quizzes, exams, and worksheets-then input those grades manually. I've not done that yet this time around, but I know from previous use it is not difficult at all. 
Overall:
Mr. B says A+ Interactive Math is one of his favorites! I don't even have to ask more than once for him to do his math work now. I like that I can print off worksheets, and replay lessons as needed. We can also skip ahead, instead of working in order to unlock the next section. That's great for us since he has already mastered some of the future lessons. I like how there's color, but no distracting cartoons and no robotic sounding voice. ASD kiddos tend to get caught up with those kinds of things and pay more attention to a minor detail like that than the lesson, so not having those is a major perk!




Please check out the Homeschool Review Crew for more reviews! 
Family & Adaptive Math Online {A+ Interactive Math Reviews}
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Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Like Arrows MOVIE REVIEW





"The path a parent chooses the legacy a parent leaves."  Such a powerful quote from such a powerful movie. Kids aren't born with manuals, but as the movies shows us...God gives us all the manual we need. 










I had the great privilege to watch Like Arrows, a new Christian faith movie set to be in theaters May 1st and 3rd. This movie shows family dynamics and how the actions and life a parent chooses can impact their kids. I can't really go into details without giving away too much of the plot, but I found this to be a really moving, and great movie. The acting was good, and the story line well written and believable. Definitely one of those thought provoking, eye-opening films that really makes you take a step back and reevaluate your life. 












Press Release:

DENVERJan. 10, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- From executive producers Alex and Stephen Kendrick ("War Room," "Courageous"), FamilyLife's Dennis and Barbara Rainey, and Bob Lepine, the inspirational event "Like Arrows" will debut in movie theaters nationwide for two nights this May. Charlie and Alice begin to lose relationships with each of their children as work and realities of everyday life consume their time. "Like Arrows" focuses on the power of a family to shape the next generation as they turn to their faith after all else has failed.

Fathom Events and Collide Media Group partner to present this unique event in U.S. cinemas on Tuesday, May 1 and Thursday, May 3 at 7:00 p.m. local time (both days). Audiences will also experience an exclusive panel discussion featuring Alex and Stephen KendrickDennis and Barbara Rainey, and Bob Lepine after the event.
Tickets for "Like Arrows" can be purchased online by visiting www.FathomEvents.com or at participating theater box offices. Fans throughout the U.S. will be able to enjoy the event in more than 800 select movie theaters. For a complete list of theater locations, visit the Fathom Events website (theaters and participants are subject to change).
"We've had a very positive response from those who've had the opportunity to watch 'Like Arrows.' It's a powerful and relatable story that I hope will inspire and help families with any challenges they are facing at home," "Like Arrows" Executive Producer Bob Lepine said. "It is exciting to partner with Fathom Events to bring this content to families across the country."
When conflict, rebellion and resentment overwhelm their family, Charlie and Alice are forced to change their parenting strategy, and are surprised to find effective, life-long solutions were closer than they imagined. FamilyLife's first feature explores the joys and heartaches of parenting. Through a journey that unfolds over 50 years, Charlie and Alice discover the power of family, and learn that knowing and living by God's word is the most important key to parenting with purpose.
"Like Arrows" stars Alan Powell ("The Song"), Alex Kendrick ("War Room," "Courageous") and newcomer Micah Lynn Hanson. It was directed by Kevin Peeples.
"Fathom is thrilled to be partnering with Collide once again to premiere this important story on the big screen," Fathom Events VP of Programming Kymberli Frueh said. "It will offer a unique opportunity for parents and families to come together and experience this event in a community setting."
For artwork/photos related to "Like Arrows," visit the Fathom Events press site.
About Fathom EventsFathom Events is the leading event cinema distributor with participating theaters in all 100 of the top Designated Market Areas®, and ranks as one of the largest overall distributors of content to movie theaters. Owned by AMC Entertainment Inc. (NYSE: AMC), Cinemark Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: CNK) and Regal Entertainment Group (NYSE: RGC) (known collectively as AC JV, LLC), Fathom Events offers a variety of one-of-a-kind entertainment events in theaters such as live performances of the Metropolitan Opera, top stage productions including Newsies! The Broadway Musical and George Takei's Allegiance, major sporting events such as Mayweather vs. McGregor, epic concerts with artists like Grateful Dead and Dixie Chicks, the yearlong TCM Big Screen Classics series, inspirational events such as Steve McQueen: American Icon and In Our Hands, and beloved anime titles like Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away. Fathom Events takes audiences behind the scenes for unique extras including audience Q&As, backstage footage and interviews with cast and crew, creating the ultimate VIP experience. Fathom Events' live digital broadcast network ("DBN") is the largest cinema broadcast network in North America, bringing live and pre-recorded events to 897 locations and 1,387 screens in 181 DMAs. For more information, visit www.fathomevents.com.
About FamilyLife 
For more than 41 years, the ministry of FamilyLife has focused on strengthening marriages and families. Through initiatives such as The Art of Marriage®, FamilyLife Today® radio broadcasts, Love Like You Mean It® marriage cruises, and FamilyLife Blended®, FamilyLife provides practical, biblical help for life's most important relationships: God, spouse and children. With nearly 12 million unique visitors from dozens of countries, FamilyLife.com has become one of the most popular websites for practical biblical help and hope on almost every issue facing marriages and families today.

SOURCE Fathom Events

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Thursday, April 19, 2018

HelpTeaching.com REVIEW

HelpTeaching

We were first introduced to HelpTeaching.com last year during a review. I loved the program, but at that time it wasn't an awesome fit for us for whatever reason. This year, I was excited to review Help Teaching Pro because I thought it would be a much better fit this year and I was right!

I can't even begin to describe HelpTeaching.com. It's a website full of learning. They have classes and resources for every subject, you can generate worksheets, there's tests and quizzes, games, and more. Grade levels are K-high school. There really is something for everyone here.




How We Used This:

For the great majority of this review, my printer was messed up. M is an IT guy, and he couldn't even get it to work properly! Finally, we figured it out and decided that Mr. B should really refrain from trying to do "Printer Maintenance" behind our backs haha. But the great thing is, you don't really HAVE to print out a lot. There are loads of printables, but there are also loads of streaming videos. 



At first I thought it was going to be all lower level stuff, then I realized there's a link that says "View All...." so when you click that, a whole new world opens up for you. Each subject has a list that is organized by topic and grade. We have access for all grades, and I did dabble between lower grades and upper grades and felt they were all grade appropriate. 




As you can see, there is a wide variety of grades. The above screen capture is for American History, and it stretches from 4th to 9th grades. We took part in the 4th and 8th grade lessons. The upper grades somewhat repeat the lower grades for better retention, but they include more material and more complicated assignments, as well. 

We mainly stuck with science. We did a lot in Biology, including the 10th grade cells and DNA. It was a little hard for Mr. B, who is only 7th grade, but having a biology background myself I was able to walk him through it. 


I like how all of the material is given to you on screen so you can print it for reference, or not. I wish this cell model was in color, but as it is it was very helpful. 


Mr. B LOVES the videos. This is one from the Cells topic. If you look under it, there is a list of relative links such as coordinating worksheets and tests. This makes the site much easier to use. My only issue is that I can't figure out how to log and track what he has done on here. I've been told it is possible, and I know I did track one assignment, but I can't figure out how I did that. An easier way to track that from the parent/teacher dashboard would be amazing. As of right now, I just keep a written list. 


There's a lot of math, too. And not just "easy" math. This site offers everything from 1+1 to Trig. We worked mainly with geometry here. He's a little behind in geometry, and the video lessons really helped to piece together everything for him. 


Overall, I really like HelpTeaching.com, and I find it to be a wonderful resource. I wish there was a better way to track lessons that makes sense to me. I like that I can email him lessons to complete, and he can work on  his own. I like the self-paced aspect a lot. The ability to print and save is also a MAJOR plus for me. This is a secular based site, so if you want more religious base that could be something to consider. Overall, I have recommended this to others already and plan to continue doing so. 

Does HelpTeaching.com 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 have complete control of what you choose to do, and in what order. This is very easily adaptable to all learning levels.  

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 is subscription based, but there are no hidden fees. You have access to all grade levels, so it will cover multiple grade ranges.  
 
3.) Attention span: Is it boring? Is it engaging? Is it varied enough for ADHD? Does it last too long?

Mr. B loves the video lessons, and they are short enough to maintain his attention. You can break up the topics into smaller segments, only doing one lesson at a time. 

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

This site has a plethora of subjects and lessons. There's everything from History to Language Arts.  




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Help Teaching Pro. {HelpTeaching.com Reviews}
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Monday, April 16, 2018

Apologia #1 REVIEW

Apologia


I just love when I see Apologia on the list of upcoming reviews. They never fail to amaze me, and Mr. B does so well with their offerings. For the last few weeks, we have been blessed to be reviewing Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology

Anatomy & Physiology


Last year, when we reviewed  Exploring Creation with Astronomy, 2nd edition, Mr. B worked through the whole course in about three months!  He was quite familiar with all things cosmos, so he was able to breeze through it, working weeks at a time just for fun. This time around, we have had to move quite a bit slower because anatomy and physiology were, until now, foreign concepts to him. Of course he knew the basics. . . foot bone connected to the leg bone and all of that stuff HAHA, but the ins and outs and intricacies of the human body were not things we had really studied in great detail. I have been really impressed with everything we have encountered so far in this program. 
For this review we received:

Student Text: This is a hardback textbook. It's not hard to read, and not overly boring at all. It's very conversational. 
Notebooking Journal AND the Junior Notebooking Journal: For the review, we received both journals. The Jr. Notebooking Journal has a more juvenile format for the writing exercises, and it also includes coloring pages. Mr. B is of the age for the regular notebooking journal, but he also likes the Jr. for the coloring pages. 
MP3 Audio Book on CD: This includes the textbook in audio format. The narrator is a pleasant sounding female voice. She is NOT monotone at all, making the narration much more interesting to listen to! Each little section is distinguished by a little musical melody.  Mr. B likes to follow along in the student text as she's reading. 
How we used this:

I set out to follow the included suggested schedule. The Notebooking Journal has a 2 day a week schedule lined out for easy planning, but I found this was a bit too much for Mr. B so we split it up. We would just work on an activity each day, 3 days a week. Sometimes we would have to work on the same activity over the course of a couple of days. He did very well with the reading part. He needs to work on a few different reading mechanics, so I used this to help with those issues as well. Sometimes we would read aloud, alternating sections. I would read, then he would, then back to me, etc. Often times, I would pop in the MP3 CD and he would follow along in the book while the audio book read the words. This is GREAT for spectrum kids because they are getting both visual and auditory input. Mr. B works faster when we works with the MP3 going as he follows along. He will do an entire chapter in one day! Today, for example, he was so engrossed in listening and following along that he asked to listen to an additional chapter.

I like how there are Bible verses integrated into the text, but everything is very science'y still. Have you ever encountered a religious based "science" curriculum that's more like an additional Bible study? That's not this. There are Bible verses included, such as one about the tongue, but it's not a substitute for any sort of Bible study. I also love how everything is explained in real world ways, like the epiglottis and tongue, and how God gave us the reflex to cough when choked.

Overall, Mr. B has been enjoying all of the notebooking activities. He especially likes the crossword puzzles and the mini books. The Crossword puzzles are not super easy! They take some brain power to complete. The activities are great reinforcement for the textual lessons.


Overall:

Overall, we both really like this a lot. I'm very impressed by how much Mr. B loves it. He is truly learning and retaining what he has learned! It's fantastic! I was more than shocked by how well he took to the MP3 CD. We have Apologia General Science, too, that I had planned to start next year. We do not have a disc for that one, and I plan to buy it before we start it! It has been THAT great for him! I'm amazed! 

The included activities are fun, easy to do, and really further the learning. Mr. B can even do some of them on his own, with little to no assistance from me. This is pretty centered around a Charlotte Mason approach, especially with the included narration breaks, but it's not so much so that you wouldn't benefit from it if you subscribe to a different type of method. I HIGHLY recommend this program!


Does Apologia Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology Pass My 4 Ingredient Test?
Does Apologia Educational Ministries 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 product. There is an included schedule in the student workbook, but you can easily adapt that. It's set up for a 2 days a week format, with 2 activities each day. But you could easily change that up to fit your schedule and needs. We found that was a bit too intense in a single sitting at times, so we split it into 4 days. 

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 will cover multiple grades. Mr B is currently doing 6th and 7th grade work, and this was perfect for him using the regular Notebooking Journal. Younger students would use the Junior Notebooking Journal-though Mr. B likes that one, too.   There are no hidden fees, but you may want to plan ahead for the "Try This" experiment activities. The book does mention a science kit, but there isn't one available on the site. The items are pretty easy to find though-like Nerds candies, and the like. 
 
3.) Attention span: Is it boring? Is it engaging? Is it varied enough for ADHD? Does it last too long?

Mr. B found it to be engaging and exciting. There are a lot of colorful pictures, but its not overwhelming or distracting. The MP3CD is a must for us. He does soooo much better when he can hear the book being read to him, and follow along at the same time. You can split the lessons up so that they aren't too long. 

4.) Does it tie into other things we already have.
This is strictly science. 

Please check out the rest of the Homeschool Review Crew to see what others have to say! 



Apologia - Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology Reviews
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Sunday, April 15, 2018

Today's homeschool lesson...


We got these little rubber band helicopters from Harbor Freight today for a whopping $6.00. These little boogers shoot up about 300 feet into the air, then the wind catches them and they twirl their way back to Earth. It was a windy day with storms blowing in, so they went FAR! I can't even begin to tell you how much fun we had with these today! I only wish I had had my camera! 

Friday, April 13, 2018

Princess Cut DVD REVIEW

Watchman Pictures

Grab some tissues, your favorite fattening comfort food snack, snuggle into something comfy, and get ready for a great movie! Watchman Pictures was kind enough to send the review crew a copy of their movie, Princess Cut, and I LOVED IT! 

Princess Cut The Movie
Princess Cut is about a young woman named Grace (Ashley Bratcher)  who wants love. Not just any kind of love, but true, God sent love. Ashley is a sweet, loving gal who is loyal to her parents, and loves God. She wants to live a pure, God centered life in all aspects-Including her relationships. She'd been involved in a long distance relationship with Stewart, who went off to college and came back a completely different person. Grace was heartbroken over this, and shortly after she met Jared. Jared made her feel special, and loved, but something was right. She didn't FEEL right, and Jared pushed her to do things that she just didn't feel were right and just. She confessed these things to her parents, and her dad told her it was his job to prepare her for marriage and protect her until that time came. He used soy beans as an example, and told her she was trying to reap a harvest before planting the seeds. He suggested she find out who God wanted her to be, and wait and let God bring love to her instead of her looking for love. Grace devoted herself to studying various books to really find out what she wanted in a relationship, and what God wanted for her.

A young man named Clint moved in at the neighboring farm. Clint recently graduated medical school, and accepted a position in East Bend, the small farming community where Grace lives. Clint and Grace's family become friends, and Clint helps her dad a lot. Clint goes to Grace's parents and asks their blessing in exploring a relationship with Grace. He wishes to have a relationship that will result in marriage, and he wants to get to the  know Grace, under their guidance, better so that they can both decide if they should marry.

This is all great, until Brooke comes along. Brooke is Clint's ex-girlfriend from college. Brooke and Jared conspire together to try and throw a wrench into God's plan, but a well aimed sling shot saves the day! You'll have to watch the movie to see how it all ends. 
My thoughts:

I loved the overall movie. I loved the story line, plot, and the underlying messages of forgiveness, patience, and purity. Being a photographer myself, I was a little put off by some lighting and filter choices, finding the white balance of some scenes was a tad too yellow for my taste. I also raised an eye brow a time or two over a few chosen camera angles that I think could have been shot differently to achieve a better appearance and feel. With that aside, the overall movie is really lovely and touching. It is child appropriate, which I love. Even though purity is discussed, sexual notions are not. There is a scene where Grace confides in her parents that Jared touched her hair and kissed her, and wouldn't stop, and she didn't like it. And another scene where Grace is talking with a therapist and tells her she didn't like it with Jared touched her. But, there is no mention or even hint of a sexual act beyond kissing. To be honest, the movie could be a great teaching tool to teach purity, strength of conviction, and also that no means no. Overall, I would highly recommend this to others, and I can't wait to share this with others in my family! 
Please check out the Homeschool Review Crew to see what others have had to say! 
Princess Cut {Watchman Pictures Reviews}
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