And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children. Isaiah 54:13 KJV

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

6th Grade Literature Studies #classicaleducation

We received the Sixth Grade Literature Guide Set from Memoria Press to review. This big bundle included teacher's manuals and student literature guides for four books. Apple wanted to start with King Arthur and His Knights of the Round Table or Robin Hood, but I was unable to find those in the local library. We did find The Door in the Wall and Adam of the Road! All 4 of the books are available for purchase separately from Memoria Press.

Memoria Press Literature Guides Review

She started with The Door in the Wall so we made sure we completed one full lit study before the review. It is a short book so she was able to complete it in just a couple of weeks. She had never read the book by Marguerite De Angeli. She found she really enjoyed the book from 1949 about a boy named Robin who intended to become a knight but was unable to do so. The literature guide was easy to complete. It was broken into 7 lessons with a midterm and a final exam. Each lesson includes reading notes, vocabulary, comprehension questions, quotations, discussion questions, and enrichment. These lessons are thorough and could easily take up to a week to complete. We chose to do one per day. Reading is Apple's very favorite subject, and she struggles to put a book down. One lesson per day was as slow as I could get her to go.

Apple's favorite part of each lesson was the enrichment section. Many times the task included drawing a picture or writing a story or letter. Those are little projects that make my creative child happy. She had no problems answering the regular comprehension questions although I often needed to remind her that the instructions asked for answers in full sentences. She was able to complete all of the components independently except the discussion questions. I had her answer those orally.

The Adam of the Road study guide is broken into an introduction, lesson for each of the 23 chapters, 5 quizzes, and a final exam. It also includes a couple of maps and some short material on poetry. Apple was able to get started on this study and has enjoyed it just as much. The Robin Hood study begins with the prologue and goes all the way through the epilogue. It also includes a short poetry lesson. It has an extensive glossary and 5 quizzes with a final test. The study for King Arthur is broken into books and then into chapters. There is a special page on the family tree of King Arthur. Like the other 3 studies, there are quizzes and a final exam included as well as some poetry.

I wish the quizzes, midterm, and final exam were in the student book. My teacher's guide got written in! It was an accident of course, but it would make sense to me for those to be in the student book with their other activities. I appreciate that even the answers to the discussion questions are included in the teacher's guides. I am not reading these books along with her, and I'm unfamiliar with some of the stories. Having the answers laid out saved me time. Some of the guides we received indicated they were 5th grade on the back rather than 6th grade. I'm not certain if Memoria Press has recently adjusted their grade levels or if we simply received misprinted covers. It made no impact on the studies.

Overall, I think these are great study guides. They measure the student's comprehension while encouraging them to think a little deeper about the stories. The guides are full studies without being too intense. Apple has used other literature guides that gave her an exhausting amount of writing to do. These Memoria Press guides were not like that at all, and she appreciated that! She truly loves to read and grueling lit guides can take away from her enjoyment of a book. I think the reading notes and extra vocabulary study helped her take more away from these stories.

Memoria Press offers literature guides for grades 1-10 and many of them can be purchased in sets similar to the one we received. I appreciate that they also offer each component independently. Since Apple is a bit of a speed reader, I am very selective about purchasing literature material for her. Purchasing a grade level of 4 guides wouldn't make a whole year's curriculum for her. However, students who linger in their books a bit longer could certainly stretch these studies out.

See which levels other members of the Crew reviewed:
Memoria Press Literature Guides Review
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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Total Language Arts

I was not at all familiar with Logic of English when I received Essentials 2nd Edition to review. I had heard the name Logic of English but really had no clue what it was all about. When the great big package arrived, I was very excited that Speedy would have an opportunity to try it.

Logic of English Essentials is divided into 3 levels. A, B, and C are all covered in this one set. My set came with Volume 1 of the Essentials Teacher's Manual and Student Guide, a Spelling Journal, Phonogram Game Tiles, Flash Cards, Phonogram Game Cards, Spelling Analysis Card, and Phonogram and Spelling Rule Quick Reference. I must admit it was a bit overwhelming unpacking it all!

Logic of English Review
I felt better about it when I realized this curriculum set covers reading, spelling, vocabulary, and grammar. All that makes the very hefty teacher's manual worth it! Speedy had not done anything formal with phonics in about 2 years. I gave him the pre-test (several of them are located in the teacher's manual to help you find the place to start your child/children), and he was right where I thought he'd be in Level B. 

After he took the pre-test, I had to spend a few days with the teacher's manual on my own. I didn't want to miss any important components. I also needed to organize all the parts and flash cards. I still don't have a great solution, but rubber bands and a plastic tub are working for now.

This is a very teacher involved study, but everything is laid out for you 100%. You can read directly from the teacher's manual or put it into your own words. Since this was all new for us, reading directly from the book has worked well for me. As you are going through the lessons, parts are marking "All", "A", "B", or "C". You only need to cover the sections appropriate for the student. 

There are 15 units covered in Volume 1, and it is meant to last a semester. It is set up as 5 lessons per unit. Since we only do seat work 4 days per week, I combined 2 of the shorter lessons each week. It was no trouble to do so. If I was starting this at the very beginning of a semester, I'd probably do one lesson per day, and it would still work out.

Essentials is based on phonics. Logic of English uses phonograms as the foundation for learning reading, vocabulary and spelling. As the students work through those lessons, grammar is incorporated. It is a unique approach that I really like. Since we had been away from phonics for some time, it was a bumpy first two weeks. However since then it has been smooth sailing. 

The lessons use the morpheme cards, basic phonogram flash cards, spelling rule flash cards, advanced phonogram flash cards, and grammar flash cards to teach the lessons. The teacher's manual lets you know exactly which ones you will need for each lesson. Some of those flash cards along with the included game cards are used to play fun games to solidify the lesson. Speedy has never been so happy to do grammar! 

Logic of English really does bring an element of fun to the lessons which is great for an 8 year old boy. The day he got to play "basketball" with scraps of paper where he'd written his spelling words might have been his favorite school lesson ever. He is attentive during the lessons because it is broken up into short segments using different features of the program. We are constantly going from flash cards to the student book to the spelling journal to a game and back to flash cards. Who could get bored with all that going on? Even with all the components, each day's lesson and work is relatively short. It is very comparable to the grammar program we were using before and this INCLUDES spelling and vocabulary.

Speedy has always spelled words the way they sound to him. All the spelling rules are already improving his independent spelling because now he is learning WHY we use different letters at different times. He's done very well with this program, and he's making excellent scores on his activities and weekly "quiz". This program is definitely set up for the student to excel. 

Before we received Essentials, I honestly wondered how different this program could be from anything else we've tried. I was very pleasantly surprised. I feel like this method really works for Speedy, and I think the lessons will stick with him. He loves the games, and I love the idea of several subjects combined into one. Apple has been listening in on many of our lessons, and she's even remarked that she has learned from listening to the spelling rules he's getting. I think with 3 included levels, many larger families would truly benefit from this as a basis for grammar. Since additional students only need their own workbook and spelling journal, it could certainly be a budget saver and a sanity saver!

See what other Crew members thought about Logic of English:
Logic of English Review.
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Monday, March 28, 2016


I have really enjoyed Blogging Through the Alphabet with Throught the Calm and Through the Storm and Adventures with Jude. It's hard to believe we are already up to "V"! I hope you've enjoyed my very random posts so far. If they do another round (I hope! I hope! I hope!), I may try to work on a theme. Or not. I tend to be pretty random in life. But not as random as my friend Random Randa. But I digress...

So this week we are on V. I thought it would be nice to tie in a hospitality update with visitors since we are nearing the end of March. End of the 3rd month of the year, and I have yet to meet my goal of 1 planned act of hospitality per month. Woohoo!

However, we have had people in our home! My parents are still regularly joining us for Sunday lunch. That gives me an opportunity to cook large, mostly from scratch meals and enjoy them as a family. Also Hubby can usually join us even if it is a work day for him.

It was Apple's birthday month, and she has taken advantage by having 3 sleepovers! That isn't a normal occurence for us. When we first moved into our home, both kids went over the top with having friends stay the night. After a full summer month of constant sleepovers, I instituted a long sleepover hiatus. I have relented for the sake of birthday month but hopefully they will chill out for a few months until summer rolls back around. Apple had a bedroom redo for her birthday so it was hard to tell her she couldn't have friends over to enjoy all the teal awesomeness!

We also had several different friends dropin throughout the month. I enjoy the dropin more these days. I've *tried* to stick to a regular cleaning schedule so the house is typically presentable. It's nice to do something a little unexpected sometimes. Hopefully some friends will be moving closer soon so maybe the dropins will happen more often!

So those were our visitors for the month of March. How are you doing on your word of the year?

Check out the other Blogging Through the Alphabet posts this week ! (V posts will link up on Monday, April 4!)

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Saturday, March 26, 2016

Dive Deep into the Bible {Review & Giveaway} #UndertheSea #FlyBy

Easter weekend seems like the perfect time to share my latest review with you! I received a copy of the Under the Sea Holy Bible through FlyBy Promotions. This is my first review with FlyBy! This hardcover Bible comes in the New International Reader's Version (NIrV) and is geared towards 6-10 year old kids. 

The whole Bible is made to be attractive to young readers. The cover is shiny and has some glittery aspects to the undersea life represented. There are 4 full color (front and back) pages included inside the Bible. Each includes something for the reader to really study or ponder like "The ABCs of Becoming a Christian" and "Famous Children of the Bible". The very back of the Bible holds a dictionary and an index of Bible stories. 

The Under the Sea Holy Bible, NIrV is a perfect gift for children ages 6 to 10. Themes of underwater fun and sparkling fish grace the interior of this wonderful children’s Bible. The outside is covered in foil and sparkle. The interior has color inserts featuring whimsical underwater scenes with themes of God’s care and love for each of us and all of creation. 

This is a good sturdy Bible with thinner pages like most Bibles. It includes the Old and New Testaments along with all the extras. I appreciate that the theme will make the Bible engaging for kids. Personally we have lots of versions of Bibles in our home. After reading through the Bible with our Sunday School class, we are moving back towards King James and New King James versions for ourselves, and I'd like to find some for the kids as well. I wish this Bible was offered in other versions. However, this is a solid Bible and one I'm excited for Speedy to use. Speedy had this to say:

"I like the size of the letters. I like the cover. I like the colorful pages. They tell you extra information. I wish it had red lettering for the words of Jesus. It has glitter on the front. I like it!"

You can learn more about the Under the Sea Bible:

Now for some fun! You can enter for a chance to win a copy of this Bible! Enter on the easy Giveaway Tools widget. You are not eligible if you have won a prize from FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days. One winner will be randomly selected after March 31, 2016.

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Monday, March 21, 2016


Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, "Lord, I believe; help my UNBELIEF."

I came across Mark 9:24 in my Bible reading a couple of weeks ago. I knew I needed to tuck it away for my "U" post. I've heard a few verses on this passage over the years. None really captured the deep feeling I associate with that verse. Each time I read it I find myself drawing in my breath. How often do we need God to help our unbelief? I know I do!

Sometimes it feels easy to believe. When we are comforting a friend, it's easy to believe for them that God will work out the situation. It's a little different when it's our own situation. Especially if it's something we've been praying about long term. The unbelief really starts to creep in and take over.

We can look at the current political campaigns and feel disbelief. Is this real life? But we should never stop trusting and believing that God is in control and He is sovereign. Lord help our unbelief.

Even within the church, things can seem unbelievable. We must keep praying and believe that God has it all under control.

So this week, I won't be praying for faith or hope. I will pray for God to help my unbelief.

I'm sharing my "U" post with Through the Calm and Through the Storm and Adventures with Jude as they are Blogging Through the Alphabet! Be sure to check out all the other unique "u" posts!

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Saturday, March 19, 2016

Create a Central Charging Station #intelliARMOR

This past week was our Spring Break. The kids mostly breaked, while I tried to catch up on as much as possible. A large chunk of the week was spent going through clothes and working on spring cleaning. A big problem we have is losing all the phone chargers. And the tablet chargers. And the MP3 chargers. The list goes on.

So I was quite excited to receive an intelliARMOR 4-port USB charger to review through Tomoson. I was able to use it to set up one central location in the living room with 4 separate chargers. Now the kids devices will be plugged in where we can see them, no one will complain that they don't have a charger, and none of them should get lost!

I may get a second one soon for my office area because I'm so thrilled with this one! Do you think you could use a charger like this? It even fold up to take on the go! You can get 20% off with the code "SmartPwr". Check them out here:

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Our Favorite Ways to Study the World Around Us

We are now on Week #3 of the 2016 Virtual Curriculum Fair. The theme this week is Exploring Our World: Social Studies and More Science. Big thanks to the hosts and planners of this event! Make sure you check out the posts at the bottom!

I really like social studies. I even won an award in high school for most social studies credits (or something like that!). It is an area where we try to have a base program to study throughout the school year, but I feel like my kids really learn and absorb the most history from outside reading and even some tv shows and movies.

On the other hand, science has never really been my thing. Again we have a base curriculum each year. The kids both really enjoy science, but they really learn science when they are doing fun activities with my science loving husband.

We have explored a solid mix of programs for both subjects. We took this year to study Tennessee history. I remember studying it myself in the 4th grade. Since the kids are in 3rd and 6th, it seemed like a good time for them to collectively learn about the history of our state. I found a few options for TN history but I ended up purchasing Notgrass Exploring Tennessee. It has been a solid curriculum for this year. There are things we have really like about it and things that I would have liked to have seen done differently. If money was no option, we would have spent the year exploring the state on our own. I think that would have been the most fun and rewarding!

Last year we used Mystery of History Vol. 1. The kids really enjoyed it and so did I. We've also spent some time with Project Passport World History Study: The Middle Ages. The kids LOVED that one. It is a LOT of printing and cutting so it wasn't particularly my favorite but they enjoyed it so much.

I haven't really made my decision for the fall yet. We have so many resources on our shelves that I'm trying very hard not to purchase anything we don't absolutely need for 2016-2017. I'm hoping to utilize our membership more. I think using it along with some books, like Heroes of History from YWAM, may be our path.

For science this year, we went through Apologia's Exploring Botany set. The kids enjoyed learning all about plants and trees. Botany is normally done in earlier grades but somehow we skipped it along the way! The kids have had a couple of years of zoology using different methods. They even disected a frog in a co-op! They've also worked through a beginning anatomy as well as astronomy. I recently won a copy of Christian Kids Explore Physics. I'm excited to start it in the fall! I think the kids will really like the projects and learning about the Periodic Table. Apple has had a Periodic Table poster in her room for awhile now.

What are your favorite history and science programs? Do you like one or both of those subjects?

See what these bloggers pick as their top choices:

Yvie @ Gypsy Road - Bringing It to Life! History, Geography, & Science 
Jen Altman @ Chestnut Grove AcademyVirtual Curriculum Fair 2016: Exploring Our World, How We Do Social Studies and Life/Earth Science 
Laura @ Day by Day in Our World - Learning About the World Around Us 
Chareen @ Every Bed of Roses  - Social Studies a Science of Relations
Lisa @ GoldenGrasses - Exploring & Discovering Around the World 
Annette @ A Net In Time - Science and Culture Around the World and at Home
Kym @ Homeschool Coffee Break -  Exploring History and Geography 
Laura @ Four Little Penguins  - Going Around the World at Our Kitchen Table
Joelle @ Homeschooling for His Glory - Our Tackling of the Social Studies and Science
Kristen @ Sunrise to Sunset - Encouraging Curiosity about the World

Girly Guide to Fun

Apple always gets excited when we receive FaithGirlz books for review. The latest one is 101 Ways to Have Fun. This colorful book is split into 9 chapters to help your tween bust boredom. 

The 101 ideas are split into 9 chapters. The chapters make it easy for the reader to look for active ideas, businesses to try, throwing a party or sleepover, getting crafty, and more! The ideas range from the obvious to unique and creative. 

The book reminded me of some of the magazines I read when I was about Apple's age. A few little quizzes and lots of fun things to do with friends. The ideas are innocent and fun. Some are a bit unrealistic for everyday life, but maybe they will spark a realistic idea for your girl!

Apple had this to say:

"I really like all the things in there. Some of them I imagine I could do, but others I don't think I could do. One thing that could have made it better would have been more things that you didn't have to buy stuff for. I wish more of the ideas used things from around the house. My favorite idea was styling a one minute centerpiece. There were a lot of cute ideas but that one was my favorite because you got to use candy! All in all, it is a good book and I'd recommend it to all of my friends."

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Send Your Student on a Journey Through the Rainforest #OnlineScienceResource

EdTechLens gave us the opportunity to use their Rainforest Journey to review for the Crew. This e-course is designed for an online course and is offered in grades K-5. Speedy has been working on the 3rd grade level, and in a few short weeks he's made it to the end of unit 2. We have received a one year access to the course.

Rainforest Journey EdTechLens Review

There are 34 lessons split into 5 units. The lessons are read and watched online, and then each one has a review page that can be printed. Each lesson is short and can be completed in a day. The lessons include illustrations, vocabulary, and information from scientists and naturalists. At the end of each unit, there are 3 assessments split into "Depth of Knowledge", "Open Ended Assessment", and "Factual Assessment". These assessments can be printed or can be taken online.

Rainforest Journey EdTechLens Review

The bright, colorful pictures have really drawn Speedy into the program. He's also enjoyed the included videos. He watched a video of a gibbon communicating over and over. Since we completed a Botany study earlier this year, Rainforest Journey has been a great complement to that. EdTechLens presents science in a secular manner, but so far we haven't heard or read too much in the lessons that conflicts with our faith. Speedy has been able to follow through this program mostly on his own. The written portions of the lessons include an option to listen to it being read. While the words are well within his reading capabilities, he elects to listen to them while he studies the pictures and charts.

The lesson review worksheets are short and easy to print. A few have included pictures that are meant to be in color, but I print everything in black and white. Many of the questions are intended to be answered in full sentences, but since we've used this as a supplement I have allowed him to give short phrases as answers. I'm using the worksheets just to be sure he is paying attention to his lessons. If you wanted to use this course as a basis for a science study for a school semester or year, it would be easy to add in books and videos to beef it up. Then you could require full answers on the worksheets.

Speedy has enjoyed this study and many times he has called his sister to look at a picture or video. My husband and kids are very "science-y", and I've heard them discussing information from the lessons in the evenings. Since I am not science inclined, courses like this give me some relief as a homeschool mom. I appreciate that they can learn science in a variety of ways that overcome my lack of science interest.

Most of the website is very well organized. When you sign up, you have a parental login and your students are assigned a login name. It is very easy to monitor progress through the progress bar across the top of the course outline page. A checkmark is put on completed lessons. I never found answers to the lesson reviews. The answers are available for the quizzes (assessments). The course keeps a grade for the student based on those assessment scores.

Speedy has been working on the Rainforest Journey four times a week. He will complete the course in a short amount of time at the current rate. Again, if we were using it for a full curriculum or semester, I'd add in videos and books to complete each lesson. Since we have used it as a supplement, it is just right.

Speedy has enjoyed this e-course. He likes the pictures and the videos. The workload is light which makes my 3rd grader quite happy. I think the course has some merits. The videos and pictures were also my favorite part. I consistently felt like I wanted more from the program. I wanted it to give more information, to give even more pictures and videos, and to offer more worksheets and suggestions. I do think it showed Speedy things he might not have seen or heard otherwise, and since he is enjoying it that makes me happy!

Read reviews from other Crew members:

Rainforest Journey EdTechLens Review
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Monday, March 14, 2016


Twelve is an important number. Jesus had 12 apostles. There are 12 donuts in a dozen, 12 numbers on a clock, 12 months in a year, and so on. Since this week is "T" for Blogging Through the Alphabet, I thought I'd give you my top 12 reasons I love homeschool. I could do a post of 12 things that drive me crazy on a typical homeschool day, but we'll save that for another day.

(In no particular order...)

1. I get to spend every day with my kids. Their childhoods are passing so quickly even though I am with them everyday. I love that I know what's going on with them most of the time. We are together and enjoying (mostly) all of the time together. We are experiencing life together.

2. We make our own schedule. I don't have to plan my day around picking them up or dropping them off at a certain time. If we want to go on vacation during the "school year", we do (and we do every year!). I make our daily schedule, and I work around Hubby's work schedule as much as I can.

3. I have the freedom to work from home. Partly because we make our own schedule and partly because our budget isn't impacted by school fundraisers, uniforms, book fairs, field trip fees, projects, etc. Now certainly I still need to buy clothing for my kids, and we buy lots of books but I can pick and choose based on our budget. I choose to do a few part time jobs in order to supplement our finances. If the kids were in public school (or definitely if they were in private school), I would need to have a full time job outside of the house.

4. I can select the curriculum we use. We choose to use curriculum that doesn't contradict our faith. Kids will learn based on someone's beliefs, I'd prefer it to be mine! Our kids are exposed to other ideas and beliefs but they know what we believe, and we teach them that way.

5. I can select the curriculum that works best for them. Since I am their teacher I can definitely tell you which types of programs work best for them and which ones don't. I tend towards books that will work for both of them but that isn't always possible. I also try to make sure they are exposed to a variety of teaching styles, even those that aren't their favorite, because in life they will be exposed to a mixture.

6. I choose the books and movies or shows they watch during school time. I don't have to argue with a teacher or someone else over a selection that I might deem inappropriate. I also have a voice in the books, movies, shows, and music they consume in their free time. Occasionally they are exposed to a choice I don't agree with when they are with a friend or other family member, but those times are few and far between. Occasional exposure is much different than every day exposure.

7. They are confident. They are quirky (as all kids are), and they own it. No one is telling them it's weird or wrong to be themselves. They aren't asked to conform to someone else's ideal all the time. Having a distinct personality is important as an adult. It's always seemed odd to me that people start as originals and then somewhere along the line want to be just like their friends and then have to "find themselves" later to figure out who they are as an adult. Obviously they still want to fit in with their friends, but it's on a much different level.

8. They don't feel "less than" if they aren't in on the latest trend. They are certainly aware of name brands and like the things they own with emblems on them but they don't feel pressured to only dress in those brands. They are happy with what they have.

9. Both kids have the freedom to study things that interest them. They aren't limited by time constraints or by all assigned work. They can explore ideas in books, shows, online, and by talking to grown ups. They often think of something and then spend time learning about it on their own. Apple enjoys artistic pursuits, and Speedy enjoys history and sports related studies. The independent study they are doing now may well impact their choices in the future.

10. They get recess. Every day. They get to play and move and spend time outside. It's important. They enjoy it. I enjoy it when they go outside!

11. They have more time to learn life skills. They will tell you that they spend lots of time doing chores and learning to cook. Their grocery shopping game is strong. They understand the basics of meal planning, following a recipe, and looking for a deal. They will use these skills again and again in life. They can both sweep and mop and clean a bathroom. They both do their own laundry. Those are overlooked skills that many youth don't know how to do today!

12. I never thought I'd homeschool my kids. It wasn't in my plans. When God started guiding us to this decision, I was trying to run fast and far in the opposite direction. I was absolutely terrified that I would fail. That I was making a mistake. That I wasn't good enough to educate my own kids. I love homeschool because I was afraid I would fail, and God showed me I wouldn't. Only with His grace have we made it this far. And I appreciate every sweet friend He has sent to encourage me on this journey. I have had some very special ladies in my corner the last 6 years, and many of those relationships would have never happened if we weren't connected by homeschool!

I am adding this "Twelve" post to Blogging Through the Alphabet. Special thanks to Adventures with Jude and Through the Calm and Through the Storm for hosting each week! Be sure to check out some other "T" posts!

Blogging Through the Alphabet” style=

Math-U-See on the Move

Demme Learning now offers Math-U-See Digital Packs, and we got access to one to review! Apple is almost finished with Pre-Algebra, so we selected the Algebra 1 digital pack. The kids and I love Math-U-See, and we were all excited to see their latest offering. Apple is nearing the end of Pre-Algebra, so it wasn't much of a stretch for her to work on Algebra 1 during this review period.

Demme Learning Math U See Review
If you aren't familiar with Math-U-See, it is a video based math program. Each week students watch a video with Mr. Demme teaching a math concept. The levels are based on total mastery. Students completely master addition and then move on to subtraction and so on. Math-U-See encourages the use of manipulatives to fully understand the concepts that are presented. Each lesson begins with a video and then students have up to 8 worksheets and a test they can complete. It is recommended that students completely master the concept before moving on to the next lesson. 

In the past, all levels have required a DVD, a teacher's manual, and a student workbook. Now Math-U-See has introduced these Digital Packs. Digital Packs are available for each level, and they replace the DVD and the teacher's manual. Many levels also use manipulatives. The original set of manipulatives comes with colorful plastic blocks. The new Digital Pack gives you access to an online version of the manipulatives. 

The link to this special online feature can be a little tricky to find. It is located on the right sidebar but looks like a title rather than a link. Once you click on it you get a page similar to what you see above. That page allows you to work with digital manipulatives on a grid or white page. You can even write or draw on the page! It also includes special features for fractions, decimals, and exponents. I had fun getting in and trying out all the features. Apple has not needed the manipulatives in the lessons she has been working on in Algebra 1.

It takes a few steps to access the Digital Pack. You must login on the Math-U-See website and then click through "My Digital Packs" link. Then you access a drop down menu to select the level you need. After that you select the lesson you are working on through another drop down menu. Then your student can watch their video lesson. There are also links along the right sidebar for a lesson summary, lesson solutions (that seems very tempting to have those right there!), and test solutions. 

We have enjoyed the Digital Pack. Apple only tried it on our desktop computer, but I understand it is compatible with several different platforms. I think the Digital Pack would make it much easier to take Math-U-See on the go. It also would take away worries about lost or scratched discs. One drawback is that a subscription to a Digital Pack only lasts for one year. If your student needed longer than that to complete the level then you would need to repurchase. Apple enjoyed watching her videos on the computer. I like the idea that you can't step on digital manipulatives, and they can't get lost!

We have used Math-U-See for about 6 years. It is our base math program. Both kids have excelled using it, and they both enjoy it (most days)! I think the Digital Packs are a step in a good direction. An online program would be easier to update than a paper one. I typically still enjoy the good old pen and paper approach to most subjects but this has been a great review item for us. I do wish there was a dedicated link to take the student straight to the login page. That would make it easier. All in all, I think this is a great product that would work well for many families.

See what other members of the Crew thought of Demme Learning:
Demme Learning's Math-U-See Review



Twitter:  @mathusee #​mathusee #homeschoolmath​ #hsreview


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Tuesday, March 8, 2016

The Beginning of the New Testament #BibleStudy

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Grapevine Studies sent us New Testament Level 2: Birth of John to Jesus' Ministry and New Testament Overview Part 1 Level 3: Birth of John to Jesus Ministry and New Testament along with a teacher's manual to review for the Crew. We did a review of the Grapevine study Creation to Jacob back in the fall, and it was a big hit. The kids were both excited to start another Grapevine study.

Grapevine Studies are a very unique way to study through the Bible with children of various ages. This New Testament Overview Part 1 study is available in 4 levels. Speedy has been working through Level 2 (ages 8-10), and Apple is working through Level 3 (ages 10-13). The levels correspond so I'm really only teaching 1 lesson, and they are both working through their own study. This particular study from Grapevine focuses on the time period from the birth of John to the ministry of Jesus in 13 lessons.

Birth of John to Jesus' Ministry {Grapevine Studies Review}
This Bible curriculum can be split up to work on daily or weekly. This time I elected to have the children work on this study once a week on Wednesdays. Sometimes we did it during our regular school time and some weeks we had a personal study on the Wednesday evenings that we weren't at church. I think there are benefits to both daily and weekly studies. If you follow the Grapevine recommendations, you will accomplish the same amount of work no matter which method you choose.

Birth of John to Jesus' Ministry {Grapevine Studies Review}
The first time you use a Grapevine study, it can feel a little confusing because it so different from other Bible studies for kids! The first lesson of the study fully focuses on making a timeline. This timeline will give your kids an overview of the lesson, and what they will be studying. The timeline is made using stick figuring. Basically, you are drawing little stick figure pictures to go along with each part of scripture that you are studying with the kids. I am no artist. Seriously. Even I can make these stick figures work. One of my kids is very artistic and immensely enjoys drawing. The other is the opposite. However both kids really like doing this stick figure method as we go through the lessons. The teacher's manual showed me exactly what to draw. I drew it on a whiteboard, and then the kids made their own versions on their worksheets.

After the first lesson with the complete timeline, the rest of the lessons follow an easy pattern. As the teacher you will pray and study the verses before presenting the lesson. No worries, these are short passages broken way down into simple pieces of scripture. For example, the lesson we did last week covered Luke 2: 40-50. Just ten verses for the whole week's worth of lessons. No sweat! So you go over the verses with the kids and show them the stick figures to put in their boxes. Then there is a short list of questions at the end of the lesson. Sometimes level 3 students will mark a location on a map. The sheets the kids fill out for the different lessons are very similar. Each week they also have a memory verse to write. Since we are working on doing a regular memory verse together each week, I've only required mine to memorize the ones I've picked as our weekly verse.

We received digital e-books for New Testament Overview Part 1: Birth of John to Jesus' Ministry in levels 2 and 3 and a digital teacher's manual. I printed off the entire study for each child. Then I punched holes in them and gave each one their study in a folder with brads. I did not print off the teacher's manual, but I think I will do that for future Grapevine studies. Several times I wished it was printed so I could move around the room. Also, if it was printed we could take it with us if we were on the go. So the needs for this study are simple: ink and paper for printing and a folder. You will also want a whiteboard to draw your stick figures and different colored dry erase markers are helpful. It is recommended that the kids use colored pencils for their drawings. Sometimes Speedy chooses to use crayons instead.

Grapevine Studies are a great way to incorporate Bible study into your homeschool or family time. While they are perfect for families with multiple aged children, they are just as great for a family with only 1 child. These overview Bible Studies make it easy to do an overview of specific portions of the Bible, or they will work as a starting point for deeper lessons. The New Testament Overview Part 1 was just right for our family as Hubby and I are working through the New Testament with our Sunday School class. Our kids like studying what we are studying.

The Grapevine website has loads of information to help you select the right study and levels for your family. They offer overview studies like this one as well as several topical studies.

Birth of John to Jesus' Ministry {Grapevine Studies Review}

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Birth of John to Jesus' Ministry {Grapevine Studies Review}
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