Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Review~ Project Passport The Middle Ages from Home School in the Woods

Mountain of Grace Homeschool Review

Home School in the Woods is a company we are extremely familiar with. We have used a variety of their projects over the years and have learned a tremendous amount of information. Recently, we were asked to review The Middle Ages from the Project Passport World History Studies section from Home School in the Woods .

Homeschool History Unit Studies

Home School in the Woods is a leader in the homeschooling world when it comes to hands-on learning, especially when it comes to history. They offer projects that are filled with information, important dates and people, and fun projects. No matter what time period your student is learning, they have a fun-filled hands-on project to discover. Learning while having fun should really be there slogan.

For this review, we received a link to download the The Middle Ages Project Passport World History Study. They offer either a download version or an actual CD for purchase. The CD is only a dollar more, so it's really your personal preference. 

For this project, we traveled to the Middle ages. The Middle Ages Project Passport World History Study covers everything you would think. Daily life, science, art, the Church, Vikings, Knights, and  castles are all included. Students will learn about England, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East. 

Project Passport: The Middle Ages has 25 stops along your journey.

Stop # 1~ Laying the Foundation (Packing for the Trip)
Stop # 2~ Laying the Foundation (Barbarians in the South & East)
Stop # 3~ Laying the Foundation (Barbarians in the North & East)
Stop # 4~ Everyday Life (Family)
Stop # 5~ Everyday Life (Clothing & Food)
Stop # 6~ Everyday Life (Community)
Stop # 7~ Everyday Life (Crime, Punishment, & Entertainment)
Stop # 8~ Business (Towns & Guilds)
Stop # 9~ Business (Merchants, Trade, & Exploration)
Stop # 10~ Science & Invention
Stop # 11~ Education 
Stop # 12~ The Arts
Stop # 13~ Medicine & Diseases
Stop # 14~ The Church (History)
Stop # 15~ The Church (Church & Other Religious Events)
Stop # 16~ The Church (Monastic Life)
Stop #17~ The Crusades
Stop #18~ The Crusades
Stop #19~ Knights 7 Chivalry 
Stop #20~ The Vikings (Life)
Stop # 21~ The Vikings (Era of the Vikings)
Stop # 22~ Battles, Wars, & Conflicts (Muslim Invasions)
Stop # 23~ Battles, Wars, & Conflicts (Eastern Europe)
Stop # 24~ Battles, Wars, and Conflicts (England)
Stop # 25~ Final Stop (Packing Up)

Students will work on filling in a timeline, have maps to label, get to create various projects like puppets, floral wreath circlet, a Robin Hood cap, a castle out of sugar cubes (Legos could work too), a catapult, a Viking ship, and weave a tapestry.

How Did We Use Project Passport: The Middle Ages?
The projects from Passport Projects World History Studies are geared for students in 3rd through 8th grade. Used alone they are a fantastic history program for younger students.  As the kids have gotten older, they have been a wonderful start to build on. So, we don't use the project exactly as they suggest now that the kids are older. When they were younger, we created the lapbooks and cute little suitcase.
Now, the kids just add the material to their 1.5 inch history binder.  Since we study history in chronological order, they just add the pages as we go along. We use the history projects from Home School in the Woods as an add-on to our other history curriculum. They are a great starting point or a wonderful addition to a lesson already planned. The suggested use it to work on a lesson or stop over a 8-12 week period. Students could also work on a stop each day. This would allow students to finish the entire Middle Ages within one month. Since we use it as an add-on, we do a few stops each week, usually two to three. Since the kids spend so much time reading different materials for their history lessons, I love the hands-on projects. These creative projects are a fantastic addition to their notes and it breaks up all that reading. 

Students will need colored pencils and glue sticks. Moms will need plenty of paper, white and colored. A few other materials are needed but everything is listed in great detail. No confusion. 

What Did We think of Project Passport: The Middle Ages?

Well, of course, we liked it. We've liked every item we've used from Home School in the Woods. I was pleased to see a variety of Catholic saints included in this history unit study. The history of the Church stops were well done and provided a non-bias view of the Church and the Crusades. The note pages provided the kids with the basics while the books they read for history provide the rest. Michael and Therese have both studied this time period before so a lot of the information was review for them. Many of the hands-on projects the kids had done in the past. Michael loved creating a catapult and a viking ship when he was younger. Now, he's feels a little too old to create the cafts.

Over the years we've used quite the selection of products from Home School in the Woods. We have enjoyed them all.

~Hands-On History Lap-Paks~
Wonders of the World
U.S. Elections

~A La Carte Projects~
Science, Invention, and Mathematics Timeline
The Art of Quilling

~Time Travelers U.S History~
The Early 19th Century
The Civil War
The Industrial Revolution through The Great Depression
America in World War II

~Project Passports World History~
Ancient Egypt
Ancient Greece

and now they have Ancient Rome available.

The rest of the crew members have been working on working through  other projects. If you want to find out more about a different project, click on the link below. I'm sure one of the amazing crew members reviewed it. 

Till Next Time,

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Thursday, July 26, 2018

Review~ Smart Kidz Radio from Smart Kidz Media

It seems like yesterday I had little ones to sing and dance with. Over the years, we have listened to a variety of kid's music. Smart Kidz Radio from Smart Kidz Media offers parents and young children a selection of fun educational songs and stories.

Smart Kidz Radio is a free online radio station for young children. It's a live stream. The programming is geared for children ages, 2 to 10. The radio station offers a variety of programming to appeal to all your little ones. The original songs and stories from Smart Kidz Radio help teach children valuable lessons and skills. It focuses on teaching wonderful character traits and proper morals and values. For example, one song we heard was all about brushing your teeth and the importance of taking care of your teeth.

In addition to the fun, educational songs offered on the radio station, children can find classic children's stories to listen to. Children and parents can choose from classics like Alice in Wonderland, Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk, Little Red Riding Hood, Rip Van Winkle, Robin Hood, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Treasure Island, and The Three Musketeers! This is just a few of the amazing stories offered for your children to listen to! I loved reading these classic stories to my kids when they were little. Now, parents have the option to listen to this wonderful stories when they are the go. Smart Kidz Radio is available for listening on desk top computers, laptops, tablets, and phones.

I did have Therese sit down and listen to the radio with me. She found some of the lyrics a little hard to understand. She could make a few words here and there. She felt that it might be hard for little ones to catch on to the lyrics. We both felt the songs are definitely geared for the younger child. The few songs we heard would be of more interest to the preschool/kindergarten age range. She did honestly admit that she wouldn't have listened to the music when she was 9 or 10. I would have to say I agree with her. The stories, on the other hand, would probably be fine for slightly older children. I would recommend Smart Kidz Radio for families with children that are 8 or under. The only real complaint I would probably had as a parent when my kids were younger is not having the ability to pick what songs you want to listen too. We all know how kids get fixated on a particular song and want to hear it over and over. This is where the new On-Demand programming would come in handy!

Smart Kidz Radio will be offering an On-Demand program for purchase. The On-Demand programming allows the subscribers to listen to hundreds of songs and stories. Children will be able to listen to whatever song or story they want when they want. No limits! They currently offer two different subscription plans. I didn't have access to the On-Demand programming for this review, so I cannot comment on what the program is actually like. They do offer a free trial, so if you're interested you can just sign up for that to see if the program is right for your children.

Stop by and read what the other crew members had to say about Smart Kidz Radio!

Till Next Time,

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Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Review~ Love, Honor, and Virtue: Gaining or Regaining a Biblical Attitude Toward Sexuality

Recently, I was given the opportunity to review Love, Honor, and Virtue Gaining or Regaining a Biblical Attitude Toward Sexuality by Hal and Melanie Young from Great Water Press. With all the sexual explicit material our young boys come across in our world this book is a huge help to parents.

Hal and Melanie Young are the authors of various books and run the amazing website Raising Real Men. They strive to help parents and young men in this crazy world we live in. Currently a lot of our society is anti-boy. Activities and behaviors that boys have thrived on have been frown upon or banned. How often have you heard these comments?

"Boys shouldn't play with guns" 
"No rough housing"
"Boys are just too rough and wild"

I know we've experienced a few odd things over the years as my son has gotten older. He can't even go into a store and by certain camping items or wildlife survival items without being carded. Just a few months ago, he went to buy a slingshot for his survival bag and was flagged. Even the young man in his 20's ringing him up was shocked. We live in a different world from when we grew up. Like many parents, Hal and Melanie Young realize that boys have somehow become the enemy in this age of the girl. It's great that girls are finally being recognized, but I wonder at what cost. Why can't we appreciate both boys and girls? God created us all. We are all important in His eyes. Wouldn't it be great if society felt the same way?

"There's a war going in for the souls of men, and for the souls of young men in particular."

Love, Honor, and Virtue Gaining or Regaining a Biblical Attitude Toward Sexuality is written for young men. It's geared for boys ages 12 and up. Young men all the way up into their 20's could benefit from this book. 

For this review, I received a physical paperback copy of the book. The book is 96 pages long. 
It' currently on sale for $9.75. You can also purchase the book as an audio book, eBook, or mp3 download. An option for everyone. 

The book is broken up into eight sections.

Introduction~ To the Young Men on the Battlefield
Sex was God's Idea
It's All Connected
The Enemy Pervert's God's Design
How Can a Young Man Keep His Way Pure?
Recovering from a Fall
Guys and Girls
Conclusion~ The Road Ahead

"Deep within yourself, listen to your conscience which calls you to be pure.... a home is not warmed by the fire of pleasure which burns quickly like a pile of withered grass. Passing encounters are only a caricature of love; they injure hearts and mock God's plan."
~ Saint Pope John Paul II

The book covers a wide range of topics. Puberty is discussed.... both boys and girls body changes are addressed. Gender, lust, sin, the purpose of sex and marriage according to God's plan. Temptation and purity are addressed. The book is written in a clear, direct manner. Perfect for young men. Throughout the book, God's plan for us is always at the center. 

What Did We Think of Love, Honor, and Virtue?

I read the book for this review first. I wanted to see what the book entailed before I gave it to Michael to read. It was a shorter book, so it was easy to read and finish. I loved the summary pages at the end of each chapter. They provided quick bullet points for the reader. They even included some black space allowing parents or the young men reading the book to take notes. 

I love how the book stresses that there is a real battle our young boys and men are facing. With puberty happening earlier and marriages occurring later on life. The battle is long and hard. Gone are the days of young men and young ladies getting married in their early 20's. I didn't get married until I was 27 and that was considered old back in the day. Now, when a young couple is in their early 20's and want to get married, people think they are crazy!

I love the Five Point Defense system taught in the book. 

1. Leave or change the situation
2. Pray
3. Read Scripture
4. Sing to the Lord
5. Go your authorities (parents, close adult friend, priest)

"Purity?" they ask. And they smile. They are the ones who go on to marriage with worn-out bodies and disillusioned souls."
~ Saint Josemaria Escriva

I plan on giving it to Michael to read, but we've been so busy lately that I have not passed the book on to him yet. He'll be starting high school in the fall, so it will be a perfect time for him to read this book. We're a little luckier than some parents, since we homeschool. Michael is limited to what he is exposed to. we do shelter him to some extent, but I try to not keep him locked away. I truly believe that kids need to know and learn about the world they will live in. If we don't teach them while we have them under our roof, someone else will once they leave. We've all heard the horror stories of the child that was extremely sheltered, went away to college, and then went wild. None of us want that to happen to our child. Education is key.

Want to read what others thought about Love, Honor, and Virtue? 
Click below!
Other members of the crew reviewed No Longer Little, a book about parenting pre-teens.... you may to check that title out too!

Till Next Time,

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Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Review~ Math Refresher for Adults from Math Essentials

Mountain of Grace Homeschooling Review

Are your children getting older? Do you worry how you'll teach the higher grades? Does math scare you? Well if you've said yes to these questions, I have the answer for you. 
Let me introduce you to....Math Refresher for Adults from Math Essentials. It's a new book that helps parents teach the higher level math courses! Let's be honest, for many of us math class was quite a few years ago. We may have forgotten a few concepts over the years. I know I have!

High School Math Help

Math Essentials provides homeschoolers with  strong math curriculum from award winning author Richard W. Fisher. They offer math books that cover basic math concepts for 4th/5th graders, basic concepts for middle/high school students, Pre-Algebra, Algebra 1, Geometry, Fractions, Decimals, Problem Solving, and a math survival book. The titles can be purchased separately or they offer fantastic deals on book bundles! They truly have a book for all the different math skills students will need to know. I know I'm already looking at the Geometry book. The fraction and decimal books look great too. Concept review is always important! 

Higher Math Help

For this review, we received a physical copy of the book Math Refresher for Adults. The book currently costs $28.95. The price is subject to change so please check the website for the most up-to-date price. 

The book covers general math, problem solving skills, geometry, pre- algebra, and algebra. It covers every subject a parent or student would need to know.

General Math
Whole Numbers
Charts and Graphs
Word Problems

Pre-Algebra and Algebra
Sets and Integers
Positive and Negative Fractions 
Positive and Negative Decimals
Exponents and Square Roots
Order of Operations
Properties of Numbers
Scientific Notation
Rations, Proportions, Percents
Number Theory
Number Lines
Coordinate Systems
Algebraic Word Probems
Probability and Statistics 

The book is set up like a workbook, but the author recommends copying the problems onto a piece of paper or in a notebook. He believes that copying down a problem and then solving helps in understanding the problem and in the accuracy of solving it. I know I've found that when my kids copy the problems down they tend to focus more. Copying down the problems also allows the book to be used by multiple people.  Even though Math Refresher for Adults is geared for adults, high school students could easily work through it to help maintain their math skills. It would be a great tool for students heading off to college.

How Does Math Refresher for Adults work?

Most lessons are just one page. A few of the lessons are 2 pages long. The lessons are easy to understand. They can be done in very little time. Each lesson is broken up into sections. The first section is the review exercises. The review exercises are important for retaining what has been learned. This section usually has 2-4 problems. 
Following the review sections, students will find the new lesson. Each lesson contains two sample problems. It's extremely important to work through the two sample problems and check your answers in the back of the book. Once these to problems have been done, it's now time to more on to the rest of the problems. Helpful hints are included in each lesson. These are basically "reminders" on how to work through the problems. This is helpful just in case you might have forgotten how to solve the problems. Once the problems have been completed check your answers. A score of 80% is considered passing. If you didn't pass, you can go online and check out the free video tutorials. A code is included in the book. These are great videos. Michael and I have watched quite a few of the videos since he is currently working through the No-Nonsense Algebra from Math Essentials.

Included at the back of the book is the very important answer key, a glossary of math terms, a few pages with important symbols and tables used in math.

What Did I Think of Math Refresher for Adults?

It's another fantastic math resource from Math Essential. The lesson are simple, easy to understand, and definitely help students understand math! There are no tedious explanations that confuse students. There are no drawn out explanations that teach students to go through 20 steps instead of solving the problem in 3 simple steps.  I love that the lesson can easily been done in 20-30 minutes. The table of contents allows parents and students to quickly look up a topic they may have questions about. All I had to do was flip the book to the correct page, read, work through the problems, and check my answers. I love the confidence it gave me. I knew I could easily follow along and help Michael when he got to an area in math that he might not understand. I was a pretty good students in math, so most of what I read was a little boost to my memory. The only area I haven't dug into was the geometry section. Since I struggles there in high school, I know I will rely on this book and the videos for teaching Michael. Who knows maybe I'll finally understand geometry...I won't hold my breath though.

This is the second product we have reviewed for Math Essentials. Last year, we reviewed 
No-Nonsense Algebra from Math Essentials. It was fantastic. I currently have Michael working through the book this summer to strengthen his Algebra skills. He officially starts high school next year and I want him to have a strong understanding of Algebra 1.

Find out more about Math Refresher for Adults from the other crew members who reviewed it!
Click on the link below....

Till Next Time,

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Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Biomes~ Strolling through the Temperate Forest

Please Note~ This post may contain affiliate links. If you choose to click on a link, add it to your cart and complete your purchase, I will receive a small percentage. We are very grateful for this additional source of income. Thank you. 

Our last biome to learn about was the Temperate Forest. We saved the best for last. Since we live in the mountains are technically in the forest this was an easy study for us. In fact, the kid and I have been learning about the temperate (deciduous forest) since we moved up here. 

We've discovered lizards, snakes, toads, tree frogs, deer, raccoons, foxes, coyotes, and bears!
All of these amazing animals have been up close and personal ON OUR BACK PORCH. The bear sitting on the back porch was a little too close to comfort for the chickens and I.

We've also visited the Smoky Mountains over the years and were lucky enough to see the elk that have been reintroduced to that environment. They are truly magnificent animals!

We learned about leaves, pine needles, and all the different trees that surround us. 
The kids collected a variety of leaves from our trees and made a leaf collection. They had to research to discover what type of tree the leaf came from. It was fun project to do!

We've explored wild flowers.

Books to learn more about Temperate Forests
The Temperate Forests
Temperate Forest Biomes
A Walk in the Deciduous Forest
Forest Biome

We found a wonderful selection of reading passages about biomes, worksheets with multiple choice, and for more advance students short answer worksheets. You can check them all out here.
For younger kids, here is a fun matching biome and animal coloring page. The site Ask a Biologist has a lot of great science activities.

The best way to learn about a biome is to get out there and go exploring.
Take a walk, visit a pond, enjoy nature!

Till Next Time,

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Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Biomes~ Hanging out in the Tropical Rain Forest

Please Note~ This post may contain affiliate links. If you choose to click on a link, add it to your cart and complete your purchase, I will receive a small percentage. We are very grateful for this additional source of income. Thank you. 

Let's explore the tropical rain forest!
It's green, vibrant, hot, and humid.
Are you ready for an adventure?
I know the kids were when we started this trip deep into the rain forest.

For this diorama, the kids used more shoe boxes, construction paper, paint, leaves and flowers, glass pebbles, and plastic animals to create their forest scenes. Almost all of the supplies we've used for this fun dioramas came from the dollar store or from our own craft bin. I loved how the kids drew their own pictures by using books for guides.

Tropical flowers and poisonous frogs!

Therese even added a hut to her diorama.

We found a few fun sites to explore and some worksheets to help us learn about the different layers of the rain forest.

Rain Forest Canopy Worksheet and a bunch of other sheets for older kids

Of course we checked out books from our local library. We LOVE the library. I can't tell you how much money it has saved us over the years during our homeschooling journey.

Books about the rain forest....

A fun read along for younger kids is the Magic Tree House book Afternoon on the Amazon and the research guide Rainforests. We read this years ago when the kids were little. we did a unit study all ab out the rain forest. They loved reading these book aloud together!

Till Next Time,

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