Sunday, April 28, 2019

Sunday Inspiration~ April 28, 2019

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Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Review~ Ancient Rome Online Unit Study from Techie Homeschool Mom

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.

This year for history, we have been studying ancient times. We've already learned about Ancient Egypt and Ancient Greece. We are currently learning all about Ancient Rome. To help us learn about Ancient Rome, we have been using the Ancient Rome Online Unit Study from Techie Homeschool Mom. It's an online homeschool unit study filled with so much stuff! I can't wait to share it with you.

Techie Homeshool Mom is an online site created by Beth Napoli. Beth, a self-proclaimed geeky homeschool mom created Online Unit Study to inspire students in their digital learning and create healthy tech habits for families. Her goal is to help parents guide their learners at home through the ever changing online world. We all know how quickly things change in the digital world. It's faster than a toddler ditching their shoes in the car as you pull away out of the driveway! 

So who is the Techie Homeschool Mom site for...

~the parents who starts to sweat and freaks out every time your child asks to go online
~the parent who hasn't made digital learning a priority (it's never too late to learn)
~the tech enthusiast parent who can't seem to figure out how to add digital learning to their students      lessons  
~the parent who just needs some encouragement with their wonderful, amazing homeschool journey

Techie Homeschool Mom is a wonderful site that has everything you need in one place. Unit studies are suddenly made easy to use and require little to no prep. If you've ever used unit studies before, you know they require a lot of prep work and a lot of work for mom. Online Unit studies from Techie Homeschool Mom solves that problem.

For this review, we received the Ancient Rome Online Unit Study. Once we were enrolled in the online course, we had unlimited access to the course for as long as we liked. The course can be completed on a computer a tablet, or even a child's phone (if they have one). The online course is geared for upper elementary and middle school aged students. The students should be able to navigate through the site themselves and be able to read. Of course, younger siblings can easily sit in and work through the course with some assistance. The great thing about this course is it can be completed at your own pace. 

The Ancient Rome Unit Study is broken up into 8 sections or modules as they are called.

1~ Introduction to Ancient Rome
2~ Roman Mythology
3~ Daily Life in Rome
4~ Roman Architecture and Engineering
5~ Roman Government
6~ The Roman Language
7~ Entertainment in Ancient Rome
8~ Roman Military and War

Each module can take 2-3 hours to complete, especially if your student completes the hands-on activities. There is a lot of information provided for the students. I highly recommend going over the Before you start section. In this section, you will find an introduction, a supply list for each module,  and a book list.

The introduction section explains how to progress through the modules and what to expect. Be sure to remember to click the complete and continue button. If you don't (like me), you won't see the progress you've made. It will look like you've done nothing!
The supply list includes every day items from the home. I just had to head to our craft bin and pull out the items we needed...craft sticks, glue, paint, etc.
The book list recommends a few books for the students. We already had a few of them in our lesson plans, so we stuck with the books we already had which were part of our other history program. The books are suggestions, but are not required. I'm sure if your local library doesn't have them, you can easily find substitutions to fit your needs. A movie list is even included for the students to enjoy. Ben Hur, Spartacus, and Julius Caesar are just a few of the titles recommended.

Once you've completed the introduction section, then your student is ready to move on. The very first thing the students will do is find Rome on a map. This was not a big deal for Michael and Therese. They know where Rome is and have seen pictures of it in my photo albums from when I studied abroad in college. Also, since the Pope lives there we've talked about Rome quite a bit.

What did we think about the Ancient Rome Online Unit Study?

For us, this was an add-on resource to our history curriculum. Now that the kids are older, their history curriculum requires a lot of reading. The Ancient Rome Online Unity Study was an unexpected break from all that. I thought it was very well done. It covered a lot of areas and provided students with online learning, hands-on activities, and extra reading. It was extremely well-balanced in that aspect. Students will enjoy watching the videos and completing the fun projects like creating a Roman road out of graham crackers or rocks. The videos take about 15-20 minutes to watch.

Both my kids found the lesson a little young for them. They both have studied Ancient Rome before, so a lot of the information they already knew. They both agreed it would have been a fantastic resource to add to our lessons a few years ago when we studied Ancient Rome the first time. Therese suggested the unit study for students in 3rd-6th grade. Michael agreed with her.
Even though they felt the material was a little below their educational level, they did enjoy the variety of resources. They added the lessons broke up all their reading lessons and added a something different to their studies. It doesn't matter how old they are, they still like to watch a few videos to get out of reading a boring history text book.

Not learning about Ancient Rome? Well, Techie Homeschool Mom offers a wonderful selection of unit studies to choose from. Just a few of the other unit studies the crew members are reviewing are Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece, Famous Artists (Volume 1), Famous Artists (Volume 2), Famous Inventors, and the Solar System. These are just a few of the online unit studies the site has to offer. Online course about holidays, famous people, elections, the stars, and the presidents are all available. There is even an online course for students to learn hot to prepare their own digital online projects!

Discover more about Online Unit Studies from Techie Homechool Mom. 

Be sure to check out the other crew members review! You may discover a online unit studies your kids would love to learn about. Just click the image below and you'll be on your way!

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Sunday, April 21, 2019

Sunday Inspiration~ Sunday 21, 2019

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.

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Sunday, April 14, 2019

Sunday Inspiration~ April 14, 2019

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.

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Thursday, April 11, 2019

Review~ Transcripts Made Easy: The Homeschooler's Guide to High-School Paperwork

Let me tell you, this year has been a whole new ballpark for us. Michael officially entered high school and Therese is right behind him. Over the years, I made most of our lessons up using a variety of resources. Now that they are in high school keeping track of all those resources seemed daunting. Not to mention the fact, I had NO CLUE on what I needed to do. Ironically just when I started to research what to do, I was offered a chance to review Transcripts Made Easy: The Homeschooler's Guide to High-School Paper from Everyday Education. This wonderful resource couldn't have come at a better time!

For this review, we received a digital download of the eBook. Transcripts Made Easy is now in its fourth edition and has already helped thousands of families with high school students. The digital eBook covers a wide range of topics and shows parents how to grade, grant credit, keep records, create homeschool transcripts, and a high school diploma. Transcripts Made Easy: The Homeschooler's Guide to High-School Paper is broken up into 6 parts.

Mountain of Grace Homeschooling Review

~Part 1~
Meet the Transcript

This section covers what a transcript is for us clueless folks, who needs a transcript, who will see the transcript, what the parts are of a transcript, an overview of the whole transcript process, and finally where to start in the book.

~Part 2~
Plan with the End in Mind

This is the planning section of the book. This is where parents and students make plans with an end goal in mind. This section covers what to study in high school, sample high school requirements, skills/habits to cultivate during the high school years, how to schedule courses, samples of four-year schedules for college-bound students, what tests to consider taking (SAT, ACT), college alternatives for the student not interested in college, and a how to teach teens. 
In this part of the book, there are a few sections that actually address the student. High school students can read about six things they can do while in high school and  seven strategies for a successful first year at college. We all know what a big change it is to move away from home. Freshman year was fun and exciting, but scary at the same time. 

~Part 3~
Keep Simple Records

This is where we are introduced to the high school binder to keep for each student. We learn what forms and information to keep in the binder. Reading logs, activity logs, course descriptions, samples of the student's work, and grades are just a few of the recommendations. Two forms are introduced: class profile sheets and subject worksheets. I had never even thought about creating a class profile sheet or a subject worksheet. I read this section a few times and started creating class profile sheets for all of Michael's classes. Other topics covered are what to name classes, special needs resources, and how to keep records for special needs students. After I finished this section, I immediately set out creating a binder for both Michael and Therese.

~Part 4~ 
Grades, Credit, and the GPA

Now, we are getting down to the nitty gritty of things. This part of the book covers a huge list of topics... grading realistically (and ethically), how to use simple credibility clinchers, how to grade written work, how to use a writing evaluation rubric, grading for unschoolers, how to handle a non-grading philosophy, retrospective grades if you're getting a late start on your record keeping, defining a grading scale, how to assign quality points, how to grant credit for regular classes, as well as, honors, AP, dual credit, or college-equivalent course, and finally how to calculate a grade point average. A few of these things I already knew. My online planner has an option for transcripts so I've taken what I've learned and applied it to my set up. As far as a grading scale, I went and researched what my college-prep high school uses. 

~Part 5~
Create the Transcript

We're finally in the part about how to create a transcript. Don't go running away screaming. I promise it's not as hard as you think, especially with Janice's help. Before reading this section, I was clueless! I had no idea what to include or where to start. This part of the book answers all your questions about homeschool transcripts for high school. After reading this part, you'll know how to issue an official transcript and how to format a transcript. Samples are included in this section to help parents understand what they are doing. This part also includes a section dealing with high school diplomas. The format and how to create a diploma are all covered here. This was an important section to me. It answered all my questions and helped me relax a bit about dealing with the high school years.

~Part 6~
Reference, Resources, and Reproducibles 

You've now come to the end of the book. Here you'll find a glossary of terms used, resources for planning and learning, reproducible forms to use in your homeschool (reading logs, activity logs, etc.), and blank transcript forms.

"My goal with this was to take all the fear out of high school paperwork and make record keeping just another relatively simple task that could be done in a few minutes at the beginning and end of each semester. After all, learning is the point of homeschooling-- not paperwork!"
~ quote from Janice Campbell of Everyday Education

Transcripts Made Easy: The Homechooler's Guide to High-School Paperwork is an incredible resource for parents with older students. If you have students in 7th grade or 8th grade, I highly recommend purchasing this eBook. It will help you plan and understand the high school years. Those high school years will seem less scary. At least the planning part will. Teenagers can be scary in their own right. Gone are the days of sippy cups and coloring books, now we have to navigate social media and teenage attitude. 
If you already have high school students I'd still recommend this book, especially if you have doubts or concerns with what you're doing. This eBook will help ease those worries and put a few of those doubts that run through your head to rest. No matter what else you may doubt about your homeschooling journey, you'll know that your student's transcripts are amazing!

Learn more about Everyday Education and all their other resources.

Want to see what the other reviewers of 
Trancripts Made Easy: The Homeschooler's Guide to High-School Paperwork had to say? 
Just click below and find out!

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Monday, April 8, 2019

Review~ Heroes of History- Corrie ten Boom

Christian Heroes~ Corrie ten Boom

Recently, Therese and I were given the opportunity to read Corrie Ten Boom~Keeper of the Angel's Den from YWAM Publishing. 
Every now and then you read about someone so inspiring they leave a strong impression with you that changes your life. Corrie ten Boom is just that person. Her amazing life is an inspiration and testimony to us all about the strength we can find within God. 

YWAM Publishing is a wonderful company that provides families with stories about heroic tales of important historical and Christian figures throughout history. Two of their book series are the Christian Heroes: Then and Now and Heroes of History. The Christian Heroes: Then and Now offers readers 47 different titles, while the Heroes of History series offers readers 29 books. The courageous men and women included in these two series provide readers of all ages strong, faithful, and patriotic role models.

Mountain of Grace Homeschooling Review

For this review, we received a physical copy of the book, Corrie Ten Boom- Keeper of the Angel's Den. Along with the book, we were given a downloadable study guide to use with the book. 

"Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow. 
It empties today of its strength."
~Corrie ten Boom

Corrie ten Boom was an amazing woman. She was filled with courage and had a deep faith. Corrie was born in Holland on April 15th in 1892. She grew up in a devout religious family. Her family were members of the Dutch Reformed Church. She was the youngest in her family. She had two sisters, Betsie and Nollie. and one brother, Willem. Her father, Casper, was a watchmaker. The family lived above Casper's watch shop in a house they nicknamed the, Beje house. 

As a young adult, Corrie trained to be a watchmaker. In fact, she was the first licensed woman watch maker in Holland. During this time, she was active in her community. She formed a youth group for young teenage girls. In this group, Corrie taught the girls about faith, as well as, classes dealing with the arts, sewing, and other handicrafts popular during that time for young ladies. 

In May of 1940, Corrie's life changed drastically. The Nazis invaded the Netherlands and the lives of the Dutch people were forever changed. During this time, Corrie and her family helped the Jewish people. The Beje house became a refuge for the victims of the war. Not only did the family hid Jews, they risked their own lives getting ration cards for their hidden friends and helped many of them escape to safety.

Of course, this couldn't last forever. The ten Boom family was eventually turned in to the Nazis. The family was hauled away to prison. Casper, the father, quickly became ill and passed away 10 days later. Corrie and her sister, Bestie were taken to a concentration camp. Here the girls witnessed horrific things. What happens to Corrie and her sister? You'll have to read the book to find out!

Even though Corrie ten Boom lived a difficult life, she never allowed it to affect her love for Jesus. In her later years, she expressed Jesus' love to others. She was faced with having the challenge of forgiving a guard from her concentration camp. A man who leered at her and the other girls as they were forced to disrobe. Corrie was able to overcome her humiliation and asked God to help her forgive this man. She truly was an amazing woman. I think most of us would have a hard time forgiving someone who had harmed us or our family. The strength Corrie ten Boom displayed is an inspiration to us all. Corrie ten Boom was one of those people who spread the love of God to everyone! 

As part of Therese's reading list this year, she recently read The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom. It's on my reading list for the year too. When we receive this book, I had her read this one too. After reading this book, Therese said she would recommend this book for the younger readers, who just are not ready for The Hiding Place. She said it was a fantastic story. She says everyone should read about the struggles Corrie ten Boom faced and how with the help of God she overcame them.
I've only read this book, but it has definitely gotten me interested in reading more books about Corrie ten Boom. She truly was a special person.

Discover more about YWAM Publishing!

Over the years, we reviewed a few other titles from YWAM Publishing.

Still interested in learning about more of the great books from YWAM Publishing. 
Just click the link below and check out the reviews from the other crew members!

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Sunday, April 7, 2019

Sunday Inspiration~ April 7, 2019

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.

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Friday, April 5, 2019

Review~ Fix It! Grammar from IEW

IEW Review~ Fix It! Grammar

A favorite vendor among homeschoolers is Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW). Whether you just started homeschooling or you've been homeschooling for years now, I'm sure you've heard of this leader in the homeschooling curriculum world.We were recently asked to review the Fix It! Grammar series from IEW. I had heard of this series before, but we had never officially tried it. I've always been curious about the program, but just never got around to ordering it. 

What is Fix It! Grammar?

Fix It! Grammar is a grammar and writing curriculum for students of all ages. Fix It! Grammar helps student learn how to apply grammar rules to the writing from the readings they will read. This learning technique allows students to then take that knowledge and apply it to their own writing. Usually grammar is taught one rule at a time. Students learn the rules, know the rules, but often never apply them to their own writing. Fix It! Grammar fixes that problem.

The series has a total of 6 books for students to work through.

Book 1~ Fix It! Grammar: The Nose Tree
Book 2~ Fix It! Grammar: Robin Hood
Book 3~ Fix It! Grammar: Frog Prince, or Just Desert
Book 4~ Fix It! Grammar: Little Mermaid
Book 5~ Fix It! Grammar: Chanticleer
Book 6~ Fix It! Grammar: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

The books can be purchased individually or as a set. For this review, we received Fix It! Grammar: The Nose Tree. We received book one in the series, since neither of the kids had used this particular grammar series before. They do recommend starting with book one and moving on from there. We received on teacher's manual and one student's book. In the teacher's manual was information on how to access the free downloads that come with the purchase of the teacher's manual. The free downloads included access to Fix It! Grammar Book 1 e-book for additional students, Mastery Learning e-audio, and But, but, but... What about Grammar? e-audio. 

How Does Fix It! Grammar Work?

The book is broken up into 33 weeks. The lessons include grammar instruction and practice for the students. Students will work on lesson for fifteen minutes a day, four days a week! No long boring lesson. You students will not get that glazed over look in their eyes with this program. To use the program, students will need the student notebook, grammar cards, and a spiral notebook. 

Each lesson is broken up into four days of work. On the first day, students should begin by reading the Learn It page. 

This page explains what the students will be learning and applying to the lesson. Just a few examples of what they will learn are: Nouns, Homophones, Articles, Strong verbs, Punctuation, Clause Starters, and Contractions. They should also cut out the corresponding grammar cards located in the back of their book.

Each day, the students will read the sentence. They will define any words that are in bold and finally fix and mark the sentence.
Since the paragraph is broken up into simple sentences, students can easily work through the program. Each day goes into wonderful detail and allows students to really learn grammar and how to correct errors. 
The Teacher's Manual has instructions for the teacher to present the material to the student. Everything is clearly explained and broken down for instruction. It really is an easy curriculum for parents to teach.

How Did We Use Fix It! Grammar: The Nose Tree Book?

We received our books and I added the lessons to our school plans the following week. I stopped using the grammar program we were currently using to work on this one. At first, I followed the recommend guidelines for this series. We took week 1 lessons and broken them up into four days. At the end of the week, I asked what they thought. They both complained it was too easy. This is were I should tell you that they both took the placement test, but missed items on it. I choose to start with book one because of their results. Neither one wanted to do the placement test, so I'm thinking they didn't take it seriously that day. You just have to love kids some days. 

After hearing their thoughts, I decided to speed the week up and work through the book a little faster. We ended up working on one week a day. This was similar to what they had been doing already in their other grammar program. This did help a little. We would read the entire paragraph. They would then define the words in bold. I had them do this in their spiral notebook. After working on vocabulary, they would get to work labeling the parts nouns, adjectives, verb, etc. Then they would work on the punctuation. Finally I had them rewrite the entire paragraph in their spiral notebook. I made sure to stress to indent. They had a habit of forgetting to do this the first few weeks.

What Did We Think of Fix It! Grammar?

Our thought differ on this one, so I'll share a little from everyone.

My Thoughts

I liked the program. It was simple and easy to follow. The lessons were short, but to the point. I truly felt that both Michael and Therese were learning a few new things their other grammar program was not addressing. I liked the fact that it helped them learn how to apply it to their own writing. I honestly did see an improvement in their writing as we progressed through the book. I'm currently debating on what we'll use next year. Fix It! Grammar or our current program. You'll find out when I post about our curriculum for the 2019-2020 school year.

Michael's Thoughts

He was not a fan. I'm honestly not surprised here. He's not a big fan of change. He felt it was too easy. He said working on one sentence a day seemed pointless to him. He preferred our other grammar program and asked to go back to it.

Therese's Thoughts

She's unsure about it. Like her brother, she felt it was too easy. She thought it was better when we did the week at a faster pace. She did add that Fix It! Grammar did cover things their other grammar program didn't. She is interested in seeing what the other books have to offer. She's curious if they get more difficult. She did enjoy the 15 minute lesson. It was quick to do. She could get it done and check it off her to do list. 

So I have one yes, one maybe, and a no. 
Overall, I have to say the program is extremely thorough and presents grammar a simple and logical way. Any student using this program would greatly benefit from it. I do wish I had ordered Fix It! Grammar when my kids were younger. I honestly believe they would have benefited from the program. 

Discover more about Fix It! Grammar or IEW!

Want to learn more about the other books in the Fix It! Grammar Series?
Just click the picture below and read all about them. I know I'll be heading over to see what the other books look like!

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Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Wordless Wednesday~ Pouncing into SPring

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.

Warm Weather
Open Windows
Happy Kitty

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