Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Wordless Wednesday

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Welcome to 2019!

What's your word of the year? Mine is fearless.

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Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Brinkman Adventures Season 6 Review

Our family always enjoys listening to Brinkman AdventuresSeason 6: Underground Rising is a thrilling new adventure that is a definite must-listen for everyone. For this review, we received a digital download of the entire season. What I love about digital downloads is that all of our digital files are saved in one place. No need to worry about lost discs or misplaced products. I simply downloaded these files to my computer, opened iTunes, imported the files, then loaded them onto my son's phone. Super easy and super convenient. He really likes to listen to audio books at night before falling asleep. I think he listened to this entire season in one night because it was that fascinating!

The Brinkman Adventures are radio dramas. Each episode tells an exciting missionary tale through the adventures of the Brinkman family. These stories are a true picture of missionary life in modern times. Season six includes six episodes. Total run time is right around two hours, a perfect length for a short road trip or listen to an episode while driving across town to your appointments. We as a family have spent many hours listening to audio dramas and audio books, and the Brinkman Adventures are always a favorite!

My son's favorite episodes in this season were the first two episodes about the Dutch Underground because they were the most exciting for him. He couldn't wait to find out what happened next. It was all about the Brinkman's great grandparents. They had to choose to save themselves from the Nazi's or risk their own lives to save others. Secret codes and smuggling people to save their lives keeps the listener riveted. In one part of the episode, a couple of people had to hide in a bundle of hay for several long days in the freezing cold. One person who escaped from Auschwitz, died in a hospital a day later because of the extreme conditions. I think this was a very riveting and eye opening story for him to listen to. He listened through the entire season twice. Every morning he would be excited to tell me the latest that had happened. And at one point even woke up in the middle of the night to finish listening to the season!

The Real Stories - Season 6 section of the website is one you should definitely check out! It includes pictures, stories, and video clips from each of the episodes in the season. This section of the website is full of fascinating information for each season. Coupon code FALL 10 will get you 10% off your order October 10-31, 2018. I know we may take advantage of the discount to purchase any seasons that we don't currently own.

I am thankful for the opportunity to review for this awesome company. They are doing so much good by producing wholesome, exciting products that can be trusted. I never need to worry about previewing the stories because I know they will be appropriate for the recommended ages. I also know that they will be inspiring to anyone who listens. Brinkman Adventures is produced by Beachglass Ministries, a non-profit organization dedicated to "inspiring the next generation of Christian World Changers." I love that mission statement. It's one that I can get excited about supporting.

Curious what other reviewers had to say about this product? Head on over to the Homeschool Review Crew blog to read all the reviews.

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Monday, October 8, 2018

CashCrunch Games Review

CashCrunch Games allowed us to have generous access to their amazing career test called CashCrunch Careers. I appreciated being able to allow all four of my children to complete the brief test and then receive valuable insight into career suggestions that would be a perfect fit for their personalities. In this review I will talk about each of their results and also share the benefits to having access to this information.

First off each child completed a brief assessment in which they chose an answer that best described themselves. They were instructed to choose the answer that they knew best fit their personality, not an answer that they wished described themselves. Each child received their own unique login and needed to use their own personal email address. They each received their own personalized career report, which included career work styles, motivators and de-motivators, career attributes, and career match suggestions.

My oldest daughter, age 18, discovered that she is an energetic worker and strives to achieve ambitious goals. She isn't satisfied until the job is completed. She is competitive and determined to get ahead. She is motivated by independence and freedom, setting her own agenda, the opportunity to travel, and flexible work schedules. Demotivators include close supervision of work, routine, and being alone in a room without a phone. When she read these results, she realized that is why she doesn't enjoy being hovered over at work when she was training for a new job. This also makes sense why she quickly moves through training so she can be independent in her work.

My 16 year old daughter's results showed that she is active and energetic. She likes to take charge, make decisions, and be a leader. These results simply put described her exactly. She is independently minded and likes to make her own decisions. Demotivators for her include being alone in a room without a phone and routine. Almost all of her career matching choices include some sort of manager. She currently wishes to go into nursing, and I can see her going far with that experience.

My 15 year old daughter revealed that she thrives in team environments. She is helpful, generous, and easy to get along with. Her results further indicated that she makes a positive first impression and is able to build rapport with a variety of people. She is outgoing and easily liked by everyone. Motivators for her include opportunities to help others, friendliness and courtesy, and working with others. Demotivators for her include rude behavior and a culture in which things are valued more highly than people. She will be likely to succeed at a career in which she is able to influence others or in some sort of management role.

My 13 year old son's results were right in line with his current interests. This is confirmation that he will most likely choose a career in some sort of technology area. He is motivated by being perceived as an expert in specific areas, likes access to the latest technologies, and has the potential to be a transformative leader. He is a logical thinker and would not want to work in a constantly changing environment. He doesn't like being given vague instructions.

The end of each report, includes a list of potential career paths. When you click on these links, more information opens up that includes information about that career as well as what skills and education are necessary to reach that career. These results were very helpful to my children as well as myself.

Curious what other reviewers had to say about this product? Head on over to the Homeschool Review Crew blog to read all the reviews.

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Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Reading Eggs Review

This month I'm back with a review of my favorite online reading resource called Reading Eggs. At first I was kind of leary of trying this program, but we did try it last year and I really do like it. As an educator, I like the incremental approach to teaching reading skills. There is just enough review built in to keep skills mastered. There is definitely something for just about everyone on this site!
Reading Eggs has also recently released a series of workbooks suitable for Kindergarten through fifth grade for reading and Kindergarten through second grade for math. I briefly perused the samples, and I have to say that these look absolutely amazing! Unfortunately, I didn't have any children in these age ranges so I didn't review any of the workbooks, but I do hope you will check out some of the other reviews so you can see what many of my fellow homeschooling mamas think about these bright, engaging, and thorough workbooks. They definitely seem like they will be an "EGGsceptional" complement to the online portion of Reading Eggs. My only concern is that these books are grade leveled very boldly on the cover. I personally know that if I had a student who was in fourth grade needing to be working in a second or third grade workbook, that student might become a bit discouraged. I would personally love to see these printed without the bold grade level on them.
My son uses the Reading Eggspress part of Reading Eggs. I have loved how easy it is for him to practice reading comprehension and other language skills. Reading Eggspress is for ages 7-13. He is on the upper end of the age range at 13. This will definitely be the final year that he uses Reading Eggspress as he is almost all the way through the content of this level. I am so impressed with how his confidence with reading has grown and how many gains he has made with consistent daily practice. He logs in daily and completes one lesson. There is a quiz at the end of each map. If he doesn't earn a passing grade on the first try, he is able to try again. This encourages him to read carefully and to pay attention to what he is reading. During a typical lesson, he will practice some vocabulary as well as several essential language arts topics. At the end of each lesson, he reads a chapter from a book and takes a quiz over it. He is rewarded throughout the lesson with golden eggs, which can be spent in the store to upgrade his house. He really doesn't play around in too many of the other areas of Reading Eggs, although there are several cool places to explore. The different areas allow students to practice spelling skills or play various video-like games against other players. He has really kind of outgrown that part of this program and we are pretty much using this as reading comprehension. It is engaging and gets the job done simply and easily. There is a placement test for Reading Eggspress to help get your student placed in the correct level. It can easily be customized in the parent's dashboard.

Reading Eggs is the part of the website that teaches phonics skills and early reading skills to younger students: ages 3-7. These are systematic lessons for this younger set of students to learn how to read in an engaging and fun atmosphere. When your student first enters this area, they are given the option to simply start at lesson 1 or take a placement test. I suggest a placement test if your child has already had some instruction with phonics.

Reading Eggs Junior is for the very youngest learners to explore and have fun while learning those very basic but essential reading skills. This area isn't set up with lessons for the student to complete. Instead they freely explore in the different play areas. My three year old niece enjoys this and likes to watch the nursery rhyme videos over and over.

Math Seeds is a beginning math program for ages 3-9. This too is an incremental approach to build some foundational math skills. If your student has had some math instruction, have them take the placement test. I have worked through several of the beginning lessons with my three year old niece. The early lessons focus on one-to-one counting skills and introduce shapes. The students play games which makes the learning fun and engaging.

All of these programs are built into the Reading Eggs website and all are absolutely phenomenal. I highly recommend this program to all learners in the appropriate age ranges. The lessons are incremental and not overwhelming or hard to complete. Students are challenged and encouraged as they work through the lessons. This would also be great to include in your child's daily routines as it is something they could potentially complete on their own. Each time my son completes a map, I receive an email which states the skills that he has practiced during that map as well as the score he received on the quiz. I can also access the parent dashboard to adjust lessons as needed.

Curious what other reviewers had to say about this product? Head on over to the Homeschool Review Crew blog to read all the reviews.

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Wednesday, August 8, 2018

High School Line Up

Last year I graduated a senior. I think I finally have this high school thing figured out. This year I will have a sophomore and a junior. Time really does fly! These two are close in age; many of their subjects are similar. They might work together, but really each one learns so differently that they will most likely work independently.

Tenth Grade:
  • Personal Finance
    • A sweet friend is teaching this class using the Dave Ramsey personal finance materials. I really love these principles and am glad my teens are learning them at a young age.
  • Algebra 1/Geometry
    • Alivia is going to finish Algebra 1 using No Nonsense Algebra and go into Geometry. Schoolhouse Teachers has an awesome geometry taught by Mr. D. She will use that or Math U See Geometry, whichever suits her best.
  • Literature
    • This is one I'm looking forward to. I love reading and discussing literature with teens. And a book club style is a great fit for us! We will be working through Illuminating Literature: Characters in Crisis. The first novel we will read together is Frankenstein.
  • Heart of Dakota Missions to Modern Marvels
    • For Alivia, this literature based curriculum is a great fit. Even though this is technically a middle school program, the reading assignments are adequate for high school with just a few modifications.
  • Chemistry
    • I'm still a bit undecided about chemistry. There are some chemistry instructions and assignments in the Heart of Dakota schedule, but I really think for high school it should be a bit meatier. I have Chemistry 101 to use in addition, but I'm really thinking we should consider DIVE Chemistry.

Eleventh Grade:
  • Personal Finance
    • Dave Ramsey taught by a dear friend.
  • Geometry
    • We are going to start the year using Math U See Geometry. If after a few lessons this is not a good fit, she will transition to Mr. D Geometry on Schoolhouse Teachers. There is a video for each lesson and note-taking pages as well as full solutions for each homework question.
  • Government
    • Lexi will be reading the Uncle Eric series for government this year. These books are a series of letters written from Uncle Eric to his nephew answering questions all about government, finances, careers, and economics. She will also read the Declaration of Independence, study the constitution, and read many primary source documents written by the founding fathers.
  • Literature
    • Lexi and Alivia will work together reading and discussing several literary classics. I'm thinking to add Fix It Grammar book 3 into the rotation.
  • Chemistry
    • Lexi wants to go into nursing. I'm now accepting suggestions for college prep level chemistry options. 

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