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Homeschool Planet – A Homeschool Crew Review

Free Curriculum

When you are a homeschool mom to 4 and you have appointments besides school, you need to find a planner that will work for all your needs in one place. Homeschool Planet has done that for me with their Online Lesson Planner. 

Free Curriculum

Homeschool Planet is an online digital planner that allows you to not only plan your lessons for each child, but also their chores, and all your other appointments. You can view all of this in Calendar View, which is just as it sounds or Planner View which is a simple to-do list style. Each of these also has the option to be viewed by Day, Week or Month.

Homeschool Planet

Now, if you are like me and have 6 people in the house that you are planning for, you might have a concern about how much will be on the screen when you are looking at it. I was happy to find that I could view each person’s individual calendar as needed versus a very full one all the time.

Homeschool Planet

I found the actual setup of this program to be very easy. I could find simple step by step tutorials if I had a problem. I set up individual log-ins for Moe Man and Ray Ray, but we never did use this. I found that printing their calendar each week worked better for them. Little Miss was thrilled to have her own print out of her daily lessons and chores as well.

Homeschool Planet

Each week, I would plan the lessons and enter them into the program. I had some that I could schedule for the whole year because they were simple repeating lessons, but for the others I would do it weekly. If there was a day that we ended up missing, the program would give us an option to move the schedule forward instead of having to delete and re-enter everything. This was my lifesaver!

Lesson Plans

This year, Homeschool Planet now has the Lesson Plan Marketplace. This is a wonderful new addition that I have fallen in love with! Instead of me needing to plan everything out, I could simply click a few buttons and had Ray Ray’s math lessons set up for the year! When I got this all entered in, I realized that not only did they include the lessons from his math book, but also some fun activities from the Resource tab. These made his math lessons fun and not so boring.

Not only that, but I also grabbed the free Virtual Field Trip lesson plan and we have enjoyed visiting the National Aquarium, US Capitol, and Mark Twain’s Home so far! This lesson plan comes with everything you need to take a virtual trip to 6 different locations. The recommendation is to do one “trip” a week, and I loved having that be the thing to look forward to on Fridays.

What is really awesome, is that during the month of June, not only can you try Homeschool Planet for 30 days for free, but you can also get one lesson plan for free! Yes, I said free! This is only for the month of June and does expire on 6/30/2017, so be sure to hop on over and check it out before it is too late!

I love paper and pencil, but I also love not having to scribble and erase when life happens and our plans change. Homeschool Planet has given the freedom to easily change what needs to be changed and I can still print out the week for each child to have their own paper copy if needed. I really liked Homeschool Planet before, but now with the lesson plan option, I am in love! This online planner has made my planning work easier and for that I am forever thankful!

Homeschool Planet {Homeschool Buyers Co-op Reviews}
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Learn Spanish with Whistlefritz – A Homeschool Crew Review

Spanish Videos for kids

Learning a foreign language is fun! Teaching a foreign language is not always the best experience. Learning a foreign language is best done with immersion, especially for the younger ages. While I am not able to do all our school in Spanish, I can have fun with the Educator's Spanish Collection from Whistlefritz.


Whistlefritz

Included with the Educator's Spanish Collection you will find the Lesson Plans book, 5 DVDs, 3 music CDs and a card matching game. This is everything you will need to begin a great foundation of Spanish for your younger kids. This program is recommended for the Pre-K to Early Elementary grades or ages 1-7.

Spanish Videos for kids

While you could have your child learn without all the things included in this kit, these are all made to work together. Using all the items in the collection will reach each type of learning skill you can think of, visual, audio, gross motor and fine motor. Each one of the activities involved between the items in the collection work with each other to help your child learn and retain better.

We have decided to use one lesson a week from the Lesson Plans book. We started out first learning to greet each other. All the videos included will include the introductions and numbers, so the first few weeks you can watch any of the videos. The first week, Little Miss wanted to watch them all, and I decided that I would let her.

learn Spanish

After our first week working on introductions, I focused on one DVD and we would watch that one every day before our lesson. This allowed both Little Miss and Baby Girl to hear the words that were being spoken more than once. They could watch the DVD and know visually what was happening and use their minds to make the connection with the words that were being spoke, much like when they were babies and learned English for the first time!

Each of the videos run about 25-30 minutes long. They are not boring and the boys would often join the girls in watching them. They were completely in Spanish, with no English spoken at all. This was our immersion part of the day. Even with just a few years of high school Spanish years ago, I could pick up on some of the words and phrases as we repeated the video all week.

foreign language

The lessons work with the videos and are cross-curricular. We were able to take that one lesson a week and re-do it all week. We worked on greetings the first week, and are continuing that each week after before starting our new topics. From greetings to colors and numbers, we have been having a lot of fun with Fritzi learning Spanish!

On top of watching fun videos and doing fun activities to help us learn Spanish, we also have a fun matching card game to help us with our vocabulary. While Little Miss cannot read yet, the pictures help her to know what the words are.

While I cannot do the full lesson in Spanish, which would be an awesome form of immersion, I love that we are using what we learn throughout the day. This is not just a take the course, do the worksheet and move on with the day. This is a program that gives you words that you can use daily with younger kids. Even Baby Girl gets review each day just by watching the videos and siting with Little Miss. Hearing us talk the simple words has given her a head start in speaking the as well.

There are no drills, no worrying about grammar. Just having fun. The perfect way for kids to learn a new language, by having fun and listening to someone else speak the words!

Whistlefritz also has a French program like this. Check out reviews of that and other reviews of this Spanish program by clicking the picture right here:


Spanish and French {Whistlefritz Reviews}


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Prima Latina from Memoria Press – A Homeschool Crew Review

classical christian education

Learning a new language can be fun. I want to work on giving my kids an advantage in their future lessons at any chance that I can. I have been watching the Latin programs that are available from Memoria Press for a few years. After a little research, I learned that Latin is a great base for any language your child may want to learn. With this in mind, I took a leap and decided to have Ray Ray try the Prima Latina Complete Set. Boy, am I happy I finally did this!

classical christian education

Prima Latina is the first Latin program available for the younger ages. This program is geared towards grades 1-4 and is working perfect for Ray Ray in his transition from 2nd to 3rd grade. The complete set includes all that you need to get a firm hold of this language and is great for a teacher, like myself, who has little to no Latin background.

Within the set you will find the Student Book, Teacher Guide, Pronunciation CD, Flashcards and 3 Instructional DVDs. This right here will give your child 25 lessons, each with a 15-20 minute video lesson. This is great in that it allows your child to learn the correct pronunciation right from the start. Each video lesson will go over everything in the student book, plus a little practice of previous lessons.

classical christian education

Ray Ray has not decided on a language he will want to study, and being in 3rd grade, I don't expect him to pick one out quite yet. He has shown interest in French, for a long time, some interest in Spanish and even a little interest in Italian. I figure if I can give him a solid start in a language that would help with any of these, I would do that for him. After finding out we had this review, Ray Ray learned that his great grandpa had to learn Latin in Catholic School as a child and has used grandpa's help with some practice in between lessons.

classical christian education
Video Lessons

While there is a lesson plan available if you are the type of mom or dad who needs one, it is not required to make the curriculum work. We took one lesson, and split it up over a week. Mondays always include learning the new lesson. Watching the video and going over the lesson in the book.

classical christian education
Flashcards to help us practice our vocab words.

Tuesday includes using the flashcards on the vocab words we just learned and a few of them from previous weeks. As we go through the flashcards, Ray Ray would write down the new ones on Vocabulary Drill sheet that is in the back of the Teacher Guide. We also work on the first page of the workbook page.

Wednesday is another Vocab Drill day, we love to make sure we know the words as we learn them! Once again, we used the flashcards and the drill sheet. Now that we are halfway through the week, I like to Pronunciation CD to make sure we are on the right track and to help us with our prayer that we are working on. What I love is that we are learning a prayer, line by line and slowly putting it together.

classical christian education

Thursday, we start with our flashcard review, but we don't do the drill sheet. We make sure we know all our words up to the current lesson and we move on to the second workbook page. Ray Ray loves to split things up a little when it comes to the workbook, so this is great way to get him to complete the two pages.

Finally, on Friday, we re-watch the video lesson. I love to make sure that Ray Ray has the correct pronunciation on the words, and it is a great way to refresh what we have been working on over the week. After he watches the video, I have him complete his last vocabulary drill. By this time, he is pretty sure of himself, and I love to see how much he can complete without using any clues!

Ray Ray has been having a great time learning Latin. He loves the simple workbook pages, and watching the lessons on a DVD. Since there is not a lot of writing or reading, this is perfect for his learning style. I loved that even though I had no experience with Latin, I felt that I could teach this by watching the videos alongside Ray Ray. I learned as he learned. I could guide, but was not required to teach. This is great when it comes to a new language for me! Not only that, but Ray Ray is excited to show Great Grandpa how far he is coming with his Latin!

Using Prima Latina has started us on a firm foundation on which we are able to continue. We plan to finish Prima Latina and move forward to the next after we are done. I am in love with the fact that this is a complete curriculum that I can sit right down next to Ray Ray and learn with him. I can be the teacher and the student and have no doubts that the learning will happen, and it does!


Latin, Nature and Trees {Memoria Press Reviews}


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Christian Heroes- Corrie ten Boom ~ A Homeschool Crew Review

YWAM Publishing

History and reading. The two things that are loved in this house. Add them together and you have happy students. Especially when the reading is a book instead of a textbook! YWAM Publishing has a great selection of books that fit into this category! Moe Man just finished reading a Christian Heroes: Then and Now book, Christian Heroes- Corrie ten Boom and has a new outlook on one of the most talked about wars in our house.

YWAM Publishing

With the list of Christian Heroes and Heroes of History that are available from YWAM, you may wonder why I would have chosen Corrie ten Boom, for my 16-year-old son. Yeah, I could have picked more "boyish" ones like Captain John Smith, Davy Crockett or Daniel Boone, but I have a special place in my heart for Corrie ten Boom. When I was growing up, my mom had a copy of Corrie's book The Hiding Place on the bookshelf at home. I picked up this book and never set it down. This is my favorite history book that I have ever read, and I still live by the quotes that Corrie has said!

Christian heroes, Christian biographies

Corrie ten Boom and her family lived in Holland during the second world war. They, along with many other Dutch citizens were firm believers in God, no matter what. When Germany attacked, Corrie and her family worked to help save those less fortunate than they were. They built a hiding room, or Angel's Den, within the walls of their house and were considered a safe house. However, that did not last forever. When they were found out, the ten Boom family suffered the same as those they were fighting to save. Through the whole ordeal, Corrie never lost her faith in God.

While the story is not all happy go lucky, it is one that shows what true faith is. One that shows us that we will face troubles, we will have battle to fight, but God is there with us. This was pulled forward in the study guide that goes along with this book.

The study guide contains numerous valuable tools for us to use in our homeschool, Sunday School, or classroom. You heard that right, this book is not just for the homeschool community, but for everyone! Valuable tools like Key Bible verses, Chapter Questions, Student Explorations, and Related Themes to Explore just to name a few. There is a sample schedule to follow depending on the age and amount of work you want to assign.

Christian heroes then and now

Our favorite two tools were the Bible verses and the Chapter Questions. Once a week, we chose a new Bible verse that Moe Man wanted to work on. He would simply copy it down each day as well as repeating it out loud throughout the day. This was enough for him and I loved hearing him quote these well-chosen verses from memory! Each one went well with the story and related the Bible back to the circumstances that Corrie was facing.

We also loved the chapter questions. For each chapter there were six questions, one Vocabulary question, one factual question from the text, two questions to gauge comprehension and two open ended questions seeking opinion or interpretation. These 6 questions can work for multiple levels. If I had Ray Ray reading this book, which he will in the near future, he would work on the first three with talking through the last three with me. With Moe Man, I had him work on answering all six questions on his own and would talk with him about them after he was done.

Christian heroes then and now

Another way we took the learning of the reading of this book to another level in our homeschool, was the student explorations. I loved the different options available to us. Once a week, we would pick one of the activities or writing assignments listed and work on that. I leaned towards the Essay Questions and the Creative Writing options since I am working with Moe Man on his writing skills hard right now. These were not simple writing assignments, rather they required a lot of thought and research, even for the creative writing. This was a fun way to bring the book to life in new ways for both of us!

Christian heroes then and now

YWAM takes the stories of history and brings them into our house, not just bringing them into our house, but bringing them in with a kid friendly approach. This story was written in a way that everyone in the house could read and understand it. No huge words, no inappropriate language. Nothing that had me worried that I would have to censor what I was about to let my children read.

If you are looking for some great books to add to your homeschool and your history, you need to take a look at YWAM and their Christian Heroes and Heroes of History collections. Add any and all of these to your house and you and your children will be pleased!


Christian & History Heroes {YWAM Publishing Reviews}
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The Typing Coach ~ A Homeschool Crew Review

learn how to type

When it comes to skills children need in the future, one of those should be typing. Most jobs will require some use of the computer, not to mention the lessons and classes that will be needed to get to that job. You don't want your child left behind because they do not have the typing skills that could help them!

While there are a lot of choices for a class on teaching typing, finding the right one for each student can be difficult. With The Typing Coach we found a great program that goes at our pace, but still helps us progress when we tried The Typing Coach Online Typing Course.

learn how to type

The Typing Coach Online Typing Course is just that, an online typing course. This course gives you all you need in order to learn how to how to type, increase your typing skills or just practice what you learned when in high school. There are no lesson plans with this course, instead, you work at your own pace using the audio, video and written instructions that are available to you. Upon completion of this course, you will be typing at least 10 words per minute with less than one error per minute. Already know how to type? This course will help you increase your skills to 45 or more words per minute.

There are 7 lessons in this course, and a lot of extra tips. The first thing you will find when you log in, is your course introduction. This gives you all you need to know about how to use this course and all the printables you will need for the rest of the course.

Once you have gone the introductions, and all the beginning stuff, you will take a before snapshot. This will show you your starting point. There are no expectations when it comes to this, just a base to see how much better you will get.

learn how to type

After you take your before snapshot, notice this is not a test, just a snapshot. This is a great way to see your progress as you go through this course.

You have taken your before snapshot? Now it is time to get a start on your lessons. The first and most important is your posture. This is the one thing I remember the most from my lessons when I was in high school. I still make sure that I am sitting upright and my hands are positioned just so. This was big for Moe Man…he is a teenage boy after all!

After you have mastered your posture, you will work on the Home Row, Top Row, Bottom Row, and Shift Keys. Working your way through these lessons should take about a week per lesson. But here is the thing, this is self-paced. You didn't do as you wanted to in the test? No problem, keep working on it! This had a smile on Moe Man's face from the get go! He doesn't like deadlines, so knowing he had as much time as he needed, eased the stressed and opened him up to the process.

Each weekday we worked on the lesson at hand. While the normal student took a week per lesson, Moe Man took about a week and a half, sometimes two. Each day he would repeat the current lesson, repetition was the key here. Get your hands and muscles used to doing something and they won't forget, that was the key. Just like learning to ride the bike, you must train the brain and the fingers to work together. The more practice the better you get!

learn how to type

You are able to check in on your progress as you go along, taking the snapshot and other tests along the way. You can see the simple advances you are making in being the typist you always wanted to be!

Moe Man has taken his time with this course. He is a perfectionist and wants to make sure that if he learns to type, it is the correct way. Due to this, he is still in the middle of this course. Until he passes the learning checks with 100%, he will not move forward, but this is him and the joy of this course, he can choose that if he wants. No pressure or deadlines to go farther faster!

 



The Typing Coach Online Typing Course {The Typing Coach Reviews}
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Painting Without the Mess – A Homeschool Crew Review

My girls love to paint. They love the way it turns out when it is dry and ready to hang on the wall. But I have a confession. As much as I love their artwork, I avoid pulling out the paint in fear of the cleanup that is soon to follow! Do you feel this same way? At The Pencil Grip, Inc. they have found a way to allow the painting without the mess!

Last year we got to play around with their Kwik Stix and fell in love! But this year, we got to try their newest item, the Thin Stix 6pk of Classic Colors. So, what is the big deal with this? Well, if you don't mind cleaning paint off everything and always needing a paint shirt handy when your kids get a creative flair, nothing. But if you are looking for a way to allow your kids to enjoy painting without the mess, you NEED the Thin Stix.

Thin Stix are Non-Toxic Solid Tempera Paint in a stick. The texture of these is like a glue stick, but with color! It is simple to use these, all you need to do is take the cap off, twist up the paint and go. You don't need water, you don't need brushes, you just need the Stix and something to use them on.

The Thin Stix can be used on many surfaces. You can use them on paper, cardboard, rocks, almost anything you could paint on, you can color with the Thin Stix. And there is no need to have a separate spot for hanging everything to dry. These little beauties will dry within 90 seconds, and Ray Ray was the one who decided to try that out, with great results!

The difference between the Thin Stix and the original Kwik Stix is the size. I would compare the original Kwik Stix to a regular glue stick and the Thin Stix is like a marker. While Little Miss had a blast with the Kwik Stix, she is in love with the slimmer style of the Thin Stix. She now has no problem letting Baby Girl play with the Kwik Stix.

When it comes to painting, I love giving my kids the chance to paint with the brushes and the mess, when I am ready for it. When creativity sparks and they want something other than a marker or crayon, I can give them the Thin Stix and let them go crazy! We end up with a mess of fun on the table, but I can clean up with their help in under 5 minutes, as long as we don't lose a cap! All we need to do is find the cover, place it on, put it in the box and hang up the picture. A quick wipe of the table and we are set for the next adventure. There were no brushes to clean, no clothes to spray and no worries of drips or drops anywhere where they weren't supposed to be!

If you are looking for a fun way for your kids to paint without the mess, a way for them to be creative without you worrying about the drips or drops, Thin Stix are for you and your kids! Little Miss loves the feel of the new Thin Stix in her hands, Ray Ray fights for a chance to use them, they are love in our house!


No Mess Art with Thin Stix Classic Colors {The Pencil Grip, Inc. Reviews}
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Captain Absolutely ~ A Homeschool Crew Review

Action, character, comic book, ethics

There are a few times when we get a new review item when I don't get to see it. When Focus On The Family sent us Captain Absolutely, I had a whole 30 seconds before the book was torn out of my hands and never to be seen of again, unless it was in the hands of Ray Ray!

Action, character, comic book, ethics

This book is unlike any other I have had the chance to review in a long time. This is a comic book, and this is the main reason why Ray Ray snatched it from me in the first place. This is something he loves, comic books. This is not a boring book about some dull thing he has to learn about. This is something that has grabbed his 8-year-old boy attention as interesting. So, no matter what you hear me say in this review, please do not tell him this is meant to teach him something!

Captain Absolutely Defending Truth, Justice, and Lots More Truuuth! Battle Against Dr. Relative is a comic book, but it is a book. The pages are glossy picture book quality and with just over 100 pages, there are a lot of adventures put it in here!

Action, character, comic book, ethics

When we start reading, we are taken to the library in Metropolitanville, a city where anything goes. This is not a good sign. After a nuclear explosion, librarian Josiah King has found himself in the room with the banned books of the city. He realizes that all the books in the room are the same book, just different versions and they are all titled The Bible. After spending the night waiting to be rescued and reading all the Bibles in the room, Captain Absolutely is ready to save the city with the word of God.

Captain Absolutely takes children on adventures of epic proportions. They learn to defend truth and justice and to stand firm in their faith no matter what the world throws at them. But instead of learning this in a boring workbook style, they get to have fun with the comic book!

Ray Ray didn't need to know what the story was about, the pictures and comic book style pages drew him in right away. Once drawn into the book, the adventures kept him there. Each two-page fold has a simple adventure with a new lesson. Each adventure also has a bible verse or two quoted on the page. This was a great thing to see, how simple it was to mix it in and make it fit into the storyline. Just like how we should live, with the Word fitting simply into our daily lives.

Action, character, comic book, ethics

At the end of the book, we meet the main characters. We learn a little about them, including their worldview. And in case you were wondering as you were reading, you will see which of them stared in The Adventures in Odyssey! We also have a section called Big Questions. This has a question to ask after each adventure. And these are not simple one word answer type questions.  These are deep questions like "Why can't you scare people into following God?"

I love finding great quality books for the kids to read. This was one of those gems that I would not want to be without! A quality, adventure filled, action packed, bible based book that we love, now that Ray Ray is willing to share it with us after finishing it in two days!


Captain Absolutely {Focus On The Family Review}


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Homeschool Rescue ~ A Homeschool Crew Review

Homeschooling can be rough. In fact, some days you may want to just throw in the towel and send your kids off to school on those big yellow canoes (insider joke at my last job). Heather at Only Passionate Curiosity has given you the perfect resource if you feel as though you have hit your homeschooling limit when she created Homeschool Rescue!

Homeschool Parent Resource

Homeschool Rescue is an online class just for moms, or dads, who have hit the end of their ropes when it comes to homeschooling. For the parents who feel like they are going around and around in circles not getting anywhere. For those moms with the mom guilt that they are not doing enough for their children when it comes to homeschooling and life in general. If you have ever felt like this you first need to know that you are not alone, and second, you need to check out this course.

There are 5 Modules within this course. Within each of the five modules, you will find 3-5 lessons on that topic. Each lesson leaves you with a small amount of homework to help your home and your homeschool run just a little bit smoother. Heather has the busy mom in mind when she made each lesson. You have options on how to go through them!

Homeschool Rescue

There are multiple ways to get through each lesson. If you have the time to sit down and listen to the video on the computer, you are able to do that. Don't have the time to sit down in front of the computer, you can download the audio of the lesson on your phone and listen to it on the go. Did you miss something you wanted to remember? You can download the transcripts and highlight what you want to remember. I love this because I am a paper and pencil type of gal, highlighting is my thing!

Paper and pencil type of learner? There is even a downloadable note sheet to go with each lesson for those of you who want to take notes as you go. What more could you ask for? Oh, I know!!

Homeschool Rescue

The Bonus section!! Here you will find access to the Facebook group, Student Checklists and eight different styles of the Ultimate Planner with two different layouts, monthly and/or daily. With these bonuses, you are able to add more to your learning experience and bring it all together. Not to mention, the Facebook Group was where I was able to find a great mentor/friend who not only helped me work through this course, but has been there through so much more as well!

Heather does a great job of really walking you through the lessons. She has a very calm and refreshing tone of voice that just makes you want to listen. That calm voice that makes you also calm down. The Modules and Lessons are bite size. These are not going to take up your whole day or night. Each video or audio ranges from 15-30 minutes and the homework doesn't take that much longer to complete.

Help for Homeschool Parents

My favorite module was the one on teenagers. This is the area where I am struggling right now. It was nice to find the help I needed to go along with the rest of the help that was given.

I really enjoyed using this course. There are great tips for when you hit that homeschool burnout moment and all you want to do is send the kids off for the day or week.  If you are new to homeschooling and just don't think you can do it, if you fear that you are failing your kids in this adventure you were called on, this is the course you need.


Homeschool Rescue {Only Passionate Curiosity Reviews}


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Algebra for Breakfast ~ A Homeschool Crew Review

Algebra For Breakfast

The word Algebra in our house is not met with smiles and jumps for joy. Instead that word is met with frowns, fits and meltdowns. Moe Man loves to do anything hands on, so checking out any math supplement that is hands on is a go for us. Algebra for Breakfast is just what we needed to help him in his struggles with Algebra.

Algebra For Breakfast

Algebra for Breakfast is a simple online math enrichment program that will help your child learn more about algebra in a fun, hands on way. For this review, we had access to the Grades 5-6 section, but there is also a Grades 3-4 section as well. While these are based on grade levels, we found that the Grade 5-6 level worked great for Moe Man who is struggling in high school algebra lessons.

The Grades 5-6 starts off with 8 different prep activities. These activities will help your child get ready for algebra by giving them games to play. What child is going to be mad while playing a game? Even at 16 they still love a game or two now and again, even if they won't admit it.

Math Enrichment

After getting through the prep activities, we started in on the lessons. These lessons were easier than I had thought they would be. All we had to do was watch a video, and work on a worksheet that goes along with the video. This took us about 20-30 minutes in total. Not bad considering this included putting away of the hands-on material we were using.

Algebra for Breakfast starts off easy. It is meant to be easy. Your child should be having fun with the program before they start getting into the hard stuff. And this is something I noticed right away with Moe Man. He was having fun, and I was happy to see this when it came to Moe Man and math!

Since this was not our math curriculum, but rather a supplement, we would use this 3 days a week, unless Moe Man wanted more days during the week. After three, that was up to him! Since it was easier, Moe Man didn't mind doing more than three days of lessons each week. There were even times when he didn't understand something in his regular math curriculum and would come back to a previous lesson in Algebra for Breakfast and re-watch that lesson to work on more understanding.

Moe Man really enjoyed using this math supplement. This was something he could easily use. He just logged on and went to work on the lesson he needed. There were no CDs to lose and I didn't have to worry about a pile of books or DVDs to manage. Since the teaching was done by the videos, I didn't need to have a teacher's manual, although there were a few times when Moe Man would question something and I wouldn't know what to say. At the end of the lessons there is a Parent's Corner. This is simply the answer keys to most of the worksheets that are available.

Math Supplement

Since this is just a math supplement, I would say this is great for ANY child who is struggling with learning algebra, whether they are homeschooled or not. If you want to read other reviews on the products, click on the image below!


Bob Hazen's Algebra Lessons {Algebra for Breakfast Reviews}


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High School Essay Intensive ~ A Homeschool Crew Review

high school writing

Writing, the one thing that Moe Man does not like to do, or at least not for school. I have tried everything with little to no luck. That is until Andrew Pudewa and his team at the Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW). We have been able to move forward with the products that IEW provides and we took the leap into the High School Essay Intensive writing program to help Moe Man with his essay writing skills.

High School Essay Intensive is not a full language arts curriculum. Rather this is a great supplement for high school students who are looking to work on their essay skills or even to prepare for the ACT Essay. There is no set schedule, not even a suggested schedule. Instead, your child is free to use this in any way that works for them!

high school writing

Included in this high school writing program are 5 DVDs (6.5 hours) from which your child will watch the lectures (well, discussions) from Andrew on the strategies and styles of essays. We also got a code to have access to video streaming if you would have a time when you would not be able to be next to a DVD player. There are handouts that go along with the videos to help your child in the note taking process and the Portable Walls for the Essayist.

This program is broken down into four parts.

Part 1A: General Strategies for Essay Writing: Length and Structure

  • Initial Exercise
  • A Hurt and Rescue Operation  
  • What is an essay?
  • Two Questions Writers Need to Ask
  • Translating Assignment Length to Paragraphs
  • Types of Paragraph
  • The TRIAC Paragraph Model
  • Essay Models

Part 1B: General Strategies for Essay Writing: Invention and Style

  • Canons of Rhetoric
  • Invention
  • Practicing Common Topics of Invention
  • Practice with TRIAC Outline
  • Style
  • Sentence Patterns
  • Literary Devices: Schemes and Tropes
  • Practice with Sentence Openers and Figures of Speech

Part 2: Understanding and Preparing for the New ACT® Essay

  • ACT General Guidelines
  • The Assignment
  • Strategies for Planning
  • Strategies for Writing
  • Strategies for Proofing

Part 3: Understanding and Preparing for the Redesigned SAT® Essay

  • General Guidelines
  • The Assignment
  • Annotating
  • Handy Annotation System
  • Annotating Practice
  • Strategies for Planning
  • Strategies for Writing
  • Using Effective Vocabulary
  • Strategies for Proofing

Part 4: Strategies for the Personal Essay

  • General Guidelines
  • Sample Essay Prompts
  • Strategies for Planning: Pop out from the Crowd
  • Strategies for Writing, Editing, and Proofreading
  • A Not-So-Secret Secret   
  • Final Practice
  • Concluding Comments
  • Last Bits of Advice for Life

essay writing

Being broken down in this way, you are able to see where your child needs to be and go from there. We started with Part One with Moe Man since I knew he had some work to do. This was simple and easy to add into our day, or not depending on the day. Some days I would have Moe Man work on more, but other days we would just talk about what he had learned so far.

Now that we have finished both parts of Part One, Moe Man is ready to work on writing an essay with some knowledge of what he is doing. My goal is to have him work on the Personal Essay in Part Four next, and we will be able to finish up with the ACT and SAT Essays.

Moe Man has always loved listening to Andrew talk. And when I say he loves to listen, he actually listens! This alone makes me love these programs. But seeing what Moe Man learns makes it even better! Having handouts that are easy to fill out while watching the DVDs gives Moe Man the confidence to know that he is learning and can do something like write an essay.

writing program

We are in love with the High School Essay Intensive writing program from the Institute for Excellence in Writing, and yes, I would recommend this to any high school student who needs to work on their ability to write an essay, or for those who are getting ready for the ACT or SAT Essay.


High School Essay Intensive {Institute for Excellence in Writing Reviews}


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