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UnLock Pre-Algebra Homeschool Math ~ A Schoolhouse Review Crew

UnLock Math Review

Math, you either hate it or you love it. I love it, Moe Man hates it. This is the one struggle we have in our homeschool. UnLock Math has this wonderful program, UnLock Pre-Algebra, that has been taking that struggle out of our homeschool day!

UnLock Math Review

What It Is

UnLock Math is a full online math curriculum. This program has a different approach to learning from other programs we have tried in our house. Each lesson starts out with a Warm Up. This is a great way to help your child get into “math mode”. Math mode is a way to make sure your child is focused on math and a great way to start the lesson. I used to print up worksheets to have Moe Man get into math mode, but now I don’t have to and can save a little in paper and ink costs.

After their warm up, your child has a Video Lesson! Yes, a video lesson with a real teacher! This makes a difference. You can listen all you want and try to learn, but for someone like Moe Man who has a hard time with math, seeing an actual teacher other than me is awesome! The lessons are not that long, but they cover what you need to know.

UnLock Math Review

Once your child goes over the lesson, they will work on Practice Problems. This is where you will see what they learned during the lesson and they will be able to practice what they have learned. The best part about this section, your child will be able to re-do the practice problems until they get a grade they are happy with, or a grade you are happy with.

Following the practice problems, your child will see what they can remember from earlier lessons with the Stay Sharp section. In this section, your child will continue practicing what they have learned. This is the part that I love the best because your child will always have to work on previous skills, so they won’t easily forget them. Once again your child will be able to work on this as many times as needed until the desired grade is achieved.

After the Stay Sharp section your child will have the chance to do a Challenge Yourself problem. They will only have once chance to do this problem, but it is all extra credit. There is no effect to the grade, unless they get it right!

UnLock Math Review

Finally, if your child needs a constant visual reminder of what they are learning, like Moe Man, the Reference Notes are available to print and keep available for your child.

How We Used It

As soon as we had access to this program, I started planning! I loved that I could simply say do this lesson and let Moe Man go. I did use the pacing guide. My only problem with this was that it did not show the occasional quizzes on the pacing guide. I was able to quickly fix that and just add those in. Everything else was listed on the pacing guide.

UnLock Math Review

Moe Man does one lesson per school day, or a quiz, depending on the schedule. He spends about 30-50 minutes, depending on the lesson and his focus on that specific day. I did notice that on the days when he was distracted, he would take longer in his lessons.

I loved being able to log in as the parent/teacher. I set a goal for 70% or higher on any graded section for Moe Man. While I trusted him most of the time, there were some days that I knew he was just getting it done to get it done. Those were the days that I would double check his gradebook from my section.

UnLock Math Review

The Gradebook is available for both parents and students to view. This grade book does more than just show you the grades. You can view each assignment, where the problems were and what your child needs to work on more.

What We Thought

We love this program! This program is helping Moe Man to understand math. He has the chance to warm up, watch a teacher teach the lesson, practice what he learned, and keep his mind fresh with what he already leaned before. This program has Moe Man working and learning from many different ways. I love that he has it all right there. I love that he is able to check out his scores and I love that he can’t move forward without first passing each lesson.

Moe Man loves that he doesn’t have to listen to me bug him anymore. He has found that thing that helps the math click for him. He, most of the time, takes his time and makes sure that he keeps reviewing his lesson until he gets the concept that is being taught.

This is a math program that we will continue to use. I am even looking at using this again next year for him. Hey, if it works don’t fix it, right!


UnLock Math Review


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Dynamic Literacy ~ A Homeschool Crew Review

Dynamic Literacy Review

Root words, prefixes, suffixes, what do all those mean? These are the parts of words that make up our language. But how do you teach these parts of the words? Dynamic Literacy will help with their WordBuild: Elements, Level 1 Set (Includes WordBuild the Game).

Dynamic Literacy Review

What is it?

Elements, Level 1 is a softcover teacher’s guide, a softcover student’s activity book and a CD of WordBuild the Game. Together, these three products make a wonderful program for learning words!

The softcover teacher’s book has 330+ pages of information for you, the teacher! I loved this book. It had everything I needed. There are weekly schedules and answers to the student pages here. Each day is there is a simple 15 minute or less plan of what you can and should do with your student(s).

The 150+ page student book comes with all you need for your child to learn. Each day has a different activity to make learning about our words that much more easy and fun!

Finally, the WordBuild the Game CD, works great for any Windows or MAC computer. This program helps your child to play on the computer while practicing what they have learned for the week.

How We Used This

While most families would jump right in on day 1 of week 1, we took things back a step and started with Appendix A and learning some basics. These simple pages only took minutes to do and learn. We were able to make our way through a couple a day, and still not do more than 20 minutes of work.

After we finished our advance prep we started in on the units. These units are set up for use for 5 days. You have an overview of the days so you know what you will be doing each day. The lesson time for each day is usually only 15 minutes, but can be extended if you wish to. At the end of each unit is a review of the root word to see what your child was able to retain. When needed there are other advance preparations for the different root words.

Dynamic Literacy Review

We also had WordBuild The Game in this bundle. This was a fun way for Moe Man, and myself, to review what we were learning. A simple game of trying to build as many words as you can from the root word, WordBuild also teaches the meaning of the words you are making them, showing the meaning of each part and then the full word when you are done.

What We Thought

Moe Man was nervous when it came to adding another language concept to his daily schedule. However, once we got started and he realized it didn’t take much time, he started to have fun. He liked the chance to learn new words and he loved that the daily worksheets resembled games more than anything else. He didn’t like the quizzes at the end, but he never likes those! He enjoyed WordBuild the Game just as much as the workbook. He found that he could do the game along with the workbook and learn new words that way.

I loved how complete the teacher’s guide is. This is a grab and go lesson and I appreciate that as a homeschool mom of more than one child. I loved the quiz at the end, because it showed me that Moe Man was learning, even with just short lessons and games. I was able to teach the simple lesson, let him work on the activity, or play the game and we were done. It is not every day that you are able to have a fun lesson and know your child is learning from it!

Both of us give Dynamic Literacy a thumbs up! We loved how simple and fun it was. If you need a program to teach vocabulary, this should be looked at!!

How do you teach vocabulary in your homeschool?


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Teaching Writing: Structure and Style with Student Writing Intensive Level B ~ A Schoolhouse Crew Review

Do you have a child who hates to write? Fights you every chance they get? Do you have a child who has a hard time learning to read and write what they are reading? Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW) has just the program for you, and your child! Teaching Writing: Structure and Style, Student Writing Intensive Level B has been working miracles for Moe Man, and I can’t wait to tell you more about it!

IEW Review

Moe Man and I were given the opportunity to review Teaching Writing: Structure and Style (TWSS) and Student Writing Intensive Level B. We both went into this review with open minds, but opinions all the same. It didn’t take long for those to change, for the better!

IEW Review

This program is made up of two parts, first of all there is the Teaching Writing: Structure and Style (TWSS) for the parents/teachers. Here is where you will find yourself learning before you try to teach your child in this new way of learning writing.

Included in the TWSS kit there are 12 DVDs that teach you each area of study before your student learns it. There is also the Seminar and Practicum Workbook, and your Premium Subscription information. Your workbook contains everything you need to learn the style of writing you will be teaching. There are spaces to take notes and practice sheets for you to actually do the work along with Andrew Pudewa and the DVDs. Along the sides of the pages, it shows what posters you should have hanging up for your student, and a mini set of those posters comes with your Premium Subscription. Your Premium Subscription includes video streaming of your DVDs, monthly training (from August-May), audio MP3s and several digital PDF downloads.

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 I had no idea how fun and relatable Andrew Pudewa would be. From the minute the first video started, all the way up to the current unit I am working on, I have felt like I am listening to a friend. Andrew has helped me to understand that Moe Man and I learn writing in different ways. Knowing this, makes me understand that while I would work and take notes one way, Moe Man will most likely choose different words and ways to take his notes.

I enjoyed spending time in the evenings, while kids were in bed, watching my seminar videos and learning about this new to me way of writing. While new to me, this style of writing has been around since at least Benjamin Franklin. I loved learning beforehand, the way that Moe Man would be learning to write. Knowing and learning in the same way as he was going to, made it easier for me to be a supportive teacher for him and his way of learning.

Moe Man worked on using the Student Writing Intensive Level B program. This included 5 DVDs with Andrew as the teacher and a student notebook with the student handouts and a sample schedule for the parents. While this can be used without the TWSS parent’s program, I highly recommend both together!

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We used this daily, 5 days a week, for Moe Man’s writing program. Spending one day watching a video and learning a new topic, than spending at least 4+ days after that working on practicing the skills they were learning. The first day, with the video was always the longest, lasting up to 40 minutes. While this may seem long for watching a learning video, Andrew makes it fun and I never heard a complaint about length from Moe Man. There are plenty of worksheets, and you learn how to find more if needed, for your child to practice the skill learned for the following days. Those days only take up to 15-20 minutes, depending on the speed of your child.

Moe Man fell in love with Andrew from the minute he started talking. When Andrew explained his feelings towards writing, and having those same feelings himself, Moe Man could relate. Having a teacher he could relate to opened his mind to what he was going to learn. If you know Moe Man, having an open mind to writing is a HUGE thing for him!! He told me, that Mr. Pudewa was easy to understand. When you have a subject that is difficult for him to understand, I love hearing that he has a teacher who is easy to understand. Moe Man is also happy to be told he “has to” use a pen. Listening to the teacher and making sure I heard the “fun” things he got to do made this even more enjoyable to Moe Man to use.

I loved this program as a whole! We both enjoyed our sections and knowing we had finally found “the program” for writing made me happy. I have thoroughly enjoyed IEW and their writing lessons for Moe Man. Andrew Pudewa has saved my sanity and our writing lessons! Thank you so much for this!!!

Have you used IEW, any of their awesome programs? Which ones have you used? 

IEW Review

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Exploring Creation Field Trip Journal ~ A Schoolhouse Crew Review

Field trips, the best part of the public school child’s year. Field trips, a normal part of the homeschool child’s week. Apologia Educational Ministries understands the need and love for field trips and has come out with the Exploring Creation Field Trip Journal.


Exploring Creation Field Trip Journal Review

The Exploring Creation Field Trip Journal is a wonderful addition to all field trips! This takes your normal learning experience to a whole new level! Apologia is always making wonderful products and this is no exception to their standards!


Exploring Creation Field Trip Journal Review

When you purchase the Exploring Creation Field Trip Journal, you are getting 64 pages of heavy cardstock pages with full color on the pages. There is no cutting costs when it comes to this product. All the pages are spiral bound and durable enough to withstand any field trip you throw at it!

Your field trip journal starts out with helping you to prepare for your best field trip ever! This guide goes from the week before, the night before, on the way and at the actual field trip. There are tips for not only the teacher, but the student as well.

But you can’t prepare for a field trip unless you know where you are going. Apologia has two pages full of ideas and list them out according to the subject matter they relate the most too. Don’t have a way to actually get out and about? That is just fine! Apologia offers a special extra with each of their books that you order from them. This time, the special code listed on page 6 will give you access to additional materials, including many virtual field trips that you can take without leaving home!

When you are a homeschooler, field trips are a wonderful way to bring learning alive! But as you learn, you need to keep track. Your child will have 6 pages to list their previous travels, within their state, country and within the world!

Once you move further into the journal, you will find “How to” pages before the sections you move into. These pages will help give you an overview of what your child will need to do, and what they will be able to learn from these pages. The writing is limited and easy to scan over.

Now that you know what to do, you are able to let your child fill in the pages. These pages are not just fill in the blank pages. Your child will be doing writing, drawing, mapping and time. This is just one section of the whole thing! Your child will also learn about seasons as they journal about their special spot.

The journal will have your child looking at their special spot in a whole new light. They will pay attention to new things like the temperature and rainfall during each season (science lessons anyone?). And once again, your child will work on mapping out their spot and learning about how to draw everything to size.

Finally, after you travel and go to the comfort of your special spot, your child is going to think about it as they see it. Here, your child is able to do as they please and document things “as they see it”. There is no right or wrong, just have fun and learn!

We took advantage of the Field Trip Journal on a wedding weekend away. When your family plans a location wedding and you homeschool, you find a field trip within your trip! We had fun in Northern Minnesota and brought our Journal to Gooseberry Falls.

I personally loved how this journal touched on many different subjects, while still being fun for my kids. I loved how beautiful the pages are laid out, and how colorful they are. We love our field trips, and now we can be more intentional about our learning while we are on them and when we get back.

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All of my kids were fighting over who got to use this journal. This is one of those everyone wants it because it is so “cool”. They loved the eye catching designs and colors. Moe Man loved how thick the pages were. “Hey, I won’t rip these out like a normal notebook when I am writing!” And this is a must in our books if they are going to be taken out and about with us.

Overall, we loved everything about our journal. There is not a thing, other than not having enough in the house, that we found wrong with our journal. Thank you to Apologia for another wonderful product!

What do you use during your field trips to make sure your children are learning while they are playing?


Exploring Creation Field Trip Journal Review


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Homeschool Legacy Once-A-Week Unit Study ~ A Schoolhouse Crew Review

Are you looking for a once a week unit study? We recently reviewed a history unit study from Homeschool Legacy called Revolutionary Ideas: The Story of the American Revolution.

Homeschool Legacy’s Once-a-Week Unit Studies are a wonderful way to work together in all subjects on one basic topic. This way of learning is something I have always wanted to try with Moe Man and see how well he would do.

american revolution unit study

With the Once-a-Week Unit Study, you have simple daily activities, which is mainly reading, and your Once-a-Week activities which would take the whole day and cover almost every subject you need to cover for the day.

At the beginning of every week in the study, there is a list of Library/Video Choices for the week. You are also told about the focus of the week. Within the list of library book choices, you are told which books are the most important, which ones carry along the main focus of the week.

Homeschool Legacy Review

Once you have found your book choice for the week, and grabbed your family read aloud of the week, you are able to get started. Daily activities include reading those books and keeping up with your regular studies.

Once a week…Wednesday is the suggested day, you will work on the Unit Study for the day. You will still do the reading for the day, but you will add in the family devotional and other activities focused on the unit study.

The family devotional helps to tie the history of the United States into the bible. You talk a little about what you are focusing on for the week and read a bible verse that goes along with it. Week 3 we learned about the firebrands and then read Galatians 5:1 about freedom.

Other activities for the once a week range, but usually include everything from history, language, research of some type and arts. All these subjects focus on the topic of the week and help the children to learn more about that topic.

Homeschool Legacy Review

These subjects have your children doing research, some online or in encyclopedias. There are many different things you can do, and they are easy enough to adapt to your child’s learning skill level. Every once in a while you will come across a student work page (worksheet) for your child to fill out, but most things are done online and on notepaper.

Fridays you will do your 3 R’s including the daily reading, but you will also go on a field trip, if it is available for you and/or have a family movie/game night that goes along with the focus of the week. There are Netflix/movie choices that let you know which movie would go good or if there is a game, you would find it listed in the lesson.

This Homeschool Legacy Unit, along with many to most of the others, are Boy Scout and American Heritage Girl friendly and can help your children to earn different badges.

We printed our unit study out so that I could take notes on it. This is a no-prep study, one of my favorite types of studies! I really loved the set up and layout of the unit study, but found that this does not chive well with Moe Man’s learning. He loves to read, but free reading only. When needing to learn something from reading, or making a deadline with the reading, he freezes. This unit study focuses a lot on reading and while I helped him out through this review period, he was not happy.

Now, my final decision on this…if Moe Man loved reading a little more, this would have been a hit. He loved the research part of this unit study, and loved the movies. I loved the whole thing and would love to try this again with Ray Ray when he gets a little older.

Homeschool Legacy has many different unit studies, and many other homeschool families had the chance to review other ones. Head over here and find out how much they enjoyed their unit studies.


Homeschool Legacy Review


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A+ Interactive Math ~ A Schoolhouse Crew Review

You have a math program, but what does your child understand? What do they need more help with? What can you skip for now? Do you know the answers to any of those questions? What if I told you there was a math program that would be tailor fit for your child? Would you believe me?

Adaptive Math Placement Test w/ Lesson Plan

A+ Interactive Math has a wonderful Adaptive Placement Test and Individualized Lesson Plan available that will do just that!

The Adaptive Placement Test and Individualized Lesson Plan are an online program offered by A+ Interactive Math. It is a full math curriculum that is based on each specific child’s knowledge of the subject area.

Your child will start out by taking a small quiz to determine what level they are at in different areas of their “grade” level in math. As they do each quiz, those lessons will become available to them. They can “test out” of the areas they know and move on to a more specialized study in the areas they are weakest.

Adaptive Math Placement Test w/ Lesson Plan

They do not need to take all the tests to start. You, as the parent, decide how many areas to work on at a given time. Once the test has been taken, those lessons will open up, if needed, to be worked on. Your child will then be able to work on the lessons and worksheets until they feel they have learned that area. Once your child is comfortable in that area, they are able to retest. If they pass, they are done with that area.

Adaptive Math Placement Test

There is no do this on this day type of lesson plan with this program. You are able to decide how much to do each day. With Moe Man, I make him work on 1-2 lessons and then 2-3 worksheets per lesson. This helped to make sure that he understood what the lesson was talking about, and you are able to generate new worksheets if you have trouble on one. This truly helps with making sure the lesson stuck in their minds.

Adaptive Math Placement Test w/ Lesson Plan

While this is an interactive program, they do not overload it with animations of any kind. Being interactive, this program speaks the lesson to your child while they follow along. They work on problems after listening to the lesson, and are told right away if they have a correct answer or not. While this was awesome for Moe Man being in an older grade, Ray Ray was bored in the first grade lessons. But between my two boys, Moe Man prefers reading and Ray Ray loves video games, so they are different from each other in that way.

Adaptive Math Placement Test w/ Lesson Plan

We loved this program for what it offered. Moe Man was able to work on the areas he was lacking in, which was easier than having a box curriculum and trying to guess where he needed extra help. Ray Ray was able to us this and skip the sections he knew well (he is my math boy!). This made it more fun/interesting because he wasn’t sitting here doing the same thing over and over again when he already knew it. I have always liked the curriculum from A+ Interactive Math, and now it just got better with the Adaptive Placement Test and Individualized Lesson Plan.

You’re in luck if you have been interested in this program! From now until May 18, 2015 there is a sale happening! 40-50% off sale on the Family Math Packages and the Adaptive Placement Testing with Lessons! And don’t forget to head over and check out some of their FREE items for homeschool families, like the Free Math Placement Test and Free Family Math Package!

You don’t have to take our word for it…check out some of these other reviews.


A+ Interactive Math Review


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The Critical Thinking Co. ~ A Schoolhouse Crew Review

The Critical Thinking Company

Patterns Patterns everywhere! But did you know that patterns help you with your reasoning skills and those skills are needed to help you with your math and science. The Critical Thinking Co. has the perfect book to help you with your patterns. We were able to review Pattern Explorer with Moe Man recently.

The Critical Thinking Company

I don’t know who was more excited when we received the Pattern Explorer book in the mail. I love patterns and anything that has to do with them. Moe Man, well he has issues with patterns. I figured this would be the best way to get him to have fun with them.

In this 90 page workbook, we have 5 different themes for the patterns. These themes are the Pattern Predictor, Equality Explorer, Sequence Sleuth, Number Ninja and Function Finder. Moe Man and I each had our favorites when it came to these themes. While I loved the Number Ninja and the Sequence Sleuth, Moe Man loved the Pattern Predictor the best.

The Critical Thinking Company

There are 40 different worksheets in this workbook, and following the worksheets is a Hints section. This has come in helpful for us. Both Moe Man and I were able to open up to this when we were stuck and use it to help us along with our page we were working on. There are hints for every worksheet, but not every problem.

After the hints section there is the answers. This is the section I had to hide from Moe Man. He would get frustrated at times and want to check, but I wanted us to figure these out without checking until we were done.

I keep talking about Moe Man and I doing this together. Since he has some issues with math and patterns, I thought this would be a great way to work on that. However, he didn’t quite understand the patterns as well as I thought he would, so we worked on these together. Each day, we have found time to work on at least one worksheet together. This was a great experience for him and I know that he learned a lot during this time.

The Critical Thinking Company

While working on these worksheets together, I seen Moe Man start to figure out how to work on them more and more on his own. There is no right or wrong way to work on the worksheets. They do slowly get harder as you go along in the book, but you can start anywhere and skip around as much as you want without a problem. Since Moe Man has an issue with the patterns, we worked from beginning to end, no skipping.

Our final opinion on this workbook? Well, I loved it and loved working on it with Moe Man. As much as Moe Man fought me every time we sat down to do these problems, I noticed the fight getting to be less and the questions on how to do the problems getting to be more. While he may not say it, I have to say that it was nice to see that he was enjoying thinking in a new way about patterns.

The Patterns Explorer workbook is for grades 5-7, but I was enjoying it, and I don’t think I am a 7th grader anymore! This is a fun book to do and a great way to use your brain in a different way.

You can find The Critical Thinking Co. on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and Pinterest. Pattern Explorer is just one of the many workbooks and activities that The Critical Thinking Co. has. Check out some of their other items that these families got to review by clicking below!

 


Critical Thinking Company Review


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Visual Learning Systems ~ A Schoolhouse Review

Do you have a visual learner in your house? Are you looking for something for them to use for Science and/or Health? Look no further than Visual Learning Systems.

VisualLearningSystems

Visual Learning Systems offers Digital Science Online: Elementary Edition (Grades K-5) and Digital Science Online: Secondary Edition (Grades 6-12). As part of the Schoolhouse Review Crew, we were able to review both of these programs, Moe Man was the one who got to use this site, and he was busy with the Digital Science Online: Secondary Edition for grades 6-12.

We used this wonderful visual aid to help us with our core Science and Health classes. We would start by printing off the pre-assessment and the video review. Once Moe Man completed the pre-assessment, we would move on to the video. I would allow Moe Man to complete this while watching the video. Most videos were about 20+ minutes long. This was long enough to keep him interested and get the lesson across, but not too long to make him find something to fidget with.

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After watching the video, we were able to move on to the vocabulary study. We would print this off and fill it in. After the vocabulary was done, Visual Learning Systems has different worksheets that re-enforce what you are learning. These are going to be regular worksheets or worksheets that are hands on learning. Finally, at the end of the week, we would do a post assessment to compare and see what we learned during the week.

These weekly, or lessons, are available in the student section. The students have access to the videos, animations, and printables. As a parent/teacher, you have access to all that plus, when you download the full guide, you have the answers as well. You also have the video script. This came in helpful when I couldn’t be watching with Moe Man, but still wanted to know what he was learning. I was able to easily scan over the script and know what he was learning…not to mention prove to him that he did learn something if he wanted to argue it later when he couldn’t remember it!

We used this to go with our core program. It took the place for this review period, and with over 125 units in the secondary edition, we could use this as a full curriculum. And we did when it comes to our health curriculum right now. There is enough content in each unit to last a week or more and you are able to pick and choose what units you want to do and when. This was Moe Man’s favorite part of his classes…being in control of his learning!

As of this posting, we are still actively using this program. We love it. We both love how simple it is to access and use it. I love that being an older student, Moe Man is able to be in control of his lesson, and I am still able to check in on him. I love having options to check in on his videos when I might not be able to sit down with him and watch them. As much as we love the visuals, it is also nice to take what we are learning while using those and put them down on paper, therefore re-enforcing what was learned in the video.

We were not the only family to review Visual Learning Systems. Head on over to check out these other reviews.


Visual Learning Systems Review


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Middle School Monday ~ November 17, 2014

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Good morning on this Monday morning! Really, where does the time go to? I can’t believe we are so far into November already!

MiddleSchoolMonday - Novemeber 17

Today I want to tell you a little about the last two weeks with Moe Man. I want to start one day a week for each child, and what they are doing. Since it is Monday and Moe Man is in Middle School, and all those start with “M” it seems to fit! I am simply going to call this post ‘Middle School Monday’.

These last two weeks, we seem to have FINALLY found our groove with Moe Man and his school. We have been adding and subtracting subjects, but I think we have our perfect fit for this year…at least for now!

After trying a few things for science, we went back to Apologia General Science. We tried this last year, but I went a little crazy and we fizzled. This year, we started slow, and now we love it! Moe Man loves the experiments, and the littles love to watch him do those. I have found that he needs hands on as much as possible and as much as I don’t like the clean-up, I know he needs this. So, we clean up together and that works for both of us!

Middle School Monday

Our Language Arts class has been a little hit and miss. However, we have stuck with our IEW Fix It Grammar and still love it! We are going to be working on some more focused writing coming up, but the reading we do is good fun reading, and I make sure the Moe Man gives me an oral narration at the end of it. He doesn’t do the best with writing, so I have been working up to that.

Math, our favorite…not! We have tried and tried to find the just the right thing. We seem to have found something that may be working, but we are still trying it. I know the ladies over at the Review Crew checked out CTC Math, and I have to say, after reading what they had to say, I tried it out. Moe Man seems to be figuring things out, and I love the fact that we are able to redo the lesson as much as he needs to for a passing grade.

Middle School Monday

Bible class is working on our Holy Rosary Faith Folder and our Birth of Jesus Grapevine Study. We are so happy and blessed to be learning about both of these. Both of these are hands on ways of learning, and Moe Man loves them as much as I do.

Those are our main courses. As long as we can get those done, I am happy! We also work on some art, since Moe Man rocks at this…He uses draw3d.com since I am no artist! We are also learning cursive. This has been a big feat for Moe Man, and he loves seeing what he can do with his handwriting. This is a subject that wasn’t taught to him in Public School, and as sad as it is, not many public schools are really focusing on this anymore.

Middle School Monday

We have had fun finding our groove and will be working more in all these subjects again this week. I can’t wait to share them with you!

Do you have a middle school child? I would love to hear about your week.

Middle School Monday at Homeschool Coffee BreakHomeschooling the Middle & High School Years
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Fascinating Education ~ A Schoolhouse Crew Review

Are your children the audio-visual learning types? Do you want to find the right online Science curriculum that they can use to learn from? Fascinating Education has three great courses and we have been using their Fascinating Biology course as a part of our Science curriculum.

Fascinating Education - A schoolhouse Crew Review

What Is It?

Middle through high school students who have no previous knowledge of Biology, Chemistry or Physics can use Fascinating Education to help them with their science courses. These courses take the scary out of science and make it interesting again.

We used Fascinating Biology for this review. This is an online program that we used with our current science course. While being online, we had the option to print the tests if we would rather do them that way. Within the Biology course, there are 19 lessons. Each lesson has the audio video lesson for the children to watch. There is a script that goes with each lesson, for those who like to follow along and take notes. To finish each lesson is the test.

Fascinating Education - A schoolhouse Crew Review

Each test is not very long…but they make sure you know what you learned! After taking the test, you get your results. You have the option to review the test and go over the answers, print your results or retake the test. You don’t have the results saved, so Moe Man was being held responsible for keeping track of those scores. He liked having that option, and I liked seeing him retake the test numerous times (if he had to) to get a passing score. This is where the printable tests come in, for those parents who want a little more control over the whole process. Since we were using this as a supplement, I was happy to watch Moe Man work at learning the answer to get the passing grade.

How We Used It

As I mentioned, we used this as a supplement to our current science course. This was a great way to re-enforce what we were talking about and have another viewpoint in the learning process. We would take each lesson, print the script, and watch the video while following along. I used this time to help Moe Man work on note taking and highlighting. The next day, we would go over the notes. We would find vocabulary words, although they weren’t the main focus of the lessons. If I felt it was needed, or Moe Man showed signs of needing it, we would re-watch the video, or the specific slide in question and make sure we knew what we needed to know.

Now I am the mom who allows their child to use notes when taking a quiz. I feel that if you took the time to write them, and you work on actually finding the answer, that you should be able to use the notes…hello how many times do I Google something when I don’t know the answer. Because I feel this way, Moe Man would have his notes and the script with him while he would take the test at the end of the week/lesson. When taking the test I would make him look for each answer and those that were wrong, would have to be highlighted and noted before he could move on.

Fascinating Biology Review

What We Thought

I loved how easy the lessons were to understand. There was no crazy science talk that made me want to take a course just to understand what they were trying to tell me. To use each lesson was straight forward. It was not a confusing website at all. Although we weren’t able to keep track of scores, the site kept track of where we were in each lesson, so if we had to exit out for any amount of time, we would have the option to go back to where we left off. I was fine with no keeping track of scores, but it would have been nice to have that option. Like I said, I gave Moe Man the responsibility of telling me his scores. If we used this for a full curriculum, I may have done this different.

Moe Man loved how easy it was to use the program. He loved having the option to look back and he actually didn’t mind doing science for once!

Now, in Lesson One, we learn about both viewpoints of the beginning of the world. As it was stated right in the course, it is best to learn about both viewpoints and understand them both. Nowhere does it talk about which is right or wrong, but just to keep an open mind. Even though we are Catholic and believe one thing…I was fine with letting Moe Man learn about the other way. I don’t want to shelter him and only teach him one thing. I want him to learn things and make his own decision.

Interested? You can enjoy a full year’s worth of access for just $79 per course.

Fascinating Biology was just one of the three courses involved in this review. Hop on over with me and see what others are saying about the other courses!

 


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