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Curiosity Quest ~ A Schoolhouse Crew Review

curiosity quest

 

Curiosity killed the cat…but what child is not curious? If your children are curious, why not feed off of that and let them learn while they can. Let them lead you in the direction of the fun they want to have. Curiosity Quest is the best way to help with that!

As a part of this review, we were given a copy of the DVD Combo Pack – Produce and the DVD Combo Pack – Swimmers of the Sea. Each of these DVDs sell for $24.95 and include three episodes on each one. 

These DVDs are not a curriculum. They are just a fun way to work with your child's natural curiosity. There are no quizzes or worksheets…although you can add in notebooking pages or unit studies if you would like. They are recommended for ages 7-14, but I can tell you that Little Miss (2) and Ray Ray (5 1/2) loved them more than Moe Man (13).



Curiosity Quest Review



The DVD Combo Pack – Produce has three episodes on it. The episodes include Cranberries, Mushrooms and Oranges. We love to eat mushrooms (Ray Ray HAS to have them with his steaks) and oranges in this house, and cranberries are always on our radar every since we learned about them at Thanksgiving. Joel has enough enthusiasm to grab anybody's attention and add in the funny things that happen? Yeah, the kids loved this DVD! We were able to learn about the growing and harvesting of these produce items. As much as we enjoyed these episodes, we are going to enjoy them again in the fall when we really focus on harvesting crops with our gardening unit.



Curiosity Quest Review



Of the two DVDs, the DVD Combo Pack – Swimmers of the Sea was the favorite of the two at our house. We have watched this DVD so many times I have officially lost count! This DVD Combo Pack includes Salmon, Penguins and Sea Turtles. There was actually a fight over which episode we would be watching first, Ray Ray won with Sea Turtles πŸ™‚ 



Curiosity Quest Review



Ray Ray had to of course grab every turtle in the house and set them up while watching about turtles. Every few minutes I would get the "Wow, did you know…" comments from him, but other than that, he was loving the video. As much as Little Miss did not want to watch this episode, I witnessed her being a little more happy about it as she was brought in with Joel's great attitude and the fun questions from the kids. 



Curiosity Quest Review



Little Miss wanted to watch the Peguins episode. After our Sea Turtles we were happy to watch this one with her. We had fun learning about why the peguin doesn't fly and how many feathers they have.



Our use of these DVDs were very easy…when the kids were bored, or I needed some one on one time with one of the kids, we popped in a DVD. We got these DVDs during a time when we couldn't run outside to play, and mommy was getting sick of the boring TV shows and didn't want them anymore. These DVDs were a great life saver that grabbed the attention of the kids and helped them learn through their own curiosity. 



There is no right or wrong way to use these DVDs and that is nice. All you need to do is have fun! They now have a spot on the movie shelf and the kids will pick them out on their own. 



The episodes are all unscripted…some viewers have sent in questions to go with the topics, but that is the most of it. Joel takes the kids (and adults) into a fun and educational view of the different topics. Joel takes us on location in each episode to make sure that all the questions of the curious viewers are answered on the current quest.



My Honest Opinion



We loved watching Joel and all the fun that he brought into our house. We love the Fun Facts that were given to us, and we loved how these DVDs were geared to grab our attention and make us learn and laugh with them! I loved that my kids pick these off the shelves themselves now that they have seen them once. I love knowing I won't have to worry about what the kids are watching when I need to be busy. I can see us using these videos with upcoming unit studies. This makes them that much more valuable to us. Do I have any complaints? Not really…with how interested my kids were and how much they seemed to take in, and continue to take in, these are a good addition to our video shelf (heck, learning vs cartoons…yep I know what DVD I would buy first!).



Curiosity Quest is on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Please stop by and show them some love! And don't forget to click below to see what other bloggers have to say about these DVDs!


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Victus Study Skills System ~ A Schoolhouse Crew Review

 



Victus Study Skills Review


 


What do you do when your child asks you how to study? When do you learn how to learn? When it comes to teaching your kids study skills you need a good study skills program. That is where Victus Study Skills System comes in with their Student Workbook and Teacher Edition.


 



Victus Study Skills System is a system of skills that work together to help equip our students for success in their academics and their everyday life. This is not a program of hearing the same old thing over and over again. This study skills system works on things you and your kids may not have heard of before. And this is not just for homeschoolers…this is a good program for anyone with a child between 5th and 12th grades.


 


Victus Study Skills Review


 


Victus Study Skills System Teacher Edition and Student Workbook both come as spiral bound paper back books. The books, although pape back, are very sturdy and have held up to our daily use for two weeks straight. The covers are beautiful and the writing within them are very easy to understand. These two books are all that you will need to help teach your kids to study. There are no "extras" that you need to buy to make this work for you.


 


The Teacher Edition is $40 and tells you all that you need to know to teach the study skills. You get to start with a nice introduction to the philosophy of the Victus Study Skills System. After reading about the four concepts and previewing the three foundational cornerstones, you get to the four objectives of this program. Section One is the teacher instructions. Yes, you will need to learn to be able to teach πŸ™‚ You will want to make sure you read this, because as you are told "You are teaching concepts that students will apply to academics and to life." There is a sample 5 day course plan to follow, but we did change ours up a little. Section 2 is the lesson plans. The teacher edition gives you the three P's to each lesson, Purpose, Preparation, and Procedure. A nice "student view" shows you what the kids will be seeing in their book and will also give you the answers. Section 3 is the wonderful Appendix. Please, do not wait to look at this until the last minute like I did. This is a wonderful resource to help reinforce everything you are trying to teach!


 


The Student Workbook is $20 and gives your student all they need to achieve the study skills they need in life. The student workbook starts out telling the kids the four concepts as well. There are the three foundational cornerstones that we will work through in the student text, "Where am I now?", "Where do I want to be?", and "How do I get there?". Once the kids can answer these questions, they will be able to make progress in the right direction!


 


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Although it is recommended to complete this program within 5 days, we took a little longer with Moe Man. They do say to pay attention to your kids and do what is best for your kids. We did do this and spread this out over two weeks instead of one. And we still use this to this day to help us in our learning skills. We started using this program as recommended, doing up to two lessons a day. But we found out that we wanted to use these new skills before moving on, so we slowed down a bit and did one lesson everyday…sometimes two with a day off inbetween. 


Starting off, one of the first things we did was to find out the learning strength of the child. This was so much fun for both me and Moe Man. Where I thought Moe Man was an auditory learning, we found out he was more visual/kinesthetic learner. This in and of itself has helped us out so much! I would have been happy to just stop right there, but we got to learn more! 


After finding out where the kids are now…they get to decide where they want to go. This was hard for Moe Man, but we made it through. With Moe Man being adopted, and the story behind that, we have a hard time working and planning for the future. Once I made him understand we are ok and that he can look towards the future of his school and what he wants to do when he "grows up" we were able to make it through this section. Goals are fun for most people…they are even more fun when I am able to read them and see that the goals Moe Man has are the same that I have for him…those ones that I don't voice out loud, but pray about…yeah, he wrote those down on paper and I cried. 


Goals in mind, we get to move on to the "How do I get there?" section. Time management, organization, note taking…you learn it all! This section helps the students to actually work for their goals. Working towards goals is not just for school…it is for real life too. 


You get to finish it all up with a quick study skills test to see how well your kids actually retained what they were learning. 


 


I learned so much about Moe Man using this program. I could not have been happier! I loved learning about how to help him learn and study better with his ADHD and FASD. This is simple enough to use with him, but also challenging enough to push any kid past their comfort zones to make positive changes in their study skills. When I asked Moe Man for his opinion of this program I was told "I like the fun activities that teach me about learning." I than asked him what he didn't like…expecting something from him…but I was surprised… "Nothing. I kinda like it." Ok, coming from a 13 year old boy, "I kinda like it" is a good thing πŸ™‚ Now for the mommy opinion…I liked it. I liked learning more about Moe Man's learning styles. I loved seeing him explore his learning and finding out how to improve. The only thing I didn't like was the idea of different classrooms, and different teachers. It works awesome for a public school child, but we just had to improvise on those parts. Did it hinder our learning? No way! Does it make me like this any less? No way! I still recommend this for any parent or teacher of a middle to high school student, homeschooled or in the public school. 


 


There are many others who have reviewed this system. They have their own opinions on it also. I recommend you check them out if you are having doubts and see for yourself what we all think about this system!


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Victus Study Skills System is on Facebook and Twitter…make sure you stop by and show them some love πŸ™‚


 


 


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Mango Languages ~ Review



Mango Languages Review

 


Does your homeschool curriculum include a foreign language?  Just one? Or more than one? Plain old boring books, or a program that teaches you the actual language through speaking?


 


We had the opportunity to review Mango Languages Mango Homeschool Edition recently with The Schoolhouse Review Crew.


 


 


Mango Languages Review


 


Mango Homeschool Edition is an online program that helps you to add in that foreign language to your homeschool curriculum. Mango Homeschool Edition offers you over 60 foreign language courses with access to all of those with your subscription! You don't have to worry about the boring vocabulary that you won't remember years from now, Mango Homeschool Edition helps you work on actual conversations from the beginning, just like when you learn your original language. You don't have to worry about carrying around books and DVDs or CDs. Everything you need for this course is right here on the computer. There is no special computer equipment or operating system required.


 


You may have heard of Mango Languages before, as they have been around for years now. They have a library program that is free if your library has a membership. But there is only one problem with that…they don't have all the levels of the different languages available with the library edition. With Mango Homeschool Edition you have access to all the levels of all the languages. Which, I find to be well worth it if you really want to learn the language.


 


Mango Homeschool Edition is recommended for ages 6 up to adult. Moe Man and I have been using it, and Ray Ray hopped on and started having fun also. He is only 5, but was able to easily navigate the course and since there really isn't a huge need for the reading, he has been picking up on the different  words and phrases of French. Yes, he picked French…because he wants to go to Paris and the Eiffel Tower!


 


Ray Ray hasn't had to use this for an actual class. He has had the opportunity to play on it. Moe Man and myself have been using this program for at least 4-5 days a week…both of us will sometimes do more if we are having too much fun πŸ™‚ Since Moe Man is only in 7th grade this year, and there is no requirement for a foreign language yet, we are using this as our introduction, or review in my case.


 


Moe Man had wanted to do Chinese for his language of choice, but I said he could only do that as a free choice and we worked on Spanish (Latin America) together. We kept a notebook of the different words and phrases we were learning, as well as how the verbs work together and the formal and informal versions of speech. By taking this notes, we were able to practice throughout the day, even without the computer! 


 


Once starting the program, we found out that each language is divided into different Journeys. Each of these are than broken down into chapters. The different chapters have different lessons in them. We would take our time going through the lessons and practice them over and over again as many times as we could. Since the conversations are usually among two people, it helped that we were learning together. It is much easier to practice a conversation with another person versus by yourself πŸ™‚


 


After you complete the chapter, you are given a quiz on what you learned. This is where Moe Man struggles. He does not like quizzes. So, since we homeschool, I tweaked this for him. I have the printed up file of what we are learning and we would go through and have the conversation over and over again throughout the quiz. This really helped to re-enforce what we were learning, and help with the quiz taking process. 


 


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Not only do you get to learn how to have conversations within the language you are learning, but you get to learn the cultural and grammar notes. They do not place a huge emphasis on this, but they do not leave it out also. You have to think…when we learned how to speak as babies, you  never heard WHY you said what you said…you just heard it and learned it. Mango Homeschool Edition seems to be doing this same thing. I really like this way of learning much more than any other way of learning when it comes to a new language. 


 


Mango Homeschool Edition offers many other options to go along with this too. You can use their progress assessment tests to see how much you already know and skip the things you do know. They have a in system chat setup where you can ask questions and find answers from other members. In the near future, Mango Homeschool Edition will have an enhanced progress tracking and progress monitoring. This will include "seat time". They are also making a goals and personal lesson plan section that can be stand alone but is also tied into the Mango program. They also plan to have a resume and portfolio builder. We have not used all of these options yet, some are still in the working, so I will not comment on them πŸ™‚


 


I really liked the idea of this program and the fact that it is focused on the hearing and speaking of the language. I would have loved to see a little more worksheets or paperwork to help the visual learners. However…Moe Man loved the program and learning the different languages. He loved being able to listen to the different language and using their voice comparison tool to see how well he was matching them. When I asked him what he would want to see changed, he said nothing. He liked the whole thing and felt it was easy to navigate and understand.


 


All of this is packaged up in one pretty little bundle for $125 for a year for one subscription or $18 a month. That includes all 60+ languages and access to all of them!  Need more than one subscription? Get 2 for $175 for the year, $28 for a month, 3 for $225 for a year or $38 a month, 4 for $275 a year or $48 a month, 5 for $325 a year or $58 a month. By far the yearly deal is better! If you are really serious about wanting to add a foreign language into your homeschool…take the plunge with the yearly deal. Don't forget to show your love for Mango and follow them on their social media here:


Twitter: https://twitter.com/MangoLanguages​


Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/mangolanguages/​ 


Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MangoLanguages​


 


With over 60 langauges from Spanish to Pirate (yes, Pirate) to Polish and everything in between, there is no way I would be able to review them all. Want to know more? Check out these other reviews: 


 


 


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ScienceandMath.com Alegebra 1 Review (Schoolhouse Review)

scienceandmath

When you say the word Math to Moe Man you get met with a disappointed, defeated look. He has not had the "aha" moment when it comes to math for him. When I was given the chance to check out The Algebra 1: Volume 1 Tutor on DVD from ScienceandMath.com I was excited to see what we could have here. 


ScienceandMath.com Review

As part of this review, we were given The Algebra 1 Tutor Volume 1 DVD. The physical DVD (which we received) sells for $26.99, or you can get the DVD download for $23.99. 


ScienceandMath.com Review


We also received the Fractions Thru Algebra Companion Worksheet PDF download, which sells for $21.99 or the physical CD version sells for $24.99.


 


As the title of this DVD states, it is a Tutor and not a full math curriculum. You will still need a curriculum, but this is a perfect way to help your child along when you don't know how to explain what they are learning. It is not required to have the companion worksheets, but they do help to reinforce what you are learning while you watch the DVD, and I highly recommend them πŸ™‚ The Algebra 1 Tutor: Volume 1 is for grades 7 and up, unless you have someone younger who is taking an Algebra course.


ScienceandMath.com Review


ScienceandMath.com Review


ScienceandMath.com has been a life saver for us! We took this algebra tutor and used it the best that we could. It is a wonderful way to have someone else "teach" Moe Man when he doesn't want to listen to me. There are 3 disks which have 3-4 "lessons" on each one. From these "lessons" you are able to pick and choose what you need help with. We started at the beginning for a review of the most basic parts of real numbers and the number line. 


 


Even though we started with items that Moe Man already knew, he loved being able to have that review. And to have it on the T.V. and letting him be in control of the remote let him "take control" of his math learning. We took lesson 1 on disk 1 and broke it up into three days. During those three days, Moe Man would watch the video, take notes as they were written on the board and than did the companion worksheet. Doing this quick review gave him a confidence boost that continues to show every day when it comes to math now!


 


After our quick review, we took the tutor as a tutor. When we learned something new or had a struggling moment, we would jump over to The Algebra Tutor and see another view point on how to learn it. This is perfect for Moe Man. He learns best from the repetition, and being able to watch the same thing as many times as he needs to is wonderful. 


 


There is no schedule for this program. There is no do this on this day and than move onto this on this day. This is a tutor. This is a use it as you need it program, and for us we are using it a lot! 


 


So, do I like the program? YES! Why did I like it? Well, Moe Man actually asked me if he could do math first on the second day. He always puts it off, but to hear that he WANTED to do math, made me smile. The instructor goes slow enough on the DVD that you are able to keep up. He makes it fun for the kids, and I even caught Ray Ray watching the video with Moe Man. It is not a boring lecture of math that kids don't like. It is simple, yet effective! Moe Man enjoyed (and still enjoys) being able to go to this when he needs help. He likes being able to pause the DVD when he needs to, and the fact that he can rewind it makes it even better. I like that I don't have to keep repeating myself, yet he still gets the repetition. 


 


Who do I recommend this program for? I would recommend this to any family who has a child in Algebra! I don't care if you are a homeschool family or not. This program is great to help all children who need that extra boost. It helps those who struggle with math and may not have had their "aha" moment. 


 


I loved this program. Moe Man loved this program. This is something we will continue to use and benefit from. I can't think of anything that needs to be changed with this. 


 


Make sure you check out what these other families have to say about this and other programs available at ScienceandMath.com by clicking on this picture:


 


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Weekly Update on the 7th Grader

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I have told you a lot about the littles and their journeys in our homeschooling…well today I want to tell you a little about how Moe Man is doing. He has had me at my wits end, dang teenager! πŸ™‚ That whole thing your parents tell you when you're growing up "I hope your kids are just like you" line…yeah, I don't think I like that line anymore! 

Moe Man has been busy with his writing. We decided we needed to work on that a little more. Last month we learned about outer space and Moe Man decided that he wanted to write about Neil Armstrong. He did an awesome job at it! He wasn't happy that I made him write more than three sentences but when we took our time and laid it out by paragraph, it went very smooth. I was happy to see that when it was typed up all nice and pretty, it was a page long! Not bad for not wanting to do it if you ask me.

Math wise, oh boy. I wish I could find the "just right" program for him that isn't going to cost an arm and a leg. We are working on a review right now, and he seems to like it for the most part, but it is a tutor and not an actual program. We are making it work for us though.

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For Science we are working on Geology. I am still working on the plans here, but we are starting on the flood with Noah and going from there. I think we may take some time here, only because the boys love rocks and we will use this to our advantage.

Reading and writing are working on finishing our Percy Jackson Book. Everyone wants to hear it, and mommy got tired of reading it all the time. What does a mommy do? She plays the audio book! All the kids and mommy get to listen to this fun story, and I don't have to listen to anyone complain. Now, I do make Moe Man follow along in the book, and than he has activities to do that go along with the readings. I like this as it builds on his comprehension of what he has read/listened to. 

We have been busy all week, and this upcoming week is no different. I hope your week and weekend were good. I can't wait to share more later this week on some of the fun things we have done!