Sunya – A Math Game Review

AJ really enjoys math. She likes to figure out problems and to learn new concepts. The problem is that she hates to practice what she knows and she really doesn’t like to write out problems. I have found that she really excels when she can practice math concepts in a non traditional way. Her favorite way to practice math is by playing a game. We often use dice and cards to practice math facts and to practice things like adding and subtracting negative numbers. The problem we run into while using playing cards to practice math is that they only go from two to nine. Sometimes we get creative and use cards from other games or make our own, but it isn’t as easy.

We were recently given the chance to review a new game called Sunya – The Magic and Wonder of Math and Science Multiplying & Dividing from Sunya Publishing. I was excited to try it out, because it is often hard to find math supplements for older kids. This game is ages nine and up and can be played with one to five players.

Math and Science {Sunya Publishing Review}
The game comes with sixty playing cards. The cards include; the numbers zero through nine, wild cards, a card with the multiplication symbol, a card with the division symbol, and a card with the equal sign on it. Along with the playing cards, there is also a set of thirty math and science fact and riddle cards. We also received a number line and a 25 page guidebook.

The cards are all well made and they seem to be sturdy so I think they will last for a long time. The cards are very easy to read. The playing cards have the number or sign written in a large font on the center of the card. On the bottom of the cards there are the same number of purple dots and on the top left corner there is a gray number. I enjoyed that it was simple to see what number was on each card from different angles.

The math and science fact cards have a variety of jokes, riddles, logic problems, math problems, and science facts. Most of them have the answer written in small orange letters upside down on the bottom of the card.

There are a few different ways to play and a lot of rules. There are so many options and the instruction manual is more like a book, that it is easy to become overwhelmed. But it is honestly a simple game to play!

You first need to decide to play the multiplication or division version. Then a sample number sentence is played up to 9×9=81 and everyone is dealt cards. So if the sample sentence is 3×2=6 then the player to start the game picks a card and tries to change the number sentence to another correct one. For example, if a player had the numbers 189 in their hand they could change the sentence to 9×2=18. It’s easy! The math and science fact cards come in to play after a player goes out. The winner gets to read a card to the other players.

The day that the game came in the mail we had company and I thought it would be great to try out the game. They all thought it sounded like too much thinking and declined to play. I love logic and number games so I was a bit disappointed that no one wanted to play, but it wasn’t the first time that they turned down a chance to try out a new game.

AJ and I have played the game a few times since, but I have found it to be slow as she takes a long time to figure out numbers that will easily work to change the number sentences. Helping each other is encouraged, but she likes to figure things out for herself. She is learning a lot and I can see her trying to work through different sentences trying to see which if any will work. I think it would be a lot of fun to play with fellow math lovers like myself. AJ thought it was an ok game but said it was a little too hard. We made a few changes to the game (like being able to reposition any number and to change between multiplication and division in the same game) and it made the game more enjoyable to AJ.

I think it is a fun way to practice math, but it does cause to student to be actively learning. I think the math and science cards are completely unnecessary for game play. Instead I gave them to AJ to read and play with.

Overall I think it is a solid game but that the game play tends to be slow and even challenging due to so many rules. I think there are too many examples in the rule book and that it is too big overall. Most people want to jump into a game and have fun and sorting through the rules and directions can be time confusing. If you are looking for a fun game to relax and play then this isn’t what you want. But if you want a game to make you think and one that will strengthen your math skills then this would be a great game to buy as soon as it becomes available.

 

Math and Science {Sunya Publishing Review}
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Poetry Memorization ~ Review

AJ can memorize any song or commercial, but she has a hard time remembering math facts and dates that she needs to remember for her school work. When I heard about a new poetry memorization product from Institute for Excellence in Writing, I was a little torn. AJ made great progress with their writing curriculum, but I didn’t know if I wanted to add extra work to our already busy schedule. After reading through the samples on the website, I decided that having AJ memorize poetry would be beneficial to her.

Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization IEW Review
We were given Linguistic Development Through Poetry Memorization. It includes; five CDs that have all of the poems the student is to memorize, a DVD of the seminar “Nurturing Competent Communicators“, and a Teacher’s Manual. Inside of the Teacher’s Manual there is a page that tells you how to download the 170 page student book, and seven audio MP3’s of wonderful workshops. We were given a physical copy of the Student Book, but it is sold separately.

Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization IEW Review
I don’t know what it is about Andrew Pudewa, but his seminars and workshops are always enjoyable to listen to and watch. It often seems like he is talking about AJ! I haven’t listened to all seven of the seminars, but the ones that I have really changed my thoughts on teaching and language arts in general. I had a few light bulb moments when I was watching the DVD about Nurturing Competent Communicators. If you have a struggling student at all, I recommend listening to any seminar or workshops of his.

Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization IEW Review
There are five different levels of poetry that your child will memorize over the years with this program. Everyone starts at level one and moves on at their own pace memorizing nineteen provided poems and a personal selection for each of the first four levels. The fifth level has twenty different speeches for your child to memorize.

The poems in level one are fun and silly most of them are between one and five stanzas long with short sentences. AJ’s favorite poem that she has memorized so far is called Celery by Ogden Nash.

Celery, raw

Develops the jaw,

But celery, stewed,

Is more quietly chewed.

As the levels progress there are longer poems and some that are more serious, but there are short and funny poems sprinkled throughout as well. I was very happy with all of the different selections. Some of them are poems that I remember reading when I was younger and others are poems that I remember dissecting in English class. There are also quite a few that I have enjoyed reading for the first time.

The program is very simple to use. I decided to learn the poems along with AJ (I don’t know if I will stick to that when she gets to the speeches though, they look hard!) and it has become a fun activity for us to do together. Each day AJ and I both recited all of the poems that we had memorized. If she could recite the newest poem that we were working on, then she would color the picture at the bottom of the student page and highlight the name of the poem on her progress page. Then we would start working on a new poem. If she had any issues or missed any words then we would simply continue to work on the same poem. After reciting the poems we listened to the CD of the poems being read aloud until we came to the poem we were working on. We would listen to the poem we were currently working on a few times and then read through it in the student manual. Then AJ would put a check mark on the progress chart to show that she practiced them that day.

In the back of the teacher’s manual there are optional lesson enhancements. Some of them are poetry and literary elements to talk to the student about while others are activities like learning about worms when she memorized the poem, Ooey Gooey. We talked about different elements of each poem, but we didn’t decide to complete any other enhancements because our days our fairly busy right now. I like that they are there if I need them.

The entire process takes us less than 10 minutes a day, and it is a time that AJ enjoys. When I first told her we were going to memorize some poetry she wasn’t excited, but now if I forget to have her do it, she reminds me.

One of the reasons that this product interested me was that AJ has a very hard time writing poetry. She is a very literal thinker and writing silly verses was a hard concept for her. I hoped that introducing her to different poems would show her that not all poetry had to rhyme and that they were not all suppose to be read in a sing song tone. Having the poems read correctly with the correct pronunciation was wonderful! I am very glad that we had the opportunity to review the Linguistic Development Through Poetry Memorization , we plan to continue with it for years to come.

Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization IEW Review
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ARTistic Pursuits ~ Review

I have wanted to find a good art program for AJ for a long time. She enjoys doodling, but her art skills are greatly lacking. We have tried a few different programs, but they just weren’t a good fit. We were given the chance to review Middle School Book One The Elements of Art and Composition from ARTistic Pursuits Inc. and I thought that it would be a good fit for AJ.

Artistic Pursuits Middle School Book 1

The Elements of Art and Composition is a 92 page come-bound book. There are 16 units that are each broken into four lessons. The lessons focus on different elements of art including; space, line, texture, form, depth, balance, proportion, and perspective. The lessons are written to the student making it so that most students can complete the program on their own with little help.

ARTistic Pursuits Inc. Review
The first lesson in each unit introduces and explains the concept of that unit. The lesson has your child practice the concept in a creative way. In one unit your child is told to find an object and see how many different ways they can look at it. Another lesson has the student line up small objects and draw them a few times having some of them overlap. Each of these lessons are fairly short, but they explain the concept very well.

The second lesson is in Art Appreciation. The student is shown a piece of art that goes with the unit. There is a brief history of the culture and the piece of art, and then the student is asked to imitate the art in some way.

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The third lesson is the main art lesson, it is on technique. It gives some great tips on how to achieve different looks in your art. Unfortunately, I don’t feel that this section is large enough. It is only one page long in each unit. The information that is given is detailed, it even explains which pencils to use to get different effects.

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The final lesson in each unit is the Application lesson. This is the section where the student is told to use everything that they have learned and to do a project. Some of the projects require a lot of time, but there are some (especially in the beginning) that only take a little while to complete.

In each lesson the student draws something.

There are 64 lessons, so if your student completes two lessons a week, the book will last an entire school year. The books are not consumable, if you have multiple children they can all use it.

I decided to have AJ work on art twice a week. The first two lessons I read to AJ and worked with her. After those two lessons I quickly realized that she would be able to do the work on her own. Each lesson took between 45 minutes and an hour. She understood the lessons, but she had a lot of problems with the drawings.

She did the best on the second lesson in each unit where she was asked to imitate part of a work of art. On the rest of the lessons there were not details of what to draw and she had trouble. On a lot of the lessons there are pictures drawn by other students. Since her drawings were no where near as good as the ones in the book she became discouraged.

I think that this level was just too advanced for her. This book is full of wonderful techniques, but if you have trouble drawing basic items, then that won’t really help.

If your student has basic drawing skills and wants to improve them, then this book would help them a lot. With the different techniques and the art history, this would be a solid course that can be completed with little help from the teacher.

I plan to have AJ draw for fun a lot over the summer and then start AJ over in the book for the next school year. I think that if she improves on her basic drawing skills that she will get more from the book.

Find out what others had to say by clicking on the graphic below.

ARTistic Pursuits Inc. Review
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Music Appreciation ~ Review

When I first started homeschooling AJ I wasn’t afraid to teach her algebra or biology, I was worried how I would teach her music or art. I knew that she would need to learn a variety of subjects, but music was one that I didn’t know how I would go about teaching. I have never played an instrument and I couldn’t name more than two famous composers. AJ on the other hand loves music, all kinds of music, and is eager to learn. When we were given the chance to review a Music Appreciation course I was excited to see if it would be a good fit for AJ. I was amazed at the course that Zeezok Publishing LLC had put together. Their Music Appreciation Book 1: for the Elementary Grades is an excellent program.

Music Appreciation

Over the course of a year your child reads and learns about seven of the great composers; Schubert, Mozart, Paganini, Bach, Hayden, Handel, and Beethoven. While learning about each composer your child will read a book about each one, complete activities related to music, create a lapbook about each composer, listen to music, and do hands on activities. While the study of each composer has similar activities, each one touches on different aspects of music. We started our study with George Fredrick Handel.

Music Appreciation for the Elementary Grades {Zeezok Publishing LLC Review}
We received seven books, one about each composer, a five disk CD set full of wonderful music, a CD with lapbook pieces to print off, and a large workbook that is over 350 pages long. While this curriculum states it is for the elementary grades, there is a lot of work and learning involved.

When we started our journey to learn all about George Handel (a name I had never heard) we turned to his section in the large workbook. On the first page we found a weekly lesson outline that broke the study into four weeks. It also included a few activities that AJ would need to complete outside of the program in order to meet national music standards. Those activities were simple to complete. Each week we needed to read a chapter out of the book, Handel at the Court of Kings, and answer some comprehension questions. She listened to some music from the composer each week as well. Each week also had her complete a section called Character Traits and Tidbits of Interest.

Handel - One of 7 composers to learn about

The biographies are well written and full of interesting details. In Handel at the Court of kings, we learned about his life in great detail, from him getting in trouble when he was six years old for following the singers in the street, to when he was traveling across Europe, and when he started to go blind. The book is broken into four chapters and contains sheet music for many of the songs that Handel composed. The book is fairly easy to read, but it does contain some difficult vocabulary sprinkled throughout. Including the sheet music, the book is over 160 pages long.

The Character Traits section listed good character traits that Handel displayed during the chapter and explained the traits in better detail. Handel was a good man. Some of the traits AJ learned more about were; diligence, humility, leadership, and humor. Reading through the character traits only took a few moments each week, but AJ enjoyed it. I liked the fact that those qualities were being displayed in real life ways throughout the book.

The Tidbits of Interest section was neat. It would list a page number and then give more information about an event that happened on that page. We tried to stop and read the tidbit of interest when that part of the story came up. It helped to put some parts of the story into perspective. When Handel was young his father didn’t want him to pursue a life of music, but we found out in the Tidbits of Interest section that at that time in Germany musicians were regarded as lower than servants. That helped us to see why his father was so against him being a musician.

Music Appreciation for the Elementary Grades {Zeezok Publishing LLC Review}
Each week AJ completed other fun activities to go along with the story. During week one she learned about Germany and practiced locating different countries in Europe. She learned a little about Bach and Scarlatti, the other composers who were born around the same time as Handel. She copied parts of sentences out of the book and sorted out the adjectives and adverbs and did research on the oboe.

Learn about more than music with Zeezok!

The second week had her learning a little more about Germany. She also started learning about some of the elements of music. She learned about; melody, harmony, dynamics, rhythm, tempo, and timbre. All of those terms were new to me, but AJ remembered some of them from the piano lessons she had taken. She ended the second week by learning about the different types of sound that instruments make and assigning colors to different sounds. She was given adjectives like lonely, warm, sweet, and heavy and had to decide which color reminded her of the word. She had a hard time with that activity because she is a very literal thinker. I think that was the only activity that she didn’t like in the entire study.

Learn about the elements of music

The third week was her favorite. It started with her reading and copying quotes about or by George Handel. Her favorite quote was from Handel, “…I should be sorry if I only entertained them; I wished to make them better.” In the book we learned how amazing Handel was, not only in music, but as a leader. AJ’s favorite part of the week was comparing and contrasting different music. She listened to songs that were opposites and described how they were alike and different. She listened to 10 different songs (not including the ones written by Handel) during the third week, and wished there would have been more.

Compare and Contrast music

The final week had her complete a few different activities. She reviewed the different character qualities that Handel displayed, put together a time line of events, learned about some of Handel’s famous songs, and experienced being blind. The last week took us two weeks to complete because there was so much to learn.

We tried to do the reading on the first two days of the week and the other activities through the rest of the week. We both liked that there were so many different activities. The only problem we had was that the chapters in the book are so long. The second chapter begins on page 43, so that shows how long the chapters are. I also felt that we rushed through some of the lapbook activities in order to try and stay on schedule. Even with rushing, it took us almost six weeks to finish our study on Handel. The next composer we plan to learn about is Bach, there looks like a lot of fun things in that unit.

Reading about composer Handel

I think this is a very well written curriculum. The books are interesting to read and full of factual details, and the CDs align perfectly with the book. When we are reading about a song Handel composed the book tells us which CD and track to go to so we can listen to the song. It is very organized and easy to teach, even if the teacher has no previous knowledge of music. There are hands on elements that make learning fun. Each composer focuses on different musical elements so the student really gains a wide variety of skills once the program is finished. The best part is that AJ really looked forward to music each day. There was a large amount of reading and writing, but she enjoyed it so much that she didn’t mind those things.

Since this was written for elementary aged students, I thought that we would be able to breeze right through it. That was not the case. If I was doing this with an elementary student I would most likely change this into a two year program and complete a book in eight weeks instead of four. I think doing all seven books in one year with an older student would be difficult, I couldn’t imagine trying to do it with a third grader. I think it would be too much when all of the other daily work is included. If you are looking for a quick and easy music program this is not what you are looking for. But if you want a program that will immerse your child in the world of music and make learning really come alive then this is exactly what you want.

Music Appreciation for the Elementary Grades {Zeezok Publishing LLC Review}
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Kwik Stix ~ Review

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Lately AJ hasn’t been able to do very many arts and crafts. She loves to paint and create things, but she always seems to make a mess. Between spilled water and paint that accidentally gets on the table, I say, “no” way more than I say, “yes” when she wants to get the paints out. When I heard of the new Kwik Stix from The Pencil Grip, Inc.  I was very intrigued. A lot of paints claim to dry fast, but when we try them out, they take forever to dry. I hoped that these would be different.

Kwik Stix The Pencil Grip, Inc. Review
We received a Kwik Stix 12 pk and a surprise gift of a pencil grip. I wish that I would have had that pencil grip when AJ was learning to write! She has a very awkward grip some times, and I know that the pencil grip would have helped. It slides on the pencil and tells you where to place your fingers in order to have a proper grip. AJ has used it a few times, but she finds it a little hard to use because she doesn’t normally hold the pencil correctly. There was also a chart that showed some different grips that were either correct or incorrect. The way AJ holds her pencil was on the incorrect side. I loved that there was something that showed her she was holding the pencil wrong. I am not pushing her to use the pencil grip right now, but when she uses it I do see an improvement in her penmanship.

Kwik Stix Review, A mess free way to paint

The Kwik Stix 12 pk came with a variety of paint colors; red, orange, yellow, two shades of green, two shades of blue, purple, pink, black, brown, and white. Each stick is about three and a half inches long and resembles the shape of a glue stick. They are solid sticks of tempera paint, you simply take the cap off, twist the bottom of the stick if needed, and then use the Kwik Stix to paint something. They are non-toxic and very easy to use.

Kwik Stix The Pencil Grip, Inc. Review
When AJ first saw the Kwik Stix she thought they looked like colored glue sticks. But when she first tried them out, she really liked them. The box claimed that the paint dries in 90 seconds, and they really do. We found that they dry almost instantly. The color goes on smooth and evenly and once it dries, it has a paint like texture. They take painting to a new level. One thing I like about the Kwik Stix is that you don’t need any paint brushes or water to use them. As long as you have the paints and something to paint on, you are all set.

AJ really liked using them, and the only issue we found was that there isn’t a way to mix the colors once they dry. If AJ drew a line of black and then quickly went over it with white the line did turn gray, but it had to be done very quickly. The amazing thing was that even though she mixed colors, the Kwik Stix never had the other paint transfer onto it.

Kwik Stix The Pencil Grip, Inc. Review
 AJ has used the Kwik Stix on regular paper, construction paper, and on a cardboard butterfly. Everything she has used it on has come out great! She is doing more art projects, and I am dealing with less mess. In the video below you will see AJ using the Kwik Stix.

These Kwik Stix would be great to use with young kids. They are virtually mess free. If you are looking for a way to let your kids paint without all the mess, these Kwik Stixs are something you should definitely check out!

Kwik Stix The Pencil Grip, Inc. Review
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What is a MOM?

When I was a little girl my mom had a beautiful little picture hanging up that said, “Anyone can be a mother, but it takes someone special to be a mommy.”

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I always think of that picture, especially this time of year. May is a busy month in our family. We have my little girl’s birthday, my grandma’s birthday, my birthday, and Mother’s Day.

I use to feel a little left out and out of place on Mother’s Day, because I am not a mother. I didn’t give birth to a child, and I didn’t adopt a child, so how could I be a mother? The little girl I always talk about and that my life revolves around is my beautiful little cousin AJ. After some bad things happened in her life and she spent a little time in foster care, I was blessed to pick her up from the airport on Christmas Eve back in 2004 when she was 18 months old. I have raised her ever since, but her “real mom” is still in the picture, and she still calls her mom. If she still has a mom, what does that make me?

I am the one who taught her numbers, shapes, and colors. I taught her to read. Am I just a teacher? I stayed up all night and learned how to use a breathing machine for her asthma. I cleaned out her cuts and bruises and kissed her booboos. Am I just a nurse? I have given up time with friends and stayed up all night when she had nightmares, giving up “me time” to play dress up and dolls. Am I just a babysitter? I have been there when she is happy and laughing and when she is upset and crying, seen her through the terrible twos and the horrible threes. I have had the pleasure of the snuggling and the hugs, and I wouldn’t change a thing.

Yet, I still didn’t know where I fit in. Each year as May came around, I would help her make a card for her real mom. When strangers would wish me a happy Mother’s Day, I would politely state that I wasn’t a mother. She was always my little girl, and I was always just her “Kate” .

Then it hit me one day, no I wasn’t her real mother…… her biological mother, but I was just as important. I still help her make a card for her mother on Mother’s Day, but now when someone wishes me a happy Mother’s Day, I say thank you. Deep down inside I know that I am a mom, maybe just not in the typical sense. I try to always remember that it t does take someone special to be a mommy and I am that special person.

To all those women out there who give up their life to take care of a child, whether you are technically a mother or not, HAPPY MOTHERS DAY! Embrace your day

10 Summer Fun Outdoor Activities

The sweet smell of summer will soon be in the air. Commercials for theme parks and water parks are all around. Summer camps are getting into full swing. But, how can you and your children enjoy the fun summer without breaking the bank?

You can look on Pinterest and find thousands of ideas for cheap summer fun, but most of them require a great deal of craftiness. The truth is I am not crafty! I love to do crafts and I try, but I never seem to get them right. While I would love to turn my backyard into a miniature water park, I lack the time, energy, skill, and funds.

Here are 10 outside activities to keep your child occupied throughout the summer, while making memories and not breaking the bank!

1. Create an obstacle course. The choices are limitless! Grab a few things you have laying around, use a little creativity, and have a blast. Crawl under chairs, jump over pool noodles, hop from one spot to the next. You can make it into a race or try to beat the clock.

2. Blow bubbles. There are a bunch of recipes online to make your own bubble solution, but I like to buy the big thing of bubbles from the store. They only cost about $5 and they last a long time.
3. Water gun fun. If your family doesn’t like the idea of playing with toy guns, there are other water shooters too. We found a few really large water shooters at the 99 cent store and they work great. You can spray each other, yourself, or objects. Make it a game to see how long it takes to push a ball across the yard using only the pressure of the water. You may even be able to sneak in some learning.

4. Jump rope. Jumping rope can keep my little one occupied for hours. Add a summer twist and the fun is multiplied. Jump rope through the sprinklers, or find another way to add water. Just remember to be careful not to slip!

5. Water balloons. Have a water balloon fight, play water balloon tic tac toe, have a water balloon toss. Like the obstacle course you are only limited by your imagination.
6. Sidewalk chalk.  There is just something fun about drawing on the ground with bright beautiful colors. You can make your own chalk or pick some up for a few dollars at the store. You can sneak a little learning in here too by practicing math facts or spelling words.
7. Swimming.  It may not be an option for everyone, but if you have a pool nearby make sure to utilize it.

8. Roast Marshmallows. A simple activity of roasting marshmallows around a fire pit can bring a night full of happiness and fun. Add in telling ghost stories or singing songs and it really can’t be beat.

9. Flash Light Tag. A few flashlights and a back yard makes for a great game of tag. Once you get tired of playing tag, use the flashlights to make shadow puppets.
10. Play with ice and water. Freeze water in different containers and let your kid’s imagination run wild. Set up a table with measuring cups and water and let them explore. Let them get wet and messy and have a blast.

Whatever you do this summer, shut of the TV and computers, get outside for a few minutes and have fun with your kids. You don’t have to have a lot of money to make a memorable summer for your kids! What are you planning to do this summer?

 

GREEMU ~ Review

Throughout the year our family suffers with dry itchy skin. AJ can only use certain soaps and lotions because she breaks out if she uses the wrong kinds, and my mom is diabetic so itchy skin comes with the territory. I have dry skin, but I hate the feeling of creams or lotions. Last year we were able to try out a few different skin care products, some worked well, and the others didn’t work for our family. Since we had some success, I was intrigued when we were given the opportunity to review GREEMU from Devonian.

If you haven’t heard of GREEMU, you’re not alone. It is a new organic based plant oil that is an alternative to emu oil. Emu oil has become popular for uses on hair and skin. It can be used as a moisturizer and to help the skin in other ways. It can also help damaged hair. While there are benefits to using emu oil, there are many people who don’t want to use it because it is an animal based product. Devonian saw the need for a product that was as beneficial as emu oil, but that was animal free. GREEMU was the answer.

Greemu Devonian Review
We were given a four ounce bottle of GREEMU to use for the review period. I was anxious to try it out in a few ways. The first thing I tried it on was my hair. I have unmanageable curly hair that is dry and full of split ends. Once my hair drys, it is impossible to brush it out. I have tried numerous different conditioners and products to soften my hair. I always end up with one of two results. Either the products don’t work, or they make my hair look so oily that I can’t use them.

Greemu Devonian Review
I read the directions on the bottle of the GREEMU. It says to use a few drops and to work it in your hair from the roots to the tips. I tried using a few drops and my hair just soaked it up. After a few hours my hair looked so oily, but it did feel a lot softer. For a few days after washing my hair, my hair felt softer and looked healthier. I decided to take it a step further. I put quite a bit of oil throughout my hair and left it overnight (there was some residue left on the pillow) when I woke up my hair was so soft and smooth. I have continued to put the oil on my hair overnight about once a week, and I have had great results. I can brush through my hair, it isn’t as tangled after a shower, and it looks softer.

I won’t use it on my hair unless I know I can wash it out before I have to go somewhere, because it leaves my hair too oily, but I am excited with the results.

Next I tried it on my skin. I don’t normally use anything on my skin because I don’t like the oily sticky feeling. This didn’t work for me because it left my skin shiny and had a sticky feeling.

My mom on the other hand, uses lotions a lot. Her legs were itching really badly so I decided to try the GREEMU on her. I used just a few drops on her skin and rubbed it in. A little while later the itching had stopped. She liked how the oil helped her, but she didn’t like how there was a residue left on her skin. She has used it a few times sense, but she is afraid that the residue will get all over her clothes or the furniture.

We were happy with the results of GREEMU. It has helped my hair, and my mom has seen results on her skin. I wish that it would absorb into or skin better so that our skin was not left with a sticky feeling, but I think we will continue to use the GREEMU oil.

If you are looking for an oil that will help your skin and hair, GREEMU may be what you are looking for.

Greemu Devonian Review
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Heroes of History ~ Review

I am always looking for a way to change up our school day. Since the next topic we are planning to study is American history after the Civil War, I have been on the look out for books and activities to help AJ learn about that era. When we were given a chance to review a book from YWAM Publishing, I knew that I wanted to pick an influential person to learn about. We were given a physical copy of Heroes of History Theodore Roosevelt: An American Original and a Digital Unit Study to accompany it. Since we reviewed a book from YWAM last year, I knew that we were in for a treat.

Theodore Roosevelt Review

 

Theodore Roosevelt An American Original is a 201 page soft covered book that is broken into 17 chapters. The book starts with a 39 year old Teddy Roosevelt marching up San Juan Hill as part of a Volunteer Cavalry. Then the book goes back in time and starts with him at five years old during the Civil War. His parents were on opposite sides of the war, and that made for a difficult time. His mother was helping out the South while his father was helping the North, even though he wasn’t fighting. The book goes on to tell about how sick Teddy was as a child and how he decided to make his body work by exercising and training. We learn that the Roosevelt family came into a lot of money and that because of that, Teddy and his family went on amazing vacations. He sailed up the Nile River and visited numerous countries in Africa and Europe. We learn about Teddy’s love of animals and his love of taxidermy.

The book then continues to show how he got into politics. It tells the sad way he lost his mother and wife and how he finally came back to society. Then the book talks about his road to the presidency, the obstacles he faced and how he dealt with them.

The book is easy to read and understand, but it does have some advanced vocabulary throughout the chapters. Reading the book alone gives you a great understanding of who Theodore Roosevelt was, but when you combine it with the Digital Unit Study, there is so much to learn.

The Digital Unit Study has options for classroom use, small group use, and for homeschool use. It is broken into two sections. The first section is the real study guide it is 71 pages long and has comprehension questions, social study activities, related themes, and more. The second part of the unit study is the printable pages. It included a fact sheet to fill out about Roosevelt, a world map, map of America, a map of New York, and a time line to fill in. The study guide is full of information to make the book really come to life.

I wanted this book to be our history study. Each week we read through three chapters of the book (except the first chapter that was really short.) and AJ answered the comprehension questions from the study guide. She also looked up different social study terms as we came to them. The Roosevelt family went on a lot of trips. AJ used the maps to chart their journeys. There are dozens of writing prompts, crafts, and ideas for places to visit while reading the book, we haven’t done those yet, but we still have a few chapters left to read.

AJ likes the story and has enjoyed following along with the Roosevelt family’s journeys. I have been reading the book out loud to her and she looks forward to finding out what is coming up next. If she enjoyed reading more, I could see the Heroes of History books being a great spine to our history study next year. Unfortunately, it wouldn’t work for her. I wish it would because the books from YWAM are full of history and bring a person to life. You get to know them so much better than you can in a few pages of a text book.

If you are looking for a book to supplement your history studies, or if you are looking for a good biography, these are great.

Christian Heroes {YWAM Publishing Review}
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Writers in Residence ~ Review

Writing is the subject that AJ hates the most. We have tried numerous writing programs that seem like they would be a perfect fit, but once we start them AJ dislikes them for one reason or another. We have seen a lot of improvements in her writing recently, but our lessons were taking over our day. On days we had too much going on in other subjects, writing got pushed to the side. I knew we were both ready to try something new. When I heard that Apologia Educational Ministries had a new language arts based writing program, Writers in Residence, I was intrigued. When I heard that it was authored by Debra Bell, I thought it would be a hit.

Apologia: Writers in Residence Review
Writers in Residence is a new product that combines a writing curriculum with grammar, sentence structure, capitalization, and punctuation practice. Writers in Residence is perfect for kids in grades four through eight. The student book is huge! At over 550 pages there is plenty of room for instruction.

There are six units that each take about four or five weeks to complete. There is a schedule included that has your student working for four days a week, but that can easily be adjusted to fit your own needs. This curriculum is very flexible!

Apologia: Writers in Residence Review
After opening the box we found a small teacher guide and a 2 inch thick Student Text and Workbook. I read through the beginning of the student book and decided we would try to stick to the four day week. The lessons all looked short and to the point. AJ enjoyed the lessons the first week, and by the second week she was reminding me that we needed to work on writing.

AJ worked on Writers in Residence almost every day. One thing that she really enjoyed was the variety. Some days she would write sentences about a favorite memory and other days she would pick out the verbs in the sentence and then practice walking a bunch of ways to help her learn that the more precise her verbs are in her writing the better. I think the variety in the assignments kept AJ guessing what would come next. It also meant that when she saw the writing book, she didn’t automatically assume that the work would be boring and tedious.

Throughout this review AJ has completed a lot of writing and grammar exercises. One thing that is stressed throughout the program is that writing needs to be practiced. AJ was expected to make mistakes in her writing and to fix them. Each unit is broken up into a number of modules. At the end of each module you and your child go through and grade all of the work they did based on their effort and the quality of their work. Even little things like acting out vocabulary words are included. Knowing that she was getting credit for all of those fun tasks as well as the harder ones really seemed to help motivate AJ.

What We Liked

  • We both liked that the book was spiral bound. That made it easy to write on at all times.
  • We liked that so many subjects were covered at once. It made our day go a little faster.
  • AJ liked that there was plenty of room for her to write in the workbook. She writes way too big for most workbooks, so that was a big deal to her.
  • We both like that the instructions were written at a level that she could easily understand. That made assigning writing work easy for me.
  • We both liked the bright and colorful text throughout the book. It was enough to be fun, but not too much that it overwhelmed her.

The only thing AJ didn’t like was that it was so big. I think if this could possibly be broken up into two books it may be easier for a child to handle.

If you are looking for a solid writing curriculum that incorporates other aspects of language arts into it then this is what you are looking for. It is well written, provides plenty of practice, and promotes independent learning. We will be using this for the rest of this year and all of next year. I have already seen a big improvement in her writing and look forward to how her writing will change in the future.

Apologia: Writers in Residence Review
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