Reading Eggspress ~ Review

For the past few weeks AJ has been using the Reading Eggspress portion of Reading Eggs to improve her reading skills. While she is technically above the age and grade level recommendation for the program, I have seen some great improvements in her reading skills in just a short time period. The best part is that she is enjoying the program.

Reading Eggs*

What is Reading Eggspress

Reading Eggspress is an online program designed to help students ages 7 to 13 improve their reading skills. It is meant to be used after the student has mastered basic phonic skills. When your student starts the program they can take a placement test, or you can decide what level you want them to begin with. Then they can read books, complete lessons, work on spelling skills, practice grammar concepts, or play games. For each learning activity they complete, they are awarded eggs.

The student can spend the eggs to customize an avatar. They can buy fun outfits, accessories, and backgrounds for their character.

Each level has different maps that your student works through. The video game like map is designed to take the student three to four hours to complete. It has five lessons and an assessment. There are multiple parts to each lesson. While each lesson is a little different, most include activities that help the student learn to do more than simply read text. There are activities for looking at the covers of the books to help decide what type of book it is, lessons on point of view, inference, vocabulary and dictionary skills, and so much more. Each part of the lesson only has a few questions for the student to answer and they are given instant feedback on if their answer is correct or incorrect. When they complete each section of the lesson they are awarded with a fun animation that congratulates their hard work. At the end of each lesson the student is awarded with a virtual trading card.

Once the student completes a map the parent is sent an email with their progress. The email explains which skills the child worked on, how much their reading level has improved, and what they scored on the assessment. You can also log into the parent dashboard and view detailed information about your child’s progress at any time.

The Library

There is a large library of books that your student can pick from. After they read a portion of the book they are asked a few questions about it, and are awarded eggs for correct answers. The student can pick books based on interest level or based on reading level.

Spelling and Grammar

The spelling program is easy to use! Once you decide which level you want your child to start with, they watch a video about a spelling rule. Then they answer twenty questions. Some have them correctly spell misspelled words, others have them click the correct spelling, or type the word they hear. Once they answer five questions correctly they are taken to a game to practice the words in game form. After all of the questions are answered they take a quiz and fix the spelling of any words that they got wrong.

There isn’t very much grammar instruction in the program aside from parts of speech. But your child can practice skills that they already know in game form. They can even compete with other students around the world.

Worksheets

If you would like to take the learning offline, there are worksheets that you can print off for your child to complete. There is a worksheet for each lesson that corresponds with what the student will learn in the online portion. These are not necessary, but are a great way for your child to get in some additional practice on concepts that they struggle with.

There are a lot of great things to discover on Reading Eggs.  While our review focused on the program for older students, they also have programs for kids as young as two years old. They even have a math program for early elementary grades. You can get a Free 4 week trial and see if the program is a good fit for your family.

What We Thought

Reading Eggs
We tried Reading Eggspress a few years ago and it just wasn’t a good fit for our family. There were a few different issues but I think the main one was that I placed AJ in a level that was too difficult for her and it was just frustrating for her. This time around things were different. I had her take the placement test and just had her start where it placed her. I had her do a few lessons each week and had her work on spelling.

Her reading has improved over the years and she can read grade level texts, but she still has some difficulty. Her main issues come from making inferences and vocabulary. She can always tell me what the reading says, but often has a hard time reading between the lines. The activities involving inference and vocabulary in context were very helpful for her. It helped her to see how she could learn more from the reading than what was actually written. Even though the reading level was easy for her, she was still learning valuable skills. I think we will continue to use the program a few times a week to help brush up on some of those skills.

Find out what other members of the Homeschool Review Crew thought by clicking on the graphic below.

Reading Eggs
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Brinkman Adventures Season 4 ~ Review

Two years ago our family was introduced to Brinkman Adventures.   At the time were blessed with the opportunity to review the third season of the exciting audio drama, and we really enjoyed it. The company tells about the adventures and trials of real life missionaries while keeping you on the edge of your seat. When we were given the chance to review another adventure, Brinkman Adventures Season 4 we were thrilled! We couldn’t wait to see what kind of adventures they had in store.

Brinkman Adventures

About Season 4

Brinkman Adventures
We received a digital download of Brinkman Adventures Season 4. It is also available as a physical product that comes on four CDs. There are twelve different adventures to enjoy giving you almost five hours of entertainment.

  • A Paradise Lost
  • Remember Nhu
  • Aisha’s Fear
  • Heart Song
  • The Crashed Kitchen
  • Crisis In The Congo
  • The Mysterious Palm Feller
  • War of the Raccoons
  • The Five Guys
  • Toughest Man
  • Cambodian Quest
  • What Brings Us Together

We enjoyed all of the episodes. One of our favorites was Aisha’s Fear. It was about a woman, Aisha and her husband Mahad. Mahad didn’t like the westerners and was overall a very hateful man. He beat his wife and would refuse to sell his products to Christians. After a while Mahad became very sick. The Christians who he refused to sell products to became his only customers because other people in the area were afraid of catching his illness. The Christians helped Mahad and cared for him when he was sick, even though he was hateful to them in the past. Eventually Mahad accepted Jesus and became a changed man. After seeing how her hateful husband changed, Aisha decided that she wanted to accept Jesus. But doing so was dangerous. It was a crime. Aisha not only accepted Jesus, but told many people about Him. She ended up getting thrown in jail, but she didn’t lose her faith. In the end, the person who threw her in jail was amazed with her bravery and released her.

This episode shows the dangers that are faced daily by not only missionaries, but by those who they minister to. It shows that you can overcome fear with love and that God can change the heart of even the most hateful person.

Each adventure tells the story of a different missionary from around the world. There are adventures in the Middle East, Russia, the Congo, Cambodia, along with other undisclosed countries. Each adventure not only tells about the trials each missionary faced, but also teaches a valuable lesson.

How We Used Brinkman Adventures

AJ and I listened to the episodes together. After listening to each adventure we went online to the Brinkman Adventures website to learn even more about the true stories of the missionaries. In order to make the stories appropriate for younger audiences, and to have the episodes flow well, sometimes elements of the original stories had to be changed a little bit. The website allows you to dig deeper into the stories. We listened to some of the episodes more than once because we enjoyed them so much.

What We Thought

Season 4 did not disappoint! It was just as good as season 3. These audio adventures are well done. The sound effects, different voices, and attention to detail make you feel as if you are actually in the different countries. If you are looking for a way to introduce your children to the work that missionaries do, Brinkman Adventures would be a great place to start. The audio drama would also be perfect as part of a geography study, a way to keep your kids entertained while in the car, or just as something to listen to for fun.

Find out what other members of the Homeschool Review Crew thought by clicking on the graphic below.

Brinkman Adventures Season 4
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The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls ~ Review

We were recently given the chance to review two biblical fiction books from WorthyKids/Ideals. The books are part of a new series, The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls by M. J. Thomas. We received the first two books in the series, The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls: The Beginning (Book #1) and The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls: Race to the Ark (Book #2).

About the Series

The series follows two siblings, Peter and Mary. The two end up finding ancient scrolls that magically transfer them back to biblical times. It is designed for kids ages six to nine and has a reading level of first to third grade. I personally disagree with the reading level. The book uses some larger words that I think even some second graders would struggle with. A first grader would need to be a very strong reader to tackle these books independently. I feel that a strong second grade reading level would be necessary for a child to read and comprehend the stories independently.

About the Books

The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls: The Beginning (Book #1)

The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls
The Beginning is a 107 page soft covered book that is broken into 12 chapters. The book begins with the two kids visiting their great uncle Solomon while their parents are on a trip to Africa for a month. The kids were not excited about spending a month with Great Uncle Solomon. He was an architect and didn’t even have a TV.

The first night of their stay Great Uncle Solomon told Peter and Mary about a discovery he made while working in the Middle East. He had found a glowing pot with ancient scrolls, but he couldn’t open them. Legend had it that only the chosen ones could open the scrolls.

After going to bed, the kids woke up to their dog Hank barking. The kids followed his barking and ended up finding the scrolls. They accidently opened one while tripping over the dog. All of a sudden, Peter, Mary, and Hank found themselves in complete darkness. They were witnessing the beginning of the world.

Along the way the kids met and angel named Michael. He told them that they had to follow three rules while on their adventure.

  1. They had 7 days to solve the secret of the scroll or they would be stuck in the past.
  2. The kids could not tell anyone where they were from or that they were from the future.
  3. They could not try to change the past.

Peter and Mary were surprised by the rules. They didn’t want to get stuck in the past, so they tried to figure out how to solve the secret of the scroll. Peter and Mary watched as God created the earth. Each day new things would appear. Michael warned the siblings of Satan and told the kids to stick together. They end up on a few adventures and eventually run into Satan. They finally solve the secret of the scroll which reads, “God Created Everything.” Once they solved the message they found themselves back in their great uncle’s library. After telling him about their adventure they found out that they were the chosen ones.

The end of the book points the readers to the Bible for the rest of the story.

The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls: Race to the Ark (Book #2)

The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls
Race to the Ark is 118 pages long and is broken into 13 chapters. This book begins with a short prolog that explains what happened in the first book. This makes it so you can easily start with the second book and be up to speed with what already happened. I wish that more books in a series would have prologs because I find them helpful.

The book begins with Mary and Peter sitting inside because of the rain. Their dog finds a bone and brings it to them. They end up finding Great Uncle Solomon’s old archeologist journal and tools. Then they hear the lion’s roar and their adventure begins!

The siblings find themselves in the middle of nowhere with out any food or water. They make their way to civilization but find out that they need coins to buy food. The only way to get coins is to lie, steal, or cheat. They decide to trust that God would provide when they are told that the “Dark Ruler” did not allow anyone to talk about God.

They meet with the angel and find out that this scroll has six words for them to solve. While on their adventure they meet Shem and make their way to Noah’s ark. Getting all of the animals on the ark was hard work, but they trusted God and worked together. They faced a few different challenges but in the end they solve the scroll and return home. This time the scroll read, “Trust God He Will Rescue You.”

How We Used Them

These books were both an easy read. I was able to finish them both in an afternoon. AJ hasn’t finished them yet because she has had a lot of reading in her other courses.

What I Thought

This series is really neat. It takes the facts from the Bible and expands on it. I think that anyone with young readers who are looking for an adventure would enjoy these books. I look forward to more books in this series, I  think it will be a big hit!

Find out what other members of the Homeschool Review Crew thought by clicking on the graphic below.

The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls. {WorthyKids/Ideals Reviews}
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Captain Bayley’s Heir ~ Review

Over the past few years our family has had the chance to review a few different titles from Heirloom Audio Productions. We have enjoyed every one that we have had the chance to listen to. Their audio dramas make you feel like you are watching a movie with your eyes closed. They never disappoint, so when we were given the opportunity to try out another one of their audio dramas, we were thrilled! We were given a copy of Captain Bayley’s Heir and access to additional goodies, like a study guide online.

Captain Bayley's Heir

About Captain Bayley’s Heir

This audio drama is about 2 and a half hours long. It is broken up onto two CDs with a total of twenty tracks. Like all of their audio dramas, this title is recommended for ages six and up.

The story begins with a kind and considerate boy named Frank. He lived in England and attended school. Unlike most of the other boys who attended school, Frank was friendly to everyone, even those who were a lower class than he was. In the beginning Frank jumps in a freezing lake to save a poor dog who was drowning.

Frank and his school friends decide to break school rules and go out, during this time Frank was in a fight and had to defend himself. The boy whom he was in a fight with ended up black mailing Frank. If Frank didn’t give him 10 pounds by the next day the other boy would tell the headmaster of the school. Frank didn’t have the money, his friends told Frank to pray about the issue. Amazingly, Frank received an anonymous letter with exactly ten pounds in it. The next day Frank paid the boy off. He thought the issue was resolved.

But it wasn’t. He was called into the head master’s office where he was accused of stealing the money. He was told that if he didn’t confess that he would be expelled from school. Frank wrote a letter to his uncle explaining that he was innocent. He asked that if his uncle believed him that he write a letter back to him. Sadly, Frank did not get a response. He decided to leave school and head to America so that one day he would be able to clear his name. He became a ship hand and was on his way to California.

Frank had quite a bit of luck on his travels. It was obvious that God was watching over him. Will he make it to California? Will he clear his name? Why didn’t his uncle respond to his letter? Who sent Frank the money in the first place? You will have to listen to the audio drama to find out.

About the Study Guide

We decided not to use the study guide this time around. Since we joined a co-op, AJ’s weekly work has to now fit into four days and we are still adjusting to it. Once we find our grove, I think we will at least do some of the activities in the study guide. This study guide is set up like the others that we have used from Heirloom Audio. For each track on the CD there is a section in the study guide. Each one has three types of questions.

Listening Well – These are basic questions about the plot of the story.

Thinking Further – This section can include many different things. Sometimes there are questions that make you form an opinion, other times there may be historical information for you to research. These are usually our favorite questions because there often isn’t a simple right or wrong answer.

Defining Words – This is vocabulary that is used in the audio drama that may be unfamiliar to some listeners.

The study guide is a great way to expand on the audio drama, especially if you are learning about the time period in history. Our favorite part of the study guide has always been the Bible section. They take some of the themes or moral issues from the audio drama and make it into a Bible study. This study guide has three simple Bible studies. They are on; God’s Grace, Becoming a Christian, and Honoring Your Parents.

Captain Bayley’s Heir ~ What We Thought

We enjoyed this audio drama as much as we have enjoyed the other ones from Heirloom Audio that we have reviewed in the past. The audio work is top notch. From rain and wind to horses and trains, everything can be distinctly heard. You really feel as if you are back in time with the characters experiencing the adventure with them. The story is exciting and keeps you wanting more. One thing that we enjoyed was hearing the story of how the song, “Amazing Grace” was written.

If you have a child who doesn’t enjoy learning about history, I would highly recommend having them listen to one of the audio dramas from Heirloom Audio. Learning history from a personal point of view makes a big difference. See what other members of the Homeschool Review Crew thought by clicking on the graphic below.

Captain Bayley's Heir {Heirloom Audio Productions Reviews}
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Imagine The Great Flood ~ Book Review

I am always on the look out for exciting books that portray strong values. I especially enjoy it when those books are based on biblical events. Reading books based on the events in the Bible gives us the chance to see how characters might have felt in certain situations. While fiction can’t and shouldn’t take the place of the Bible, it can give us some perspective. We were recently given the chance to review a book from
Barbour Publishing based on the story of Noah’s Ark. The book is Imagine. . .The Great Flood by Matt Koceich.

About the Book

Imagine. . .The Great Flood is a 110 page soft covered Christian kids book. It is geared for kids ages 8 to 12. The writing in the book is large enough for younger readers to easily see, but there are not any pictures. I feel that some of the vocabulary ( words like trajectory and plummeting) used in the book may be a little difficult for some 8 year olds to understand. But with a little help they won’t want to put the book down.  Imagine. . . The Great Flood is the first book in the Imagine series, a series that aims to bring the Bible to life for kids.

IMAGINE... The Great Flood

About the Story

Imagine. . .The Great Flood begins with ten year old Corey finding out that his family was moving to Florida. He wasn’t happy with the idea of leaving his friends or his school. His mom told Corey that he needed to trust and rely on God. Later that day Corey’s dog started running and Corey began to chase him. The next thing Corey knew, his head was hurting and the world around him disappeared.

When he opened his eyes, Corey saw two lions and met a man named Shem. As he looked around, he saw a great big boat. He soon found out it was Noah’s ark. Corey knew the story of Noah and his ark, but he was confused as to how he got there. He ended up helping Noah and his family on the ark. Corey learned that getting all of the animals on the ark wasn’t an easy task. They faced numerous obstacles because the others thought Noah and his family were crazy for building a boat. They had never seen rain so the idea of a great flood was unconceivable.

Things became more difficult when Corey met the evil Elizar. He practiced dark magic and didn’t want Noah to succeed. Through out the book Elizar tries to stop Noah and tries to tempt Corey with his dark magic. Corey finds himself in quite a few dangerous situations where he has to trust in God. In the end, Noah finishes his ark and Corey ends up home safe. He meets new friends and learns that moving wasn’t all bad.

One of my favorite quotes from the book was from page 109.

Mom was right. Things change. But God doesn’t.

Imagine. . .The Great Flood ~ What We Thought

AJ and I both read through the book. It took me about 45 minutes to finish it, while it took AJ a few days reading a little at a time. Even though we already knew the story of Noah’s Ark, this story kept us interested. We both really enjoyed the book. After reading through the book we reread the story of Noah’s Ark in the Bible. It was nice to compare the two. I like how they stuck to the facts that are in the Bible but added in things to make the people and events seem very realistic. The author’s use of adjectives lets the reader easily picture the events of the story.  The story moves at a fast pace and there are cliff hangers at the end of most of the chapters. I look forward to the next book in the series, Imagine… The Ten Plagues. It comes out in March 2018.

AJ’s only complaint was that there wasn’t any pictures. Most books geared for 8 to 12 year olds have pictures, and I think this book could benefit from some.

If you are looking for an adventure filled book for young readers, then Imagine. . .The Great Flood may be exactly what you are looking for. Click on the graphic below to see what other members of the Homeschool Review Crew thought about Imagine. . .The Great Flood .

Imagine. . .The Great Flood by Matt Koceich {Barbour Publishing}
 

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Unauthorized ~ A Game Review

Our family really enjoys playing games together. It is a great opportunity to spend time together and practice logical skills. We have reviewed a few products from Chara Games in the past, and enjoyed them. So when we were given the chance to check out their new game, Unauthorized, I was excited.

What is Unauthorized?

Unauthorized is a fast paced card game that is designed to be played with six to twelve people. It is for ages 12 and up. While each game is a little different, game play lasts about 30 minutes. The game takes deduction and reasoning skills.

UNAUTHORIZED
The idea behind the game is simple, you are either going to build the underground church or crush it. It sounds confusing, but once you get started it is easier.

One player is picked to be the pastor and another is picked to be the police. The pastor is loyal to the church, while the police person is loyal to the state. All of the other players are neutral characters. In games with 8 or more players two players are police, and in games with 10 or more players two players are pastors.

UNAUTHORIZED
Each player is dealt a set of cards. The police will receive all red cards, which show loyalty to the state. The pastor will receive all green cards, which show loyalty to the church. The other players will receive a mixture of red and green cards. There are also some wild cards that are half red and half green. The player’s hand will determine their loyalty. If they have more green cards in their hand they are loyal to the church. If there are more red cards in their hand they are loyal to the state.

Game Play

There are four rounds. During round one each player plays two cards down based on their current loyalty. In rounds two through four players pass one of the cards in their hand to another player and then play one card down based on their current loyalty. Getting a new card can switch your loyalty, and that’s the idea.

UNAUTHORIZED
After the cards have been played, each player then takes their turn. The player has a choice of completing one of four actions.

  1. Role Power – Each player card has a role power listed on it. Some of them include; switching a card with someone else, playing a card from your hand on another player’s pile, imprisoning people, or taking and taking a card out of someone else’s pile. Again, the action would have to benefit your current loyalty.
  2. Speak to a Neighbor – This lets you look at a neighbor’s hand. This comes in handy when you are going to pass a card on to the person.
  3. Seek Parole – If you are put in jail, you have limited options on your turn. To get out of jail you need to seek parole by drawing a card. If you get a red card, you are out of jail. But if you pick a green card you are forced to stay in jail.
  4. Conduct a Public Execution – This can only be preformed by the person playing the police, and can only be done once in a game. The police person can pick a person to kick out of the game.

Once each player has played and passed their cards, and picked an action to complete, the round is over. The deal is then passed to another player and the next round begins.

When all of the rounds are over each player’s loyalty is determined. If more are loyal to the state, the state wins. If more are loyal to the church wins. There isn’t an individual winner.

How We Played

Unfortunately, we were not able to get six people to play. I thought I would be able to get five people together, but with having so many appointments after my surgery, it was difficult to make the time for everyone to get together. We ended up playing with three people. This is not ideal, and I know the game would be way more action packed and entertaining with more people. But we worked with what we had.

Each person was dealt two hands and played each one independent of the other. We have done this with other card games. As long as you play focused on the hand you are currently playing, not on what you know the other hand has, it works out. We dealt one player a police and a neutral, one a pastor and a neutral, and one two neutrals.

A few times having the two hands confused AJ a little bit, but overall the game worked out. Each time we played it became a little easier and the switching loyalties became easier to get use to. The only odd thing is that every time we played, the church won.

What We Thought

We were completely confused on how to play after reading the directions. After we set up the game we didn’t understand how to actually play. We ended up watching the video online that explained exactly how to play and then we easily understood the concept. I really wish that the written directions were as easy to understand as the video. Just adding a few more details to the instructions would make it a lot easier to understand.

The gameplay was a little confusing at some points. Switching dealers each round and passing cards to different players made it so we had to keep the directions out. There were a few times we had to stop the game and reread the directions to determine what we were suppose to do next.

Here is the video to help you understand a little bit more about the game.

Once we really understood the game, it was fairly simple to play. Trying to switch the loyalty of other players was exciting and it kept the game moving. It would be great for a large group of people. It is quick enough to keep interest, and t a single winner or loser, it is a group win. This game teaches a lot of logical thinking skills. The cards seem very durable, and look like they will withstand many years of game play. Now I just have to try and get more people to play with us.

Find out what other members of the Homeschool Review Crew thought of Unauthorized by clicking on the graphic below.

Unauthorized {Chara Games Reviews}
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Carole P. Roman Book Review

We have had the chance to review a few Carole P. Roman books in the past. They are great resources to learn more about other cultures and different parts of the world. I was excited to have a chance to check out four more books. We picked, If You Were Me and Lived in… the Mayan Empire and If You Were Me and Lived in… the Ancient Mali Empire. We were also blessed with two mystery books. The books we received were, If You Were Me and Lived in… Scotland and Being A Captain is Hard Work.

If You Were Me and Lived in… the Mayan Empire

Books by Carole P Roman
If You Were Me and Lived in… the Mayan Empire is a 64 page book that is packed full of information. There is information about almost every aspect of Mayan life. It even includes maps of the area. The book talks about daily life of the Mayan people, how they built their homes, what they wore, what they ate, and their religious beliefs. It also talks about the Mayan definition of beauty and how parents would shape their baby’s heads and make them cross eyed.

The end of the book talks about the contributions that the Mayan people made to the world. Did you know that they invented the concept of zero? This book gives a great overview of the Mayan Civilization!

If You Were Me and Lived in… the Ancient Mali Empire

Books by Carole P Roman
If You Were Me and Lived in… the Ancient Mali Empire is a 77 page book. This book has smaller writing than the others and contains quite a bit more detail. It is set up the same way as the Mayan book, but this one talks more about the history of Mali and the king. It gives a great overview of the country and the history.

If You Were Me and Lived in… Scotland

Books by Carole P Roman
If You Were Me and Lived in… Scotland is part of a series that introduces kids to different cultures around the world. It is a 30 page soft covered book. Each page is full of color and there are plenty of illustrations. The back of the book has a section on pronunciation and definitions for unfamiliar words. The book is written in a friendly tone and introduces kids to what life in Scotland would really be like.

The book gives basic information about family life, food, and clothing. There are quite a few interesting facts thrown in as well. Did you know the unicorn is the official animal of Scotland? This book is a great starting point to help your child become more familiar with other parts of the world, but it doesn’t contain near as much information as the first two books.

Being A Captain is Hard Work

Books by Carole P Roman
Being A Captain is Hard Work is part of the Captain No Beard Series. The captain and his crew are setting sail for Dew Rite Volcano. The crew thinks that the clouds indicate bad weather, but the captain thinks they are wrong. He is the captain and thinks that he knows everything. The crew sets sail and ends up in trouble. The captain learns that his crew is there to help him and that no one knows everything. It is a simple cute story that teaches a valuable message. One cool thing about this book is that there is a list of different cloud types at the back of the book. This would be a great addition to a study on clouds or weather.

How We Used the Books

AJ is studying world geography this year and these books will make a great addition. Currently she is learning about the Middle East. The book on Mali has been a great supplement. I plan to have her read the other books as she studies those parts of the world. The Captain No Beard book is a just for fun book. She is well above the audience level for the book. She read it, but will be passing it along to a younger reader.

What We Thought

These books did not disappoint. They let your child learn about other countries and cultures in a fun way. The language is easy for kids to understand. There are beautiful illustrations in each book. I would highly recommend them to anyone learning about other areas of the world.

See what other members of the Homeschool Review Crew thought about the books by clicking on the graphic below.

Oh Susannah, Bedtime Stories, Captain No Beard, If you were Me ... {Carole P. Roman Reviews}
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Halloween Tract ~ Review

Halloween will be here soon. While not everyone celebrates the day or participates, it is a great time to spread the Gospel. Kids walk right up to your house and you are able to give them not only candy, but a chance to know Jesus. One way to spread the Gospel is by using a Halloween tract. We were recently given the chance to review a neat tract from Let the Little Children Come. We were given a pack of twenty Is There Anything Better Than Candy? Box-Tract. I have only seen the plain tracts before, so this one intrigued me.

Let the Little Children Come

What is the Tract?

The Is There Anything Better Than Candy? Box-Tract is an easy to assemble pumpkin shaped tract. The outside has the question, Is there anything better than candy? Once assembled it can be filled with candy. It isn’t really big, but you could probably fit a few miniature sized candies, some kisses, tootsie rolls, or any smaller wrapped candy. If it would fit in a plastic Easter egg then it would probably fit in this tract.

Let the Little Children Come Halloween Tract
When the tract is opened, there are six petals in. The petals are each a different color and numbered. Starting with the first petal the recipient of the tract will find out what is better than candy, being God’s Friend. Each petal then walks the reader through the fact that God loves us but that we are all sinners. It goes on to explain that Jesus died for our sins and then tells them what they need to do to be saved. The last petal has a sample prayer that they can pray.

Let the Little Children Come Halloween Tract
The language on the tract is geared more for kids. It is easy to understand and explains what sin is. The message is great, but I think that some adults may find it babyish.

Let the Little Children Come Halloween Tract

Easy Assembly

The pumpkins are simple to assemble. Even the kids can help. I am not exactly sure what kind of material they are made of. I think it is a thicker paper or cardboard. They don’t rip easily, but they will if you try.

Let the Little Children Come Halloween Tract
The tracts come in a pack of twenty. When you receive them they are all on a separate square page. The first step is to punch the tract out. This was simple, and we didn’t have any issues with the ones that we made. Then you punch out the pre cut slits that are on top of four of the petals. The next step is to follow the directions on the page to fold the tract. Before you finish the final fold, you can add candy to the tract. I thought they would take a while to assemble, but even the first one took me less than a minute start to finish.

Let the Little Children Come Halloween Tract

How to Use Them

Since it isn’t quite Halloween yet, we haven’t handed any of these out. I plan to add some candy to them and send them to church with AJ for their Halloween event. The uses for them are really as endless as your imagination. You could hand them out to trick-or-treaters, give them to homeless people who are asking for money (maybe add a few dollars in with the candy), take them to a nursing home, or fill them and leave them in random places for people to find.

What We Thought

I was plesently surprised by these. So many things claim they are easy to assemble, but they really aren’t. These are! I love the idea of them. When the person gets the tract they will be intrigued by the question on the front, and they will want to read the inside. It is a great way to spread God’s love. This company has quite a few unique tracts!

Find out what other members of the Homeschool Review Crew thought by clicking on the graphic below.

Is There Anything Better Than Candy? {Let The Little Children Come Reviews}
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Patterns of Evidence Exodus ~ Review

When you think about the first few books of the Bible, it can be easy to wonder if they really happened. I believe they happened because I have faith and a belief that the Bible is God’s Holy word. But that isn’t enough for some people. Some people need proof. Obviously we can’t go back in time, so our next best option it to depend on scientific evidence to determine what happened in the past.

We were recently given the chance to review an interesting documentary called, A Filmmaker’s Journey Patterns of Evidence Exodus. I was interested to see what it would say about the biblical story of the Exodus.

Did the Exodus really happen? See for yourself in this documentary.

About the DVD

When filmmaker Timothy Mahoney has a crisis of faith, he decides to go on a journey to search for answers about the Exodus. Over 12 years he travels around the world. The documentary combines scientific investigation with the story of Exodus. It provides evidence that the events we read about in the Bible really could have happened.

The documentary is about 119 minutes long. It is narrated by Kevin Sorbo. Throughout the video there are interviews with leading archaeologists, stunning animations, and amazing reenactments.

There are two DVDs in the package. The first has the actual documentary. The second disk has a lot of bonus features. You will find interviews with the cast, a section about the music used in the film, trailers, and more.

Did the Exodus really happen? You will have to decide for yourself. You can purchase the DVD here. It retails for $19.95, but you can use the coupon code MK1 for $3 off.

How We Used It

Even though documentaries aren’t AJ’s favorite thing to watch, we decided to watch the video together. I thought it would be a great video for her to watch as well. She watched the beginning with me, but soon decided to move onto something else. While there isn’t an age range for the video, kids and teens may find that it doesn’t hold their attention. I ended up finishing the documentary by myself.

What We Thought

This documentary has won quite a few awards at international film festivals. It is well made and there was a lot of work put into it. The result is a well made documentary. There were times that it got a little slow, and some of the scientific interviews lost me a little bit. But overall it was quite interesting. They did an excellent job.

It didn’t change my mind about the biblical account of the Exodus, but it did provide me with a little proof. If you are on the fence about the truth of it, this may be a documentary that you want to see.

Marine Biology ~ Review

A few years ago AJ was looking at one of the catalogs from Apologia Educational Ministries and she saw their old Marie Biology course. She begged me to get it for her. She loves animals and plans to have a career caring for them in some way. At the time she was too young for the course. Technically she is still too young to take the course because it is an advanced biology course and she just started ninth grade. But when we were given the chance to review Apologia Educational Ministries new Marine Biology 2nd Edition Advantage Set  and Marine Biology 2nd Edition Audio CDI knew that I couldn’t turn it down!

Marine Biology 2nd Edition Advantage Set

The advantage set comes with the textbook, the student notebook, and a solutions and test manual. We also received a separate test booklet. In order for your student to successfully complete the course you will need to purchase the Slide Set and the Dissection Set. There is a lot of hands on learning with this course!

About the Textbook

Marine Biology 2nd Edition Advantage Set
The textbook is amazing! It is over 550 pages. The book is broken down into 16 modules that each take around two weeks to complete. They are:

  1. The Oceans of Our Planet
  2. Life in the Sea
  3. The First Four Kingdoms
  4. Marine Invertebrates I
  5. Marine Invertebrates II
  6. Marine Vertebrates I
  7. Marine Vertebrates II
  8. Marine Ecology
  9. The Intertidal Zone
  10. Estuary Communities
  11. Coral Reefs
  12. Continental Shelf Communities
  13. The Epipelagic Zone
  14. The Deep Ocean
  15. Ocean Resources
  16. Effects of Humans on the Sea

This is a college prep course that is designed to be taken after the student has taken biology. It covers a lot of information and uses advanced vocabulary. But there are plenty of diagrams, pictures, and experiments to help students understand difficult concepts. At the end of the book there is a glossary, reference figures and tables, fill in the blank module summaries, a list of needed lab supplies, and an index. It is a big book that is packed full of information.

What Does a Marine Biology Lesson Look Like?

In a typical day your student would read through four to eight pages in the textbook and answer two (give or take) “On Your Own” questions. They may also do an experiment or two.

All of the experiments have a purpose listed. Some of the experiments are very simple to preform but they teach an important concept. For each experiment there is a list of materials, a question that needs to be answered, instructions on the type of hypothesis the student should write, a detailed procedure, and instructions for a conclusion. I was pleasantly surprised to see such detail. I am confident that students would be able to preform most of the experiments with little help. (Except for the dissections.)

At the end of each module you will find the answers to the “On Your Own” questions. Each one has more than just a simple answer, it goes further in depth to explain the answer. I think this is a great idea because it will let your student check their answers and make sure they are understanding the topics.

There is also a study guide for each module. Each module is a little different, but they all have vocabulary for the student to define and questions for them to answer based on the entire module.

About the Marine Biology Student Notebook

The student notebook is a spiral bound, soft covered book that is just over 500 pages. The beginning of the book has a daily schedule. It is completely broken down and tells the student what pages to read, which questions to answer, and if they need to complete an experiment. While it would be possible to figure the schedule out with just the textbook, I found this very helpful. I could just tell AJ to look at the schedule and check off the box when she was done.

Marine Biology 2nd Edition Advantage Set
There is a section that explains how to take notes when reading. For each module there are a few pages for the student to write notes. I like that idea because all of their work and study materials are then in one place.

One major advantage of the Student Notebook is that it contains all of the questions from the textbook. Each “On Your Own” question is written and has plenty of room for your student to write their answer. It also has the study guide and the fill in the blank module summary from the book. The Student Notebook isn’t a necessity. Your student could answer the questions on their own paper and copy the module summary, this is just a more convenient option.

The back part of the Student Notebook is the Lab Notebook. It has the same information that the textbook has, purpose, materials, question, hypothesis, and procedure. There are also color photos and diagrams for some of the experiments.  After the procedure, there is a section for the student to fill in information about the experiment. There are sections for their hypothesis, observations, sketches, and conclusions.

While we found the Student Notebook very convenient, there were a few things that we didn’t care for. The paper is very thin. A few pages have already ripped at the spiral binding. AJ likes to write in pen and the ink bled through to the other side. She had to switch to pencil. It wasn’t the end of the world, but it bothered her. Our other complaint is that we would have preferred the labs to be with the study questions instead of in the back of the notebook. Then all of the information for each module would be together. Again, this would not be a deal breaker. I would absolutely by the student notebook.

Solutions and Tests Manual

Apologia Educational Ministries
The Solutions and Tests Manual is a soft covered book that is over 200 pages long. It has detailed answers for each module’s study guide, tests for each module, and the solutions for the tests. There are also four quarterly tests with solutions as well. I know that I wouldn’t be able to grade the tests without the use of this guide.

We also received a small test booklet. It is a 50 page booklet that is stapled together and simply has all of the tests. It is convenient to be able to hand the student the booklet without the answers, but there really isn’t enough room for the student to write their answers.

The tests for this program are fairly difficult. The student is expected to give full vocabulary definitions and answer a variety of questions. Some of the questions are a little confusing and make the student think. If a student passes the test, you can be sure that they really understand the information. These type of tests will help prepare your student for higher level science courses.

AJ is not use to these types of tests. We are slowly transitioning to more difficult tests, but these were a little too difficult right now. Her other classes are not “college prep” level. We will revisit the tests in the future. Right now I have her do a definition matching page that I made up and I reword some of the questions. The textbook tells you to base the grade of your student on their tests and labs with little if any points for their daily work. We have never been big on tests, so I plan to grade a little differently. That’s the beauty of homeschooling, you can do what fits your family.

 

Marine Biology 2nd Edition Audio CD

The Audio CD is perfect for slow or struggling readers, or those who are auditory learners. It is the textbook read by Marissa Leinart. This isn’t a substitute for the book though. Your student will need to look at the graphics and diagrams and read a few small sections that Marissa Leinart doesn’t read.

Marine Biology 2nd Ed Audio CD
AJ is a slow reader and this was a huge help! Not only did it help her get through her work faster, but it helped with pronunciation of difficult words. Ms. Leinart reads the book very well. It is at a decent pace and her voice is easy to understand.

Our only complaint is that it is not a regular CD. It is an MP3 CD so it can only be listened to on a MP3 compatible CD player or on a computer. We had to listen to it on my computer. It worked out, but it would have been a lot easier to be able to listen to it in her CD player that has better volume.

Sometimes AJ tends to space out when she listens to things. What we did was listen to the CD for a section and then have her read a section. She alternated reading and listening to the textbook. It worked out well and she seems to have retained a lot of the information.

What We Thought about Marine Biology

This was our first time using a science course from Apologia, and I can see why so many people recommend them. The textbook is beautiful. It has so much information that is just waiting to be absorbed. They have a good balance of reading, writing, and hands on learning. The lab experiments have a purpose and are not just busy work. I like that with the exception of the microscope slides and the animals to dissect, most of the labs use easy to find materials.

The other great thing is that the course is customizable for your family. If you are on a strict budget then you can buy just the textbook and the solution guide. Or if you want a little more convenience with everything laid out for your student, you can add in the Student Notebook. If you have a struggling reader or a student who would rather listen to a lesson then the MP3 Audio Book is for you. They even have a DVD option where a teacher teaches the lessons and your student can watch.

We are very thankful that we were picked to review the Marine Biology course. AJ has learned so much and enjoyed the process. Right now we are trying to decide if we want to continue with Marine Biology or if we should put it away for a few years and come back to it when she is a little older. I thought she would do fine with the course even though it is for older students. We have had to take the course slower and adjust a few things. This isn’t an easy course, and it isn’t meant to be. I would not recommend this course for younger (8th – 10th grade) students. Follow the guidelines on their website. Your student really needs a good understanding of basic biology to benefit the most from this course.

If your student is ready for an advanced science course and they love animals, then this is the course for them! There is so much to learn.

Find out what other members of the Homeschool Review Crew thought by clicking on the graphic below.

Marine Biology 2nd Edition Advantage Set {Apologia Educational Ministries Review}
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