Memoria Press American History ~ Review

Throughout our homeschooling years the hardest subject for me to teach and stay on track with has almost always been history. We have tried textbooks, but found them boring. We tried unit studies but often found ourselves taking too long on each topic and not finishing. And literature based history often had us not able to keep up with the reading while completing our other subjects. I was struggling to find a good program that would cover American History for next year.

It seems I am given the chance to review a product when a need like that comes up. A majority of time, those items that I get to review end up being a huge blessing for us. They fit exactly what we need. That was my hope for The Story of the Thirteen Colonies & the Great Republic Set and the 200 Questions About American History set from Memoria Press. While it is written for middle schoolers, I thought with a few tweaks it would be perfect for AJ’s high school credit. We were blessed to receive both sets, together they round out a solid year of American History.

The Story of the 13 Colonies and The Great Republic

This set comes with a Teacher Guide, Student Guide, and a book. You will need a student guide for each student, but the book could easily be shared if you have more than one student working on the course.

The Book

13 Colonies & The Great Republic ~Review (Cover)

The book is a combination of two books. Both were written by H. A. Guerber. Memoria Press edited the books and combined the two into a single book. It is smaller than a normal text book and is soft covered, making it easy to read.

The book is 211 pages long and broken up into 85 chapters. Most of the chapters are about two pages long. There are a few smaller topics that are only one page long and then some that are around three pages long. There are pictures to go with every chapter. Some include maps, others have sketches of people or famous events in history. The book covers topics from the explores to the Spanish American War.

13 Colonies & The Great Republic ~Review (Pic of open book with sketches of history)

The writing in the book is more like a story than a text book. It is interesting and tells more than just the basic facts. We did find that some of the wording was a little odd in a few places. There were a few times AJ had to reread a sentence in order to understand it. Once she got use to the way it was written she was fine. By the fourth or fifth chapter she didn’t seem to need to reread parts of the book. So far she has found the book enjoyable. Even though we have studied American History before, she is learning a lot of new things. And honestly, so am I.

The Student Guide

13 Colonies & The Great Republic ~Review (Pic of Student Guide Cover)

The Student Guide is broken into 32 lessons. Each lesson begins with Facts to Know. This section lists important people, events, or terms that the student should know before reading the lesson.

13 Colonies & The Great Republic ~Review (Pic of Facts to Know Section)

The next step is vocabulary. Sometimes the definitions of the words can be inferred from the reading, other times the student needs to understand the definition to understand the reading. We started looking up the words before the reading to make sure that she was able to understand what she read. From using products from Memoria Press in the past, we knew that their tests usually have a lot of vocabulary. In the past AJ would study her definitions but they would be different from the choices on tests.

13 Colonies & The Great Republic ~Review (Pic of vocabulary work)

We decided back then that we would do the vocabulary work for Memoria Press a little differently. She verbally tells me the definitions, and looks up any words she isn’t sure of before she reads. But she doesn’t write those definitions down. After she completes the other parts of the lesson, she copies the definitions from the Teacher Guide. Then when she studies, she has the correct definitions. It seems to work well for us. These tests have a place for the student to write in the answers for some of the vocabulary, but I still like her to copy down the official definition.

After Vocabulary there are questions about the reading. There is a good mixture of questions based on facts from the reading, and questions that require the student to use higher level thinking skills and infer or explain why things happened.

13 Colonies & The Great Republic ~Review (Pic of questions about reading)

The final part of each lesson is the Enrichment section. This section varies a little bit each week. Some of the things it can include are:

  • Map – Where the student locates places on a map, or labels sea routes or different aspects on the map.
  • Timeline – They add dates or events to their time line.
  • Research – The student researches a topic and writes about it.
  • Composition – The student is given a writing assignment. One that AJ did was to write a journal entry from one of the Native Americans when Columbus arrived.
  • 13 Colonies Chart – They add the name of the colony, the year it was established, and the founder.
  • Primary Source – The student reads a primary source like a letter from George Washington to his wife or the Mayflower Compact.
  • Recitation – The student memorizes a poem and then recites it.

13 Colonies & The Great Republic ~Review (Enrichment activities)

AJ did all of enrichment activities that she came to except for the compositions. She skipped a few that she didn’t find interesting. We haven’t come to any of the poetry memorization yet. We will take those a poem at a time and decide if she will memorize them. I like that there are a variety of activities to choose from. She liked that there were a variety of primary source documents. Having them right in the same student book made it simple.

The back of the book has a few maps, the 13 Colonies chart, and all of the Primary Source Documents. The only thing I feel it is missing is a blank time line.

13 Colonies & The Great Republic ~Review Primary Source

Teacher Guide

13 Colonies & The Great Republic ~Review Teacher Guide

The Teacher Guide is almost exactly the same as the Student Guide. It just has all of the answers. I love that I can look at the teacher guide and easily know what she needs to do. It makes checking her work easy. The Teacher Guide also includes the four tests and answer keys.

200 Questions About American History

The second set we received was 200 Questions About American History. It comes with a Student Book and a Teacher Guide. Each set can be used alone, or they can be combined. The same book is used with both sets. For the 200 Questions About American History, you will also need an additional text. The one they recommend is Story of the World volume 4.

13 Colonies & The Great Republic ~Review Schedule

There is a suggested schedule to follow. If you follow it you should be able to answer all of the questions, take all of the quizzes, and complete the tests in 34 weeks. You will be able to find the answers for the first 24 weeks in the book written by Guerber. The rest of the answers you will need to find in another source.

The Student Book

200 Questions About American History Review (Student Guide)

The 200 questions are simple short answers. They include names, dates, and definitions. The student book has the questions broken up into four sections.

Drill Questions – There are 150 drill questions. These are varied and while the answers are straight forward and easy to find, there are a lot of facts to learn. You will learn all about the different explorers and who did what. You will also answer questions about specific people. An example :

Question 19 – “Native Americans who aided the Pilgrims” The answer is Samoset and Squanto.

There are also questions about laws wars and rebellions. An example:

Question 26 – “War between France and England” In America ______ In Europe _______

The answers are the French and Indian War and the Seven Years’ War.

Some of the questions have multiple answers, like number 99. It asks you to list all 11 states in the Confederacy.

I was very surprised by the quality of the questions. If a person really learned and memorized the drill questions they would have a very good understanding of American History. I am learning right along side with AJ.

Timeline of American History – This section has 30 dates that your student needs to fill in. They include important moments in American History like the Louisiana Purchase and the Gold Rush. Most of the dates are of different wars or battles.

Notable Quotes – This section has 20 famous quotes. The student is asked who said it, and what the occasion was. I like that they have to know what was going on, not just who said it.

It includes quotes I was familiar with like, “ I have a dream” and “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” There were also others like when Lincoln said, “If I can ever hit that thing, I’ll hit it hard!” I had never heard that quote before, so I read ahead and found out he was talking about slavery.

Presidents of the United States – This has 45 questions. A fact is listed about each president. The student has to fill in the name of the president and the years they served. I like that they don’t simply memorize the order of the president, they learn a little about each one.

The back of the book has a copy of the Star–Spangled Banner, Old Ironsides, and O Captain! My Captain!

Teacher Guide

200 Questions About American History Review Teacher Guide

The teacher guide has everything that the student book has. It also has all of the answers filled in. In the back of the book it has all of the tests and quizzes along with the answer keys.

There are seven tests. The first six are on specific section such as, The Civil War. The final test covers material from the entire book. The tests have multiple choice, matching, and short answer questions.

Flash Cards

There is a set of 200 flash cards that go with the 200 Questions About American History. They can be used by themselves to simply go over facts, or they can be used along with the set. The flash cards are broken up into the same four sections as the book.

You can use them how ever they best work for you. We found that it works best for us to go through the cards each day before she starts her lesson. Then we add any new cards for the day and go through them again when she is finished with the lesson.

200 Questions About American History Review

Right now we have less than 25 cards that she is working on. Once she takes the first test we will start reviewing the cards from the current section daily. Then we will review the other cards up to 25 each day. That way she will review the material for the current test every day and the rest of the questions we have answered at least twice a month. We will add any that she struggles with to the daily pile.

The flash cards make studying the material easier than simply studying from the book. She can take a few cards and go through them if she is having trouble, or go through them when she has a few minutes. I originally didn’t think we would really use the cards, but they are one of AJ’s favorite part of the school day. Younger students would probably enjoy playing different games with the cards to help them learn and retain information.

How We Use the Program

In the beginning I was a little confused on how to best use this program. The Story of the 13 Colonies and The Great Republic set doesn’t have a suggested schedule. I assumed it was designed to complete one lesson a week to make it last a year. That schedule didn’t fit with the schedule found in 200 Questions About American History. The lessons in the first set didn’t match with the chapters to be read in the second set.

To answer the first week of questions from the 200 Questions book you need to read 7 chapters. But two lessons in the 13 Colonies book was 6 chapters and three lessons would have you read 9 chapters. I decided not to worry about that schedule too much.

200 Questions About American History Review

We decided to have AJ complete two lessons a week, since it is summer. Once we are back to our normal schedule she will complete three lessons. Then at the end of each day she answers any of the questions from the 200 Questions book that were answered in the days reading. We are not quite on track with the schedule. The nice thing is that for each scheduled test they schedule a week to study and a week to take the test. She won’t need that long so I think that she should have enough time to complete both books within the year.

Depending on how fast AJ reads and which enrichment activities are scheduled, a lesson can take her between an hour to an hour and 45 minutes. I have her work for about an hour each day. I think a student in middle school would be able to complete two lessons a week if they work on history for about an hour each day.

200 Questions About American History Review

Since this program is designed for middle school students, I will have to add to it to make it count for a high school credit. Each week she picks one of the composition or research assignments and expands on it. I also have her pick one topic from the reading to study further. One week we were learning about Captain John Smith. She researched the story of Pocahontas and then compared it to the Disney movie. She is also reading a few historical fiction books and watching some videos.

Our Thoughts

This product has been a blessing for us. It will be AJ’s core for her history next year. The text is interesting and full of information. The questions have a good variety. She enjoys the map work and has had fun writing some of the compositions. The 200 Questions set is a simple part of her day and has helped her learn so much. I feel it will be one of our best years of history.

200 Questions About American History Review

There were only two things that we wish were different. AJ said that she wished there was a timeline in the first set, or that there were spaces for all of the events that she was told to add in the 200 Questions set. She didn’t want to have two timelines, so she has been adding in dates on the timeline that is included in the 200 Questions set. Unfortunately, they didn’t fit very well. So she started a new timeline where she will add all of the information. I think it would be great to see a blank timeline that had space for all of the information from both books in one place.

The second issue is based on the same idea. I like that the books can be used separately, but they work so well together. I wish there was a schedule that better showed how to complete both sets at the same time. We found a work around, but I think it would make planning a little easier if a schedule for both was included.

We are very happy with the products we received. I would highly recommend both of these sets to anyone who wants an in-depth study of American History!

Other members of the Homeschool Review Crew reviewed different products from Memoria Press. There were writing and grammar courses for younger students, and another history set for older students. Find out what they thought by clicking on the graphic below.

Classical Writing & Spelling, American History & Jewish Wars {Memoria Press Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer

IXL ~ Review

When AJ was in public school she had access to a fun learning site called IXL Learning. She would go on each day for a few minutes and have fun learning new concepts. It was something she enjoyed doing. But when she left public school, her account expired. In the beginning she would still go on and try their free version, but it only lets you answer around ten questions a day. Eventually she was no longer interested in doing the ten questions a day, so we forgot all about IXL. That is until we were offered a chance to review an annual subscription! I didn’t know that IXL had learning opportunities all the way through high school, but once I did I was thrilled for AJ to have a chance to try it out.

What is IXL?

IXL is an online learning site. It can be accessed through some apps or it can be used in a regular browser. There is a Kindle app, but at the time of this review it was unavailable for me. (I found out that while the IXL app didn’t work on my Kindle it will work on most. Mine is very old, we have had it since 2012. After the review I tried it on AJ’s 5th generation Kindle and it worked. I was also told by other reviewers who have 7th generation Kindles, that the App worked fine for them.) AJ ended up accessing IXL through the Silk browser on her Kindle Fire and had no issues.

IXL offers both math and language arts for grades K through 12. It also offers science and social studies for grades 2 through 8, and Spanish for all grades.

When your child logs on each day they can pick the topic they want to practice. Then they are given questions in that topic. Some of the questions are multiple choice, while others require them to input the answer. Once they submit each answer it is graded instantly. If they enter a wrong answer an explanation is given to help the student know what they did wrong. For math they may be reminded of a formula or be shown how to solve the problem. In language arts they may be given a tip or a definition of a word to help them out.

Then they just continue to answer questions. As the student gets more and more questions correct their score goes up and they are able to earn ribbons. When they have truly mastered a topic they can earn a special ribbon for 100%. Earning that ribbon takes answering quite a few questions. When they earn that ribbon, you can be confident that they really understand the concept.

Flexibility

One of the best parts about the program is that it is very flexible. With your parent account you can decide if your student sees the grade level they are working on (6th, 9th, K), or if they just see a level (A, H, C). This would be helpful for those who need to work at a lower level than their grade level. It is also nice in the older grades when not everyone is working on the math that is typical for their grade level. AJ is in Algebra 2, but the 10th grade math is Geometry.

There are also options that let your child see how long they have been working on a problem. It is great to have the option to hide or enable the timer depending on your child’s needs. When AJ was younger a timer would have stressed her out. Now it motivates her to see how many questions she can answer in a time frame.

There is a placement test available if you want to see where your child should be placed. It is optional. I personally find that with older students placement tests can take forever because they have to answer so many questions correctly for each level. We decided to skip the test and just have AJ work on the 10th grade level. There was a topic in language arts that she was struggling with. She was shown a topic in a lower level that would help her in the current topic. She went to that topic, worked on it a little, and then came back to the initial topic and was able to earn a ribbon.

How We Used IXL

Since AJ already has a set math program we decided to use IXL as a supplement to practice skills we already covered this year. She started out in Matrix Vocabulary. There she had to answer questions about types of matrices, dimensions, and more. She earned a 100% ribbon after a day. She didn’t want to stop until she earned the ribbon. Then she went on to work in the matrix category for a while before heading to the section on Radical Functions. Some she was able to earn ribbons in quickly, while others took her a little time.

Right now we are working on complex numbers in math, so today she started on the introduction to complex numbers topic. I don’t think you could use this as a full math program unless you have a very dedicated self learner, but it is great for practice and review. The questions don’t seem to repeat and there are endless practice opportunities.

Spanish

Spanish was one of AJ’s favorite topics. She logged on and worked on a topic each day until she earned a 100% ribbon. Then she would go on to the next topic the following day. I liked that it was more than just vocabulary. The spelling had to be correct and there are sections where the vocabulary is used together. She ended up keeping a notebook with the vocabulary to help her remember it. The Spanish section would be perfect for those who are just learning or those who need a refresher!

Language Arts and Other Sections

AJ was a little less enthusiastic to work on Language Arts. I had her pick a topic, or I picked one for her and had her practice about 10 minutes a day. She spent a lot of time in grammar topics and word usage. She didn’t earn many of ribbons, but she did learn a lot. In this category she liked to skip around and not stick to a specific order.

We didn’t try out the social studies section because it was for 8th grade and lower, but we did try out science. AJ loves science and I figured it couldn’t hurt to try it out. She spent time labeling cells and learning about their functions and labeling different diagrams. I found her copping the diagrams into her notebook so she would have the information later. She enjoyed the science section and I think it would be great to use after learning about a topic.

What We Thought About IXL

I was very pleased with our experience with IXL. Setting up an account was simple, I could easily check on her progress, and I was sent emails weekly about her activity and any awards she earned.

The ribbons kept her motivated to work on the topics, while the instant feedback helped if she felt discouraged. I liked the fact that she could move to different topics when she wanted and that she could visit both lower and higher levels when she wanted. I felt the feedback she received when she entered an incorrect answer was solid. It helped to explain and teach the concepts. I feel she has learned a lot using IXL and I plan to have her continue with it.

Click on the graphic below to find out what other members of the Homeschool Review Crew thought about IXL. There were reviewers using several different levels.

Immersive, Adaptive Learning Online {IXL Learning Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer
 

 

Dinosaurs and the Bible ~ Review

When I come across a non-believer who finds out that I believe in a Biblical creation one of the first things they usually ask about is dinosaurs. How could dinosaurs exist with people? Where are they mentioned in the Bible? When I was younger I always wondered how dinosaurs fit in, so the questions are not far fetched. Over the years I have researched some things and have come to believe that dinosaurs did in fact exist during Biblical times. But I am always willing to learn more.

Northwest Treasures
We were recently given the opportunity to review two courses from Northwest Treasures. We were given access to a 20 minute course called Taking the Mystery Out of Geology and a six part course called Dinosaurs and the Bible. Even though AJ took a Biblical Earth History course in 8th grade, I thought these courses would provide some additional information. And they did!

The Courses

Both of the courses are in a digital format. The videos are hosted through Vimeo and are available for you to watch for a period of time. There are worksheets to go along with the videos for the Dinosaurs and the Bible course as well. Both courses are recommended for students in grades five and up.

The videos are very interesting to watch. They include plenty of graphics and real world examples. The instructor, Patrick Nurre is very knowledgeable and explains difficult terms and concepts in a way that kids can easily understand, while still being entertaining to adults.

Taking The Mystery Out of Geology

Take the Mystery out of Geology Online Course
This is a short course. It is only one video long, but that video contains so much information. The video explains some of the more difficult terms that you come across when studying geology. It goes further into each term explaining how the terms fit in with the Bible and how they fit in with a young earth belief.

If you have a student studying geology, I think that this course is a must! It is very inexpensive, and will really get them off to a great start. It would also be great for those who just want to learn a little more about geology.

Dinosaurs and the Bible

Dinosaurs and the Bible Online Course
This course is broken up into six videos. Each video ranges from about 16 to 20 minutes long. The videos included in the course are:

  • How We Got Our Modern View of Dinosaurs
  • The Classification of Dinosaurs
  • Dinosaurs and the Bible, The Great Dinosaur Rush
  • The Extinction of the Dinosaurs
  • Dinosaurs and the Ice Age
  • Fossils, Age, and Soft Tissue

By the end of the course your student will have gained a lot of knowledge. They should be able to defend their faith and their belief in a Biblical creation with details and facts. Both AJ and I learned a lot of new information! Did you know that prior to the 1800’s people believed that fossils were a creation from Noah’s flood? Or that what we know about dinosaurs isn’t really even science?

The Worksheets

There are worksheets and answer keys for each of the videos that can be printed off for your student.  The worksheets have about ten questions each. While the course is designed for fifth grade and up, I think that 5th and 6th graders may have a little difficulty with some of the questions. Most of the questions from the worksheets are answered in the videos, but younger students may need to re-watch the video to be able to answer all of the questions.

We decided not to print the worksheets. Instead after watching the video I pulled up the worksheet and AJ and I discussed the questions and then compared our answers with the answer key. We were just using the course for fun. If I was using it for school credit then I would have made her write her answers down.

What We Thought

I am very happy that we had the chance to review both of these courses. They confirmed my beliefs and have given me even more faith in a Biblical creation. They are high quality and well made. If you are looking for a Biblical course on geology, Northwest Treasures is the place to look.

They have so many other products available that I would like to try out in the future. They have hands on kits to help students learn about rocks, minerals, and fossils. Those kits would have been very nice when we were studying earth science a few years ago. They even have a curriculum for different topics and even a set for high school students!

Find out what other members of the Homeschool Review Crew thought about these and other courses by clicking the graphic below.

Online Geology Classes{Northwest Treasures Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer

Wulf the Saxon ~ Review

Wulf the Saxon - The newest audio drama from Heirloom Audio Productions

Over the years our family has been blessed with a few different audio adventures from Heirloom Audio Productions. I was a little hesitant to review the very first title that we were given because I had heard so many great things about the audio dramas, and I didn’t think it was possible for them to be that good. They are! And our family has been hooked on them ever since. We were recently given the chance to review their newest title, Wulf the Saxon, and we couldn’t wait.

What is Heirloom Audio Productions?

Heirloom Audio Productions

Heirloom Audio Productions is a company that takes the historical books from G. A. Henty and brings them to life through audio adventures. Their goal is to build character in the next generation by bringing the lessons of history to life. The audio dramas are so much more than just an audio book. You are able to listen to a full on theater production. Each part is played by an actor, some who have had amazing roles in the past. One of those actors is Brian Blessed, who was in Star Wars among other things.

Along with the brilliant voice acting you are able to hear things like; the wind, swords swinging, the ocean, and other noises that help you to see the story.

About the CD

Wulf the Saxon comes on two CDs and will keep you entertained for two and a half hours. It is recommended for kids aged six and up. The story takes place in 1065 when Edward the Confessor is on the thrown in England. Wulf is a Saxon and a land owner. He is young though, and a little immature. He gets into an argument and a scuffle and ends up getting punished. The punishment seemed unfair to me. He is sent away for a whole year, but this punishment might have been one of the best things that happened to him. During that year he grows up, matures, and learns to better serve his people. When he comes back he is given a higher title.

Wulf the Saxon
Wulf and a lot of other Saxons ended up having trouble at sea. Their ship was destroyed and they found themselves captured by Count Conrad. Wulf and another page ended up escaping and traveling the country with little food to try and get help. Did they make it? What happened next? You will have to listen to the story yourself to find out!

How We Used It

This is the first time that we received just a CD. Normally we are also given a study guide and other goodies. In the past we used the study guides to help us learn more about the time period and to help us with discussion questions. This time, I decided to just listen to the CDs and talk about them. I did miss the study guide in the beginning. They normally had questions after each track that I could use to make sure that AJ was understanding the story.

But I quickly realized, that she enjoyed the story more and was able to pay better attention when I wasn’t stopping the CD and asking her questions in the middle of the story. There was still a lot of learning taking place. We talked a lot about the hierarchy in England, the different places that were mentioned, and more.

What We Thought about Wulf the Saxon

This story did not disappoint! It had everything that we have come to expect from Heirloom Audio Productions. There was suspense, love, fighting, underlining morals, and so much more. You feel like you are in the story. If you are looking for a great way to bring history to life, I highly recommend any of the audio dramas from Heirloom Audio. I think Wulf the Saxon is one of my favorites right now, but that is probably just until the next one comes along!

 

Heirloom Audio Adventure Club

If you enjoy the audio dramas from Heirloom Audio, you might want to check out the Live the Adventure Club. With the Club you will have access to teaching resources (like the study guides), access to 500 old time radio shows, a community forum, and hundreds of fun games and activities. You can take your adventure to the next level!

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

Wulf the Saxon {Heirloom Audio Productions Reviews}
 

Crew Disclaimer

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}
Crew Disclaimer

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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A Journey Through Learning Lapbook ~ Review

Last year our plan was to have AJ study modern history. Over the years we have focused a lot on the American Revolution, the Western Expansion, and the Civil War. We have also studied the earlier time periods. Our plan started off well, but soon rabbit trails led us in other directions. She started high school this year, so I wanted her to have at least a basic understanding of the history of the 20th century. When we were given the chance to review An Overview of the 20th Century from A Journey Through Learning Lapbooks I knew that it would be a perfect fit. AJ loves creating lapbooks, and the ones from A Journey Through Learning have always been a hit in the past. We have used a quite a few of their lapbooks and other resources. Our favorite was the Prairie Primer Binder Builder.

What Makes A Journey Through Learning Lapbooks Amazing?

A Journey Through Learning
When you purchase a lapbook from A Journey Through Learning you know you are getting quality. They take the time to make the process of putting the lapbook together as simple as possible. They include step by step instructions on how to create the lapbook and all of the mini books that go inside. There are even pictures that show exactly where each mini book needs to be glued.

A Journey Through Learning Lapbooks are fun and easy to use!

The lapbooks are flexible and easy to customize to fit your student. All of the lapbook that we have completed have come with a study guide about the topic. If you are looking for a quick study, your student can simply read through the study guide and complete the mini books. But you can also stretch the study and go deeper in-depth by adding in books, videos, and other information on the topic. There are sheets included so that the student can keep all of their research together. This lapbook also includes optional worksheets that the student can fill out for a biographical book report and a war study.

About the An Overview of the 20th Century lapbook

Overview of 20th Century Lapbook with Study Guide
This lapbook is geared for kids in grades 2 through 7, but older students could use it as well. It is 72 pages and makes a three folder lapbook. The student will complete 23 mini books focusing on people and events from the 20th century. The mini books include a variety of activities like; labeling, answering questions, coloring maps, drawing flags, a word search, a cross word puzzle, copywork, and defining vocabulary.

After completing this lapbook your student will have a basic understanding of the wars, famous inventions, and the people who changed history in the 20th century.

How We Used An Overview of the 20th Century

Since we were just looking for a quick overview, I just printed everything out and gave AJ one topic each day. She would read through the information and complete the mini book. Some days she would look the topic up online to learn a little bit more information. It was a simple addition to her day that didn’t take very long. She is above the recommended age, so a few of the mini books seemed babyish to her, but overall she enjoyed them.

This study could easily be stretched out for at least a semester. If I would have had it last year I would have used the lapbook as a base and I would have added in both fiction and nonfiction books on the topics for her to read. It could be turned into a great unit study. But I also like that I didn’t have to do that. I could simply print and go, knowing she was learning.

What We Thought

We were very pleased with the lapbook. The study guide had enough information that AJ could learn the basics on her own. It was easy to use and the directions make putting the lapbook together simple. We have enjoyed every lapbook that we have tried from A Journey Through Learning. I plan to add in more of their lapbooks as we study other concepts in the future.

If you are looking for a hands on way for your student to learn history, science, Bible, or almost any topic, lapbooks from A Journey Through Learning might be exactly what you are looking for. Find out what other members of the Homeschool Review Crew though by clicking on the graphic below!

Lapbooks for Classical Conversations, Apologia, Inventors & 20th Century {A Journey Through Learning Lapbooks Reviews}
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In the Reign of Terror ~ Review

We love listening to audio books and audio dramas at our house. They are a great way to read a book when you can’t physically read. They are great for car rides, trips, and even for listening to while doing house work. The only issue is that some audio books are mono tone and boring. We often look for audio books where the reader uses voices for the characters, or we look for audio dramas.

Heirloom Audio Productions
One of our favorite go to places for audio dramas is Heirloom Audio Productions. We have had the chance to listen to a few of their audio dramas and have never been disappointed. We were given a chance to review their latest audio drama, In the Reign of Terror. It came at the perfect time. Arriving just a few days before I had surgery, I knew I was going to take it with me in my hospital bag.

What is In the Reign of Terror?

In the Reign of Terror is an audio drama adapted from the book of the same name written by G.A. Henty.  It is two and a half hours long and will have you on the edge of your seat. The goal of Heirloom Audio is to make history come alive, and they exceed that goal with this title.

In the Reign of Terror
The adventure takes place in France during the devastating French Revolution. We follow Harry, a 16 year old boy who is living with an upper class French family. Being in France is a culture shock for him in the beginning, but he adapts. Soon after his arrival though, things change and the family is in danger simply because they were a noble family. Now Harry has to try to escape the soldiers and attempt to keep the family that he grew close to safe. He has to make hard decisions and trust in God. Will the family survive, or will Harry fail? You will have to listen to the audio drama to find out.

In the Reign of Terror is designed for ages six and up. This is the third audio drama that we have listened to of G.A. Henty’s books. They all have some violence because you are dealing with history and wars that took place. I personally think this title was a little more violent than the others. It is done tastefully and I don’t think that the violence is overdone. But I do think that some six year olds may have nightmares after listening to this. Characters do die and there are some fairly scary scenes where you worry if the characters are going to make it. I personally would not have let AJ listen to this until 8 or 9. Of course every child is different, and you know your kids best. I would recommend listening to the CD during the daytime and seeing how your child reacts.

How We Used In the Reign of Terror

Audio Dramas are great in the hospital!

I put the CD and a portable CD player (the nurse was surprised to see that they still made them!) into my hospital bag along with a few audio books. After surgery, when there was nothing on TV and I wanted something to do, I took out the audio drama and listened to it. It was a great way to keep my mind off of the pain and it gave me something to do. I listened to it two times because it was so intense and interesting. I love how it lets you view history from a different perspective. Even though I didn’t get to all of my other audio books, I made time for In the Reign of Terror.

Beyond the CDs

In addition to the CDs with the audio drama we also received access to a study guide for the audio drama and other cool items from Live the Adventure Club . It is a new site that gives you access to the digital items that come with your purchase all in one place. I can listen to the audio drama online, view the script, listen to the sound track, print posters, and more. I am really glad to see a site that will keep everything together for me! There are so many things to explore on the site including; coloring pages, word searches, articles, and badges that kids can earn while listening to the adventure. I am excited to see more of the site.

The Study Guide

I didn’t use the study guide this time. Since it is summer AJ has been busy with camp and other activities and hasn’t listened to the audio drama yet. Once the summer fun calms down I will have her use part of it. The study guide is over 40 pages long, it includes:

  • Background information about the French Revolution and important people.
  • Questions for each track. They are divided into three types:
  • Listening Well – These are simple questions about the plot of the story.
  • Thinking Further – These require more thought and often require the student to give an opinion. They may include additional research and map work. These questions are great for discussions with older children.
  • Defining Words – This section has words that the child (or adult) might need to look up.
  • Recipes to make from the time period
  • Bible Studies – “When God Means Evil for Good” and a few others. These are simple but will make you think!

The study guide is well done. You can use whatever parts work for your family. Whether you are looking for a history study or just want to listen to a good story, In the Reign of Terror has you covered!

What I Thought

I was very satisfied with In the Reign of Terror. The characters were relatable, the story drew me in and kept me waiting to see what would happen next, and the sounds were very realistic. I felt like I was in France with Harry. When I listen to the audio drama I feel like I am at a theatrical production with my eyes closed. The quality is amazing! The titles from Heirloom Audio Productions never disappointed me in the past, and neither did this one. You can read my previous reviews of The Cat of Bubastes  and  The Dragon and the Raven.

Their dramas are a step above any other that I have listened to. I think they are a wonderful way to learn more about history and dig deeper into a time period. I highly recommend it!

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

In the Reign of Terror {Heirloom Audio Productions Reviews}
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Iliad & Odyssey Complete Set ~ Review

Over the past few weeks AJ and I have been reading and studying Homer’s Iliad. We received the Iliad & Odyssey Complete Set from Memoria Press it has made the process of learning about these ancient texts a lot easier. We looked forward to reading these Epics and were excited to get started.

Iliad & Odyssey Complete Set

The Iliad

Iliad & Odyssey Complete Set
We received a copy of the Iliad translated by Samuel Butler. The book is 447 pages long and is broken up into 24 books. The print size in the book is nice. AJ commented that she didn’t have to squint to read the words and that she could actually see them easily.

Along with the book we received a Student Guide and a Teacher Guide. For each book in the Iliad there are two pages in the Student Guide to complete. The first section lists important places and characters and gives more information about them. The next section has comprehension questions. These vary in difficulty. Some are simple answers that are pulled straight from the book while others require a little more thought.

The third section is Quotations. A few quotes from the book are listed. The student is expected to become familiar with these quotes and know them for tests. The final section is Discussion Questions. These questions are mostly opinion based. An example from book 15 is;

 Who is the better warrior- Ajax, son of Telamon, or Hector. There isn’t a correct answer but the questions do force the student to think about the story on a deeper level.

Since The Iliad was written so long ago, it can be a difficult read. The Student Guide tries to make it as simple as possible. In the appendix there are genealogical charts and other helpful information to help your student keep track of who is who and which side different cities are on. We found this section very valuable.

The Teacher Guide for The Iliad is different from other Memoria Press guides we have used in the past. While the Teacher Guide has all of the information contained in the Student Guide, it has so much more.

Each book begins with Background and Drill. This section gives more in depth information about important topics. There are also sections on Discussion Help, questions the students should mark for tests, Teacher Notes, and additional assignments for the student to complete. There are writing assignments for almost every book. These include memory work, summaries, compare and contrast, opinion, and more.

There are three tests included in the Teacher Guide. These tests are not easy! When your student is able to pass the tests they will have a great understanding of The Iliad.

The best part of the package was the Instructional DVDs. Sean Brooks gives a video lecture for each book in The Iliad. The lectures were not boring, in fact AJ enjoyed watching the lectures. Mr. Brooks is excellent at explaining what is going on in each book and why it is important. I felt the DVDs were what made me feel confident to teach these books. They really took the study to the next level.

The Odyssey

Iliad & Odyssey Complete Set
Our copy of The Odyssey is also translated by Samuel Butler. It is 358 pages long and broken up into 24 books. Like The Iliad, the text size is nice and the book is well made.

The Student Guide and Teacher Guides are set up very similarly to the guides for The Iliad. I appreciate that because when we get to The Odyssey AJ will already be familiar with the set up.

There looks like a lot of fun assignments to go along with The Odyssey. One that I think AJ will like is from book 7. It asks the student to choose a location for Scheria and defend it geographically. They have to describe how to get back to Ithaca from that point. I like that they are forced to think deeper.

I watched a few of the DVD lectures, and they did not disappoint. I am sure that AJ will like them as much as she likes the lectures on The Iliad.

How We Use It

At first we tried to use the program as it is designed in the Teacher Guide. The student reads a book each day and completes the work. Together both books should take around 18 weeks to complete. The study really seems to be written for more of a classroom student with classwork and homework, than for a homeschooled student. It was just too much for AJ. This book is not an easy read and requires a lot of concentration. We are not classical homeschoolers and she had never heard of the Trojan War. I think a student who is use to Memoria Press would be able to catch on a lot faster.

After a few days I decided to change things up. We are currently not using the Student Guide at all. We are reading a book out loud over a day or two depending on the length and then on the following day watching the lecture and discussing the discussion questions.

My plan is to have her read through both books and watch all of the lectures. When she is done and is more familiar with all of the characters and what is happening in the story she will read them again. At that point I will have her fill out the study guides, take quizzes, do the memory work, and dig deeper. I plan to give AJ a high school English credit when she is completely finished.

What We Thought

If you are looking for a way to teach your child these difficult texts, this is hands down the way to go. I don’t think you will find a better study. Between the Teacher Guide and the Instructional DVDs you will have everything you need right at your finger tips.

First Form Greek, Iliad/Odyssey and American History {Memoria Press Reviews}
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Bessie’s Pillow ~ Review

This year AJ has been learning all about modern history. Learning about things that happened only decades ago instead of hundreds of years ago has been really interesting to her. It is amazing how far our world has come in such a short time. Most of the topics we are learning about happened after my grandma was born. Knowing someone who was actually alive when wars and other things happened really puts things into perspective.  One topic that AJ has really enjoyed learning about is the American Dream. And how that dream wasn’t easy for a lot of people.

We were recently given the chance to review the book, Bessie’s Pillow by Linda Bress Silbert. It is an amazing book from Strong Learning, Inc. that is based on a true story of a young immigrant’s journey to America. I thought that the book would be a great way for AJ to get a better understanding of the personal side of history. It is easy to learn facts, but it is nice to get a look into how people felt and handled what was going on. AJ seems to enjoy books that are based on a strong female character, so I thought that she would enjoy this book.

Bessie's Pillow 

What is Bessie’s Pillow?

Bessie’s Pillow is a 276 page soft covered historical fiction book. It is broken into 40 chapters and includes a section called Bessie’s America. This section is full of historical information about the things going on in Eastern Europe that drove hundreds of thousands of people to immigrate to America in the 19th and 20th century. It also includes information about what America was like in that time period.

The book is told in first person point of view. It starts off with 18 year old Boshka Markman waiting to leave her family and everything she knew to come to America. It was 1906 and Lithuania was no longer a safe place for her to live. At such a young age she would leave her family and make the long difficult journey to America on her own.

Just getting to America was a challenge. There are numerous health checks and inspections to make sure she was healthy enough to enter America. Once she finally reached America she was told that her name would have to be changed to make it more American. From that day on she was known as Bessie.

Bessie was a strong woman. We see her grow from a young 18 year old child to a strong wife and business woman. She faces struggles and overcomes them. She is kind, compassionate, and has a strong spirit.

Beyond the Book

Just reading the book will teach you a lot about history. But the author has taken it a step further. She has created a site, Bessie’s America that takes learning about the time period to a new level. There are picture from the time period and tons of information about daily life back in the beginning of the 1900’s.

There is also a teacher’s guide. The guide includes; discussion questions, a timeline of events, character analysis, themes, symbolism in the book and more. This book can easily be a jumping point for a full on history and language arts study.

Unfortunately, when we were reading the book there were some issues with the website and the links were not working. Now that it is working, we have enjoyed looking through and learning even more about the time period.

What We Thought

Originally the plan was to read a few chapters a day as a read aloud. After the first few days though, it seemed impossible to stop after a few chapters. The book was exciting and AJ didn’t want to stop reading. We ended up finishing the book in a few days. It was well written and really gave insight into what it was like to be an immigrant in America.

There were a few difficult to read chapters, because lets face it, Americans were not always the most welcoming to immigrants. It is sad that Bessie had to face those difficulties, but I am glad that they were included in the book. I feel it is important to share both the good and bad parts of history. That being said, you may wish to read the book yourself before handing it over to your child. I think a 5th grader could easily read the book, but I know AJ would not have been emotionally ready to read it in 5th grade. She is in 8th grade now and the book brought up a lot of great discussions, especially considering all of the talk about immigration in our political world.

Overall, if you are looking for an exciting, well written, inspiring story of a strong female character who overcomes many difficulties, Bessie’s Pillow may be exactly what you are looking for.

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

Bessie's Pillow {Strong Learning, Inc. Reviews}
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