Lightning Lit & Comp (Early-Mid American Lit) ~ Review

AJ still struggles with some skills in both reading and writing. While she has grown leaps and bounds over the last few years, she is not quite on grade level. Because of that, she is a slower reader and sometimes takes longer with writing assignments. One issue we have noticed is that we often feel like we are behind in our English curriculum. A little over a year ago we were able to review a Lightning Lit set from, Hewitt Homeschooling Resources. We enjoyed it, but she was doing a combined literature, Bible, and history course at the time, so she never finished it.

This year we are studying American History, and I was looking for a good literature program to go with it. I had planed to finish the old Lightning Lit set we had, and then find something new. But then we were given the chance to review another lightning lit set! We decided to go with, American Early-Mid 19th Century, because it would fit in perfectly with our study of US History. We have been working on it for the last few weeks.

What is Lightning Lit & Comp?

The idea behind Lightning Lit & Comp is to have the student read and respond to great literature. Along the way the student will gain college level composition skills. In the younger grades the program is divided into grade levels. Once the student is in high school the program switches to different topics. There are a variety of choices from American History, British Literature, and even different genres of Shakespeare.

The sets come with a Student Guide that is designed so that the student can do the program themselves, and a teacher guide. Depending on the needs of your student, each Lightning Lit guide can be used over a semester, or an entire school year. Each guide has the student read four novels and at least four other works of literature. Those may include poetry, short stories, or other material. You will need to obtain the novels, but everything else is in the Student Guide.

American Early – Mid 19th Century

Out of the four novels that are in this guide, I had only read one before. This guide has the student read:

  • Benjamin Franklin’s Autobiography
  • Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass: An American Slave Written by Himself
  • The Scarlet Letter and
  • Moby-Dick

They will also read poetry and short stories from:

  • Washington Irving
  • William Cullen Bryant
  • Edgar Allan Poe and
  • Henry Longfellow

The Student Guide

Lightning Lit & Comp (Early to Mid American History) Student Guide

The Student Guide is a 178 page soft covered book. It begins with a long introduction. The introduction talks about why the student should use the course. It then it goes on to give lessons on how to read literature, how to read poetry, and how to write well. It contains a lot of useful information. The student isn’t expected to remember all of the information. Instead it is right at their fingertips when they need it.

Finally, there is an explanation on how to use the Student Guide. The program is simple to follow, but this part makes it fool proof! The back of the book includes three appendix sections. They include optional discussion questions and project ideas, additional reading, and both the semester and year long schedule.

Lightning Lit & Comp ~ (Early to Mid American History) Schedule from Student Guide

The Student Guide is broken up into four units. They all follow the same basic outline.

Unit at a Glance

Each unit contains two lessons. They include:

Introduction – This is a short (page or two) biography about the author.

The Selection – This is the reading that the student will complete. Sometimes the student will not need to read the entire novel. In those cases the student is told what to read.

While You Read – This is a short list of things to look for or to think about while you read. It varies with each book. For The Scarlet Letter , one thing the student is asked to look for conflicts in the book and how they are solved.

Comprehension Questions – These questions are broken down by chapter, or by page number if the book is not broken up into chapters. The questions focus mainly on facts in the story, but there are some about different literary elements. Most of the questions are short answer, but there are also some multiple choice options.

Literary Lessons – These are lessons that cover one main topic that was in the reading. For example, after reading Franklin’s autobiography the lesson is on writing about yourself. Examples are taken from the reading to help show different ways to write about yourself. After reading Moby-Dick the lesson is on character development. Examples are given that show how in the book the author uses different ways to develop the character over time. These lessons are around five pages long. They are broken into sub topics and go into a lot of details.

Writing Exercises – After each reading selection there is a list of at least five different writing exercises. The student picks two of them to complete. There are a variety of options. Some include researching and writing a report, some are short stories, others have you analyze the reading. Sometimes, like after reading The Scarlet Letter, there will be an option to practice a new skill you learned while writing about a previous book. One option for the writing exercise is:

Write an analysis of at least one conflict in either Benjamin Franklin’s autobiography or Frederick Douglass’s Narrative.

Perspectives – This section is not included after every reading selection. When it is included it gives valuable information about the time period. One of the sections talked about Transcendentalism and how it effected writing at the time.

The Teacher Guide

Lightning Lit & Comp ~ Review (Early to Mid American History) Teacher Guide

The Teacher guide is simply a stack of papers stapled together and hole-punched. I like that it can easily be placed in a notebook, and that I don’t have another book to worry about.

The guide includes tips on grading. Grading writing is so subjective, that it can be difficult. This breaks everything down for you. There are even checklists for different types of papers. There are instructions for how to calculate grades for the comprehension questions and for final grades. The only thing it doesn’t explain is how to grade the vocabulary. There aren’t exactly any vocabulary assignments. The student is told to create a vocabulary notebook where they write down words they don’t understand, but grading this is not explained. Since vocabulary is only worth 10% of the grade, I plan to give AJ credit as long as she creates a decent notebook.

The Teacher guide also includes both schedule options and answers to the comprehension questions. The only suggestion I would make is that it would be more helpful to the parent/teacher if more than the letter was included for multiple choice questions. Just the letter “d” isn’t always enough. I found myself needing to look at the student guide to see what she was answering. This is just a personal preference.

The guide also includes the writing exercises and the optional project ideas.

How We Used It

AJ holding Student Book Lightning Lit & Comp (Early to Mid American History)

Since AJ is a slow reader, we decided to follow the year long schedule. The main difference between the two schedules is the pace of the reading. The schedules are broken up into weekly assignments. I like this because she can break the reading and writing up however she likes, as long as she finishes it by the end of the week.

She began by reading the introduction to the student guide. Then she went on to read the introduction about Benjamin Franklin. After that we read through the writing exercise options. I had her pick one to work on while she read the book. The schedule has her wait until after she reads the book to write, but that has her then writing two papers in a row. So we changed it up a little.

The first week she just did the  reading and answered the comprehension questions. The second week I had her read through the Literary Lesson and start working on her writing assignment.  She chose the following:

Imagine that you are writing to a pen-pal for the first time. You don’t want to tell them everything at once but you do want to give a reasonable impression of yourself. Choose what parts of yourself and your life to share. Write the letter – taking care to choose aspects of yourself that are telling and important and to describe those things well enough that your pen-pal will find the letter interesting.

As she read the book she worked on the writing a little each day. By the time she is finished with the book she will have one assignment finished and will then start on the second assignment.

We work on literature together. I downloaded the first book to our Kindle’s and we read the book together taking turns reading out loud and discussing the book. Using the Kindle was a little difficult, because the autobiography is not broken into chapters. The reading was assigned by page number, but the page numbers were different on the Kindle. We just read until all of the comprehension questions from the section were answered. But if page numbers not matching bothers you, make sure you buy the version recommended on the website.

I will say though, this first book has a lot of unusual words. It was nice to be able to highlight a word and quickly see its meaning. I think she might have been looking up a lot of words if she was reading a paperback copy.

As we read she wrote down the answers to the comprehension questions in a composition notebook. Then she would work on the writing assignment for a little while. Some days we read for an hour or so other days she only read a few minutes. I like that the weekly schedule makes it possible to be very flexible.

Out Thoughts

While Benjamin Franklin’t Autobiography isn’t our favorite book, we have both been enjoying this literature program. I like that there is the option to take a little longer to complete the course, but that she is able to use something that is challenging and will help her grow. The lessons are very detailed and interesting. There is a great variety of writing assignments. Some are easier like the one she picked for unit one, but others will require more effort.

This book is designed for 9th to 10th grade, while the other guide we used is designed for 9th through 12th grade. I did notice that this guide had some easier writing assignments, and that the comprehension questions were more straight forward. But I think it is challenging enough to be used at any level.

The guide is designed so that the student can use it independently, and I think most students would be able to do that. Even AJ would be able to use this independently. We just like to discuss the reading and spend the time together. I think it is a very solid program. We intend to use it next year for her main English curriculum.

If you are looking for a challenging, but doable English curriculum, that focuses on having the student read great literature, look no further. Lightning Lit & Comp is what you need.

Other members of the Homeschool review Crew reviewed different levels or topics of Lightning Lit. They also reviewed a few other products from Hewitt Homeschooling. Click on the graphic below to rad their reviews!

Lightning Literature, My First Reports, State History Notebook & Joy of Discovery {Hewitt Homeschooling Resources Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer

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

Victus Study Skills ~ Review

One of the skills that I worry about teaching AJ is proper study skills. As homeschoolers we normally work on a skill until she masters it. In elementary school she had almost no tests. We didn’t need them. Since I worked with her every day, I knew when she was ready to move on to new topics and when she needed more time to grasp something. In middle school she had some math tests and a few tests in other topics, but it wasn’t something she ever really had to study for. Now that she is in high school, there are more tests. But nowhere near the amount that I had in public school. She plans to go to college to become a veterinarian and I know she will need a strong foundation to be able to succeed.

We were recently given the chance to review a product from Victus Study Skills System. It looked like the perfect product to teach AJ how to study. They have a Primary Set for grades K – 3, an Elementary Set for grades 2 through 5, a Student Set for grades 5 through 11, and a College Set for grades 10 through college.  We decided to use their Level 3 (5/6-10/11) set.

What is Victus Study Skills

The idea with this program is to start with the grade level of your students. Once they finish that level they continue developing their skills by moving on to the next level. It is a really neat program that teaches skills at a child’s level.

For example, in the Primary Student workbook the student is asked to fill in a check off list about time management skills. It is just six questions asking things like if they get up in plenty of time for school or if they go to bed when they are suppose to. Then it asks them to think of one or two things they can do to help manage their time better to any question they answered no to.

In the College level the student is given  tips about managing their time. They are also give a sample syllabus and calendar for them to practice how to manage their time. The skills are still broken up into bite size pieces and are written for the level that the child is at.

The Student Planner

Victus Study Skills Student Planner

The Student Planner is a very helpful tool for students. I think it would be helpful for adults as well. The beginning of the planner has tips and advice about goal setting and how to prioritize your day. Then it is full of undated weekly calendars. There are places for weekly goals and objectives along with a spot for a  prioritized to do list.

Victus Study Skills Student Planner

There is also plenty of space to fill in any activities or assignments for each day of the week. The end of the planner has a spot for a life plan, and a grade log to keep track of your grades. It is sturdy and seems like it will hold up to wear and tare.

Victus Study Skills Student Planner

Level 3 Student Workbook

Victus Study Skills Student Workbook Cover

The Student Workbook is 63 pages long. It is a soft covered spiral bound book. The program is broken up into three sections. Where am I now? Where do I want to be? and How do I get there?

Victus Study Skills ~ Review

Where am I now?

This section has the student go over their current study habits. It is a simple checklist where they answer either never, sometimes, or often. Then the student figures out how they learn best. They are even given tips about how they can sharpen their dominant learning style and improve their weaker one. This stage is fairly simple, but it gets the student to see where they are and what they need to do to improve.

Victus Study Skills Student workbook page

Where do I want to be?

This section is mainly about goals and priorities. The student is taught about creating SMART goals and how to create a mission statement. This section was a little harder for AJ as it made her really focus and think about her future.

How do I get there?

This section is the main part of the book. It teaches a variety of skills through practice and activities. Some of the main skills covered are:

  • Time Management
  • Organization
  • Things to do before you study
  • Learning where you learn best
  • Active Listening
  • Taking Notes and
  • Test Taking Strategies

What I really like about the student workbook is that it requires the student to think, but it isn’t overwhelming. After teaching about taking notes it has the student practice. It also provides great advice about what to do if you don’t know the answer on a test. The lessons are short but effective and are actually enjoyable.

Teacher Edition

Victus Study Skills Teacher Edition

The Teacher Edition is a soft covered spiral bound book with 82 pages. It contains the lessons and teaching tips. The Victus Study System is broken up into ten lessons. For each lesson the teacher is given a explanation of what to teach and is told what pages the student needs to complete. It is broken down into three steps;  purpose, preparation, and procedure. The lessons are very simple to teach and have all the information that you need.

Victus Study Skills Teacher Edition Pages

One of my favorite parts of the Teacher Edition is that it gives the teacher a preview of the page the student needs to complete. They call it the student view. On pages where there are right and wrong answers, the answers are given. They also give samples of what type of things the student may have written.

How We Used the Victus Study Skills Program

Our life has been crazy. We are in the middle of moving back home and have had a lot of issues going on. So we didn’t get to use the program as much as I had wanted. Our plan was to spend one or two days on each lesson. That didn’t quite work. Instead we completed about one lesson each week. The lessons took about 30 to 45 minutes to complete. It is not a program that can be done independently. It is a program that requires guidance, but not too much. Once I went over the lesson with AJ she would complete the required pages mostly on her own and then we would discuss her answers. It was something we enjoyed working on.

What We Thought

I was impressed with the quality of Victus Study Skills! The instructions are easy to follow. The lessons are short and meaningful. AJ learned a lot and is continuing to learn new skills. I feel like I finally know how to teach her to study. It was a skill that came easily to me, but it is something that she struggles with.

I look forward to having her work through the college level when she is a senior. It will be vital in her succeeding in college. I found a lot of helpful information while reading through the last two levels of the program, and I know that AJ will too. I highly recommend this product for all ages.  AJ would have benefited from using the lower levels when she was younger.

Click on the graphic below to see what other members of the Homeschool Review Crew thought. Other members focused on different levels, you may find a different level to be better suited to your needs.

K through College Study Skills {Victus Study Skills System Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer

The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls 3 & 4 ~ Review

About a year ago AJ and I had the chance to review the first two books in a new Christian book series called, The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls . We really enjoyed the books. They were interesting, full of excitement, and taught great values. When we were offered the chance to review books three and four from WorthyKids, an imprint of Hachette Book Group we jumped at the chance. If they were half as good as the first two, we knew we would love them!

About the Series

The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls follows a brother and sister team as they go back in time. Peter, Mary, and their dog Hank are staying with their Great – Uncle Solomon for a month. While they are there they find all kinds of mysterious things in his home. Uncle Solomon is an archaeologist and tells them about the Secret of the Hidden Scrolls. When they open one they are transported back in time. In the first book they got to see the creation of the world. In book two they road along on Noah’s Ark. Books three and four will take them on other amazing adventures.

One great thing about this series is that it doesn’t have to be read in order. If you want to pick up book four you can read a short two page prologue and you will know what happened in the other books. That said, I think it would be a little more exciting to read them in order.

Book 3

The third book in the series is, The Great Escape (Book #3) . It takes place directly after book two ends. Peter and Mary find a sarcophagus in one of the rooms in Uncle Solomon’s house. The kids find a scroll with a triangle on it and soon find themselves in the very hot desert of Ancient Egypt. They visit a pyramid and float down the Nile River. They end up meeting a girl who they find out is Princess Shephara. Her father was the Pharaoh of Egypt.

Secret of the Hidd

Along the way the kids meet Aron, Moses, and the Angel Michael. Then they watch as the plagues happen in Egypt. Just as the Red Sea began to was out the Egyptian Army, the kids and Hank were back at Uncle Solomon’s house safe and sound. Throughout the book the kids faced many dangers. But they trusted in God and He kept them safe. At the end of the book the kids listened to the story in the Bible and Uncle Solomon explained that most of the people never made it to the Promised land, but that was a story for another day.

AJ said her favorite part in this book was that the kids got to dress up like Egyptian royalty and stay in Pharaoh’s palace.

Book 4

The fourth book in the series is, Journey to Jericho (Book #4). This book starts with Peter and Mary sneaking around Uncle Solomon’s house. They find a secret room with all kinds of gadgets and learn that before Uncle Solomon was an archaeologist, he was a spy! He gave the kids their own code names. Peter was The Bear and Mary was The Monkey. They found a secret room and a scroll with two angels’ wings on it. After opening the scroll they soon found themselves on the desert in a beautiful tent. They eventually find out the it is the Tabernacle.

Secret of the Hidden Scrolls book 4

On their journey, Peter and Mary meet Joshua.They find out that the Israelites have been wondering in the desert waiting to reach the Promised land. But that they had to get past the walls of Jericho. The kids find themselves in a little bit of trouble after sneaking in to Jericho and being spotted. They, along with a few Israelite spies find a woman named Rahab. She hides the spies and keeps them safe. Eventually the Israelite people cross the Jordan River. Peter and Mary are afraid that they won’t solve the secret of the scroll in time, but they do. Just as the walls of Jericho begin to fall, the kids and Hank are safely back at Uncle Solomon’s home.

AJ’s favorite part of this book was when the Angel saved the kids from the man in black.

How We Read the Books

These books say they are geared for kids grades 1 through 3. I personally think they would be too difficult for first and second graders. I feel they are more on a fourth grade level, but that is my opinion. Even though they are written for younger kids, older kids will enjoy the action and adventure.

AJ is way beyond the reading level. But she really enjoyed them. I found them to be a quick enjoyable read as well. The plan was for me to read them and then have AJ read them. But they came in the mail on a day I was sick. She took the first book and read it in about two hours. Then asked to read the next one. She ended up finishing both books in a day. I read them a few days later, then we talked about them.

At the end of the books it tells you where you can find the stories in the Bible. We read through the stories in the Bible and discussed the differences. While these books are based on the Bible, there are some small differences.

Our Thoughts

We were pleased with both book three and book four. Each of them stuck to the basic story that can be found in the Bible. While AJ and I were both able to guess what the secret scroll would say after only a few chapters, I think younger students will have fun trying to figure out the mystery. These are solid books that are free from bad language and other morally questionable content.

If you are looking for an adventure story that will appeal to both boys and girls and has a strong biblical basis, this is the series for you! Book 5 is now available. We can’t wait to read it!

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

The Great Escape & Journey To Jericho {WorthyKids 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
 

 

Progeny Press eGuide ~ Review

Over the years AJ and I have tried out quite a few different book studies. Some I have found free online, others I have paid for, and a majority of them I have just made myself. The problem with making them myself is that it is time consuming. I have to read through the books, find literary elements, and figure out activities. My own book studies are always fun, but now that she is in high school I find it hard to keep up. Often the free book studies I find just have questions about the plot, and I want more. I had heard about Progeny Press before, and read that their studies were very well done. So when we were given the chance to review their Perelandra – eGuide, I was interested give them a try.

Perelandra
Perelandra is the second book in a trilogy written by C. S. Lewis. The book can be read as a stand alone book, but like most series the reader will have a better understanding if the books are read in order. AJ and I both enjoyed the Narnia series, so I figured we would enjoy this series from C. S. Lewis as well. We went into the study not reading the first book. The study guide did provide a synopsis of what happened in the first book. But I would recommend reading the books in order. Progeny Press has a study for the first book, and I wish we would have done that study first.

Study Guide Basics

We received both the study guide and the answer key. The study guide is 58 pages long. It begins with a note to the instructor that explains how to use the guide. Then it has a synopsis of the book and the previous book along with background information about the author.

The study guide is interactive. You can click on the table of contents and you are taken to that section. You are also able to type your answers directly into the study guide. This is perfect for those who don’t enjoy writing. It also works wonders to save on ink. You don’t need to print the guide off. Simply let your student type their answers in and save it to your computer. Of course if you prefer to have a written copy you can print it once your student finishes it.

The Answer Key is six pages long. The writing is very small, but it has all of the questions answered. I found the answer key helpful especially with some of the dig deeper questions. Looking at it let me help AJ when she got stuck. It also was a great discussion starter when her answers varied from the key.

More Details About the Study Guide

The study guide is designed to be used over an eight to ten week period and can count as a quarter credit for high school. During the first week the student reads the book and completes some pre- reading activities. There are a lot of different options. Some include:

  • Researching the different accounts of creation from different religions and comparing them with the Biblical account.
  • Imagining they are in the Garden of Eden and writing a description of it.
  • Researching the origins of Mars and Venus and comparing the god’s character traits in Greek, Roman, and Norse Mythology.

Once the book is read, the student comes back and does the book work. The chapters are broken up, usually two at a time. Each section follows the same format.

Vocabulary

This is one of my favorite parts of the study guide. Each section has an activity to do with vocabulary. It isn’t just a simple write the definition of a word activity though. The activities make the student look at how the word was used and what it means. Sometimes the student will need to fill the word into the blank of a sentence, and then write a definition. Other times they may need to read a passage and write their own definition before looking up the dictionary definition.  They even have to look at the context of a passage to decide which definition of the word the author meant.

There are about two pages of vocabulary for each section. One of AJ’s biggest struggles is seeing how words can mean different things in different contexts. These activities have been difficult for her, but they have helped. One thing that we liked was that there were different activities, she didn’t have to do the same activity every time.

Questions

For each section there are about four questions about the reading. These are questions that can be answered about the plot of the story. As long as the student read the book they should be able to answer the questions. But they can go back and read through the chapters again if they need to.

Analysis

Each section has about three to six analysis questions. These questions require the student to think beyond the plot of the book. Sometimes they are asked to think about what a character is thinking, sometimes they are asked to look at a character’s actions and then told to read a Bible passage. They are also asked about different uses of literary devises in the story. These are the types of questions I often find missing from other book studies. They require the student to look beyond the basic story.

Dig Deeper

Each section has a few dig deeper questions. The amount varies due to what was going on in each section. These questions go further than the analysis questions. They require the student to look at symbolism in the book, and to look at statements made by the characters. One question asks the student to go into a dark room and wait for a while. Then they are asked if they felt the way a character felt.

There is a lot of Biblical symbolism and that is explored in this section. The student is instructed to read passages from Genesis, Revelations, Hebrews, and other books of the Bible to see the parallels between the accounts in the Bible and the story.

After the questions are answered for each section then there are additional activities for the student to complete. There are options that explore point of view, the author’s use of color, the similarities between the tempting of Eve and the tempting of a character in the novel, and other activities that explore the parallels between the Bible and the novel.

How We Used It

We tried to use the study guide as written. But it just didn’t work. AJ is a slow reader and finishing the book in a week wasn’t going to happen with this book. The language in the book was difficult and at times she was getting lost in the story. I think reading the book and then doing the work would have been perfect for her while we were reading the Narnia series. At that time she hated to stop after a few chapter and answer questions. But this book was harder for her. So after two weeks of her not wanting to read and her having a hard time with the book, we decided to make a change.

I had her do the vocabulary work for the chapters and then read them again. When she was done reading the section she answered the questions. She answered some of the analysis and dig deeper questions, but most of them we are saving until she is finished with the book. Normally we rush through a book. The idea of spending ten weeks on one book seemed like a lot. But I see now that she is really understanding beyond the book. It may take her longer to get through the reading, but when she is done she will have a great understanding of symbolism among other literary elements.

What We Thought

Progeny Press
This was the first guide that we have used from Progeny Press. And I am very impressed. The study guides are very well made. The questions make the student think, the vocabulary activities make the student understand word usage, and the work isn’t rushed. The guides are affordable, and I see us using a few more in our future.

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

New Study Guides for Literature From a Christian Perspective {Progeny Press Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer

Apologia Health and Nutrition ~ Review

Last year AJ and I were finally able to try out a science course from Apologia Educational Ministries. We had heard a lot of great things about their courses in the past and were pleased to discover that all of the great things we were told, were really true. So when I learned about their newest course for high school students, Exploring Creation with Health and Nutrition by Dr. Laura Chase, I was thrilled to have AJ try it out. We received  the Health and Nutrition Basic Set , and I was amazed at the quality of the information in the text book!

Apologia Exploring Health and Nutrition

About the Course

The basic set comes with everything you will need to complete the course, other than a few easy to find items for projects. The course is designed to be completed during any year in high school and can be completed over an entire school year by using the course three days a week. It can also be used daily and be completed in a single semester. It would be worth a half of credit of science on your student’s transcript.

When you purchase the set you will receive a 440 page hardcover textbook and a 365 softcover student notebook that is spiral bound. Unlike other courses from Apologia, the student notebook is not optional. It is needed to complete the course. Additional information for the course is available online. You can access it with a password from the textbook. Online is where you will find answers to study guides and tests. You will also find optional videos and other online resources that go along with each chapter.

The Textbook

The textbook is broken up into fifteen modules. Each module ends with a section called “Consider a Health Profession” where a health profession that goes along with what the student is learning about is discussed. In module 2 when the student is learning about the brain and nervous system, the section has information about neurosurgeons and a few other doctors.

 

There are “On Your Own” questions sprinkled all throughout each module. The final page of each module has an answer key for those questions where the student can check their answers.

This book goes way beyond telling the student to eat healthy and exercise. It focuses on the health of the entire person. It covers; physical, social, mental, emotional, and spiritual health.

The book is full of detailed information, charts, diagrams, and graphics. New vocabulary words are highlighted in blue the first time they are used, and the modules are broken up into plenty of sub sections. All of these things help break up the reading and help the student understand the science behind health.

The Student Notebook

The Student Notebook is full of useful information. The beginning of the notebook explains how the course is graded, and has a place to record all of the grades.

It also includes a suggested daily schedule. The schedule tells your student which pages to read, which On Your Own questions to answer, and which projects to complete. It is set up as a three day a week schedule.

The end of the book has the tests for each module.

Each module includes about four pages where your student can take notes. After the note pages you will find places for the student to answer the On Your Own Questions and instructions for projects.

The final part of each module is the study guide that the student needs to fill out.

We found the student notebook to be great. There was enough room for AJ to write and it had everything in one place. We did have a few issues with it though. It is big, and even though AJ has only been using it for about a month, the spiral bounding has come out of the bottom few holes. We fixed it, but I don’t know if it will last an entire school year. One thing we found helpful was using flags on the grading page, schedule page, and the page she was working on. It made finding her place a lot easier.

AJ’s only other complaint was the lack of blank diagrams included in the notes section. There are sometimes diagrams to fill out on the study guide, but she would have liked to see them in the note taking area. Her hand drawn diagrams were not done very well. We ended up photocopying some of the diagrams and glued them onto the notes pages.

What a Day Looks Like

Each day with the program is a little different. Most of the modules have a few different projects for the student to do, but not all of them do. I like that there are a variety of projects. In the first module she had a research project and personality tests.

But the second module didn’t have any projects. In module three she has to write out a decision making chart, go on a digital media fast for a day and write about it, do something kind for a caregiver, find an write a list of emotions, and a few other projects. Later in the course she will keep a food diary and then look at it fir ways that she can improve her habits. There is even a project that requires her to chart her dental health. Some of the projects take a little while to do, but most can be finished in a day or two.

Since we want to finish the course in a semester, I had AJ work on science for about an hour each day. Then she simply checked off each day once it was finished. Sometimes she was able to get two days finished, and others she didn’t even finish a single day. It usually depended on the amount of reading and the complexity of the projects.

How We Used It

Normally AJ doesn’t need to take notes. She can just read through the material, answer questions, and pass the tests. She found out the hard way that that wasn’t going to work with this course. When it came time to complete the study guide for the first module she had a hard time. This course asks questions that are not directly found in the text. She had to understand the concepts in order to fill out the study guide. After working on the study guide for a few days, I had her reread the module before she took her test. For the first time ever, she failed a science test. I think a lot of it had to do with the type of test. It had a lot of matching definitions. She didn’t pay enough attention and ended up making silly mistakes.

Luckily, the directions for the course state that the student can fix their incorrect answers for half points. Once she was more careful she only ended up missing a few questions. Her new score gave her a “C” on the test, which brought her grade for the module to a “B”.

She wasn’t too thrilled with a “B” so she approached the second module differently. She took a lot of notes and took a few days to complete the study guide while rereading the text.

Her hard work paid off! She ended up getting an “A” on the second test, and she was much happier. The course includes a lot of new vocabulary and simply reading through won’t be a possibility for her.

What We Thought

Both AJ and I are very happy with the course. She has to work a little harder to pass the tests, but she is really learning and understanding the concepts. This course lives up to the Apologia name! If you are looking for a health and nutrition course, I highly recommend this one from Apologia. Click on the graphic below to see what other members of the Homeschool Review Crew Thought.

Health and Nutrition Basic Set {Apologia Educational Ministries Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer

God Schooling ~ Review

Over the years I haven’t read very many homeschooling books. Mainly because our family dynamic wasn’t the norm. I am homeschooling an only child while living in chronic pain and we were taking care of my grandma who had Alzheimer’s. We couldn’t stick to strict schedules or really even stick to a homeschooling method. We have been eclectic homeschoolers, almost from the beginning.

When I was given the chance to review God Schooling: How God Intended Children to Learn, I was a little skeptical. Would this book fit the needs of my family? After reading the back of the book, I thought that the book, written by Julie Polanco, could be very beneficial. I have enjoyed reading Julie’s blog over the years, and found some of her other writing very informative. In the end, I am thankful that I was given the opportunity to review this book.

God Schooling book

Book Basics

God Schooling is available in both print and digital versions. I was given a beautifully decorated soft covered book. The book is fairly short at just163 pages long. But those pages are full of inspiration, hope, and ideas.

The book is broken into two parts. The first section is made up of two chapters. It is called Dispelling Myths. In this part Julie shares some of her homeschooling experiences. It is always humbling to see that you are not the only one who has had bad days, or who has stuck with a curriculum that wasn’t a good fit for your child, because it was expensive.

Julie Polanco Books
The second part of the book contains the remaining seven chapters. This section is called, Practice. There is a chapter devoted to kids eight and younger, another to the tweens, and the third to schooling teens.

Each chapter gives advice about what kids need to Learn, and how learning can take place even without textbooks.

The final chapters in part two focus on how to get started schooling in a more relaxed way, and how to stay organized.

After each chapter there are a few questions for you to answer. The questions help you to apply the information in the chapter to your own situation.

God Schooling

As the title suggests, there is a high priority on what God wants for your school. There is a focus on prayer and not comparing your child to their public school counterparts.

Julie’s ideas are like a loosely based unschooling method. I don’t necessarily agree with every statement she makes, but overall I agree with her approach. I don’t think that text books are the only option for learning, and I agree that kids can learn so much from playing and exploring.

What I Thought

The book is well written and enjoyable to read. The tone is conversational and you feel as though you are just chatting with a friend about homeschooling. The ideas in the book are very useful. I only skimmed through the chapters about younger kids and tweens, because AJ is in high school. Even so, the sections had great ideas, especially when it came to reading and math for the younger years.

I really enjoyed the section for teens! It gave advice about getting into college, and ways to pay for it. But it also talked about the fact that college isn’t for everyone. The section gave advice for transcripts and what you need to cover. Overall it covered how to keep your schooling decisions on what God has planned for your family.

The book is full of encouragement! It would be a perfect book for first time homescholers to read. It would also be a great read for moms who are discouraged or looking for a way to make their homeschooling day more productive. Honestly, if you are a Christian homeschooler then this book would make a great addition to your book shelf.

 

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

God Schooling: How God Intended Children to Learn {Julie Polanco 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

Classical Composition Sets ~ Review

Writing is a subject that AJ struggles with. We have tried quite a few different writing programs over the years, and while her writing has improved, she still struggles. I recently learned about a writing program from Memoria Press and I thought it would be a good fit for AJ. We were sent the first two levels of their program, Classical Composition I: Fable Set and Classical Composition II: Narrative Set.

Both Sets

The sets each include a Teacher Guide and a Student Guide that are both soft covered and spiral bound. They also include a set of DVDs that has a teacher who teaches the lessons to your student. Each set is color coded so it is simple to see which books and DVD set go together.

The program is designed for students in grades 4-12. Everyone who uses the program starts with the Fable level. Depending on the grade level your student is in when they start, they should complete either one or two books in a school year. We were given a set of lesson plans to follow so that AJ could finish the first two levels in one school year.

The Fable Level

Classical Composition I: Fable Set

In the Fable level there are 20 lessons. Each lesson is broken down into 8 parts.

The Fable

In this part of the lesson the student reads the fable and goes over any difficult vocabulary. Then they give examples of Recognition, Reversal, and Suffering in the fable. Each of those plot components are explained to the student in the beginning of the book, and on the DVD.

Variations Part I

This section has the student list synonyms for some of the words in the fable. Then they have to rewrite sentences changing either the word choice, word order, or both.

Outline

The student creates an outline that summarizes the fable.

Narration

The student narrates the fable either verbally or in writing with out looking at the fable or their outline.

Paraphrase I

In this section the student rewrites the fable and makes changes according to the directions. They may need to describe a character in more detail, or describe the setting. Each fable they will have a little different instructions.

Paraphrase II

This section has the student paraphrase the story again. But this time they change the sequence of events.

Variations II

The students do the same exercise from variations I, but they use two new sentences.

Final Draft

The students pick either of the paraphrases that they wrote and they correct them and write a final draft.

Narrative Set

Classical Composition II: Narrative Set

This set is set up very similarly to the fable set. It also has 20 lessons that are broken into 8 steps. The main difference between the two is that the students are looking for 9 components in each narrative instead of three. Each of the other sections has the student doing the same type of exercise as the fable level.

The Teacher Guides

The Teacher Guides are extremely helpful. They give step by step instructions, vocabulary definitions, and completed student pages. They have everything you need if you want to teach the lessons without the DVD or if your student isn’t understanding something.

The DVD Lessons

With the DVD you don’t need to teach. The teacher on the DVD reads the selection to your student, explains vocabulary, and tells them what they need to do. They just pop the DVD in and follow the directions. This was very helpful for AJ. She didn’t need to wait for me and the teacher was interesting to watch. She was able to work more independently with the DVD. The only thing I didn’t like was that when she went back on the third or fourth day, she would have to fast forward to be at the correct place on the DVD. I wish that there was a separate part on the menu for each section of the lesson, not just each lesson. But it was something that we just made work.

How We Used It

Some days AJ would use the program independently and other times I would sit and watch it with her. Aside from the paraphrase lessons and the final draft, each lesson section took about 20 minutes for her to finish. The others took longer depending on her attitude about writing for the day. This is something I am having her stick with for next school year. I am excited to see her improvements in writing.

What We Thought

The DVD was the perfect fit for AJ. So far she has enjoyed this program. The lessons are short but meaningful, and she is learning different writing techniques. We have tried a few products from Memoria Press in the past. Some have been a hit and others were not a good fit for us because we are not classical homeschoolers. But this seems like a great fit. AJ is engaged, and producing a better quality of writing.

If you want to improve your student’s writing, check out the Classical Composition Sets! See what other members of the Homeschool Review Crew thought by clicking the graphic below.

New American Cursive & Traditional Logic {Memoria Press Reviews}
 

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