Imagine The Great Flood ~ Book Review

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

About the Book

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

IMAGINE... The Great Flood

About the Story

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

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

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

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

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

Imagine. . .The Great Flood ~ What We Thought

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

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

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

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

Crew Disclaimer

Unauthorized ~ A Game Review

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

What is Unauthorized?

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

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

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

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

Game Play

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

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

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

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

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

How We Played

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

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

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

What We Thought

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

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

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

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

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

Unauthorized {Chara Games Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer
 

Marine Biology ~ Review

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

Marine Biology 2nd Edition Advantage Set

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

About the Textbook

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

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

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

What Does a Marine Biology Lesson Look Like?

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

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

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

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

About the Marine Biology Student Notebook

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

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

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

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

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

Solutions and Tests Manual

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

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

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

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

 

Marine Biology 2nd Edition Audio CD

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

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

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

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

What We Thought about Marine Biology

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

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

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

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

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

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

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}
Crew Disclaimer

No-Nonsense Algebra ~ Review

AJ completed Algebra 1 last year. She passed it with an A and really enjoyed it. She is lucky, because math comes easy to her. Once she learns a new concept she can usually work out any similar problem easily. This year she is taking Geometry. There are some algebraic skills required, but just basic ones. (So far.) I don’t want her to forget the harder algebraic skills while she is working with angles and proofs. My plan for this year was to have AJ work on algebraic skills once a week to keep the concepts sharp. So when we were given the chance to review No-Nonsense Algebra from Math Essentials, I thought it would be perfect.

Math Essentials

What is No-Nonsense Algebra?

No-Nonsense Algebra
No-Nonsense Algebra is a soft covered math book with online video lessons. The book is 275 pages long. It includes: the solutions to all of the exercise problems, helpful charts, a glossary, and a final review. The book is broken up into ten chapters.

They are:

  1. Necessary Tools for Algebra (22 lessons)
  2. Solving Equations (9 lessons)
  3. Graphing and Analyzing Linear Equations (6 lessons)
  4. Solving and Graphing Inequalities (7 lessons)
  5. Systems of Linear Equations and Inequalities (4 lessons)
  6. Polynomials (13 lessons)
  7. Rational Expressions (10 lessons)
  8. Radical Expressions and Geometry (10 lessons)
  9. Quadratic Equations (6 lessons)
  10. Algebra Word Problems (8 lessons)

What Does a Lesson Look Like?

The pages in the book are simple and not cluttered, so the student won’t get distracted. Lessons in the beginning chapters take up a single page, where lessons further in the book take up two pages. Each lesson follows the same format. They are broken up into four parts.

Introduction – This is the main part of the lesson. It includes basic information about the concept and helpful hints to make solving problems easier. After reading this section you should have a good idea about how to solve the assigned problems.

Examples – In this section one or more problems are worked out. Each step is shown and there are helpful notes when needed to visually show the student how to solve the problems.

Exercises – These are the problems that the student will work out. Each lesson varies on how many questions it has, but I have not seen any with more than 20. The student will need to copy the problems onto a separate paper to work them out. It might be a good idea to use a composition book or spiral notebook to keep all of their math work in one place.

Review – At the end of each lesson (except for lesson 1) there will be 4 review problems for the student to solve. The problems will use concepts that were taught in previous lessons.

Online Lessons

There is a video lesson online for each lesson in the book. Before the student completes the problems they can watch the video lesson for more explanation. The video lessons are taught by Richard W. Fisher. He is an award winning teacher who explains topics very well. He works out each problem and explains why he is doing each step.

No-Nonsense Algebra includes a book and online lessons!

 

No-Nonsense Algebra includes a book and online lessons!

Your student will need to create an online account using a code in the book to access the video lessons. Once they have an account they can watch the videos in any order and as many times as they want.

No-Nonsense Algebra includes a book and online lessons!The videos are not very fancy. They are simply Mr. Fisher working out the problems while explaining them. He uses problems that are different than the book so the student gets additional examples of how to solve problems using the concept taught in the lesson.  He is nice to listen to, easy to understand. and talks at a good pace.

The book combined with the videos will help your students learn the basics of Algebra!

How We Used No-Nonsense Algebra

Since AJ has already completed Algebra 1 I wasn’t going to make her start at the beginning of this book. A few times a week I would have her pick a lesson from chapters 6 – 10. I would have her watch the video. I had her pause the video after he gave the problem and had AJ see if she could get the correct answer. Then she would watch the teacher work it out.

If she answered all of the questions correctly then she was done with the lesson. If she missed any, then I had her do the last 4 problems from the exercise section. Most math books have the problems get progressively harder, so I had her do the ones at the end to make sure she remembered the concept. Then we checked the solutions. So far she has answered the problems correctly. If she gets them wrong though, I will have her watch the video again and then do the entire set of problems.

I think this is a great way to review concepts.

What We Thought About No-Nonsense Algebra

I think that it is a great program. I like that the student can use it however they want. They can just read the lesson and go on to the problems, or they can watch the video first. I think that the detailed examples in the book and in the video will help the student understand the algebraic concepts.

The book starts off with the basics. I think this will benefit students who are afraid of algebra. They will be able to solidify skills that they learned in earlier math levels.

This is a solid program, but I don’t know if it would be considered a full Algebra 1 course. Requirements  in each state is different. I think it is a little short on lessons, but you could easily supplement a few things to make it a full course. Honestly, the videos by themselves are reason enough to buy the program.

If you need an inexpensive math program that comes with teacher taught videos, then this product is for you! They also offer other math books that you can check out.

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

No-Nonsense Algebra {Math Essentials Reviews}
 

Crew Disclaimer

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}
Crew Disclaimer

Quik-Sculpting Kit ~ Review

I don’t know about you, but I am not the crafty mom. When AJ was younger I tried. But most of my attempts ended up a waste of time. I need projects that are easy to do and come with simple instructions. We have yet to make a paper mache model of the earth or to finish our castle out of sugar cubes. When I heard about ACTÍVA Products I was determined that AJ and I would be able to create something fun.

ACTÍVA Products
We were given their Rigid Wrap and CelluClay Quik-Sculpting Kit and had access to a free eBook, ACTÍVA Products’ Favorite Sculpture KIDS CRAFTS. The eBook is available to anyone who signs up for the ACTÍVA newsletter. It has quite a few ideas so you should check it out if you are looking for sculpting craft ideas.

What Was in the Box?

Rigid Wrap and CelluClay Quik-Sculpting Kit
The Rigid Wrap and CelluClay Quik-Sculpting Kit had two rigid wrap plaster cloth packages. Each one had plaster cloth that was four inches wide and five yards long. The plaster cloth is wrapped up tightly and resembles the plaster that the doctor uses to wrap a broken bone. The plaster cloth is easy to cut to your desired size, simple to mold, and dries quickly.

Using the Quik-Sculpting Kit from Activa makes crafts quick and simple!

Along with the plaster cloth there was also an eight ounce bag of CelluClay. It is instant paper mache. The projects that we have completed didn’t call for the CelluClay, and there are no directions on how to use it in the box that we received. From my understanding, you just add water to it and sculpt, but it would be great to know how much water!

The last thing in the box was two pages of project ideas and instructions for the rigid wrap. I was a little disappointed with the project sheet because of the way it was printed. The printing was poor quality. It looks like the paper was put in wrong and caused part of the writing to be off of the page and other parts to be difficult to read. I was very thankful that they offered the free eBook. It gave vivid pictures, and easy to read instructions.

Our Original Plans

Our plan was to try out a bunch of project ideas. Unfortunately, right before I received the kit I found out I was having two surgeries. Crafts got pushed to the back burner while I got ready for the surgeries and while I spent a week in the hospital. By the time I was physically able to do a craft project, I didn’t think I would have time to finish one. But thanks to the fact that the plaster cloth is easy to use and dries fast, I was able to complete one. I plan to have AJ do a few more now that I know how easy it is to use!

I think that she will be making a few Christmas presents using this kit. She really likes the bowl with peppermint candy on it.

My Project

I wanted something quick and easy, so I picked the butterfly. The directions said to cut the template out of the box that everything came in, but I wanted to keep the box. I drew a butterfly on a piece of paper and then copied it onto a piece of cardboard. Then I cut it out. (I later found out that there was a template in the free eBook, but I think mine came out ok.)

Using the Quik-Sculpting Kit from Activa makes crafts quick and simple!

The next step was to cut out strips of the rigid wrap plaster cloth. The directions didn’t say how many to cut. I covered the butterfly with the dry strips and then cut about ten more to make sure I had enough.

Using the Quik-Sculpting Kit from Activa makes crafts quick and simple!

Then I filled a bowl with warm water. I dipped the rigid wrap plaster cloth into the water and then placed it on the cardboard. I made sure to cover it all and to cover the sides. If I was to do this project again, I would have done the back as well, but I didn’t this time.

Using the Quik-Sculpting Kit from Activa makes crafts quick and simple!

I was going to just let the project sit and dry because it says it dries in 30 minutes. But I decided to see how microwaving it worked. I was amazed that you could put the rigid wrap plaster cloth project in the oven or microwave to speed up the drying time!

Using the Quik-Sculpting Kit from Activa makes crafts quick and simple!

Once it was dry, I added more pieces of the rigid wrap plaster cloth. I molded some of them to make a 3-D effect. I created the body of the butterfly and some spots on the wings. It was easy to do. I let it dry in the microwave again.

Using the Quik-Sculpting Kit from Activa makes crafts quick and simple!

Then I gathered the materials I wanted to use to embellish the butterfly.

Using the Quik-Sculpting Kit from Activa makes crafts quick and simple!

I painted it, added glitter, added an antenna, and glued on some eyes. Then I let it sit so that the paint would dry.

Using the Quik-Sculpting Kit from Activa makes crafts quick and simple!

What I Thought

I was very happy with the outcome of my project. The entire thing was finished in less than two hours. That includes the time it took for the paint to dry! I would make some changes if I did the same project in the future, but the changes would be minor. I would smooth out the cloth a little more to make it easier to paint, and I would have made the wings in a flapping motion instead of flat.

The rigid wrap plaster cloth was very easy to use. I could cut it to any size that I wanted. I liked that all I had to do was dip it in water and then place it on the project. There was a little bit of a mess so I would have AJ use it outside, but I have her do most craft projects outside.

I wish that there would have been instructions for the CelluClay. I think I will just play around with the clay to water ratio and see how it works.

We will continue to use the rigid wrap plaster cloth for projects in the future. If this non crafty mom can enjoy making a project with the Quick-Sculpting Kit, then it should be fool proof! The kit would be great for numerous school projects and for crafts. The best part is that the kit is very affordable. I highly recommend the Quik-Sculpting Kit.

See what other members of the Homeschool Review Crew thought and the projects that they created by clicking on the graphic below.

Rigid Wrap and CelluClay Quik-Sculpting Kit {ACTÍVA Products Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer

Trust Fund Movie ~ Review

Since my foot is still not healing, there are not very many activities that AJ and I can do together for fun. One activity that we are able to do is watch TV. We were recently given the chance to watch a great movie from  Mapelle Films called, Trust Fund. We were also given the book, Love Was Near. The book is designed to be read after you watch the movie. I thought that they would make a fun family time activity for us. I was right!

Mapelle Films - Great movies

About Trust Fund

Trust Fund is a modern day adaptation of the Prodigal Son story from the Bible. The movie stars Jessica Rothe as Reese. Reese’s life is great until one day her mother tragically dies. Reese and her mother were very close and becoming close with her dad was difficult. They were both mourning the loss of her mother so even though she loved her father, they were not as close.

Reese was an aspiring writer. She didn’t want to go to college, but agreed with her dad to try it for a year. Her dad was fully supporting her, but she was not living within her means. She was quickly realizing that being an adult was a lot harder than it looked.

A modern day version of the prodigal son ,

She was lucky enough to find a publisher for the book she was writing. Having her own money from the advance made her want to become more independent. Her dad didn’t know that she spent all of the money she had received from the advance (and then some.) To encourage his daughter’s writing, he paid for her to go to a writing seminar in Europe. But she didn’t spend very much time writing. She met a guy and “fell in love.” And spent the time she should have been writing, seeing Europe on the back of a motorcycle. Reese wanted to stay in Europe with her new boyfriend, but her dad would not let her. She reluctantly returned home.

By accident, Reese saw some papers on her father’s desk. They showed that her mother had left a trust fund for Reese and her sister. Reese was angry! She thought her father was keeping her money from her. That he was being mean. She did the unthinkable. She took money from her father’s business and lest to Europe. Things there weren’t what she had thought and herd boyfriend ward not who he had said he was.

When Reese’s sister discovered what Reese had done, she wanted their dad to call the police, but he didn’t.

You will need too watch the movie to see what happens. It is a very touching movie about a father’s love.

About the Book – Love Was Near

The book is written in diary form. It is in Reese’s point of view. It shows why she did the things that she did. I really like that she didn’t make up a bunch of excuses. She admits that she made mistakes and even tells why she thought it was OK to do the wrong things in the heat of the moment.

A book to go along with Trust Fund

The book is gull of inspirational scriptures that focus on some of the issues that Reese struggled with in the book and movie. There are also numerous places in the book where you can write in it. Questions include things like, which action was worse, spending all of the money without finishing the book or telling a lie to her father. There are a lot of places where the reader is asked to give their opinion or tell what they would have done in the same situation.

While the book is designed to be used after watching the movie, I feel it would also be a great book for a teenage girl to read and work through on its own.

How We Used Trust Fund and Love Was Near

AJ and I watched the movie together. She thought the movie was good but thought that Reese made some bad decisions. I read through the book in about an hour. I really enjoyed it but decided not to have AJ read it at this time. It talks a lot about relationships with your father, and since she doesn’t have a dad I thought it wasn’t the right book for her at this time.

What We Thought

We both enjoyed the movie. The story line was good, it moved at a nice pace, and the acting was well done. There are some scenes that parents might find inappropriate for younger kids, but I think it would be fine for kids aged 10 and up. Of course use your discretion. The movie doesn’t follow the story in the average cookie cutter way. Instead there are twists and turns to keep you interested. Overall Trust Fund is a good movie with a great message!

The book was great. If AJ’s situation was different she would have read it. It discusses relationships and bad decisions. I would say the appropriate age would vary depending on your child’s maturity level. It encourages them to think through some difficult situations. I appreciate that there are scripture verses sprinkled throughout the book to help your child grow closer to God. I think the journal like feel of the book will keep teens interested in the book.

If you are looking for a great movie, then Trust Fund may be exactly what you are looking for! Love Was Near is a fun book to help you dig deeper into the themes of the movie. Together they make a great pair.

Mapelle Films has also designed a download study guide to help small groups dig deeper into the themes of the movie. So if you are looking for a good movie to watch with the family, or if you are looking for a product to discuss, Trust Fund will fit the bill!

Click on the graphic below to see what other members of the Home School Review Crew thought!

Disclaimer

 

The New Testament Activity-Pak ~ Review

*Read to the bottom to get a code for a free project from Home School in the Woods!*

We love using the hands on approach to learning, especially when it comes to subjects like history. We have used quite a few products from Home School in the Woods in the past, and have never been disappointed. So when AJ and I were given the chance to try out one of their Activity-Paks we were excited. There are a few different products available including; The Old Testament, The New Testament, Composers, Artists, and a new product Make-a-State Activity.

Home School in the Woods
We had the opportunity to review The New Testament Activity-Pak.

What is The New Testament Activity-Pak?

Hands-on History Activity-Pak: The New Testament
The New Testament Activity-Pac is a great way for your child to get an overview of the people and events of the New Testament. It includes a lapbook with 15 mini books for your child to create. Each one is a little different. Your child will learn about the lineage of Jesus, the miracles that he preformed, the prophecies he fulfilled, and more. They will also learn about each of his disciples and the places that Paul wrote to.

The study also includes The Armor of God activity. In this activity your child will learn all of the parts of the Armor of God that they should put on each day. You can glue a picture of your child on the page. Then after learning about all of the parts of the Armor of God, like the shield of faith, your child can symbolically put the armor on each day, as they put the armor on their picture. This is a great visual for younger kids to understand more about the Armor of God.

Hands-on History Activity-Pak: The New Testament
The final part of the study is the New Testament News. This is a news paper that your child fills out based on the events that took place in the New Testament. There are a few different ways to make the news paper. If you are crafty, you can make it look like a scroll from that time period, or you can simply make it like a regular newspaper. I love that there are options. The news paper has story headings and ads placed to help your child create their news paper.

How We Used The New Testament Activity-Pak

The Activity-Paks are recommended for kids in grades 3 through 8. AJ is just outside of this range as she just started 9th grade. Our goal was to use this Activity-Pak as a jumping off point for a year long study of the New Testament. This is not how it is designed to be used. Your student should be able to complete the study in about a month depending on the pace you go. There are not really any directions or a set schedule to follow. That is one thing that I love about Home School in the Woods, you can use the materials however they fit your family.

AJ started with the lapbook. She started with the Lineage from David to Jesus. I had expected her to have to look something up, but she didn’t. All she had to do was cut out the booklet and glue it into the lapbook. I decided she needed to do more than that. So I had her look up each verse that was listed that showed the lineage. There were quite a few verses. But I think having her look them up in her own Bible cements the facts better.

Then she worked on the Prophesies Fulfilled mini book. This had her cut out pages that had lists of Old Testament Prophesies and where they were found in the Old Testament. Then It had the verses in the New Testament where Jesus fulfilled the prophesies. There were text boxes with each verse written out that AJ had to cut out and match to the correct prophesies. This was one of AJ’s favorite mini books. As she was doing it, she looked up each verse in her Bible and then glued the verse that matched into the booklet.

She thought the Armor of God project was a little babyish, so she looked everything up and glued the pieces to the paper. Then instead of hanging it in her room, she just put it in her folder.

She also worked on the newspaper. She added a few articles to it and drew a few adds.

What We Thought About The New Testament Activity-Pak

Honestly, we were a little disappointed with the New Testament study. The products we have used in the past, like the US Election Lap-Pak, had more detailed instructions. There is not any text included, because you can use your own Bible, but I did expect some instruction. The news paper doesn’t give you details as to where to find the information to write the article. You are given an article headline and then have to look and find where in the New Testament the event took place. I think that simply adding the chapter where the child could read about the event would be extremely helpful.

The lapbook pieces include a lot of coloring and cutting, but they don’t really promote learning. None of the ones that AJ has completed required her to write anything. They have all of the answers available and just need to cut and paste. I understand that this is great for a third grader, but it isn’t as great for a seventh or eighth grader. I wish that there were at least a few booklets that had blank options available so that older students could write some of the information. That is one thing that I really appreciated with the US Election Lap-Pak.

This particular product was not a great fit for our family. But if you are looking for a simple supplement to your current Bible study this would be perfect. It would also be great for students who like Lapbooks but don’t enjoy writing. AJ did learn a lot from this study, and I plan to have her finish it, it just wasn’t as good as the other products that we have used from Home School in the Woods in the past.

Other Products from Home School in the Woods

Home School in the Woods offers numerous hands on history products that make teaching history fun. AJ loved their Middle Ages Study. If you are looking for a hands on approach to history you might want to try out one of their other product lines including; Time Traveler American, Lap-Paks, or their Timeline Trio. We plan to try out more products from Home School in the Woods in the future!

Home School in the Woods has also recently announced something NEW! They will be selling some of their products alacarte. You will be able to purchase individual items that are normally found in packages. There are quite a few learning games and time line pages available. To kick off this new idea, they are giving away a free Erie Canal project. Just use the code alacarte at checkout.

Click on the graphic below to see what other members of the Homeschool Review Crew thought about a variety of products from Home School in the Woods.

Hands-on History {Home School in the Woods Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer

Lightning Literature ~ Review

Finding a literature curriculum for AJ wasn’t easy. Most of the programs that I looked at wanted her to read ten or twelve books for the course. While that may be a good fit for some students, it isn’t a good fit for AJ. AJ is a reluctant reader who is a little bit below grade level in reading comprehension. She can usually read and understand any book that I assign her, but it takes her a little longer and she may need to read a section a few times to completely grasp it.

When I was about to give up and make my own literature program, I was blessed with an amazing review. We were given the opportunity to review the American Mid-Late 19th Century Lightning Literature book from Hewitt Homeschooling.  It looked exactly like what we needed.

Lightning Literature A High School Literature Course

American Literature: Mid-Late 19th Century

This is a high school literature and composition course. It is designed for students who are new to Lightning Literature. It can be used by a student at any level in high school.

The course is designed to last for one semester, but it can be used for a full year long course if you add in your own grammar program.

The main part of the course is the student guide. The student guide is a 170 page soft covered book. It is written by Elizabeth Kamath. The book starts with an introduction and is then broken into four units. The end of the book has discussion questions, additional reading lists, project ideas, and a course schedule.

Introduction

The course introduction does much more than explain how to use the course. It is full of information on how to properly read and write both poetry and prose. It has basic writing guidelines and is a good place for the student to reference throughout the year.

Unit 1

In this unit your student will read Uncle Tom’s Cabin. The literary lesson will focus on theme. Your student will also read selections from the poem, Leaves of Grass. They will learn about sound and imagery in poetry.

Unit 2

This unit has your student learning about humor while reading Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. They will also read a short story, “The Outcast of Poker Flat.” While reading the short story they will learn about local color.

Unit 3

Your student will learn about register (or tone as I was taught) while reading a selection of poetry written by Paul Laurence Dunbar. They will also read through The Red Badge of Courage while learning about description.

Unit 4

The final unit teaches your student about figurative language while they read through poems written by Emily Dickson. They will also study point of view while reading through The call of the wild.

All of the poetry and short stories are included in the Student Guide. You will need to purchase the four novels separately.

How each Unit is Set Up

Each unit begins with an introduction. It includes a short biography about the author and a little bit of information about the selection your student will read. It includes things for the student to think about while they read.

There are comprehension questions for the student to answer as they read. The questions are fairly easy and most of the answers can be found directly in the text. Some questions do require the student to think critically about the selection.

Lightning Literature A High School Literature Course

The student then reads through the literary lesson. In this section the author explains concepts while using examples from the reading selection. The lessons are very well written and self explanatory. I was impressed that after reading through the lesson, AJ was able to understand how the setting of a story can affect the theme.

The final assignment after each reading selection is the writing exercise. The student is given a choice of five or more writing assignments. There is a variety of options including; opinion papers, compare and contrast papers, augmentative papers, short stories, poems, and more. For each novel the student completes two of the writing exercises. They complete one exercise after poems or short stories.

Lightning Literature A High School Literature Course

I also received a teacher guide. It included additional information about the course and scheduling. The main perk of the teacher guide was that it included all of the answers to the comprehension questions.

How We Used American Mid-Late 19th Century

Since AJ struggles with literature, we decided to follow the full year plan. We added in a grammar program and followed the schedule in the back of the book. Most weeks it had her reading five chapters in the book and answering the comprehension questions.

Uncle Tom’s Cabin is a very long book, so we were not scheduled to get to the literary lesson or writing assignments during the review period. I wanted to provide a full review, so I had AJ read through the literary lesson on theme for Uncle Tom’s Cabin. She hasn’t completed a writing assignment yet, but she thinks that they look interesting. Right now she thinks she will answer the following question.

Write a paper focusing on any character other than Tom in Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Discuss the ways Stowe used that character as an argument against slavery.

The year long schedule gives her a week to write and revise each paper.

Lightning Literature A High School Literature Course

What We Thought About American Mid-Late 19th Century

American Mid-Late 19th Century is the literature and composition course that is perfect for AJ. It would be too much for her to complete two student guides in a year, but one guide is very doable. This option is a huge selling point for me! The novels, poems, and short stories offer a good amount of variety. We both enjoy that there isn’t any busy work. The student reads and writes quality material that is related to the lesson.

I like that she is challenged to write in so many different ways, and that she is given enough time to do a good job on her writing. I do wish that there was a bit more writing instruction in the book. The introduction is great, but there are some writing types that it doesn’t cover. That is our only complaint about the program.

I feel the lessons about poetry will really help AJ to finally grasp some of the difficult concepts. Poetry can be difficult to teach, but I think this will make it possible.

If you are looking for a literature and composition course that is flexible, free of busy work, and cost effective, then the American Mid-Late 19th Century Lightning Literature may be exactly what you are looking for. Click on the graphic below to find out what other members of the Homeschool Review Crew thought about Hewitt Homeschooling.

Hewitt Homeschooling {Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer