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}
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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
 

 

Devotions For Young Women ~ Review

The new year will be here before we know it. One thing that I try to do each year is find a new devotional for AJ to work through. She doesn’t always finish on time, because sometimes other products come up. But I like to have something new for her to work through under the tree. It can be hard to find products that are good for her age. She is past the little girl devotions, but usually doesn’t find the adult ones interesting. I look for something that is short and to the point and geared for teens.

This year we were given the chance to review a new devotional from ZondervanWe have tried various products from them in the past, and have never been disappointed. We were blessed with a copy of Beloved: 365 Devotions for Young Women. I was sure that AJ would love this new devotional, and she did!

Beloved: 365 Devotions for Young Women

About Beloved

Beloved: 365 Devotions for Young Women is written by Lindsay A. Franklin. This devotional is beautiful hard covered book that is well made. The floral design that is on the front cover is carried over to each page of the book. The maroon, purple, and pink color scheme give it a girly theme. It is about 370 pages long with a devotion for each day of the year. The devotions are numbered, not dated so it is simple to start whenever you want. And if you skip a day, you won’t feel like you need to catch up. There is an attached ribbon that is used as a book mark to help you keep your place.

This devotion focuses on the different women in the Bible. It includes women like; Mary, Ruth, Deborah, Anna, and Ester – along with many others. It focuses on Proverbs 31 along with many other verses in the Bible that are often overlooked in other devotions. You will cover various verses from Genesis to Ester in the first 312 days. The remaining the days you will spend time studying verses from the New Testament.

What A Day Looks Like

Each day you begin by reading a verse or verses from the Bible that is written at the top of the page. The verses are in NIV format, so if you prefer another version you will need to find the verse in your own Bible. Then You read a few paragraphs about verse. At the end there is a question on most days. It might be about the verse, about yourself, or even about how you can apply something to your life.  Sometimes it is just a place to reflect on the verse. On the bottom of the page there is a few lines for you to write your answer.

Reading and answering the question will take less than 15 minutes a day, prayer time not included. The devotions are short and to the point, but they are well written and make you think.

How We Used It

Since it is Christmas time, AJ and I have been reading some of the devotions towards the back of the book. We started on day 313 with Luke 1:5-7. In this verse we were introduced to Elizabeth and Zachariah’s story and how they had not been blessed with a child. The devotion was about trusting God and his timing. It happened to be a verse that I needed to be reminded of.

Beloved: 365 Devotions for Young Women
We continued reading through some of the devotions that focused on the book of Luke. We normally read through the book of Luke around Christmas, but this has been a different experience. It has been neat to read the same verses but to have more to take away from the story – as if the story wasn’t amazing enough. We see a big emphasis on trusting God, being different, and family. It has also been nice to look at the Bible from a woman’s perspective.

I also read through a few other various devotions to see what they were like. One talked about how God used women in biblical times, and how he uses them now as well. Another talked about how God’s power was bigger than giants. But this wasn’t referring to David and Goliath. It was referring to a verse in Judges where Jael won Israel’s war. I have read through the Bible numerous times, but I didn’t remember that story.

You are introduced to over 60 women throughout this study.

What We Thought

I figured AJ would enjoy it. She has another devotion by the same author called, Adored 365 Devotions For Young Women. She enjoys it as well. The author has a way of writing that is perfect for young women. It is funny at times, interesting, and she makes you think of things differently.

If you are looking for a great devotional for a young woman in your life, I highly recommend, Beloved: 365 Devotions for Young Women.  It would make a great gift.

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

Beloved: 365 Devotions for Young Women {Zondervan Review}
Crew Disclaimer

Balancing Diapers and Deadlines ~ Review

I have been blogging for quite a while. When I look back at the first few posts, it is easy to see that I have come a long way. In the beginning, blogging was a way to keep track of some of the projects that AJ did for school. It was also a place for me to share about my then new food intolerance and how I was dealing with it. It started off as a hobby, but grew into something more. Now I make a little bit of money from sponsored posts, affiliate links, and a few other things. But it also costs me money to maintain my blog. I have to pay for hosting and for my domain.

Now I need to think of my blog as more of a business and less of a hobby. But that can be difficult! It can be hard to find time to work on a business while homeschooling and taking care of my family. I have signed up for a few different courses in the past that claimed they could help me manage my business and my home, but they were not really effective. They were just not a good fit for my situation. But I knew that something needed to change. Lately I just haven’t been able to find the time to blog with everything else going on in my life. I was quite excited to have the chance to try out Balancing Diapers and Deadlines from Lisa Tanner Writing. I hoped that it would be different from other courses that I had tried in the past, and it was!

Lisa Tanner Writing

What is Balancing Diapers and Deadlines

Don’t let the name of the course fool you. This course is not all about dealing with young kids while running a business. There is a section that focuses on younger kids, but there is also a section that focuses on running a business while having older kids at home. What is great about this course is that you can take away what you need and skip the section or sections that do not apply to you.

This is an online course. Once you are registered and have paid for the course you select a user name and password and are able to access the course from any device that has internet access. The lessons are text based and load very quickly. They are written in a friendly tone and are simple to understand. There are eight units in the course.

Balancing Diapers and Deadlines

The Units

  1. Welcome to Balancing Diapers and Deadlines – This unit doesn’t have any lessons. It includes some background information about the author and explains what to expect in the course.
  2. Building Your Foundation with the Basics – This unit was one of my favorites. It talks about getting your family on-board with your business, flexible routines, and making plans for the days.
  3. Minimize Your Decisions – This unit is mostly about keeping your home in order so that you can have more time to spend with your family and on your business. There are a lot of helpful tips!
  4. Minimize Your Decisions: The Annual Meal Plan – This unit sets you up with ideas for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, and shopping lists. Around here lunch is one of the hardest parts of the day. It was nice to see a meal plan that had lunch ideas!
  5. Sustainable Growth ~ This is a unit about taking care of yourself. You can’t take care of a family and run a business without taking care of yourself. There is a lot of practical advice in this unit!
  6. Growing a Business with Your Kids Around ~ This unit breaks up kids into different age groups and gives advice on how to manage the kids needs and the needs of your business. It also has advice about kids with special needs. A few of these lessons didn’t apply to me because AJ is a teenager, but I still got a lot out of the course.
  7. Boost Your Productivity ~ This unit goes over ways that can make you more productive. From ways to start your day off better to improving your typing speed, there is a lot of great information.
  8. Closing Thoughts ~ This wraps the course up with some additional information and resources.

How to Use the Course

For each lesson there is an action plan. Sometimes they are simple like talking to your family about the goal of your business. While other times the action plan may be something more time consuming, like coming up with lunch ideas that your family enjoys to add to your menu plan. Once you complete the action plan, you can mark the lesson complete. The course keeps track of where you left off. But you can go back and reread any of the lessons as needed.

I decided to read through the course without doing the action plans first. I wanted to get a good overview of the course. Now I am going through it again. This time I am doing the action steps that apply to me. I found a lot of useful information in this course.

What I Thought

I was pleasantly surprised by the content in this course. In fact, because of some of the tips I have learned I decided to sign up as a speaker for an online conference. It is something that will hopefully take my blog to the next level, and something I wouldn’t have done in the past. It is a new adventure. I felt encouraged by the course that I could spend time growing my business, and I think you will too!

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

Balancing Diapers and Deadlines {Lisa Tanner Writing 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}
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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}
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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}
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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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