Category Archives: Review Curriculums

It’s NOT Greek To Me! Review

I grew up hearing people say “It’s Greek to me“, meaning they didn’t understand what was being said.  The message I got was that “it” was confusing, and also I learned “it” was probably not worth the trouble to learn.  This put a notion in my mind that many subjects, including the Greek language, was too hard to learn.  I have always wondered if this was true.

Ready to Teach logo

Though I had my previous doubts, I am excited to say we are learning GREEK!   We were recently sent Greek Morphemes Lessons (It’s NOT Greek To Me!) by Ready To Teach for review.

I am so thankful that through working with the Schoolhouse Review Crew, I have been pushed outside of my comfort zone and have had the opportunity to review many great subjects and curriculums that I would have previously doubted I could learn or be able to teach my kids.

Greek Morphenes Lessons

Greek Morphemes Lessons
(It’s NOT Greek To Me!)

Expanding English Vocabulary with Greek Morpheme Analysis
Instructional Set includes:
• 1 Instructors Manual
• 1 CD and a thumb drive
• 1 Student Workbook
Retails for $69.95
Additional Student Workbooks available for $9.95

collection

This is a vocabulary learning program, for students in middle school and high school.  But it also teaches thinking skills including analysis, synthesis, inductive reasoning, oral presentation, dictionary usage, and reading strategies.  It is recommended to be useful for visual learners , auditory learners, and tactile/kinesthetic learners. It can be used in a parent (teacher) and student setting or in a classroom setting with multiple students.

Many of the words we speak in the English language, especially words related to science and math, come from the Greek language. By learning the morphemes (root words, prefixes, and suffixes), we can figure out just about any word just by breaking it down (work it). This course teaches you 200 Greek roots, prefixes, and suffixes for your student to work. Learning these morphemes will help them decipher thousands of words used in the English language.

In addition to the Instructor’s Manual, Student Workbook, CD, and thumb drive, you will also need a dictionary to look up words, a computer to play the PowerPoint CD or thumb drive for each lesson. You will need scissors or a way to cut apart the study flash cards, a hole punch to put a hole in them and a ring to keep them together. You might also want to laminate them to make them last longer. You may want to use a chalkboard or a whiteboard for lesson review. You may want to use an overhead projector for the transparencies if you are teaching in a classroom setting.

How we used this:

I will be honest, I was a little bit intimidated getting started.  The word “Greek” just sounds so exotic and far away.  The instructors manual is big, and looks serious, and contains a lot of words to the page.  Anytime I approach “instructions” and there is a lot to read, I feel intimidated or overwhelmed.  But, I told myself “you just have to DIG IN”!

Once we dug in, it was much easier than it first appeared.  The Instructors Manual is a large book.  It contains the lessons, answer keys, transparency masters (we didn’t use these), reviews, tests, and a few pages of study cards at the back.  There is very little instruction once you get past the first few pages, because the whole course follows a pattern.  Once you learn the strategy pattern in the beginning, you just keep repeating the same strategy through the whole course.

strategy graph

This course has 12 lessons.  The course is designed to do one lesson a week, but you can be flexible and go faster or slower if needed. The lessons are laid out nice with a strategy you can duplicate every week to master the course. All five days of the week are laid out with a simple “to do” or “assignment” for the day.

Each day’s lesson takes between 10 minutes and 30 minutes to do.  The only thing different is during the first week you will prepare the study flash cards for the whole course, all 12 lessons.  You will make cards for lessons 2-12 for future use, and then a few days later you will make the cards for lesson 1 and begin using them.  You have the option to make your own (color coded blank pages to be filled in and cut out, provided in the student book) or use pre-made ones (complete cards to be cut out in the instructor’s book).

study cards

Monday:
Powerpoint and assignment A: “work” first half of words from PowerPoint

Tuesday:
Powerpoint and assignment B: “work” second half of words from PowerPoint

Wednesday:
Check second half of words from day before and do
assignment C-1 : create context clue sentences with 8 words that you worked during the first two days.

assignment C-2 : create two new words, “work” the words, create context clue sentences with them.

Thursday:
assignment D: share how you came to your conclusions the day before with your new words.  Work the new words with synthesis and analysis. Match the words with funny definitions.

Friday:
Review and Test

MOMS (Dad’s) and kids,  YOU CAN DO THIS!

For example, here is what 1 week of learning looked like for lesson ONE.

study Greek

Day one: we reviewed the Power Point file for lesson 1.  My son wrote down the meanings of each of the morphemes as the lesson progressed.   Next he “WORKED” the word.  This means he took vocabulary words,  and broke them down into its separate parts.  Each part is a Greek morpheme (roots, prefixes, and suffixes are sound with meanings in the Greek language) and the student writes down what the possible meaning of each part is.

Day two: we went back over our worked words from the day before. Reviewed the second part of the lesson from the PowerPoint file and completed more “worked” words.

Day three: we went back over the second set of worked words from the day before.  Then reviewed the PowerPoint to learn how to write four types of context clues.  We learned 1) definition in context, 2) synonym, 3) antonyms, and 4) examples.   We used words from the lessons in sentences.  Then we used morphemes we learned to create two new words and “worked” those words.

Day four: we reviewed the work completed from the previous day. Then we made study cards (instructions are provided and these will be used for future lessons). Next we completed review exercises.

Day five: we went back over the assignments from the day before.  We also practiced using the study cards we created.  Next he took a lesson test.

I recommend this course for homeschool families. It will help your students to be able to understand the words they read and become better communicators in middle school, highschool, college, and adulthood.   If I had taken a course like this as a young person, I would have had the confidence to tackle more difficult subjects in highschool and college.  This course would definately benefit everyone.  I am ordering more student workbooks so my other sons can take this class too.

Koru Naturals Review

Be sure to check out what other homeschool families on the Schoolhouse Review Crew had to say about using Greek Morphemes Lessons (It’s NOT Greek To Me!) with their kids.

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Great Parents Academy Math Review

Looking for a math program for your kids? You might want to try GPALOVEMATH by GPALEARN (Great Parents Academy).

GPA LEARN

GPALOVEMATH is an online program for kids in grades K-5.  It can also be used as review work for students who need to refresh their skills.   It can be accessed 24/7 and it is so convenient to use it when it fits in your schedule.  It retails for $12.99 a month.  You can purchase a subscription for the whole year too, and they are currently running a sale on the one year subscription so be sure to check the web site for more information.

Learn:

Each grade level has over 10,000 practice problems.  Each grade level also contains over 150 lessons to help your children master math in a fun interactive way.  Every time the kids work on a lesson, an email with a progress report is sent to the parent.  The parent also has a dashboard within the program to review progress and establish or change goals and rewards.

There are three basic parts to each lesson: Instruction, Practice, and Quiz. Each lesson is progressive and the child cannot proceed to the next lesson unless they completed the previous lesson and have unlocked the next one. They watch an animated coach teach the lesson, then they practice the skill they learned and the coach will help them with the answers they missed during practice, and they can ask the coach for help reading the problem if needed. Then the kids take a quiz and use the skill they learned. They are not graded on the practice problems, but are graded on the quiz.  They can retake the quiz if needed.

instruction

How to use the parent dashboard (there are student videos also available):

Parent LEARN from GPA LEARN on Vimeo.

Coaches:

learn

Each grade level is also assigned their own animated coach.  The coach takes your kids through each lesson and the corresponding practice problems with a fun story-line theme that is continued throughout the grade level.  If your child switches grade levels they will have a different coach.

An option I really like within the program is that if the student places the mouse cursor over the words of the practice problems or directions, the coach will read the written material to the kids too.  Kids can choose to read their practice problems themselves, or they can read along while the coach reads the problem.  I have several kids who are independent learners and don’t need this feature, but I also have a child who has some reading challenges and this feature is great for him.  It is also great for my younger children who are not yet strong readers.  I am very thankful GPALOVEMATH has included this read along option.

Motivation:

rewards

Another great feature of GPALOVEMATH is the opportunity to earn motivational rewards for a certain amount of lessons completed. The parent decides the amount of lessons to be completed and what rewards are possibilities to be earned.  The rewards are chosen randomly by the program after the parent sets up the list and the frequency.  So for example, my younger kids earn a reward for every seven lessons completed, and my older kids earn a reward for every 15 lessons completed.  Rewards can be anything from special family outings, a meal chosen by the student, a game, inviting a friend over, a gift card to shop or out to eat, etc.  The point is the motivations are personal rewards chosen by the parent that their student is interested in achieving and creates a positive experience.

How we used this program:

We received a one year subscription for our family to use and we added this program into our daily homeschool routine.  I used this program everyday with all of my kids.  Each child spends about 20 minutes a day working on it.

4th and 5th Grade Level

Even though my oldest two boys are beyond this program already (6th and 8th grades), I had them use the 5th grade level for review.  They both really liked it and found it both challenging and fun.  I think this program provided a good review and practice of their math and problem solving skills.

Here is a short video showing the 5th grade coaches, Dino and Nina, and you can see why learning math with these Super Hero coaches would appeal kids, especially boys who have a hard time sitting still for schoolwork.

5th Grade Learning Coaches from GPA LEARN on Vimeo.

Another one of my sons started in 4th grade level, but after a dozen lessons, we moved him to the 5th grade level.   It was a personal choice because the 4th grade has several spiritual aspects mixed in with the learning theme.

The 4th grade coach is a wizard and seeks out the advice of an older wizard.  This touched a deep spiritual issue for our family. Our kids have not been exposed to sorcery themes in any form: books, games, school work, etc.  Our faith instructs us to avoid all forms of sorcery, and my son and I both felt uncomfortable listening to the owl and the story-line of the wizard as his coach.

wizard owl

Within the 4th grade theme is the use of crystal balls, magic potions, an Owl Wizard Counsel, portals, etc.   Like wizards and witches, they actually search the forest floor for ingredients for mystical potions, in this case to give them enhanced mental skills.

potion

My son was very discouraged about listening to a wizard, using a crystal ball to help solve math problems, and hunting for ingredients for magic potions.

fowl sense

A few lessons called him also a wizard and a fledgling (inferring a young owl bird, or young apprentice).  He shared his heart with me.  He was ready to stop using the program.  

Our Christian faith teaches us to avoid all things that have the appearance of sorcery:
Deuteronomy 18:14    
“Let no one be found among you who sacrifices their son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft,”

Malachi 3:5
“So I will come to put you on trial. I will be quick to testify against sorcerers, adulterers and perjurers, against those who defraud laborers of their wages, who oppress the widows and the fatherless, and deprive the foreigners among you of justice, but do not fear me,” says the Lord Almighty.”

I was coming to the same conclusions about the 4th grade materials and researching what options we had, or if we need to discontinue.  I found out we could change his grade level easily at anytime.  I am proud of him for his conviction, for his faith in action, and his spiritual awareness to recognize that even though this is a cute animation and fun way to learn math, it leads children into a familiarity with sorcery, and touches on a spiritual teaching that goes against our Christian faith.

IMG_5592

I explained we had the option of changing to a different grade level with a different coach right from his dashboard screen.  The wizard theme is only in grade 4.   Kids are able to work on lessons in any of the K-5 levels.   So I gave him the option of going down to 3rd grade for review, or going up to 5th grade. Seeing that we are almost through with his 4th grade school year, he wanted to move up and try out the next grade level.  He was quite excited to start 5th grade math.

IMG_5466

He loves the 5th grade level!  5th grade has a completely different story-line theme as I mentioned before, and he gets to be part of the Super Hero team and solve problems to help save the town from the bad guy, Dr. Division.   This fits his skills and interest level to a “T”.  I am really glad we had options and could work out a better learning scenario for him.

1st Grade Level

My daughter is working in the 1st grade level.  Her coach is an Australian Penguin. Of course she would prefer if her coach could have been a beautiful princess, but she definitely enjoys learning with PI the Penguin. Early in her lessons, PI taught her to use the STAR method to solve math problems.

star method

S = Study the problem.

T = Think about what you have learned.

A = Apply what you have learned to solve the problem.

R = Review your answers and check to see if they make sense.

IMG_5516 - Copy

She is looking forward to progressing her 1st grade math skills and getting the “girl” coach when she gets into the 2nd grade level.

2 grade

There is a girl coach named Adirehs in the second grade, and there is both a boy and a girl coach (Nina) in the 5th grade.  Her preference is definitely to have the girl coaches, and anything pink or purple.

Kindergarten Level

Another son is working in the Kindergarten level.  He loves it because he gets to help be a detective, go on a mission, and find clues as he solves math problems.  In addition to early math problems, he is also learning vocabulary (all the levels learn some vocabulary, but presented differently for each theme).  The lessons begin with a new vocabulary word for him to learn and is used throughout the lesson.

vocabulary

He loves the engaging animations and feels like he is accomplishing a big goal by helping to “solve the case” as the assistant detective.

IMG_5082 - Copy

Each time my kids log in and work on a lesson everyday.  Whether they complete the lesson or not, I get an email with an update. I know exactly how much of the lesson they did and if they watched or skipped the video or did practice problems too.  One of my older boys will skip the practice problems and go straight to the quiz. With the constant updates regarding their progress, I know where they are truly struggling or if it is just a case of not practicing.  Then we can discuss it and go back and try again.

I do like this program.  Kids can work on math in a fun interactive way. It keeps the parents informed and involved as needed. I would recommend this online learning program for grades K-3 and grade 5.  I cannot in good conscience recommend grade 4 for children because their hearts and minds are impressionable and there is a cross over with spiritual issues of sorcery mentioned above.  However the other grade levels do not have these issues and I highly recommend them.

Social Media

Be sure to follow GPALEARN on social media for all the latest news and updates.

Facebook www.facebook.com/gpalearn
Twitter www.twitter.com/gpalearn
Pinterest www.pinterest.com/gpalearn

GPA Learn Review

Be sure to check out what other families on the Schoolhouse Review Crew had to say about GPALOVEMATH.

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IndoctriNation Review

We were recently sent the IndoctriNation DVD by Great Commission Films to review in our home.

IndoctriNation

IndoctiNation
For Christian Parents, Grandparents, Teachers, Church Leaders
DVD retails $19.99
102 Minute DVD
Other versions available (book, download, English, Spanish, other languages available soon, etc) check out the web site for more information.

This film is for every Christian parent. Not every Christian parent is going to want to watch it. The scriptures, interviews, and facts presented will challenge your faith. I watched this movie with my husband. We were both quite shocked at how much has changed since we attended public school in our youth in the 1970’s – 1980’s, yet also how much has stayed the same. This movie has helped to strengthen our convictions about why we chose to homeschool. We plan to watch this movie again with our older children at a later date. There are several mature topics discussed in the movie that require pre-screening and open discussions you may need to be prepared for when sharing it with your children.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from this movie at first. The cover shows a guy driving a school bus, and the caption reads: “A family field trip exposes the shocking truth behind your child’s public school!”. Since we homeschool, and have personal convictions why we choose to do so, I wasn’t really sure if we needed to know more about the public school system. But after seeing this film, I am convinced everyone needs to see it.

I was quite pleased to see a homeschool dad of seven kids (now 8) from Texas driving the bus and leading the way to help Christian parents take back the control of their children’s education. Colin Gunn, is a homeschool dad, and a film maker. More about him is posted at the bottom of this story. He made this film to document his journey with his family riding in a yellow school bus around the country to interview country leaders, law makers, church leaders, teachers, parents, students, and many more to understand the moral decay of the American public education system.

interview

I am a Christian. I am in the minority in this country. My family and I choose to homeschool. I am thankful that I live in America and have the freedom to choose and practice my faith to be a Christian. I am able to raise my children according to my faith. However, if I were to place my children in the government ran public education system, my children would not be free to learn or practice their faith during school hours. They would be indoctrinated to believe to question and doubt their faith, and trained to accept the government’s moral or immoral values.

Though we choose to homeschool, 90% of Christian families in America choose to public school. WHY? Do they know they are making a choice? Do they believe they have a choice? The question poised by this movie to every Christian parent and Christian pastor, Christian teacher, and Christian community leader is “WHY” choose public government education for your children when it clearly goes against the very foundation of being a Christian? Why send them to gain a pagan worldview?

The scriptures clearly instruct parents to raise children in the way of the Lord. If that is true, then why do so many Christian parents put the lives of their children into the hands of the “godless government” vaccume to train them for 8 hours a day? How can you expect them to remain Christian?

The answer is complicated, but there are at least five reasons I have heard my Christian friends say why they choose public education instead of homeschool education:

One: Cultural Assimilation. Parents don’t want to be singled out as different. They want their kids to be “normal” and accepted by the main culture. They think by sending their kids to school they will be socialized by their peers and fit in. This is even more expressed by families who immigrated to this country. By sending their children to school, they believe they can become Americanized.

Two: Parents trust the government. Parents no longer play the leading role in their kids lives. They trust the government and government trained teachers to make wise decisions for the child’s education, and also for the family. However, the government’s recommendations go far beyond the classroom and are implemented in the homes (as well as after-school programs, health care centers and agendas, and local community classes) across the nation. This is a huge error to trust the government system to make these kinds of decisions. Government will make decisions based on its agenda, in every area, not based on what is best for families.

Three: Lack of an intimate support system to help raise their children in the way of the Lord. So many families feel alone and do not have a close connection to other Godly families in their local community who can support one another and help meet each other’s needs. Many churches do not understand this need and do not offer this support because most churches in America, support the idea of Public Government Education.

Four: Economics. The movie points out that families are required to pay $12,000-$13,000 a year in education taxes, regardless if they choose public school or not. Since they have already paid for it with their tax dollars, most families choose this option rather than having to come up with extra money to educate their children a different way.

Five: For many families, allowing the school to educate their children allows them lifestyle freedoms and personal gain they do not think they could have if they homeschooled them. It allows them their career of choice. I have heard this time and time again. I have even heard pastors and pastor’s wives state these things. With having their kids in school, they have the time to pursue their own interests, perhaps have dual incomes, many families can afford to live in just the right subdivision, or the perfect house, own two and three vehicles, have extra program activities and sports their kids can participate in, and other extras they want that they would not be able to have if one parent stayed home to raise the kids. I heard a pastor’s wife not long ago say, “someday we hope to homeschool, but just not right now. Our life is so busy.” While saying this, she also said how her daughter is bullied daily and comes home from school crying, and the many ungodly things they see and experience at the school.

IndoctriNation points out the root cause of the moral and social decay of society is the American Public Education System. It is guiding the American culture. The second half of the movie takes you on a journey through time from the 1600’s to today to understand how Godly education came to be and how it was lost. The majority of great leaders in America up till the mid 1800’s were homeschooled. The bible was the origional moral foundation of this country. The movie take us along the time frame of educational change and who the players involved were in it’s moral and social decay over the past 200 years with the implementation of government run schools that teach socialism, humanism, paganism to our kids. It is important for Christian families to know who is creating and who is teaching the curriculum, what their agenda is, and how this is impacting our youth and our culture. The state run government education is a socialist system. As the government indoctrinates each generation, we are becoming more and more a socialist nation.

school

During one interview in the movie, the term “Indoctrination Academy” is used. Children in the public school are being educated with a curriculum called Value Clarification. This curriculum teaches them it is ok to choose their own right and wrong despite what their parents believe or what the bible says. It teaches them to choose a life style and personal choices that are against God. It teaches them relativism and humanism and its own moral code that is anti-Christ. A direct question is asked for parents: Do you want your children to belong to you and respect your faith, your culture, your history? Or do you want them to belong to the state?

I think if more families knew the truth about what is taught in public school, that their kids were being indoctrinatated to become dependent on the state, and the outcome of learning in this environment, they would not choose to place their children in public school. According to the film, 88% of kids will leave the Christian faith forever after graduating from public highschool. Matthew 10:32-33: “Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in Heaven. But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in Heaven.” How will we as Christian Parents answer the Lord?
How will we answer the Lord when we stand before him on judgement day? Will having had a dual income lifestyle really be so important when we weigh that decision with sending our kids out into the world to be indoctrinated by godless schools who teach them to turn away from God and God’s principles? Proverbs 1:8: “Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.” Fathers and mothers are charged with the responsibility of teaching of their children. Neither schools, churches, tutors, etc, no one else is mentioned in Scripture as having that role other than the parents.

I encourage all Christian parents to watch this video. It’s not to late to turn things around. Pray and ask God to help you educate your kids for his glory. I hope you will also take a minute to review the Christian Education Manifesto sponsored by the IndorctiNation movie and pray for God to help you reach these biblical standards in your family’s life. There is also a place on the web site to upload your two minute personal story about education or education of your kids. In exchange for sharing your story with IndoctriNation, they will share with you some great perks and a back stage pass downloadable package with regards to the making of the film and all of the research and full length interviews.

Check out a short clip of the movie.
Video Trailer:

Follow on Social Media for the latest product news and updates:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/IndoctriNationMovie
Twitter: https://twitter.com/indocmovie
Vimeo: http://vimeo.com/indoctrination
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/IndoctriNationMovie

Colin Dunn

More about Homeschool Dad Colin Dunn: Colin is an award-winning screen writer, director, producer and animator. In addition to “IndoctriNation”, some of his film productions include “Shaky Town”, “The Monstrous Regiment of Women”, “Captivated”, and “Act Like Men”. He working on an upcoming movie called “Wait Till It’s Free!” He is originally from Hamilton, Scotland and immigrated to the USA. He lives in Waco, Texas, with his wife and eight children, and his family homeschools.

IndoctriNation DVD Review

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IXL Math and Language Arts Review

Does your child need extra practice in their math and language arts skills? Do you wish they could do these practices activities independenantly or perhaps with the help of a tutor-like program from home and you could keep track of their progress so you knew where they needed more practice?

Logo

If this sounds like you and your child, then you will want to check out the IXL Math and IXL Language Arts online programs through IXL.

classes

IXL is a popular academic skills practice website for grades PreK-12. IXL was one of the first online learning programs I learned about when I became a homeschool mom many years ago and it has continued evolve and be one of the best programs available. IXL is designed to help kids have fun while they learn. Their motto is “Practice that feels like play. Dynamic, adaptive learning.”

practice like play

IXL has over 4000 practice skills to help your child improve their math and language skills. It uses Smart Score Technology and adapts to your child’s performance. So it is like having a tutor handy to adjust the questions based on how your child is learning and scoring on the materials. It also has an audio feature that has the option to read math questions to students in pre-K through 5th grades. And best of all, IXL is mobile and can be using on your computer, iPad, or tablet.

Membership

Online Membership Subscription can be purchased for either a monthly or yearly subscription for Math, or Language Arts, or for both subjects together. You can purchase the program for one student or for several students too. See the descriptions below for the pricing combinations, and the website has additional information so be sure to check that out and find the right combination for your homeschool needs.

Math

Grades PreK-12
$79 per year or $9.95 per month

Language Arts

Grades 2-8
$79 per year or $9.95 per month

Both Math and Language Arts

$129 per year or 15.95 per month.

Each additional student is only $20 per year (or $2 per month).

How We Are Using IXL:

We were given a 1 year family membership and it came just in time to add this into our daily learning activities for this school year. It has provided us with practice of new skills as well as review of previous skills we have learned. We are using IXL as a supplement to our regular curriculum and practice for 15 to 20 minutes at a time.

4th grade

The program is easy and fun to do because it is set up in a way that encourages kids natural desire to play and find rewards. My kids like a challenge and they are motivated to fill in their game board with rewards. IXL encourages them to earn awards on themed game boards that are like treasure hunts. Each grade level has it’s own game board with it’s own theme. So when my kids log in to IXL, they get a screen with grade options to choose from. Most of the time we work in our current grade level, but sometimes we go back and practice in a younger grade level for review too.

first grade

There are two ways to access the practice skills once they have clicked on the grade they want to work on. Kids can choose from a list of skills or they can choose to work from a game board.

When they choose a skill to work on from the huge list:

When ever they complete a skill on the list, they recieve a ribbons for progress or a gold medal showing they are done learning that skill. The kids like earning medals and find the list approach to be an easy way to keep track of what they have completed, where to go next, and where they still need more work.

progress update

When they choose to work on a skill through the game board:
Working from the game board approach, it is rewards based and this is my boys favorite way. It is more random, so you don’t know what skill will be required until you click on a square on the board.

game board

On the game board, the kids uncover the hidden treasures as they complete quizzes and master skills. Awards are fun badges that are revealed on the board. These rewards might be animals, foods, places, and hobbies that kids can relate to and enjoy.

awards

At anytime kids can click on the awards button at the top of the screen and it will show them their game board with the prizes they have achieved, and empty spaces they still need to fill. Kids can also click on a “? mystery square” to learn what “challenge task” they need to complete to reveal that specific mystery prize. When ready, they can return to the list of skills and select the one (or several) that corresponds with the task or skill or group of skills they need learn so they can achieve the next prize on their game board. Each time a new skill is mastered, a prize is placed in a corresponding square, but what thrills my kids the most is to earn the prize that goes into the “?mystery?” square.

square

Kids and parents can easily monitor progress. On the progress / score page, one can learn how much time they spent, how many problems they finished and how many they got correct, and how many overall total points they have earned in the program, etc.

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I can see my kids improve in their understanding of math and language concepts as they practice each skill set. I am also sent an email on a regular basis, letting me know how the kids are doing and what they have achieved.

improve

It is easy to keep track of my kids progress with weekly emails updates and also by logging in on the parent dashboard. On the dashboard I can see and print various reports and acheivement awards. I can also adjust challenges that I want them to work on if I choose to do so. All I need to do is log in and choose the student I want to review.  IXL is a great supplemental learning program and I would encourage everyone to give it a try and see if it works for your homeschool needs.

 

SOCIAL MEDIA

Be sure to follow IXL on their social media links for all the latest news and product updates.

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/IXL

Twitter https://twitter.com/IXLLearning

Google + https://plus.google.com/+IXL

Click to read Crew Reviews

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Spanish by Middlebury Interactive Languages Review

My 8th grader is plugging right along learning in a Spanish Course from Middlebury Interactive Languages.

Middleburry

Middlebury Interactive Languages

Middlebury Interactive Languages curriculum currently offers training in four language Courses: Spanish, French, Chinese, and German. Each course is offered at various age and skill levels from grades K through 12th grade. Each course is a semester long, and can work progressively with the previous course taken. The info graphic below shows the courses offered by grade levels in each language.

MiddleburyCourses

Spanish 1 Course And How We Used It In Our Home:

We were given a semester (6 month subscription) to Middle School Spanish 1 Course, grades 6-8, by Middleburry Interactive Languages for the purpose of trying it out and writing an honest review.

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Middle School Spanish 1 is an interactive beginning Spanish language course designed for students in grades 6-8. It retails for $119 per semester. It is designed to efficiently teach the four key language skills: listening, speaking, reading and writing. The course is aligned to national standards as set forth by ACTFL (the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages).

Using authentic native speaking materials and situations to apply the language helps to motivate kids and build their confidence. Spanish 1 uses multimedia activities, various exercises, vocabulary, grammar and sentences, conversations.

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Kids are self motivated to learn. Kids are introduced to life in Spanish-speaking countries, such as history, food, and literature, conversations, and this helps to cultivate an appreciation of the Hispanic world. Spanish 1 utilizes guided learning to help students acquire language proficiency. Successful completion of Middle School Spanish 1 provides a solid foundation for future Spanish learning and travel to Spanish speaking countries.

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My son practiced everyday for the past six weeks on the program. He really likes it and will definitely continue on and finish the course. There are a total of 90 lessons for the whole semester. The goal was for him to complete a lesson a day, but he did not always complete the full lesson at each sitting, and sometimes the lesson carried over into the next day.  It is challenging for him and I am pleased with his progress and motivation to keep going.

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When he logs in, he gets a list of options on his dashboard for each lesson. He can listen to the computer speak in Spanish, practice warm ups, listen to the native speakers, learn the alphabet and pronunciation of each letter, practice speaking, record your speaking and compare it to the native speakers, various grammar skills, flash cards, conversation, and so much more.

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He can view his lessons from a calendar format, table of contents format, or just simply when logging in the dashboard shows him the next lesson. That is how he usually accesses his lessons and keeps track of his progress.  He does have to remember to click the submit button at the top right corner of the page after each portion of the lesson for it to record his answers and progress.

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Did you know that 40 countries around the world speak Spanish, and that the Spanish language is second in line for the most native speakers, second only to Chinese? Wow, growing up in the USA and speaking English only, without exposure to other languages, one might never know that English is not the dominant language in the world.  One thing that is really cool about this language learning program that it takes you on a virtual journey to other countries and cultures to immerse your learning process in the language you are studying and prepares you to travel to distant lands and speak with native speakers if you desire to do that.

Videos:

Here is an introductory video to Middle school Spanish Courses through Middlebury Interactive Languages:

Here is a student talking about how learning Spanish through Middlebury Interactive Languages program prepared him to take a trip to a Spanish speaking country and immerse himself in the language and culture.

Media Links

Be sure to check out Middleburry Interactive Languages media links for all the latest updates and news:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Middlebury-Interactive-Languages/141015515949753
Twitter: http://twitter.com/MiddInteractive
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/middinteractive/
Google +: https://plus.google.com/b/110371351490550861545/110371351490550861545/posts

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Be sure to check out what other families on the Schoolhouse Review Crew had to say about these great language curriculum products from Middlebury Interactive Languages.

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SDA For Homeschoolers Review

Looking for a fun and challenging homeschool curriculum option for your students? Then you might want to check out Standard Deviants Accelerate for homeschoolers.

SDA

Standard Deviants Accelerate Homeschool Courses (SDAccellerate.com) are an easy to use, online, homeschool curriculum for students 8 and older. Courses are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week online (videos, interactive quizzes, writing, etc) and you can access them through your desktop computer, mobile laptop, and smart device like a tablet too. So this greatly increases your options of where and when you can find flexible time to work on your school work. They can be used as a supplemental program, but also may fit as your main learning program in a given subject too.

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Homeschool Courses:

 

Standard Deviants Accelerate is appropriate for students ages 8 through adult. They currently offer 14 different homeschool curriculum options for middle school and high school age students, and 2 curriculum options are also appropriate for elementary aged kids in 3rd and 4th grades and above.

courses

Each course offers a full year’s worth of learning materials including videos, note taking, quizzes, written work, review, and exams for your student. Each regular course costs $99.00 for a year subscription, or $24.95 for a month to month subscription. The AP courses cost $14.95 a month. They are currently running a special, and offering you to try out the program for free for 6 months and see if it is a good fit for your family.

Arithmetic – Grades 3+
Fundamental Math – Grades 4+

Nutrition – 6+
Earth Science – Grades 6+

Algebra – Grades 7+
Biology – Grades 7+

English Composition – Grades 9+
U.S. History – Grades 9+
Chemistry – Grades 9+

AP Biology – Grades 11+
AP Chemistry – Grades 11+
AP U.S. History – Grades 11+
AP U.S. Government & Politics – Grades 11+
AP English Composition – Grades 11+

 

How We Used Standard Deviants Accelerate In Our Home:

 

I am very grateful for this opportunity to review this homeschool program. I have taken time to explore all of the classes for grades 3 through 9 for the purpose of writing this review. I have not explored the AP classes yet, but hope to look through them too. I would encourage you to click the link at the bottom of this review to read what other TOS Crew members had to say about the regular and AP homeschool courses and see if this program would work for your homeschool.

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My kids and I each have our own seperate dashboards when we log in. I have the kids log in each day and view the video assignment, take notes as they watch the video and save their notes on the computer program. They complete any related written work and take the quiz. The notes they type are stored in their “locker” which is a filing system they can keep track of all of their notes for classes. On my dashboard, I can view their progress, what areas need more practice or review to improve their understanding. Check out this short Teacher Account Video that explains more how this works.

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Homeschool Algebra:

 
There are so many great features with the SDAccelerate.com Homeschool Alegebra curriculum that benefit the student and the teacher. Here are just a few:

220 minutes of video (with scrolling transcripts)
54 vocab words (with audio playback)
Note-taking
38 critical thinking questions
205 multiple choice questions
14 drag n’ drop graphic organizers
Re-teaching
Automatic grading
Progress reporting
Meets State and National Standards
RTI alerts
Differentiated Instruction
Editable rubrics
Student-to-teacher messaging

algebra

Below is a picture of my 8th grader working on Algebra. He is also working through the U.S. History, English Composition, Chemistry, and Biology courses. He is thrilled with these classes. He is not really a video oriented learner and prefers to read information for himself in most situations. I am very glad the classes include the written transcript of the video lessons. This fella loves to read and work independently and doesn’t need videos to grasp information though he does find it helpful at times. Over all though he loves the curriculum and is self motivated to work on it each day. He sets high standards for himself and strives to get good scores on his work. I feel like he is gaining a solid understanding of the information presented. We do disagree with some things regarding evolution in the biology course work. We believe the earth and all of creation was created by God and our faith plays a big role in our education. The course work is not written from a Christian perspective, but putting the evolution issue aside, the curriculum is done well and the kids like it.

Algebra

Homeschool U.S. History:

 
Some of the great features of the SDAccelerate.com Homeschool U.S. History curriculum include:

149 minutes of video (with scrolling transcripts)
144 vocab words (with audio playback)
160 multiple choice questions
Note-taking
29 critical thinking questions
14 drag n’ drop graphic organizers
Meets State and National Standards
Progress reporting, Editable rubrics, Re-teaching
Automatic grading, and Student-to-teacher messaging

US History

Below is a picture of my 6th grader on the computer working on the SDAccelerates U.S. History course. He is also working through the Nutrition and Earth Science courses too. Even though the U.S. History course is advanced for his grade level, he works exceptionally well with this style of learning. He is an audio-visual learner and works his best and excels when school work is presented in a combined audio video format. He does not like to read a lot of verbage, and will quickly become bored if expected to read all his school work. But he stays attentive to video presentations. His learning style is the complete opposite of his older brother, and I am thankful for SDAccelerate’s fun video style learning program for him to use.

US History

Standard Deviants Accelerate on Social Media


Be sure to follow Standard Deviants Accelerate on their social media links for all the latest news, courses, updates, and teaching ideas, and more:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SDAccelerate
Twitter: https://twitter.com/SDAccelerate
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/SDAccelerate/
Google+: google.com/+Sdaccelerate
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/CerebellumCorp/videos

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Check out what other homeschool families on the Schoolhouse Review Crew had to say about using Standard Deviants Accelerate with their family.

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iWitness Review

I have another great homeschool resource to tell you about today!  We are reading the iWitness series of books by Apologia Educational Ministries in our biblical studies.  We were sent three of the books in this series to review: Old Testament iWitness, New Testament iWitness, and iWitness Biblical Archeology.

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If you have questions about the bible, the iWitness series of books will help you find answers through the investigation and study of facts. The bibles says: “Seek and ye shall find.”

What is the bible? Who wrote the bible? Where did the events take place? What is the difference in the old and new Testaments? Is the bible fact? How do we know the events recorded actually happened?

Each book presents logical layers of questions, and also facts. They take you on a journey to seek and discover the answers about the bible. The iWitness series of books were written on an 11 year old reading level, so students 11 and older should be able to independently study them. But they are a good fit for all ages. You can read them aloud to younger students, and even adults will glean wonderful truths from these books too. I think they would be a great tool in a group bible study too.

My children and I enjoyed using these books. The books are colorful and full of pictures.  Each book is less than a hundred pages long, so it doesn’t take long to read through them, but you will want to keep them on your reference shelf and use them again.

I definitely see how these books will be used again and again in our home to refer back to who is who and who did what. I read these books to my kids, we discussed the information, and I was surprised by how much these reference books helped us. I think that associating a graphic with information helps you grasp it. It is no longer just some random piece of information, but instead there is a visual to associate with those facts.

Here is a little bit more details about each of these books:

iWitness

Old Testament iWitness

old-testament-iwitness

Softcover, approximately 72 Pages

Reading age range is 11 and older.

Retails for $14.00

I really enjoyed how the information is presented. Each page has lots of colorful “old world” graphics. Each of the writings on the pages are presented on a graphic of a scroll or ancient document.

I enjoyed learning about the different Prophets in the Old Testament. The books gives a lot of descriptions about who they were, when they lived, what king they served, and what their purpose was. Different prophets had different purposes.

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New Testament iWitness

new-testament-iwitness

Softcover, approximately 62 pages

Reading age range is 11 and older.

Retails for $14.00

Topics: Councils Of Hippo and Carthage; Cannon Criteria; Athenasius; Eusebius; Church Fathers; Cannons; The Gospel, Apostles, and much more.

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New Testament iWitness explains how the Christian church recognized what specific writings to include in the New Testament. It introduces the reader to Apostles and leaders in the church. It explains who wrote what and how the church made decisions. It also explains how the writings were copied. I didn’t realize before that the churches shared a copy with another church and they copied it and sent another copy on to the next church and so on.

iWitness Biblical Archeology

iwitness-biblical-archaeology

Softcover, approximately 64 pages

Reading range for ages 11 and older.

Retails for $14.00

Topics: The Flood; Noah’s Ark, Egyptian Chronology; The Exodus; Dead Sea Scrolls, Jesus Judges, New Testament Locations, Shroud, and much more.

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I enjoyed iWitness Biblical Archeology the most because of the amazing photos through out the whole book. There are so many amazing artifacts to learn about. The bible contains a record of history that is proven over and over with each artifact found, each community unearthed, and each scroll that was discovered.  Archeology is an amazing gift of proof in biblical facts.

Apologia Educational Ministries is a wonderful curriculum company with a mission to help your students education and your “family to learn, live, and defend the Christian Faith.” Be sure to check out their various curriculum and online class options and how they can benefit your homeschool.

You can follow Apologia Educational Ministries on their social media links for all the latest news and updates.

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/apologiaworld

Twitter – https://twitter.com/apologiaworld

Google+ – https://plus.google.com/105053356034237782125/posts

Pinterest – http://www.pinterest.com/apologia/

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Fix It Grammar Review

Grammar (the process of learning and using correct grammatical rules in language) is in my opinion, one of those subjects that can be either difficult to learn or fun to learn depending on the method being used to teach it. How do you motivate students to learn grammatical rules?

IEW

Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW) is a company that specializes in teaching grammatical rules in fun and creative ways to students of all ages.   We reviewed IEW’s Fix It Grammar: The Nose Tree (Book 1) Teacher’s Manual and Fix It Grammar: The Nose Tree (Book 1) Student Workbook curriculum.

IEW

IEW has a large body of curriculum options to fit many different levels of learning. The grade / skill levels IEW curriculum options include:

Level Primary (Grades K–2)
Level A (Grades 3-5)
Level B (Grades 6-8)
Level C (Grades 9–12)
Special Needs
English Language Learners
College Students
Teacher Helps

There is no way I could tell you about all of the various creative curriculum options at IEW, so I encourage you to stop over to their website and take a look around.

FIX IT GRAMMAR

We were recently sent IEW’s Fix It Grammar curriculum for grades 3 through 12 to review.

FixItGrammar

Fix It Grammar teaches a grammar mastery method that includes six progressive levels of learning grammatical skills. Each level has its own spiral bound student workbook and spiral bound teaching manual. Each level builds upon the skills learned and practiced in the previous level.

It is recommended to spend 15 minutes a day and complete 1 lesson a week, for 33 weeks, to complete a year’s worth of lessons. The great thing about homeschooling is that it is a personal approach to education and you can work through lessons faster or slower depending on what you and your student needs.  You can take a free placement test to see what Fix It Grammar level your student should begin at.

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We received Fix It Grammar:The Nose Tree (Book 1) Teacher Manual 229 pages spiral bound, retails $19.00; and also Fix It Grammar: The Nose Tree (Book 1) Student Manual 126 pages spiral bound, retails for $15.00.

Inside the student workbook, each lesson is progressive builds on the skills learned in the previous lesson. The student workbook is a complete year of grammar curriculum divided into 33 lessons, 132 vocabulary words, glossary of grammar, and flash cards. My son is working on one lesson per week.

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At the top of each page in the workbook it is labeled as week 1, week 2, week 3 and so on. Every two pages that face each other comprise a weeks worth of lessons. For each lesson, there is a Learn It section, and a Fix It section, Discuss It section, and Copy It section. In the Learn It section you learn a grammatical rule that you will put into practice during the week. There are corresponding punch out flashcards in the back of the book that contain each grammatical rule and your student is encouraged to use them to help remember what rules they have learned. In the Fix It section, there is reading of a few sentences, Vocabulary words to look up, and sentences that are to be fixed in the workbook. In the Copy It section your student will re-write the corrected sentences in their own notebook.

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I had my son work in his student workbook for 15 to 20 minutes a day. He could have easily done more work on this curriculum some days, because he actually liked learing with it and he was motivated to complete the writing exercises. This totally surprised me because the only time he likes to use written words seems to be when he is typing on the computer. He states “I don’t like learning grammar rules because they are a bottomless pit with no end. ENGLISH is nuts! Why do I have to learn this?” Now, he says “I like this, it isn’t hard to do, and makes sense. I like that I am accomplishing something instead of just random facts or rules.” I know he is not alone in feeling this way. I think it becomes more boring to learn grammatical rules as kids get a little older. I am not sure why, but I just bet that you could stroll through almost any American middle school, highschool, or college Language and Arts / English classroom, and most of those students in class are bored to tears or are struggling to write and re-write their essays! So this is very positive that he likes the Fix It Grammar curriculum. The fact that he is progressively learning to re-write a story and will have a correctly written masterpiece when he is through is the motivation. He hates to fail. He is excited just knowing if he follows the step by step activities, he can’t fail, but will succeed.

I recommend IEW curriculum products for homeschool families. The list of curriculum options available is wonderful and covers many creative fun ways to get your kids interested in writing and writing well. I have a big wish list of their products I hope to obtain in our homeschool. This is our second IEW curriculum product to use in our homeschool, and I believe it is a great addition to our homeschool learning curriculum.

MEDIA LINKS

Check out IEW media links for all the latest news and updates.

Webinar: http://iew.com/events-classes/webinars/intro-to-fix-it-grammar

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/excellenceinwriting

Twitter: https://twitter.com/iew

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/iewriting

Google+: https://plus.google.com/+Iewriting/posts

Tube: https://www.youtube.com/user/iewtv

Vimeo: http://vimeo.com/iewtv

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Be sure to check out what other homeschool families on the TOS Schoolhouse Review Crew had to say about using Fix It Grammar in their home.

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Happy Kids Songs Review

We have been having fun finishing out the end of summer and getting started back to school with a review of Happy Kids Songs.

Happy Kids Songs Review
 

 

Sometimes my younger kids are impulsive and not so happy. Happy Kids Songs has a lot to say about our attitude and how we treat each other. This is a great tool for parents to teach younger kids about behavior and focussing on the right things. This product is geared for kids 4-8 years old, but I had my 2, 5, 7, 9, and 11 year olds do the activities and had the 14 year old assist as a teacher’s helper. He helped me set up a play list on the computer and print off worksheets and organized the craft materials. This way I was able to include all 6 of my kids in using this product. We all can use some lessons in how to be happy, no matter what age.

Happy Kids Songs was created by Dr. Mac who is the song writer of the wonderful TV program for kids called Jay Jay and the Jet Plane from PBS Kids. He is a talented song writer, accomplished musician, child psychologist, school consultant and has won numerous awards for his talents and skills. He has won the iParenting award, Teacher’s Choice award, The National Parenting Center’s Seal Of Approval award, and many more.

Happy Kids Songs currently has 8 Volumes to choose from. Each Volume contains 5 songs, and retails for $4.95. The lyrics to each songs help your kids develop good character trates, treat others the way they want to be treated, and become happy people. For this review, we received three Volumes as a download, pdf lyrics and worksheet for each song (download), and a physical workbook /songbook was mailed to us for this review.

Vol. 1  Friends And Sharing
Retails $4.95

 

Happy Kids Songs Review
Songs include:
Sailing on the Seven Cs; Everybody Wants to Find a Friend; Sharing Friends; Happy as Happy Can Be; Together

There are a few YouTube Videos of some of the songs being made, some interviews with Dr Mac, and a couple of music videos too. Here is a video of the song Together from Volume 1 Friends and Sharing:

Volume 6 Happiness and Attitude
Retails for $4.95

Happy Kids Songs Review
Songs include:
Shake It Out and Dance; Who Knows What’s a Kudo?; I Don’t Understand; Be Good to Yourself; Better Together

Volume 7 Manners and Character
Retails $4.95

Happy Kids Songs Review
Songs Include:
H-O-N-E-S-T-Y; The Magic Word; Quirks; The Golden Rule; Six Little Kids

Songbook / Workbook Happy Kids Songs Workbook: Hands On Activites To Build Character, Social & Emotional Skills
Retails for $12.56

Happy Kids Songs Review
The workbook has over 100 lessons.  It includes all the lyrics and worksheets, coloring pages, and lesson plans and activity ideas for all 40 songs in the Happy Kids Songs 8 Volumes.

Our family has enjoyed sitting together at the table and listening to the songs, learning the lyrics, coloring pages and completing corresponding activities (word puzzles, coloring pages, arts and crafts).

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We downloaded the songs to our computer to listen to at home, and also burned them on a CD so we can take them on the road in the van too.

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The workbook has all of the song lyrics organized by Volume at the front half of the book with a corresponding worksheet. In the second half of the book, it has lesson plans also organized by Volume.

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For me, the workbook was indispensible and very easy to implement. You just find the lessons for the Volume you are listening too, learn the lyrics, do the activity sheets, and optional activities and arts and crafts.

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The kids really enjoyed making crafts while listening to the songs. Here they are making a friend puppet.

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Happy Kids Songs products are great! Kids enjoy using them. The songs are catchy and easy to remember. They are handy for adults because they have everything organized in the workbook and come with a license to re-produce the lyrics and coloring pages and worksheets, and you can use them in your family or group settings with multiple students. This makes them a great option for Sunday School, clubs, and Homeschool Coops too.

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Be sure to follow Happy Kids Songs on their social media links for all the latest news and updates.

Facebook
Twitter
Youtube
Blog
And be sure to sign up for the monthly news letter and receive a free song of the month and other special information. Samples of songs and more are also available on their web site.

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Wizzy Gizmo Review

If your kids love to read, then they might like to learn about biblical stories and truth of God’s word with Wizzy Gizmo.

Wizzy Gizmo Review
 

My family was blessed to a review the first book in the Wizzy Gizmo series called Book One: Who Created Everything?   Wizzy Gizmo is a Christian curriculum collection of resources including books, audio, and flashcards centered around a group of kids and a Professor, named Wizzy Gizmo.

Who created everything (2)

Wizzy Gizmo Book One: Who Created Everything?

Ages 4-12
Retails $12.99
and currently offering a 10% off your order.
Check web site for more details.

Professor Wizzy Gizmo invented a machine called the Gizmovision.  The Gizmovision machine brings books to life, telling the readers and listeners the “who, what, why, and how” of the story.  Though the characters are fictional, they are relatable for kids, and explore true life events with real questions that kids (and adults) want answered.

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Wizzy Gizmo Book One: Who Created Everything? is a fun fictional story that looks at true events in the bible.  It explores biblical history during the first six days of creation.  Wizzy Gizmo places the bible on his machine and he and the kids head off on a fun exploration into learning about Creation in Genesis chapter one.  The story is continued in Wizzy Gizmo Book Two: In His Image.

For the purpose of this review, I had my oldest son read the book aloud to the younger children.  They were all fascinated with the bible adventure.  On of my sons is an audio-visual learner and he drew out parts of the story as he listened too.

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There are bright colorful illustrations in the book and dialog between the characters. The kids really enjoyed the pictures and it helped the kids imagination to follow along and keep their interest. I appreciated the book contained a lot of scriptures from the bible and then explained them to the kids.  The kids really felt like they were part of the story.

The book contains study questions and also a huge list of vocabulary words.  I really liked the vocabulary words for furthering their understanding, spelling, and questions.  This was a handy resource.  This book would go along great with a unit study of creation where you ad in science, history, math, literature, art, field trips (Creation Museum, farms, zoos, science lab, planetarium, machine shop, etc.), and hands on application of the learning.  Perhaps let the kids build their own Gizmovision machine to travel back in time to learn about biblical history.

We enjoyed book one, and I would love to have the additional resources and keep going with the learning. Book two is available and new books are being developed.  There is also currently an audio drama of book one with more on the way. The flashcards New Testiment Series look amazing!  The cards are BIG and have tons of bible study and historical helps on them.  All of this curriculum would make a great program for a homeschool, a Sunday school class, or bible club too.  I think kids of all ages would really enjoy them.

Follow Wizzy Gizmo on social media for all the latest updates and news.

Facebook
Twitter
Pinterest
Google+
Vimeo

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