Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Sunya Publishing Sunya - The Magic and Wonder of Math and Science Adding & Subtracting Review

My family had the privilege of trying the Sunya - The Magic and Wonder of Math and Science Adding & Subtracting from Sunya Publishing for this review to use in conjunction with our own homeschool curriculum. This is a Schoolhouse Review Crew Review. All opinions expressed are my own or those of my family.

Sunya Publishing is a brand new educational publisher that has so far developed two card games for fun and learning. The two card games are: Sunya the Magic and Wonder of Math and Science Adding & Subtracting - Ages 7 to Adult and Sunya the Magic and Wonder of Math and Science Multiplying & Dividing - Ages 9 to Adult. Both of these games are great for math supplement and math practice for both homeschoolers and game lovers. Sunya is a word from the ancient and classical language called Sanskrit from India. The u in it is pronounced "oo" as in the word book. The word Sunya means being empty or without quantity and the player from the games exclaims this word as he or she runs out of cards and wins the game. These games are so new that they are not available to the public yet because they are still being developed. We, as Crew members, were very fortunate to get an advanced copy of our choice one of the games to receive a sneak peak and let you know all about it before it is supposed to air on May 27, 2016 for purchase on their website where the two games will be sold separately.

My family received the Sunya the Magic and Wonder of Math and Science Adding & Subtracting. It is a physical educational card game that is is unique as it reinforces adding and subtracting skills with math and science facts and riddles. Ages 7 and up can play this card game comfortably. In the game, addition goes up to 9+9=18 and subtraction goes up to 18-9=9. This game builds math skills in addition and subtraction. Seven and eight year old children can choose to play the game with older siblings or adults until they get their math facts memorized.

Sunya the Magic and Wonder of Math and Science Adding & Subtracting - Ages 7 to Adult includes:
  • Game Book for Sunya Adding & Subtracting
  • 60 Sunya Adding & Subtracting Playing Cards: number cards 0-9 (three 0s, four 1s, six 2s, six 3s, six 4s, six 5s, six 6s, six 7s, six 8s, six 9s, two wilds, and operation cards (1 minus sign, 1 plus sign, and 1 equal sign).
  • The Sunya Adding & Subtracting Number Line Tool 
  • 30 Math and Science Fact and Riddle Cards (all different facts and riddles than those with Sunya Multiplying & Dividing)

The game book is basically a school and homeschool teacher/parent guidebook that includes the instructions for the games in great detail. This softcover, comb bound booklet is 25 pages and goes into depth about the directions and rules of the game. Inside the contents are as follows: Introduction, Hindu-Arabic Numeral System, Home and School, Sunya Adding and Subtraction, Math Activities for Young Children, and Math and Science Facts and Riddles. These instructions can be a little intimidating at first, but once you have played the game the first time you will get the hang of it quickly. I believe that the book would be easier understood if it were entirely printed all in color instead of black and white.


There are three different modes of play: Basic Game, Game II and Game III. These modes increase with difficulty. We only played the Basic version for this review. You set all the games up and deal the cards the same for all modes of play.
  1. Players can sit in a circle or semicircle around or facing the cards in a forward view of the number sentences that will be made.
  2. One player begins as the dealer and sets up the number sentence framework (+ for addition or - for subtraction operation and an = sign) with space in between for numbers that players will put in play to make correct number sentences.
  3. The Math and Science Fact and Riddle Cards are placed face down in a pile. These are put into play when a player wins.
  4. The dealer makes the first correct number sentence made up of three single digit whole numbers with their choice of the number cards 2-9 (no 0s, 1s, or wild cards) on the table, face up for all to see.
  5. Then the dealer shuffles the rest of the deck of number cards and deals one card to each player clockwise/to the left until 4 cards are dealt to each player. The remaining cards (0-9s and wilds) are placed face down in a pile to draw from. It doesn't matter if another player sees your cards so they can be in your hand or set out on the table.
  6. The player to the dealers left plays next.
  7. Turns proceed clockwise, turns at dealing also proceed clockwise/left.

Basic Game
  1. Set up game.
  2. Once it is your turn draw a card so that you have 5 to start with in your hand.
  3. Use 1, 2, or 3 of your cards to make a new number sentence on top of the one that was played last. This new number sentence can be made all from cards from your hand or a combination of cards from hand and in play. Don't play more than one card to a number sentence position within the same turn.
  4. The top cards on the number sentence are in play.
  5. If the player cannot make a number sentence, he/she draws one card at a time until he/she can.
  6. A card may not be played on top of the same number card, this goes for wilds too (so be sure to remember what the wild is). There are other rules in the Game Book as well that are also very important to follow, so make sure to read the guidebook carefully so you understand them.
  7. The first player to be without cards wins the game exclaiming, "Sunya!".
  8. The winning player gets to pick a Math and Science Fact or Riddle Card from the deck and ask the other players the questions about the fact or to solve the riddle.

How We Used This and Our Thoughts:

Teela playing Sunya The Magic and Wonder of Math and Science Adding & Subtracting. Bottom Left is an example of an incorrect math sentence for the game because the Wild Card represents a double digit number. Only single digit numbers can be played.

I played the Basic version of Sunya - The Magic and Wonder of Math and Science Adding & Subtracting game with my daughter, Teela, who is 8 years old. We had a lot of fun with this game and she was really good at it. I was very happy she was getting addition and subtraction practice. We first played without the wild cards just to get a feel for how the game played. Then we added the wild cards later and played with them as well.

We had a great time playing Sunya - The Magic and Wonder of Math and Science Adding & Subtracting together. I love this math game! Game II and Game III get progressively more difficult with more rules to follow and are great to play with my older kids. Zari, Teela's younger sister can play with the cards as a matching game, go fish, sequencing game, flash cards, and making equations.

Teela telling a riddle from the Sunya Math and Science Fact and Riddle Cards.

The Math and Science Fact or Riddle Cards were my daughter's favorite and she tried to beat me in the game just so she would be able to read one to me and make me think. The riddles made us laugh. It would be great though if they could label these facts or riddles because the fact that asks, "Which is longer the Mississippi River or the Missouri River?" threw me off and I thought it was a riddle...I got it wrong thinking that Mississippi has more letters in it. We loved all the math fact fun and riddles, but also wish there were more.

We recommend Sunya - The Magic and Wonder of Math and Science Adding & Subtracting to everyone that loves card games. This one is both super fun and educational, so it is a win win. We will look forward to getting the Sunya the Magic and Wonder of Math and Science Multiplying & Dividing later on to play too.

Look for these two games on the Sunya Publishing Website around May 27, 2016 to purchase. Both products will be available in limited quantities so don't forget to bookmark their website and mark your calendars!

Read other homeschool reviews (hsreviews) for Sunya Publishing...
Math and Science {Sunya Publishing Review}

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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Science Shepherd Introductory Science Level A Review

My family had the privilege of trying the Science Shepherd Introductory Science Level A for this review to use in conjunction with our own homeschool curriculum. This is a Schoolhouse Review Crew Review. All opinions expressed are my own or those of my family.

Science Shepherd is a Christian biased science program with biblical perspective that is scripture based. Science Shepherd is produced by Scott Hardin, MD; a homeschooling father of six and medical doctor. The company provides courses in biology, life science, introductory science, and creation science. It has online videos that the student watches, a workbook, and teacher's answer key to go along with each program. These courses work for a variety of ages and levels from K-12. These cover a complete science curriculum that fills a void that secular science programs do not have. The on-demand videos feature full color graphics, animations, slides, and demonstrations. The workbooks help reinforce concepts in the video course. Online access grants you a full year to finish the program of choice at your own speed.

Science Shepherd Introductory Science Videos: Dr. Hardin behind a desk lecturing.

Science Shepherd Introductory Science Videos: 2 girls doing Video Activities.

Introductory Science is Science Shepherd's video science curriculum for ages six through eleven. You can choose from level A which is for students ages 6-8 or level B which is for ages 9-11. Students can work at their own pace, but this curriculum is intended to be used five days a week for 35 weeks. Each lesson is fairly short (2-5 minutes for the videos with activities) and covers a number of science topics, including: creation, geology, biology, astronomy, oceanography, and meteorology, etc. These, like the other programs, are biblically focused and have a number of references to scripture.

Introductory Science Videos Screen Layout

When you log in to the Science Shepherd website it will go to your account information page. If you look on the left you will see a link to the course videos that says, "Introductory Science Videos". Click it and you will be redirected to the page for the course videos. At the top of the page there will be about seven tabs that span 5 weeks each. You can see the first 5 weeks on the first page as you scroll down. Each week has 5 videos, for a total of 175 lessons. Some video lessons show a man behind a desk lecturing and some show two girls in a kitchen doing activities. All the videos are short and don't take long to watch. Some also include activities and science projects that you can do along with the video at home.

Teela working in the Level A Workbook.

The softcover, spiral bound student workbook of 321 pages goes along with the online videos an follows along well. It has quite a bit of reading, question and answer, crossword puzzles, word searches, matching, circle the correct answer, etc. It also has other activities like drawing and coloring too. The Teacher's answer key comes with it for easy grading. You can get more workbooks if you have more than one student doing the course.

How We Used This and Our Thoughts:

My 8 year old daughter, Teela, did one lesson per weekday. For the purpose of this review, we were to complete at least four weeks of material. We started at the beginning and got to Meteorology. The lessons started with creation science reminding Teela that God is the creator of all things, He has dominion over all of us, and that His word is true. Both week one and two stressed these things. Then week three went into teaching science skills and tools. This covered: observing, comparing, sequencing, classifying, planning, measuring, labeling, predicting, experimenting, using/making models, concluding, reporting, instruments, and the scientific method. It was a lot of information in one week. Week four through six taught about Earth Science and Meteorology. In Week four Teela learned about atmosphere, weather, precipitation and the water cycle. In Week five Teela learned about temperature and seasons. In Week six Teela learned about storms, thunder, lightening, wind, tornadoes, hurricanes, and the Great Flood. This is roughly how far we got in the course. The course goes on to teach Earth Science: Geology, Oceanography, and Astronomy; Life Science: Plants, Underwater Creatures, Flying Creatures, Land Creatures, Human Beings, Be Healthy, and Ecology & Natural Resources; Physical Science: Matter, Energy, Motion, and Magnets.

Teela watching a Science Shepherd Introductory Science on-demand video. Don't mind the dust.

I enjoyed this course because of the high biblical content, but Teela got bored of the videos quickly even though they were short in length. Unfortunately they were not as engaging as she would have liked. I had to prompt her through the course because of this. She liked the hands-on activities though. I wish the videos were more interesting to her to hold her attention, but she likes lots of visuals and a man sitting behind a desk with a monotone voice and occasional images and words popping up on the screen didn't really cut it. The content of the curriculum was fantastic, but the videos needed more pizzazz. Everyone is different though and maybe your student would love these. I still think with the right audience the Science Shepherd Introductory Science would be wonderful. It just didn't work perfectly for us. It is; however, a complete course for homeschool science and a great introductory one for ages 6-11 who want to incorporate distinctly Christian principles into their learning of science.

You can watch a sample video, take a peak inside the workbook, look at the scope and sequence, and see the activity supply list on their website as well as purchase the course. The Science Shepherd Introductory Science is $35 for the video course, $12 for level A workbook, $15 for level B workbook, and $3 for each teacher's key. Also, if you need a extension for the course it is $5 per month, up to three months. 

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Science Shepherd Review

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Monday, May 23, 2016

The Okee Dokee Brothers Saddle Up: A Western Adventure Album Review and Giveaway

We received this product free to facilitate this review. Affiliate links may be in this post. Thank you for supporting this blog.

The Okee Dokee Brothers, Justin Lansing and Joe Mailander, are wonderful outdoors men and Americana folk musicians. The duo are at it again with a new album and adventure. This new album is called Saddle Up: A Western Adventure and it is their third Adventure Album. This album, just like their first (Can You Canoe?: A Mississippi River Adventure) and their second (Through The Woods: An Appalachian Adventure) albums, has a DVD along with the CD that shares footage of their journey in the part of the USA they are trekking in and a field journal, liner notes from journals they kept.

In this album The Okee Dokee Brothers spent a month horseback riding, camping, exploring, filming, and making music (This whole CD and DVD!) on location along the Continental Divide. They met some neat people along the way that shared their stories and music with them while they took a small breather from exploring the outdoors and creating their own songs. This album is a wonderful compilation of 15 original tracks from The Okee Dokee Brothers with songs that feature some guest artists. This album features an array of instruments such as: banjo, guitar (electric, acoustic, & baritone), drums, wheelbarrow, washboard, whistling, coconuts, cardboard box, bottles, tin can, udu, rusted steel drum, trombone, electric bass, jawharp, hoots, hollers, autoharp, percussion, dobro, steel guitar, accordion, Navajo vocals and chants, harmonica, fiddle, upright bass, piano, Wurlitzer, organ, Nord keyboard, pedal steel, and vibes.

The Okee Dokee Brothers make riding horses look good :)

See the Trailer for the Saddle Up DVD here...

Track Listing on the CD:
  1. Saddle Up: The title track to this CD, this song has a lot of country heart.
  2. Don't Fence Me In: Upbeat song about riding in the wide open country.
  3. Cow Cow Yippee: This is a funny song about being a cowboy with the cows.
  4. The Great Divide: A nice song about the the Continental Divide.
  5. Jackalope (with Jim Campilongo): A very silly song about a creature that might, or might not be imaginary. This song has a ballad feel to it.
  6. One Horsepower: Song about trading your caddy and truck for driving cattle on a horse.
  7. The Legend of Tall Talkin' Sam (with Rosie Newton): Song about a girl named Sam that likes to tell tall tails.
  8. Hard Road To Travel: A very truthful song about life and that sometimes you just have to buck-up. I love the instraments in this one.
  9. Shootin' Star (with Cindy Cashdollar): A song about Annie Oakley, Buffalo Bill, & Calamity Jane and how even the sharp shooters put down their guns and bullets for a good song and strumming the guitar.
  10. Sister Moon and Brother Sun (with The Benally Family): A beautiful song with American Indian chants and the story about how the woods were made, rivers were forged, mountains were formed, days were split by the nights. I love this song so much and it is one of my favorites on the CD.
  11. Good Old Times: I love the fiddle in this one...a song about reminiscing about good times in the past.
  12. Lead A Horse To Water (with John Sebastian): This song has some great harmonica. It is about the spirit of the horse.
  13. Somos Amigos (con Carlos Medina): This is a great upbeat song that is great to dance to. It has some Spanish and is about being friends no matter how different you are. Has some great accordion and Mexican sounding beats.
  14. The Grass Is Always Greener: I love this song to dance to as well. It is upbeat and has some great fiddle and other instruments. This is a song about wishin' about stuff, but realizing that you still have it good right where you are.
  15. Last Lullaby: A soft lullaby lulling a little buckaroo to sleep with a great thought to go with it. This is a great sleepy song for getting your little cowpoke to bed.

With their beards, flannel shirts, overalls and instruments The Okee Dokee Brothers are sure fun to watch perform on stage as well. You can see when their next show is here.

Like all the Adventure Albums before, this one does not disappoint! It is great to take with you to listen to on a family road trip, around a campfire or even while hiking. It is a wonderful reminder to get outside to experience and explore nature with your family and friends. Saddle Up is wonderful music for kids that resonates with adults as well. The songs on this album are serious, silly and everything in between. Some will make you want to dance and others are lullabies that will help lull you to sleep. The messages in all the songs are good and wholesome and The Okee Dokee Brothers feel like Kindred Spirits to me. If they keep making these Adventure Albums I would be thrilled! I can't wait for the next adventure album in this series to see where they will be going next, if there is one. Saddle Up is a must have for any family music collection!

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DISCLOSURE/DISCLAIMER: Thanks to Beth Blenz-Cluc​as of Sugar Mountain PR for sending me a free The Okee Dokee Brothers - Saddle Up: A Western Adventure Album CD/DVD to facilitate this review. My thoughts are mine and my family's own opinion and have not been altered by anyone else. I did not receive any other compensation for doing this review. Affiliate links may be in this post. Thank you for supporting this blog.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Memoria Press D'Aulaires' Greek Myths Review

My family had the privilege of trying the D'Aulaires' Greek Myths from Memoria Press for this review to use in conjunction with our own homeschool curriculum. This is a Schoolhouse Review Crew Review. All opinions expressed are my own or those of my family.

Memoria Press is a family-run publishing company that produces simple and easy-to-use classical Christian education materials for home and private schools. It was founded by a woman named Cheryl Lowe in 1994. They currently have preschool through ninth grade in most of their curriculum and some through twelfth grade. They also cover subjects in: Classical Core Curriculum, Latin, Classical Studies, Christian Studies, Logic & Rhetoric, Phonics & Early Reading, Penmanship, Literature & Poetry, American & Modern Studies, Writing & English Grammar, Science & Math, Greek, Modern Languages, Educational Resources, eBooks, Special-Needs, and Art & Music.

The D'Aulaires' Greek Myths is a great curriculum all about Greek Mythology. This set includes a book, student guide, teacher guide and flashcards. Geared towards 3rd through 6th grade it introduces students to the stories and tales of the Greek Gods and Goddesses. This is a great addition to a classical education and homeschool.

Set includes:
  • D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths
  • D'Aulaires' Greek Myths Student Guide
  • D'Aulaires' Greek Myths Teacher Guide
  • D'Aulaires' Greek Myths Flashcards

Teela reading the D'Aulaires' Greek Myths Book and some illustrations.

The D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths by Ingri & Edgar Parin d'Aulaire is not really by Memoria Press, but is still a very important part of the rest of the set and is sold with it. This over-sized volume has lovely illustrations with a beginning that talks about In Olden Times, Gaea (Mother Earth), and the Titans. It then goes into three main sections that talk about Zeus and his family, Minor Gods (nymphs, satyrs, and centaurs), and Mortal Descendants of Zeus. These sections go into each character or thing in greater detail. The book ends with an Index listing things in alphabetical order, giving page numbers to locate them within the book.

Teela working in the D'Aulaires' Greek Myths Student Guide Workbook.

The D'Aulaires' Greek Myths Student Guide by Cheryl Lowe & Leigh Lowe follows along with the Book by the D'Aulaires and covers about 30 lessons. This workbook has important facts to know, vocabulary, comprehension questions, a picture review, and activities section. It begins with a chapter on why we should study Greek Mythology and an explanation about how to use the guide. After each set of five lessons it has a review with write in, matching, vocabulary, map activities, and some drawing pages. The student guide ends with a final review (fill in missing information, identification, name and describe characters that match the category, short answer), Final Study Sheet, more than 100 Drill Questions for Greek Mythology, Greek Myths List, Maps, and a D'Aulaires' Pronunciation Guide.
The D'Aulaires' Greek Myths Teacher Guide by Cheryl Lowe & Leigh Lowe follows along with the Book by the D'Aulaires and covers the same 30 lessons as the student guide. This has the answers for easy correcting and grading. It also has all the tests and their answer keys as well.

Teela using the D'Aulaires' Greek Myths Flashcards as a learning aid.

The D'Aulaires' Greek Myths Flashcards are a set of 107 flashcards. These contain short descriptions on one side and the corresponding person, place, or thing on the other. These flashcards are to be used as review with the rest of the curriculum. Memoria Press sends them as nine sheets of twelve (one is a place keeper with the barcode, D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths Flashcards, and a copyright 2011 Memoria Press printed on it) that you will have to punch out yourself.

How We Used This and Our Thoughts:

Even though my daughter Teela is in second grade she reads at a fifth-sixth grade reading level. This is why I picked her to do the reading and work from the workbook for testing the products of the D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths Set. I knew she could handle it.

We have done a lot of classical studies in our homeschool. My older children, my two sons, have had the majority of the studies having to do with Greek Mythology though. Their studies have included: The Iliad and The Odyssey, Shakespeare, and Argonautica. They also have read a very popular book series, called Percy Jackson & The Olympians. All of these books and some of the plays by William Shakespeare have to do with Greek Mythology in some regard. Also, a lot of our pop culture gives a nod to these Greek stories. Take the Apollo Space Program or the Xena Warrior Princess TV series for example. In order to better understand our society and pop culture Greek Mythology needs to be taught. This is why I feel that Greek Mythology should be taught in our homeschool classroom. It is a part of our history and a large part of the world around us, whether we want to admit it or not. Even though this is true, since I am a Christian I do point out to my children that each of these Greek gods were envisaged to only have a small part of what our GOD encompasses. We believe our GOD is omnipotent (all seeing and all knowing) and has power over all.

My two daughters who are the youngest have not really had a chance to be a part of this slice of classical education. The other studies I was doing with my boys were too complicated for the girls to follow and my very youngest was not ready to learn about the Greek Myths anyway. This is why I love the D'Aulaires' Greek Myths Set sold by Memoria Press. Teela was the perfect candidate for these studies. The reading book was perfect for her reading level and she did not have any trouble with the workbook tasks. This book is written with younger children in mind and does not go into anything too explicit or graphic. It has gorgeous illustrations on every page and was even engaging to my youngest. She loved flipping through the pages looking at the drawings.

We also thought the flashcards were very handy to have with the set. Besides containing a small amount of information these are also numbered. These numbers correspond to the what chapter the information on them is found. We used these to further aid in learning the Greek Myths.

I found the teacher's guide very convenient and thorough. I had all the answers at my fingertips and I did not have to read the D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths myself, even though I did. As a homeschooling teacher, I actually highly recommend reading the whole book even though they spell it all out for you in the teacher's guide, because you get more out of the lessons as well and can discuss everything about it with the student.

I highly recommend the Memoria Press D'Aulaires' Greek Myths Set. It is great for learning more about classical education and our own pop culture. We enjoyed this homeschooling curriculum very much and learned so much along the way.

You can purchase the D'Aulaires' Greek Myths Set on the Memoria Press website for $57.

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Logic, Greek Myths and Astronomy Memoria Press Review

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