Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Guitar 360 Method Review

Affiliate links may be in this posting. Thanks for supporting my blog. I had the privilege of trying the Semester 1 Bundle (including 5 weeks of Absolute Beginner bonus content + the 13 weeks of Semester 1) from Guitar 360 Method for this review to use in conjunction with our own homeschool curriculum. This is a Homeschool Review Crew Review. All opinions expressed are my own or those of my family.

The Guitar 360 Method is an online guitar video course taught by Krisz Simonfalvi. Krisz started playing guitar at age 6, played for 6 years, but never got into it until in his late teens because his teacher never taught him how to understand the instrument. He has since toured with bands, recorded in studios, and produced his own music. Krisz has a unique approach to teaching guitar that he started teaching others in 2009. He has mentored hundreds of students in North America and Europe, ages 4-74. He has taught everyone from the absolute beginner to the professional and everything in between. In 2016 he started teaching at Visible Music College and launched the Guitar 360 Method in 2017. He is expecting to be putting out more courses in 2019, such as Keys 360 Method, Drums 360 Method, etc.

When you login you will be directed to "My Library".

The Semester 1 Bundle includes 5 weeks of Absolute Beginner bonus content plus 13 weeks of instruction in Semester 1. This is an online course, not a subscription, so the content doesn't expire. This content is best for those ages 15 and up and is especially good for those that have personal desire and drive to want to learn guitar. This course is perfect for kids who want to play in a band or write their own music. It is great for those that are absolute beginners to guitar players that might have been playing for a while, but want to understand better what they are doing. This course builds musical confidence, freedom, and creativity. Krisz is working with Visible Music College to get Dual Accreditation for Home Schoolers for this course (available 2019).

Krisz's unique approach to teaching this course is built around non-linear, Cyclical Pedagogy, so that all of the knowledge acquired connects to everything else that the student is learning. This is not just learning the songs or just guitar musical theory. The lessons build upon the last and provide the information again, but a more in depth version.

Free Guitar Course for Beginners Week 1 Overview and Layout. These lessons are check marked once done.

In the Absolute Beginner bonus content (free guitar course for beginners + songs) you will get comfortable with the guitar, how it works, how you play basic notes on it. After completing the beginners course there are two bonus songs you get to learn as well, "Don't Stop Believing" by Journey and "Rejoice" by Israel Houghton. The bonus lessons parts are based on the songs sections, for example: introduction & verse, pre-chorus, chorus, practice, and performance.

Bonus Song Lesson #1 Overview and Layout.

Overview of FREE Guitar Course for Beginners:
  • Week 1 - Basics: Parts of Guitar, Left Hand, Right Hand, Tuning, 4-Finger Warm Up, etc.
  • Week 2 - First Chords and Strumming Patterns
  • Week 3 - Everything Learned into Playing Our First Song
  • Week 4 - Bonus Song Lesson #1
  • Week 5 - Bonus Song Lesson #2

Semester 1 Week 1 Overview and Layout.

In the Semester 1 course you learn more music theory, how to combine notes together, and creating your own music. Semester 1 students go from beginner level to playing confidently in any key, anywhere on the neck in the 13 weeks of instruction.

Overview of Semester 1:
  • Week 1 - Learn Fundamental Chord Shapes and a Textural, 16th Note Approach to Strumming
  • Week 2 - Learn Basic Music Theory
  • Week 3 - Learn the First Scale, Foundational Element in Practical Music Theory, & Improvised Solos
  • Week 4 - Adding Texture and Variety to Rhythm Guitar Playing
  • Week 5 - Adding the Minor Scale & String Bending
  • Week 6 - Chords, Chord Progression and Musical Keys
  • Week 7 - Application of Understanding Intervals, Chords and Scales (G Key)
  • Week 8 - Extending Rhythm Guitar Range and Tonal Options
  • Week 9 - Learning to Play Any Key
  • Week 10 - Playing Scales (Melodies) in a Variety of Approaches Across the First 12 Frets
  • Week 11 - Apply All Knowledge From Previous Lessons in Any Key, Any Situation
  • Week 12 - Final Rhythm Guitar Practice Week (Available Soon)
  • Week 13 - Final Lead Guitar Practice Week (Available Soon) 

Me learning with Krisz and the Guitar 360 Method.

How I Used This and My Thoughts:

I had been given a really nice used Starcaster Fender Guitar a long while ago and it unfortunately has just been collecting dust just sitting because I hadn't had the time to actually learn how to play it. When I learned that the Homeschool Review Crew was reviewing Guitar 360 Method I was very interested. I was super excited to try these lessons and since they are online and never expire I can take all the time I need to learn. Also, after I learn, my children can also since we only have the one guitar.

I started with the beginners course because that is what I am with the guitar. I have had previous music lessons with learning on a violin and singing. Guitar, I learned, is very different from the violin. Although the steel strings of my guitar didn't hurt my fingers because I am used to playing a violin, I did have to get used to holding the guitar and placing my fingers on frets, which since my hands are small is a bit of a challenge reaching them all.

Me practicing my warm-ups 🎸 and posing for a quick picture 😀

I loved that all of the courses are divided out into smaller lessons. These bite size video lessons are about 2-7 minutes long. This is so you can go back and find a section easily instead of having to rewind through a long video to find it. I regularly went back and forth through the lessons to practice a section more so I could perfect it or to help me remember something better. I found that I really enjoyed these short videos better than really long ones. In the beginners course you even get to learn how to play "No One" by Alicia Keys on guitar. After each lesson you can either mark it as completed or it does once you have watched the whole video. You can see this with orange check marks beside the lessons you have completed.

I did look ahead to see whet Semester 1 has in store for me. In these weekly courses they each have a goal at the beginning and practice at the end. Some of them also have listening by ear lessons and quizzes too. The content will expand your learning even more about how to play better on the guitar.

I still need a lot of work and practice getting up to speed and skill on the warm-ups and chords before I am going to try to delve into the lessons deeper, but I am getting better at getting fingering and strumming down and I can hear my progress happening. Krisz is a very thorough teacher and his methods have been very rewarding to my learning guitar. I am very excited to further my guitar music education with Semester 1 once I feel I am ready.

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The regular price of the Guitar 360 Method is $149, which includes the 3-week Beginners' Course, Semester 1 (13 weeks long), and the 2 Bonus Song mini-courses.

Kris Simonfalvi, the instructor and author of these guitar lessons, is offering a discount to my blog readers, 20% off the same lessons we reviewed! Just use the coupon code HOMESCHOOL20 when you check out. With the Coupon Code, your investment will be only $119.20 for 10+ hours of video content!

Read other homeschool curriculum reviews for Guitar 360 Method...
Guitar Lessons with Krisz Simonfalvi {Guitar 360 Method Reviews}

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Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Kidzaw.com Master Kitz The Starry Night Review

My family had the privilege of trying the Master Kitz The Starry Night from Kidzaw.com for this review to use in conjunction with our own art homeschool curriculum. This is a Homeschool Review Crew Review. All opinions expressed are my own or those of my family.

Kidzaw.com is a children's art company that is devoted to education and inspiration of young artists. Their Master Kitz line exposes kids to the great painters of the past and their history by giving them tools to make a similar art piece and read about the artist. This hands-on experience is great for people ages 5+!

Master Kitz The Starry Night is a Master Kitz that teaches about Vincent van Gogh, his art piece The Starry Night, and other contributions. You or your child can create your own version of The Starry Night with the included contents and instructions in the kit. Then you can read about the famous painter in the learning materials that are provided. All the materials for two paintings are included. The box it comes in can also be used as a art storage box when the art pieces are completed and the left over supplies can be used for other art projects as well.

Top: Contents, Bottom: learning materials opened up to show instructions.

Included in the Master Kitz The Starry Night:
  • Reusable Artist’s Tool Box
  • Three Custom Paint Colors (acrylics, child friendly)
  • Custom Van Gogh Paint Roller
  • Five Artist Quality Oil Pastels (child friendly)
  • Two Pieces Deluxe Art Paper – 16″ x 20″
  • Reusable Composition Stencil (Starry Night Cyprus Stencil)
  • Sponge Paint Roller
  • Low Tack "Mesmerizing Stars" Mask Sticker Sheet
  • Van Gogh Learning Materials
  • Easy-to-follow Instructions

Zari getting Kidzaw.com Master Kitz The Starry Night for her birthday and her ready to do art!

How We Used This and Our Thoughts:

We received a gift card to purchase Master Kitz The Starry Night ourselves from Amazon to facilitate this review.  It shipped out in a timely manner so that my youngest daughter, who is 8 now, could receive it in time for her birthday party on October 20th. She had ample amount of time to also do the project as well.

The box that the kit came in was very nice. It had a rope handle to carry it and flipped open when the tape on the sides was removed. It is sturdy with magnetic closures. When we opened the box we saw that the art paper and stencil were rolled up so they would fit better in the box. Everything was included to make two art pieces if we wanted to.

My youngest daughter Zari did the art project for this review. We were instructed to place something down to minimize the mess, but my kitchen table is old and has had many an art project grace its surface, so we opted not to. Zari needed assistance doing the Master Kitz The Starry Night because she has trouble reading, so I helped her by first reading the learning materials about van Gogh and then read the instructions, helping her step-by-step through them.

The Vincent Van Gogh Learning Materials that I read to her were short and to the point, but still very informative. We learned about Vincent van Gogh, his life, and his art. We also were given a sort of timeline about his art style and how it changed throughout his life. Inside this pamphlet, if you were to unfold it, were the step-by-step instructions in English in color for the project. A black and white copy of just the step-by-step instructions in other languages was also present (French, German, Italian, and Spanish). If I were doing this project in a different language I would also want not only the instructions, but the learning materials to be translated as well, but they were not.

Zari doing the steps to the Master Kitz The Starry Night art project.

The instructions were very straight forward and easy to follow. The first instruction tells us to tape down the art paper to the surface. Since it was rolled up we had to first "put the stencil in between the two sheets of paper and roll in the opposite direction a couple of times to straighten them" like it said to. This straightened it a little, but we needed to tape it down pretty well in order for it to not creep out of the tape and try to roll back up again. I liked that this art project uses different art tools and applications for doing the painting. Although this wasn't really how Vincent van Gogh himself did the swirling layered brush strokes for his own The Starry Night painting, it made the project more interesting. The star mask stickers once applied, were a bit difficult to pull off without destroying them, so I would suggest to Kidzaw.com to make a second set of these as well for the kits so the second painting can be made without fuss. Also, I suggest to the people who buy one of these kits to not wash the stencil or even wipe to clean because it falls apart, instead just reuse after the paint has dried onto it. Thankfully I was being lazy, so I didn't wash mine. My daughter liked the paint roller parts the best. I had to hold down the stencil in places so that when the paint was applied it didn't seep under where it shouldn't be. The paint dried quickly and she had fun with the oil pastels doing the finishing touches her own way.

Master Kitz The Starry Night finished art piece.

The Kidzaw.com Master Kitz The Starry Night is a wonderful art kit with lots of potential. If Kidzaw.com added another star sticker sheet and the learning materials in the other languages then it would be so much better and more inclusive. We loved learning more about Vincent van Gogh and my daughter had a lot of fun making the art. She definitely put her own flair into making her own version of The Starry Night. She even added some wind/clouds like the original has I can't wait to have my other daughter, who is 10, do one for herself to see how she will make hers different. These come out so good that I will be framing them for the girl's room. I recommend this to others that want to offer art instruction at home. These are great for gifts as well. I can't wait to try out their other Master Kitz.

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You can purchase Kidzaw.com Master Kitz The Starry Night on Amazon or from Kidzaw.com here.

Read other homeschool curriculum reviews for Kidzaw.com...
Master Kitz The Starry Night {Kidzaw.com Reviews}

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Thursday, October 11, 2018

Brinkman Adventures Season 6: Underground Rising, Digital Version Review

My family had the privilege of trying the Season 6: Underground Rising, Digital version from Brinkman Adventures for this review to use in conjunction with our own homeschool curriculum. This is a Homeschool Review Crew Review. All opinions expressed are my own or those of my family.

Brinkman Adventures are audio missionary dramas that are about the action packed stories of the fictional Brinkman family. These audio dramas are based on true events. Since they are missionary stories they talk about Christian values, bible verses and stories, and sharing about Christ to others. These are faith-building and help inspire little ones to come unto Christ and follow Him.

There are now 6 seasons of Brinkman Adventures total. Season 6 is called Underground Rising and has 6 episodes. In these 6 episodes there are four stories (two have two parts). These episodes are each about 30 minutes long. You can pick from physical or digital. You can also listen to previews of episodes on the website.

Here are the Contents:

55 – Dutch Underground Part 1 {About the second World War in Holland featuring Reng and Lynn VanKesteren in the Netherlands. The theme is about resisting evil.}
56 – Dutch Underground Part 2 {About the World War II in Holland/Netherlands featuring Reng and Lynn VanKesteren in the Netherlands. The theme is about helping even when it is risky.}
57 – Twice Born Fly {About the Brinkman Family in Wisconsin. The theme is salvation.}
58 – I Wonder Why? {About Brian and Kelly Wonder, a missionary family that went to India. The theme is about trusting God’s plan.}
59 – Free Burma Rangers Part 1 {Follows the life of Dave Eubank through his schooling as a Green Beret to the mission field in Burma. Takes place in Thailand and the USA. The theme is "Can God use a warrior?".}
60 – Free Burma Rangers Part 2 {About the Missionaries Dave and Karen Eubank in Myanmar/Burma. The theme is "God guides us even when He feels distant".}

How We Used This and Our Thoughts:
We received Brinkman Adventures Season 6: Underground Rising as a digital downloadable ZIP file. The episodes are in MP3 format. I downloaded them onto my computer and then unzipped them to a folder. The episodes are about 30 minutes long which is perfect for a car trip or devotion time at home as a family. You are welcome to burn them onto CDs yourself after purchase or play them on an MP3 player.

I had heard of Brinkman Adventures, but never had the opportunity to listen to them until now. The Brinkman Adventures have moved to a six episode release structure, so this season is about half the size of their previous seasons, 3 hours rather than 5+.

I loved the two part episode, Dutch Underground, about the Brinkman kids' Great Grandmother, Lynn VanKesteren, whom they call Omi, and her adventures in Holland/Netherlands during World War II with her husband Reng. I thought the scene where Lynn was jailed was funny because of her antics. I am so thankful for people like them who risked their lives to save Jews and others that were being persecuted back then. It just goes to show that when you trust the Lord and do what you know is right even when the path is fraught with danger He will take care of you and keep you safe from harm.

Twice Born Fly was a great story even if the Father of the Brinkmans dreamed the whole thing. I loved how the dream was action packed and in the end had parallels with Jesus Christ's sacrifice for us for our salvation. I also think it is wonderful what happens to Charlie Brinkman.

I Wonder Why? is a story about a missionary family that goes to India to help orphaned children. In this episode Sam, an 11 year old girl, is the main character with her two brothers Huck and Joey and her parents, Brian and Kelly Wonder. Huck has awful food allergies, but the family trusts in the Lord to go to India on an evangelical missionary trip. After Huck has a bad allergy episode Sam ends up questioning why they are there. I could relate to Huck as I had bad asthma attacks when I was a child. I know that my parents were scared when I couldn't breath...it was scary for me too. I love the surprise ending of this story.

Free Burma Rangers is a two part episode about Dave Eubank and his life from school age, becoming a Green Beret to eventually marrying Karen and both of them going to Myanmar/Burma on a mission. They went there to help the Wa tribe and work alongside government officials to help local farmers replace their opium crops with healthier solutions. They founded the Free Burma Rangers which helped bring aid to people in attack zones and help them escape. They also built Good Life Clubs at IDP (refugee) camps. This was a great story and very eye opening to the wars in Burma.

Real Stories on the website.

On the website for Brinkman Adventures we found information about the Real Stories behind the episodes. These have major spoilers, so I suggest you listen to the dramatized audio shows first before you read about them here. Click on the links on the side or the pull down menu at the top to go to the correct season. For season 6 we learned that the sound of Reng's steps you hear in the audio are made with a pair of his actual boots and the sound of the board being removed from the hole is the actual one in the house in Holland where Reng and Lynn lived during the war! We also watched a video about the maggot to fly transformation, what rove beetles look like, watched a video of a ranger doing a water jump out of a plane, and listen to audio clips of the real people telling parts of their stories, etc.

They also have neat podcasts that you can listen to as well. These are free and are about the production, people behind the scenes, facts, etc. about the audio dramas. These have spoilers as well, so make sure you listen to the audio episodes first before listening to the podcasts.

The Brinkman Adventures Season 6: Underground Rising was a great addition to our supplemental education at home. We enjoyed listening to and learning about the stories. I am glad we tried the Brinkman Adventures and love that you are able to start anywhere in the series.

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Here is a coupon code: FALL10 which is good for 10% off Brinkman Adventures products and live from October 10th - the 31st.

Read other homeschool curriculum reviews for Brinkman Adventures Season 6: Underground Rising, Digital version...
Brinkman Adventures Season 6 Reviews

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Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Learn About Holistic and Herbal Options for ADHD, Cognition, and Focus From Herbal Academy

The Herbal Academy provided me with this promotional information and offer to share with my readers. Affiliate links may be in this posting. Thanks for supporting my blog.

Are you, a loved one, co-worker, or a client constantly feeling disorganized, struggling to stay on task, losing focus, or regularly running late?

October is ADHD Awareness Month! ADHD is an increasingly common condition in the US, and according to the Centers for Disease Control, nearly 10% of American children (more than 6 million) have been diagnosed with ADHD. The National Resource on ADHD notes that ADHD often persists into adulthood, affecting approximately 10 million adults!

While ADHD and related cognitive concerns can seem daunting, the goods news is that there are numerous holistic and herbal options that can help support those with these concerns. Are you looking for experienced guidance with herbal and lifestyle options to help navigate your way down this holistic path?

You’re in luck!

The Herbal Academy has teamed up with Maria Noël Groves, author and herbalist extraordinaire, to bring you this Herbs for ADHD, Cognition, and Focus Intensive which takes a close look at Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) along with a careful selection of herbs to support those with ADHD as well as other cognition and focus concerns. This 3-part series is being offered for a limited time! I reserved my seat in class, and cannot wait to begin this journey.

Herbs for ADHD Intensive enrolling thru October, 21st

So join us! The Herbarium’s Herbs for ADHD, Cognition, and Focus Intensive is now open on the Herbal Academy website for registration through Sunday, October 21st (but you can start whenever)! With registration, gain access to this entire 3-session series for only $39!

The Herbs for ADHD, Cognition, and Focus Intensive is available on the Herbal Academy for a limited time. However, you can also get this full Intensive along with a library of Intensive Short Courses included in your membership to The Herbarium!

The Herbarium currently boasts of three exclusive Intensive Workshops, with many more in development as we speak!


For a $45 annual membership (only $5 more than paying for the single intensive), you will get:

This Herbs for ADHD, Cognition, and Focus Intensive The Clinical Practice: Supporting Clients with Stress Intensive Natural Approaches to the Management of PCOS: Finding Balance Intensive Privy to future Intensive offerings

Along with access to:

The Herbarium’s exclusive Plant Monograph Database boasting over 130 herbal profiles Herbal ebooks and media offerings valued up to $9.99 each An ever-expanding collection of in-depth herbal resources including articles, presentations, videos, and podcasts from brilliant herbal minds from around the globe.

Herbs for ADHD Intensive enrolling thru October, 21st

For an easy, non-committal registration, sign up for this Intensive on the Herbal Academy! There are 2 ways to sign up:

Get the ADHD Intensive + Sign up for The Herbarium here!
Or sign up for the ADHD Intensive as a solo workshop here!

Sign up by Sunday, 10/21 to reserve your seat. Begin whenever you are ready!

DISCLOSURE/DISCLAIMER: I wrote this post to let my readers know about this free course. My thoughts are mine and my family's own opinion and have not been altered by anyone else. Affiliate links may be in this posting. Thanks for supporting my blog.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Darn Good Yarn Sales and How To Crochet

Darn Good Yarn provided me with this promotional information and offer to share with my readers. All opinions expressed are my own or those of my family. Affiliate links may be in this posting. Thanks for supporting my blog.

Buy 1 Pair of Socks Get 1 FREE! | Must Add 2 Pairs to Your Cart

Summer Clearance Sale - RECYCLED INDIAN SARI SILK WRAP SKIRT - Now only $24.99 | was $69.00. You Save 63% ($44.01)

DISCLOSURE/DISCLAIMER: Thanks to Darn Good Yarn for providing me this promotion information. 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 posting this promo. Affiliate links may be in this posting. Thanks for supporting my blog.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Cave Tools BBQ Grill Light / Bicycle Light Review

I received the Cave Tools BBQ Grill Light free to facilitate this review. Affiliate links may be in this posting. Thanks for supporting my blog.

Cave Tools is a great online store to find BBQ: tools & accessories, charcoal grills, recipe books, apparel, and gift ideas. They have a great selection of things from tool sets & grill baskets to grill racks & a portable charcoal grill. Find your barbecue and grilling needs at Cave Tools!

Cave Tools BBQ Grill Light features and it in service on my grill.

BBQ Grill Light Features:
  • Illuminates the Entire Grill - provides 100 + Lumens which is the same used in tactical applications for security guards, police and fireman.
  • Fits Any Handle - Upgraded handle clamp fits on rectangular and circular bars for 100% compatibility. Can also be used for bike lighting or any other flashlight needs.
  • Fully Adjustable - Unique 360 degree lamp rotation works in any position.
  • Extremely Durable - Water & Heat Resistant design is built to last. Built to withstand hot temperatures on the grill and nighttime grilling in the rain.
  • Comes With 25 Professional Barbecue Recipes - Step by step instructions and detailed grilling tutorial videos. Free Download Meat Smoking Journal iOS & Android App.
  • The Perfect Gift Idea - Comes in an attractive gift box that can also be used for Easy Storage.
  • Lifetime Satisfaction Guarantee - If at any point you are unhappy with your barbecue grill light you can return it for a full money back refund. They take customer service that seriously.

Our Thoughts:
The Cave Tools BBQ Grill Light is a wonderful light source when you are grilling at dusk, dawn, or nighttime when light isn't at its best. This light attaches easily to any grill bar. It is so much better than fumbling in the dark with a flash light in one hand and spatula in the other...trying to open the grill and see if your meat or grilled veggies, etc. are done. This light definitely helps shine a light on your subject hands free. Just tap on the logo to turn it on or off. I; however, didn't find that it had three brightness settings like the website says.

I left the Cave Tools BBQ Grill Light out in the rain and the clamp now has rust, light still works though.

I do like that it is water and heat resistant too, so even with the heat of the grill and rain of the Pacific Northwest it says it will last. I tested this and left it out in the rain. It still worked after being thoroughly drenched, but I did notice that the screw to attach it to the grill hood handle was rusty now. If it doesn't last there is no need to worry because there is a sweet lifetime guarantee!

The Cave Tools BBQ Grill Light works well as a bicycle light as well.

We also love this light for another reason. It also works with our bicycles! The Pacific Northwest is a great place to bike, but having the correct gear is key. I love this light because it can clamp on a bike and help illuminate the road and make drivers more aware of you when it is dark out. This makes biking safer and less dangerous.

All in all, we think the Cave Tools BBQ Grill Light is great and we highly recommend it.

Official Website: https://cavetools.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CaveToolsGrilling
Twitter: https://twitter.com/CaveTools @CaveTools
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/cavetools/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/cavetools/
Google+: +Cave Tools
YouTube: http://cavetoolsvideos.com/

At Amazon or Cave Tools.

Cave Tools Coupon Code: BBQ Grill Light 15% Off: BBQLIGHT15

DISCLOSURE/DISCLAIMER: I received this product for free 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 can be found in this post. Thank you for your support of this blog!   

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Roman Roads Media Fitting Words Classical Rhetoric Review

My family had the privilege of trying the Fitting Words Classical Rhetoric (complete program) from Roman Roads Media for this review to use in conjunction with our own homeschool curriculum. This is a Homeschool Review Crew Review. All opinions expressed are my own or those of my family.

Roman Roads Media is a publisher of classical curriculum with a Christian worldview. Named "Roman Roads" for the first century roads of the Roman Empire that were the physical means by which the early church spread the gospel far and wide. Similarly Roman Roads Media now brings instruction through today's technology and media. Some of the curriculum they offer is Picta Dicta, a Latin learning curriculum, and Fitting Words Classical Rhetoric, the course I am reviewing here. You can see more on their website.

Fitting Words Classical Rhetoric is a complete curriculum for high school students and above to learn classical rhetoric. Rhetoric, if you are not familiar with the word,  is "a technique of using language effectively and persuasively in spoken or written form. It is an art of discourse, which studies and employs various methods to convince, influence, or please an audience". Basically it means speaking eloquently or having a way with words. This course covers a years worth of instruction, discussing topics such as: using words well, the greatest speeches of all time, and practicing the skills of effective public speaking. It teaches a Christian worldview  of this and references Bible passages in the course.

The Full Fitting Words Bundle Includes:
  • Textbook
  • Student Workbook
  • Answer Key
  • Exam Pack
  • Video Course

Fitting Words Textbook Sample Pages

The Fitting Words Textbook is a hardback non-consumable textbook that has single-column pages and wide margins. The beginning of the textbook there is a Foreword, Preface, and Introduction. There are more than 100 black and white original illustrations throughout the book. These are of classical style and are a wonderful addition to the text. There are 30 total lessons that encompass the five cannons of rhetoric. The text also covers the six parts of a discourse, the three modes of persuasion, etc. Included within are great speeches from ancient, biblical, and modern times to help clarify the ideas in the book. It has 12 of the main speeches reproduced in full in Appendix A at back of the book. In Appendix B it pin points every speech in the Bible with the scripture referenced so you can look it up, who the speaker is, the intended audience, and a title or quote from each. In the back there is also a Glossary of words, their definitions, and where they can be located in the text. There is also pages of works cited. It is a complete curriculum for classical rhetoric that is packed with resources.

The Fitting Words Student Workbook is a spiral bound consumable workbook that covers exercises and activities for all the 30 lessons detailed in the curriculum. Several of these lessons that have two exercises. It starts out with an introduction of sorts that goes into the "Components of This Course" and says the "Optional Course Schedules" should be there as well, but all I saw was a "How to Use This Workbook"page in its place. The lesson exercises follow these pages with questions the student answers in their own words about things discussed in the textbook and video course. This is to be completed by one student. After the lesson exercises there are pages that cite the works in the exercises and sheets to help the student evaluate themselves when they practice the required speeches.

The Fitting Words Answer Key is a paperback book that includes answers to all the exercises and exams covered in the Fitting Words curriculum. Its layout complements the layout of both exercises and exams to make grading easier. Brackets let us know point recommendations for exams. The one and two year course schedules are also incorporated (which is good because it wasn't in the workbook like it said in the contents that it should have been).

The Fitting Words Exam Pack comes as a shrink wrapped loose leaf packet. These are also 3 hole punched to be able to place in 3-ring binder. This includes all nine exams that cover the crucial ideas for the course. Test review sheets and speech judging sheets are also contained therein. This is 70 pages total.

Fitting Words Classical Rhetoric Video Course.

The Fitting Words Video Course is a thorough instruction from the author that takes the learning one step further and adds a more visual component to it. Each lesson has two videos, one on the lesson and the other on application. These include: numerous examples, illustrations, videos demonstrating good oratory from history, extra activities, and more. There is also a preparation video for each of the 9 tests. You can pick from just streaming, DVD + streaming, or Blu-Ray + streaming.

How We Used This and Our Thoughts:
I thought I could use this with my 18 year old, Delbin, to enhance his speaking skills and rhetoric, but after he looked it over and did one of the lessons he said it wasn't really for him. I was a bit crestfallen as I had hoped that he would be more enthusiastic about this course and want to do it because I did believe wholeheartedly that it would benefit him. Nonetheless, since the curriculum is geared towards high school and up I took up the charge in doing the lessons myself for this review, since I actually wanted to do the course anyway.

The tote bag that the course arrived in.

I was previously unaware of Roman Roads Media and pleasantly surprised when everything came in the mail. It was all very high quality and neatly contained in a tote bag that you could store everything in. I liked that everything could stay organized inside where you could find it easily. It was a nice touch that made everything even better.

The recommended steps for doing the course were different online than on the video course...

Recommended Steps While Going Through Fitting Words from the Video Course:
  1. Watch the Lesson portion of the Video Course.
  2. Read the lesson in the Textbook.
  3. Watch the Application portion of the Video Course (workbook open).
  4. Work on the exercises in the Student Workbook.
  5. Where appropriate, put the application/workbook to practice!
I was a little confused about this, but decided to do what the instructor says to do in the video lessons. I suppose it doesn't really matter too much which order you do it in as long as it works for you. The one-year schedule has you meet 4-5 times a week, doing 1-2 lessons per day and has two semesters of work. The two-year schedule has you do a lesson per week roughly with it taking two years to complete. The one-year pace was a bit fast for me so I slowed it down to not overwhelm myself.

Delbin watching the first lesson in the Fitting Words Video Course.

We received the physical DVDs for the Video Course. There were a total of 4 discs. Disc One had lessons 1-11, Disc Two had lessons 12-17, Disc Three had lessons 18-23, and Disc Four had lessons 24-30. Over 18 hours of instruction total. Each video lesson is not too long and showed mostly the author in his study or library speaking from a podium. He is speaking from notes that he often looks down at...which is a little ironic since he is a speaker that is supposed to be teaching good speaking skills...but hey, nobody is perfect. All in all though I did enjoy these video lessons, especially when popular culture references were brought up....like for example a scene from Star Trek or Star Wars with a great quote. Hey, what can I say...I am a fan girl of great Sci-Fi and really appreciated the references.

Delbin reading the first lesson in the Fitting Words Textbook.

The physical Textbook has almost 400 pages with 30 lessons spanned out through 7 units. The lessons are short, but well written and packed with information. After each lesson there are optional Thinking Deeper questions, Developing Memory builders, and Reading Further to offer additional resources to glean from. There are also Key Concepts and Famous Orators highlighted in the sidebars for each lesson. I love that it has appendixes of famous speeches in their full text and every speech from the bible that are referenced so you can look them up on your own and read them yourself. This is a wonderful tool to have at your fingertips!

A sample of my work in the workbook for Fitting Words Classical Rhetoric Exercise 4.

The physical workbook follows the textbook and video course well. It has plenty of room to write your answers on the lines to the questions asked, which is wonderful! Of note: on the website the picture of the workbook is a paper back softcover and it says there are perforated pages, but there are not any perforated pages in the version that I received. It looks like they might have made the workbook better by making it spiral bound. I really love this because the workbook now lays flat and is easier to handle when taking notes or answering the questions in it. I also liked the wide margins so that in case I wanted to write notes there I could do so. Besides the exercises to do, there are 5 speeches to give throughout the course. I didn't get to any of those yet myself, but when I do there are speech judging sheets at the back that will help others grade my work.

The physical answer key is great at providing answers to every exercise and exam. These answers are wonderful to see examples of what should be written in the workbook. These don't have answers like "answers will vary", instead they fully answer the questions with great examples in complete sentences. I am also glad to find the course schedule here since it was absent in the workbook.

I am so glad that this course also came with a physical pre-printed exam pack. This is so much better than having to print these pages out myself and hole punch them. My printer is on the fritz anyway and is very low on ink...so I really appreciate this addition to the bundle especially since it is 70 pages!

The Commonplace Book.

I have also been told by the author to keep a Commonplace Book. This is an out of pocket expense, but totally worth having. It is a blank book to write down quotes, excerpts, phrases, sayings, thoughts, wisdom, or witticism from what you read, hear, or see. This is to develop copiousness, or idea of being full of thought, words, or information.

Bookmark we also received as a bonus.

The Fitting Words Classical Rhetoric from Roman Roads Media is a wonderful and very complete curriculum for learning rhetoric. I recommend it very highly to any who want a Christian worldview about this subject and to teach this to their students at home or learn it yourself. It is a fabulous course for classical education!

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You can purchase the entire Fitting Words Classical Rhetoric bundle for $204.00 or you can get them separately through Roman Roads Media.

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Classical Rhetoric and Picta Dicta {Roman Roads Media Reviews}

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Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Reading Eggs 200 Essential Reading Skills for Second Grade Workbook Review

My family had the privilege of trying the 200 Essential Reading Skills for Second Grade from the brand new workbooks from Reading Eggs for this review to use in conjunction with our own homeschool curriculum. This is a Homeschool Review Crew Review. All opinions expressed are my own or those of my family.

Reading Eggs is an online program that helps kids learn better literacy through reading lessons, activities, and eBooks. Reading Eggs is made up of  5 different kids learning programs: Reading Eggs JR for ages 2-4, Reading Eggs for ages 4-5, Reading Eggs for ages 6-7, Reading Eggspress for ages 7-13, and Mathseeds for ages 3-9. These self-paced educational games are recommended for kids ages 2 to 13. They are created by a team of qualified teachers, educational writers, animators and web developers. These online reading programs will engage your child or student to keep learning.

Reading Eggs JR is an online reading game that teaches toddlers ages 2 to 4 words, sounds, and letters. These pre-reading skills are the first step to literacy. This has games, videos, and e-books to help motivate the younger child.

Reading Eggs is an online reading game that teaches kids ages 3 to 7. There are two parts: the lessons for ages 3 to 5 and the lessons for ages 6 to 7. The first teaches phonics, sight words, and essential reading skills needed to get ready for school. The second part gives the child practice with bonus activities and lessons that teach spelling, vocabulary, and comprehension skills.

Reading Eggspress is an online reading game that teaches kids ages 7 to 13, grades 1 to 6. This game continues the online learning from previous Reading Eggs lessons. This teaches structured comprehension, vocabulary, spelling and grammar with live games, an online library, and more!

Mathseeds is an online math learning game that teaches math for kids ages 3 to 9. This program teaches early math skills. Great for beginners and young children in their first years of school.

Reading Eggs Workbooks

Reading Eggs has brand new workbooks that coincide with the teaching in the online games. These have fun full color pictures on the pages as well as lessons to learn. There are both reading and math workbooks. The reading workbooks start with kindergarten and go all the way to 5th grade. The math workbooks start with kindergarten and go to the second grade level so far. The reading workbook lessons coincide with the online Reading Eggs and Reading Eggspress programs. The math workbook lessons coincide with the online Mathseeds program.

How We Used This and Our Thoughts:
We received an extension to our subscription to the online Reading Eggs suite for one student for three months. My daughter Zari is eight years old on October 19th and is just starting second grade this year. I thought she would like to do the Reading Eggs suite again since we hadn't had the subscription in a while. I picked the 2nd grade workbook that corresponded with her grade level she was going into. We also received a pdf copy and then later the physical copy of the 200 Essential Reading Skills for Second Grade workbook.

With each online reading program there are colorful graphics, characters, and designs to engage the student to keep going. There are fun games, videos, and e-books to also teach the concepts. The students are awarded golden eggs to be later used in the store to buy things for the house and avatar, etc. The navigation around the program is fairly simple. Zari liked that she could change the look of her avatar, buy things in the shop with golden eggs she acquired through doing well in the lessons, and see her certificates in the My Awards section. I loved that I could see her progress at a glance.

Family Dashboard: Bonus material pull down menu.

Also, in the Family Dashboard (the home page after signing in) there is bonus material under the menu of the same name. You can find Program Guides under this pull down menu. These are free and downloadable once logged in. These colorful, detailed week-by-week overviews help parents to see learning outcomes for children in Kindergarten through 2nd Grade. Each guide contains a 36-week teaching and learning sequence for Language Arts, Mathematics, Science and Social Studies. These map out online lessons, books, quizzes, and assessments. They also have free activity sheets that correspond to each lesson in both English and Spanish, a Parent User Guide for the suit, and The Eggsperts (a fun new series that your child can watch to hatch clues and solve problems by playing with letters and sounds).

Zari working in the 200 Essential Reading Skills for Second Grade workbook.

The 200 Essential Reading Skills for Second Grade workbook looked fun, colorful, and very educational. It has a glossy cover with full-color pages. It has 200 pages plus answers in the back to check the work. It covers comprehension, spelling, grammar, and review of these topics. The first couple pages are for the parent/teacher to read. In the beginning there is a welcome describing the 36-week program. It lays out the 5 days and what will be taught roughly for 15 minutes per day, plus the reviews...

  • Day 1: Comprehension lesson - Students read a text, annotate it, and answer questions about it.
  • Day 2: Comprehension lesson - This is similar to day one, but more in depth with annotation and short answer questions this time.
  • Day 3: Spelling lesson - Each lesson introduces spelling rules or patterns. Using a 20 word core list learners complete activities.
  • Day 4: Spelling lesson - Builds on proof-reading skills with words from Day 3 and provides 10 challenge words to extend the learners skills.
  • Day 5: Grammar lesson - Each lesson defines and explains a grammatical term in simple language with examples. This helps learners understand how the English language system works.
  • Reviews - Comprehensive reviews happen every 9 weeks to reinforce learning.

It also has the Contents and a Year Planner detailing what the year lessons should look like. After the beginning portion of the book is the actual workbook portion and then the answers at the end.

After receiving and looking through the first few pages of the workbook; however, I didn't think that Zari was ready for the information they were teaching right away. The 200 Essential Reading Skills for Second Grade workbook coincides with the Reading Eggspress lessons and Zari hadn't gotten there yet in the online program. So first we had to play catch up a little to get her where she needed to be to work out of the book. In retrospect I should have had her take the reading placement test/assessment again that they had so that I knew where she was at this time, but we had a pretty good gap in our subscription from the last time, so I just didn't know. It only will let your student take the placement test if you subscribe to the online lessons first. I would recommend that if you want to do the workbooks you have your child do the assessment first to see which part of the online series and book they actually are in before purchasing the workbooks. I wouldn't try to move ahead until the student is ready so they won't be frustrated.

Reading Eggspress Main Menu

We finally got caught up and now Zari is in Reading Eggspress. The workbook corresponds with the online activity, program, and lessons very nicely. It was wonderful having the physical workbook to review because I could see the quality of the book and pages myself and didn't have to print them out on my low quality printer. The first book pages that she did corresponded with a story called Go, Go Gecko within the Reading Eggspress iself. You can also find it in the "Library" in the Reading Eggspress main menu...just do a search for the book and you will be able to have your child read the full text of the eBook without going through the games if you want. The Covers of each eBook stories are found on day 2 of every week.

Reading Eggspress Library: Go, Go, Gecko eBook and quiz.

We loved this reading for kids duo. The Reading Eggs online suit is an excellent interactive game that teaches kids learning to read better and math skills. I definitely saw improvement in my daughter Zari's literacy skills. My daughter loves Reading Eggs interactive game for kids online. The workbooks are also an excellent resource in reinforcing the skills already learned in the online programs. I recommend both to anyone who homeschools or wants a reading supplement for their children or students aged 2-13 and a math supplement for their children aged 3-9. However, the online game and workbooks also work very well independently from one another.

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    Online Reading Eggs Suite {Reading Eggs Reviews}

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