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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    Wednesday, August 1, 2018

    Home School in the Woods Project Passport World History Studies: Ancient Greece Review

    My family had the privilege of trying the Project Passport World History Studies Ancient Greece from Home School in the Woods 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.

    Home School in the Woods is a family run business that creates Christian based history curriculum for homeschooling. This curriculum immerses your student in the topic. It is very hands-on with lapbooks, timelines, recipes, art, creative writing, notebook projects, dramatized audio theater, maps, crafts, projects, re-enactments, file-folder games, vocabulary to learn, etc.

    There are icons that help along one side and buttons that link to nice clear photos of the finished projects.

    The Project Passport World History Studies are a virtual trip through history. These are recommended for grades 3-8. There are two different versions you can purchase, a CD version or a digital download version. With the CD version everything that you access and print is on the CD. With the digital download version you download a zipped file, place all of the contents into a folder on your computer, and access it by the start.htm file that is in that folder. We received the digital download version. This "trip" is supposed to last roughly 8-12 weeks depending upon how quickly everything is completed. For Each Project Passport World History Study you make a passport and "luggage" folder to hold some of the stuff you print off and make along the journey. Each "trip" has 25 chapters called "stops", where you observe action-packed events and meet fascinating people along the way. At each stop you come to there will be "Guide Book Text" which is information for the student to read about a certain topic explored and a "Travel Itinerary" that covers the project choices and directions. There are also helpful icons that let you know what you will be doing and color photos of all the completed projects so you know how they are supposed to look like when finished. There are a lot of printables of information and projects to do. Masters are available for all printables. There are so many things to do on the trip, for example: creating a "Scrapbook of Sights" (notebook for storing the notebook projects), dining on local cuisine with the "Dining out Guide" (recipes to create food and drink that was popular in the area at the time), taking pictures ("Snapshot Moments in History" scrapbook timeline), reporting on important people and happenings (a newspaper creative writing assignment - In Ancient Greece study it is called "Greek Weekly"), making "souvenirs" to remember your stay (craft/art projects), dressing like the locals (clothing of the era: fun dress up craft), making a lapbook, playing games (file-folder games), collecting postcards, listening to tour guides (dramatized audio theater - there are 8 of these), and so much more!

    We found that there was a lot of preparation that needed to happen before getting started. There is a lot of things needing printed, items needing prepared for crafts and other projects, and general preparation of materials before one can begin the journey. The Travel Itinerary and Travel Planner: Quick Stop Itinerary helps with this a lot!

    You will need a few items to get you through the lessons:
    • Working Printer
    • Color and Black Ink for the printer to cover all the printing that will be happening
    • White and Colored Printer Paper
    • White and Colored Cardstock (this is best, but admittedly we didn't have any of this and used only white printer paper and it worked OK)
    • One 3-Ring Binder for the Guide Book (teacher binder for Introduction, Travel Tips, Travel Planner: Quick Stop Itinerary, Travel Itinerary, Guide Book Text, and Additional Resources)
    • One 3-Ring Binder for the Scrapbook of Sights (student binder for all notebook projects)
    • Colored File Folders or Colored Pocket Folders with Fasteners
    • Scissors and/or an X-acto Knife (when using an X-acto Knife you will need a thick piece of cardboard or self healing mat to use as a cutting surface)
    • Crayons, Markers, or Colored Pencils to color the pictures, if desired
    • Glue
    • Other Craft supplies specified for each of the different projects that your student wants to do

    This is what the HISTORY Through the Ages Project Passport World History Study: Ancient Greece covers:
    1. Laying the Foundation (Packing for the Trip)
    2. Laying the Foundation – Part II
    3. The Archaic Period
    4. Greek Government
    5. Athens
    6. Sparta
    7. Everyday Life — Part I
    8. Everyday Life — Part II
    9. Farming, Business, and Transportation
    10. Education, Oration, and Literature
    11. Science
    12. Medicine and Disease
    13. The Arts
    14. Philosophy
    15. Religion — Part I: Titans, Gods, and Monsters
    16. Religion — Part II: The Heroes & the People
    17. Warfare
    18. The Greco-Persian Wars
    19. The Golden Age and the Peloponnesian War
    20. Sparta, Thebes, and the Coming of the Macedonians
    21. Alexander the Great
    22. The Hellenistic Age
    23. The Greeks and the Jews
    24. Rediscovering Ancient Greece
    25. Final Stop - Packing Up!

    Teela coloring the Scrapbook of Sights Cover and Spine.

    How We Used This and Our Thoughts:
    I enlisted my daughter Teela who finished 4th grade this year to learn about Ancient Greece since she loved doing the Ancient Egypt and The Middle Ages study before. This is supposed to be for 3rd through 8th graders so most of the projects she did very well on. She did need my help with some of the more advanced projects and writing assignments and it took her a lot longer to get through some of the stops than it might have taken for my older boys. I learned quite a bit too while helping her with this study.

    Dining out Guide recipe: Yiaourti me Meli, a Greek yogurt treat.

    This study, like the first and second we did, was jam packed with information. I am glad that I already had experience doing this type of program because everything seemed to go faster. The instructions are not hard, but there is a lot of things to set up and print out initially and throughout the program....so be aware of that and set some time aside initially to get things done so you are not overwhelmed. We still have not gotten through all the stops, but we have enjoyed everything that we have done thus far. I love that it is from a biblical Christian perspective too.

    Teela making the Greek paper dolls and coloring their clothing.

    Teela really liked our project time together. She loves art and making things. She especially loved making paper dolls clothed in costume of the era. We also made some very yummy Yiaourti me Meli, a Greek yogurt treat, with the Dining out Guide recipe, which everyone enjoyed. We very much enjoyed the audio tour too. We are learning a lot along the stops and are enjoying every moment. I can't wait to try my hand at making Gyro meat and tzatziki sauce so that I may make my own Gyro sandwiches because I love them from Portland's Food Carts! Yum! Home School in the Woods Project Passport World History Studies are so much fun and great for hands-on history!

    Greek Gyros are yummy!

    I highly recommend the Project Passport World History Studies: Ancient Greece from Home School in the Woods. This is great for anyone homeschooling who might need some help with teaching about Ancient Greece in a highly educational, fun, and very hands-on way. This would also be perfect for those wanting something fun to do with their kids in the summer time. I am looking forward to reviewing more from Home School in the Woods in the future!

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    You can purchase the Project Passport World History Studies Ancient Greece download version for $33.95 and CD version for $34.95.

    Project Passport Ancient Rome

    Also hot off the press is their newest product... Ancient Rome, now available for purchase in download format! CD version coming in fall 2018.

    Read other homeschool curriculum reviews for Home School in the Woods...
    Hands-on-History, Project Passport, À La Carte Timelines and Time Travelers {Home School in the Woods Reviews}

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    Tuesday, July 31, 2018

    WriteBonnieRose Learning About Science Collection, Level 1 Review

    My family had the privilege of trying the Learning About Science Collection, Level 1 from WriteBonnieRose 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.

    WriteBonnieRose is a website created by Bonnie Rose, a regular contributor to Schoolhouse Teachers and The Old Schoolhouse® magazine for the past 6 years. WriteBonnieRose creates curriculum, and printables for homeschoolers. She has activity packs, coloring books, copywork, games, notebooking, and unit studies. You can find curriculum on subjects including: Geography, American History, World History, World War History, Holidays, Literature, Math, Missions, Reading & Writing, Science, Spelling, and Sports. She has curriculum for ages preschool through high school.

    The Learning About Science Collection has three different levels with the last level having a print and cursive version. Learning About Science Collection, Level 1 is the first of the levels and is a science curriculum for younger elementary students. With 172 pages total, it covers: life science, earth science, and physical science. These are in seven books that are in digital PDF format. These seven books explore these topics: how plants grow, common fruits and vegetables, animal habitats, senses and body systems, life cycles, the earth’s layers, earthquakes, volcanoes, states of matter, and more. This does not talk about the origins or age of the earth and all measurements are given in both English and Metric. Level 1 is perfect for grades 1-3.

    Learning About Science Collection, Level 1 Books:
    1. Familiar Plants and How They Grow: Key parts of a plant, what makes a plant, life cycle of flowering plants (14 pages)
    2. Fruits and Vegetables Around the World: 28 fruits and 28 vegetables (37 pages)
    3. Animal Habitats of the World: 78 animals, 18 habitats (51 pages)
    4. Our Senses and Systems and How They Work: 5 senses, major body systems (19 pages)
    5. Learning About Life Cycles: Life cycles of some popular animals (27 pages)
    6. Earth: Layers, Earthquakes, and Volcanoes: crust, mantle, outer core, and inner core; movement of plates, movement of magma (12 pages)
    7. Exploring States of Matter: 3 states of matter, how some matter can change states (12 pages)

    Zari working on the Familiar Plants and How They Grow section.

    How We Used This and Our Thoughts:
    Once ordered, Learning About Science Collection, Level 1 was sent to our email. From there it was downloadable and printable in PDF format. Each book is a separate file, so there are seven individual downloads plus a file for discussion helps.

    This homeschool science curriculum is great for younger children. In each lesson there are some paragraphs of information to read, some pictures to color, and some key spelling words to trace. I read the paragraphs to her and she would color the pictures and trace the words. The paragraphs are in a tone younger kids can understand. I love that it also incorporates practicing handwriting with the science and coloring. Then there is a review section in which the student is asked questions to see if they could remember the information. After this section there are pages that hold a review answer key for parents/teachers to check students work.

    I used this with my youngest daughter Zari who is going into 2nd grade. We did the first unit, Familiar Plants and How They Grow. We worked through this averaging three days a week during the review period. She learned about the key parts of plants like the seeds, flower, pistil, stamen, stem, and roots. She also learned about the plant life cycle. We would then explore online and outdoors on plants further. Both Teela and her even grew their own seedlings from flower seeds.

    Flower seedlings we grew from seed.

    She enjoyed learning more about plants in this lesson. She can't wait to learn more about the other subjects. We highly recommend the WriteBonnieRose Learning About Science Collection, Level 1 to other homeschooling kids grades 1-3. These are great as unit studies or a whole science curriculum. These would also be great as a starting point to then dig deeper into the subjects by looking up more information or hands on activities.

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    Learning about Science Collection Level 1

    You can save 50% on the bundled Learning About Science, Levels 1, 2, and 3 with coupon code REVIEWCREW50 through August 15, which means you can get each set of ebooks for $6 per set at https://writebonnierose.com/products-science/.

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    Learning About Science collections {WriteBonnieRose Reviews}

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    Saturday, July 28, 2018

    Benji & The Giant Kite Book Review and Giveaway

    I received this book free to facilitate this review. Affiliate links may be in this posting. Thanks for supporting my blog.

    Benji & The Giant Kite is a hardcover children's book that is by bestselling author Alan C. Fox with illustrations by Eefje Kuijl. This adorable book is the story of a child named Benji's experience of kite flying and earning money for a giant bright orange kite with hard work. Benji & the 24 Pound Banana Squash is based on a real-life event that happened when Alan Fox was eight. It teaches kids about patience, love, ambition, dedication, and perseverance and how working hard to earn money to achieve a goal can be so rewarding in the end.

    Our Thoughts and Spoilers:
    Benji & The Giant Kite is a wonderful story of a little boy and his determination. I love how Benji gets right to work and doesn't complain or fuss about how tough it is. He never gives up on his dream. He is determined to get the large orange kite that he saw in the store window even though it is expensive. Because of his "sweat equity" he earns the kite and is able to fly it.

    We loved this cute book and its lovely illustrations. The book starts from the beginning where Benji is watching others fly kites on a beach to where he lets the giant kite free to fulfill its destiny and soar high among the clouds. The pictures are fun to look at too. One picture shows the toy shop keeper showing Benji a box kite with nostalgic toys all around. Another shows his dog trailing behind Benji as Benji carries the giant kite down a sandy trail to get closer to the sea. My kids and I will treasure this book.

    My kids having fun flying kites.

    As a family we love to fly kites too. We also love to go to Once Upon A Breeze in Cannon Beach Oregon. It is the oldest kite shop on the Oregon Coast. It reminded me of the kite/toy shop in this book. Lincoln City Oregon also has a Summer and Fall Kite Festival each year. We have also been to the World Kite Museum and Store in Long Beach Washington which has over 1500 kites from 26 countries around the world. They also have the Washington State International Kite Festival that goes on annually every 3rd full week of August.

    Teela and Zari enjoying the Benji & The Giant Kite book.

    I suggest this sweet and endearing story to everyone. It is perfect for those who want to teach their children about how working hard and being committed pays off in the end. We love the adorable illustrations and wonderful story. Highly recommended!

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    DISCLOSURE/DISCLAIMER: I received this book 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!

    Wednesday, July 18, 2018

    Progeny Press The Green Book - eGuide Review

    My family had the privilege of trying the The Green Book - eGuide from Progeny Press 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.

    Progeny Press is a Christian based company that produces products that help with comprehension, critical analysis, and vocabulary study in literature and reading. They have a number of very nice literature based study guides and interactive e-guides that go with a number of classical, historical, and award winning books. They are always adding new titles to their list. All of their guides - whether book-bound, on CD, or downloaded - have exactly the same content.

    The Green Book eGuide is a great study guide for using in conjunction with the book by Jill Paton Walsh. The book is geared towards grades four to six and the guide grades three to five. The one we received is the interactive e-guide which means that it is able to have the answers entered and typed directly into the PDF and saved. You can additionally print the pages and have your student work on them off of the computer. The e-guides save you money because you do not have to pay shipping and handling. You can also grade the student's work directly on the PDF and make comments in the same file. All the guides, once purchased, can be reproduced for the teacher's/homeschooling parent's use in their own classroom or home. Once downloaded to your computer they are permanently available on your computer, and are yours and yours only. This guide is 57 pages total when printed.

    The eGuide covers a lot of ground. It has vocabulary that goes with the book with activities that help retention and growth. It talks about literary techniques like: In-context, similes, idioms, metaphors, mood, synonyms, imagery, foreshadowing, repetition, alliteration, juxtaposition, conflict, theme, circular narrative, etc. There are moral lessons and character values taken from the book. Activities and writing assignments are also included. There is a lot of other things too that it goes into. Take a look at the layout and contents below...

    Here is The Green Book's Study Guide Layout:

    • Study Guide Author
    • Note to Instructor (How to use the study guide)
    • Synopsis (What book is about)
    • About the Novel's Author
    • Prereading Activities (Things to do or study before reading the book): Read other pioneering books, travel plans, memory photos, make a journal.
    • Chapters (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6 & 7):
      • Vocabulary (Definition and write the word in a sentence)
      • Questions (Short Answer)
      • Think About the Story (Comprehension Questions)
      • Dig Deeper (Questions with Bible Verses to look up and Biblical perspective to go with the book)
      • Optional Projects and Activities (Discussions and/or Reports and/or Presentations): planning forum, computer research, gravity, science and wind, rain cycle, jellyfish, oil lamps, marine aquariums, science video recommendations, fairy-tales, boredom ideas, tree candy, hopscotch, cooking grain, pancakes, crystal gardens, maple syrup, gardening, spin thread, fire opals, creative writing journal, creative writing sequel, poetry performance, persuasive paper, flatbread and muffins.
    • Overview
      • Theme Questions
      • Mystery Message
      • Venn Diagram
      • Crossword
    • After-You-Read Projects
    • Additional Resources (Other books by the author)
    • Answer Key (located in a separate PDF)

    How We Used This and Our Thoughts:
    My daughter, Teela, who is 10 years old is an advanced reader. She loves reading and devours books. Her favorites are chapter books that have some substance to them. I told her about The Green Book and she was excited to start reading. We easily found the book online to check out, so this was perfect for her book study in our homeschool. She loved this book and read it chapter by chapter working through the study guide.

    She got to use the guide as she read the book and since the review period for this was slightly longer than most (roughly 7 weeks) we got through a good portion of the study. She did the worksheets online to work on her computer and typing skills as well.

    Sample pages from the Progeny Press The Green Book - eGuide.

    This was the third time we had experienced Progeny Press and their literature study guides. The e-guide we received was jam packed full of reading comprehension and information to study. I love that it is also faith-based and has biblical applications that relate to the book fairly well. Since Teela just finished 4th grade this year, I had her type her answers as best she could and I believe she did great for her age. These guides are very well thought out and put together and I feel that my daughter learned and comprehended a great deal more because of it.

    I highly recommend the Progeny Press E-guides. They are easy to download and simple to print from PDF and easy to do online. The Green Book one got my daughter thinking a lot more about the story and characters than she would have just reading the book on its own. Progeny Press has a great selection of other guides that go with some other great books as well. Check them out below.

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    Hashtags: #hsreviews #Literature #StudyGuides #UnitStudies #ReadingComprehension

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    You can get The Green Book - eGuide in e-guide format for $17.99 from Progeny Press and also download a sample of the guide to see what it looks like.

    Read other homeschool curriculum reviews for Progeny Press...
    New Study Guides for Literature From a Christian Perspective {Progeny Press Reviews}

    New Study Guides for Literature From a Christian Perspective {Progeny Press Reviews}

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    Tuesday, July 17, 2018

    Code For Teens: The Awesome Beginner's Guide to Programming (Volume 1) Book Review

    My family had the privilege of trying the Code For Teens: The Awesome Beginner's Guide to Programming (Volume 1) from Code for Teens 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.

    Do you have a kid that likes technology and learning code in the family? Did you know that these skills are highly sought after in the job field? Did you know that software engineering, a.k.a. computer coding, is the fastest growing industry in the world right now? Enter Code for Teens!

    Code for Teens is a book series that helps teens, or anyone with at least a 6th grade reading level, learn computer programming and computer coding. The first book, Code For Teens: The Awesome Beginner's Guide to Programming (Volume 1), is the only one out at the moment with more volumes on the way. This physical, softcover book is written by homeschooling dad, Jeremy Mortiz as a beginners guide to learning JavaScript. It has 219 full-color glossy pages of one-on-one instruction to learn in a systematic fashion. The illustrations by Jeremy's wife, Christine, are fun and engaging. This book teaches Java without the need for teachers or parents...it empowers the child to teach themselves. These lessons are taught so that the student can move at their own pace and problem solve on their own. The concepts build on each other, so before the student moves ahead they should make sure they understand the topics well. Every chapter includes a quiz, key concepts, drills, an aggregate review, and a DIY project. There is a foreword, an introduction, a word for parents, 10 chapters, a conclusion, answers, and a glossary of terms in this book. The student must have a computer (desktop, laptop, or Chromebook only) and use Google Chrome to be able to work through the book. The introduction and entire first chapter is online as a free sample PDF on the Code for Teens website if you want to check it out for yourself.

    Chapters Include the Following:
    1. Hello World! Write your first lines of code and make mistakes 
    2. Time to Operate Code with numbers and math operators 
    3. Comment on the String Section Concatenate strings and make snide comments 
    4. Have Some Functions Declare and invoke functions 
    5. Shall I Compare? Using booleans, if blocks, conditionals, and comparison operators 
    6. Logically Operational Work with null, undefined, and logical operators 
    7. Projects Galore Practice methods in lots of short projects 
    8. Hip Hip Array! Introduce arrays and do stuff with 'em 
    9. Loop a Round Put your code on repeat with loops 
    10. Make a Hangman Game Combine concepts from every chapter to build a cool game

    Code for Hello World and Follow the Leader

    How We Used This and Our Thoughts:
    I felt the Code For Teens: The Awesome Beginner's Guide to Programming (Volume 1) book would be great for my son Delbin who is 17. He loves playing computer games and he has told me before that he would love to learn how to program them. This book is a great starting point for this and other software engineering fields.

    When I was a teenager I learned HTML and a bit of JavaScript all by myself to build websites on Angelfire and GeoCities. I was also a member of a place called POD (place of Dolphins), an online role playing interface and chat server in which we used code to make our dolphin, whale, or porpoise characters interact with one another and the bot. It was a lot of fun manipulating computer code to make it do what I wanted. It was a great learning experience and I felt so empowered learning it all on my own. I, however; didn't have an awesome book to teach me these concepts, so having this for my son is sure handy.

    Code For Teens: The Awesome Beginner's Guide to Programming (Volume 1) book and coding on the computer.

    We had to download the Google Chrome browser because we didn't have it installed yet. Delbin started at the beginning of the book, working through the chapters. I could see that he was enjoying himself making lines of code. The book is written in an informal tone with a no-pressure approach and has clever illustrations with some humor throughout so that it is more entertaining for the reader. When new terms are introduced they are also defined so that the student gets a handle on the concepts better. These words are in bold. The code is set apart from other text in the book with grey highlighting so you can decipher it better. He liked that the lessons had quizzes, key concepts, drills, and review so he could have a firm understanding before moving onto the next chapter. He also thought it was very cool that he could self-check his answers with the book. Even though it is summer break I didn't have to poke and prod him to do the work because he thought it was fun.

    We cannot wait for the second volume of this series which will be about HTML and CSS and how JavaScript can work with these codes. This book has been a great first step to learning computer programming languages. We highly recommend it for any classroom, homeschool library, or as a gift for a tween or teen that is interested or wanting to try something new.

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    You can purchase the Code For Teens: The Awesome Beginner's Guide to Programming (Volume 1) book online at Code for Teens for only $25 plus free shipping.

    Read other homeschool curriculum reviews for Code For Teens...
    Code For Teens: The Awesome Beginner's Guide to Programming {Code for Teens Reviews}

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    Sunday, July 15, 2018

    Paul, Apostle of Christ Movie Review #PaulMovie

    I received this DVD free to facilitate this review. Affiliate links may be in this posting. Thanks for supporting my blog.

    Paul, Apostle of Christ is a movie about Paul (Faulkner) who was originally Saul of Tarsus a ruthless persecutor of Christians then is converted as Paul, Christ's most influential apostle. In this film he is spending his last days in a dark prison cell awaiting execution by Emperor Nero. Luke (Caviezel), his friend and physician, risks his life when he ventures into Rome to visit him. Paul is under the watchful eye of Mauritius (Martinez), the prison's prefect, who seeks to understand how this broken old man can pose such a threat. But before Paul's death sentence can be enacted, Luke resolves to write another book, one that details the beginnings of "The Way" and the birth of what will come to be known as the church. Their faith challenged an empire. But their words changed the world.

    PRODUCED BY: T.J. Berden and David Zelon
    EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS: Eric Groth, Rick Jackson, Harrison Powell and Jim Caviezel
    STARRING: Jim Caviezel, James Faulkner, Olivier Martinez, Joanne Whalley and John Lynch

    My Thoughts:
    This film is visually spectacular. It transports you into the movie and makes you feel like you have stepped straight into biblical times when Christ's apostles were living. The acting is so convincing. I felt the intensity of the emotions being conveyed and got sucked into the world of Paul. This was a little dark and depressing, but a very realistic representation of life under Roman rule and the persecutions of the followers of Christ. There was no unnecessary or excessive blood or gore, but there are scenes of graphic brutality and Christian persecution. It is properly rated at PG 13. This film is so moving and shows how hard life was like for believers of Christ. I highly recommend it.

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    Host: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment and FrontGate Media.
    Who Can Enter: Open to US Residents 18 years or older.
    Selection Process: 5 winners will be selected on 8/25/2018 and notified by email.
    Where to Enter: Go to this link https://www.blessedfreebies.com/paulapostleofchrist.html and fill out the form to enter.

    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.

    Wednesday, July 11, 2018

    Math Essentials Math Refresher for Adults Review

    My family had the privilege of trying Math Refresher for Adults from Math Essentials 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.

    Math Essentials was created by Richard W. Fisher, a math instructor for the Oak Grove School District in San Jose, California, for over 31 years. This company creates award winning math materials to help teach and learn mathematics. These are easy to use and easy to understand. Rick creates books, DVD’s, and a world-class online instructional program.

    The Math Refresher for Adults...The Perfect Solution is a physical, softcover book by Richard W. Fisher. It is part of the Mastering Essential Math Skills series. This book goes through and gives a refresher course for anyone that needs one. It covers: Basic General Math, Geometry, Problem Solving, Pre-Algebra, and Algebra. Each lesson is short, concise, and easy to understand. Each lesson has review exercises, two sample problems, and a small section to take notes. There is a corresponding video tutorial for each lesson in the book taught by Rick Fisher. This book is perfect for those that: have forgotten the math that they were taught, struggle with math, have been away from math too long, want to teach their homeschooled kids math, want to be able to help their kids with math homework, have a math placement/competency test coming up, or are English Language Learners learning math.

    General Math Main Chapters include:
    • Whole Numbers
    • Fractions
    • Decimals
    • Percents
    • Geometry
    • Integers
    • Charts and Graphs
    • Word Problems

    Pre-Algebra and Algebra Chapters include:
    • sets
    • integers
    • positive and negative numbers
    • exponents
    • square roots
    • order of operations
    • properties of numbers
    • scientific notation
    • ratios and proportions
    • percents
    • number theory
    • number lines
    • coordinate systems
    • slope
    • graphing linear equations
    • equations
    • algebra word problems
    • probability
    • statistics

    How We Used This and Our Thoughts:

    I used Math Essentials Math Refresher for Adults for myself as a refresher in math; primarily in Pre-Algebra and Algebra and as a math refresher for my kids. I also used this book with a neighbor child that I am tutoring this summer to get his math skills up to where his level should be. This book is very efficient in teaching the math skills we all need to know to succeed. Math is super important to learn and apply in our lives. Math is so easy to forget if we don't keep using what we learned. Unfortunately the overuse of calculators and other technology to do the math work for us is helping make people lazy and forgetful. This book is wonderful for not only adults that have forgotten math or were not taught it well, but children/teens that need this refresher as well.

    Changing improper fractions to mixed number or whole number.

    For now I focused on fractions with the kid that I am tutoring math to because that was where he was having the most trouble. This book has been a great help for both me and him. He is now grasping the concepts so much better. I liked how it recommends that you write the problem out in a notebook or on a separate sheet of paper along with your work so you don't have to write in the book.

    The book also says it comes with video instruction, however; finding which videos went with this book was a bit difficult since they do not have this book listed under the video section yet. After some looking into, we did find that the videos for the other books still correspond with the information in this book. The videos are to the point and easy to understand without any bells and whistles. The book goes in a great sequential order that is wonderful for relearning basics, pre-algebra, and algebra.

    Math Essentials Videos

    I highly recommend this book for anyone needs a refresher on math. It is a great tool to help remember the math you learned years ago...or teach struggling math learners. It is also very affordable for anyone to purchase.

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    You can purchase the Math Essentials Math Refresher for Adults book for $28.95.

    Read other homeschool curriculum reviews for Math Essentials Math Refresher for Adults...
    Math Refresher for Adults {Math Essentials}

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