Thursday, June 29, 2017

Homeschool Review Crew Review: Hewitt Homeschooling

Teaching my child to write well is a goal of mine after working as an English tutor in a college and reading the papers of young adults who didn't even understand the basics of writing. My son was diagnosed with Dysgraphia, a writing disability, which makes writing a daily struggle for him. When I saw the Lightning Lit Set: American Early-Mid 19th Century for grades 9 through 12 from Hewitt Homeschooling, I knew this would be an excellent set to review as my son loves learning about American History. Finding something he loves helps him stay engaged in learning, which is half the battle won.

The American Early-Mid 19th Century set comes with a Student Guide and a Teacher's Guide. In addition, you will need to either purchase or borrow from your local library four additional books: The Autobiography and Other Writings by Benjamin Franklin, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass: An American Slave Written by Himself by Frederick Douglass, The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Moby-Dick by Herman Melville.

The Student Guide starts with an Introduction that offers students tips on how to read Literature, how to read Poetry including the various literary elements such as figurative language, and how to write comprehensive papers. Each unit starts with an Introduction, a short blurb of the reading selection, Comprehension Questions, a Literary Lesson, and Writing Exercises section.

The Teacher's Guide contains grading tips based upon various elements of writing depending upon whether it is nonfiction, fiction or poetry and includes grading templets for use on your student's assignments. It also contains schedules: one for an eighteen week semester course and another for a thirty-six week yearly study. Lastly, it contains answers to the comprehension questions from the Student Guide, writing exercises for each unit, and discussion questions as well as project suggestions.

As I mentioned previously, my son enjoys learning about American History. Therefore, the reading selections for this particular Literature Study are a perfect fit. He is learning about one of his favorite Americans: Benjamin Franklin and the Colonial Era of History with this nonfiction selection. He is also learning more about slavery and the Civil War Era from the other nonfiction selection. By engaging him in the learning process, it makes the challenge of getting him motivated much easier. Due to his Dysgraphia, a writing Learning Disability, my son struggles with writing assignments. This curriculum from Hewitt Homeschooling made it easy to adapt the lessons and requirements to meet his accommodation needs such as dictating his writing assignments. For the comprehension questions, I read them aloud and he answered them. The discussion questions were great conversation starters that allowed him to express verbally his thoughts on the particular section we were currently reading. Having curriculum that makes learning easier for him is a tremendous blessing for me as well. I strongly recommend American Early-Mid 19th Century from Hewitt Homeschooling.

Hewitt Homeschooling has a myriad of great resources for all ages. For the Elementary level, they have Grade 1 Lightning Lit Set, Grade 2 Lightning Lit Set, Grade 3 Lightning Lit Set, and My First Report. For the Junior High/Middle School, they have Grade 7 Lightning Lit Set and Grade 8 Lightning Lit Set. For High School, they have American Mid-Late 19th Century, Speech, British Early-Mid 19th Century, British Mid-Late 19th Century, British Medieval, British Christian, American Christian, Shakespeare Comedies, Shakespeare Tragedies, World Lit 1, and World Lit 2.

To learn more about American Early-Mid 19th Century and these other amazing resources from Hewitt Homeschooling, visit their Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+ pages.

To read reviews on the various curriculum available from Hewitt Homeschooling, please visit the Homeschool Review Crew.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Press On

This morning, God reminded me of one of my favorite verses. And, it was perfect for what I've been feeling this past week. Life has been downright difficult and messy. At times, I have felt like I've been living in a blender on high speed. My father's dementia is getting worse. My son, who has a diagnosis of high-functioning Autism, has been struggling to deal with the frustration and changes that have been occurring due to my father's dementia. I have been ill yet again. I was feeling overwhelmed by life and like I had nothing left to give.

Even when life gets difficult, God is always there. He is faithful and fights my battles for me. In Him, I find hope and strength. If you are feeling overwhelmed, battered, bruised, frustrated, exhausted, hurt, or broken, find rest in Him. He will be your refuge, dear ones. He will hide you in His loving arms and supply your every need. He will give you the rest you so desperately need and the peace that will sustain you through the messy and downright difficult times in life. He will guide you with His wisdom and discernment. He will give you hope and a purpose. He will give you His strength to persevere.

Building 429 with We Won't Be Shaken

"Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him. Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken. Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him. Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken." (Psalm 62:1-2 & 5-6 NIV)

Mandisa with Press On (I love this song!)

Building 429 with Wrecking Ball (Press On) featuring Blanca Callahan

Prayer: Abba Father, Life is downright difficult and messy. You are my Rock! You are my hope! Please grant me Your wisdom and discernment in dealing with the trials I am facing. Be my resting place and renew me. Help me to press on and stay strong in You. Be my strength so that I can persevere. Thank you, Abba, for all you are doing in me and through me. My trust is in You alone! In Jesus' name, Amen!

Friday, June 23, 2017

Homeschool Review Crew Review: Homeschool Planet

Recently, I was granted the opportunity to review Homeschool Planet from Homeschool Buyers Co-op. The Co-op is currently running a special thirty day free trial period of Homeschool Planet, their homeschool planner, with the addition of a free lesson plan from their Lesson Plan Marketplace. Signing up to become a member of Homeschool Buyers Co-op is also free. One of the things I like about Homeschool Planet is the calendar that can be set to accommodate every member of my family and keep everyone's schedule organized. You can assign different colors to daily activities. For example, my calendar shows birthdays in blue and appointments in purple. This helps give me a clue as to what my week entails just with a quick glance. The calendar is also able to be printed. The calendar view also has a To Do List where I can record different chores that need to be completed. I also like the daily quote the calendar has to help encourage me with some words of wisdom.

Homeschool Planet Calendar View
The lower section of the calendar allows the user to customize the apps. On my calendar, I decided to use the Lookup app that allows me to find information without leaving the calendar, a To Do List for my son with the activities I expect him to accomplish, and a Shopping List. There are additional spaces for more apps to be added as I deem necessary or as more To Do Lists need to be added. An email reminder can also be sent for To Do Lists, which is helpful to procrastinators and those who, like myself, tend to be forgetful.

Homeschool Planet Calendar View Two

Homeschool Planet also has a weekly view that breaks down each day's activities by person and time frame. This way, you can tell what each person has going that week.

Homeschool Planet Weekly Plan View

One of the other things I like about Homeschool Planet is the ability to create and assign my own lesson plans for my student based upon the courses he is currently studying. Below is a view of my Lesson Plan view. I can apply these lessons to whichever student I choose.

Homeschool Planet My Created Lesson Plans View
I can easily go in and edit the Lesson Plan for any given day as well as readjust the assignments if for some reason, for example your child is ill for a day, you have to miss classes. Below is a view of the Lesson Plan Editor. Each day, you can assign an activity. You can also include a link to a website for educational videos, activities, or games. You can also download worksheets for your child to complete as part of that day's assignment as well. When your student logs in to their planner, they will know exactly what to accomplish for that day's lessons. I like this feature as it will help my teenaged student become more independent in his daily routine and lessons.

Lesson Plan Editor
If you choose to purchase lesson plans for products you already own or choose to buy at a discount from the Homeschool Buyers Co-op, they will appear in the Purchased Lesson Plans section. This is also where you will find your free lesson plan that comes with your trial offer. Below is a view of my Purchased/Free Lesson Plans. I can apply them to whichever student I choose at any time.

Homeschool Planet My Purchased/Free Lesson Plans View
Below is a view from my child's Assignment List. As you can see, each day lists the assignments due and has a checkbox for your student to mark once they've completed that day's assignments.

Homeschool Planet Student Assignment List View
Another item I like about Homeschool Planet is the Resource List with links to helpful websites. Below is a brief view of this useful tool. For those with High School students, the editable and printable transcript feature will also be extremely helpful.

Homeschool Planet Resource List View
As I mentioned previously, Homeschool Buyers Co-op is currently running a special offer during which you can try a thirty day free trial of Homeschool Planet. In addition, you can choose a free Lesson Plan from their Lesson Plan Marketplace. For my free Lesson Plan, I chose Fix It Grammar Level 6 from IEW. This program helps students learn grammar by providing them opportunities to proofread and edit. The Lesson Plan provides a breakdown of the lessons with activities for each day. One of the other Lesson Plans I acquired a few years ago for free from Homeschool Buyers Co-op was the Virtual Field Trips Lesson Plan. This lesson plan is all-inclusive. It contains twelve field trip destinations, a Teacher's Guide, an Activity Sheet, a Do-It-Yourself Activity , and additional resources. Destinations include the National Aquarium, the United States Capitol, the home of Mark Twain, wreck of the USS Monitor, Ireland, Africa, and France as well as other places.

Another feature of Homeschool Buyers Co-op that I appreciate are the freebies they offer throughout the year. During the summer, they are offering nine amazing programs for you to try for free. These courses are fun but will also prevent your students from experiencing the summer slide. Another freebie offered by the Co-op is their student and teacher homeschool ID cards. They also offer free Diploma Templates for graduating homeschoolers.

To learn more about Homeschool Planet, Homeschool Buyers Co-op, and Lesson Plan Marketplace visit their Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Google+. To read additional reviews on Homeschool Planet and various Lesson Plans, visit Homeschool Review Crew.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Homeschool Review Crew Review: UnLock Math

Since my son has difficulty with math concepts due to his diagnosis of Dyscalculia, a math learning disability, I am always looking for new resources that will not only help him master essential math skills but will also help him to retain what he has learned. When the Review Crew offered the opportunity to review UnLock Pre-Algebra from UnLock Math, I asked to review this product.

The UnLock Pre-Algebra course and all of the UnLock Math courses are all-inclusive online math curriculum that help children learn math at their own pace. UnLock Pre-Algebra covers all of the topics listed above. Daily lessons start with a Warm Up during which students work through math problems one at a time. Then, students view a short, fun video about that day's topic. Next, students complete Practice Problems. Again, these problems are presented to the student one at a time, which helps students stay focused and not feel overwhelmed. Then, students complete the Stay Sharp section, which offers additional practice. Finally, students can push themselves with the Challenge section. Each lesson also lists that day's objective which also helps students stay on track. Below is an example of the student's daily lesson page.

Each main topic covered in the curriculum is broken down into manageable, daily lessons. For example, unit one, Whole Numbers, is broken down into five different lessons. Quizzes and Tests are also listed on the student's start screen so they are easy to find. For independent learners, the start screen makes it easy for parents to determine how many assignments a student has completed daily. A sample of the student start screen is pictured below.

Below is a sample of the problems for each section (Warm Up, Practice Problems, Stay Sharp, and Challenge). As the mother of a child with Dyscalculia, a math learning disability, I like how the program presents one problem at a time. For my son, this helps him from being distracted and from becoming overwhelmed. I also like how it offers the student numerous opportunities to practice what they've just learned. For my son, repetition is part of the key to helping him retain what he has learned.

The UnLock Math programs include a downloadable pacing guide that explains how the programs should be broken down and how many days each unit should take. It also contains a printable formula sheet that students can use as they work through the problems in each section. This is extremely helpful to students like my son who have a learning disability that makes it difficult for them to remember math concepts. Each lesson also provides a link to a printable Resource List (see sample below) that explains main points and contains a list of vocabulary terms. This is also a great resource for students like my son who have difficulty recalling math concepts as it provides a paper form of all of the pertinent information they need to know for the specific unit they are completing. Finally, the program has a downloadable list of reference notes for each chapter that once again highlights the main points of each unit. As I mentioned before, repetition is key in helping children with math learning disabilities be able to achieve success in their math endeavors.

Below are two sample video clips from the UnLock Math Pre-Algebra curriculum. The first is on Roman Numerals while the second is about Place Value. This will give you an idea of how this portion of the course works.

UnLock Math Pre-Algebra - Roman Numerals

UnLock Math Pre-Algebra - Place Value

You will also want to check out these other great programs from UnLock Math: UnLock Algebra1, UnLock Algebra2, and UnLock Geometry. To learn more about UnLock Pre-Algebra and UnLock Math, visit their Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Pinterest pages. UnLock Math: Geometry is the newest curriculum offered by this vendor. Each program allows your child to continue growing in their math skills as they advance through Middle School and High School level math courses.

To read additional reviews on UnLock Math, stop by the Review Crew page.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Homeschool Review Crew Review: Rush Revere

Last year, I purchased an audiobook from Goodwill Industries that I thought my son would enjoy listening to as we made the hour long trips to my doctor appointments. The book, Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims, was a win all around as it kept my son's interest and helped him learn more about our nation's history from a Christian worldview. When the Review Crew was asked to review the Adventures of Rush Revere Book Series from Adventures of Rush Revere #1 New York Times Bestselling Book Series by Rush and Kathryn Adams Limbaugh, I will admit that I wasn't above begging to be assigned to the review as I knew my son would enjoy the opportunity to read more books from the Rush Revere Series. He was ecstatic!

When I asked my son what his favorite part of the Adventures of Rush Revere was, he quickly answered; "Rush, Rush, Rush into history. I love that they time travel back into America's history." His favorite character is Liberty the talking horse. He also said; "I love the story lines!" When we went to Independence Hall in Philadelphia, PA a few years ago, my son became enthralled by the thought that he was standing on the very ground that George Washington and Benjamin Franklin both stood upon years before him. Moreover, he enjoys hearing the accurate tales of our nation and how it was founded upon the Christian faith of our forefathers. These are the storylines he enjoys hearing about from the Adventures of Rush Revere series.

I like the Adventures of Rush Revere series for a myriad of reasons with the greatest of these being that it keeps my son engaged in not only reading but in American history. We typically read stories together aloud or listen to them on CD as we make the hour trek to my various doctor appointments. When we read aloud, I can always tell my boy is engaged in a story when he begs to read a book whenever we have down time and when he asks me to insert a character for him into the story line. He begs to read Rush Revere again and again and always insists on his own character in the story. I also like knowing that Rush Revere has a Christian worldview with an accurate, truthful, and realistic look back at America's history. Bringing Christ into our everyday life lessons and providing information that is accurate and true are two of the reasons we homeschool. Finally, we always learn something new with every new story and adventure.

The Adventures of Rush Revere book series features Rush Revere, a substitute Middle School teacher, Liberty, Rush's talking horse who makes time travel possible, and students Tommy, Freedom, and Cam. Rush, Liberty, and the students all travel back in time to meet exceptional Americans who paved the path of our nation. The first book in the series, Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims, takes readers aboard the Mayflower and to Plymouth Rock where the Pilgrims settled. It also introduces readers to Squanto, a Native American who helped the settlers. Rush Revere and the First Patriots introduces students to Benjamin Franklin, Samuel Adams, Patrick Henry, and George Washington and the series of events that led up to the American Revolution including the Boston Tea Party. The fun and adventure continues in Rush Revere and the American Revolution where Rush, Liberty, and the students join the Patriots as they fight the British. Next, in Rush Revere and the Star-Spangled Banner the crew travels back in time to meet James Madison as the Constitution is being written as well as aboard a British ship in Baltimore Harbor during the War of 1812 as Francis Scott Key pens our national anthem. Finally, the newest edition to the Adventures of Rush Revere Book Series, Rush Revere and the Presidency, where Rush Revere, Liberty, and the students will travel back in time to meet George and Martha Washington, John and Abigail Adams, and Thomas Jefferson as these three men lead the United States of America as its President.

The Adventures of Rush Revere Book Series works as a family read aloud for all ages. Whether you are just learning about history or an avid history lover, you will enjoy this series. These books are also good independent readers for those who enjoy books and are motivated to read. I highly recommend this series. Your family will enjoy the way the books bring history to life and the way the adventures keep everyone hooked on every word.

To learn more about the Adventures of Rush Revere Book Series from Adventures of Rush Revere #1 New York Times Bestselling Book Series by Rush and Kathryn Adams Limbaugh, visit their Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube pages.

To read more reviews about the amazing Adventures of Rush Revere Book Series, stop by the Review Crew page.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Blogging Through the Alphabet: Letter V Is for

This week on Blogging Through the Alphabet we are focusing on the Letter V. I decided to write about Victory.

Our greatest Victory comes through Jesus and His sacrifice for us.

To learn more Letter V words, please stop by Blogging Through the Alphabet hosts A Net in Time and Hopkins Homeschool.

Blogging Through the Alphabet: Letter U Is for Understanding

I hope you'll forgive me for being a week behind and show some understanding for this mom who has had a child with bronchitis and has been dealing with intense pain of her own due to her Autoimmune Diseases wreaking havoc on her body. Last week on Blogging Through the Alphabet, my friends posted on the Letter U. For the Letter U, I decided to focus on the word Understanding.

To learn additional Letter U words, visit Blogging Through the Alphabet host blogs A Net in Time and Hopkins Homeschool.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Litfuse Review: Israel God's Heart

When I saw the beautiful pictures showcased in Israel - God's Heart: Landscapes and Legacy of Israel, I knew I had to review this book. I wasn't disappointed!

About the Book:

Israel - God's Heart is the epitome of the perfect coffee table book. It combines spectacular pictures of Israel with scripture and interesting tidbits of our Christian faith. Furthermore, it opens the door to discuss our faith with our family and friends. I also plan to utilize Israel - God's Heart with my son as a supplement to our homeschool Bible lessons. The book will provide my son visuals of places in Israel, like the Dead Sea, that he has only ever previously read about in the Bible. It is a pictorial field trip to a destination we could never afford to visit otherwise.

To view more of the beautiful scenery of Israel and to read several pages of informative text, visit Israel - God's Heart flipbook. (Sample below.)

About the Authors:

After working for more than a decade in Israel's  High-Tech industry, Ron Gafni now makes his living as a professional aerial photographer. Furthermore, his work has been featured in National Geographic.
A south Florida resident and former teacher, Kathleen Barrett shares her unique forty year experience as a student of God and a faith believer in Israel - God's Heart. Furthermore, she has published a children's devotional as well as numerous articles ranging in topic from missionary work to political events.
You can learn more about the authors at their blog and Facebook page.

Where to Purchase the Book:


Title: Israel - God's Heart: Landscapes and Legacy of Israel
Authors: Ron Gafni and Kathleen Barrett
Format: Hardcover
Number of Pages: 96 pages
ISBN-13: 978-9657670002
Language: English

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Homeschool Review Crew Review: Apologia

As we near the end of my son's school journey, we are thinking toward the future and what job might be a good fit for his keen intelligence but impaired social skills due to his diagnosis of Autism. Internship for High School Credit by Apologia Educational Ministries is an excellent tool to help our children excel, which is why I was thrilled at the opportunity to review such a useful curriculum.

What better way is there for students to learn than from first-hand experience? Training beside a professional not only allows students to learn valuable skills that will last them a lifetime but it will also help them to get an idea of what their chosen employment field will require from them and if the job would be a good fit. An internship also provides students with the opportunity to prepare for future job hunting by having them create a resume and conduct interviews in preparation for their internship.

Internship for High School Credit is a spiral bound book filled with valuable information and worksheets that help homeschool students keep track of internship experience for credit toward their high school transcripts. Section One of the workbook helps students look at possible future career goals by helping the student determine their interests and skills. It then helps students determine the places and people with which to seek an internship along with how to write a letter of introduction, create a resume, and conduct an interview.

Section Two of the workbook provides the parents with information vital to the internship process. For example, this chapter discusses child labor laws and insurance issues. It also helps parents know how to document an internship on their child's transcripts, the number of credits to be earned, and how to go about grading for the internship.

Sections Three and Four contain the various worksheets that will help students and parents keep track of important information regarding the internship experience. These worksheets include a semester goals worksheet to define the specific objectives to be met for the internship, weekly worksheets to record your work experience, work performance worksheet to help students identify and develop workplace skills, and skills gained worksheet. Section Four also contains weekly writing assignments to help students grow from their learning experiences.

Finally, Section Five deals with wrapping up the internship. This section includes a final writing assignment that helps students sum up their entire internship experience. It also helps students know how to write thank-you notes to the person who supervised their internship as well as ensuring the student seeks out a letter of recommendation for future jobs and college entrance letters. Lastly, it reminds students to update their resumes to include their internship details.

Thank you for stopping by to read my review of Internship for High School Credit by Apologia Educational Ministries. If you are new to homeschooling, you may want to check out How to HOMESCHOOL with Stunning Confidence, Contagious Joy, and Amazing Focus (DVD & Coursebook). Check out this video for more information. You can also learn more about Apologia and their products, check out their Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Google+, and YouTube pages.

You can read additional reviews about both Internship for High School Credit and How to HOMESCHOOL on the Homeschool Review Crew site.