Category Archives: curriculum

Understanding Math with CTCMath ~ a Crew review

Understanding Math with CTCMath

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.

We have tackled math from so many standpoints over the years! It is always good when a child feels like it is working. CTCMath is a program that we have tried several times. It has become a good fit for all three girls now that they are older. Miss E and Miss L were a part of the review last year and stuck with the program the whole year. Miss J tried it last year but it wasn’t a good fit for her. This year, though, it has been just what she needed!

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Screenshot 2020-07-28 at 9.07.28 AMWe received a subscription to CTCMath with their 12-month Family membership. This gave us a login for each of the girls, plus a separate parent login for management of student accounts. There is a single membership for one student and the family membership covers the whole family. Each student has access to the entire set of lessons, from kindergarten lessons through Calculus.

CTCMath is a full math curriculum on one site. The site itself is very easy to navigate. Miss J is working on 6th grade math. Miss L is finishing up middle school math/pre-algebra and about to dig into algebra 1. Miss E is finishing up algebra II and will be starting geometry very soon.

If you are interested in a placement test to find where to start your student on this program, there is one available. It is a progressive test so it may take a good bit of time to complete. We have always chosen to forego the placement and make the best decision we can based on what the girls are successful with when we start lessons.

Each lesson has a video, a set of questions and/or a worksheet, and a printable lesson summary. These videos run between a couple of minutes, especially at the lower levels, up to 17 or 18 minutes for algebra II and geometry. The online questions are generally a set of 10, though we have seen as few as 8. The worksheet is in addition to the online questions, in our experience, and have a good number more questions to answer. The girls answer these online and have the computer grade it.

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The computer grades the online questions and the input answers from the worksheet. The parent/teacher can set the passing level. Our girls’ are set at 80% correct for passing. The reason for this is if we put it at 90% and they make one silly mistake or click something wrong, it fails them. 80% passing allows 2 mistakes. If the topic is not passed, the student can redo it and the program will average the grades together. This makes it really important for the student to try their hardest, even when they know they will have to do it again.

For the most part, the videos do a very good job of explaining topics. In algebra II, we have found that At Home Dad needs to be around to help with the explanations because there are quite a few that the online video is not enough of an explanation for. The worksheets for middle school and high school math tend to throw a couple of twists into the questions and they are not always twists that make sense to my girls. They often need assistance with this part of their daily lesson.

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For 6th grade math, Miss J can finish her lesson in under 20 minutes. She gets really proud when she does well because at her level, she gets streamers in the background if she gets 100%. Miss L tends to take between 45 minutes and an hour. Miss E has her lessons vary widely. Some days she flies through them in 20 minutes. Other lessons it will take her multiple days to work through.

The parent side of the program allows the parent/teacher to set daily tasks and assign work. You can set up weekly reviews.

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You can create worksheets based on topics that need more work and print those out.

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You can access and print out different types of reports to keep track of your student’s progress.

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Another feature I really like is that I can log into the girls’ site from the parent portal when they are struggling and see the exact lesson they are struggling with. Being able to watch the video and work the questions without messing up their work is a great thing. While most of these actions are intuitive, there are video tutorials available if you need more assistance.

There are weekly reports sent via email that keep the parent/teacher up to date on what the student has done. These can be downloaded and saved. They are also available through the parent portal.

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What the girls thought:

Miss J – I think this is an okay program. I like the teacher. He is pleasant and smart. He makes math concepts that I don’t know easier. Not always because sometimes he makes them more complicated for me but he does make most of them easier for me to understand. I like that it is easy to complete my lessons.

Miss L – It doesn’t have the overwhelming amount of review that other programs have had. The videos themselves are easy to understand and I feel like I grasp the concept. Most of my problems come when I get to the worksheet and they ask a question that was not explained in the videos. It is on the same topic but with a twist or two that I cannot figure out. That is definitely the most frustrating part. But overall, I like it better than other programs.

Miss E – One of the things I like about CTCMath is that it is very straight-forward and it is very easy to use. I feel like I have adjusted well to this program and I understand how things are presented. This simplicity makes it a good program for me. I have noticed that there are some adjustments that I have to make due to the fact that I have not used this program for several years straight. Some of the terms used I need additional help understanding because I know them by a different name or I have learned to work a concept in a different way. I still like the program and am pleased we are keeping it.

Still not sure about the 12-month Family membership? There is a free trial available on the website. Or you can visit the Homeschool Review Crew to read more reviews from other families who have been using CTCMath with their students for the past few weeks.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

an online k-12 full math curriculum with video instruction

MaxScholar – online reading software ~ a Crew review

MaxScholar

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.

MaxScholar is a online reading software program set that allows students of all ages and ability levels to get individual instruction and practice with necessary reading skills. This is a bundle of comprehensive instruction for phonics and reading. Based on research and using this research to build a platform that is effective and interesting for students to use, this site works for students from PK – grade 12. MaxScholar Orton-Gillingham Software is a fluent program that works with the knowledge the student has and is a dynamic program that adjusts to the needs of the student as they complete sessions.

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Based on the research, this program is considered highly successful in helping students with learning differences, particularly dyslexia. It uses a multi-sensory approach to teaching the grapheme/phoneme connection. For students with auditory processing disorders and or student struggling with reading comprehension, this program works well by using highlighting, summarizing, and retelling, among other approaches. Students with ADD and ADHD respond well to the format, variety of games, and speed of activity on MaxScholar.

Due to the variety of materials included, this program is highly adaptable. As a parent, there are plenty of reports and tracking materials to help you follow and document your student’s progress. Whether for at home instruction or as a supplement to learning outside the home, this program has a lot to offer.

There are several parts to the MaxScholar site. The main three are MaxPhonics, MaxReading, and MaxWords.

MaxPhonics includes things basic skills such as:

  • letter recognition
  • sound recognition
  • fluency
  • sight words
  • short vowels
  • blends
  • and more.

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Each lesson includes multisensory approaches. There is a slide-show type lesson, for example, for teaching the letter P. It shows the letter and says its name. It shows a picture of a panda and says the word. It showed a lady saying the sound. It shows a video of the letter being written and describes how to write it. It has the student use the mouse to draw the letter on the screen. There is a matching game, where there are pictures and the student selects the one that starts with the P sound.

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This is just one lesson on teaching a letter. With so many areas, there is a lot of information for the young learner in MaxPhonics. There are reviews built in, as well as testing.

MaxReading is for grades k-12 and includes:

  • reading
  • reading comprehension
  • vocabulary
  • outlines
  • summarizing

In MaxReading, there are books online to read. These can be simple comprehension things or much more involved non-fiction reads. Lessons deal with vocabulary with pops-up from rolling over the word with the mouse, reading, instruction in highlighting important information, and outlining what is read. Next there is a writing exercise and review questions. After completing this, the option for some games comes up.

Since there are a variety of book topics and levels, there is something for all students here.

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MaxWords contains learning for multi-syllabic words and includes:

  • prefixes
  • suffixes
  • root words
  • syllabication
  • spelling rules

Each of the areas in MaxWords builds on the one before. Moving from syllables to spelling rules and on to prefixes and suffixes, the student really learns the building blocks of words in these modules. This section includes a module on Greek roots and Latin roots.

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There are also four game based learning activities: MaxMusic, MaxVocab, MaxPlaces, and MaxBios.

Screenshot 2020-07-08 at 11.44.45 PMMaxMusic uses popular music artists and songs to work on reading and grammar. The student chooses an artist and then clicks on the name of the song. The lyrics appear and instructions are read to tell the student to read the lyrics. After reading, the student is given an instruction to click on all of a certain type of word. Most of what I saw was click on the verbs to identify them. It self checks and gives the student a score when they click done. Then the student can do a fill-in-the-blank type of item with it, trying to complete the blanks with the right word in the right place. The games in MaxMusic include identify the sound and match it or play the guitar to songs.

MaxVocab includes a dictionary that has all of the words from the MaxReading books. You select the level and book. To the right appears all of the vocabulary words from that book. Each word has a definition, is used in a sentence, shows an antonym, and shows a synonym. There are 3 games that can be played. These are hangman, definitions (matching), and word search. These are great ways to get familiar with new words and to work on spelling of the new words. If you are working with MaxReading, this corresponds perfectly.

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MaxPlaces allows the student to choose a city to read about. After reading a few paragraphs about the place, the student can answer a question about it. There are highlighters to mark different items in the text and it directs the student to ask the teacher what to mark.

MaxBios has the student choose a category to read a biography from. Then the student chooses a particular biography to read and highlight information in. The text is a few paragraphs long. After reading and highlighting, the student can answer questions about what was read.

Accessing the program is quite simple. Each student has a unique login so the system can track each individual. When starting, students in grades K-2 will take a phonics placement and students in grades 3+ will take a reading placement. The teacher can modify this setting. The teacher dashboard allows for each access to student lists, adding or changing student settings, monitoring progress, generating reports, and much more. It is very user friendly.

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The student access is called MyMax. It shows the icons for each of the programs that they have access to. If the teacher wants the student to have less access, particularly for older students, icons and access can be hidden. To access the programs, the student just click on the section and follows the prompts. Everything has an auditory prompt to go along with it so the student always knows what to do next.

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This program is built really well and I can see it being a fabulous program for elementary aged students or students who have some struggles with various learning differences. It is worth checking out if you are in the market for an online phonics and reading program. Learn more about MaxScholar from families who used this program for instruction with their students by visiting the Homeschool Review Crew site and picking a few reviews to read.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

MaxScholar program

Math & Spelling practice with Math Shed and Spelling Shed ~ a Crew review

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.

math and spelling practice

Practice is something that is so helpful for math and spelling. Both of these areas are skill based so doing something over and over is key. Math Shed  and Spelling Shed can help in these areas. Miss J is at the top end of the skill and age range for these products but we have still seen them help her a good amount.

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Each of these programs are designed for either independent use or for use in a classroom/school setting. Homeschool use has been great for us. Miss J logs in each day to her own hub and can choose either Math Shed or Spelling Shed. We have asked her to use each one for a minimum of 10 minutes per day and told her which lists/skills to work on. We are a bit hit and miss on the daily use due to our stretched out dance schedules at the moment, as we are still working towards a recital at the end of the month. Even so, we have seen improvements in her skills and she enjoys using this program.

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Math Shed allows her to pick skills she needs to work on – addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, powers of 10, and number bonds. She started with a review of powers of 10 and number bonds. Now, she is working in the multiplication and division area.

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She chooses which set she is working on and then a choice of easy, medium, or hard. After choosing those settings, she has 1 minute to answer as many as possible.

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on computerIt is not a stressful minute and she seems to enjoy playing it. We have her do a minimum of 3 games, only 1 of which can be on an easy level.

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Spelling Shed is game based work on spelling. We have Miss J working on stage 4 & 5, which is the most challenging sets of words.

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Once she chooses that, she can then choose the play option. She uses Play, which is sort of like a board game we love where you find letters to create words. This has four levels – easy, medium, hard, and extreme. This requires a student to be working with a particular word list and works on both the spelling a definitions.

When she has completed three rounds of the word list set game, she can go to the bonus games and play with whatever words she can find.

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Most of the games require a word list for the student to be working on. These can be found in the Teacher Hub. The login for the Teacher Hub is different from the student’s login information.

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In the Teacher Hub, you will find videos to help you get started and learn a bit about the different ways Math Shed and Spelling Shed can be utilized. There is an easy to see reminder of how much longer your subscription is active. There is a visual chart of the student’s days’ logged in. And there is a place to make assignments, among other useful information.

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The assignment feature could be really helpful if you are working diligently on a particular curriculum. You can use the word lists that are built into the spelling side of the site or you can even add your own. We just used what was available. It was good challenges. You can make assignments if your student is one who works better with particular assignments or if you need to record these things for record keeping.

Another thing you can find in the Teacher Hub is the spelling curriculum. This includes teaching help, activities, and printable lists. Phonics based lessons are available and word lists increase in difficult as they progress. It is a wealth of information and activities. There are 36 weeks of lists and activities to use in addition to the website practice games. You can view and download a sample from their site.

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And I can’t forget to mention – they get to design their own avatar. Through getting skills completed and growing in their ability, they can even “purchase” items for their avatar. This is a great incentive for many students.

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Math Shed and Spelling Shed are great additions to a spine curriculum in either subject and will add fun practice and challenge. Spelling Shed can also be that main curriculum for spelling and vocabulary if you are looking for that for either a home education setting or a classroom setting. Interested? They do have free trials available without having to enter credit card information. There is also an app available for those who prefer that format.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Please visit the Homeschool Review Crew to read additional reviews from other homeschooling families who have been using Math Shed and Spelling Shed with their students.

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_Math Shed and Spelling Shed

Who likes gifts? 19 of them? from SchoolhouseTeachers

 

Disclaimers: In return for this post, I will receive the same 19 gifts that are included in this promotion from SchoolhouseTeachers.com. Additionally, this post contains affiliate links. If you click through on one and choose to purchase, our family will receive a small commission. Thank you for your support.  

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If you don’t already know, we have been using SchoolhouseTeachers.com since almost the beginning of our homeschooling journey. We go there often for a supplement, a partial lesson, a full class, helps, recipes, tips, encouragement, and more. It is a site that is jamb packed with helpful information. Membership gives your ENTIRE family access to a complete PreK-12 curriculum with over 400+ courses, videos, World Book content, TOS Print subscription, and so much more. Sign up NOW to receive your tote filled with goodies before they run out!

They have a special going on right now for new subscribers that would be really beneficial for you, especially if you are new on this home educating thing yourself. With gifts from high quality vendors that will introduce you to their company plus the access to SchoolhouseTeachers.com, you will be well on your way to success. (And remember – you define success for your own family!)

Languages are something that have recently become of great interest to the girls. One of the girls has been watching a Spanish series on a streaming service and wants to learn more. Guess what is included in these gifts? Yes! A Spanish class! There are 2 months of access to an online beginning Spanish curriculum through Spanish Education Solutions. And it is taught by a certified Spanish teacher. Going for this one!!!

One of the other girls wants to learn French. Guess what else is included? Nallenart is one of the vendors for the 19 gifts! They are offering L’Art de LIRE which combines beginning conversational French with phonics to get students started. With workpages, teacher key, flashcards, and audio, this looks like a great start to French!

There is also a chess game being offered! Yes! The youngest giggly girl really enjoys playing chess. This pocket sized chess game from Chess House will be able to go with us in the car during the many hours each week we have to wait on sisters to get done with dance classes. (The social distancing thing has stretched our schedule quite thin now!)

There are so many more – art, guitar (another we’ll use!), writing, literature, Brinkman Adventures audios (the girls LOVE these!!), a sturdy tote (I use the one I have ALL THE TIME), music and more and more and more!!! This is a fabulous steal!

About the 19 Gifts Promo –

SchoolhouseTeachers.com and The Old Schoolhouse® have teamed up with over a dozen homeschooling and family-friendly companies to provide a tote bag filled with gifts (visit the site to see the list) when you sign up for an Ultimate (PreK-12) Annual Membership during May for only $139 (reg. $224.97). Use coupon code: 19GIFTS to lock in your rate and receive your goodies! Only available through June 1, 2020.

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How to redeem your gifts:

After checking out with coupon code: 19GIFTS, you’ll have immediate access to your Ultimate Annual Membership and all that SchoolhouseTeachers.com has to offer. Your beautiful, sturdy tote bag from The Old Schoolhouse® filled with gift cards for the additional 18 gifts will arrive in 6-8 weeks. No credit cards or purchases are required to redeem your items. Just follow the instructions on the gift cards. Supplies are limited, so sign up today. Questions? Hit the CHAT box during business hours on the home page of SchoolhouseTeachers.com to reach a live rep.

I’d be pleased to answer any question you have. We could not go without our SchoolhouseTeachers.com subscription. The gifts are a definite bonus!

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

 

Art School with Beyond the Stick Figure ~ a Crew review

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.

art class

One thing I used to think was that art was only for the talented people, those who could do something magical with any medium they picked up. I have recently discovered that doesn’t have to stand true if it brings pleasure. Even more importantly, experience with has shown me that growth can happen in unexpected ways and I am not nearly as “bad” as I thought I was. Beyond the Stick Figure Art School is a program that has helped me see the joy in just creating, regardless of the outcome. And anyone can do it!

beyond the stick figure

We have been using Beyond the Stick Figure Complete Drawing Course PLUS 3 Bonus Courses for a few weeks now and I have found it a uniquely interesting experience. Beyond the Stick Figure Art School is taught by an art teacher with art teaching experience AND homeschooling experience. Sally is familiar with the challenges to teaching in both arenas and combines them together in a video subscription class for all ages that really is quite a bit of fun. The class includes the drawing course, pen and ink instruction, a watercolor course, an acrylics course, and a 3D sculpting course. These are definitely beginner level classes but I wouldn’t be surprised to see more advanced courses arrive on the website at some point.

This online subscription has a simple login and dashboard.

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Just click into the course and find where you are. If you are working through it in order (highly recommended), just go to the next area not marked complete. (The yellow circle with a check shows completed.) If not, you will need to have noted where you left off. Click on the lesson and get started on the next video.

Each video is short – often less than 5 minutes. Sally gives clear instructions on what to do and what materials to use. Each section of instruction includes a video on the specific materials needed for the set of lessons.

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We watched the video and then did the lesson. Sometimes, it was a simple line that needed completed. Sometimes, it was filling in a large space with crosshatches and it took a good bit of time. If needed, it was easy to pause the video to complete an instruction before moving on.

The drawing lessons were quite unique in the start (Drawing Part 1 – 17 topics), when we worked on circles, dots, curved lines, and straight lines. Some of the lessons had downloadable workbooks but we chose not to use those as they didn’t seem to fit the age of my students well. My 16 year old and my 11 year old both enjoyed working on these abstract-style pieces. The practice was helpful and yielded colorful, fun pieces.

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The next set of lessons (Drawing Part 2 – 33 topics) was similar but worked with different sets of lines and spacings. Each one had a template that needed downloaded and printed. Some of these were mixed up, as we found out after saying “this doesn’t quite match up but we can make it work.” The next one we needed to download – BINGO – that was what we had needed in the previous lesson. No worries, though. We did just fine.

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This series is intended to be the prep work for Drawing Part 3, which allows the student to use each of the different shapes from Drawing Part 2 to create a full-sized drawing of a flower. Honestly, we never got there. The lessons in Drawing Part 2 got tedious and we didn’t see a purpose to them as we didn’t know where they were leading. Once I knew that, it made sense but I had lost the girls at that point. So, I continued on without them and jumped to the Pen and Ink lessons.

The Pen and Ink lessons were tons of fun for me. I really enjoyed them. It started with a super small drawing (about 2 x 2 inches), just to get the feel of drawing with the pen. That small drawing had a watercolor wash over it. It was a fun little piece.

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Then, we worked on the tree. I adored this set of lessons and wish there were more like it. I felt like I was accomplishing something and I was fairly pleased with my finished product. I learned how to transfer images, how to use the pen in different ways to get different effects, and how to finish off a piece with a unique colorwash effect. This got the girls interested in the lessons again and we have it scheduled to work on soon.

 

I also started on the acrylics portion. I got the cloud painting done and would like to get a board to do the next part. I might splurge and get some paints, too.

 

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I skipped over the watercolor part because I didn’t love working with the watercolors we had (that I had used for the colorwashes on the pen and ink pieces) and I didn’t have a way to get a better quality. This was the only experience that I had with the quality of materials affecting my enjoyment of learning, where I think it made a difference. While I understand that an artist really feels the difference of the high-quality, expensive materials, it just is not something I am willing to spend the money on when my girls are still trying to figure out what is of long-term interest to them. So, we used the markers we had (often Sharpies), the watercolors we had (from the girls art sets that are not high quality), and the acrylics that we have on hand for craft projects. We used the mixed media pad of paper for some of the projects but the printer paper worked perfectly for the drawing lessons.

Overall, this was a very different style program. It has it’s high points, for sure. If you are looking for a fairly low-prep art class for the home, this is an interesting one to take a look at.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Be sure to visit the Homeschool Review Crew and read what other families thought about Beyond the Stick Figure Art School, viewing their completed projects.

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Beyond the Stick Figure

Travel the World with Let’s Go Geography ~ a Crew review

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.

Lets Go Geography online class

Geography is often a missing part of study yet it is one I find fascinating. Let’s Go Geography is a company that has created a spell-binding curriculum to help students travel the world without leaving the comfort of their couch. Let’s Go Geography, Year 2 is the second of a three year program that is designed to take the student through most of the countries in the world.

3 year listing

Carol Henderson is the lady behind the label of Let’s Go Geography. She created a simple to use program that works well for students grades K-5, though it would be easily adaptable for both younger or older students. This online homeschool geography curriculum incorporates many different styles of learning and activities that will appeal to all different learners. From mapwork to crafts, from videos to writing, this program has a bit of everything. Well, adding a recipe for each country would be fantastic but there is a bit of everything else.

When you log into the site for your course, you will see all of the years that you have access to. As you can see, we have access to both Year 1 and Year 2, since we reviewed Year 1 a while back. There is also a short teacher’s course that has some helpful tips. Each of the boxes indicates progress. You can see that the teacher’s course shows completed while the Year 2 Semester 1 box shows progress about halfway through. Year 1 was completed but the website has been revamped since then so it doesn’t show that here.

Semester Access Page with arrows

Click on year and semester you want to access and it will take you to a list of all of the lessons. Each lesson is for a different country, except for in the US where it has been broken up into sections of the country. Clicking on the lesson you want take you to a lesson page and you click on the download link. It opens a PDF which includes all of the needed pages and links for the country.

lesson list

We began at the beginning, creating a travel cover for the 3 ring travel binder where we are keeping the lessons and reviewing the continents. From there, we moved into the countries. Each country’s PDF follows the same set-up making it simple for the parent/teacher.

Jamaica lesson

There is information on the country, its map, information and questions such as neighboring countries, bodies of water, and the capital city. The student marks the country on a continent map and has a country map to study and observe. The students can create a flag for the country and add it to a map.

Next the student is given links to music of the country including the national anthem. These links are active and most go to a safe YouTube site. The ones that do not go to a safe YouTube page are noted as such. The student listen to the national anthem and often see images of the country at the same time. There is also another piece of music to listen to. Sometimes it has been students dancing a native piece of music and other times it has been a folk song. These are good representations of the area being studied.

In the fourth part, the students are exploring the country. This includes foods eaten or sold, agriculture, history, landmarks, important people or places, and other unique things about the country. This is done through text, images, and videos. Again, these video links generally take the student to a safe YouTube page.

With my 5th grader, this is an area where we have been modifying the program a bit. When she finds something interesting or has a question about it, we take a break from the program and hit the internet for further information. When she saw the video about making sombreros for Mexico, we had a discussion about it and she looked up more information. She did the same for a bird that she thought was interesting and a volcano she read about and saw video on. This program is ideal for these types of investigations.

The final section is a coloring page and featured craft. The coloring page has some information about why the image for the page was chosen, such as soccer players for countries where that is a common activity to information on the lizard that is on the page. There is also a craft if the student chooses to do it. These include painting mountains for the western US or making a sunset collage for the southwestern US to making a tissue paper hummingbird for Jamaica or a colorful parrot for Honduras.

We are happily flying around the globe with Let’s Go Geography. We can easily cover two to three countries per week working with an older student. When we covered Year 1, we were not moving quite so quickly and covered about one country per week. This is just another benefit of the program – flexibility! You can move at the pace your family needs and you can start at whatever country you might be interested in.

This is a program that we waited eagerly for Year 2 to be released and I hope that when Year 3 is finished, Miss J is still interested because this program teaches to her strengths so well. Let’s Go Geography has such an easy preparation for each lesson that I can’t imagine anything else being such a great fit for both the learner and the teacher. This is one we highly recommend.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Please visit the Homeschool Review Crew to read the reviews of other families who have been using Let’s Go Geography, Year 2. You can click on the banner below to visit that post.

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Giveaway from the Homeschool Review Crew – 1 year membership to SchoolhouseTeachers for 3 families

Win a One Year Ultimate Membership to SchoolhouseTeachers.com 

Giveaway open January 20, 2020 through January 26, 2020.
Further details on the Homeschool Review Crew blog.

I can’t say enough good things about this site and highly recommend it. We watched an apologetics class just yesterday from SchoolhouseTeachers.com.  (affiliate link) It was on how dinosaurs relate to the understanding and timeframe of the Bible. Taught by Patrick Nurre, it was a good class. His geology class is one I am hoping to go through myself this year.

You can read our most recent review of SchoolhouseTeachers.com, published just a couple of weeks ago.

With over 460 classes, SchoolhouseTeachers.com is a complete curriculum for PK-12.

Every Subject – Every Grade – Every Student 

Head over to the Homeschool Review Crew blog by clicking the text link or either of the images to find the entry for the giveaway and plenty of reasons to enter. Good luck!

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

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Complete Curriculum For The Whole Family – SchoolhouseTeachers.com ~ a Crew review

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.

SchoolhouseTeachers

We have been members with SchoolhouseTeachers.com, a site with online classes, for, well, a good number of years. We started with a membership there just a few months after we started homeschooling the girls. So, I guess we are on our 7th year and we are constantly benefitting from this wonderful, online subscription.

The Ultimate PreK-12 Annual Membership is the best option for a multi-age family as it gives you access to everything on the site for one price for the year. Sign up now and that price is set low, as a price increase is coming in February. If you would rather, you can also choose a month-to-month plan, though that cost is a bit higher.

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The access, though, is for a complete PK-12 curriculum that not only includes all of the core classes you need, but also a whole slew of extra-curricular choices. The scope and sequence charts are some of the best ways to narrow down choices for each child.

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Recently, we were looking for a science course for my 8th grader who is capable of high school level work but doesn’t just love science. So, I downloaded the scope and sequence chart for 8th grade science but what I found was that most of the science classes at her level have options that make their grade range 7th-12th. Perfect! Options! But narrowed down. I debated between Botany and Geology, both 16 week courses for this spring semester. I settled on Botany but that Geology course is still on my radar. (I may do it myself.)

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What Is Great About SchoolhouseTeachers

Variety is the spice of life, right? Well, you get it with SchoolhouseTeachers. Whether you are looking for preschool or something for an adult, there are tons of choices.

Full curriculum means math, science, history, and language arts. These are all there in abundance. You can choose between different classes for lots of the levels. And then there are the extras or high-interest classes – photography, music (for example: Advanced Music Theory), art (for example: Everyday Easels), drama, speech, fashion, technology, unit studies, health, and more.

Navigation of the Site

I know that when a site has a ton of content, it can be overwhelming and intimidating. Let me reassure you, this site is navigable by multiple ways which makes is less of a burden. Are you looking for a particular class type, such as cooking or geography? Look under the Scope and Sequence chart or browse by class. Are you looking for a grade level to plan the whole year or multiple grade level subjects? Use the Browse By Subject tab to get started. Are you looking for something just for you as a parent? Head over to the tab titled Planning or Resources.

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Two other nagivation options? There is a search bar at the top, which, while it can be helpful, also pulls things from a single lesson inside of a course. This can be good if you are building your own study, like we did a while back on India. That was really helpful to find a unit on tigers and a recipe to make. Bits and pieces came together to make a fabulous study.

The other option is to use the chat icon in the lower right. The folks who handle the chats are really knowledgeable and are able to give links directly to classes to check out that might meet your needs to help you find things that fit you needs.

Other Benefits of SchoolhouseTeachers

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Planners! Any homeschooling parent knows that there is a need for a good planner. But we often want different things than are typically found in planners or we want this page from one planner and that page from a different one. Well, you can find two different planners to meet your needs. The Schoolhouse Planner is over 750 pages so that you can pick and choose what you want to print to meet the individual needs that you have. There is also a planner for high school students to help them be responsible for their own materials and requirements.

World Book Encyclopedia! Research is something that we all need to do and teach. As a member of SchoolhouseTeachers, you will receive access to the full World Book Encyclopedia online. This kind of access is really quite remarkable and is a great tool. Whether researching people or events, the articles, images, and timelines are very useful.

RightNow Media! Access is also available to many, many videos from RightNow Media. Whether a Bible study, a missionary study, or a cartoon for the kids, the variety on RightNow Media is extensive.

Interactive Content! There are multiple ways in which your students can have interactive content. You might choose a course (such as Drive Thru History) that has a video segment for teaching. You might find one (such as geology) that has both a video segment and an online quiz that sends results directly to your email.

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Lesson Plans! Most of the course (maybe all, I am not sure!) have a printable lesson plan that takes the student step-by-step through what should be done for each day. For example, with Botany, I printed the lesson plan and put it in a folder with notebook paper. The lesson plan tells Miss L which pages to read in the text (which we downloaded as a PDF to the computer so she can read from there but we could also put it on her Kindle) and which questions to answer. If there is an activity, such as writing a paragraph on a scientist, it tells her that, also. If there is something she needs to print, you’ve got it, the lesson plan tells her which page to print.

Literacy Center! This is a center that focuses on teaching reading. With a grade level of PK – 2nd grade for pre-reading and reading activities and grade level or 3rd-4th for their comprehension activities, there is a lot of support in this center for assisting parents who are teaching their children to read.

Focused Learning Centers! These are various areas that focus on topics like math, reading, special needs, foreign language, high school, college planning, or science. These materials will direct you to the materials – whether courses or particular lessons – on the site that will help you teach and address the particular area of need that you have.

So Really –

I could keep going because SchoolhouseTeachers truly is a site that is packed to the brim with materials and information. I could easily use this site to teach everything my girls will need to know. It truly is a complete curriculum choice and with the current sale going on, it would be hard to not call this a bargain. Please check out the site and see what would benefit your family.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

There are many Homeschool Review Crew members sharing their reviews of SchoolhouseTeachers.com, a complete curriculum site. Please click on the banner below to read their reviews.

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SchoolhouseTeachers review

50 States Study for upper elementary

50 States Study

We have been going through the 50 states, learning them and learning a bit about them this fall with our upper elementary student. She did the states a few years ago and she has worked some on Texas history and US history, but knowing the names and placements of all 50 states is something we desire for her to learn. So, we tackled it this year. And she is doing super well.

50 states activity notebook

The weekly plan includes working through two of the states from the USA Bundle that we received from The Crafty Classroom. We are using the National Geographic book titled Our Fifty States. It includes beautiful pictures of each state, giving all of the information needed to complete the page for that state in the printable from the bundle. We are also playing a game or two each week or doing a puzzle of the states.

Make A State

Games that we have used include the Name That State Game from the Make-A-State Activity-Pak by Home School In The Woods. We have also used the Stack the States game, available on Kindle. There is a US history game that we have called American Trivia. It includes bits and pieces about the states so we have included it a couple of times.

Puzzles that we have include a cling film one that can go up on a window, a 100 piece puzzle with images of all the states and their main economic item, and a magnetic one where each piece is one state. We also have a table cloth that is a picture of all the states and I try to put it on the table every few weeks. (This was a fabulous project a few years ago when we were studying the states. We got glittery paint and marked where all of our family members lived. Great geography lesson for younger students.)

And, if you don’t know the song, Fifty Nifty is a great song for learning all of the 50 states in alphabetical order. With a catchy tune, it can be learned fairly quickly and will stick forever in your brain. I used it when I taught elementary music and by the time my students left first grade, every one of them knew all of the states in order. Music is a great tool!

With so many easy to use tools, perhaps your study of the states will be easy and fun. Also, check out a previous post about learning the states. It has quite a few hands on projects and a list of books. Some of the materials are duplicated here but these are some resources that we didn’t necessarily have back then.

Blessings,
Lori

50 States Study for upper elementary

LitWits Literature Kits ~ a Crew review

LitWits

With some books there are just tons of fun, interesting activities that can be done to engage more with the story. LitWits developed just this kind of thing – creating immersive activities to go with classical or interesting stories. These are in person classes they hold. These in-person classes have been so popular that the creators decided to go digital with their events and create a whole new product – LitWits Kits.

These LitWits Kits take a treasured story and allow you to engage with it in fun, hands-on, and interesting ways. Whether it be through activities of doing what the characters do or cooking/baking and eating something the characters do, the types of activities help the students really learn more about what life might have been like for the people at that time and in that place. We received four LitWits Kits:

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All Creatures Great And Small

We have been working with the kit for All Creatures Great And Small. This is a long book – over 400 pages. It is honestly a book I didn’t read until I was an adult but I really enjoyed it. It was easy to encourage Miss J to try this one out. She is 10 and we have been reading the book out loud together. She has seemed to really enjoy it. I would note that I have been skipping some of the words and phrases used as common, every-day language in this story, editing as I go.

All Creatures Great And Small is about the life of James Herriot, a veterinarian in the Yorkshire Dales of England starting in the late 1930s. As a new vet, he kept a diary of different calls he was sent to and the people he kept company with. We get the benefit of this record as Mr. Herriot learned that taking care of animals in real life was quite different than the schooling he received. Called out often in the middle of the night or sent to a call that was relayed to him as something completely different than it was, he learned to cope, manage the people and the animals, and to enjoy thoroughly the life of a country vet.

LitWits worksheets

The LitWits Kit for this included activities that helped the student experience what a call could have been like when received in the night and Herriot had to get ready in the dark. It included a suggestion to try Yorkshire pudding, which we made and ate. We listened to people speak with a Yorkshire accent, which is really hard to read out loud in the book. We looked up pictures of the Yorkshire Dales to see what the countryside looked like. We pulled out some music to listen to that was reminiscent of the time and place. We also looked at some bits about the anatomy of animals that are mentioned in the story – cows, horses, sheep, and more.

Yorkshire pudding

There were a few activities that we chose not to do, such as a collage of images. We also chose not to set up an area of props related to the story. We did, however, choose to print out the learning pages and complete most of those. These included using an anatomy chart for a horse and noting different part of the animal and their names. We marked a map and a timeline related to the story. We have a page about work ethic and the themes of the story. We have not completed that one yet since we are not yet finished with the story. These five pages were simple yet brought out different ideas to consider.

Screenshot 2019-11-19 at 8.50.07 PMThe Secret Garden

This kit will be the next one we do, as we just read through this story a few months ago. When Miss J saw it on the list, she wanted to see the activities related to it. She remembers much of the story so we will probably do a review of it or watch a movie. We have printed out the learning pages and she will enjoy having tea with toast and marmalade. She will skip rope and do things related to gardening, direct connections to the story.

 

Screenshot 2019-11-19 at 8.49.51 PMThe Hobbit

This kit was chosen because the girls’ dad was reading this story to them. Miss J has been enjoying it so she thought it would be fun to see what was included in this kit. Food plays a prominent part so we will experience some of that. An engraved sword will be created and runes made. These are just a couple of the fun activities in this kit.

 

 

Screenshot 2019-11-19 at 8.48.56 PMA Wrinkle In Time

This kit was chosen because it is a story she has seen the movie for but not yet read. The takeaway section for this kit has some neat looking links and the activity for the solar system looks interesting. There is a fun dress up activity.

LitWits Kit Navigation

The kits are located online. Once purchased, visit the LitWits site and login. You will then have access to your purchased kits on your account.

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Once you click on Access My Kit, it opens up to the kit.

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The kit is navigable by scrolling, clicking on one of the numbered sections at the top (as seen above), or by clicking on the numbered sections on the side (as seen below).

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You can also choose to print the entire kit with a simple click of the button, which produces a printable PDF file. The sections are the same in all the kits, differing only by the information included to reflect each book. The 10 sections are:

  1. Welcome
  2. Overview
  3. Prop Ideas
  4. Hands-on Fun
  5. Bookbites
  6. Takeaways
  7. Hand-outs
  8. Learning Links
  9. Great Quotes
  10. Copyright

Overall Thoughts

I do like these. They are simple and fully prepared with minimal prep time for the teacher. They do dig a bit into the book and provide a slightly different look at the story. There is much here to do.

I would like to see the activities really ramped up to a level that appeals to the students that should be reading the book. Much of what we skipped, we skipped because it wasn’t appealing and we didn’t really see that it added to the understanding of the book. Putting on Wellington boots and running just doesn’t seem in line with a 400 page book of challenging vocabulary and themes.

checking out carbolic soapThe challenging vocabulary not being addressed was a miss, in my book. There was so much that could have been done, especially in All Creatures Great And Small. For instance, there are multiple mentions of carbolic. We talked about it, looked it up, and used some to wash up with, smelling that smell that is talked about in the story.

Another point I would like to see addressed is the broken links. In All Creatures Great And Small, I found several links that were broken. Also, being directed to a generic Pinterest board or outside site for links was disappointing. I often could not find what I was sent to the Pinterest board for and many of the pins for All Creatures Great And Small were duplicates, making what I was looking for even harder to find. Having to do my own search on Goodreads was disappointing and we did not find strong quotes.

A Good ResourceLitWits Kits

Overall, this is a good resource, especially for someone looking for interactive book units. Perhaps they are a better fit for younger students than older ones but there is still plenty to be gained from each of the kits. If you are looking for a book study that has hands-on activities and ideas, LitWits may be just what you are looking for so please take the time to check them out.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Please visit the Homeschool Review Crew to read additional reviews from other families who used LitWits Kits, many of whom will have chosen different books to explore. Just click on the image below.

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