Category Archives: TOS

CompuScholar ~ a Crew review

CompuScholar.jpg

In our digital world, there is great need for everyone to well versed in how things work. Because this is an area I am not strong in, we were really excited to get to review a course by CompuScholar, Inc. that teaches the fundamentals of basic computer understanding and usage. Digital Savvy is designed to help students gain basic computer skills and to become more adept users of technology.

CompuScholar, Inc.
CompuScholar, Inc.

CompuScholar was founded by people who wanted to help students learn to love technology and to be comfortable using it. Previously known by the name Homeschool Programming, this company has a lot to offer. From basic computer science lessons to learning the professional programming languages, the company is working to make these lessons accessible and interesting to students and educators alike. The mission is to publish computing curriculum for use in all learning environments and their vision is to draw on real world experiences to help prepare students for computing jobs of the future.

Their available courses include:

  • Digital Savvy
  • Web Design
  • Windows Programming
  • Java Programming
  • Unity Game Programming
  • Game Programming With Visual Basic
  • Android Programming

CompuScholar, Inc. Digital Savvy
Digital Savvy

Digital Savvy is a course that is designed to teach 6th-12th grade students the basics of information technology. This online course is designed to take up to one year (two-semesters) and reaches both auditory and visual processing learners. Video content is coupled with written text to teach the information in each lesson. The information is the reinforced through a quiz. Each chapter culminates in an application project.

You can find the topics in the course by visiting the CompuScholar website for the Digital Savvy course. Click on course syllabus on the left hand side of the page. This will give you not only the topics but the schedule of study and projects.

The course has 25 chapters. Each chapter has several lessons, a project, and a chapter exam. Within each lesson, there is a lesson video, a lesson text, and a lesson quiz.

The projects vary in what is required. There is often an online submission of the project so that the teacher can grade it.

teacher screen

The instructor side of the program is very well laid out. The instructor will see the same set-up as the student for the chapters and lessons, with the addition of a teacher guide for each lesson and the lesson quiz answer key. The instructor also has an activity solution for the projects. Each project has a rubric to help manage the grading. It took me a bit to find this, though, as it was at the bottom of the page after the teacher has clicked on the submit activity button. But, once I found it, grading the projects was a breeze.

The other main difference between the instructor account and the student account is the Teacher Menu. This is where the grade book is found, as well as tutorials and professional development videos to help with instructing the classes. This menu is also where the instructor manages the students in the class. The grade book is a nice feature that automatically inputs grades from quizzes and graded projects. Percentages are figured for you and it gives you yet another way to see how the students are understanding this course.

Digital Savvy video

What does the student think?

Miss E is just about to turn 13 and is in 7th grade. She has been using the program at the pace of about 2 lessons per week and has completed two and a half chapters. Miss E says:

I do not like watching the video and reading the text but I really feel like need to do both. The text often has things in it that are not covered in the video. I feel like both of these do a good job of explaining the information.

I like the lessons themselves and I actually like the quizzes. The lessons are interesting. Some of it, like a recent lesson, is really interesting, talking about the future of technology. I knew about the self-driving cars but not the self-piloting drones. I like learning new things and these lessons are definitely doing that. I have always been a little bit interested in technology and I like that I am getting to learn that. For the most part, the quizzes are not hard and the questions are fairly simple.

Doing one lesson a week seems kind of slow to me. I think two lessons a week is a good pace. But one lesson a week would allow you to do more research on the subject.

welcome screen

Final Thoughts:

Overall, I am pleased with the course. I wondered about a few things before we began this course so I will share a couple of those with you.

  • As a homeschooler, the student does not have to have access to email for this course. If this were used in a different setting, I do believe the student would need that email access for submitting and receiving feedback from the instructor.
  • One of the questions that I had before we started this course was “would my student have to actually use social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.)?” The answer is no. The course does a great job of informing the students about HOW to use these sites without actually using them.
  • There is actual programming work that will be covered but it seems to be just enough to find out how interested the student might be in learning more.
  • There is information covered on how to be safe online and about the digital presence that lingers after a student begins having an online presence.

This is a course I am going to be very glad that Miss E has gotten to use. I will be looking at Miss L taking this course, as well, in a bit. The general computer skills and information technology that is taught about in a methodical way is invaluable.

At Home.

Please visit the Homeschool Review Crew to read the reviews of other families using courses from CompuScholar: Digital Savvy  and Web Design and Java Programming.

Digital Savvy, Web Design & Java Programming {CompuScholar,Inc Reviews} 

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Peggy Consolver book ~ a Crew review

Have you ever thought about what life was like during the Old Testament times? Peggy Consolver – Author did and what come of that is quite an amazing, engaging, and interesting novel: Shepherd, Potter, Spy–and the Star Namer.

Shepherd Potter Spy Star Namer

  Mrs. Consolver began writing the story of a young Gibeonite boy during Old Testament times but in 2010, she was struggling to get the Peggy Consolverbackground right – the setting, the geography, the day-to-day details that make a story so engaging that you just can’t let go of it. She was able to take a tour of Israel, go to Caesarea, Megiddo, the Jezreel Valle, Galilee, Jericho, and more. Attending some of the archaeological digs in the area really brought to life the setting in which she was writing the story. And from there, well, we are definitely the beneficiaries of the beautiful, insightful writing that came of that experience. Her purpose is to bring every reader closer to God, to HIStory.

A Summary:

Shepher, Potter, Spy, and the Star Namer has its primary focus on the family of a young Gibeonite boy. The setting is the Jezreel Valley – close to Jerusalem, Jerico, and the Jordan River. The time period is the final two years of the Israelites wandering in the desert before entering Canaan.

The Gibeonite family are shepherds and potters, working hard daily to earn their living and to live in the mountainous areas of their country. Keshub, 13 years old, begins the book as the shepherd for his family, but their lives begin to change when the king of Amorites begins his awful reign and his unloved son runs away for fear of his own life. Keshub’s family believes in the Star-Namer, one who knows all, created all, and cares for everyone, wanting them to do right.

A caravan brings news of the approaching Hebrews and their land is filled with terror. Are the Hebrews really an overwhelming invader who will kill and destroy or is the king of the Amorites who they should worry about? What will happen to the family and the land? After the fall of Jericho, what is there to believe? How could a city that was so protected just fall?

book cover

Fascinating Things:

What I found so fascinating about this story is the lives brought to life in the pages of the story. This is a fictional book but it is historical fiction, based strongly on the lives of the Gibeonite people and the Hebrews. Many of the events of the story come from the Old Testament, specifically as documented in Joshua and Exodus.

Have you ever wondered just what it was like for the Hebrews, as they left behind Egypt and approached Canaan for the second time, after most of those who came out of Egypt had died? Have you ever thought about the amazing sight of what the fall of Jericho would have looked like? What about the crossing of the Jordan river on dry land? Have you ever thought about how the lives of the people were, their daily lives, their earning livings? All this and more are brought to life through the imagination of Mrs. Consolver.

Just some insight into her creative thought processes – I have always thought that it must have been strange to see all of the changes and deaths the Hebrew people experienced. I never personalized it, though. Mrs. Consolver does that extremely well and I felt the fear, the anguish, the pain of the families as they waited for people to die. They knew the deaths of everyone over a certain age would have to die before they could enter Canaan and that must have been an excruciating wait when you knew one of your family members was in that catergory. This is just one of the experiences that was brought to stark life, so that I could feel the anguish, in the story.

A Note on the Book:

Mrs. Consolver has the reader in the Gibeonite setting for most of the book but there are many scenes that take place in the Hebrew camp, as well. This movement of the setting really enhances the book, as it brings the eventual meeting of the two groups to a head (remember when the Gibeonites approached the Hebrews and made a treaty with them under false pretenses?). This did take a bit of thinking to jump back and forth but I feel like it did a great job of bringing the reader right into the story and setting the stage for the final portions of the book.

Shepherd, Potter, Spy--and the Star Namer Peggy Consolver 

Website:

Mrs. Consolver has an interesting website that really enhances the experience of Shepherd, Potter, Spy–and the Star Namer. There are many research links and videos that help you delve deeper into the setting and story line. From looking at animals encountered in the story to links showing how to make knots like the boys did, from learning about Mount Hermon to bow making and learning about fires and insects – the research links are fascinating. They can really strengthen the connections to the story and, more importantly, to the Bible and the events told there. There is also a study guide available to help the readers dig even deeper into HIStory and all that God shows us through the Bible. The study guide is available for purchase and you can get a sample of it from Mrs. Consolver’s website.

At Home.

You can find the author on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/peggy.consolver

Please visit the Homeschool Review Crew to read more reviews of the book.

Shepherd, Potter, Spy--and the Star Namer {Peggy Consolver Reviews} 

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Bessie’s Pillow ~ a Crew review

Bessie's Pillow review

History came to life. It truly did, when we were reading Bessie’s Pillow. This story, from Linda Bress Silbert and Strong Learning, Inc., is about a young lady who immigrates to America just after 1900.

For our family, that is very personal. My husband’s great-grandmother immigrated to America, through Ellis Island, just before 1900. So this story became something that we could easily relate to and brought us a greater understanding of all that their family would have gone through. This ability to relate so personally to the story made this true story of Bessie very real and very alive.

with the drawing of the shipby the passenger list

The main character in the story is Boshka Markman and her story begins in Vilna, Lithuania in 1906. 18 year old Boshka is leaving Vilna because it has become so dangerous there. The progroms and war have invaded their lives but far away, America beckons. Boshka begins her immigration journey to America. But before she boards the train, an older lady from the village asks her to deliver a special pillow to a son in America.

“May this pillow bring you peace.”

This story is not just a story. It is history. The history of a family, the history of nations, the history of the world at that time. And it pulls the reader deep into it all.

Bessie's Pillow cover

We are engaged in the story and through it we see the dangers of the world. The difficulty of a young girl traveling by herself, bravely facing all that comes her way. We walk with her through the invasive medical exams she was forced to endure in order to board the ship and the nervousness of waiting to see if she is allowed to live in America. Though her name is changed (she becomes Elizabeth Markman at Ellis Island), she boldly moves forward to live a new life in America.

She faces the dangers of a young lady in New York but finds employment and a safe place to live. Through her, we see the horrible working and living conditions but we also see the unconquerable human spirit and the will to push through towards a dream. Finding a way to deliver the pillow entrusted to her back in Vilna, she travels to New Rochelle and encounters a new life. The story of her life, lived with the same boldness she came to America with, is what this book is about.

Bessie’s Pillow touched me a lot. The true story of someone who would have been so like my husband’s great-grandmother was intriguing to read, to experience. Written by the granddaughter of Bessie Dreizen (the married name of the main character), this story has the twists and turns of the most creative novel yet is history, family history. And while this story is personal for her, it is one that most everyone in America should be able to relate to in some way.

exploring Bessie's America

Found online and in the back of the book, Bessie’s America is a collection of short articles and websites full of historical tidbits, links, and videos to help us get an more complete look at the life Bessie would have lived and the world she lived in. From the progression of film (from a silent movie that was shown in the theater in New Rochelle to early cartoons and talking movies) to music and dancing (we watched a video of Nellie Melba and looked at images of Carnegie Hall), from news of the day to famous people of the day, from housework to health and hygiene – Bessie’s America was very different from what we know today and this look back at the time in history of this story gives the story even more context and gives us even more understanding.

Bessie’s America really enhanced the book and we found a number of interesting things to read about and websites to visit. This is not a necessity for reading the book but it definitely gives extension to the book and understanding to the reader who takes the time to read and visit the website.

Bessie’s Pillow  is a wonderful, engaging read that is so full of history – our history – that I highly recommend it to everyone. I will note that there are some discussions early on in the book about incidents that caused Vilna to be unsafe for her, as well as New York to be unsafe (mention of attacks on girls and women), working conditions and the dangers that were faced, as well as some undesirable locations that people frequented. I would not just hand this book to anyone under the age of about 12 but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a good books for them to read. I suggest reading it yourself first and deciding if it is right for your child and/or doing it as a read-aloud so that you can edit the parts that may not be right for your family.

My 12 year old read it and thoroughly enjoyed it. She read it quickly (perhaps a day) and wanted to talk about it. We had talked about our family history and that made this book even more desirable for her. There is much to be gained from reading history that comes alive as Bessie’s Pillow does.

At Home.

Bessie's Pillow {Strong Learning, Inc. Reviews} 

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Creating A Masterpiece ~ a Crew review

Creating a Masterpiece
Art is a beloved past time in our house. When we were given a subscription to review the Monthly Plan for the company Creating a Masterpiece, I was pretty excited. The girls all had input on the interest level in this company and they all wanted to participate.

Creating a Masterpiece
Creating a Masterpiece is a website with video instruction in creating artwork masterpieces using various media. Sharon Hofer is the instructor in the videos and she walks the students through the steps to create the artwork. She believes that, no matter the age of the student, everyone can create a masterpiece. The instruction is given clearly and is demonstrated at the same time. Since the instruction is on video, it can be paused and reviewed as many times as needed to understand. This combination makes it fairly easy to follow and recreate the steps given, resulting in artwork the student can be proud of.

The projects vary in difficulty and time required for completion. There are six levels of instruction (Beginners to Level 5), plus a series of Art In History lessons. The beginner level project can almost all be completed in one or two sittings. The Level 5 projects all seem to have 5 or more lessons. Each lesson can have several video segments.

The medium options are quite varied and can be run the gamut on cost. If you have an advanced art student, this would be well worth the cost of materials. Options for media include watercolors, watercolor pencils, acrylics, charcoal, woodburning, ink, carving, soft pastel, oil pastel, and more. The variety of media choices is extensive.

Candle Light Project

We started off with a mixed media project titled Candlelight. It was a Beginners level project and we were able to complete it in two lessons, though it would be easy enough to have done in a single session. All four of us (me and the three girls) worked on this. In this project, I appreciate the clear instruction with the ability to change what we were doing enough to have a finished product that was distinctly ours. It could have looked just like the one on the video but we all added our own touches to make it personal.

Sailing Adventure

Miss J and I tackled the charcoal project titled Sailing Adventure, which is a Beginners level project. We followed the video and were able to complete the project in a single session. I would have appreciated a bit more information on how to use the kneadable eraser because that caused me a bit of an issue and Miss J got very frustrated. We did eventually figure it out though and were able to use it with reasonable success. We were very pleased with our final products, which we were able to personalize a bit and make our own.

Puppy Love

Another project that we tackled was the Level 4 Puppy Love. This adorable puppy is done with watercolor pencils. We have found this one a lot more difficult. We have done three sessions with it so far and still have some more work to do to finish the projects. Miss E, Miss J, and I have been working on the puppy.

With  Puppy Love, there have been several bits and pieces that have given us difficulty. Probably the hardest has been the difference in watercolor pencils themselves. Early in the instruction, it is stated that the brand of pencil doesn’t matter too much and the girls have decent sets. However, we found that shading “lightly” with the instructor’s pencils still gave a good color when she added water but with ours, it washed the color away when we painted it. We had to let the projects dry and then recolor them and try again. My suggestion for anyone trying a watercolor pencil project: play with your pencils and find out how much color you get when you shade lightly all the way through to shading darkly. Learn what yours do before beginning your watercolor project. It will avoid some frustration with it not working when following the shading instructions.

In the instructions, it is not unusual for the student to be given the opportunity to change it a bit, or to modify it in some way, to make the project personal. This is all well and good. However, you have to be able to ignore the things she says that you don’t want to do or don’t apply to your project. This caused some issues for us in Puppy Love.

After having drawn in the dog’s nose, the instructor chose to move it during the refining process. But she said, if you don’t want to move it, then don’t. So none of us did. But a lot of the way she described other parts of doing the face were dependent on you having moved it like she did! If you don’t have the ability to modify her instructions related to that change and fit what you do have, it can be hard. So, I hand-held a lot for this one.

clown fish

I did a couple of the projects on my own, since I was interested in them but the girls were not. My favorite was probably the Level 1 Clown Fish. This was a 3 session project. I did not take three sessions; instead, I sat up late one night and just did it all. I really enjoyed it and was pleased with the result. I think it would have been a bit difficult for the girls to do because our colored pencils were not as soft as the ones recommended. Better colored pencils would definitely have resulted in a brighter finished project and would make it more enjoyable for the girls to do.

If you have a student who tries to follow every instruction to the tee and is fairly perfection oriented, this might not be a good program for them. We cannot get the results that the instructor does and this was really hard for one of the girls. She does much better with written instructions, where she can imagine and draw what she is thinking. Having the video before her made her feel like she had to copy exactly. She started two projects that never got very far because they were “too difficult” when her paper didn’t match the instructor’s.

We will continue to do some of the projects throughout the remainder of our subscription. I am looking forward to trying out some of the acrylic projects. The video instruction is clear and easy to follow most of the time. For an older student or an adult, there is no difficulty in figuring out what is required and how to follow the instructions. For the younger students, I think it was good that I was doing the projects alongside the girls. All in all, we have enjoyed Creating a Masterpiece quite a bit.

Creating a Masterpiece

This image was provided by Creating a Masterpiece as an example of how anyone, of any age, can be an artist!

Head over to Creating a Masterpiece and sign up to try the sample lesson or to take a look at all of the projects available.

At Home.

Visit the Homeschool Review Crew to take a look at projects created by other families who have been using Creating a Masterpiece.

Creating Beautiful Art at Home {Creating A Masterpiece Reviews} 

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Susan K Marlow’s New Andi books ~ a Crew review

Circle C Stepping Stones series

Circle C Stepping Stones is a new series from author Susan K. Marlow and published by Kregel Publications. The first two books in the series, Andi Saddles Up and Andi Under the Big Top, continue to sage of Andrea Carter, affectionately known as Andi.

Andrea Carter, or Andi, begins the Circle C Stepping Stones series on her 9th birthday. This scene is one that just about every little girl (and boy) can relate to: hoping beyond hope for a long desired gift. This quickly endears the reader to Andi and her plight of trying to grow up strong and independent with a mind of her own while obeying and honoring her mother and her older brothers, who are in charge of the ranch.

Andi Saddles Up

Andi Saddles Up –

Andi gets a wonderful birthday breakfast and lovely gifts from her family. But when she is followed by the whole family out to the barn, she begins to wonder what’s up. She finds out that she does, after all, get a brand new saddle for Taffy, her horse. After saddling up, her big brother takes her out for a ride to try it out and to discuss new privileges – Andi can now ride Taffy when she wants! She also gets shown a special place that almost no one else knows about.

One day while at this special place, Andi meets a new friend, Sadie. The girls quickly become good friends, swapping stories and trading rides for fishing bait. Andi and Sadie enjoy their new friendship, even after they find out that their families are disagreeing about a property boundary. When something happens and help is needed quickly, can the families be calm and kind? And can Andi and Sadie’s friendship survive the family struggles?

Andi Under the Big TopAndi Under the Big Top –

The circus is coming to town and Andi is terribly excited. Getting to see exotic animals and bareback riders and acrobats are the things Andi’s dreams are made of. Watching the circus parade is such a joy for Andi, especially seeing the world champion bareback rider!

Then Andi meets Henry. Henry is a little boy who works for the circus. Only, Andi notices he doesn’t seem very happy and Andi begins to wonder, for the first time, if maybe the circus is not as glamorous as it seems from the outside. After an altercation in which Andi’s big brother helps Henry avoid undeserved punishment, Henry is able to take Andi behind the scenes of the circus. This adventure is such a joy for Andi and her big sister Melinda.

But, Henry is still on Andi’s mind. She has realized that he ran away from home to join the circus and is now unable to get away; he is trapped. She wants to help him but after she finds out what he has done, can she?

What We Thought –

Miss L, age 10, read these books through the day we received them. She has enjoyed the Circle C Beginnings series and was ready to continue reading about Andi’s adventures. She wrote the following summaries about the books:

Andi Saddles Up is a fun book. It is about Andi, of course, and her family when a river that divides her family’s property and their neighbor’s, the Hollisters, property changes its course during a flood. Meanwhile, Andi makes a new friend with Sadie Hollister and she then wants to hang onto their friendship, even while their families fight. I love the way the book ends and I really liked the part about the hoof picks! Susan K Marlow is so talented! I think that I would recommend this book for ages 7 + up, maybe a year or two younger if it is a read-aloud.

Andi Under the Big Top is a nice book, too. All the details made me feel like I was really at the circus with her, and yet, reading. And the thick plots! I was really impressed that Marlow was able to get as much good plot and details in as she was without just dragging the story along with it. I think that I would recommend this one for ages 7 + up as well. Again, maybe a little younger for a read-aloud.using the study guide

Miss J (just turned 8) is reading the books at a slower pace. She is also working on the Study Guides that are provided to go along with the books. You can find the Study Guides on the webpages for the books, both at Kregel Publications and on the Circle C Stepping Stonespage (where they are called activity pages; you can also find coloring pages). These Study Guides provide a nice supplement to the books. They contain comprehension questions and activities. They cover subjects such as vocabulary, poetry, history, character study, Bible, music, and more. It is recommended that the guides take 21 days to complete but they are pretty easy to speed up or slow down as your family needs. We have really enjoyed adding these Study Guides to our reading and making this a more complete literature study.

Overall –

The Circle C Ranch books are wholesome, with good, solid ideas and themes, as well as Biblical ideas and character building opportunities. The new Circle C Stepping Stones series is no different. Andi is growing and some of my favorite parts in these books are where she remembers to go to God when she sees something that He can help with or when she is suddenly thankful. (Thank you, God, for giving me a brave sister! p. 76 Andi Under the Big Top)  I thoroughly enjoy those little moments of showing God in the everyday.

Circle C Stepping Stones books

We adore Mrs. Marlow. Her writing has been a joy to read since we were first introduced to her stories. We have told tons of people about them and encouraged our library to order the books. (They did! All of them! And they have ordered these new ones, too, since we told them they were out!) Miss E is waiting (im)patiently for me to get the newest one of the Circle C Milestones series. We highly recommend these books.

At Home.

We have previously reviewed these other books by Susan K. Marlow:
The Last Ride
Tales From the Circle C Ranch
Thick as Thieves

There are other Homeschool Review Crew families who have been reading these books, as well. Please click on the banner below to read what they thought of Circle C Stepping Stones.

Andi Series {Kregel Publications and Susan K. Marlow Reviews} 

Find out more on social media:

Twitter (Kregel Books): https://twitter.com/KregelBooks
Twitter (Susan K Marlow): https://twitter.com/SuzyScribbles
Facebook (Kregel Books): https://www.facebook.com/KregelBooks/
Facebook (Susan K Marlow): https://www.facebook.com/SusanKMarlow?fref=ts

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Creative Freewriting Adventure ~ a Crew review

Creative Freewriting Adventure review

Two of the three giggly girls are tremendous writers and seem to really enjoy finding creative outlets for their writing. This continuous search for various writing outlets was one of the reason we were interested in the Creative Freewriting Adventure from Home School Adventure Co. We also received a copy of the Creative Freewriting Adventure Coloring Book Edition.

Creative Freewriting Adventure Coloring Book EditionCreative Freewriting Adenture

 Stacy Ferrell is the author of this writing supplement. She has written various curriculums published through Home School Adventure Co, including Philosophy Adventure, Walking with the Waodani, Celebrating Manhood: a rite of passage guide, and I’d Rather Be Your Mommy.

Creative Freewriting Adventure was developed as a supplemental writing program to complement various other programs published by the company, including The Wise Woman with Analysis Journal, Philosophy Adventure, and Mere Christianity Critical Analysis Journal. The idea was to give the students some opportunities for fun, creative writing in the midst of a longer-term, more intensive writing project.writing about Thales

This program contains 10 exercises, some of which actually have two writing activities. Each exercise begins with some background information, a descriptive scene (titled Your Journey), and Your Assignment. The exercises include the philosophers Thales, Pythagoras, Xenophanes, and Democritus. There are four exercises on The Wise Woman. The final two exercises are centered a bit more on themes from Mere Christianity.

After the student has read the information and Your Journey, the Your Assignment part takes them into the writing. These are a series of questions designed to jog the student’s memory, give them ideas and help them find ways to increase the descriptiveness of their writing. Then, a timer is set for 15 minutes and the writing begins. At 15 minutes, the exercise is over. If the girls were on a roll, I never stopped them at 15 minutes. They wanted to finish the story that was running in their heads, so I let them.

This quick but creative process is what I thought would appeal greatly to my girls. I was mistaken here. While some of the prompts worked really well (Thales falling in a well and the one with talking animals), others were complete dead ends for the girls. We tried several of them more than once with a break in between. It was just a no-go.

I believe that these did not work as well for the girls because they like to write and they write often. They are so creative that they felt boxed in by the prompts and they felt like  many of the exercises ended the story rather than giving them an opening for continuing the story.

The background information was where we got the most joy from these lessons. Miss E has been studying Ancient Greece and the first four exercises include some information on some of the Greek philosophers. This was pretty fascinating for her (and me). It was also writing about talking animalsfun for us to revisit some of the story of The Wise Woman, which we reviewed a couple of years ago.

We received PDF downloads of both the Creative Freewriting Adventure and the Creative Freewriting Adventure Coloring Book Edition. There is very little difference between the two. They both include the same written information and printable pages for doing the creative writing assignment on. The coloring book edition also includes a coloring page for each of the exercises.

If you have an older student who needs some ideas for writing, some prompts, or some questions to help them get more creative and descriptive in their writing, this might be a good supplement for you to look at.

At Home.

 

Homeschool Review Crew families have been using the Creative Freewriting Adventure, Walking with the Waodani, Celebrating Manhood, and I’d Rather Be Your Mommy. Click the banner below to read more reviews.

Resources with a Biblical Worldview{Home School Adventure Co. Reviews}You can find Home School Adventure Co. on social media at the following links:
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By The Way Book Series (Colorado) ~ a Crew review

colorado-by-the-way-review

By the Way Book Series is not new to us but we were still really excited to get to read and review one of their newest books: Colorado ~ By the Way.

By The Way came about due to a sad statistical fact. The author, Joy Budensiek, was sitting in church when she heard the statistic that 19 out of 20 Christian families are not talking about God in their day-to-day lives, noticing Him and His work in all that surrounds them and the things they do. This shocking statistic jolted her into creating a series of books that models for parents not only how to see God and His majesty in creation but how to then discuss that and talk about that with their children. Mrs. Budensiek has a goal of 100 books to help facilitate ideas and examples for parents.

Nature Books With A Biblical Worldview {By the Way Book Series }

Colorado ~ By the Way is a story that brings us tidbits of the history of the state of Colorado, mixed in with a lot of geography, science, animal observation, and God’s scripture.

Meet Alex and Lexi. These two young folks are getting to spend a week with a friend, Jose, in Colorado (they met this friend in the book Washington ~ Here We Come!, which our family has also had the pleasure of reading). Jose’s family owns a ranch and is more than happy to help Alex and Lexi learn all that can about the state of Colorado while they are visiting. From the varied landscapes (mountains, sand dunes, and the Royal Gorge) to the many different animals (wild horses, cougars, cutthroat trout, big horn sheep, beavers, and more), Alex and Lexi get to experience wonder after wonder.

great-read-aloud

As fantastic as all this is, one of the best parts of the story is the many ways in which Jose’s parents, as well as the others around them, model for Alex and Lexi how to see God. From noting the wonder of God creating a way for fresh water to be kept close to animals that need it (thanks to the beaver building dams) to the marvelous ways God protects His creations (such as clothing the snowshoe hare white for winter and brown for summer), everyday things are seen through the lens of the amazing ways God shows His handiwork.

Other ways in which God is taught through the Colorado book includes the discussion about some of the first churches founded in Denver and the beautiful chapel at the United States Air Force Academy. With a discussion of the Continental Divide, the effects of choices upon our character is taught. In talking about the juniper tree, the beauty of everything God makes is discussed. Scripture references are found often throughout the book, as well.

Our family has used this book in two different ways. I have read it aloud with Miss J, who just turned 8. She could have probably read it by herself but in my reading it aloud with her, we were able to stop and discuss some of the points that are made in the book. We were able to talk about the different ways we see God around us and apply the things from the book to our daily lives. Also, the print is fairly small and some pages have two columns that start at different heights on the page. These would have made for some possible confusion in where and how to read the story.

miss-j-reading-by-the-way

Miss L, age 10, grabbed the book the minute it arrived and sat down with it. She read it straight through and came to me to tell me about what she had read. We talked about things that she found interesting. She then asked if she could do a notebooking project to go along with it. She chose 10 of the animals from the book and wrote about them in some notebooking pages that we printed off. She was thrilled with the information she found in the book and was very pleased with the outcome of her project.

animal-notebooking-page

The book will be a jumping off point for additional activities, I think. I would like to have the girls read a book about one of the historical people mentioned, as there is not a whole lot of information about them. I also think it would be fun to do some additional reading or website visiting about some of the landscapes and destinations visited in the book. These are just a couple of examples of how easily this series can be expanded into additional learning.

But, truly, the best feature is how simply and easily the By the Way Book Series incorporates the discussion of God and His might into every day lives and activities. What a great model for us all.

At Home.

Check out all of the By the Way Book Series being reviewed by families of the Homeschool Review Crew:
Florida’s Treasure Coast ~ Here We Come!
Smoky Mountains ~ Here We Come!
Pennsylvania ~ Here We Come!
Ohio ~ Here We Come!
Washington ~ Here We Come!
Colorado ~ By the Way

Nature Books With A Biblical Worldview {By the Way Book Series Reviews}Crew Disclaimer 

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