Category Archives: Uncategorized

Online Times Alive ~ a Crew review

a multimedia way to learn the multiplication facts

Most parents will agree that the stronger a student’s recall is of basic multiplication facts, the better the student will do as they advance into higher and higher math areas.
City Creek Press, Inc. is one company that feels this way and they have created Online Times Alive to helps students memorize these multiplication facts.

City Creek Press desires to help students enjoy the learning process and to create products that helps students feel capable and smart as they learn. Judy Liautaud is the owner and operator of City Creek Press and is the bright mind behind the process of Online Times Alive. She was looking for a unique way for her students to learn the math tables in a meaningful way. By connecting visually appealing, interesting, and fun images, Times Alive is something that many students connect to and remember well.

Screenshot 2019-09-16 at 1.12.16 PM

Online Times Alive is an online subscription program to an animated program that will help students connect their multiplication tables and facts to images and sounds. These types of memory devices seem to be very helpful for many students. Using a short story or rhyme, a song, and keywords, each of the multiplication facts is connected with visually bright and colorful images. Using these various styles reaches different learning styles, also, making this appeal to an even wider range of students.

To use this program, the student logs into their account using the chosen name. It is important for the student to capitalize and punctuate the name exactly the same each time. If once I log in as Mom and the next as mom, it will create two different accounts and all progress from the previous login will not be visible on the new account. Please also note that you must log in on the same device or computer each time. The account is only accessible from the same device; it does not store on the cloud.

Screenshot 2019-09-16 at 1.14.14 PM

The login is simple and the student can just move through each of the activities, one at a time.  Just click on the next activity in the lesson list that has not been completed and off the student goes. The list is easy to see what has been done and what hasn’t as there is an open circle for not completed, a half colored circle for started but not finished, and a colored in circle for completed. Once an activity is completed, the student can just click the next arrow at the bottom right of the page to move to the next activity.

Screenshot 2019-09-16 at 1.14.50 PM

This is a screenshot of the story for 8 x 8.

The activities include:

  • the story that helps created the relationship between the multiplication facts and the answers
  • a song to go with the characters and the facts
  • an activity such as coloring (just a click to color in large areas)
  • tests and quizzes that appear in different ways; sometimes the student will choose the picture to show the story for a particular fact while other times the student will solve number problems and type in the correct answer
Screenshot 2019-09-16 at 1.16.34 PM

This is a screenshot of the song for the fact 8 x 8. You can see the two eights and then the 6 and the 4, for 64, on the sign.

There is a printable student report that is easy to access if you need a printed record. It includes the date the activities are each completed and the scoring on it, where appropriate. You can see in the image above that the student progress report is found right in the middle of the box in the bright orange space. Just click it to get the report.

City-Creek-Press-Logo

20190805_175802

Our experience was not ideal. I was truly hoping my 10 year old would enjoy the musical stories and that it would help her. She knows how to get the answers for multiplication facts but she does not have them memorized. Since she seems to be able to remember anything set to music, I really thought she would adore this. She did not. It definitely felt “baby-ish” to her and the way it addressed things was for a student much younger than her. It is a great program but was just to young in content and tone of voice for her.

This is a good program. I think, for students up to about 3rd grade, it would be a fine fit. While students above that level could certainly need the help a program like this could afford, it could possible result in the same “talking down to” feeling as my daughter experienced. The idea is a wonderful one and many students can benefit from this program.

SPECIAL OFFER: When you sign up for Times Alive, the company is offering to waive your set-up fee, a $6.95 value, when you use the code lovetolearn.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Times Alive

Please click on the banner below to visit the Homeschool Review Crew and read about the experiences that other families had with Online Times Alive and the  Times Alive App, both from City Creek Press, Inc.

Online-Times-Alive-by-City-Creek-Press-Reviews

3-Crew-Disclaimer-2016

I Stand Amazed ~ hymn

How marvelous, how wonderful!

photo credit: Miss J, taken from our church parking area

What do you think of when you think of the word wonderful? Marvelous? Amazing?

Each of these words seems to be something of the “best”, something that is hard to find the equal of. We talk of many things being wonderful, don’t we? Perhaps a fun activity? Or a really good dinner, maybe. Maybe it was the movie or play or time spend with one of our favorite people.

What about marvelous? Do many people use this word to describe the activities they do. Same with the word amazing. “That movie was amazing!” “What a marvelous movie that was!”

But, really, shouldn’t we reserve those words for things that are really and truly much better than the norm or the average? Should not those words be used to describe the things that are truly better than everything else?

The refrain of this hymn uses these words –

How marvelous! How wonderful!
  And my song shall ever be:
How marvelous! How wonderful!
    Is my Savior’s love for me!

We see the true use of these strong words here – describing the love of God, the love that is so strong, so unbreakable that He sent Jesus to go through unimaginable things because of His LOVE. You guys, His LOVE!

This is what is marvelous.

This is what is wonderful.

My Savior’s love is all this and so much more!

We are blessed, aren’t we?

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

You can listen to this song on In Search of the Lord’s Way. Just scroll down to the I’s and click on the play arrow next to the song title “I Stand Amazed.”

I Stand Amazed

words and music: Charles H. Gabriel (1905)

1 I stand amazed in the presence
of Jesus, the Nazarene,
and wonder how he could love me,
a sinner, condemned, unclean.

Refrain:
How marvelous, how wonderful!
And my song shall ever be:
How marvelous, how wonderful
is my Savior’s love for me!

2 He took my sins and my sorrows;
he made them his very own;
he bore the burden to Calvary
and suffered and died alone. [Refrain]

3 When with the ransomed in glory
his face I at last shall see,
’twill be my joy through the ages
to sing of his love for me. [Refrain]

Bronze Statues at the Library

Bronze Statues at the library

We went to the library a couple of weeks ago and stumbled upon an amazing – and fabulous – thing. The library was hosting an art showing of bronze work by various artists. From a life-sized statue of a warrior to a chair that can be sat on to a day to a number of smaller statues of less than about a foot high. We spent a good bit of time that day studying the statues and have enjoyed looking at them briefly again each time we go now.

You can see a video of the smaller statues by visiting my Instagram feed.

I think our absolute favorite was the chair, though.

20190827_151545

Each of the letters is textured. The texturing is something that starts with that letter. For example, the z is textured by zippers. It was so much fun to go through and try to figure out what each one was. There is a list on the back of the page that tells about the chair so we were able to find out what all of them were.

This was tons of fun and I hope everyone in Waco is able to get a chance to go by and see them. The work of each of the pieces is beautiful and it was interesting to read about each of the pieces and the artist that created it.

A visit to an art show is always a great stop. We are so pleased to be able to see these beautiful pieces of art for a while.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

 

 

Daily Grammar Lessons for Jr. High and High School ~ A Crew review

Daily Grammar for middle and high school

One thing we don’t focus too hard on as a family of readers is grammar and spelling. This is a mixed-bag of benefits so I was happy when a simple solution came available for review to have the girls brush up on these skills. Easy Grammar Systems has a series of easy-to-use products that doesn’t take a huge amount of time while showcasing huge results. Both Miss E (10th grade) and Miss L (8th grade) have been using  Easy Grammar Ultimate Series:  Grade 9 with Easy Grammar Ultimate Series:  Grade 9 Test Booklet. In just 5-10 minutes a day, the girls are getting solid practice and refreshers on all the necessary components of grammar.

20190729_174927

I have two students using this and that is because Easy Grammar Systems has a copyright statement in the front of the lesson book granting permission for more than one student to use the book for non-commercial use. It may not be used school-wide in districts and such but one family may use it for multiple students. This is a great blessing.

There are 180 daily lessons in the Easy Grammar Ultimate Series:  Grade 9. The text is considered a teaching text because it has explanations for new concepts as they come up. There are also examples for those new ideas. This allows the student to see and then use the concept – a great way to learn. Some of the ideas and concepts at the beginning are designed to be a review, especially if this is not the first book from Easy Grammar Systems the student has used. As the lessons progress, the information becomes more advanced. As a teaching text, this has the answer key included in the book.

20190912_133634Concepts in this level include but are not limited to:

  • adjectives
  • adverbs
  • analogies
  • types of sentences
  • conjunctions
  • dictionary skills
  • interjections
  • nouns
  • phrases
  • clauses
  • prefixes, roots, suffixes
  • prepositions
  • pronouns
  • sentence combining
  • sentence problems (run-on, fragment, etc.)
  • spelling
  • subject/verb agreement and identification
  • verbs

This program runs the gamut on grammar skills. Each of the 180 daily lessons includes the same five basic parts: capitalization, punctuation, two areas of grammar concepts, and sentence combining. The lessons are printed in the book and can be copied (notice the cover says reproducible!) or can be copied down into a notebook or on a piece of paper. My girls are using a notebook and writing the answers for each section down in the notebook.

20190814_092846

Samples are available on the website.

The answers are included in the back of the book. The book also has indexes and listing of the concepts with related page numbers. This would make it possible to look up concepts that a student needs practice on and have the student use just those parts.

We also received the test booklet. It contains reproducible tests that occur every 10 lessons. We use it the same way we use the daily lessons. It is formatted the same way the daily lessons are, also. The girls copy the answers for the lessons into their notebooks and then we grade them. So that they don’t forget to have me get the test booklet out, we have written “get test” before lesson 11, lesson 21, etc. The answers are included in the test booklet.

Each day the girls get out their language arts notebook and write the corrected sentences and answers into their notebook. We discuss any questions that arise during the lesson. Then, answers are checked and they are done with it for the day. It truly takes no more than 10 minutes and more often, it is about 5. Sometimes it takes them longer to find the book since there are two using it than it does for them to do the lessons at this point.

20190912_133809

I do expect it to take them a bit longer as the concepts become more advanced. But I have already seen benefit of this program for us. Since most of our grammar understanding comes from experiencing the usage in context of reading, this is pulling out the details and having them focus on the detail one at a time. Even if it is something they know, having to take just a moment to examine it and determine that, “yes, I do understand how this works” is a very good thing. Both of the girls are more certain with their responses and I have heard them speaking with more confidence when helping their younger sister in her grammar work.

I am pleased to see that they have additional levels. I feel confident in saying that this will remain in our arsenal for the long term.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

daily grammar

There have been Homeschool Review Crew families using this and additional products.
Easy Grammar:  Grade 1 
Easy Grammar:  Grade 3 
Daily GRAMS:  Grade 3 
Easy Grammar Plus
Daily GRAMS:  Grade 7
Easy Grammar Ultimate Series:  Grade 9
Easy Grammar Ultimate Series:  Grade 11

Please visit the Crew blog to read about their experiences by clicking on the image below.

Easy-Grammar-Daily-GRAMS-Easy-Grammar-Ultimate-Easy-Grammar-Systems-Reviews

3-Crew-Disclaimer-2016

Destination Moon ~ Book Club

September's Book Club

Oh y’all – August just blew right up and caught me completely unaware. I did not get a post up for that and gave myself permission to skip it. But, I have September’s ready and it is a lovely read on the space race.

Destination Moon: The Remarkable and Improbably Voyage of Apollo 11
by Richard Maurer

Destination Moon recounts the components of the space race from WWII until the end of the Apollo program. This gives a nice, easy-to-read chronology of the events that brought the US to the moon six times. The book brings us to know not only the astronauts that flew on the rockets and landed on the moon, but also those scientists and politicians that made sure the program kept moving forward. The political tensions and social issues are not ignored, as they all played such an important role in the space race.

The way in which the characters involved are introduced is fabulous, bringing them into the picture one-by-one, giving their history. It is easy to see how the role they each played was important.

The book contains 36 chapters and seven briefings, broken down into six parts:

  • War
  • Dreams
  • Spacemen
  • The Plan
  • Crews
  • The Moon

Filled throughout with black and white photographs of the events and people, this is a wonderful resource for learning more about how the United States made it to the moon.

Want to read another review? Check out A Net In Time. This is where I first heard of this recounting of the true story so I decided to pick it up from the library and I am really glad I did. I learned so much reading through this chronology of the events that brought US astronauts to the moon.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

There are additional resources to be found on SchoolhouseTeachers.com related to space – some to experiments and some are lessons on the spacecraft. A lesson on manned spacecraft, one on models and space exploration, one on space probes, and then some others with the space themed activities. Please consider using the link above (affiliate link – if you choose to purchase a membership with them, I will receive a small commission).

earthscienceallthree_highres

Reading Eggs Workbook Grade 5 ~ a Crew review

a quick and easy, all-in-one reading skills workbook

There are some things that it is just nice to have in a simple, compact, easy-to-use format. Grammar, comprehension, and spelling are all packaged up simply and effectively in the Reading Eggs workbook, 200 Essential Reading Skills for Fifth Grade, that Miss J has been using for the past few weeks. Reading Eggs has set it up to work right alongside their online program, which is Reading Eggspress for this level. The website requires a separate subscription purchase.

Reading Eggs cover

The softback workbook is set up by the week and contains one page for each day. Day 1 and Day 2 are comprehension lessons with excepts from a text that can be read in full on the website library. The comprehension lessons help the student learn to annote (or mark up) a text, noting the important parts and learning reading strategies. There are also two or three questions each day to answer regarding the reading of the text. Some of these are very simple but some require some inference from the reading, which does a great job of stretching understanding.

Reading Eggs workbook comprehension

Day 3 and Day 4 are spelling lessons. These lessons have a different spelling “rule” or pattern each week and the words all correspond to that.  The activities vary quite a lot to help focus interest and memory. The student might sort, work with phonics, count syllables, determine meaning, or have to fill in blanks. The second day is a more challenging day with the words being at a higher level and more complex spelling patterns. This day might also include things like unscrambling words or proofreading for spelling mistakes.

Reading Eggs working hard

Day 5 is a grammar lesson. These lessons each focus on a different grammatical term that helps the student understand the English language usage. The student might work on commas, dashes, clauses, or types of sentences. These are just a few of the terms that might be dealt with and the activities could be marking where they should go or finding mistakes in use, underlining, or completing sentences. Each day has a few different activities to help the student really understand.

Every 9 weeks, there is a comprehensive review. If you are working on a 36 week schedule and want to complete the whole book in that period, this will probably mean you have to double up at the end of week 9 to stay on schedule. For those of us on a more relaxed schedule, one page a day just means the review days are just “another day” and part of the norm.

 

The Reading Eggs workbooks contains everything needed for reading comprehension, spelling, and grammar learning. The table of contents shows you week by week what is going to be learned. If you are a more visual based person and need a calendar look at it, you have that, too. Following the student pages, there is an answer key at the back of the book.

Reading Eggspress website

The Homeschool Review Crew working on this review were offered a four week access to the Reading Eggs website since the workbooks sit alongside the website so nicely. We have had access to the website before and were thrilled to have it again. Reading Eggspress is the branch of the website designed for 7-13 year old students. It includes over 2,000 ebooks and has individualized learning to help all students boost their language and literacy skills.

 

Miss J works in her workbook every day and it takes her maybe 15 minutes. Two or three times a week, she also works on the website. She plays games to strengthen her spelling and vocabulary. She can access the full story that corresponds to the reading passages in the workbook for when she finds the excerpts interesting. She will spend a hour on the website if I let her. For this reason, I often make her do it after her other schoolwork is completed so she can spend as much time on there as she wants to. With rewards and fun activities, it is an exciting way to strengthen language arts skills.

Overall ThoughtsReading Eggs review image

I really like Reading Eggs. When we first started homeschooling, I would not have thought that Reading Eggs was something I would appreciate but I am glad to say I have been wrong! I have wondered what would have happened had we tried it out sooner but, regardless, we have it now and it is really benefiting Miss J. She enjoys the simple activities in the workbooks, even when they are super challenging, and she has a good time when she is working online with Reading Eggspress. We definitely would recommend Reading Eggs.

Claim 4 Weeks for Free:

Just in time for Back to School: Sign up today and watch your child become a stronger reader this Back-to-School season! A multi-award winning online learning program for children ages 2–13, Reading Eggs supports the essential foundations of reading with its highly engaging lessons, games, and e-books!
Claim Now by clicking this link – (https://readingeggs.com/giggly/)

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Please visit the Homeschool Review Crew to read about the experiences other families have had with Reading Eggs. They have used reading workbooks from K-grade 5 and math workbooks from K-grade 2. Click on the banner below to read more reviews.Reading-Eggs-Math-and-Reading-Reviews

3-Crew-Disclaimer-2016

 

Zeezok Music Appreciation Book 2 ~ a Crew review

Music Appreciation for the Middle Grades from Zeezok Publishing

A couple of years ago, we had the opportunity to use a music appreciation program from Zeezok Publishing. This year, we got to review the next level of the program – Music Appreciation Book 2: for the Middle Grades.

Zeezok program books

We received a lovely package of materials that included

  • One student book and the following books
  • Frederic Chopin, Early Years
  • Frederic Chopin, Later Years
  • Robert Schumann and Mascot Ziff
  • Adventures of Richard Wagner
  • Stephen Foster and His Little Dog Tray
  • The Young Brahms
  • The Story of Peter Tchaikovsky
  • Peter Tchaikovsky and the Nutcracker Ballet
  • Edward MacDowell and His Cabin in the Pines

The student book is a softback, perforated book of more than 300 pages. The reading books are all different lengths. Most are softback but a couple are hardback and one was sent to us as an ebook. (It would come as a physical reader if you purchase the package.) These readers are definitely written at a challenging level for upper elementary, as the vocabulary is advanced. It is great and does a wonderful job of stretching language. The chapters are fairly long so they took more than one sitting each to read.

Zeezok reading Chopin

I read the first Chopin book out loud to all the girls, as it was a fun story, taught a lot about how Chopin came to be the composer he was, and had great vocabulary!

Zeezok workbook page

The student book includes so much information! Miss E has worked on the questions about Chopin and his life. There are music education parts where she had to do things such as write in the beats of the music and work on the website to learn more about the grand staff and key signatures. Much of the written work in the student book includes comprehension questions over the reader. The biggest benefit of the student book, though, is the emphasis it puts on where the music comes from, the heritage of the composer, and the land in which he lived and how it influenced his writing. This and the musical education on reading and writing music is fabulous.

There is also a lapbook to go along with this that can be purchased separately and we have not seen or used it this time around. It is designed for more hands-on learners and there are designated assignments in the student book to let you know when to do each part of the lapbook.

Screenshot 2019-09-03 at 7.23.38 PM

 

Screenshot 2019-09-03 at 7.24.36 PM

One other aspect is the website, app, and QR codes to supplement the program. We did not use the app or QR codes. The website has been wonderful. There are not only links to the music of the composer to go along with the reader and story but it contains videos that teach more about the composer, his country, and his music. We have really enjoyed watching some of the videos on Chopin. There are additional lessons to complement the student book, such as key signatures or the grand staff. There is also an online quiz that can be taken at the end of the composer study for each composer.  Other activities include comparing different types of music with McDowell, viewing Cossack dancing for Wagner, and seeing the New England primer book and hearing a master storyteller for Foster. What amazing transferring of knowledge is being encouraged and taught!

It is suggested that the student keep a journal for specific assignments. One example of an assignment for the journal is when talking about how Chopin really used the music of the people, the student is asked to choose a patriotic song from their country and write an entry about the emotions and sentiments in the music. Another example, when studying Brahms, the student is encouraged to study a picture and quote, then write about what it is conveying and answer a couple of questions about it. Again, this is just asking the student to stretch their knowledge and make additional connections. This is where learning blossoms!

Chopin study

Zeezok’s Music Appreciation, the first book on Chopin, and the CD of some Chopin music that we added to expand the music selections we listened to.

The program is designed to study the seven composers over the course of a year. There are 29 weeks worth of study and each week is delineated at the start of the student book as to the reading and student book activities to complete. There is a scope and sequence in the book, as well as all of the QR codes listed in the front of the book for quick access. This study will cover all of the national music standards for 5th – 8th grades. Paired with vocal lessons and practice, this is going to be counting towards a high school credit for Miss E. It is so thorough and intense that I think it hits everything she needs it to.

Music appreciation is about more than just listening to a piece of music and knowing who the composer is. It is about understanding where the music came from and the influences of the land the composer comes from and life the composer lived. Music appreciation is hearing the music and connecting it to something else. Zeezok Publishing does a great job of this for the middle grades (and on into high school) with Music Appreciation Book 2: for the Middle Grades. You can read our previous review of Music Appreciation Book 1: for the Elementary Grades, also.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Zeezok music appreciation

Please visit the Homeschool Review Crew to read more about the program and how other families have used Zeezok’s music appreciation course. Click on the banner below.

Music-Appreciation-Book-2-Reviews

3-Crew-Disclaimer-2016

%d bloggers like this: