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!

CTC-Math

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.

streamers in the background

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

Sing To Me Of Heaven ~ hymn

Sing to me of heaven

Time are troubled and, still, there is peace to be found. When you are needing to be freed from fear or grief or trouble, “sing that song of peace.”

Heaven is our hope.

[Col 1:5 NKJV] . . . because of the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, of which you heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel. . . (http://blb.sc/003Gcw)

[Mat 6:19-21 NKJV] 19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; 20 “but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (http://blb.sc/002Vge)

Singing is something that we are told to do in the New Testament. Take a look at Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16. We also see examples of singing during troubled times. Paul and Silas sang when they were in prison. (Acts 16:25)

Let us imitate those that came before us and sing that song that can release us from fear and show us hope. Let us sing and focus our minds and our hearts on Christ and the difference we can make around us by showing Him to others.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Sing To Me Of Heaven

lyrics: Ada Powell (1914)
music: Benjamine B Beall (1914)

1 Sing to me of heaven, sing that song of peace,
From the toils that bind me it will bring release.
Burdens will be listed that are pressing so;
Showers of great blessing o’er my heart will flow.

Refrain:
Sing to me of heaven, let me fondly dream
Of its golden glory, of its pearly gleam.
Sing to me when shadows of the evening fall.
Sing to me of heaven, sweetest song of all.

2 Sing to me of heaven as I walk alone
Dreaming of the comrades that so long have gone.
In a fairer region, ‘mong the angel throng
They are happy as they sing that old sweet song.
Refrain.

3 Sing to me of heaven, tenderly and low,
Till the shadows o’er me rise and swiftly go.
When my heart is weary, when the day is long.
Sing to me of heaven, sing that old, sweet song.
Refrain.

Wonderful, Wonderful ~ hymn

Wonderful Wonderful

This has been running through my head all day. I don’t know who it is by or where it came from because it is one of those that I learned at my grandmother and mother’s knees. I remember my grandmother singing this song and it brings a smile to my face. My mom also sang it and that, too, brings me joy in remembering. Add to these remembrances the words of this song and you have something that will just lift your day. It has mine.

Wonderful, Wonderful
Jesus is to me.
Counselor, Prince of Peace,
Mighty God is He.
Saving me, keeping me,
From my sin and shame.
Wonderful is my Redeemer!
Praise His Name!

That’s it. Simple but packed with meaning. I hope you have a good day!

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

 

Moving On – summer learning despite the heat and virus

Moving On

Typically, we do not do a ton of book learning over the summer. The girls generally get to spend their time at church camps, serving others, mission trips, and other camps or classes. The girls are typically gone every other week, on average, during the summer. As with so many other things, this summer has the theme of “everything is different.” No camps. Not any of them. No mission trips. Serving others locally looks different. VBS will be online. Everything is different.

So, what do we do?

We decided to move on. We started our school year July 6. Miss E is working on 11th grade and getting her dual credit information taken care of. Miss L started 9th grade and is learning with a very different curriculum, so she is getting used to that. Miss J started her 6th grade and being encouraged to work much more independently than before.

Is it hard? You bet. I am definitely getting the question of “why do we have to do school?”

A lot. But, we are planning to take some good chunks off in the fall when we typically get a bit burned out. Maybe we will take from Thanksgiving to after the New Year off this year. That is typically a difficult time frame for us due to activities. That would make it easier. And knowing that, they are able to move on without too much grumpiness.

And, dance classes make everything a bit better, too. The girls are each taking five weeks of dance classes. Each class is an hour to an hour and a half. They are taking 6 classes each. It is a good bit of activity as the temperatures climb (hit 104 here this week) and they don’t want to be outside much.

We are also working on virtual materials for church. We spent part of last week making videos of puppet scripts to share online. They did 4 scripts and 3 sets of songs. Miss E assisted in the sign language interpretation of the song videos and will hopefully be able to add sign interpretation to the puppet scripts videos. We are working on that part of it still. The girls wrote the scripts (in collaboration with another young lady). They are about to tackle scripts for Vacation Bible School, which will be done virtually in August.

The two older girls are also helping teach Wednesday night Bible classes this summer. And being asked to assist on some of the Sunday morning classes.

Much of these activities would not have happened or would have happened differently had COVID-19 not been affecting things life as it is. Great lessons on adaptability have been learned and they have been able to participate differently in some activities. They also have been able to take more of an active role in some teaching opportunities.

Moving on with our learning has been different, not necessarily “good”, but a good thing to do.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Creator Kit from Pitsco Education ~ a Crew review (& giveaway)

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.

a Crew review by At Home_ where life happens

Hands-on learning engages the mind like nothing else can. It turns it on. Maybe that is why Pitsco Education uses the hashtag of #handsonmindson . I really like that! We have been using the Middle School STEM Creator Pack (46204), which is designed for grades 6-8. It has been a great fit and we have enjoyed it tremendously.

Pitsco Education is a company that has products designed for hands-on learning and  problem solving that engage the brain in discovery learning. The company is striving to provide real-life learning and training that does more than boost their scientific knowledge. Rather, they are trying to build the relevant skills to help the academic skills thrive alongside. This includes social interaction, working with others, observing and testing ideas, and guiding open-ended projects. Pitsco has worked to make sure their products meet national standards and guidelines, as well. The core mission is student success.

Pitsco-Education-Logo

Pitsco Education works to meet this core mission of student success through products and activities they offer. There are products available for all ages. Whether you are looking for a STEM kit of activities, a set of family challenges, or a programming activity, there are several choices for you. The Crew has been reviewing these products:

Elementary STEM Explorer Pack (46198) – Grades K-5
Middle School STEM Creator Pack (46204) – Grades 6-8
High School STEM Innovator Pack (46210) – Grades 9-12
Family Design Challenges Kit (TRG kit 46235) – Grades 3-8
Code Cube Single Kit (45843) – Grades 3-5
Smart Buddies at Home  – Grades 3-5
Arduino Education Student Kit (46239) – Grades 6-12

(You can read more about each one and see more information on the giveaway by visiting the Homeschool Review Crew blog.)

Creator Pack

STEM Creator Pack for Middle School (grades 6-8)

We received this fully-packed box in the mail and had a joy opening it to see what we were going to get to do.

The kit included the following activities:

  • Creating a Friction Climber
  • Creating da Vinci bridges
  • Creating Rolling Vehicles
  • Creating Catapults
  • Creating My Invention

Each package had the materials needed to complete the activity and an instruction booklet (the Creator’s Guide) with additional activities and interesting facts. We did have to provide a couple of things from home like scissors and a ruler.

Most of the Creator’s Guide instructions were easy to follow and Miss J was able to complete them on her own. She did need an extra pair of hands for several things but she was able to tell me what to do in order to help her. We had a couple of times where we had to modify the plans because we could not make them work as written, such as when working on getting the catapult set up, the o ring would not hold the sides in place so we added a piece of tape to hold the sides together. Another time was in trying to put wheels on the car. The holes in the plastic wheels were not wide enough so we had to widen them a bit with a knife. While it would have been nice for these to work without needing modification of any type, it was fine to have to problem solve how to fix these minor issues.

Let’s look at each kit just a bit.

rolling vehicle

We started with Creating Rolling Vehicles. The templates were included so Miss J picked one and colored it, then cut it out. She followed the instructions for adding the axles. She got it together and had a good time sending the car back and forth across the floor. The Creator’s Guide asked her to work with push power first and had her use an elevated plane to evaluate some of the ways in which it worked. There were questions for her to consider, such as “Where does the energy come from for it to roll down the ramp?” The guide included charts to fill out when comparing things in an activity, which was nice. After a few activities, she added a balloon on a straw to the vehicle to make it powered differently. This was fun and it allowed them to talk a bit about jet engines and increasing speed.

The da Vinci bridges Creator Guide was difficult to follow. The instructions, I can imagine, were really difficult to write. We ended up having to look for a video on building a da Vinci bridge and still struggled. We did get one that could hold weight but we could not build it very big.

That was a bit disappointing and we hope to try it with larger pieces of wood. We felt like the craft sticks were just too short to use effectively. That would be a nice change for the company to make to this particular kit.

catapult

Creating Catapults was a kit that Miss J loved. She had a great time with the catapult. It was fairly easy to make using the die cut pieces in the kit. The questions guided her to consider how to increase the accuracy, precision, and distance. The Think About It sections really had her evaluating what was going on and creating and testing hypotheses. She worked hard to learn how to aim and be precise with her throws. The one thing this kit did not include that may or may not be lying around the house is a pair of safety glasses.

designing an invention

Creating My Invention was a fun kit that even had Miss J doing a bit of research. It discussed elevators a bit and then asked some questions. She had me look some things up for her and we talked about it. She then drew a picture of how she was going to build an elevator. Well, as is always true of inventions, the first incarnation did not work so she had to reevaluate and redesign. She eventually came up with an elevator that could lift a small doll. She was super proud of that and played with it for several days. There are plenty more materials left for her to design more inventions.

The final kit was Creating a Friction Climber. This one was super disappointing for us. Even with me reconsidering all of her work and making sure she followed all of the directions in the Creator’s Guide, we could not get this to work. We have made friction climbers before and we still could not figure out why this one will not work. Just the same, it was good for her to experience that not everything works perfectly the first (or second or third, etc.) time and sometimes you have to abandon what you are doing and just move on. We will revisit this one with a fresh attitude in a bit.

Final Thoughts

We have really loved this Middle School STEM Creator Pack (46204) for Grades 6-8. It has provided quite a few hours worth of interest and activity. She has learned a lot, worked independently and with someone else, approached some things she thought she could not do, and failed at some thing that she thought were simple. All of these are great outcomes and don’t even touch the STEM learning that occurred. Hands-on, minds-on learning is wonderful. Interested?

Pitsco Education is giving away one of each of the kits being reviewed by the Homeschool Review Crew, including one of the Middle School STEM Creator Pack. Head to their website to enter the giveaway for the Middle School Creator Pack. Want to know about some of the other kits and enter those giveaways? Visit the Homeschool Review Crew to read about them and find the links for the other kits being given away.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Pitsco ed pin

Progeny Press Literature Studies ~ 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.

High School Literature Study Guides

Great literature enhances understanding and can broaden views of life. Progeny Press sees this and has created a large line of literature study guides for all ages to help guide students into deeper understanding of ideas found in many great books. We were given study guides for the older end of the spectrum this time, though we have explored some of the younger guides in the past. This review will cover the Little Women Study Guide for High School, Grades 8-12 and the Animal Farm  Study Guide for High School, Grades 9-12.

When you purchase a study guide from Progeny Press, you can choose either an ebook format or a CD for most titles. If you choose the ebook format, you get a link with which to download the guide. The purchase is for the guide only and you will need to obtain the book yourself. Progeny Press does have most of the titles available for purchase on their site. Downloading the guide is very easy and once it is downloaded you can decide how to use it. Both of the guides we received could be used in print or in interactive PDF format.

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Miss L used the Little Women Study Guide. I chose this one for her since she enjoys this book so much. She chose to have the guide printed and to write her answers. It worked well for her this way. I printed the guide in sections and these includes about 5 chapters in each section. Starting out with a short biography of Louisa May Alcott and background information gets the student started in the right directions. There are several choices for pre-reading activities, including looking into Pilgrim’s Progress which plays an important role in the story. There are also some while-you-read activities that can help a student stay focused on the story while reading. These include things like keeping an on-going word list or keeping track of other books mentioned.

For each group of chapters, there are several common sections. These include vocabulary, questions, thinking about the story, dig deeper, and optional activities. The style of questions or activities for each set of chapters varies and the optional activities vary, as well, though there always seems to be a baking choice.

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The vocabulary is a strong part of this particular guide because the words used in Little Women are strong and rich. As with all questions, some of them are stronger than others. Between the questions section and the thinking about the story, the questions move deeper into the application and evaluation end of the question taxonomy, asking more thought from the student. Dig Deeper involves evaluation and use of understanding to consider how ideas from the story impact us. It often includes verses and ideas from the Bible to really drive home the concepts and allow the student to see application in their own lives.

The Progeny Press website has a huge list of the specifics that the student will cover by completing the Little Women Study Guide. It lists the literary techniques discussed, the moral lessons and character values explored, and writing assignments and activities included. Please visit their site to see these specifics.

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Miss L is literal minded (as you can see above), very advanced in her thinking, and wants very clear wording in questions. These guides are a challenge for her because what she sees the questions asking is often not what they are going for. Her extreme out-of-the-box thinking makes them frustrating for her to use. However, I see it as a good challenge for her to stretch her thinking and to try to see even more sides of the story, so to speak. For her, I would not use these exclusively but I see some good coming out of using one a year or so.

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Miss E utilized the Animal Farm  Study Guide for the past few weeks. She chose to utilize the ebook version of the guide instead of printing it. This has been a smooth process for her. Each day, she just opens the PDF on her computer and enters the answers for the activities and questions directly into the PDF. She then saves it before closing each time so that her work is retained.

The Animal Farm guide is a bit different from the Little Women guide, though the purpose is the same – take a look at the story and glean deeper understanding of life from it. It also begins with a synopsis of the story and a biography of the author. It also includes some background information on different governing systems and economic systems, since this book is an allegory of these. The prereading activities for this book are quite large projects, including doing research on Russia, Stalin, and socialism. There also is a list of books and movies that are recommended reading/viewing to get a handle on the ideas that will be explored. Miss E did a short bit of research and reading on Joseph Stalin, including his politics, government, and the state of the people during his time. We discussed what she found rather than having her write or type it up.

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From there each set of chapters includes vocabulary work, a look a different characters or events and what they represent, general questions, analysis questions, dig deeper questions, and optional projects and activities.

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The vocabulary work varies from section to sections but includes words that are not every-day words for us. The student might define something, choose the right word for a given definition, write a sentence with the word, have a multiple choice section, or work with synonyms and antonyms. The questions sections covers knowledge level questions such as why or where. They help focus in on the story. The analysis questions really delve into what the author of Animal Farm was driving at, what he wanted his readers to get and understand. These are designed to challenge the student to understand the story.

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The Dig Deeper questions really look at people, their beliefs and how they act. The Bible is brought into the discussion here and the student is challenged to really consider what goes on and what it might mean beyond the simple view. Optional projects and activities vary from section to section and might include writing a comparison paper, researching a topic or idea, or leading a class discussion. These are designed to really push the student. Due to the other projects that Miss E was working on during using this study guide, she did not tackle any of the optional activities.

The Progeny Press site includes a list of the specific literary techniques, moral lessons, character values, activities, and writing assignments that are covered in Animal Farm. Visit their site to read these lists.

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I really like the depth to which these high school level study guides push the students. Animal Farm is definitely much more of a challenge than Little Women. While I would not want to personally use these one right after the other of these study guides to create a year’s worth of literature study, I do like the idea of using one a year to take a different look at literature.

If you like looking at books with this analytical approach, these would be a great fit for your family. They will certainly challenge the high school student to consider things on a deeper level and, if the optional activies are utilized, I can see this building a really strong literature study for the year using 4-6 of these.

Be sure to read more about other families’ experiences with Progeny Press study guides, from early elementary through high school by visiting the Homeschool Review Crew. You can also read about our other uses of these guides for the following books:

The Bears on Hemlock Mountain
The Sword In The Tree
Sarah, Plain and Tall
The Courage of Sarah Noble
Little House in the Big Woods

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Progeny PressHigh School Literature

 

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.

MaxScholar-Logo

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

‘Til the Storm Passes By ~ hymn

'til the storm passes by

An analogy we keep hearing right now is that we are in a storm. Some people feel like it is hurricane force winds. For others, it is the calm before the storm. Others are stuck somewhere in between. And the storm is so big that we have no idea when we might begin to see it ebb away.

But God.

God knows when this will end and He has a plan for it all. God is watching and we should be lifting our eyes to Him. He is our help and our hope. And He will keep us safe “til the storm passes by.”

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

‘Til the Storm Passes By

words and music: Mosie Lister (1958)

1 In the dark of the midnight I have oft hid my face,
While the storm howls above me and there’s no hiding place.
‘Mid the crash of the thunder, precious Lord, hear my cry.
Keep me safe ’til the storm passes by.

Refrain:
‘Til the storm passes over,
‘Til the thunder sounds no more,
‘Til the clouds roll forever from the sky.
Hold me fast, let me stand
In the hollow of Thy hand.
Keep me safe ’til the storm passes by.

2 Many times Satan whispered, “There is no need to try,
For there’s no end to sorrow, there’s no hope by and by.”
But I know Thou art with me, and tomorrow I’ll rise
Where the storm never darkened the skies. Refrain

3 When the long night has ended and the storms come no more,
Let me stand in Thy presence on that bright peaceful shore.
In that land where the tempest never comes, Lord, may I
Dwell with Thee when the storm passes by. Refrain

My Reading Lately

My Reading Lately

I have been struggling to get through some books lately but I did manage to read 5 in June. I thought I would share with you what I got through in the last couple of months in case you are looking for something new or different to read.

1 – The Lending Library – This was an ebook that came with our Prime subscription in June. I don’t generally like any of the Prime reading choices since they are all mysteries or true crime or sickly sweet “romance” (read that as WAAAY TOOO much detail that detracts from the story). This one was a fun, clean read about a young lady who finds meaning in books and steps in when their local library has to close long-term for renovations. It was a quick, fun read.

2 – Comparison Girl – I am still working through this one. It is an easy enough read but I found myself reading a few chapters and then kind of sitting on those thoughts for a few days. It is a strong book challenging my thinking, pushing me to conform more to God’s word. I am really enjoying it and am almost done. I do have a review on the blog here if you want more information.

3 – As You Wish – Yes, that “as you wish.” Cary Elwes wrote a book about The Princess Bride and it was a joy to read. Definitely a recommend. Lots of background on his role and the process of making the movie.

4 – The Twenty-One Balloons – We had used this as a read-aloud a few years ago and I really enjoyed it. It came up again as the literature supplement for Miss J’s IEW writing work so I thought I’d grab it from the library and reread it. Still enjoyable.

5 – The Daughter’s Tale – This is one I was given for Mother’s Day and got around to this month. It was set in WWII and is the story of someone trying to survive. There is some tough stuff in it but I still enjoyed reading it. Yet again, it made me wonder if I would have been tough enough and would have had enough grit to survive that time. It is one I would share with others to read as I did enjoy it.

So, that’s the ones I got through in June.

May was leaner, even with so much time sitting and waiting on the girls at dance.

1 – Love Walked In – A quick read about a young girl and a young lady whose lives intersected. It shows the influence we can have on others and the way we walk through trials. Sometimes we have to give up something important to make the difference that is needed.

2 – Control Girl – I started this one before I jumped over to Comparison Girl. They are both written by Shannon Popkin and excellent. I will go back to in, probably in July.

3 – The Artist, The Philosopher, and The Warrior – This one sounded so good, about da Vinci, Machiavelli, and Borgia. I struggled to get into it and just didn’t make it that far. It was tough to follow and really seemed to be so in depth on various topics that weren’t that important or I couldn’t make the connection to that I just quit. I had been looking for a really interesting history/biography but this was not it.

That was all I worked on in May. Or at least all I had written down. Maybe I read others and just didn’t note them. These make 22 books finished so far this year. Not bad. I don’t truly have a goal but at least 52 over the course of the year is what I would like. I didn’t write anything down for March so it is possible I read some I didn’t note. I enjoy reading.

Maybe you’ll find some suggestion in this list that speaks to your interest. Got any suggestions for me? I’d love to hear them in the comments section.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

 

Dream Big – recital 2020

Dream Big recital 2020

I find it so fascinating when things just “work.” Like the recital theme for this dance year that was completed last night – Dream Big.

Who would have imagined when the theme was chosen, probably last fall, that Dream Big would come to mean so many different things, very few of which deal with getting through recital.

Dream Big – the girls did, JSOD did, and most of all, the teachers did. Without all of that, recital would never have happened and the joy of dance would have been stiffled for a bit. But our dance teachers and studio did something amazing, as many across the US and around the world probably did during the last few months. They figured out how to do what they needed to in order to provide the teaching and encouragement the students were craving. I know my girls were. Without JSOD, things would have been so much different.

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We are blessed to dance at a studio with God-loving, God-fearing teachers and staff who seek God through prayer and want to serve Him. In honor of my dancers and their teachers, here are a few pictures from Dream Big 2020 with JSOD.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home

 

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