Tag Archives: high school

Economics Class by Boundary Stone ~ 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.

Economics is something that is beneficial for everyone to know. Understanding the process by which goods and services are created and traded/received is a fundamental part of our society and world. Boundary Stone has created an online course paired with an in-print book for a high school economics class.

Economics Online Course Bundle has several components – an online portal with videos, daily check lists, quizzes, reviews; a digital PDF teacher’s guide; a hardback textbook. The course also asks for two additional books. Access is for 12 months but the course is designed to be completed in one semesters with daily lessons.

The main text is Basic Economics, A Natural Law Approach to Economics. It is a hardback text written by Clarence Carson and Paul Cleveland. It is over 370 pages and contains the main information for the course. There are three sections to the course: The Framework of Economics, The Production and Distribution of Goods, and the Politico-Economic Systems.

The Framework of Economics discusses basic economics, natural laws and the impact on economics, government and some of the history, society and morality, and property. These ideas and concepts are all placed in a historical framework and this part of the text reads like a history book. Section II gets into goods and how we make or receive goods, the market and how it reflects society, money, inflation, pricing, and much more. Titles of chapters in Section III include Manorial-Feudal System, Mercantilism, Free Enterprise, Corporatism, Welfarism, and Communism.

The online coursework has a checklist for daily work to help keep the student on track and moving forward. It is a numbered list of what is to be read, videos from Paul Cleveland, some linked YouTube videos, some linked articles to read, questions to be answered, quizzes to be taken, or unit tests to complete. There are also activities that are added in sometimes.

The online dashboard has a lot of information to help students stay on track. The left hand side has drop down menus that allow you to click on your next lesson and head directly there or something you have previously completed if you need to do a review. The top section has a percentage complete for the course so you can see at a glance how far you have come. It also has arrows to simply move forward or backward one lesson. With a linked PDF of the text, online review questions, and a place to mark complete when you have done each of the numbered parts of the lesson.

I have found the text to be an interesting read, though I disagree with the general tone of a large part of the discussion. It has challenged me to consider what I have been taught, to do my own research and reading, and to think about some of the concepts and ideas presented. I would recommend a parent or teacher take a look at the text before handing it to the student so that they are well aware of the outlook of this program. I have learned a lot and will continue on through the book, though my students will not be using it at this time.

Please visit the Homeschool Review Crew to read more reviews on the program from Boundary Stone.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Learning Math Online ~ a Crew review

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

Math learning can be challenging. Math teaching can be challenging. MathandAlgebra.com is an online subscription that can take the challenge out of it all.

Presented in a combo online/offline format, the goal of MathandAlgebra.com is to help student learns math in a fun and accessible way. This increases not only skill but also confidence. The instructor is Rick Fisher, a math teacher with over 30 years of experience. He has been able to help many students increase their math skills by using his classes for 20 minutes a day.

MathandAlgebra.com has four available classes – Basic Math, Advanced Math, Pre-algebra, and Algebra. A subscription provides access to all four of these courses to work through at your pace.

Each lesson is composed of just a couple of steps. First, Miss L would watch the video. Each video is fairly short; most of the videos we watched were less than 5 minutes. These videos have Mr. Fisher’s voice teaching the concept while you see him writing on the white board. Students are encouraged to copy the exercises as he teaches. Miss L wrote them in her notebook with each page dates and the lesson number included.

showing work complete on left and the video for the current concept
at the bottom of the page you have access to the worksheet and answer key, as well as the place to mark your lesson complete

Next, access the worksheet. It can be viewed online or printed. We did some of both. Work through each of the questions. Again, Miss L wrote them into her notebook.

Once the student has answered all of the questions, the answer key can be accessed. Grade the worksheet at this point. Miss L had to correct any missed questions. Unfortunately, if a question is not understood, there is not an annotated explanation of the answer. Hopefully, the parent assisting can figure out what was missed. So far, in the algebra class, we did not hit any that I could not understand.

Miss L worked through the first few weeks of the algebra course. It came along right after she finished her pre-algebra work. There was not a placement test of any sort, so she had to begin at the start of the course. If you know your student well, you could probably have them skip over parts at the beginning of the class, especially if they are just coming off a course that covered those exact same concepts.

The interface is fairly easy to use. You can see what lessons have been completed in working on the course by the green checked circles. Also, if you have completed the lesson, than the “mark complete” at the bottom is grayed out. The student can easily know where to start each day by remembering to click that “mark complete” when they finish checking each worksheet.

The simplicity of this course is appealing. It doesn’t have lots of bells and whistles and jumps straight into what is needed to be learned for that lesson. Watch the video, do the worksheet. After completing the unit, take the quiz. Move on to the next one. Straight-forward.

The teacher/parent does have access to a simple report listing what quiz the student took on what dates and the grade received. The daily work is not graded online. That is graded by the student or the parent/teacher. If you want to include it in the overall grade, you will do that on your own.

If you are looking for a straight-forward, online math program with a video component, this might be a good fit for you. It is just that. Math taught without bells and whistles to confuse things.

Want to see what other families thought? Visit the Homeschool Review Crew to read additional reviews.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Learning Tech and Coding Skills with Simply Coding ~ 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.

Simply Coding is a company that has created a huge number of classes over topics related to learning to write code for computers and learning technology skills that will benefit everyone. Coding for Kids Annual Membership gives access to everything on the website for one year. They have a 10 day free trial to find out more. But let me tell you about the company, what they offer, and our experience.

Simply Coding is a company that was born out of the understanding from the founders that everyone needs to have a background in technology and some basic code writing skills. Computer science is growing and changing before our eyes and these guys recognized it. Setting up a “summer camp” for their nieces and nephews, they tested their idea and curriculum. Thus, Simply Coding was born and it continues to grow and thrive through summer camps, in school and after school programs, and with online pathways.

The mission of Simply Coding is this: to prepare youth with the core principles of how all software is created so they can feel confident and able to contribute to technology of the future.” – on the About page from the website

In order to fulfill the mission, Simply Coding has over 40 courses that members can access. The site says it is for ages 11 – 18 but there is a lot on there that adults could benefit from, also. There are four areas these courses fit under:

1 – Simply Coding – how to work with various code languages, building websites, using Java, creating games and apps, and more.

2 – Simply Media – classes on photography, videography, different Adobe programs, and more.

3 – Simply Tech Essentials – different application programs, particularly Microsoft but also Google applications and Prezi, plus some general introductions to computers

4 – Simply Tech4Kids has a number of options that will help younger students get into some different technology areas that might be more interesting than the programming websites and such. This includes electronics, blogging, photography, and keyboarding skills, in addition to creating a YouTube channel. Lots of interesting things that I wish we had found earlier! This seems to be materials directed more towards the younger end of the age range for the Simply Coding site.

With the variety of materials on here, it seems there would be something for everyone. The classes run in different formats, depending on what you are learning. I started the photography course and it is simple. An instruction video runs (a few minutes up to 10 minutes per video) and then there is a short quiz to see if you were paying attention. After a few videos, it was time to upload some projects. I was disappointed that I couldn’t go further without uploading projects because I was wanting to learn more about photography but I don’t have a DSL camera. Since I couldn’t upload the projects, I could not continue. Maybe sometime soon. . .

Miss J is 11 and thought that learning to code a simple website would be fun. She started the Intro To Websites course. It us a fairly straight-forward navigation but you must be on a computer that you can download and save to. Which means this is not a portable program for us but we knew that ahead of time. ūüôā

Each section of the lesson lists what it is at the top and you can navigate there through a sidebar to get to where you were working. You read the instructions and the work in the box on the right to complete the task being asked for and see what it does. This clear example is very helpful. If you need a video to teach you what is on the screen, the green button top center will do that for you. This was helpful for Miss J several times as she worked with the program because she just had a difficult time following the instructions. They just didn’t make sense to her. These video reviews really helped.

While this is a great skill to have, it quickly became obvious that Miss J was just not going to enjoy learning to code. This was not a good fit for her. I also struggled with using this program but it had more to do with my time at home on a computer that could work with their coding program.

Simply Coding is a strong company and the way they handle instruction is very good. The variations in styles of instruction varies with instructor and course, which is good. Different courses need different styles of instruction. The video based instruction runs from a video of the actual instructor (photography), to a video of animated instructors (Blogging For Kids), to an audio over a video of the computer screen showing what actions need to be taken for that programming/coding step (Intro to Coding). This variety does a good job of fitting the type of audience the course is aimed at and the type of instruction actually being given/what is needed.

Many students will benefit from Simply Coding and the courses they offer. There is much to be gained from this site and we are going to continue to explore some of the other course options that are not programming. Perhaps one of the girls will want to use the Blogging For Kids course, which is only 5 modules. Or maybe the photography or keyboarding classes.

Any family can gain much with the many different options available on Simply Coding for learning any number of technology-based things.

Be sure to visit the Homeschool Review Crew to read about other families experiences with Simply Coding because a lot of them have had great success with this company and it was a terrific fit for their tech interested students.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

High School Curriculum – 9th Grade

Some of the links in this post are affiliate links.

Miss L has started her high school work as a 9th grader for the 2020-2021 school year. She actually started it back in June because we were working on the review for My Father’s World, which is the curriculum we have settled into for 9th grade. It is working well.

My Father’s World is a Christian based core curriculum for history, Bible, and literature. They had other subjects you can add on to make it a full boxed set curriculum with math, science, and electives. You can read a full review of the program and what we thought about it from our previous review. Today, I just want to talk a bit about how it is working.

We are not following the lesson plans exactly as written. It doesn’t allow for additional interests and passions but the plans are well written and thorough. We have created two sets of curriculum from My Father’s World and the other subjects: a daily set and a looping set.

The daily subjects that Miss L does include math, violin, dance, and foreign language (French). For math, she is using CTCMath (read the review) and working on Algebra I. She finished up her pre-algebra work with CTCMath, also. We are working on finding a violin teach that will do in-person classes but that has proven difficult at this time. She is working in one of her Suzuki books for the time being. She is taking a number of dance classes locally and working as a student assistant, also. She takes ballet, pointe, tap, jazz, contemporary, hip hop, and is part of the company group. She is working with Duolingo for her French class. These are what she does every day and she will likely add debate in a month or so.

The classes that she loops include Ancient History, literature, writing, logic, science, and Bible. Because of the way the lesson plans for My Father’s World are written, she actually does Bible in several ways and places, so she does work on Bible every day. The lesson plans have a place to check off when an assignment is done so she just loops through the work with the assistance of the check boxes.

She is using Notgrass World History, though the plans do not go straight through it; rather they pick and choose the topics that align with their designed schedule. She is using the Ancient History Literature Supplement that goes with the MFW lesson plans for her writing and literature. Logic is a set of books by The Critical Thinking Co and she is loving these. She actually worked ahead a lot during the recent break we took in August. She is using the Apologia Exploring Creation with Physical Science. Bible includes reading through the Old Testament and using several books to go along with it. 

This has given her a lot of independence and she has done well with it. The lesson plans are a big help for her and help show a lot of progress. The lesson plans have the student “checking in” with the teacher in several different ways so I can stay up with her in her learning without being fully involved in each step. Additionally, we have chosen for her to do a discussion of questions for some of her Bible lessons, which has been a good and helpful way to approach the topic and ensure that she is getting truth in the discussion.

This program is definitely a huge benefit for her and we are well pleased with MFW. It is as rigid as you need it to be and we have been able to make it even more flexible to work with our schedule. That’s a win-win for sure.

You can read about the 11th grade curriculum and, soon, the 6th grade curriculum choices for the 2020-2021 school year.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

If you are looking for more options and want an afforadable option for the entire family, check out SchoolhouseTeachers.com. This is a full curriculum with over 400 classes for all levels. The Mama Bear Sale is currently going on.
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High School Curriculum – 11th Grade

(Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links for SchoolhouseTeachers.com. If you visit the site through these links and choose to purchase, I will receive a commission.)

I realized the other day that I haven’t yet shared our curriculum for the current 2020-2021 school year, even though we are in week 7 of it. We actually started it back in July, took a chunk of August off, and restarted the day after Labor Day. So, I will fill you in. This post is for 11th grade. 9th grade and 6th grade will come in separate posts.

Miss E is 11th grade this year and busy as ever. I enjoy seeing her grow and mature. She worked hard to get herself set up for Dual Credit classes at our local community college and she is working as a student assistant at the dance studio. These are two very large amounts of time and commitment she has added to her curriculum and she is handling it all really well. Her organization is strong and her determination is even stronger.

Dual Credit – US History – This is the first part of US history and is an online class with a tough text by Eric Foner. She is finding it super interesting and enjoying it but the text is a high level of writing and comprehending.

Dual Credit – Music Appreciation – This music appreciation class is a joy for her and she is thriving with it. She is have a great time, love the discussion boards and getting to listen to music. It is also an online class.

Math – CTCMath – Miss E is finishing up Algebra II with this program. She had started in geometry last year but switched to Algebra II after about 6 weeks. So she should finish Algebra II up here in the next couple of weeks and move back to Geometry, also with CTCMath. You can read our review of it here. We may head over to a geometry class on SchoolhouseTeachers.com if she struggles again with it because there is a pretty highly recommended geometry class on there.

Literature/Writing – When Worlds Collide by Sharon Watson – We have used a course from Sharon Watson before and it included a lot of excellent literature, good writing, and interesting discussions and projects. That led us to purchase the other high school literature program from her. It has been enjoyable for Miss E so far and she just finished Pudd’nhead Wilson today, with just the project to go with the book to complete for that unit.

Science: Biology – Experience Biology from Journey Homeschool Academy is the course she is using for this class. Experience Biology does include labs so it is a bit more intense than previous science classes. In addition, she is having labs and some of the work checked by the company and they are requiring a different style of work from Miss E. It is good challenge for her.

World History – Before she chose to do a dual credit history class, Miss E had started the world history course from Notgrass. She thoroughly enjoys it so even though she is doing another history class right now, she didn’t want to give this one up. That is the mark of a truly interesting class, isn’t it? Because she is enjoying it so much, it isn’t a trial for her to complete both classes.

Spanish – Spanish 1 on SchoolhouseTeachers.com is the course she is using for this foreign language credit. She is still highly proficient with ASL but since some colleges will not accept that as a foreign language, she decided she would enjoy learning Spanish. She is working through this class at a decent pace to date.

PE – Dance – She is studying several styles of dance at JSOD, where the girls have danced for 10 years now. She enjoys dance a lot and was able to begin pointe class this year, which is very exciting.

So, that is a high school class run down for 11th grade. Quite a bit but she is working hard and responsibly at it all.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

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My Father’s World – a complete high school (9th) curriculum ~ 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.

Ancient History and Literature - a 9th grade_high school curriculum

We have been blessed by the opportunity to use My Father’s World and their complete homeschool curriculum for 9th Grade –¬†Ancient History and Literature. This includes the core of history, Bible, and language arts. We were also given math, science, and the elective logic. Let me start at the beginning, though.

The Consultation:

The My Father’s World curriculum for 9th grade/high school starts with a consultation with the high school curriculum coordinator. David called on a Thursday to chat. He caught me early in the morning, which is a good time for me to have a few minutes uninterrupted. He talked to me about what was included in the core of the curriculum and that we would also be deciding about which math and science to include. He also made me very happy telling me that the recommended elective for 9th grade is logic and asked if we would be interested in that. I had a resounding yes for that as Miss L is quite a¬† debater and really enjoys logical thinking and consideration.

David talked to me about math and let me know that in 9th grade they recommend Saxon math. Since we have not been using that program, we needed to find out where to place Miss L. He directed me to the math placement tests on the My Father’s Word website so I could print them off. He encouraged me to let her work at a comfortable pace on them so she would concentrate and be placed correctly. I planned to call him back at the number he left with me after she finished the tests.

We next discussed science. The recommended company is Apologia and he listed off the options we had. Since we have been doing a less rigorous science, he gave me the option to choose a non-lab science that would still be strong enough for a high school credit. This was encouraging to me because it would be very easy to get overwhelmed for Miss L. So, we chose Apologia Exploring Creation with Physical Science.

After the quick discussion about the logic books, David and I finished the conversation. I got the placement math tests printed off and Miss L started them. She took the better part of 2 days to complete them with a final placement in Algebra I. We will likely have a bit of reteaching to do on some things that she doesn’t remember a completely but overall, I think it is a great fit for her. Before I could call David back and let him know our math choice, he called to check on how the placement tests were going. When I told him that she needed the Algebra I level, he remembered that I had guessed that might be where she ended up. He had the rest of her box of materials ready to go and let me know it would be shipped by UPS on Monday. This was Friday afternoon, only a day and a half after our initial consultation. They are good, y’all!

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The Curriculum:

The base package includes all you need for the ancients time period of history with Bible and literature. As a base, it works through the Old Testament of the Bible and the Notgrass World History program. The literature and reading work with those two bases. There is a large number of books that go with these and it would be really helpful for you to visit MFWBooks.com to read up on those individually. Here is the list of titles, though:

  • Ancient History and Literature curriculum guide and lesson plans
  • Old Testament
  • The Baker Illustrated Guide To The Bible
  • The New Answers Book 1
  • Taking the Old Testament Challenge
  • The Student Bible Atlas
  • Daniel Inductive Bible Study
  • The Tabernacle
  • Eric Liddell
  • What On Earth Am I Here For?
  • Notgrass World History (package)
  • Unwrapping the Pharoahs
  • Ancient History Timeline and figures
  • Encyclopedia of the Ancient World
  • Ancient Literature Supplement
  • The Illiad
  • The Odyssey
  • Bulfinch’s Greek & Roman Mythology: The Age of Fable
  • The Epic of Gilgamesh
  • The Cat of Bubastes

To complete the curriculum, we included math, science, and logic. A foreign language is recommended but they don’t offer the languages. (They do have a foreign language guide if you need some direction or lesson plans for a language program from another provider.) We did received their recommended titles. These titles include:

  • Apologia’s Exploring Creation with Physical Science (text, tests, answer key, and daily lesson plans)
  • Saxon Math Algebra I (text, Dive CD, solutions, and daily lesson plans)
  • Introduction to Logic package (two texts)

You can view the unboxing video over on Instagram.

Using The Curriculum

We have never used a complete boxed curriculum before so I had a lot of reading and looking to do when this box arrived. There were so many books and lesson plans included. It did take me a good while to figure out how everything was supposed to work together. The first thing I needed to look at – The Ancient History and Literature curriculum guide and daily lesson plans.

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The daily lesson plans are quite amazing. They are super detailed and written out day-by-day in one week chunks. The book title, page number, and assignment are clearly noted for each item in the daily plan. This is really helpful and since each item has a check box beside it to mark when completed, it is easy to keep up with where the student is working. Following this daily lesson plan chart, there are lesson plan notes for each of the items in the checklist. These give more specific ideas to pay attention to or more detailed instructions on which questions to answer or paragraphs to read.

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These daily plans are really important to this curriculum because it does not take the student straight through most of the titles being used to teach ancient history. For example, the student is not reading lesson 1 and then lesson 2 and so forth in the World History text. Nor is the student reading Question 1, Question 2, etc. in the New Answers Book. But with the structure of the lesson plans, the student can be independent with their learning and hit the required lessons and reading.

The lesson plans for math and science are more straightforward but still extremely helpful. The daily lesson with page numbers, questions to be answered, experiment to complete (for science), test to take, etc., just makes it a walk in the park to keep moving forward. There is a place to date each lesson, as well as pages to record tests and other grades that might impact the final grade in the class.

Our Modification

After a couple of weeks of trying to tackle these lessons exactly as written, which is absolutely needed the first time out of the box with a new curriculum, we realized that the number of hours required daily was just too much. Adding into the history, literature, writing, and Bible, we had math, science, logic, French (not through MFWBooks.com), violin, and dance. With the attention to detail that my 9th grader takes, she was easily spending 7 hours on the work and not completing it. It was quite challenging for her.

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It definitely got better the 3rd week as she got more familiar with working through the lesson plans, knowing where her books were, knowing which items she needed to write out and which we were doing orally, etc. The hours dropped considerably that week. But it was still too much with her dance schedule. So, we have adapted it to a daily schedule with a looping section. This seems to work really well, so far.

Daily, she tackles math, science, French, violin, and dance. She then loops with history, literature and writing, Bible, and logic. Some days, she is successfully getting through the entire workload in one day’s lesson plan. Other days, she does not and so just picks up there the next school day. With the detail in the daily lesson plans, this is super easy to do. She just dates things as she goes along so I not only know where she is currently working but I know when she did each lesson, also. This is working really well and she is spending about 4 -5 hours on classes a day, not including dance time (which is about 2-3 hours a day for summer).

Thoughts

Honestly, I never thought I would like a boxed curriculum. But, Ancient History and Literature is the perfect fit for my 9th grader. She thrives on checklists and knowing exactly what she has to do. With the high expectations set by the curriculum (stated in letters direct to the student), she is thriving.

My Father's World 9th grade curriculum guide

Reading the information written directly to the student about the curriculum and expectations

She adores the topics covered. I know this because during one of the days where she had spent about 8 hours on classes and still wasn’t done (early on before she knew the ins and outs of how the books and lesson plans worked), we talked about whether we needed to drop some of the topics or books. She was adamant that she did not want to because she found them all interesting. This is why the loop schedule came into effect for us. She is finding her groove with the lesson plans and books and really enjoying her lessons. She has talked a bit about getting the 10th grade curriculum next year, too. That is high praise from this young lady! When she likes something, she is fully on board with it and that is how she feels about My Father’s World.

For myself, I am also fully on board with this curriculum. It fits her to a tee now that she has gotten into the groove with it and she is absolutely loving the topics. I know this because she not only enjoys talking about them when she has to (in order to check something off on the lesson plans) but she has brought it up in other conversations, also. For example, we were talking about something about the Garden of Eden I read in a review of a Bible program the other day that I had never heard before. She mentioned that it was covered in one of her reading a couple of weeks ago and proceeded to tell us about what she read in the book and what she read in the Bible. She then talked about where she felt the truth lay after doing her reading. I was really impressed with that.

Would I recommend My Father’s World? Absolutely! My Father’s World is a great resource and I would definitely suggest you check them out. The Homeschool Review Crew also had a few other families using different levels of My Father’s World. You can read about the complete homeschool curriculum packages for preschool, Pre-K, Kindergarten, 1st grade, 2nd grade, and 3rd-8th grades by clicking over to the Crew blog and following the links at the bottom for the level you are interested in reading more about.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

My Fathers World Ancient History and Literature

Experience Biology with Journey Homeschool Academy ~ a Crew review

high school biology

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.

Upper level high school science courses are necessary if you are looking at pursing education beyond high school. They require more time management, study skills, comprehension, and, often, skills that have not been developed yet. In our case, things like lab writing, microscope use for a specific purpose, and quiz/test taking scored by someone other than mom. It has been a good journey so far with Journey Homeschool Academy and their upper level lab science course of Experience Biology.

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Experience Biology: Upper Level is a college prep level course that is extremely rigorous. Taught by a scientist and a teacher, Luke and Trish Gilkerson, the information coming from Journey Homeschool Academy is solid and challenging. Experience Biology includes the video lessons, a guidebook to complete and take notes in during lectures, quizzes to ensure understanding along the way, lab instruction videos and lab write-ups turned in online (but graded by parent), lab research questions, and quarterly exams. There is also a book for reading assignments; though this book was not included for this review, it is highly recommended by Journey Homeschool Academy. The course covers every topic you would expect in a high school level biology class.

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Experience Biology has sign up periods periodically through the year so that they can help guide students through the course and check off assignments that have been turned in. Once you sign up and begin on the chosen date, you have access to the course for one year. The class has 35 lessons, including the exam days. They are released to the student one lesson at a time. Once a student completes a lesson, the next one should be available shortly. This helps the student pace the class better and not get overwhelmed.

Experience Biology has a parent dashboard that is easy to navigate and find what you need. There is a parent curriculum guide for the course to help you understand your role in the learning process and the role the class will fill. The answer key to the student guidebook and research questions are here. There is also a sample lab report and answers needed for a few of the labs.

The list of lab supplies is included here, also. This list is great because there is a copy both of the overall list of supplies and another that is by lesson. This allows planning ahead to have needed supplies on hand at the right time. Since some of the items have a limited lifespan, this lesson by lesson list is really helpful.

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The student dashboard is also easy to navigate. It includes a welcome video from the instructors. There is a resources tab that has the guidebook to download or order, as well as the lab guidebook with step by step written instructions for each.

Click on a lesson from the list at the left. It brings up the page for it, which includes the checklist with boxes to mark for each item completed. The video lessons are right there on the page and are generally broken into two videos of instruction. The student uses the list on the left to access the quiz page, the research questions page, and the lab instruction, where applicable. Not every lesson has a lab but about half of them do.

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When there is a lab, the student will have additional instruction specific to this lab. There is a video with instructions, and as needed, step by step instruction on how to complete the lab.

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The lab guidebook has additional information to help the student be successful. There is an overview, materials needed, step-by-step instructions, and note taking space.

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It is expected that the student will write up and submit a lab report. This is done online, though the assignments tab in the list on the left of the page. The student can submit some things by typing in the box. They can also submit a link to a place like a Google doc or to a Dropbox. Miss E has done hand-written lab reports so she takes pictures of her report, inserts them into a doc, and turns in the link for that. The online submission is for completion of the course while the parent assigns the actual grade for the lab report. (Instructions for grading are found on the parent dashboard in the Parent Curriculum Guide.)

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Experience Biology has been an excellent challenge for Miss E. She has started getting into the groove of the program, after experiencing a couple of stumbles early on. The Parent Curriculum Guide will tell you that these first few weeks are often the toughest for students so I wasn’t surprised by this.

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As a parent/teacher, I am very pleased with the quality of instruction, the thoroughness of the presentation, and the materials available for my student to learn about biology. If you are looking for a biology course for your high school student, certainly check out Journey Homeschool Academy. There are actually 2 levels of this course that you can choose from – one that does not include the labs and so is not considered a full high school credit (according to their website) and one that includes the labs, videos, and support information and awards a certificate of completion for one high school credit for a lab science. The difference in cost is not significant and there are discounts for multiple students.

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In addition to Experience Biology: Upper Level, you can also purchase other courses from Journey Homeschool Academy. Courses reviewed by other Homeschool Review Crew families include Experience Biology: Elementary and Experience Astronomy: Elementary.

Please visit the Homeschool Review Crew to read some of these other reviews about the courses offered by Journey Homeschool Academy.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

JHA Experience Biology

Understanding Math with CTCMath ~ a Crew review

Understanding Math with CTCMath

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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What the girls thought:

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

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

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

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

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

an online k-12 full math curriculum with video instruction

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.

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

 

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