Tag Archives: high school

Time In The Sun

I’ll be honest. We don’t get nearly enough time in the sun. The girls’ extra-curricular activities are indoors. Their exercise is indoors. It is difficult for them to do schoolwork outdoors when they have to spread out quite a bit with books, notebooks, pens, pencils, and more. So, outdoors is just not as common a place for us to spend time.

We recently took advantage of the spring break for dance and headed to The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden for a field trip. (Yes, even high schoolers get field trips!) It is springtime so the tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths were in full bloom. The tulips were the big draw for me and they were beautiful! We also saw some cherry trees in bloom and several other flowers. There were some gorgeous topiaries in the shapes of peacocks with the tails done in blooms. We saw plenty of water features and enjoyed the sunshine. It was a lovely few hours of sunshine, walking, and family time.

It was a joy to spend this time with the whole family and the girls really enjoyed it, too. And that’s not just their mom speaking hopefully. They said it over and over. They were glad we spent the time and money to do this outing, even if we were all tired at the end of the day.

Time in the sun. Time together.

Lori, At Home.

12th Grade Curriculum (2021)

Last year of high school! Some days, she is ready to go on and others she is not. That’s okay. She is not excited about being on her own and responsible for everything all the time. That’s okay. Her goals have changed in the last few months, in large part due to a very poor dual credit teacher. Maybe they would have changed regardless but they changed quite quickly last spring while she was in that class. Dual credit, though, has made this school year a bit easier for her.

Miss E is not taking dual credit classes this year since her goals have changed. She no longer plans to attend college and wants to get multiple income streams working for her after high school. She has talked to the dance studio already about teaching there in the fall of 2022. She is working on photography and is excited about starting a photography business. Setting that up will be part of her coursework in the spring. She also wants to be a published author. These goals directly impact her coursework for this school year.

First off, she is working on the Lenspiration website. This is a photography program that is designed to help students become better photographers. It is not aimed at only teens but also at adults. There are some pretty cool opportunities on the site and she is still exploring there and learning. She is working on photography daily, getting to know the camera and figure out how to better use it. She will be adding in some learning about photo editing in a couple of months. And, as I said previously, setting up her business will be part of her photography course in the spring.

In dance, she is taking every class she can and assisting as much as she can. She is assisting about 9 hours a week. She is taking ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop, contemporary, acro/leaps/turns/tricks, pointe, and is part of the company. This takes about 10 hours a week in the studio.

She is completing the last few lessons in geometry using CTCMath. After that, she will begin working on a personal finance class from Crown Financial Ministries.

For her language arts/literature, she is working on a novel. She is dedicating a specific number of hours each week to the writing and editing of the book. The goal is to get it written, have it read by others, then get it edited, and then work on the publishing aspect by the end of the school year. She also has a number of other writing projects in the queue that she is interested in so she may also work on some of those. I would like her to spend some time in the spring looking into some free lance writing and see where that takes her. She is expected to keep reading (never been a problem for this girl!) a variety of materials.

She has 3 credits of science and 4 credits of history so she has completed those requirements and does not have any on the schedule this year.

She has a one hour per week paid job in child care, as well, that she is responsible for.

It is not an intense program but it fits into her goals well, driving forward what she wants to do. That is the goal of education, right? Again, this benefit of home education means she will be prepared for her goals, ready to take on the world.

Lori, At Home.

10th Grade Curriculum (2021)

You’ll remember, perhaps, the review we did for My Father’s World 9th grade curriculum. I like the curriculum but it is packed. It doesn’t leave much space for personal choice, courses working toward a life goal, or electives. The coursework is interesting, though the Bible leaves a lot of information out there that must be discussed with a Bible open in front of you. This adds a lot of time to the curriculum. I treasure these discussions but you have to acknowledge that time addition. There are no electives in the curriculum so when you add those in, you are again adding in time commitments. All of this impacted the fact that Miss L did not complete the MFW 9th grade curriculum, though she worked a minimum or 4 hours on book work each school day last year. That time did not include dance, violin, or time spent in other situations working on electives such as a Bible study titled Pearls that she did through the church or debate. When you count in these other things, she would spend about 6-8 hours per day on her education. She generally worked on art work and dance on Saturday and had Bible class, worship, dance, and other church activities on Sundays. So, she worked hard. Yet, there was still a lot to be done in the MFW curriculum.

The other bit you need to know about Miss L is that her long-term goal is to dance with a professional ballet company and to teach dance. This drives our education choices for her and impacted some of our choices last year. She dealt with a long-term injury last year that required about 1 to 1 1/2 hours of therapy work daily. This again impacts the amount of time she was spending on her school work. Her recovery needed to take some priority as it impacted her health, her ability to dance, and, most importantly, her attitude. If you have ever worked through pain, you understand how it impacts a lot of your life. So, we prioritized her recovery, sometimes letting the therapy work push the book work to the side. She is much better this fall and so she is driving on with all of this.

That all being said, My Father’s World is the curriculum that she is using for history, Bible, and literature. They utilize a number of different programs within this curriculum so she has the Notgrass World History, some Bible resource books, and a good number of supplemental books for history and literature.

For math, she really struggled to understand concepts last year in Algebra 1. She could not comfortably move on with Algebra II, even though her score from last year using CTCMath showed an 88% pass rate. Yet, she couldn’t use the information. (I believe CTC is a good program; it just didn’t work for her.) We have pulled out No-Nonsense Algebra and are starting from the beginning on it to really solidify some of the basic information and get her comfortable to move on into the Algebra I and II information included in this program. It won’t take her all the way through Algebra II material but it will bring her a long way into it.

She is continuing on with the Apologia Physical Science that was included in the MFW package we reviewed last year. It isn’t a favorite but she is learning the information pretty well. She is working through it at a good pace. We will likely move her into Friendly Chemistry or Friendly Biology when she finishes this program.

She is working as a student assistant at the dance studio again this year. Her is putting in about 5 hours a week for this. She is also taking ballet, pointe, tap, jazz, hip hop, contemporary, private ballet, and is part of the company group. Her personal classes are about 11 hours at the studio per week.

She has decided that she misses violin so she is adding that back to her schedule. We will be looking for a retirement center for her to perform at in a couple of months. I don’t know yet if we are going to get her an instructor (where would we fit it in?) but she would definitely benefit from that.

Not to be forgotten is debate. She will tackle the Lads to Leaders debate topic this year. The debate topic is as follows: Resolved: Because the Bible is God’s authoritative and complete instruction to mankind, no latter-day revelations beyond the first century are valid. It will take, as always, a lot of dedicated Bible reading, study, and preparation. She’ll work on this until Easter weekend 2022. She will also include a number of other L2L events.

She has a plate that is so full but she doesn’t want to let go of any of it. We do modify some of the lesson plans and activities in the MFW curriculum. Some of it is just busy work or something to put a grade on; there is no real synthesis of information occurring. We skip those things.

This is the student that we are really seeing the benefits of home education with. We can tailor her schedule to her needs and allow her education to support her goals, not the other way around. Too often, education comes first and the goals are decided after. Her goals were definitely there first and I constantly remind her that education will help her fulfill those goals. Perfection in physical science is not as important as her time perfecting ballet. It is a joy to be able to help her reach for the stars without the stumbling block of a traditional education.

Lori, At Home.

ACT Mom ~ a Crew review

Disclosure: I received this complimentary product through the Homeschool Review Crew.

With students in high school and some uncertainty with which direction their next steps will be, we decided to take a look at ACT Mom so that when the ACT test comes up in the coming year or so, our girls are prepared. ACT Mom online is a self-paced program designed to help students improve their scores on the standardized ACT test. ACT Mom is the outcome of a mom who wanted to help her students do better on their own tests, improving their chances at scholarship money for college. She recounts that she was quite successful in helping her students raise their ACT scores, thus increasing their scholarship opportunities.

The ACT Mom Online Class is set up in 4 sections to correspond to the sections of the ACT test. These sections are English, math, reading, and science. Each of these sections has its own set of instructional videos and work to correspond. The videos go through the section in detail, helping the student learn test taking strategies specifically for the topic. Two of the sections – math and reading – are skills based and so some of the videos are directed at refreshing the skills and helping students think about them in a test-taking way. The other two sections are not based on skills so the videos are a lot more about the strategies to approach the test with. 

ACT Mom Online includes the videos and a 3 ring binder that is sent to the student. This binder is used in the teaching videos so it is a bit hard to start the class before it arrives. The binder includes some lined paper, some graph paper, a zippered pencil bag, and a complete, released ACT test from a previous year that is in plastic page protectors. The zippered pencil bag contains a dry erase marker, an erasing cloth, and sticky notes. All of these are important pieces of the program that ACT Mom is going to teach the student about how to take the test.

The premise of the course is that if you understand the type of question, you can do better on the test. You don’t necessarily need to understand the actual information, rather, you just need to understand the strategies. In the reading sections, there are five sessions, The first is a general introduction to the test section. The rest all correspond to the different types of reading passages that will be tested. She talks about how to pace the test and how to personalize that (part of which will require taking the released tests several times to understand which types of passages you personally take easiest and which are harder for you. In the videos, after talking about the passage and some testing strategies for that type of passage, she has the student take the practice test that is included in the 3 ring binder, writing on the page protectors with the dry erase marker. She then goes over all the questions, talking about why the answer was what it was and which questions tend to trip students up most often and why. 

In the math sections, she spends some time going over the actual math skills that will be tested. Part of this will include𝛑 the testing strategy about how answers may be given. An example is that while in a math class, students will be expected to plug in the numerical value for 𝛑. In the test, however, the answer will not expect that and will in fact include the symbol for 𝛑. This is both a strategy for time (saving time by not working out more than required) and a strategy for how to take the math section itself. 

This program will be of benefit to students who know they will be taking the ACT. It is a program that will benefit the students by giving quick and effective reviews of skills that will be tested along with a review of test taking skills. 

As a parent, I have struggled to teach my students to learn for the sake of learning. I was hoping this would be a great review of material that students are expected to know for the test. I was really disappointed to learn how much of this program is just teaching the students the tricks of the trade when it comes to taking tests. If you need to up your score on the ACT, this will likely help you, but it won’t go farther than that and a simple review of a few math or reading skills. I don’t see this being of great benefit to our students. There are plenty of families that will definitely benefit and different families need different programs. That is part of what makes the Homeschool Review Crew such a great resource. Many families used the ACT Mom program and have shared about what it was like for their family, how they used it, and what they thought. Please visit the Crew blog to read what the other families thought.
Lori, At Home.

Greg Landry’s Homeschool Science (4th grade & up) ~ a Crew review

Disclosure: I received this complimentary product through the Homeschool Review Crew.

After math, science may be the most intimidating courses to teach high schoolers. Online classes are a great way to access someone else’s expertise in this area and Greg Landry’s Homeschool Science is one place to begin. There are a variety of course set ups to choose from and courses to pick, all presented from a Biblical worldview. The Crew families have been working with one of these three options:

1 – Virtual, interactive homeschool laboratory courses such as biology, chemisty, and physics. These are self-paced and you start at any time.

2 – Self-paced 4th-7th grade one-semester classes that include anatomy and physiology, biology, chemistry, physics, and earth/space science.

3 – Self-paced 7th-12th grade half-semester classes are generally seven weeks of lessons and include a wide range of topics, including Exercise & Sports Physiology, Biochemistry / Microbiology, Embryology / Endocrinology, Earth & Space Science, and Study Skills / Measurement / Lab Reports / Graphing.

For this review, we recieved the self-paced half semester class in Embryology/Endocrinology. My 12th grader thought it sounded sort of interesting and would add some unique study to her time in the summer break when she worked on whatever she desired. So, this was picked up as a choice to be used in the few days and weeks when she was home and not busy. I have also been watching these videos myself. These are fairly flexible in how they are used, though the videos suggest one lesson per week, making this a 7 week course.

Each lesson includes a video presentation (for which you need a free Canvas account – instruction on this come with the course instructions) and a PDF download of the study guide/worksheets for the lessons. The actual course work is fairly straight-forward. Watch the video, take notes (lesson 1 is on how to take notes and study), complete the study guide for the lesson, and you’re done for the lesson. This does not include reviews or tests, so if you are desiring those, you’ll need to create those yourself.

Most lesson run between about 25 and 30 minutes. The screen is basically a split screen. 2/3 of the screen is the slides that are being discussed in the prerecorded lecture. The other 1/3 of the screen is split between the recorded video of the instructor giving the lesson and a chat box that is used to type in words that he wants the students to see the spelling of. (I found the chat box helpful since I did not know or understand some of the words that he used. This was a very helpful way to be able to follow and take accurate notes.)

The PDF downloads included a graphic in color that was labeled according to what was being discussed in the lesson. This was followed by a black and white graphic that was not labeled. Then a page of questions for the student to answer after watching the video. The final part was a blank page where the student is encouraged to be creative and draw/write/design/doodle something that helps them think through the information for the lesson.

What I found most helpful was to watch the video with the labeled PDF graphic in front of me and a piece of paper to take notes on. Then, I would label the black and white graphic after the video was over. (It was recommended that the student try to label everything without looking and then go back and use the labeled graphic to check it and add in anything that was forgotten. Then it was recommended that the student color it to help cement the graphic in memory.) Following the graphic, I would answer the relevant questions for the lesson. I did not personally do the creative page of the PDF worksheets but I would definitely be encouraging my student to do so.

The Embryology/Endocrinology course is 7 videos, 6 of them on topic and the first one on taking notes. The specific topics include female reproductive anatomy and fertilization, fertilization through birth, fetal circulation & changes at birth, endocrinology, the pancreas, and endocrine responses to physical activity.

Accessing the program itself and maneuvering inside the program is simple. This was my first experience with a course on Canvas and I like it. Very simple. As you can see above, the dashboard is clean and simple with everything you need right there and clearly marked.

The video contains interesting information. The instructor’s voice is not very animated and that does make the videos a tad harder to watch. In addition, there is a very busy background for the instructor in the video with several lights and moving things. That is a distraction. Overall, though, I found the videos to be solid. I especially enjoyed the lesson on the heart/lung circulatory system, covering the heart blood flow before birth and after birth. I had no idea that the heart circulation changed so dramatically at birth. It was really quite interesting.

These half-semester courses are well done and would serve as great lessons for those student who need somewhat shorter courses or perhaps niche topics that are of interest to them.

Visit the Homeschool Review Crew blog and linkup to read about the experiences of other families using the different types of courses for upper elementary, middle school and high school from Greg Landry’s Homeschool Science.

Lori, At Home.

CTCMath is still our go-to ~ a Crew review

Disclosure: I received this complimentary product through the Homeschool Review Crew.

We have been using CTCMath for our main math curriculum for several years now. It has been enough years that I would have to go back and count them. It fits our needs so well that we have used it for elementary, middle school, and high school math classes. One subscription is good for a year for your whole family at all levels. Can’t beat that deal!

CTCMath is a full online math curriculum for kinder-12th grade, including calculus. They are so confident in their teaching processes and curriculum that there is a money back guarantee on the program. CTCMath believes in teaching and learning through traditional methods and thus is not aligned with common core. They are based our of Australia and so a few of their processes are a bit different than I know. But that just provides additional teaching points, right? More than one way to solve a problem is not a bad thing.

The website does take a bit of maneuvering but it is not burdensome. It is fairly intuitive and easy for kids to learn how to access their own lessons. It does not immediately open up to the next lesson for each student. Each student has their own login information (remember it is all in one price for the whole family). Once the student logs in and gets to the lesson, it is open and go.

You can see the student dashboard here. To access these lessons after she logged in, she clicked on high school, then geometry, the Part 3, then circles. Then she chose the next lesson that wasn’t complete. You can see her completions here. The grade is an average from the number of times it has been completed.

Each lesson is a single new concept and begins with a video. For the younger grades, it is typically just a few minutes (less than 5). As the concepts get a bit more complex, the videos do get longer (some up to 15 minutes for high school). Each lesson includes a PDF summary of the concept and the examples worked. This can be printed off or used directly from the computer. This was extremely helpful when a student was struggling with how an example could be applied to a question being worked.

In this high school geometry lesson, you see that they are viewing the video. The PDF summary is found below the video. There is a questions tab next to the video tab. This lesson does not have a worksheet to complete but that would have a tab next to the questions tab if it were included in the lesson.

After the video, there are online questions to answer. These are automatically graded. The default standard is that the student get 90% correct. This is a tough standard when there are sometimes only 6 or 7 questions. Thus one mistake would fail the student. A reset to 80% worked well for our family. That reset was easy to do from the parent dashboard.

In the middle school and high school courses, there were also worksheets to complete with additional questions on the same concept. Sometimes we have found these to be too burdensome for the student to do on the same day as the video and online questions. (She was taking over 2 hours per math lesson and still struggling with the concept.) Other times, we have found that the worksheet was not needed because the student really understood the concept with just the online video and questions.

Are you catching the vibe here? This is a really solid curriculum with a ton of flexibility. I have only touched the tip of the iceberg on the customization available. The reason I’ve only hit that much is that we don’t use a ton of the features because simplicity works for us. But there is so much more!

  • You can schedule weekly check-ins where the student completes an online set of questions review previous topics.
  • You can create a worksheet that works on a particular topic that you student is struggling with.
  • You can have your student repeat a lesson as often and as many times as needed so that it is well understood before moving on.
  • Your student can work at his/her own pace and never fall behind.
  • You can access this program at any time, on any device.
  • You do not have to be online at a scheduled time. If the student works best at 10:30 PM, that’s okay. (Well, it is fine for the program. If you are like me, you might not work so well at that time if the student starts struggling. Ask me how I know!)
  • You can schedule which lessons are attempted each day by setting a task list for the student.
  • Or, you can simple work through the lessons in the order that they are on the course listing. (This is what we do.)
  • Your student can do a diagnostic test and you can then use that to set the parts of the topic the student needs to work on.
  • Or, you can use the diagnostic test as a final test for the course.
  • Worksheets include an answer key that shows the work for most questions and is only accessible after the student has entered their answers.
Parent dashboard view where you can create worksheets, assign tasks, and keep up with student progress. You can also access the student lessons without affecting their work or scores from here.

I can go on and on. One feature that I really like is having a parent dashboard where I can access the courses to see what the student is working on. When one of my girls struggle, I can go in and get to the exact lesson to watch the video and work the questions without it affecting their scores at all. I can find the struggle and then be better prepared to help the next day.

Weekly email report sample.

I also get a weekly update that shows how many times each student logged in and how they did for the week. (This is a week where the girls were gone to camp so they did not access the program at all.)

I will say that I am thankful to have a husband who understands math because in some of the upper level courses (Algebra II for sure!) our oldest daughter needed additional help outside of the video. He could do that without having to watch the video. It was great that he could help her and he even learned some new ways of doing things. Frustration can definitely creep in with math for this daughter but another bonus of CTCMath was that she could move to a different course or topic for a while when it got too overwhelming. She took right at 2 years to complete Geometry and Algebra II. She went back and forth a bit between the two courses. It was wonderful to have that ability since it helped minimize her frustrations. We could only do this because CTCMath allows us access to everything K-12 with a single subscription.

My youngest daughter? She loves math. She loves that she still gets streamers on the screen with CTCMath when she gets 100% on her lesson. This means she is still striving hard for that perfect score. And she likes the simplicity of the lesson video. She grabs her white board to work each problem and can complete a lesson at the 6th grade level in about 15 minutes. She will often do 2 lessons or complete the questions over and over just because she likes it. A win in my mind.

CTCMath has a mission for the students to be successful and the program is set up to guide the students to that success while truly understanding math concepts. There is so much with CTCMath that it is impossible to touch on it all. So what a wonderful thing that you can try it out for free. Visit the website to learn more.

Want to know more about how other families have utilized this program in their education? CTCMath can act as a supplement or a full curriculum so visit the Homeschool Review Crew to read about how it has worked for other homeschooling families.

Lori, At Home.

Project Passport: Ancient Rome ~ a Crew review

Disclosure: I received this complimentary product through the Homeschool Review Crew.

Hands-on history is a fabulous way to help students get involved in and bring to life the stories of the past. History is nothing more than a story and how we tell it will make or break a student’s enjoyment of it. Home School in the Woods has created a number of hands-on history programs to help bring to life these stories that our students need to know. We have been blessed over the years of being on the Homeschool Review Crew to get to use a number of these programs and this year, we have been able to use another of the Project Passport World History Studies (Grades 3-8) with Miss J, who just finished up her 6th grade year. Project Passport: Ancient Rome is just one of five different Project Passport programs that bring the ancient world to life for students.

Project Passport: Ancient Rome is available as a digital download, making it immediately (or almost) available upon purchase. I got my download link and was able to download and save it to the hard drive of the desktop computer with no problems. I then unzipped the file (and renamed it so I could find it again!) and opened up by clicking on the start icon. This opened the program up in a browser window and I was able to easily navigate the program from there. The first time you do this, it will feel a bit overwhelming because there is a lot of wonderful information there. Just start at the top and work your way down through the files and read as you go; things will make sense.

Note: You will need to download on a computer that can open applications. It does not work easily on a Chromebook or a tablet in my experiences. I have gotten my Chromebook to work but it takes a lot of effort and it helps to already know how to access it the easier way.

So, what are you going to find in Project Passport: Ancient Rome? Everything Roman. Seriously! Not just history about people and places and battles and rulers. You’ll also learn about architecture, food, clothing, legends, social systems, law, philosophy, money, the arts, religion, transportation, and more. Using minibooks and other hands-on paper projects, writing, audio, hands-on creative art projects, and reading, the student will learn about all aspects of ancient Roman life. There is something for every learning style and the ability to tailor which projects to use and which to skip to keep the study fresh and inviting.

We started with the set-up. I printed off the binder cover and Miss J colored it and put it in her binder. We keep a 3 ring binder for these studies because there is a lot of information to print off for each lesson, called a stop. The information to be read gets each stop going and we keep those as a sort of textbook. We keep the papers in the binder by stop and put page protectors in to keep the minibooks together. Also, creating a binder allows for some printing to be done in batches ahead of time, instead of needing to print each stop when it is time to start working on it.

Stop 1 was getting everything going and getting familiar with the set-up of the program. If you are familiar with Project Passport, this step is a bit easier. We print off the Guide Book Text and the Travel Itinerary for each stop and put them in the binder. After that, we printed off the Snapshot Moments timeline and assembled it. We got the map of early Italy printed and assembled, adding to it the required elements. We made the Romulus and Remus minibook and read it.

Stop 2 kept it moving as far as history went as we dove into the early kings. We printed off the needed documents and projects. We added to the timeline but skipped the newspaper. We assembled the Seven Kings of Rome booklet, reading and following the recommended suggestions for completion of it.

Stop 3 through Stop 25 are all followed this same way. We pick the items of interest and help and choose those we want to skip. Sometimes I have let the girls choose, sometimes I choose. Regardless, there is so much packed into each stop that learning happens at breakneck speed, it seems.

One of the final items in this study is a game to print and assemble. In the past, Miss E (now 17) was the student using these and she did not love games. However, Miss J (age 12) is the student studying ancient Rome and she loves games. Did I mention that Miss J loves games? We will definitely be creating the game this time around. It is titled “All Roads Lead to Rome.” She will love it!

One of our favorite parts of these Project Passport studies has been the audio tours. These are short audios to listen to that cover a particular topic. In ancient Rome, the audios are labels “Legends,” “Africanus,” “Rubicon,” “The Forum,” “A Day at the Races,” “Actium,” “Pompeii,” and “An Ecclesia.” These are really interesting sounding and I can’t wait to get to them with Miss J.

The other favorite part of the Project Passport studies is actually a part that you can purchase separately as a whole or by part – the timeline. Miss J has adored time lines and we have used several of the timelines from Home School In The Woods as supplements to or the main part of our history curriculum with her. The individual sets of the timelines are:

Individual Timeline Set (Grades K-12)

When we used the timeline as our main curriculum, I would spend some time searching out short videos (1-3 minutes) for each figure we were going to put on the timeline. After finding the piece for the timeline and sticking it in place (we just used a piece of tape), we would watch the video I found and talk about how it related to other pieces we had already placed on the timeline or what would be coming up soon on the timeline. It was a fun way to do our history for the year and it engaged Miss J quite deeply.

Home School in the Woods has so much to offer for history. Hands-on history will always be a more engaging way to learn than just reading from a typical textbook. So, add in some hands-on history, even if you are using a textbook. The combination will be a winning on, bringing new interest and excitement to learning what has impacted our lives, even today.

The Homeschool Review Crew has been utilizing the Individual Timeline Set (Grades K-12), the Project Passport World History Studies (Grades 3-8), the Time Travelers U.S. History Studies (Grades 3- 8 ), Maps Combo-Pak (US & World Maps), Lap-Pak: Wonders of the World, Activity-Pak: The Old Testament, and Activity-Pak: The New Testament. Hop over to the Review Crew’s blog post about Home School In The Woods to read the reviews from different families about how they utilized these hands-on studies in their homeschools.

Lori, At Home.

Please visit our other blog posts about HSITW products.

Timeline Collection

U.S. Elections Lap-Pak

Project Passport: Ancient Greece,

Project Passport: Ancient Egypt,

Project Passport: the Middle Ages,

Time Travelers: US History Studies – The Industrial Revolution Through The Great Depression

 Á La Carte Erie Canal,

 Á La Carte WWII timeline,

 Á La Carte quilling,

Lap-Pak: The Wonders of the World, and


Baggin’ The Dragon Online Math Supplement ~ a Crew review

Disclosure: I received this complimentary product through the Homeschool Review Crew.

Many times there is a need for additional support with math and a game would be just the thing. Enter EdAlive and their online app Baggin’ the Dragon Maths Online. The program is available for ages 5+.

EdAlive is a company that has launched online programs that are research based and contain adaptive learning to really focus the content the student is working with. All of their newest programs include real-time, automated, and adaptive learning, multi-player content, and built-in reports. Research has found these elements to be instrumental in best practices for learning. They also know, however, that there is a need for specific content to be addressed. Baggin’ The Dragon has this option available as well.

Baggin’ The Dragon Maths Online has four different options, actually, for presenting content.
1) Using the adaptive learning content with all content
2) Using adaptive learning with specific content
3) Manually selecting questions with specific content
4) Playing the game with adaptive learning

So, what is the game that adapts to student’s understanding?

The student clicks New Game. The player then selects an option for a quick game (I didn’t find it any quicker than other options), hosting a game, joining another player’s game, or going against the computer. These all seemed to be about the same to me as I played. After selecting the game, the game board appears with the character piece shown. The character piece can be changed with a click of the mouse over the image prior to selecting which type of game is going to be played.

The game board appears and the die starts rolling. The student clicks on the die for their move. Then the other player(s) rolls and moves. A box telling the student which adaptive level the math question is selected from appears with the value of the correct answer shown. The question then appears and the student answers it.

A correct answer will grant the student additional points that can be beneficial for shopping (in the forms of the game other than quick game) for things that can help them win against other players or the computer. An example is this shield. As you can see, it costs 60 strength points but it is always on and it protects you against things like the hunting dog your opponent my have or choose to buy with thier points.

These points also go towards rewarding the student with hero cards. You do not get to choose which hero cards you earn.

These are the hero cards I had earned after 2 games. One game was the quick game and one was against the computer.

At the end of the game, 21 turns or rolls and questions, a report will pop up showing what content questions were attempted and whether they were rightly or wrongly answered.

You can also access additional reports from the parent dashboard. Also available on the parent dashboard are certificates to print as they are earned and options to set or lock content.

So, what are the benefits of this game supplement for math?

  • You can choose which curriculum to align it with. Depending on where you are, you get a different set of options for curriculum correlation. In the US it is Common Core State Standards and the EdAlive Curriculum. The range of curricula covered is: The Australian Curriculum, NAPLAN, NSW Syllabus 2014, The Victoria Curriculum, NZ TKI, UK National Curriculum, and US Common Core State Standards.
  • The game format will appeal to a large number of students.
  • The variety of questions keeps things interesting and students will not tire of the same type of question over and over.
  • Hero cards can be motivating to earn.
  • Being able to play with others online is exciting for some students.
  • Swords, dragons, courage, knights – these appeal to many students and will make the math practice fun.
  • Mixing the difficult questions with simpler questions allows success when a student is struggling.
  • Over 10,000 questions of all levels of difficulty
  • Adaptive learning allows students to concurrently experience difficulty mixed with simpler topics in Addition • Subtraction • Multiplication • Division • Fractions • Percentages • Ratio & Proportion • Numeration • Shape • Space • Measurement • Geometry • Data • Statistics • Graphs • Probability • Patterns • Algebra
  • Incorrect answers are handled gently with a second chance at the solution.
  • Younger players who are on lower levels can play against older players with higher math levels since each plays their own level on the same game board.

Why this might not be for you –

  • It does require internet access and screen time.
  • It is a bit slower than I would like to work through each player’s turn and the game. But I could just be impatient. (Been known to happen.)
  • The jumping back and forth between question types can be a challenge for a student to stay engaged with, especially when one needs scratch paper to work and the next is a question that can be done almost without thought.
  • You like to have interaction with your student as they are learning or practicing. You would have to sit beside the student while they answered questions or played the game.
  • It might not be right for your student if this student is distractable, likes to talk to others while playing games, or doesn’t like slow moving games. My 6th grader did not enjoy this game. She fits all of the above statements. While she does like to play online games some, she likes it to be with someone else she can talk to.

Baggin’ The Dragon is compatible with all major browsers. It can be used on Windows PCs, Apple Macs, Surface Tablets, iPads, Chromebooks and other Android tablets. It is an app that is fully delivered via the web so there is no need to download anything. It is available 24/7 wherever you have an internet connection.

Homeschoolers, there is even a special page for you to read more about how EdAlive works to support you with your student’s instruction. It includes information on curriculum, all programs, and discounts and special group buys to get a great price.

Please visit the Homeschool Review Crew to read about what other families experiences have been like with EdAlive. There were reviewers for Baggin’ the Dragon Maths Online, for Volcanic Panic Reading Success Online, and for Words Rock Online.

Lori, At Home.

Careering by Tamara S. Raymond ~ a book review

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book for the purpose of review.

As our children reach high school age, many questions begin to form in our minds. What are they going to be? How are they going to get there? What are their goals? Sometimes, we as parents and our students need some guidance to follow to help our students find the right path. So, how do we do that?

Tamara S. Raymond has given us some of that guidance with her book Careering:The Pocket Guide To Exploring Your Future Career. This is a simple guide that will direct questions, thoughts, and ideas to help students clarify where they should explore for their future. This is a 4″ x 5″ softback book with 85 pages. It is not merely a read and do book but rather one to consider, think on, and complete.

This is a workbook style guide with 8 steps (chapters), plus a preface, an introduction, and an afterward. In working through this guide, the student will explore the following:

  • What is Careering?
  • How to begin careering
  • Opportunities to explore different career options
  • Key Resources
  • The power of networking
  • Applying
  • Interview skills
  • A new job – now what?
  • The final step

The writing is uncomplicated and gives a simple-to-follow pathway along the process of exploring ideas and options for the future. With the space to make notes, write lists and brainstorm ideas, this booklet becomes unique for the student utilizing it. In addition to exploring careers, this book helps students hit the basics of landing a job – resume, interviews, networking, and more.

This is not a one-size-fits-all guide. I had hoped it would give us some new ideas and options of exploring the future with my soon to be high school senior. We had already followed the majority of the suggestions in this book and were looking for additional resources. So this is a starting place and it is not an exhaustive list of all the options or ideas. But it is a great place to start.

If you have a high schooler who is uncertain about what they want to zero in on in their education, this book will start them down the path of learning and exploring options and ideas. It will direct them in how to create some opportunities to decide if something is right for them. There is space within each of the steps to make notes, write lists, and create the information needed to evaluate options.

Careering:The Pocket Guide To Exploring Your Future Career is a wonderful starting place for looking at career options and narrowing the field down into manageable bits to evaluate. I would recommend it for students and parents who are just beginning this process. It may just be the spark that lights a fire.

Lori, At Home.

Easter With Older Children

Easter often means cute dresses, egg hunts, and bunny crafts. But when your children get older, that changes. It also looks different when you celebrate the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ all the time, not just at what the world has named Easter. Christ’s church celebrates Christ all the time, not just for this one week of the year, and that is what makes Easter so different for us. We spend this time in a special convention with other believers the world over celebrating the work our children have done all year long serving the Lord. This weekend is the Lads to Leaders Annual Convention!

Lads to Leaders is an organization that started some 50 years ago and is dedicated to helping the young men and women of the Lord’s church become his servants, his hands and feet, here on earth. It helps the young men and women find their areas of interest, talent, and growth. Whether it be service, leading songs, reading scripture, teaching, helping, media, or any number of other areas, or all of the areas, the students grow in their abilities to serve. This year, our girls have grown through teaching, serving others, leading songs, reading scripture, studying the Bible for Bible Bowl (Hebrews), studying for the Pearls test (topic: Better Than, actually that’s the whole year’s topic), making power points to be used by teachers, writing blog posts, working on puppet scripts, studying the debate topic (baptism), creating artwork and photos, and so much more. I am certain I have missed some things the girls have worked on. And it is all dedicated to growing in God, knowing God and His will better, and being more dedicated to serving Him.

Here are two of the things the girls did this year – Blog post 1 and Blog post 2. Since I don’t know if they have been finalized in the judging yet, I am not attaching any names to them still. 🙂

Here is post I wrote a while back about what Lads to Leaders is and what the girls worked on that year.

As everyone remembers, last year (2020), Easter looked quite different. Here’s what I wrote about our quarantine Easter.

And here is a recap of our Easter from 2019, complete with Lads to Leaders convention and our own Easter celebration after that.

This weekend, while many are doing egg hunts or have spent the week making palm fronds, we have been and will be focusing on Bible, songs, debate, art work, media presentations, and so much more that directly impacts the Lord’s church. We are blessed to have such a strong church to be a part of and to spend the weekend with so many others who are dedicated to Christ.

Our prayer this week is that you are able to spend your time in something strong and meaningful that strengthens your faith and leads you into a closer relationship with God, through Jesus.

Lori, At Home.

Linking up at the Homeschool Review Crew for the weekly challenge.

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