Tag Archives: reviews

St. Bartholomew’s Eve (Heirloom Audio) ~ a Crew review

St Bartholomew's Eve from Heirloom Audio

Shrieks of joy are always heard in our home when Heirloom Audio releases an new title and St. Bartholomew’s Eve produced nothing less. Miss E and Miss J (14 and 9) took it out of the package and immediately high-tailed it to the bedroom to listen. After about two hours, they reappeared and let me know how wonderful it was. Another hit!

Heirloom Audio Productions is a company producing Christian entertainment through high-quality audio dramas. These are stories that are done with voice actors, sound effects, and all that goes into a movie, without the video. The audio dramas allow your imagination to stay engaged and for your brain to process and understand the story as it develops. Heirloom Audio is working to produce the novels of G.A. Henty in audio drama format and have done about 10 titles so far. We have been able to listen to all of them and have truly enjoyed each one, learning a lot about the situations, history, and people of that time.

inside set of St Bartholomew's Ever

The current production, St. Bartholomew’s Eve, begins in 1567. We find the Hugenots (French Protestants) under persecution by those in the nobility and the Catholic church. An English lad, Philip, has been sent to France by his family, and gone willingly himself, to assist those in danger and fight for what is right. He wants to assist those who are fighting for the right to worship peacefully, without terror and persecution.

Philip and Francois (his cousin) join with the Hugenots and we find them preparing for battle. They march out in battle and in the process of talking with those they are with, they find out that this persecution began over a meal. Philip is told that the Catholics were upset when the Hugenots ate meat on a Friday and sang songs that allowed all those in attendance to participate. The Catholic leaders were upset and decided that these people needed to be removed. Thus, the persecution.

In the first battle, Philip and Francois are extremely helpful and they are given awards. When Philip decries his award, saying he was doing what is right and that he was afraid while acting to save the prince, he is told that he was very brave. He questioned it and was told “Fear is what you feel; brave is what you are.” (What a wonderful quote!)

At another battle, the army is about to advance when Philip reminds them that they need to pray. In his prayer, Philip asked God to help them don His armor (quoted from the Bible – I loved that part, too!). Though they are betrayed and some of the party is captured, their hopes remain high and their faith in God is strong. At one point, when they are surrounded and all seemed lost, a young voice began singing “A Mighty Fortress is Our God.” All joined in and faith was bolstered, hope renewed. It was a beautiful singing of a lovely hymn.

Some high points in the story:

  • God and the ability to worship him rightly was the purpose behind the battles.
  • The song “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God” was beautiful. It began and ended with a child’s voice, reminding me to have a childlike approach before God.
  • Philip mentioned more than once the “glory and duty” of worship. That is a good reminder for me.
  • The purpose of the battles was not for human glory but was rather to protect those who needed it and to secure peace, particularly in worship.

One thing to be aware of is that this is a war story. Life was not simple for them and they did have to fight to worship in peace. Some of these scenes are vivid and some of the sound effects, well, they leave little to the imagination. You may want to know this before you allow your children to listen; it may not bother you. Either way, it is definitely a battle and war story.

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As always, Heirloom Audio has brought us a rendition of a G.A. Henty novel that shows us life in another era. This is a story I am going to try to find to read now, as there is a chunk of the story that feels like it is missing. It is difficult to condense all the detail of a Henty novel into a two-hour production so there is much more to be gleaned by reading the story itself. And that also provides a great correlation to discuss with the girls.

I would love to see Heirloom Audio continue to put out their study guide curriculum to go along with their audio dramas. Those have been extremely well-done in the past and help to fill in some of the holes of the story. It also bring to light some of the details that the listener might not gather while those who worked to research and write the audio drama know them intimately. I would really like to see the guides continue to be produced alongside the audios. It was sorely missed with this production.

All in all, another wonderful production is found in St. Bartholomew’s Eve. Other productions by Heirloom Audio include (links are to our previous reviews):

Blessings,
At Home.

Please visit the Homeschool Review Crew blog by clicking on the graphic below to read about what other families thought of Heirloom Audio’s production of St. Bartholomew’s Eve.

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Brinkman Adventures Season 6 ~ a Crew review

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Having Season 6: Underground Rising, Digital version, arrive in our inbox created a lot of excitement from all three of the giggly girls. They thoroughly enjoy Brinkman Adventures and so it was a fun surprise to show the girls that we were going to get to review their newest stories.

Brinkman Adventures tells the stories of a fictional family that is involved with a number of different missionaries. Over the years, they have encountered people from all over the world serving God in varied ways. It is an audiodrama (focus on DRAMA here) and much is not true. They note that all stories are based on real people and real stories but they are dramatized, some of them quite extensively.

Season 6 includes only 6 episodes, four total stories as two of them each have two parts. The stories run about 30 minutes per episode. This season includes Dutch Underground, parts 1 and 2, Twice Born Fly, I Wonder Why, and Free Burma Rangers, parts 1 and 2.

Dutch Underground takes place during WWII. The story is narrated by the children’s great grandmother and tells of her and her husband’s participation in the Dutch Underground Resistance during the German occupation of the Netherlands. It does a very good job of showing the danger and difficulty faced by those seeking to serve God by helping those in danger.

Twice Born Fly addresses facing fears that you have and following God. In this story, one of the young boys accidentally swallows a fly and faces his fear of dying. The father helps by telling a story about a dream he had about being in prison and not being afraid when you are following the right person. This is an allegorical story and includes a lot about life in prison, including a few implied statements that were unnecessary for the actual story.

I Wonder Why is about a family who moves to India to serve in an orphanage. The daughter doesn’t understand why God would send them there and has difficulty in seeing any good. After time, changes take place (though I have a problem with the miraculous way they show this). The daughter has a changed heart and it ends with her happy to be in India.

Free Burma Rangers is about a missionary family, particularly the father. It talks about his growing up and becoming a Green Beret. Then it transitions into a mission they are on to free people in Burma, fleeing an approaching army that is causing destruction and damage to people and property. The Brinkman family are on this dangerous mission with the Free Burma Rangers.

These fictional adventures are an interesting look into lives of missionary minded people around the world. BUT, they are fictional. Names are changed to protect people but also, the episodes are written and changed to be more adventurous and dangerous in the name of entertainment.

There are a couple of places I would want to be aware of before young children listen.

  • Twice Born Fly has a large part that takes place in a prison. It is not a happy place and there is a lot of bullying and extortion that goes on in the story. It is easy to think that the father is a bad man; they do end up saying it was a dream but not until very close to the end. It is very misleading and I do not feel it was appropriate for children under about age 12. My 12 year old questioned many things, stopping it in the middle to discuss it with her older sister to make sure she understood it. Without that, she was confused.
  • I Wonder Why contained much that was “miraculous” and life is not that way for most people. The miracles that took place lead one to think that if you follow Jesus then life will be wonderful and all will be okay in the end. Even with her confidence in her own understanding of the Bible and what God tells us, my 12 year old daughter was concerned about the way the miraculous changes of heart occurred. She expressed concern that people would think that if they just said “God, please come into my heart” then their whole life would be changed and all would be well, that they would be saved. She knows that God does not promise that in the Bible so this is a concern with this particular story.
  • Also, in I Wonder Why, one of the miracles is that a child is healed miraculously from life-threatening allergies. While there is a disclaimer at the end of the recording, warning children with allergies not to just expose themselves and trust God to cure them, it is easy to miss it. (I did – my daughter informed me that I turned it off too soon since I turned it off when they began their “thanks for listening.”) If you have a child with allergies, know that this is in there and needs to be addressed prior to listening to this story.
  • There was a warning in Underground Rising, Part 2 for intense scenes but I did not feel it was necessary. I felt that the prison scenes in another story were much more likely to scare and intimidate a child.

There is much good in Brinkman Adventures and I would not stop my girls from listening to it. It opens up good discussions when they hear things they don’t believe follow God’s word and it shows them how other parts of the world live and encounter God. The view of other places and the work others do for God is wonderful and enlightening. I really like this about these stories.

This season of the Brinkman Adventures reminds us that we should know God’s Word, the Bible, and know what God actually teaches. I would cautiously recommend this season due to the content that specifically states that you can be saved just by silently saying you want God in your life. The Bible tells us differently. Even my daughters registered this issue and asked me to mention it (which I was going to do anyway).

A neat feature of Brinkman Adventures is that they are based on real people and their stories. One the Brinkman Adventures page, they have a link for the Real Stories that inspired these episodes. Please visit their website to read more about these real people who serve God around the world.

Miss L’s thoughts:
I would have liked more of the family because it makes it more relatable. I was expecting that since they have it in the other albums. It is fun to get to listen to the kids. Of Season 6, they were all okay but I didn’t really have a favorite. Two of these didn’t follow our beliefs so it was harder to relate to those.

Miss E’s thoughts:
It was a really good season. I really liked the Dutch Underground episodes because I like reading about that time period. I also really liked I Wonder Why. I enjoy the Brinkman Adventures so much because it is generally about a family that has all sorts of crazy problems. But because they are a family, they are living their life like normal and I like that. Even the things that go wrong. The only thing I didn’t like about this season is that it wasn’t really about the Brinkman family. It was more about other people and their lives, though there were a few appearances. They were in each episode in a small way but I would have liked to have more of them. Because I really like this series, I was a bit disappointed that there were only 6 episodes. But then when there were really only 4 stories, it was really disappointing.

Brinkman-Adventures-Season-Six-Discount-Coupon-Code-October-2018

DISCOUNT: Brinkman Adventures is offering a 10% discount to my readers. The code is FALL10 and is good off of purchases from their online store. The code is good from October 10 – October 31, 2018.

Blessings,
At Home.

There are many other families who have been listening to Season 6: Underground Rising. Please visit the Homeschool Review Crew to read what they have to say about these stories.

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CashCrunch Careers ~ a Crew review

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We were recently were given the opportunity to review a career attributes survey from CashCrunch Games. This career testing is suggested for students from middle school up through adult. CashCrunch Careers can be a useful tool in deciding what you want to do with your work time. The vendor site has a game or two to use to learn about money and some other purchase options but we spent the majority of our time on the careers part of the vendor sites.

The theory behind CashCrunch Careers is that traditionally we approach careers backwards. Looking at what we have been trained for and finding an appropriate job is what they say is typically done, leading to wasted time and money. CashCrunch is suggesting that you take their survey to find your best fit careers based on inherent attributes.

CashCrunch Careers is based on corporate recruiting tools and the US Department of Labor. That means there is a bias to the types of careers that come up and it was very obvious in our outcomes and reports. We found almost no artistic and creative based jobs on the site. We found musicians and singers but there was no information about them. And there were some marketing jobs and choreography mentioned. Other than that, we struggled to find active and artistic careers that would be of interest to the girls.

The CashCrunch Careers survey is 75 questions long. It takes somewhere between 10 and 20 minutes to complete. The survey gives you sets of either/or questions and you are to decide which one of the two options fits you best. These terms have nuances that affect the outcome. For example, one of the choice sets is thoughtful OR deep-thinking. It is possible to hover over the term to get a definition if you aren’t sure about the word. These nuances were really difficult to work with because they sometimes put the girls at odds – both well described them so it was hard for them to pick one over the other. Miss L described it as feeling like “my brain is blowing up.” At the end of the survey, you are given a report.

Capture

The report lists work styles that should fit you. It lists things that should motivate or de-motivate you. It lists what it determined to be your strongest career attributes. It ends with a listing of 20 career matches that it has decided fit you perfectly.

After you have read through your report, you can click on any of the career matches and it will take you to a page for that main career. Each page has the projected growth of the career, possible needs to fill the openings projected, and a description of the career’s tasks and activities. There is also a section that shows you the attributes of people who typically fill these positions and checks them to show you fit them. You can click a different tab to be shown a list of colleges that offer education in this field; this is not an exhaustive list. (I do wish I understood how they chose these particular colleges. That part is unclear.) There is another tab that will show a short video about this career.

part of a career's specifics

What We Thought

Miss E, age 14, and Miss L, age 12, took the quiz and received reports. We saw some differences in the reports but felt they were overall very similar. Even their job listings were almost identical. Funny thing is, these two are extremely different. I cannot see either one of them doing the majority of the jobs listed. Management is not appealing. On top of that, these are end-point positions, not starting jobs where you can build up to it. Management is not where one starts fresh out of college and these reports and job descriptions did not direct the girls toward where you would start in this type of a career.

Miss E said that her list showed a lot of administrative jobs where you sit behind a desk and tell others what to do. She doesn’t like that; she wants to “do.” Miss L said something similar, noting that the list did not have her ideal job. By searching through the careers not included in her list, she did find a couple that she thought might be interesting for her (PK teacher and child care worker).

The girls enjoyed spending time looking through the website and seeing what careers they could locate that sounded somewhat interesting. But, as I mentioned earlier, since the girls are looking at wanting to do things like teach dance, play violin, be a sign language interpreter, or write, (all of which meet their strengths as shown in this report) there were difficulties with feeling like this report was accurate for them.

a few career categories

some of the general career categories that can be explored by clicking on it

After choosing one of the general career categories, a list of some specific careers comes up and you can read more about each one by clicking on its title.

some specific careers

Needed Changes

  • The videos on the site are approaching 20 years old, as indicated by Congressional acts mentioned and the technology shown. They are not very appealing to young teenagers and it is hard for them to feel like this is relevant to them. Additionally, the video quality is just poor for the technology we have available at this time.
  • Some videos were used in multiple careers so it makes it feel like it is just filling space and not truly representative of the career.
  • There is no place for this to take into account the personality of the person looking at career choices and that is huge in discussing career options. This would be a much better survey if it were to use not just the attributes survey here but also a personality survey and a preferences survey. Miss E noted while working through the questions that she felt they were not asking the right questions and reiterated this after she got her report with nothing but management or administrative careers.
  • Miss E noted that a search function on the site would be very helpful. To be able to search for careers that sound interesting to them but are not on their list would be really helpful. Some of the positions were not where we expected them to be and so were difficult to find.
  • Miss E also noted it would be helpful to know how the attributes and skills listed in their final report fit into different careers. Along those lines, it would be great to be able to search for how a skill fits into a job. For example, if you want to use ASL in a career, searching for the careers that include this skill would be great.

While the list was different than we expected, there is much that we gained from this experience – lots of discussion about what the girls WANT to do, what interests them, what they think about different options and frankly, whether some of the careers mentioned are Christian occupations. Their experiences in searching the careers listed OUTSIDE of the list given was fun for them and they enjoyed reading about different options, talking about whether it was what they would have expected for that particular career. Looking hard for options that sounded interesting to them led them to open up files about some they would never have come across.

So, while this wasn’t quite what was expected, we gained some great insight into options (or paths to avoid) for both of the girls who took the survey. Overall, this was a good experience.

One additional note: This company also produces games that help teach financial responsibility. There is at least one that we found on the website that is free to use online. Others are available for purchase. If I understand it correctly, the company is about to roll out a new version of the game that should make it much easier to use. The game we played (as a team) was about how to make financial decisions and to spend and save money wisely. An interesting idea for a game.

Blessings,
At Home.

Please visit the Homeschool Review Crew to read about the experience other families had with CashCrunch Games and their CashCrunch Careers survey.

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Books of the Bible At-a-Glance ~ a Crew review

Title page clipBible knowledge is a big part of what our family tries to cover and so it was with great interest that I received the digital file for Books of the Bible At-a-Glance from Teach Sunday School. This resource tackles all 66 books of the bible with a single page summary to help synthesize the information that each book includes.

Teach Sunday School is a company that provides a number of digital resources for purchase to help introduce and teach about God’s word. From games and skits to preplanned lessons and VBS programs, these resources are intended to help busy parents and Sunday School teachers have the resources they need to help their students learn and understand more about God.

Books of the Bible At-a-Glance is a PDF file that is purchased from the website. You then download the file to your computer. This was a simple process and the file downloaded quickly. I was able to then open and scroll through all of the pages in the file. Each book of the Bible has a single page in the file and you can easily print just the ones you need.

Books-of-the-Bible-Joshua-Sample

This sample shows the page for the book of Joshua.

I have printed Exodus at this time because our Bible Bowl students are studying the book of Exodus this year. I really like what I see and know that this simple summary of the Bible will be a great introduction for them. Placing the book in its complete context and framework aids greatly in understanding.

The name of the book is bold and easy to read at the top of the page. It gives which book of the Bible it is – in this case, Old Testament book #2. There is a neat little timeline for the book that places it within the Old or New Testament in it’s place.

It includes who the author is, or is assumed to be, and when it was written. There is a bulleted list of some of the important stories and another with verses that are well know from the book.

The page closes out with important points about the book. The book of Exodus list includes things like where the Ten Plagues of Egypt is found and the story of the burning bush. It also gives a summary of the book after most of the well-known stories are covered.

mini binder books of the Bible

I am also using this to teach Miss J about the divisions of the Bible in both the Old and New Testament. We are printing these at half-size (two on a page). Each division of the Bible is on a different color paper and we are placing them in a mini-binder that we have. When she needs to review the divisions, she will have a complete color-coded notebook to use.

I was telling my mom about these because I just knew they would be perfect for the curriculum she is teaching at her church on Wednesday nights. They are teaching children about the Bible and focusing on each of the books. This file is inexpensive (to me) and fit perfectly into their needs. She took a look at it and while we were talking about it, purchased it. Because I was right – it helped to teach what they were wanting to get across to their students.

And what is that? There are many important things in each book of God’s word and not one of them should be excluded. Each one is unique and special and is placed in the Bible because God had a use for it there. That is why I really like these Books of the Bible At-A-Glance. Each page is packed full of information that is needed to understand the book and its role in God’s word.

Blessings,
At Home.

I highly recommend you check out this resource from Teach Sunday School. If you are not sure or if you are just looking for additional reviews to be certain this is what you want, please visit the Homeschool Review Crew and read reviews from other families who also received this resource.

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Indiana – By The Way ~ a Crew review

Indiana cover

By the Way is a fun and fact-filled series of books written by author Joy Budensiek. We have been enjoying one of the four newest books in the By the Way Book Series as we think about planning a trip before too long. Indiana ~ By The Way is the book we have been enjoying. The other new ones include New York City, Alaska, and Ireland. There are currently 10 books in this series.

Joy Budensiek began writing these books to help families have an interesting and fun way to discuss spiritual truths in everyday life. After hearing the startling fact that most Christian families do not intentionally discuss God’s hand in every day life, she created this series to lend a hand and lead the way for families. These geographically based books help parents teach a Christian worldview through a bright and exciting children’s book.

reading in the tent

Each of the books in the series is a hard-back book that is printed in full color. It contains pictures of the actual places and animals discussed, as well as drawings and other images to illustrate other ideas or things. The reading level is upper elementary and the book is about 50 page long. Each page is packed and we would read about 6 or 8 pages in a sitting. This allowed us to discuss ideas and talk about things that interested us. More than once, while I was reading aloud to Miss J (age 9), one or both of the older girls would come look at what we were reading about. Often, we ended up at the computer, looking at the places on a map or reading more about the place mentioned.

By the Way tells the stories of two children who explore the world around them, wherever they end up. Alex and Lexi find themselves immersed in the beauty of God’s creation and seeing God’s hand in the world around them. In the book about Indiana, they are visiting family at Thanksgiving. Their family explores the state and finds a lot of interesting places to visit, things to learn, and animals to see.

reading with kitty

Some of the fun facts that we learned while reading this book:

  • There are quite a few covered bridges in Indiana. And, we hope to see some when we end up visiting that state.
  • There is a lot of wildlife, including Monarch butterflies (Miss L’s favorite), cardinals (Miss J’s favorite), bats (reminding Miss E of a visit to a cave a year or so ago), deer, lots of other birds (more of Miss J’s favorites), bears, rabbits, and many, many more.
  • There are sand dunes! We know sand dunes from White Sands so it was interesting to learn more.
  • This state borders Lake Michigan and is MUCH smaller than Texas.
  • There are large Amish communities in the state. This was really appealing to Miss E and Miss J since it relates so well to another book series they are reading about a young Amish girl.

These are just the tip of the iceberg with what you will learn about Indiana in this book. It is so easy to extend this type of learning. Marking a map, adding additional animal research or sketching, creating artwork related to themes and ideas, looking up more on the plants mentioned (orchids!) and trying to grow them – the possibilities are as varied as your own imagination.

holding book

As wonderful as all of this learning about Indiana is, there is something much better woven throughout the story and the pages of this book – God’s hand in nature and life. Intentionally looking for ways to help the reader see God’s hand, Bible verses are woven into the story and into the lives of the characters. One of these places is when talking about the beauty of the changing leaves in fall and Psalm 90:2 is quoted. Another example is when they are talking about caves and bats. I John 1:5 is brought up. In the discussion about Thanksgiving and its history, James 1:17 is quoted to remind us that God gives so many good gifts.

By The Way pictures of book

In addition to this, the discussion between the adults and the children in the story models well how to intentionally bring up God’s plan, His hand, and His wonderful creation in every day discussions. Finding life lessons from God is modeled well in this series of books. In Indiana, we see this when having a thankful heart is taught. We see it when they are teaching about the Amish and they mention “Family and faith are most important to them. Anything which threatens these is rejected.” (p. 35) Billy Sunday is discussed and the adults teach the children about the worth of salvation in contrast to the salary he gave up. They also model this idea with nature – the animals are so perfectly created that the butterflies know exactly when to migrate, the bats know how to hunt, the farms are blessed by the rain and sunshine, and the variety of trees that exist.

By The Way books

This modeling is wonderful and reminds us of the important things in life. The By the Way series is fantastic at not only teaching about interesting places but in teaching about God’s perfect creation and our lives in it. Indiana is another fun book in this series. Want to know about more? We reviewed Colorado previously on the blog and have read the Washington book, also.

Blessings,
At Home.

Be sure to visit the Homeschool Review Crew to read about the other books in the series that are being reviewed this time around: Alaska, Ireland, and New York City.

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Picta Dicta Vocabulary Builder (Latin) ~ a Crew review

Picta Dicta

Vocabulary builds on itself through many avenues, one of which is knowing the languages that English originates from. One of those languages that is a foundation for English is Latin and Miss E and I have been reviewing a product from Roman Roads Media called Picta Dicta Vocabulary Builder. This is an online program that helps introduce and build vocabulary in Latin.

Roman Roads Media has a large number of products to support a classical education in the home. The goal of Roman Roads Media to make curriculum available that is high quality, affordable, and flexible.

Picta-Dicta-Vocabulary

The Program

Picta Dicta Vocabulary Builder is a subscription (14 months) to a self-paced study of Latin vocabulary. There are currently two levels available to choose from – easy and normal. The easy level works more with the visual correlation of the printed word to the spoken word with a picture to help facilitate the connection. The normal level does the same but also adds more written – writing out forms, giving gender, participles, or genetive forms. In the easy level, there are three activities per chapter. In the normal level, there are five activities per chapter.

Normal level chapterseasy level chapters

Each chapter begins with the vocabulary. Learn is what they call this activity. There is a picture given with the word, the definition, and, when appropriate, a sentence or phrase for context. The program pronounces the word and it is expected that the student will repeat the pronunciation of the word while studying the page. After becoming familiar with the information, the student clicks the thumbs up in the bottom right corner. (I also found that a simple enter key stroke will move the program forward.)

sample of vocabulary image

There will be several words given and then a quiz feature will appear. The student completes the short quiz and then continues with more vocabulary. This will continue until the student has successfully completed the activity. There is a small icon in the upper right corner that shows the progress within that activity. This is mastery based so missing something will trigger the program to provide the student with more practice opportunities.

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After Learn comes Choose. This is another matching type of activity where the student is creating the connection between the spoken word, the written word, and the picture.

Next is Spell. This is where things start to get tricky and more difficult and where the normal level really differs from the easy one. In this activity, the student is expected to spell the word, typing it out. It goes over the word more than once when you miss it, which is helpful and really encourages the student to commit the word to memory. It takes time. I have done this lesson multiple times in chapter 1 and I am still not happy with my score.

After Spell the student takes on Forms. Enter the REALLY tricky part if you do not already know Latin forms. This is more of an experimental part for us since we don’t have any instruction in forms, yet. At least, not with these vocabulary words. But, that’s okay. It just takes longer to go through it and to learn the forms. Repetition is key here and repeating until an acceptable score is received takes time. This is not in the easy level.

The final activity is Test Forms. This is just a double check to see if you remember what you learned in the activity before. After completion, you can go back and repeat or train on any of the activities or move on to the next chapter. This is also not in the easy level.

Our Use and Thoughts

The program is simple and straight forward, though it is not easy to do. The site itself, the program? I give it a thumbs up! I find it a fun and easy way to work on Latin when I am not feeling up to a full-fledged curriculum of Latin.

image and words

Miss E, age 14 and in 9th grade, has been using this program, as well. She is spending about 20 minutes per day with the program and is progressing well. She is finding it relatively easy to work through, though the spelling and the forms are making her work. She has made it through chapter 4 and is working on chapter 5 now – basic actions. She seems to be doing well and I like that it is a Latin program that makes sense for her learning style.

The dashboard for the learner is simple to navigate. Login and then click go. It takes you right to where you left off. Even if you stopped in the middle of an activity. The thumbs up in the lower right corner will move you on to the next page that you need. There is a question mark that appears during the activity if you need some more help or review. Click on the word and the program will read it for you. If you want more practice, you click the picture of the dumb bell and it takes you to some training exercises that do not score. Log out when you are done. Easy-peasy.

The dashboard for the parent or instructor has a bit more to it but it is still simple enough to figure out. From the main dashboard, just click Go or Play to go to you own work. If you want to see how your class is doing, click on learners. It will tell you where the students are at and what their last activity was, how long they spent on it, and what their score was. You can look at those stats for the day, the week, the month or the course.

spelling

I really like this program. It is an effective way to easy a student into learning Latin that is not strong in the classical memorization styles. Our plan is to finish out the program with Miss E on the easy level, where she has been working. Then, we will start again but move her up to the normal level. (Our subscription is for 14 months so we should have time to at least work on it some.) Since you can go back and repeat, practice and train as much as is needed during this time, I am hoping to continue beefing up my own Latin vocabulary. I took Latin in high school and loved it. I haven’t had much practice with it in the years since so this has been a lot of fun for me. I definitely recommend you check out Picta Dicta Vocabulary Builder is you are working on Latin or have a student who might need a different type of Latin course. Roman Roads Media also has a couple of other products you might be interested in – another vocabulary program called Picta Dicta Natural World and a rhetoric program titled Fitting Words Classical Rhetoric.

Want to know more? Check out this video from Roman Roads Media about this program.

Blessings,
At Home.

Visit the Homeschool Review Crew to read other reviews on the Picta Dicta program we used, as well as the other program and the rhetoric course. Click on the banner below.

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A Tree for Peter ~ Book Club

A Tree for Peter

Kate Seredy is a newly discovered writer that I have fallen in love with. Her writing is joyful and exciting. It draws you in and brings you into the deepest parts of the story. Her writing allows you to feel what the characters feels and to move through the story with them. It is rich and deep and engulfing.

A Tree for Peter is a book that I got for a review for The Old Schoolhouse website. (Check them out if you are looking for, well, anything related to educational resources. There are thousands of reviews there.) It came from the publisher Purple House Press. This company is resurrecting wholesome, solid, well-written stories that teach character, value, and understanding. A Tree for Peter was originally written in 1941. The language is engaging and thoughtful and rich. Even if I didn’t like the story, I would love the language and writing.

Summary:
Shantytown is a dark, dingy, scary, shadowy place and Small Peter feels it. Lame and alone, since his mother is working hard to pay off debts and his father died, Small Peter is scared and lonely in this place where each person looks after their own self and no one else. One of his favorite things, though, is to watch the train that goes by Shantytown. During one of these times, he catches the eye of another young lad who shares a smile with him. That smile brightens his life and things begin to change when combined with the arrival of King Peter.

Not really a King, this other Peter teaches Small Peter how to face life and to face his fears and to dream. Small Peter takes a hold of these lessons with both hands and dives into his life, resurrecting life and hope among many.

This story of Small Peter and his changing life will bring hope and joy to your world as you watch it grow and bloom in his.

Thoughts:

I have now read this book about four times. Once by myself and another time to write the original review for TOS, once to my youngest, and once as a read aloud. Each time, I find myself smiling in the hope that grows in the darkness of the world of Shantytown. Each time, I revel in the joy of the language and the way Kate Seredy has put words together to bring to life the world of the story.

I have shared about this book with a number of people and wanted you to know about it as well. I highly recommend this story and the hope that will come through it.

Book club:Ladybug Daydrams and At Home where life happens

Book Club Update:

I would really enjoy it if you all would visit Wendy’s blog, Ladybug Dreams. She will likely not have a Book Club post as they have had some wonderful things happening in their family, lately. Perhaps she will have shared about it on her blog. Either way, I know she would appreciate some love on her blog. And hopefully, she will be back in a situation where we can begin working on the same book again before too many months go by.

Blessings,
At Home.

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