Tag Archives: TOS

Cross Seven Music Memory Tool ~ a Crew review

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

Music is a fabulous tool to use for students to memorize material. My daughters all caught things so much faster when we used music and singing is constantly heard around our home. Cross Seven has created a tool to help students with their memory work. The Cross Seven Ventures – Homeschool Musical Memory Tool is intended to help students utilizing a classical education program or as a supplement to other curriculum options.

The Homeschool Musical Memory Tool includes the following subjects:

  • Scripture
  • Hymns
  • Timeline
  • History
  • Science
  • Math
  • English Grammar
  • Latin
  • Geography

Cross Seven’s program follows the typical 4-year classical education cycle and is aligned to the Claritas Publishing curriculum. Each year of the cycle has 28 weeks of videos in each subject area. The videos are all short (from about 15 seconds to a minute or two) and many repeat the memory sentences within the single video.

After purchasing a subscription, the videos are available on the Cross Seven website or can be accessed on Roku TV, Apple TV or Amazon Fire TV. The set-up instructions on the Cross Seven website are simple to follow and allowed us to set up the channel on our TV quickly. You can navigate by cycle year and topic or by cycle year and week. There is also a timeline section.

cycle year 3 subject videos

cycle year 3 weekly videos

We were most interested in the hymns (as I said, we love to sing), scripture, and the science (particularly the chemistry sentences in the Cycle 3 year). I was hoping to use these to supplement what we were currently are doing. The hymns are a combination of melodies we know and melodies we don’t. It was kind of interesting to hear what others sing for some of the hymns. The scripture uses melodies and translations different from what we typically use and so these were not as useful as I had hoped. The chemistry videos were simple sentences set to music. Actually, this is what all the subject areas seem to be – a simple sentence set to a chant or melody.

This program will be most useful for those who are using this particular curriculum. It will align exactly and be set so the memory work is just a play and go feature. It will also work really well for other classical education curriculums. When using it as a supplement, you have to find the topic you want to view. The search feature on the TV channel was not helpful for this as I searched several topics (for example: chemistry and atoms) and got no results, though I know there is a particular song containing the word atom. You can see what is in each section and cycle on the website.

Our daughter was at the upper end of this range (suggested for K-6) and we are not using the classical curriculum. We did not find this as helpful as we had hoped. Part of it was not finding things to align with what we were doing. I believe it would be helpful for the songs to be done with children’s voices, as this is aimed at children’s memory work, rather than a highly trained, adult, female voice, which is much harder for children to sing along with. That would great increase appeal to those at the upper end of the age range.

Please do note that there are pledges included in the opening section of the website that not all Christians use. I would not want my girls accessing those. I did not see them on the TV streaming, though I could have missed that. The website navigation is a bit different than the TV access. You can still access by cycle and then by either subject or week, as you can see in the image below. You also have access to some fun links. This includes things like a reading list to go along with topics, a game to print and play, and a whole host of YouTube video links related to topics covered each week of the cycle.

On the website, there is a parent dashboard where you can add students. This is how you can track student’s progress through quizzes. We did not utilize this feature.

This program is one that can find a lot of application and use in the classical education arena. If you are using the Claritas Publishing curriculum or any classical education curriculum, you should visit the Cross Seven site to learn more and also visit the Homeschool Review Crew to read about what other families have thought about this program and how it worked for their families.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Milton Hershey, a YWAM biography ~ a Crew review

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

It is no surprise to those of you who read this blog that our family enjoys the YWAM Publishing biographies. We have a shelf full of these biographies and we look for them everywhere we go. Each of the biographies they publish, whether part of the Heroes of History or part of the Christian Heroes series or part of the series for the younger students, are well-written and interesting to read. Combined with the unit study materials, these biographies make for a great study with your students of any age. We received the Milton Hershey: More Than Chocolate biography, along with a download of the unit study. (The site says that you must be a register user to take a look at the available unit study.)

YWAM is a company with a mission to reach the people of the world with the gospel of Jesus Christ. They train many people to go out to share the gospel but they also publish materials that help students see the Christian character of many people from our history. That is what their unit study and biography series is all about.

The Milton Hershey biography was a joy to read. My youngest daughter, 12 years old and in 6th grade, read it with me. We thoroughly enjoyed reading about the life of Mr. Hershey and all the challenges he went through. It was quite a surprise to us both to learn how many business failures he had in his life and how much he had to overcome in people not believing in him. We marveled a his perseverance and success, and applauded how his mother and his aunt and a couple of friends continually assisted and encouraged him. We were startled to learn that Mr. Hershey was first successful with carmels, not chocolate, and that he lost a huge amount of money at one point. We were thrilled, though, when he weathered that storm with the full support of his workers and came back stronger than before. We were surprised to learn that he built a huge factory in Cuba to provide the sugar he needed at his Pennsylvania factory.

But most of all, we were so please to read about his philanthropic adventures. While his success in the carmel and chocolate making businesses were exciting to read about, it was heart-touching to read about the ways in which he paid back (plus!) the people who invested and supported him – how he provided for his mother and his aunt beyond anything anyone expected of him; how he set up a town (Hershey, PA) to provide a beautiful, wholesome place for his workers to live, so unlike his early experiences of company towns; how he created a place to work where the employees shared in the success and were fully invested in the business.

But again, there was one thing above all else that we marveled at – the foundation he created to care for orphan boys. This foundation was probably the thing that was most successful for Mr. Hershey and his wife, Kitty. It was where their impact lived on the most. They touched the lives of hundreds of young boys and men who needed it, providing healthy and wholesome food and education, teaching them how to be strong, productive members of society. The boys made him proud!

The Milton Hershey biography is a joy to read and we are so happy to add it to our shelf. In addition to reading the biography together, Miss J used some parts of the unit study to further enhance her learning. She worked on the biographical sketch of Mr. Hershey. She completed the printout of the timeline of Mr. Hershey’s life and work, along with some of the more important world happenings, like wars and economic hardships. She marked the included map for important places from the story. She created a piece of artwork with a saying from Mr. Hershey. We talked about some of the questions from the unit study that go along with each chapter of the book. We did a taste test of a couple of different chocolates and read up a bit more on the processes of making both caramel and chocolate. We made some caramels. (They definitely were not soft ones, though!)

We made caramels, which is how Hershey started out.
printable pages from the unit study

The unit study is a downloadable product. There are two parts to it that are most applicable to the book. One is the blank maps, timeline, and biographical sketch to fill in. The other is the unit study that includes suggestions on teaching the book and unit, as well as additional suggestions for supplemental books, sites, and resources. There are 8 parts to the study guide.

  1. Key Quotes
  2. Display Corner
  3. Chapter Questions (answers are included)
  4. Student Explorations
  5. Community Links
  6. Social Studies
  7. Related Themes to Explore
  8. Culminating Event
screenshots from the unit study

As you can see, the unit study provides a lot of material to use as you feel is appropriate for your students. It is highly adaptable and can be easily modified to fit your students, age levels, interest levels, or ability levels. There is plenty here to fill a week or a month, depending on how you choose to use it. It worked well to allow us to take a much needed 2 weeks break from our normal history curriculum to work with this unit. Miss J had a good time and was able to choose activities that really brought the story alive for her.

We are always pleased with the biographies presented by YWAM Publishing and recommend them for all ages. I even enjoy reading them myself. The Heroes of History¬†series includes a large number of people who have influences the history of America. If you would like to see other ways to incorporate the YWAM biographies and unit studies, please visit the Homeschool Review Crew and click on any of the links in the link up at the bottom of the page. Each link will indicate which biography they reviewed so you can find some that sound particularly interesting, or just randomly choose a few to see what they did. Either way, you’ll see real families incorporating these great products into their educational times.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Want to read more about the biographies we have used? Check out these previous reviews.
Jacob DeShazer

George Washington Carver

Amy Carmichael

Gladys Aylward

Clara Barton

C.S. Lewis

Figures In Motion ~ a Crew review

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

History is one of those subjects that can be absolutely fascinating and come to life in a number of different ways or be as dull as a doorknob. It all depends on how it is handled. Cathy Diez-Luckie has created articulated, historical paper figures for several history eras. These movable figures produced through Figures In Motion bring a hands-on aspect to your history studies and it brings the eras to life.

Famous Figures of the Early Modern Era includes 21 people from the mid-1500s through the mid-1800s. The famous people come from around the world and from many cultures. Catherine the Great to Simon Bolivar, Queen Nzinga to Rembrandt, Ch-ien-Lung to Robert Fulton, this book covers kings, queens, princesses, inventors, arts, revolutionaries, explorers, musicians, and more. Each figure comes printed both in full color to cut and assemble or in black-line to color and then assemble. In addition to the book, you will need a pair of scissors, a hole punch, and brads to assemble the figures. The hole punch and the brads we received with the book are of the mini size but full sized ones work as well. You can order these from Figures In Motion if desired.

We choose to take a break from our current history curriculum to use Famous Figures of the Early Modern Era. We picked up a number of picture books from our local library, scoured our bookshelves for related stories, and borrowed a copy of Story of the World, also. (Figures In Motion has set the series of books up to related to several history curriculums including Story of the World, Sonlight Curriculum, Classical Conversations, Mystery of History, among others.) I allowed Miss J to pick and choose among the names to find some that she was interested in.

She started with Catherine the Great, even before we had any books to read about her. We began with Catherine the Great the very evening we received the book for review because Miss J was so excited to get to do these. I looked up information on the internet and read to her while she cut out and assembled the Catherine the Great figure. She asked a few questions about Catherine and we did some additional research. A few days later when we were working on Peter the Great, we worked on the connection between the two and more questions were asked that weren’t answered in the books we had. More research – a wonderful learning opportunity.

During the time that we were taking a break from our current history to work on these fabulous figures, we were also working on a Lewis and Clark unit. Guess what? There was a figure for this unit – William Clark. It was another connection that helped her see how history is intertwined. There is also a Sacagawea figure that we put together as we studied the expedition.

Even our 11th grader enjoyed working on one of the figures. Here she is working on Sacagawea during our unit on Lewis and Clark.

As we concluded our break and got ready to pick up the history curriculum once more, we found additional connections and have actually continued on with creating a figure every few days. Pocahontas is one of the figures in the Famous Figures of the Early Modern Era book. She also fit in right where we were picking up again. We have also found William Penn in our current curriculum and worked on learning more about him, using the figure as a jumping off point.

The Famous Figures of the Early Modern Era book includes not just the paper figures, but it also includes a few short paragraphs on each figure and a suggested book list with books for various ages. The figures are most recommended for ages 6-12. My 12 year old is highly independent with the creation of the figures but she loves to have me read aloud to her while she is working on them. It suits me just fine to do so. A student on the lower end of that age range will likely need some help as the cutting can be pretty detailed.

If you visit the Figures in Motion website, you will find a place to sign up for their mailing list. Doing so will send a few more figures to your inbox. If you click on the download option, it also takes you to a private page on the website that has additional activities. There are some word searches, a play (for Esther), curriculum guides for each of the books (helping align with different history programs), a crown to make, a mosaic to create, and more.

There are 7 different books for you to explore – 6 history and 1 dinosaur. The Homeschool Review Crew has been reviewing the Famous Figures books. Visit the Crew website to read about the different books and how other families have been using this hands-on history resource.

Famous Figures of Ancient Times

Famous Figures of the Middle Ages & Renaissance

Famous Figures of the Early Modern Era

Famous Figures of the American Revolution

Famous Figures of the Civil War

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

AIM from Math-U-See ~ a Crew review

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

Our 6th grader enjoys math but has struggled with the multiplication facts. I felt fairly confident she understood the concept, since she was able to show that to me with manipulatives when she was 4, but she still counted a good number of the facts on her fingers. Accelerated Individualized Mastery (AIM) for Multiplication with a Bridge to Division is a product from Math-U-See that is designed for students age 10 and up who struggle with multiplication. The struggle can be in the concept or it could be in just some of the memorization. This program helps you find out where the struggle is and gives specific teaching techniques and learning activities to help combat those struggles.

In more formal language, this is considered an intervention program and is designed for students who are struggling that you don’t expect to be doing so. It is instructor guided, meaning it is teacher prepped and teacher guided. The teacher is a part of every bit of this program. AIM for Multiplication comes with everything needed to teach the program. It includes:

  • AIM Multiplication Resource Guide
  • Math-U-See Integer Blocks (amount needed for these lessons)
  • Math Fact Strategy Posters
  • Fact Check Cards
  • Code for online access to the Digital Pack (required internet access)

I was not concerned about Miss J not having all of the facts memorized but we have seen how it is affecting her a small bit as she works on her math program. Mastering these would help her math be more efficient and enjoyable. The program is designed to work with the individual student where that student is and mastering, truly mastering, the facts before moving on. Thus, the 10 lessons may take a few days to a few month, depending on your student’s mastery.

There are 10 lessons for addressing the 2s to 10s and two addition lessons to teach the relationship of multiplication to division (the bridge to division part). We are in lesson 8. We spent about 10-15 minutes a day on the lessons while she continues to use her regular math curriculum. The program combines a hands-on component, a visual component, and an auditory component in the teaching of each fact family. From there, the program has teaching techniques to help the student “fade” the hands-on component into a mastery recall of 3 seconds or less. All of these techniques and lessons are shown step by step in the online Digital Pack and in the Resource Guide.

Each fact family lesson has four parts – A through D. A is the direct teaching with the hands-on component. B is applying the ideas to word problems to really understand the learning. C is working on the memory. D is fading to total recall. You can work on each of these steps as many times as needed before moving on to the next one. It is recommended to not work on these for more than 15 minutes at a time and have a break of at least 2 hours in between sessions.

Included with AIM are several activities that can be used with any of the fact families for practice. Miss J’s favorite of these is rock, paper, scissors. (She wins most of the time!) There are online manipulatives and activities that we have not explored as much since Miss J is a hands-on learner. They are available, as well as the practice activities, in the Digital Pack.

As each fact family is learned, Miss J is coloring those facts on a chart. This is a visual representation of what she has done.

I have been pleased with the simplicity of the program combined with the progress I have seen. After we finish the lessons, we will retake the facts test to see how Miss J does. We did a pre-assessment so we have something to compare it to. I cannot wait to see her improvement. After we get through the bridge to division, we will also use some of the printable worksheets to help her continue to keep those facts solidly in her mind.

If you have a struggling student, Accelerated Individualized Mastery (AIM) for Multiplication with a Bridge to Division is something I would recommend. You can also visit the Homeschool Review Crew site to read about other families’ experiences using AIM for Multiplication from Math-U-See.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Music History with Byron’s Games ~ a Crew review

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


Byron’s Games has brought us another fun learning game. This time it is an exploration of music history through composers with the game Maestro Mastery – Explore the Composers.

Whether your students are already familiar with many composers or are early on in their experiences with composers, this matching game will meet them where they are. Featuring 52 composers, the game comes with a set of matching cards for each composer. Both cards have matching pictures of the composer, the country of origin, the musical time period, and the composer’s birth and death dates. One of the cards also has a banner across it with a short, interesting biography of the composer. The basic idea of the game is to match cards and learn a bit about the composer in the process.

Also included in the game is a large poster with all of the composers on it it, a time line card, and instructions for play. The instructions also include information on how to access samples of the composers’ music on the Byron’s Games website. This all comes in a study box for storage.

My youngest just turned 12 and she has been enjoying this game. She adores playing games and learns quite a lot from games such as this. She has asked about once a week to play Maestro Mastery since we received it. I certainly don’t mind since music is such a part of our family life.

We played by picking one of the 2 decks of cards. Each deck has 26 composers in it so it is a large number of cards and each set has a good variety of composers, featuring at least one from each time period (the way the decks are sent – that would be different if you have mixed your decks up, which we have not yet). We lay them out face down and just do a simple matching game. We take turns and with each card we turn over, we look at it, read the composer’s name, nation of origin, and music time period. If it is a match, we keep the set and go again. If it is not a match, the other person gets a go at it.

As we get matches, we line them up according to music time period. We keep the musical period timeline visible between us so we can point out where the match is from on it. We also have the big poster close by so we can see what other composers are part of that time period.

To further the experience, it is a wonderful thing to listen to music from the composers. While 26 selections is a bit much for one game and it would prolong the game a lot, we pick one composer and put on a CD. (We have a large library of music and are excited to have another way to share our favorite composers with the girls.) You can also access samples of each composer’s music on the Byron’s Games website, using the information included on the instructions card.

As with all of the games we have seen from Byron’s Games, this is a very flexible game that can be modified to fit multiple age levels, interest levels, or ability levels. I could see using this matching game with a younger student by having one of each of the composer card sets already visible so they are just trying to find the one to match what is turned over. You could also make it more difficult by having all of the cards out. If you wanted to focus on listening, you could use a set of 4 or 5 composers, listen to their pieces, and then play what my college teacher would call “drop the needle” even though we weren’t using record players. (I’m not quite that old!) Have the student try to identify which composer wrote the piece of music that is played out of the 4 or 5 composers shown.

A variation we used was to combine this with the Continent Race game, also from Byron’s Games. After we had found our matches, we grabbed the continent maps and placed the composers on the correct continent. We then identified the countries for each of the composers on those maps. You could add yet another variation by each person trying to get matches for a certain continent or country.

One constant for us, though, was to listen to at least one piece of music by a composer from the game either while we played or after. A favorite way to choose was for Miss J to find a composer whose name sounded interesting. The website selections are easy to access by choosing the picture for the composer that aligns with the poster for the game. The play button is right on the card for each composer.

This is a wonderful game to add to our collection and I am thrilled that it is music related. We have enjoyed playing this game a good bit and will continue to play in the future. A definitely recommend.

Other Homeschool Review Crew families have been playing Maestro Mastery – Explore the Composers but other families received the The Family Journal. Visit the Crew blog page to read more reviews on both the game and the journal from Byron’s Games.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Using SchoolhouseTeachers.com Recently ~ a Crew review

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

The Ultimate PreK-12 Annual Membership accessed through SchoolhouseTeachers.com contains a wealth of information, classes, planning tools, helps, and encouragement. From video courses to text courses, from PK classes through courses interesting for adults, you will find just about anything you could want in home education and resources to support all types of learning – home education, virtual learning, blended learning, or others that I don’t even know about.

One of the great things about SchoolhouseTeachers is that you can browse on the site in so many ways. You can search by grade level, subject type, need, keyword, learning style, and more. You come up with lots of options to explore and you can pick and choose what looks like a great fit for your own crew. And if it isn’t? No problem. Search again and pick something different. You have access to it ALL! One free for one year of ALL material on the site.

So, what have we been doing with the site?

The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe Literature Kit

With my 6th grader, we read the book together during December. We used some of the information from the kit to discuss. We talked a bit about C.S. Lewis. We looked at the background for why the children went to the country. We had previously done a WWII study so she was familiar with a lot of but it was good to check in with the history again. She kept a list of all the foods mentioned in the story as we read and we talked about what “tea” meant. At the end of the story, she did a bit of researching of recipes and picked from her list of foods to create a tea party. She cooked and invited her family and we enjoyed a Narnia tea time.

This literature kit is set up for a study to last several weeks. Because we were using it as a one week study during a break from our regular schedule, we adapted by picking a choosing a few of the discussions and activities to do. Activities we didn’t use included making snowflakes and snowflake ornaments, researching beavers, a study on Father Christmas, looking up flowers, how to draw a mouse, and much more. There is a four week lesson plan included.

I also had her pop over to the Literature Lessons for The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. We had some quick discussions about some of the questions there. They covered characters, setting, plot, conflict, and theme. There are suggested answers in a separate file. These questions can also be done using an interactive content tool. It asks the question and has a space to type the response. The responses are emailed to the email address entered by the student when starting the quiz.

Foreign Language – French

We have been hoping for a French class to show up on here and one did. I have just started to explore it a little bit to see how it will work for my 9th grader. It appears that they are 3-4 years worth of high school materials for her so we will likely be taking this up soon. It includes course work from elementary, middle, and high school levels.

Videos

We were excited to see in the Christmas Corner of the Seasonal Resources that there was a video on The Candy Maker’s Christmas. This relates to a favorite holiday book we read every year so we were pleased to watch the short video on it. It also had a worksheet to go along with it if we had chosen to use it.

There are a lot of other video options, from materials to go along with specific classes (one of our favorites is always Drive Thru History) to devotional materials available through RightNow Media. There are over 450 videos available with your membership to SchoolhouseTeachers.

Holidays

There are tons of holiday materials that are written specifically for the holiday or are a part of a larger course that have been separated out to make doing a holiday unit study easy. With Valentine’s Day and President’s Day both coming up next month, there are plenty of materials available to pick something to add a change to the school routine. I was looking at a couple of the printable games to use for Valentine’s Day or perhaps a poetry study. There is a book by Patricia McLaughlin titled “All The Places To Love” that reads like poetry and has a study but there is also a study of Shakepeare’s “Shall I Compare Thee To A Summer’s Day?” Both look like short but strong options for a 6th grader.

Other Resources

I can’t discuss them all but I want to name a few more that are worth checking out:
– School Boxes (grade level curriculum options) – these are full of curriculum choices for a particular level to be able to quickly and easily pull together a full curriculum
– Literacy Center
– Special Needs Center
– Parents eBook Library
– Focused Learning Centers
– High School Help
– Planning: includes printable planners and schedule makers to customize

Much more is included on SchoolhouseTeachers.com. This just barely scratches the surface. Many other reviewers for the Homeschool Review Crew have written about how they have recently been using the Ultimate PreK-12 Annual Membership and some about how it will continue to be used in the coming months for their homeschools. Please pop over to the Crew blog and read more reviews.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Blue Ribbon Awards, 2020 edition

The Blue Ribbon Awards is a tradition with the Homeschool Review Crew and it is a fun one for us as participants. I imagine it is also fun for the vendors. A number of categories are shared and every family in the Crew votes for their favorite in that category. We don’t vote in all categories since we didn’t review something from each of the categories.

Please visit the Crew blog to read about the overall winners from the Crew and to find other families who have shared their individual favorites. Without further ado, here are our family’s choices for the Blue Ribbon Award 2020.

Favorite Complete Curriculum – My Father’s World

Favorite Reading Supplement – Reading Eggs

Favorite Language Arts Resource – IEW

Favorite History/Social Studies Resource – Home School in the Woods Time Line Collection

Favorite History/Social Studies Book – YWAM – Jacob Deshazer

Favorite Science Resource – Journey Homeschool Academy – Upper Level Biology

Favorite Math Curriculu – CTCMath

Favorite Math Supplement – Critical Thinking Co: Mastering Logic & Math Problem Solving

Favorite Fine Arts Resource – Beyond the Stick Figure

Favorite Bible Resource – Drive Thru History Adventures – Bible Unearthed

Favorite Elementary Product – Let’s Go Geography

Favorite Middle School Product – Byron’s Games Continent Race

Favorite High School Product – Journey Homeschool Academy

Favorite Mom/Teacher Product – Fermentools Starter Kit

Best Resource I Didn’t Know I Needed – Fermentools Starter Kit

Favorite Fun Resource – Byron’s Games Continent Race

Kid’s Choice (Miss J chose this one) – Beyond the Stick Figure

Teen’s Choice #1 (Miss L chose this one) – My Father’s World

Teen’s Choice #2 (Miss E chose this one) – Journey Homeschool Academy

My Favorite – Sonrise Stables/History on Horseback

So, there you have it. Our favorites for the year. We got to review a some new products this year and we got to know some new vendors. We also got to use some old favorites that we know work well with the girls. We are continually blessed by the Crew and are looking forward to another year with them.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

CrossTimber Name Meaning Gifts ~ 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.

Names are important. Names are personal. We did not choose our girls names based on meaning but I know many people who spend a lot of time choosing their children’s names based on what they mean. Sometimes those meanings are Biblical; sometimes those meanings are cultural. Both can be influential. CrossTimber Name Meaning Gifts are all about bringing that purpose and meaning to a beautiful gift. We received two of their products for the purpose of this review: the 8×10 Plaque print and the personalized AmazingName Print Activity Sheets.

Having reviewed CrossTimber in the past, I knew a bit about the quality of their name plaques and we chose to order one for our family surname. My girls all have their 5×7 plaques on their walls so we picked a beautiful print for our family room. We chose the Autumn Harvest print with our family name. The colors are vibrant and are very pretty. It includes a beautiful cursive name with an origin culture. There are three meanings included plus a Bible verse that relates to the meanings.

We thought our name was from a different culture than CrossTimber came up with but that was an interesting thing. It was fun to find out something new and different, without knowing for certain either way. (We know for a fact that our family name is hard to trace.) The meanings were fun to read and the girls got a kick out of the ideas. The Bible verse is a great life verse for anyone to choose and the fact that CrossTimber chose it to go with our name is pleasing.

The AmazingName Print Activity Sheets were a fun addition for this review. We had Miss J’s name put on these. (As we don’t use her full name on here on purpose, I have cropped pictures to show only the first letter of her name for these pictures when I need to. The sheets all actually contain the whole name.) There are plenty of activities included that range over a wide group of ages. Included are mazes, word searches, coloring pages, picture searches where the child’s name is embedded in different fonts in the picture, copywork with Bible verses, print and cursive exercises with the child’s name, and other activities.

From beginning to learn to print letters to enjoying challenging mazes and word searches, there is something there for all ages of children. I would guess these would go over well for children from ages 3 to about 11 or 12. Miss J is 11 and she found plenty to enjoy in them. There were a number of activities below her level but that was just fine. We are considering ordering some of these sets for some girls we know who might really enjoy them. They could be a fun, simple Christmas gift for these friends.

If you are looking for meaningful gifts for a birthday, holiday, or other special occasion, consider CrossTimber. Their gifts are beautiful and can be very encouraging for others.

Visit the Homeschool Review Crew to read about the name meaning gifts that they ordered from CrossTimber, from 8×10 plaques to personalized bookmarks to personalized name cards.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Bible Studies from Julie Naturally ~ 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.

Living a life for Christ begins with knowing the word of God. Spending time in the Bible can be guided many different ways. Two studies from Julie Naturally have been a part of guiding my daily time in the Bible recently. I have been using the Faith Journeys Bible Study Series: Romans bundle and the Faith Journeys Bible Study Series: Philippians.

Julie Naturally is the company run by Julie Polanco. She is striving to use her site and resources to help Christian homeschooling families. There are four parts to the Julie Naturally site – homeschooling, holy living, wholistic health, and homesteading. You can explore these, including her blog. But I am going to direct you to the Bible studies found in her shop. This is what I was using – Romans Bible Study Bundle and the Philippians Bible Study.

Romans Bible Study Bundle

This bundle included a downloadable and printable PDF of the Bible study of Romans, a downloadable/printable PDF of the coloring pages and memory verses, and access online to a video introduction to each of the 8 weeks of the Bible study. Each week of the study has a short video introduction, about 2 chapters to study for the week, and 6 days of study questions and discussion points. In between each week’s set of questions is a coloring page and there are memory verses for each week to print also.

coloring page from Romans study

Each daily study has a passage of verses to read and ponder. The daily questions are related to the reading. The questions range from basic information recall to considering background to apply the concepts to the world of today. Some of the actions for the daily study include prayer and spending time considering how God is working in a specific way. According to the website, this study is appropriate for an older teen or woman. Plan to spend about 15 or 20 minutes daily on this study if you work at the pace Julie planned.

Philippians Bible Study

The study of the book of Philippians is a 4 week study. It does not include a video component for each week. It could be coming later as it was mentioned in the introductory pages but it was not available when I was using the study. As with the Romans study, there are daily readings of a prescribed set of verses and the discussions are related to these verses.

The discussion includes questions of various depths, background information, and statements designed to provoke thought and application to daily life and the world around. According to the introduction to the study, each day’s reading and discussion in under 20 minutes.

My Thoughts

Both the Romans study and the Philippians study did not feel deep and challenging for me. I found that it took me about 5 minutes a day in the Philippians study to read and answer the questions. In the Romans study, it took me closer to 10 minutes because the readings were longer. I prefer my daily study to be 30-45 minutes or longer.

The videos were difficult for me to follow because her speaking style was not as organized as I prefer when working on a Bible study. The quality was similar to a live video from social media, including issues with the reception in week 3 where there content is missing at about the 7 minute mark.

I found that the daily discussions had some interesting points that I had not considered before. For example, Philippians starts with a discussion about leadership in the church. It was a good, thought provoking point. There were a few of these throughout the study. Overall, I found the questions to be recall level questions or to be worded so that I was unsure what was being asked for. If you are going to print the study, I recommend printing two pages of the study per page because there is a lot of blank space on every page, much more than is needed for writing.

I would have greatly appreciated a leader’s guide to go along with this so that I could figure out where she was going with some of the discussions. Several times, I left questions blank because it was unclear what she was considering.

I added the words from Philippians 4:8 to each of the shapes in this coloring page to help me focus on that verse.

I did enjoy the coloring pages in the Philippians study. I liked that the coloring pages in the Romans study had scripture on each one, though it wasn’t stated on the page where the scripture was found.

It was not a favorite study for me and I don’t feel like it would take my girls deep enough into the text. I can really see this being good for others. I found that there were some very good ideas covered in these studies. If you are a fairly new Christian or a younger teen, I can see these studies being appropriate for you. They are also appropriate if you are looking for a simple daily study that doesn’t require a lot of effort or in depth study.

Be sure to visit the Homeschool Review Crew blog to read about others who have been using these studies from Julie Naturally.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

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.

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