Archive for the ‘Review’ Category

Times Tales Review

05
Apr

If there is one subject that Hailey would skip if she could, it would be math.  She tries regularly to get me to let her skip math.  Math was always my favorite subject- I loved it when I was in school!  I would get excited when I had math homework.  A little bit strange, I guess, but I have always loved math.  To me, it seems a little strange that someone would not love math. But to each their own.  We have tried different math curricula, but Hailey just doesn’t like math.  One of the things she has a hard time with is her multiplication tables.  I have tried games, apps that are supposed to be fun, and anything I could think of.  But it just didn’t work well for her.

The Trigger Memory Co REVIEW

Recently we were given a chance to check out Times Tales, a fun program from The Trigger Memory Co. that helps kids (or anyone, really) memorize multiplication facts.  I figured it couldn’t hurt to try and see if this would help Hailey with her multiplication facts.  We received the downloadable version of Times Tales, but it is also available as a DVD.  The file is pretty big, so depending on your internet connection it could take a little while to download it.  Once you have downloaded the product (or received your dvd) you simply start watching.

The Trigger Memory Co REVIEW

The Times Tales has 2 different parts.  In Part 1 your child will learn the upper 3′s and 4′s multiplication facts and in Part 2 your child will learn the 6′s, 7′s, 8′s, and 9′s.  Each part is about 30 minutes and includes 6 steps.  The facts are taught using fun stories that will make it easy for your child to remember the times tables.

Here is a brief overview of what each step includes:

Step 1:  You meet the characters that are part of the stories.

Step 2:  You learn the stories.

Times Tales

(Click pictures to enlarge)

This is one of the stories- in this story you learn that a butterfly (that looks like a 3) flew by a treehouse (that looks like a 9) and found a treasure chest with 27 cents.

Times Tales

In another story you learn that Mrs. Week (the 7) went butterfly (the 3) hunting.  She caught 20 in her net and 1 landed on her head.

There is a different story for each multiplication problem.

Step 3:  In this step there is a little quiz to go over the stories.

Step 4:  In this step there will be pictures from the stories and your child will get a chance to tell each story.

Step 5:  Here your child will see flashcards using the symbols from the stories.

Times Tales

On this flashcard we see the butterfly (3) and the treehouse (9).  If you remember the story you know that the butterfly found a treasure worth 27 cents.  Since your child will likely remember the story, he or she now knows that 3×9=27.

In Step 6:  You will see flashcards again, this time without the symbols.

Times Tales

All of the different multiplication problems will show up during this little quiz, but will look like regular numbers, rather than the characters from the stories.

Once you have gone through the steps there are printables to use to practice what has been learned.

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Hailey did a crossword puzzle to practice the stories.  She also took a quiz using the number symbols.

Times Tales makes learning the multiplication facts fun.  Kids remember the stories very quickly and can use the stories to get the answers correct.  Times Tales can be used with any age to improve multiplication memorization.

Before we used Times Tales Hailey would take a long time to figure out her multiplication facts- because she was adding up the numbers, rather than just knowing the answer from memory.  I have seen a huge improvement since she has watched the stories.  At first I could see she was thinking about the stories to remember the answers, but as time has gone on, she just knows the answers from memory.

Hailey told me that Times Tales makes math fun, and for someone who really does not like math, that is saying a lot!

The first time Hailey watched the Time Tales, she was on step 6, answering the flashcards without the symbols.  As she was going through the questions she suddenly stopped and said, “It’s working Mom!  I’m getting them right!”

And that is why we loves Times Tales!

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Times Tales by the The Trigger Memory Co REVIEW
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Here to Help Learning Review

08
Mar

Here to Help Learning Review

Hailey has always loved writing.  She is very creative and does a wonderful job at writing. Teaching writing seems like such a huge task and I really want to make sure I do a good job of helping Hailey to become an excellent writer.  But, I want to make sure I keep writing fun since she loves it so much.  I have been really struggling to find a writing curriculum that we both enjoy.  We were recently given the chance to check out Here to Help Learning, a writing curriculum that I had never seen before, and I was thrilled to be able to check it out.  We could pick which level we wanted (more on the different levels below) and I decided to try Flight 1 Essay Writing for Hailey.

Here to Help Learning Review

Here to Help Learning is a writing program developed by Mrs. Mora, a homeschool mom of over 20 years.  She created this program to help parents and co-op teachers to be able to make teaching writing fun.  The lessons are based on the theme of going on a flight. There are 2 different levels of Here to Help Learning and within those 2 levels are 3 different flights you can take.  The first level is geared for children in 1st-3rd grade and it teaches paragraph writing.  Within the paragraph writing level you are able to pick from the 3 different flights.  Each flight has 32 lessons to cover one year of writing curriculum. The flights do not have to be done in a certain order, but rather can be done based on the interest of the topics in the flight.

Here to Help Learning

Click on the picture above to enlarge and you can see the different topics you can pick from in each paragraph writing flight.

The next level covers essay writing and geared for 4th-6th grade.  There are three different flights in the essay writing, each one has 32 lessons to cover a year of curriculum.  Once again they can be done in any order.  Flight 3 will be working towards writing and publishing a 6 chapter book, so you might want to save that one for last- but you certainly don’t have to.

Here to Help Learning

Click on the picture above to enlarge and you can see the different topics you can pick from in each essay writing flight.

Here to Help Learning Review

Once you have decided which flight to do you can start the lessons.  The lessons are done online with Mrs. Mora as your teacher.  You will spend 2 days each week completing the lesson.  The first day you do the lesson which has 5 parts in it, and includes:

  • Pre-Flight Checklist- this is where Mrs. Mora is dressed as a flight attendant and helps you make sure you are ready for your flight.
  • Flight Check-In- in this section you will check in work from the previous class, get new worksheets for that day’s lesson, and review the purpose of writing verse.
  • Take Off- this is where the writing warm up takes place as well as going over the work that was done during the previous class.
  • Full Throttle- this is the main part of the lesson where the Mrs. Mora guides the students through the part of the writing process covered that day.
  • Flying Solo- the last part where the students are given an assignment to work on.

The second day in the week that you use Here to Help Learning is the day the students actually work on the flying solo assignment.

How did we use Here to Help Learning?

I decided to use Flight 1 of the Essay writing with Hailey (age 9, fourth grade).

Here to Help Learning Review

Hailey’s favorite part of each lesson is the writing warm-up.  Hunter (4 years old) and Harper (18 months old) both love to watch the lessons too.  Mrs. Mora is very entertaining and really does making writing fun.  Hunter and Harper always come running to watch when they hear us start a lesson.  They were all working on their writing warm up in this picture.

Here to Help Learning Review

When Hailey realized we would only be using Here to Help Learning 2 times each week she begged to do it every day.  She always asks me, “Are we doing the fun writing today?”

Here to Help Learning Review

Here Hailey is reading what she wrote on her webbing outline.

Here to Help Learning Review

Mrs. Mora gave several great suggestions for creating a good environment to write in.  So, Hailey got everything all set up and got to work on her first rough draft.

Here to Help Learning Review

Hailey working on her first rough draft.

Here to Help Learning Review

Hailey read her first rough draft to us.

Here to Help Learning Review

After we went over her second rough draft together, Hailey wrote her final copy.

Here to Help Learning Review

Then Hailey made a presentation folder for her essay.

I can not say enough good things about Here to Help Learning.  I absolutely love it!  Mrs. Mora really does make teaching writing and learning how to write fun!  Not only is it fun, but the lessons are excellent.  Hailey learned so much from just one flight.  I am planning to continue using Flight 1 Essay Writing this year and then finishing it up next year before we move on to Flight 2 Essay Writing.  I can definitely see us sticking with Here to Help Learning for our writing curriculum.  I highly recommend this curriculum!!

Hailey’s review- “I loved it!  The videos are so much fun.  I give it 5 out of 5 stars.”

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Here to Help Learning Review
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Home School in the Woods Review

18
Feb

Home School in the Woods

Hailey has been studying United States history this year and we have both had a lot of fun and learned so much.  With the presidential election coming up I knew I wanted to add some information about the election to our studies.  I was so excited when we were given the chance to review HISTORY Through the Ages Hands-on History Lap-Pak: U.S. Elections from Home School in the Woods.  We have used Home School in the Woods before and really enjoy their products, so I was super excited to get started!!

U.S. Elections History Lap-Pak  Review

The U.S. Elections lap-pak will take you and your child through the election process.  You start out by learning the definition of election and move on to understanding the different kinds of government that there are.  Some of the other topics covered include:

  • The Three Branches of Government
  • Suffrage
  • Caucuses and Primaries
  • The Presidential Campaign
  • Election Day
  • The Electoral College
  • Inauguration Day

as well as many other topics that pertain to the election.

There is a 24 page booklet that you print for your child that covers the lessons.  You will also receive the lessons on audio, so you can just listen to the lessons rather than read them.  Along with the booklet, there are 21 different lapbook projects to be completed.  These hands-on activities really help your child to remember what was learned in the lesson.  You will also receive very detailed written directions as well as pictures to show you how each activity is put together.  I really appreciate the visual of how to put each project together since I need to see it in order to understand what I am supposed to do.

U.S. Elections History Lap-Pak  Review

The U.S. Elections lap-pak is for children in grades 3-8, but it could certainly be used with older children, as I have also learned a great deal from the projects we have created.  When you purchase the lap-pak you can choose between a downloadable version or a CD.  Either way, you will be printing all of the materials, so keep that in mind.

So, here is how we have been using HISTORY Through the Ages Hands-on History Lap-Pak: U.S. Elections:

Home School in the Woods

I started out by printing all of the project directions for myself.  Then I printed the first several lessons as well as the booklet.  You will need a variety of colored and white paper as well as colored and white cardstock to print the lapbook projects on.  We are putting the lapbook together as we complete the activities, but you can also store all of your work, until you have finished it all, and then put the lapbook together at the end.

Each day that we do one of the lessons we read the section in the booklet about our topic for the day.  Hailey did some of the reading, but for a 4th grader I found I had to stop her often to explain what she was reading.  So, for us it works best for me to do the reading so I can pause and make sure she understands what we are talking about.  Then, for each lesson there is a lapbook project to complete.  Usually Hailey will work on coloring it or cutting things out while I read.

Here is a sampling of the some of the activities Hailey has worked on:

Home School in the Woods

We learned about the American Experiment which explained how the U.S. government was formed.  It took ideas from the Greeks, Romans, and English, and used those ideas to create a new kind of government.

Home School in the Woods

Hailey learned about the different people we vote for- the president, vice president, senators, and representatives.  This project has a wheel that turns and for each elected office the requirements for the person running are explained.

Home School in the Woods

Hailey learned about the three branches of government- legislative, executive, and judicial.  She learned what each branch is responsible for.

Home School in the Woods

Another lesson was about how the candidates are chosen and we learned how caucuses and primaries work.  It is really neat to be working on all of this and learning about how all of the election process works, while we are seeing things happen in real time with the election.

We have not finished the lapbook yet as we are only about half way through the projects.  Here are some pictures of what the lapbook looks like so far:

Home School in the Woods

Cover

Home School in the Woods

Inside

Home School in the Woods

Inside with the 2 side flaps open

Home School in the Woods

Inside, under one of the flaps.

Here are some pictures of what the finished lapbook will look like, just to give you an idea of all of the amazing projects that are included:

U.S. Elections History Lap-Pak  Review
U.S. Elections History Lap-Pak  Review

We have enjoyed working on this election lapbook so much!  I love the hands-on activities and feel that we just learn better that way.  It’s great to read the information, but when you then make a fun project to go along with what you are reading it is much easier to remember what you have learned.  One day when Rich came home from work he asked Hailey what she had learned about during school.  She got her election lapbook out and proudly showed him what she had done so far.  She was able to explain everything she had worked on, which is exactly what I want her to be able to do.

Hailey’s opinion of the U.S. Election lap-pak- “It was a lot of fun to make all the projects.  I liked being able to color and make things about what I was learning.”

I love, love, love the hands-on materials made by Home School in the Woods and I would highly recommend this U.S. Elections lap-pak as a great way to teach your children how the election process works.

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U.S. Elections History Lap-Pak  Review
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Grapevine Studies Review

12
Nov

We start each homeschool day with Bible as our first subject. I have really wanted to be able to combine Hailey and Hunter for Bible to save myself a little time. But, with their age difference (5 years) it is hard to find something that really works well for both of them. Then I tried Grapevine Studies, where I am able to do one lesson with both of them.  There are, of course, different requirements for children of various ages, but it can be used with a wide range of ages.

Grapevine Studies Review
We were given the chance to review the Birth of Jesus: Multi-Level which is geared for children ages 7 and up, as well as the Traceable for Multi-Level which is geared for ages 3-6.  I received a digital download of the teacher book, the multi-level student book, and the multi-level student traceable book.

Grapevine Studies Review
The Birth of Jesus Studies covers the time leading up to the birth of Jesus, the birth of Jesus, and the Wise Men, Shepherds, and angels. We decided to do one lesson per day, which comes out to 24 lessons.  If you were using this as a curriculum for your Sunday school class, it can also be done as 5 weekly lessons.

Grapevine Studies

This is a sample page from the 64 page teacher book.  I did not print it out, but rather used my laptop as my guide when teaching. Each lesson gives a read aloud from the Bible to do.  Then there are some notes about what to discuss with the students.  There are drawings to show the teacher what to draw on the white board for the students to copy onto their page.  There are different activities for the kids to do depending on their capabilities.  There are words to look up in a Bible Dictionary, there are memory verses, and review questions and answers.

Grapevine Studies

This is an example of the Traceable student version of the Birth of Jesus.   I used this with Hunter (age 3).  Hailey’s pages were exactly the same but without the gray scale drawings to be traced.  Both the traceable and the regular version have 48 pages each.  For each day I printed out a copy for each of them to have to do their work on.

So, how did we use The Birth of Jesus Studies?

Grapevine Studies

Each day we went over the Bible story, verses, and discussion.  Then the kids would do their stick figure drawings about the story.  This seemed to really help them to remember what we had been learning about.  It is great for them to be able to look back over their past work, see the pictures, and remember what they learned.

Grapevine Studies

The first day we used Grapevine I did have to use a little bribery to get Hunter to participate.  But, after the first day I never had to bribe him again- he came right away when I said it was time for Bible.  Some days even Buzz & Woody, and Mr. Incredible and Dash came to hear the Bible story :-)

Grapevine Studies

Both Hailey and Hunter did really well with listening to the verses and drawing their pictures.  Hunter became quite fascinated with Herod and that he wanted to kill baby Jesus.  He talked about it over and over again, and was rather relieved to find out that Herod died.  Since the lesson on Herod, anytime we discuss something from the Bible he wants to know if Herod was involved haha

Grapevine Studies

This is a sample of a page of Hailey’s work, her stick figure drawings are about when Mary found out she was going to have a baby.

Grapevine Studies

Here is a sample of Hunter’s work, the gray scale drawings there for him to trace.  There are also lesson review questions which Hailey and Hunter were both able to answer, as well as a suggested memory verse.

We had a lot of fun using Grapevine Studies!  Drawing the stick figures really helps the kids to remember what the lessons were about.  I would definitely recommend Grapevine to anyone looking for a good Bible curriculum.

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