Bringing Henty Back {Homeschool Review Crew}

Bringing Henty Back

Homeschool Review Crew

I’ve long been a fan of the G. A. Henty Books and love that the Heirloom Audio Productions is bringing Henty back in the form of audio dramas.  Their latest release is in our home and already well loved!  We’ve been listening to Captain Bayley’s Heir and can’t get enough!!

We received a physical CD in the mail.  With our CD we also received online access to the digital components.  This is a study guide and Live The Adventure site.  You can receive access to all these fun digital bonuses by being a member of the Live the Adventure club.  The CD can still be purchased without a membership but the bonuses won’t be accessible.  Along with the study guide and discussion starter you will also find online quizzes and even a way to listen to the audio from your account.  

The online version of the audio drama also comes with a script that you can read and follow along with.  This is very neat and would be amazing if you have a child who learns best by reading or more than one learning style.  An ebook copy of the original book can also be downloaded and read from the Live The Adventure Club.  Other extra include the soundtrack, cast poster, inspirational poster, and desktop wallpaper.  Lots of great items to be had from their online account!

Being out in the middle of nowhere(at least away from big cities) is amazing at times.  Other times it’s not the best.  Like when you have an hour trip to get to a big grocery store or dance etc etc.  That’s our story!  We love audio dramas for this reason.  They make our journey shorter or at least seem that way.  When that CD starts playing we all become engrossed in the story and boom here we are and no one wants to turn it off!

About the Story

Bringing Henty Back

 

G. A. Henty wrote Captain Bayley’s Heir in 1889.  I love that old books can still be relevant today and I love that Heirloom Audio Productions is bringing Henty back for a new generation to enjoy in a new form.  While I still try to find the books in hard format so we can read them as well having them on a CD to listen to is amazing.

This story follows Frank as he leaves England to come to America during the gold rush.  Not only does he sail across the Atlantic Ocean but he also crosses the continent of America to get to California for the gold rush.  His story is woven through great writing on G A Henty’s part but also by great voice acting from the cast.  They’re amazing and really make you feel like you’re there with Frank as he faces great challenges.  There are also “flashback” type scenes where you get to go and see what is happening in England while he is away.

I love the voice of Brian Blessed as Henty.  He adds so much depth to the story just with his voice.  It’s amazing.  As he narrates the story and helps bring the characters to life we learn lessons that we won’t soon forget.

I love the story line. How many of us can say we’ve never been accused of doing something wrong?  Poor Frank can’t.  He was accused of stealing money.  Rather than face the accusations and humiliation, because yes we can all agree this would be so utterly humiliating, he runs off to America.  That alone is a great place to talk with my kids about what to do when someone accuses us falsely of something.  

Frank is foolish to run off and not tell his Uncle or friends where he is off to.  I used this as a chatting point with my children of how worried I would be if they ever did this and how people would definitely be sad and distraught.  We talked about how Uncle(Captain Bayley) must have felt and how Alice probably felt betrayed.  

Frank is a kind hearted boy who is very willing to help others.  Even though he makes mistakes he tries his best to do what is right and just.  After helping a fellow Englishman and his son Frank sends them with a message for his Uncle and Alice.  Although it takes them a long time to receive the message they are overjoyed and off quickly to find Frank.  They of course arrive just in the nick of time as Frank was wounded in a fight(yes there is violence).

Plot twist!  Captain Bayley has an heir.  Of course you knew that right from the title?  His heir is his daughter who married a man he didn’t approve of and all contact was lost.  Realizing that he was wrong to forbid her having her love and that he wants to make amends Captain Bayley sets off to find her with the help of Alice.  This is why it took so long for them to get Frank’s message.  It’s too late for Captain Bayley to make amends with his daughter as she has passed away but she had a son who he can now connect with.  

Happy endings all around.  Well.  Not fairy tale happy but real life stuff happens and life is messy type endings.  

Our Thoughts

As always we loved the cast!  One reason of course is that my whole family are suckers for a good accent!  We love them!  When my cousins come over from England my kids are all talking like little British kiddos for about a month after they leave.  It’s easy to pick up.  So of course we love hearing the accents on the audio dramas as Heirloom Audio Productions is bringing Henty back into circulation.

I have always loved the Henty books and am so glad that Heirloom Audio Productions is bringing Henty back for my children to enjoy.  Not all of children love reading old classics like I do.  The material is a little harder to get into than modern day fiction.  I understand this but really want them to know and love the classics.  So we use them as read alouds.  But there is something so much more magical about listening to them on an audio drama versus mom reading them. 

I highly recommend this audio drama as well as all of the others from Heirloom Audio Productions.  Other audio dramas that we’ve reviewed and that you should check out are The Dragon and the Raven, With Lee in Virginia, The Cat of Bubastes, and Beric the Briton

Learn More

Make sure to click over to the Main Homeschool Review Crew blog and read the linked up blog posts.  You can also find Heirloom Audio Productions and all their audio dramas bringing Henty back on facebook, twitter, instagram, and google +.

 

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Travel The World {Homeschool Review Crew}

Travel the World

Homeschool Review Crew

I have always wanted to travel the world.  But, unfortunately, I haven’t been able to.  A goal for my parenting is to help my children see and experience as much as I can.  We’re doing just that by using Let’s Go Geography as part of our homeschool.  As we get online and login we get to travel to different places every week.  Much fun is being had in our geography travels!

 

Let's Go Geography
 

Where would you go if you could go anywhere?  That is a question I asked my kids when we started with this geography course.  Geography hasn’t been a huge part of our homeschool until this year.  I was interested in what countries or states or continents interested my kids so we could make sure and do those first.

About the Program

Travel the world in style.  Your own style that is!  Let’s Go Geography is a three year course that allows you to travel through a few states in the United States as well as some countries each year.  You can plan on two regions of the United States plus roughly 26 countries each year.  With the curriculum access or download you get access for one year for one teacher or mom to use with her children or a coop class.  

Each week an email comes to my inbox telling me what the destination of our travels will be.  It is a 36 week course but does allow a few break weeks as well as some review weeks.  There are two reviews per semester plus a review at the end of the year.

Because everything you need is set out for you this is a very easy program to follow.  You can use it a bit every day or make one day a geography day and do it all then.

This program is designed for grades kindergarten through fourth.  I have also been using it with my fifth and sixth graders and my preschooler.  It is very easily adaptable. 

 

Let's Go Geography

 

What’s it Like?

You are going to go online into your back “office” location.  There you click on the schedule week you wish to do.  It will then have you click to download or access the PDF which you can print off.  Each destination has six chapters for you to work through.  These are:

  • Chapter 1: Map it!  Here you learn where you are going in your travel the world course and pin or mark it on a map.  Plus you’ll learn a few basic facts.
  • Chapter 2: The Flag!  Learn about the country flag and what it means/symbolizes.  You’re going to color/cut and have lots of fun learning about and doing some hands on fun with the flag.
  • Chapter 3: The Music!  Listen to music from the country and learn about their culture. There are also videos to watch.  These are safe to view videos.  Nothing questionable to have to worry about like simply looking stuff up on YouTube.
  • Chapter 4: Let’s Explore!  Go sighseeing!  See what the country has to offer.  Check into some different areas of the country and get to know the people.  Plus some fun facts.
  • Chapter 5: Create!  Hands on activities with step by step directions.  Much fun to be had.
  • Chapter 6: Printables! Here you’ll find notebooking pages, fun classroom activities and much more.

Our Thoughts

I love that it isn’t a set in stone journey.  We can travel the world as we want to and are not locked into going to this destination then this one in a set order.  I could jump around and choose where we would visit based on my kids interests or what we were studying in other areas of our homeschool.   It’s very easy to supplement other reading books to where we travel each week as well.  Those get stuck in our morning book basket and the kids can read on them during free reading time.  Sometimes finding board book or toddler/preschool level reading books about where we travel can be hard though.

 

Travel the World

 

I do feel I should mention that it is made to be a set in stone journey.  We chose not to use it that way and it worked really well for us.  We also used this four days a week.  Because the whole week is laid out we still got all of the information covered.

Some of the countries we decided to visit include Canada, Greenland, Finland, Norway, and Sweden.  This week we’re finishing up visiting Iceland.  As you can tell other than Canada we are staying in a central location.  Because there are reviews we did decide to do countries only within semester 1.  All of these are in that semester so they do tend to stay centralized somewhat.  I like that we can have the flexibility to jump around as we want.

I personally am learning and enjoying this program.  My kids are loving it.  I can see us continuing to use this and most likely purchasing years 2 and 3 as well so we can continue our exploration.

 

Travel the World

 

Let’s talk about the Break weeks just a little bit. It’s basically a week where there are no lessons.  Week 9 is the first break week.  For us we just will be skipping over that break week and “saving” it for later.  We tend to take a week break off of all school during slow times in my husbands business(he’s self employed) and during the off season for doing some amazing field trips.  So break weeks are just not being done here currently.  

Now review weeks.  I love this idea!  The first review week is week 12.  If you follow the schedule there would be 10 countries visited to review.  We’ve already done 6 countries but only two of them are in that section.  I am planning on skipping that week as a review and just doing another lesson.  We will then finish visiting all semester one spots and do two review weeks back to back after we’ve done all the countries.  

You will need some kind of a notebook or binder to keep all your activities and pages in.  They call it a travel journal.  Neat idea!  So we grabbed a package of writing paper for each child plus a three ring binder that I will hole punch and put all the papers in.  We then put dividers in it to divide out each week.

 

Let's Go Geography

 

Learn More

Want to learn more?  Check out the main blog post on the Homeschool Review Crew blog where all the reviews are linked up.  You can also find Let’s Go Geography on facebook and pinterest.

 

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The 20th Century Lapbook {Homeschool Review Crew}

The 20th Century Lapbook

Homeschool Review Crew

Lapbooks.  Have you ever used them?  We don’t often but when we do we love to use A Journey Through Learning Lapbooks.  They have such fun and simple lapbooks.  Recently we’ve been working through the 20th Century Lapbook.  This lapbook titled An Overview of the 20th Century is geared towards grades second through seventh so it’s a perfect fit for my crew.

About the Curriculum

This curriculum is a lapbook.  Lapbooks are a fun hands on way of learning about a subject.  You do a lot of fine motor work with lapbooking so this is great for anyone needing that practice.  

 

20th Century Lapbook

 

The main focus of this lapbook is the 20th century in an overview.  It’s a run through of all the main key topics that went on during the 20th century.  It is a learning lapbook with a study guide included.  There are pages included of reading for teaching about the events.  Then you have the pieces to cut and color and glue to your folders.  There are also recipes that are fun to make as a family from the depression era.

You can purchase the downloadable file for $8.00 currently while the print version is $18.00.  We received the download.  While I normally like print things this is a great way to do a lapbook.  For us it’s easier to print 9 pages of page 10 than it would be to try and make copies.  I did print out the entire lapbook so that I have it in a binder for quick reference.

Our Thoughts

I love these lapbooks.  They’re so fun and engaging plus lots of hands on fine motor skill practice.  Because this lapbook was the 20th Century Lapbook I feel it didn’t really focus on any one issue that we faced and merely glanced over them.  I’m an over-thinker and an over-teacher of things.  So, you might have already guessed this but we added a lot of information to our lapbooks.  Lots of extra reading and even some rabbit trails.  The original lapbook was to be 3 folders big.  Our is still going to be three folders big we’re just mushing a few extra facts in there.  Really and truly I have only printed about 5 extra things to stick in our folders.  The rest is just information that we’ve learned and read about to add to what is already mentioned.

My oldest son is 10 and he wants to do an entire lapbook on just World War II. I told him we could definitely do that but first he would have to do an entire lapbook on World War I.  So once we are finished with this lapbook look for a more indepth exploration of those events.  There is really no way to do them justice in this lapbook.  It hits the key points which is great but inquiring boy minds want to know about war!

This 20th Century lapbook is geared for grades 2-7.  So, approximately ages 8-13.  I used this with my older nine children.  The baby at almost 15 months did not participate much except for having to do some coloring and trying to eat all the tiny scraps of paper.  My age range for this was ages 4-12.  Now, my four year old is in preschool and probably didn’t understand and won’t remember all that we talked about but she really enjoyed the cutting and pasting part of this and it gave her practice while also imparting knowledge to her.

Learn More

A Journey Through Learning

Want to learn more about A Journey Through Learning and the lapbooks they offer?  You can check out all the reviews linked up on the main Homeschool Review Crew blog.  Also make sure to check them out on social media on facebook, twitter, google +, and instagram.  This round members of the crew reviewed two Classical Conversations lapbooks, different Apologia lapbooks, An Overview of the 20th Century, and The Greatest Inventors.  Make sure to read over all the different reviews as I’m sure you’ll find something that appeals to you.

 

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Family Chore System {Homeschool Review Crew}

Family Chore System

Homeschool Review Crew

It’s chore time!  How do you make chore time less of a battle in your house?  Recently we’re working on implementing a family chore system.  This comes from a review of The Everyday Family Chore System which is a PDF downloadable ebook from Everyday Homemaking.

 

The Everyday Family Chore System

 

Chore time can be a chore in and of itself.  We’ve always given our kids chores to do but that hasn’t stopped the whining or the nagging by me for them to get them done in a timely manner and done right.  How do you change this?  I know a lot of it is through good character training and we’re working on that.  More on character training and how that’s helping our daily life soon.

Today we’re discussing a family chore system as outlined in The Everyday Family Chore System.  It’s a 90 page ebook.  I printed mine out on 45 pages front and back after downloading it.  It downloads as a PDF.  The first half is just about how to use the system while the second half contains printables and lists that will help you effectively implement the chore system.

About the Program

Vicki Bentley is the creator of the Everyday Homemaking website and subsequently the products available through it.  She wanted to help parents by giving them practical tools and options for managing their homes effectively as well as their time.  As a mom of eight and also a foster mom of over fifty children she definitely has the experience to back up this desire.  This website and products combine all of her years of experience and wisdom in a fun and helpful way for both new parents and seasoned ones alike.  She’s here to help you make the most of your home and teach your children to help and be responsible all at once.

 

Everyday Homemaking
The Everyday Family Chore System is available through the Everyday Homemaking website for $15.99 in the ebook form or $19.99 in print form.  While I normally prefer a physical book this is one example where an ebook is a bit better as I don’t have to copy the pages from a book but can merely hit print and then print as many copies of the one page as I need.

And as a side note I want to put in a plug that you should check out the homeschool planner she offers.  It looks amazing and I’m wishing it was in my budget this month as we’re starting school again!

Our Thoughts

As we’re implementing parts of this system to fit our needs I love how flexible it is.  I really think it’s going to end up blessing our household once I work out all the quirks that I’m having.  With ten kids and having been a bit too lax in the character training area of our life lately I do feel it will take time to get to where I want to be.  But with everything in life it takes work and effort on the parts of all involved to make any system ideal.

As a mom I like this system.  It’s straightforward and I don’t have to come up with it myself.  No reinventing the wheel needed.  Am I using every aspect?  No of course not.  But that’s the joy of this.  I can pick and choose and customize based on the ages of my children and what their individual needs are.  As we get more confident in our chore system and I get all the wrinkles ironed out I’ll be sharing more!  We’re just getting started with our new school year so there is lots going on in our house these days!

Learn More

You can learn more about Everyday Homemaking by finding them on facebook.  For more information about how other people have used the family chore system as well as the other item available for the Crew to review called Everyday Cooking please check out the Main Homeschool Review Crew blog

 

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Teach Me Some Greek {Homeschool Review Crew}

Teach Me Some Greek

Homeschool Review Crew

Have you ever wanted to learn a new language?  We’ve always thought languages are a key component in our homeschool.  Recently we added in some Greek through a great company called Greek ‘n’ Stuff.  We received their Hey, Andrew! Teach Me Some Greek! – Level 2 Set to help facilitate our review.

Greek 'n' Stuff
This level 2 set is geared towards grades 2-4 who have no previous Greek knowledge.  Level 3 would be where you wanted to start with older children.  They do recommend fourth grade and up start on Level 3 as it does teach the alphabet in a fast paced way at the beginning.  Because my key student for this review is a bit delayed for her age and at a level below fourth grade I did make the choice to use level 2 with her.

Hey, Andrew!Teach Me Some Greek!
A detailed lesson plan is included in the set.  This gives us 5 daily lessons per week.  We are doing a four day school week this year but found that doing this on our off day did not take up a lot of time and was very easy to incorporate into our life.  

About the Curriculum

This curriculum.  Teach Me Some Greek.  But guys it’s not the Greek you’ll hear spoken in Greece today.  This is common Greek, or the Greek used during Bible times.  To me this is amazing and definitly the Greek we want to learn as we’ll probably never need to speak it with someone in Greece.  It would be awesome of course to go to Greece, but that’s not our key reason for wanting to learn Greek.  Greek and Hebrew are on our list primarily so we can learn them and then use that knowledge to understand our Bible better.

Greek 'n' Stuff
The curriculum set we received is for one student only.  Now, we all know I have way more than one student!  My plan was to have one child use this for the review period so we could get an understanding for how we like it.  Said child has done so!  Now for our new school year we are purchasing the Level 3 for my two older students and more Level 2 books for my other children.  I have yet to decide if I want to do the primary level 1 with my preschooler/kindergarten kiddos or just wait until they’re ready for level 2.  Oh the decisions we homeschool moms face!

With our set we received a pronunciation CD, a student workbook, and an “answers only” answer book.  Because I don’t speak any form of Greek I was very grateful for the pronunciation CD.  There is only so much you can teach your child if you’re not sure you’re saying the words correctly. 

Greek 'n' Stuff

Our Thoughts

As I mentioned I’m planning on using this with all my kids I would say you might already have my opinion.  Yes, we love this curriculum.  It’s simple to understand and use.  Great curriculum that kids and adults can love.  If you’re an adult and want to learn common Greek definitely think about using Level 3 for yourself.  I’m ordering an extra workbook for me!  The big debate in our house is whether I should buy one for daddy too or not.  What do you think?  Should daddy be made to do his own workbook or should he just have the kids teach him their lesson from that day?

Teach Me Some Greek

Learn More

Learn more about all the products offered up for review through Greek ‘n’ Stuff on the main Homeschool Review Crew blog.  Besides Level 2 and Level 3 of the Hey, Andrew! Teach Me Some Greek! courses reviewers also got a choice of several Bible Studies.  These titles were I Can Study Jonah and Ruth Alone with God Bible Study(13 week study) in NIV or KJV, I Can Study Ruth Alone with God Bible Study(13 week study) in NIV or KJV, I Can Study First Samuel Alone with God Bible Study(39 week study) in NIV or KJV, and I Can Study Acts Alone with God Bible Study(53 week study) in KJV or NIV.  I love that all the Bible studies are offered in both translations as we’re a KJV family ourselves and sometimes it’s hard to find things using that version for children.  

You can also find Greek ‘n’ Stuff by following them on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and Instagram.  Hey, Andrew! Teach me Some Greek can also be found on facebook

 

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Grounded Hearts {Litfuse Review}

Grounded Hearts

Litfuse Review

Grounded Hearts

About the Book Grounded Hearts:

A brave midwife. A wounded pilot. A risky secret.  These are the main players in the amazing book Grounded Hearts.
 
In the midst of World War II, Ireland has declared herself neutral. Troops found on Irish soil must be reported and interned, no matter which side they are fighting for. When midwife Nan O’Neil finds a wounded young Canadian pilot at her door, she knows she’s taking a huge risk by letting him in. Not only is she a widow living alone, but if caught harboring a combatant, she’ll face imprisonment.
 
Still, something compels Nan to take in “flyboy” Dutch Whitney, an RAF pilot whose bomber has just crashed over County Clare. While she tends to his wounds and gives him a secret place of refuge, the two begin to form a mutual affection-and an unbreakable bond.
 
But Nan has another secret, one that has racked her with guilt since her husband’s death and made her question ever loving again. As Nan and Dutch plan his escape, can he help restore her faith?
 

About the Author of Grounded Hearts:

 
 
Jeanne M. Dickson was born into an Irish American family, the only girl surrounded by four brothers. She credits her mother, her aunts, and her grandmother with her love of storytelling. Perfecting her craft, she attends many writer’s conferences and over the years, she has won and finaled in numerous RWA romance writing awards including the Daphne du Maurier Award, the Maggie Award, The Molly, The Tara, and she was the overall contest winner of Launching A Star. Today she lives in Coastal San Diego with her fabulous husband, her two wonderful girls, and a dozen disobedient rose bushes.
Find out more about Jeanne M. at http://www.jeannemdickson.com.
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My Thoughts:

I love WWII.  In fact, my husband and I reenact WWII in addition to the American Civil War.  I was very excited to read this book and see what tidbits of history I could pick up.  Also I’m a nurse so I loved learning a bit more about what was common practice of the time.  Oh and did I mention that midwifery is a favorite area of mine?  Oh and Irish?  Yes please.

While not a huge mystery type book there is some intrigue and romance abounding.  Oh and a good girl doing some “bad” things.  For someone not used to lying or doing anything incorrect, Nan isn’t quite sure what the right thing to do is?  But then again, she knows that she can’t just let an injured man die on his own.

Oh and did I happen to mention the guy who just won’t leave her alone?  He’s bad.  A bad person but also just horrid to her as well.  He’s decided that he wants Nan and he’s going to do what he can to make sure no one else can have her.

I loved watching people rally around Nan once they learned what her secret was.  Only Dutch isn’t her only secret.  She has the hidden secret of her husband and how he died.  She’s blamed herself for so long.  Can she allow Dutch to break through her barriers and help her learn the truth?  

The amazing race for the border is amazing as well.  And how hard is it for an Irish midwife to marry a flyboy if he’s incarcerated?  Grab a book and start reading!

 

blog disclosure

 

Family Movie Night {Homeschool Review Crew}

Family Movie Night

Homeschool Review Crew

Do you have family movie night?  We tend to do it either Friday or Saturday night depending on our schedule.  Recently it was a mom and two older daughters movie night though.  We received a new movie from Mapelle Films.  This movie is Trust Fund and it’s a new twist on the prodigal son story from the Bible.  We also received Love Was Near, a book to go along with the movie. It’s the to be read after viewing.  This movie and book are geared towards ages 12 and up.

 

Family Movie Night

Because this is geared towards ages 12 and up it was not an entire family movie night.  But rather just my oldest two daughters and I watched the movie and read/discussed the book.  The rest of the family had a different movie they watched.  We don’t often separate out the family for two separate movies but it seemed like the best solution to this.  I had not prescreened the movie and did not know if it would be something I’d want my four year old to watch.  It’s not just FYI.

Have you ever heard of the prodigal son story from the Bible?  Most people have.  Even people who don’t attend church know this story. It’s a classic of it’s own.  This movie gives it a new twist.  It’s no longer a son but a daughter who decides to go out and leave behind all she’s known for a bright new future.  Only the future isn’t quite what she thought it’d be.

Who do you relate to most in this story?  The brother who stays home or the one who leaves and comes back to much rejoicing?  I never really thought about it much but while going through the movie and study book with my daughters I really examined my own feelings.  The daughter/son who stayed home.  That would be me.  And then it hits me.  Am I really that person?  Am I cynical?  Do I think I deserve that attention and that I’m more worthy?  Lots of great discussions can come from this movie!

About the Movie

The movie is the product of a homeschooler!  Isaac Alongi was someone early on the scene to homeschooling being homeschooled starting in 1982.  Guys I gotta add that was before I was born!  Anyway it’s always nice to see that homeschool kids can do great things too!

Now this movie is based loosely on the Bible story of the prodigal son.  Before you schedule this for your next movie night please make sure and read some reviews and think about the ages of your family.  Due to some violence and hard lessons learned I’m not sure I would alter the age given by the movie.  It suggests ages 12 and up and I agree.  Now I might relax that to 10 or so but not much more than that.

Jessica Rothe plays Reese.  The younger spoiled daughter of a rich man who is an aspiring author.  When she learns her dad has been keeping secrets from her she decides she can’t trust him and goes off on her own.  She thinks she’s found true love. Of course, if that was the end of the story there would be no story.  So guess what?!  It’s not the end of the story. She has an older sister who has to stand by and watch and pick up the pieces when her younger sister runs off.  And there is her dad of course too. Oh and what about this guy she thinks is worth leaving her family for?

Needless to say because it’s the prodigal son story she comes home.  She’s lost everything but her regret and has yet to realize what true love is.  Until she comes home and her father still loves her.  That’s the general synopsis.  You’re going to want to watch the movie to find out all the juicy details.

I’d rate this movie a four out of five.  Not bad.  A good family movie night movie for older kids and parents.  Plus it can spur lots of discussion.

 

Love Was Near Book

Now the Book

Love Was Near is a book companion for the movie.  It retails currently for $12.99.  Think of a diary where you’re thinking about and reflecting on a monumental part of your life.  That’s the vibe that this book gives off.  It’s more of a reflection and rethinking of the movie than just a story version of the movie.  I think it offers quite a bit of thinking and reflecting on ourselves and our own lives as well.  

There is so much more to life than what we see and hear the first time around.  Sometimes if we reflect and think on the things that have happened it offers up a new perspective and learning experience.  Join Reece as she does just that with what has happened to her in this book.  I personally think it’s a good read and makes you think a bit about your own life and really take away some new points.

Side note:  There is also a study guide to go along with the movie.  This would make a great Bible study type program to do with the movie with your own children or a church group.  Find it HERE.  

 

Mapelle Films

Learn More

Want to hear more about this movie and book for your next Family Movie Night?  Check out the main Homeschool Review Crew blog for the main post. A great article to read is from a local(to me!!) Homeschool community the Midwest Parent Educators so take a peak at it too! You can also find them on social media through facebook, twitter, pinterest, and instagram

 

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Exploring Your World {Homeschool Review Crew}

Exploring Your World

Homeschool Review Crew

Do you do school in the summer?  We school year round but in the summer and fall we tend to do more outside activities.  We call it exploring your world.  Because that’s what we’re doing!  We’re exploring the great big wonderful world around us.  As part of our exploring your world this summer we’ve been using some My First Reports from Hewitt Homeschooling.

 

Hewitt Homeschooling

 

About My First Reports

My First Reports are are ideally for grades one through four.  However, I have had my children in fifth and sixth grades using these this summer too and they’ve been amazing!  Know your child and you’ll know if these will work for them.  For my kids they were interested in the subject matter and really loved the reports.  Could they have dug a little deeper and done a bit harder work?  Sure.  But did they need to to learn?  No.

Within the My First Report curriculum your child not only learns about the topic on hand but they also incorporate so much more!  There are hands on activities.  You’re going to see science, history, math, music, PE, and the list goes on.  I love that they are little unit studies that you can work through at your own pace.

 

 My First Reports Set of Fourteen
Each My First Reports packet contains at least twelve different topics within the topic of the entire packet.  So if you use one sub-topic per week the packet will last you an entire quarter of school.  So two My First Reports per semester or four per year (or five- six per year if you school year round) would be all you’d need.  Oh and the report forms you use are reproducible.  LOVE that.  Plus the lines come in varying heights so it’s perfect for your super neat small writer or your large and sloppy writer. 

Our Reports

We received several different My First Reports to review.  I’m going to list them below and chat about each one a bit.  But first I want to say I love how they come to me just staples but with holes punched so they’re ready to go in a three ring binder or folder.  This makes keeping track of them easier and you can personalize how you keep them together.  If we’re going on a field trip we can just grab the one sheet we need versus taking the whole binder.  Also the front and back pages are a cardstock type paper rather than just standard printer paper making them a little more durable.

Exploring Your World

Marine Life by Christine Dillon

Remember the classification system?  Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species?  Well you will after this study!  You’re going to learn all about the animal kingdom within marine life.  And it’s fun learning!  I really wish we’d lived closer to an ocean or beach for this study as explore your world -the beach just sounds like so much fun!  But instead we satisfied our longing with a trip to our pond and the large aquarium at the zoo.

You’ll find Sponges, Jellyfish/Coral, Sea Animals/Shells, Octopuses/Squids, Crustaceans, Sea Stars, Fishes, Sea Mammals, Sharks/Rays, Dolphins, Sport Fishes, and Aquarium Fishes as the topics within Marine Life.  It’s 45 pages without the reproducible copy pages at the end.

Our favorite sub topic would have to be on the sharks/rays.  My kids loved it!  Of course sitting in the tunnel in the zoo aquarium while we were working on that lesson and the sharks swimming over and around us didn’t hurt either.  Plus they had a little petting area set up where the kids could touch sting rays.  I’m all freaking out about it because that’s definitely not on my bucket list but the kids loved it.  

Exploring your World

Plants by Christine Dillon

My dad is a horticulturist but I’m ashamed to say my plant knowledge is rudimentary at best.  I definitely learned a lot going over and through this with the kids.  If you’re like us and use “exploring your world” as a base of study you get all kinds of plant questions.  “Mommy what’s this?”  “Mommy what’s this flower called?  Why does this have have this bump on it?  Can I eat this?” and the list goes on and on and on!!

While exploring your world in the realm of plants you’re going to learn about roots, stems, leaves, flowers, seeds, fruits, clones, defenses, habitats, unusual, conifers, and seedless.  This is a great study to do with gardening because you can literally watch a bunch of this stuff happening before your eyes in the garden while you learn about it on paper.  Choose a fast growing plant though.  

For this study I want to chat about one section that is in all of them.  Bible.  They all have a good sized section dedicated to how the Bible incorporates into this topic.  For plants you learn about lots of places where the Bible mentions plants and how they relate to us.  One section we took out of that and explored more was linen.  How linen is made, where it comes from, when we started using linen, etc.  This really is one of my favorites sections in all the reports because of the sheer volume of learning that is done in it.  Not just by my children.  It’s amazing truths spoken to us.

Exploring your World

Birds by Christine Dillon

We love birds in our house.  Bird feeders hang outside our windows so we can watch the fun birds through our window.  Of course, these are just the standard “yard” birds.  This study covers so many more birds!

The topics covered in this study are NonFlyers, Penguins, Sea Swimmers, Tall Waders, Sea/Shore, Water, Game, Birds/Prey, Owls, Tropical, Perchers, Hummingbirds/Swifts, and NonPerchers.  Our favorite to study was probably the birds of prey.  We live in the country and are near a wildlife refuge that hosts the largest number of Eagles in our area.  Driving around and spotting the Bald Eagles is always a fun activity.  There is even a juvenile pair that we spotted roosting in our trees!

This is again a great study to involve going somewhere.  We did some nature walks, we went to the refuge, we went to the zoo.  I really wish we had an actual aviary somewhere close that we could go see all the birds!  We loved the activity of grow sunflowers as we already have a few volunteer sunflowers coming up under our bird feeders.

Exploring your World

Pets and Farm Animals by Christine Dillon

This study is the one that was done by my six year old.  It’s one we could easily do as we live on a farm.  The topics covered are Cats, Dogs, Goats, Horses, Pigs, Sheep, Cattle, Poultry, Rabbits, Fish, Monkeys, Birds/Fowl, Hamsters, and Turtles.  We have almost all of these on our farm!  

We did have to go off our farm to find pigs, cattle, rabbits, fish, monkeys, and hamsters.  Monkeys just don’t run wild around here!  We do visit a farm often to get our milk so that was an easy stop to look at cattle up close.  Driving by them is not quite the same. My kids have always wanted rabbits so this was another chance to beg their daddy.  He still says no!  Hamsters are a house pet that we won’t have as we have cats inside.  Lastly it’s the fish.  Fish we easy to go look at nearby at lakes and the refuge for “wild” ones or the store for inside ones.

The read alouds for this section were so fun.  Lots of favorites plus we added several of our own as well.  Anything animal related could be included here and we included a lot of them!

Exploring Your World

Reptiles and Amphibians by Christine Dillon

My ten year old boy is a reptile lover.  Every time we go to the zoo his favorite exhibit is the “swamp” where we get to see alligators and crocodiles.  They have several learning stations that teach the difference between the two and all about them.

The topics within this study are Lizards, Iguanas, Chameleons, Turtles, Crocodiles, Snakes, Garter Snakes, Rattlesnakes, Frogs, Toads, Newts, and Salamanders.  Rattlesnakes was one I made sure the whole family heard and learned about in this study because we do have a population around here.  It’s always important to be able to identify snakes and know which the poisonous ones are.

While exploring your world you should know all the poisonous animals and plants.  These two studies(combined with some from plants) made up a semi unit study that I did with the whole family.  I wanted to make sure my children weren’t going to be eating things that would make them sick.

My son definitely loved this study and would really like to expand on it and do more individualized animals.  There wasn’t an alligator section so he’s currently applying all the information he’s learned about reports and gathering information to create his own alligator study.  I think another zoo visit is going to be happening soon.

Exploring your World

Wild Animals Small Mammals by Christine Dillon

This was another fun study to work through!  Definitely going to be doing it with all of the kids next semester.  It’s one that contains several animals local to us which makes it fun to go walk along our property and look for animal tracks.  We found lots of possum(opossums) and raccoon tracks.  Oh and squirrels.  We have lots of squirrels!

The topics contained are beavers, foxes, skunks, opossums, koalas, raccoons, otters, porcupines, squirrels, pandas, moles, bats, and armadillos.  

Foxes are the bane of our existence lately as they’re loving our chicken dinners.  This was a lot of fun and really informational for my son doing this study.  It allowed him to come up with possible habitats that our foxes could be living and why they would have chosen those spots.  I loved watching their minds work!

exploring your world

Wild Animals Large Mammals by Christine Dillon

Large mammals were also fun as it included several of our favorites from the zoo.  It also had a one that we could see locally(like our backyard) that made it so we could tie it into our everyday life.  I love tying things into actually exploring your world in our backyard!

The topics covered are Bears, Hippopotamuses, Deer, Tigers, Apes, Elephants, Moose, Lions, Kangaroos, Whales, Giraffes, Camels, and Zebras.  Obviously most of these don’t live in the wild in the midwest and whales is one we are not going to be able to see.

Our favorite animal to talk about and learn about was definitely the lion.  We love to incorporate Jesus as a lion and the symbolism behind that into things so that was fun.  It also allowed us to read The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe again which is fun.  We love that book!

How We Used Them

I’ve mentioned some of how we used the various studies above.  For the purposes of getting them in for the review period I let one child each choose a study.  They worked through it primarily on their own with my help.  The other kids just gleaned by listening plus I had the one assigned to that study share with them occasionally what they were learning and the fun stuff involved.

We all did ALL of the fun nature experiments, field trips, and such together for ALL of the studies.  So we were kind of doing seven studies at once as a family but then again not.  If that makes any sense.  I would definitely if buying the studies only work on one study at a time with all of the kids together.

Ages for the studies.  I had two 12 year olds, two 10 year olds, a nine year old, an eight year old, and a six year old assigned to the studies.  They each got to choose which one they wanted to be their primary study and we went from there.  These are a lot of fun to use and we are definitely going to be getting one or two to work through next summer as well.  All the thumbs up from us if you like hands on go out and explore schooling these are for you!  Exploring your world just got easier!

On our list of to buy next and use would be the Bugs and Worms!  We found a slug that was huge yesterday and it started all kinds of questions!

 

Exploring Your World

 

Learn More

Make sure you check out the Main Homeschool Review Crew blog for all the great Hewitt Homeschooling reviews.  They go from the small ages way up to high school ages so I’m sure you can find an appropriate age range for your homeschooler.  Make sure to particularly check out the other My First Reports reviews as there are so many fun titles to choose from!  You can also find Hewitt Homeschooling on facebook, pinterest, twitter, and google +.  Now get out with us this summer and start Exploring Your World!

 

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UnLock Math {Homeschool Review Crew}

UnLock Math

Homeschool Review Crew

Do you have kids who need to do math?  Kids who don’t like doing their math?  With our houseful of ten kids I have kids who love math and kids who hate math.  I have kids who love math in paper and pencil format and kids who love math on the computer.  A new math we were recently introduced to is called UnLock Math.  My son is a fifth/sixth grade level for math and so qualifies for the Unlock Pre-Algebra level.

UnLock Math

What is UnLock Math?

UnLock Math is an online math program that gives a “bite sized” approach to math.  Through only giving small bits of math and how to master them your child won’t be overwhelmed and therefore wanting to avoid math all together.  They offer Pre-Algebra, Algebra 1, Algebra 2, and Geometry.

Through this program every time your child logs in they go to their own dashboard.  This is not just a google type page but a page that shows what they’ve done and what is up next.  It’s customized to their personal account.

Lessons are taught by an actual instructor through videos.  Your child moves at their own pace through videos and can access their next lesson through their dashboard.  All questions and exams are also online and graded through the program so that the parent does not have to do that either.  I know I love online math programs that make it easy for me.  Growing up I loved math.  I was good at math and went to math competitions.  But somehow teaching math is definitely not a strong point for me.

Pre-Algebra

UnLock Pre-Algebra offers sixteen units to help your child gain a mastery of pre-algebra math.  The first five units are review of what they would have learned within the last year of math.  It’s just to make sure that they know what they need and have a deep understanding before moving them on.   Those building blocks need to be cemented in place so that the rest can build upon it.

 

UnLock Math Pre-Algebra

Among the units in this level many different topics are covered.  You can view them all by going to the UnLock Math website and looking at the UnLock Pre-Algebra section.  These sixteen units cover whole numbers, integers, variables and expressions, rational numbers, fractions, equations, inequalities, the coordinate plane, decimals, percent, polynomials, triangles, 2D geometry, 3D geometry, analyzing data, and finally probability and statistics.  Because the first several units are a review I can see someone flying through those.  Because my son loves math I have to put a limit on how many lessons he can do a day or he would finish a whole unit or two.

My son loves math.  He really does.  But he was really struggling with doing math in our old curriculum that was workbook style.  It included over half of the lesson being “old” stuff that he’d already learned and mastered.  This frustrated him.  He didn’t want to spend half his lesson doing reviews when he could be learning something new.  This led me to looking into both online math and math as mastery programs to help keep his love of math alive.  UnLock Math offers both.  It is an online program with mastery as the base of learning.

Learn More

Head over to the Homeschool Review Crew blog and check out the main UnLock Math post.  On it you’ll find reviews of the pre-algebra level like this, the algebra 1, algebra 2, and geometry level as well.  You can also find UnLock Math on facebook, twitter, and pinterest

 

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Learn French with Whistlefritz {Homeschool Review Crew}

Learn French with Whistlefritz

Homeschool Review Crew

Whistlefritz
As part of the Homeschool Review Crew, we recently received a fun package in the mail containing the Educator’s French Collection from Whistlefritz.  Such fun to be had!  Learn French with Whistlefritz only if you want to have tons of fun!

About the Curriculum

When you’re ready to Learn French and get your Educator’s French Collection you’re going to receive a nice package in the mail.  That’s the first positive for this curriculum.  I love a physical product.  There’s just something about bein able to touch and feel something.

In the package you receive 5 DVD videos, 3 music CDs, lesson plan books, and Matching Cards Games.  There are also translation guides available for you to download through the website.  We did not use the translation downloads. 

This curriculum is recommended for ages 1-7.  So for toddler who is still learning English up to approximately the first grade.  You can use this program easily with multiple children.  Because I have kids who are over the age of 7 I did use this with older kids as well.

The DVD’s are done in immersion fashion which means they’re done all in French.  I find this amazing and fun to listen to as I love foreign languages.  It also helps to give you more clues to what they’re talking about and how sentences are formed.  Within the DVD sessions you have both “real” people and animated puppet type people.  They get to have fun and carry on conversations.  

The CD’s include fun songs that your children will love to sing over and over and over and over again.  Seriously.  If you don’t like to hear repeated songs you might want to skip listening to them.  In all honestly I have not gotten to the point of being annoyed by the songs yet and I hear htem daily.  This would be a great part of the course to take with you as you travel so you could easily listen to the radio on the way.

To add in some fun hands on learning there is a card game.  The game consists of 50 cards with the most adorable little foxes on them.  

The Lessons

The lesson book deserves it’s own subheading in this post so here you go!

Within the lesson book is everything you’ll need to know to use the program correctly.  These lessons are so fun!  They include not only learning the words of the language but crafts and so many fun things plus other subjects within the learning of French such as PE, history, math, and science.  Who doesn’t want all that extra learning??  

Within the lesson plan you’re going to get a breakdown of what you need for the class, the appropriate songs and DVD lesson to watch etc.  So for instance, you’re going to be given the vocabulary that this lesson works on, the goals and objectives for the lesson, materials needed for that lesson, a short description of the lesson, and an estimate of how long this lesson will take.  Next you’re getting the how to of the lesson.  It tells you what the focus should be put on and gives you a short script to use for teaching.  Then there is a guided practice and an independent practice followed by a closure.  Oh and don’t forget the extension activities to help cement it all!  

 

Learn French by Immersion

 

Our Thoughts

I love that this is a physical product and does not require me to get on the internet to use it.  My kids thought the videos were cute.  The older kids were significantly not impressed with them but the target age range kids thought they were great.

We love music in our house and it was considered great fun to listen to the music cd’s and try to sing the songs in French as well as identifying what the English song name and lyrics are.

Native French speakers are used in this program.  This means it’s more enjoyable to listen to for one but that it’s also a more accurate portrayal of the language.  Being an immersion language course also means that you’re going to get more chances to listen to them talk and mimic them.  Not only do they use “real” French, but they also teach French to you in such a way that you feel liked you’re truly learning to speak the language.  I realize that sounds a bit weird but it means that you’re being taught French almost as if it’s your first language.

We used this for ages 1-12.  Oh and me.  I listened too.  I love learning foreign languages so this was a no brainer that I was going to be sitting in on the DVD and CD sessions.  My one year old really didn’t get much from it that I can tell.  But he also really doesn’t do much talking in English yet.  My older kids liked to act like they weren’t really all that interested but they also were doing quite a bit of showing off of their newfound language learned to friends and family.  I have to say one of my 6 year olds probably picked this up the fastest and with the least amount of effort.  She loves languages!

Learn More

Want to learn more about Whistlefritz?  Want to learn French?  Or how about Spanish?  Whistlefritz also offered up the Educator’s Spanish Collection for review so you can see both sets linked up for reviews.  Check out the Main Homeschool Review Crew page and see all the reviews!  Each review will let you know if it’s for French or Spanish.  You can also find Whistlefritz on facebook, twitter, and youtube.

 

Homeschool Crew Review Disclaimer