Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Essential Skills Advantage Complete Home Learning Suite Review

Essential Skills Advantage Review

We are testing out a program known as Essential Skills Advantage . They have several options but we received the Complete Home Learning Suite for this review. This is an online supplemental program. It has lessons on different topics, math, science, language arts, reading, geography etc. Has lessons for grade levels K-6th.  How ever not all subjects are offered in all grade levels. The program is composed of 43 individual programs 998 units totaling over 14,000 interactive lessons.
Since we are at the end of our standard school year. We have been using this as our summer curriculum. Three days a week the girls do one unit a day under each subject that is available for the grade level that they are in. While this is not a complete curriculum it is a wonderful supplemental program. 
Essential Skills Advantage Review
Like I noted above this is an online program so you will need an internet connection to use this program. I felt it covers a wide range of subject areas. All though I would not call this a complete curriculum because it doesn't cover quite everything needed to meet GLE. I do give it high points for a fun supplemental program

Essential Skills Advantage Review My girls have really liked using this as there summer curriculum. My oldest has a high opinion of the spelling section. It gives her things like word searches instead of just typing or writing the words over and over, and I think that's what draws her to it. I have actually seen an improvement in her spelling and her understanding of what the words mean. 
They have both enjoyed the science units we have tried. We used two of them to go along with what we had just finished up in our regular curriculum. We started with one on the solar system. It was great for filling gaps and brushing up on the topic before we took the end of year test. It covered some things like phases of the moon that our other curriculum did not cover. It really rounded things out well. The girls wanted me to mention that the graphics were great and the activities or experiments were FUN even though they were on a computer.

My little one is my math nut she said the lessons were fun and she didn't mind doing them. She felt they were explained well and frequently ask to do ESA math over a paper workbook. She had no real issues with it and seemed to glide on through each unit. My 3rd grader was a little frustrated at times but we seemed to be able to work though it after I played with the math lessons my self to see how they worked. Her least favorite part was the riddles, but she doesn't like riddles any way so that was no surprise.

Grammar was also an area that my 3rd grader spent some time on. She took to it quite well, She liked the bite sized lessons. She said the smaller shorter lessons made it less over whelming to do. That's a bonus in my book. Grammar can be so over whelming for younger kids. This is broke down about as simple as it can get. 

We hit up the reading section last week. So we haven't been using it all that long and we have only used the story time section. But I like what I see and what I am hearing from the girls. Story time gives a short story then some questions about the story after. The questions all fit the story and the stories are entertaining enough that the girls are not complaining about having to read them. I did find a few things in the first grade reading that I felt were a little below first grade. But you can easily skip over them or just do them quickly as a review. Every child reads at a different level so may be its just my child. 

 I was a little disappointed that all the subjects are not offered for each grade level. But that was my only disappointment and I was only disappointed because we like it so well I want my little one to be able to do all the subjects. 

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Essential Skills Advantage Review
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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Summer time and Blanket Forts

It's sun shine, summer time, and blanket forts enjoy your Wednesday everyone it's time for class. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Sunya Publishing Review

Math and Science {Sunya Publishing Review}

It's time for a math game by Sunya Publishing. The game is called Sunya - The Magic and Wonder of Math and Science, Multiplying & Dividing. This is a brand new game for ages 9+ that is just hitting the market and we are some of the first to get a chance to use this math game. 

Math and Science {Sunya Publishing Review}
First of all the name of the game is Sunya. I know your are thinking how do you even say that. The u is pronounced as the oo like in the word book. The word is from Sanskrit which is an ancient language from India. Sunya means empty or with our quantity. 

For this game players have fun making number sentences to strengthen math skills. They also get to learn some fun science facts and get to solve math and science riddles. When you run out of cards you yell sunya to show that they are out of cards and have won the game. You can play both a multiplication game and division game with this set of cards. We only played with multiplication because my kids are just starting division.

We received an instruction book that had quite a few pages in it. Most of it was black and white and it had a couple of color pages. I think the color pages were a bit easier to read than the black and white pages were. The directions were detailed but a tad confusing to me. It really took some reading to figure out how we were suppose to play. But once I got it down it was fairly easy to play as long as you know your multiplication tables. We played with various numbers of people when the cousins came over, though we mostly played with just me and the girls. We thought it was funner to play with multiple kids. The girls opinion on the game was good, they were both willing to play it when I suggested it on game night. They liked the fact that they could help each other make up the number sentences. But they were a little stumped about using the fact/riddle cards. I had to explain to them that they were sorta the prize for winning a round.

So to play the game you start with laying out a number sentence on the floor, then you give each player 4 cards. Each player takes a turn and try's to alter the number sentence that is laying on the floor by using the cards that they have in there hand. If you can't alter the number sentence with what you have in your hand you draw one card at a time until you have something that you can use to chance the number sentence. 1's and 0's can not be used in a multiplication problem but can be used in the answer. When you run out of cards you say Sunya and you get to draw a fact or riddle card. The girls like to stump each other with the riddle's.

What is unique about this game is that everyone gets to help everyone. You are encouraged to let other see your cards. This is helpful if you have smaller kids because the bigger ones can help them form number sentence with what ever cards they have. This was helpful for my little one as she is just learning multiplication tables. My oldest was able to lean over and say hey how about this. All in all its a nice little math fact practice game. I would like everyone to click the Banner below and see what the other reviewers are saying about the addition and subtraction version. 

Math and Science {Sunya Publishing Review}

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Monday, May 23, 2016

Science Shepherd Introductory Science Review

Science Shepherd Review

Science Shepherd ReviewScience is the name of the game today. This program is Introductory Science from Science Shepherd. The girls have been playing around with this program for a number of weeks now. They finished up last years curriculum early and this couldn't have come at a better time.                            
This is listed as a creation based complete science curriculum for ages 6-11. The course covers creation, geology, biology, astronomy, oceanography, meteorology and a bunch of super fun stuff. This is a video course that has daily on-demand videos, so you need to purchase the video lesson and then the workbooks. There are two levels of workbook level A and level B. I got level B with the review but I ordered a level A for my youngest because well she fell in love with the first couple videos and was mad she didn't get a workbook. You can also purchase an answer key which I recommend you do because it just makes grading easier. 

First I am going to tell ya'll a bit about the workbooks. There are two levels of workbook A and B. You choose the level of work book that works best for your child's abilities. Level A is listed as being appropriate for ages 6-8.. Level B workbook is for ages 9-11. Level B has all the same material as level A, but it contains additional content for the older kids. You should basically look at the sample workbook pages on the website and decide what one you think would work best for you kids ability. I picked level A for my soon to be 2nd grader and level B for my soon to be 4th grader. The work books go well with the video lessons and and you definitely need to have them. They are just not something you can skip out on. They are also super affordable.

Video course YES this has a video course is a huge bonus for us. The girls LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the videos, they are very excited to do science. You get 12 month access to the daily videos. Yes you can buy and extension to that if you don't quite finish it up. The course is divided up into 35 weeks. But you can move at your own pace and adjust things to fit however you run your homeschool. The videos take about 2-5 minutes. The girls say that the videos are not babyish. They like that the videos talk to them like "real people". The videos and lesson pages combined are short which is good for my youngest but my oldest says that she could have used more information. She will often look up additional information on a topic after she has finished her lesson so it seems to be working out ok.

I do have to log in and get the girls to the right video for the day. But after that they can stop and start the video on there own and find the relevant work page in the book. Since the video is the same for both workbook levels, both girls watch the video together. Then they work on the work pages. My older one likes to explain things to my younger one and that in turn helps her to remember better. While I love the lessons and the workbook pages that go with each lesson they are a bit on the easy side for 4th grade. I felt they were ok for a 2nd-3rd grade lesson but I think they need to involve a bit more thinking for 4th grade and up. The girls can finish a work page in about 10 min so they get about 15 min a day in Science. Then my oldest tends to take some time to look up additional information on line when there are things that spark her interest. The program does come with some quizzes which is nice for evaluating what they are remembering and what needs to be reviewed. With access to the video lessons for a full year the girls can go back and watch them again and again as much as they need to.

Other Crew Members had the opportunity to review other levels of Science Shepherd so I want to encourage you to click the link below and see what they thought.

Science Shepherd Review

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Saturday, May 21, 2016

New Elective!

My oldest has decided she would like to play guitar. She has talked about it off and on for a while now. She got to talking about it with her Pop again the other day and I decided that I would go a head and let her do. If she has talked about it this long she is interested and will hopefully stick with it and learn to play. Her amazing Pop has blessed her with a Mini 3/4 Scale Squire Strat as an early birthday present.  Pop knows how to play and will be giving her lessons every week and she will be doing a little extra bonus work with the Schoolhouseteachers.com Guitar lessons.

I love this little girl she is fearless and always willing to try something new. I can't wait to see what this new adventure has in store for her. 

Thursday, May 12, 2016

ARTistic Pursuits Inc.Sculpture Technique Model Review

ARTistic Pursuits Inc. Review

ARTistic Pursuits Inc. Review
You got to love art right? Wrong I am just not an art person. I try but I can never come up with anything cool for the girls to do for art class. Its just not my thing they tell me I am BORING. This is where ARTistic Pursuits Inc. comes in. The girls are excited to be using the Sculpture Technique Model book. This book is designed for ages 11-18, however my girls are 6 and 8. This means they needed a little help with some of the projects. We did modify a few small techniques to match there skill level. It has worked out quite well for us and I am excited to see how they can put these techniques to use in future projects.

This book gives students specific assignments that help them focus on working with specific materials such as putty, pottery and fiber arts. It helps them to develop the technique's to create things in three-dimensions. Students works as real sculptors while being able to pick a subject that matters to them.

I was able to find most of what we needed at the local hobby store and home improvement store. I read through the book before I ever let the girls get there hands on it. I wanted to see what they would be doing before hand. Since they are a bit below the age level of this book they did need some extra explanation on some things and they did better with a little mommy demonstration on some of the techniques.

I had the girls started out by doing some reading in the book. I found its better to have them read the lessons and look at the pictures before they ever have any of the supplies in front of them. Its less distracting that way because what kid doesn't want to just squish up the bowl of putty right. They read over the first few assignments and we determined how to get started. The lessons are explained really well even though the book is above there age ranges with a little help they were able to understand what the lessons wanted them to do. We tried the putty assignment first the girls got a bit frustrate with it because they couldn't get there figures to look the way they wanted them to. They would not allow me to share pictures of those creations. How ever there favorite part was the clay section. I think for them the clay was just a bit simpler to work with. They practiced with the clay section a lot working on using different tools and ways to make there creatures look the way they wanted. They really learned how to manipulate the clay to get it to look the way they wanted it to. There figures are not a fancy as the ones showed in the book but they had a lot of fun with it and got really creative and that's the main point of Art.

So here are the little guys that the girls wanted to share with everyone. I am so proud of all the work they put into all of these lessons. 

ARTistic Pursuits Inc. Review

Everyone should be sure to click the link below and learn about all the other ARTistic Pursuits Books.

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Monday, May 9, 2016

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Kwik Stix 12 pk by The Pencil Grip, Inc. Review

Kwik Stix The Pencil Grip, Inc. Review

Kwik Stix The Pencil Grip, Inc. Review
We are excited to announce the arrival of Kwik Stix 12pack in our home. Kwik Stix comes from The Pencil Grip, Inc. This is probably one of the coolest craft products we have gotten the opportunity to review this year. Kwik Stix are solid Tempera Paint sticks. Yes you read that right paint in a stick. All you have to do is pop off the cap and twist the bottom and it roles up just like a glue stick. It dries in under 90 seconds and still looks like paint. We received one of the big 12 packs. We got the standard colors but I noticed on the website that they also offer neon and metallic Kwik Stix. We will be buying these other color options. I also wanted to mention real quick that you can buy these both on the The Pencil Grip,Inc website and here on amazon.  http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_2?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Kwik+Stix

I have to admit I had these paint sticks for a full 24 hours before I even told the girls about them. I had to have a chance to play with them before the girls used them all up. My girls are paint hogs and they don't like to share with me. Kwik Stix are so COOL!!!!!  I almost didn't want to share. They write kind of like a marker but look like paint. When you rub your hand across a painting they feel smoother than standard tempera paint and I like the way it feels. I am left handed and it drys so fast, that I didn't even get any on my hand as it drug across my picture. They would be great for smaller kids just learning to hold a pencil because they are chunkier and easy to grip. I drew and made different pictures with them for quite a while. I gave in and let the girls have them the next morning. They couldn't believe that they were paint. They painted with them for an hour before I had to take them away and make then get some book work done. But as soon as the book work was done they were asking can I please have them back. We have had so much fun with them we even take them in the girls Go Bags for when we do to school on the road. The girls would like to request that they make them in a smaller version more like the role up crayons so that they can do some smaller fine detail as well as paint in big areas. I cant wait for my little niece to try them out when she comes up this weekend. She is going to love these things. 

I have no idea if the Kwik Stix will wash off a table or wall as we didn't try it, because well I just encourage the girls not to paint on those things. 

I would also like to mention that we received one of The Pencil Grip,Inc companies very cool very squishy Pencil Grips. This was not really part of the review but I love it so I wanted to mention it. It is called the Original Grip and it is designed for both left handed and right handed people. I would love for you to take a look at them here Pencil Grip Page.

Kwik Stix The Pencil Grip, Inc. Review

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Kwik Stix The Pencil Grip, Inc. Review

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