6/29/2014

Veritas Press Self Paced History ~ Review

Veritas Press Self Paced History 1815 to Present

I love history! I graduated from college with a degree in history. My favorite time period in United States history is the Civil War period. I was excited when we were given the chance to review the Veritas Press Self-Paced History: 1815 to Present. I had actually never hear of Veritas Press, but the courses looked fun and interesting. We also received the 1815 to present flashcards.

What is Veritas Press?

Veritas Press is an online school which means the courses are all done online. They offer live courses and self-paced courses. The courses from Veritas Press are classical Christian courses. It began when a couple wanted a way to teach history chronologically while combining Biblical events that were not recorded in the Bible.

What is the self-paced history?

Self-paced history means that you are given one year from the date of purchase to complete the course. Each course has 160 lessons and covers many historical events. These self-paced courses are ideal for students in grades 2-6. Each self-paced course is $199 and the flashcards are $19.95

The five self-paced history courses that are available are as follows:
  • Old Testament and Ancient History
  • New Testament, Greece and Rome
  • Middle Ages, Renaissance and Reformation
  • Explorers to 1815
  • 1815 to Present
There are five lessons to cover each event during the time period the child is studying and each lesson takes approximately 30-50 minutes each. This is not just another history program, this self-paced history helps the student memorize important information while at the same time making it interesting.

Computer requirements:

Since the course is fully online, there are some system requirements for the courses. Each course is compatible with Apple and PC operating systems. Some other requirements are:
  • Flash Player 10 or above
  • Up to date browser (we used Chrome)
  • DSL/cable connection (Satellite connection is not recommended)
  • 1 GB of RAM
You can see all of the technical requirements on this page.

We live in the country and are literally the last house that can receive internet as the pole is right in our front yard. We did not have any technical problems at all. Everything loaded just fine and played back just fine for us.



How we used self-paced history:

It was very easy to set my daughter up with the course after receiving the information. I helped her log in the first time, but it remembered her log in info after that initial log in. I bookmarked the course page and she was able to get onto the website and do her lessons by herself.

There are 32 events that are covered during the 1815 to present course, starting at the Monroe Doctrine and ending with Modern America.

I had my daughter use the course 3-4 times a week (except for the week my hard drive crashed). I sat in with her on most days, just because it was really interesting. Marcus and Eva lead each lesson and sometimes a 1950’s era robot, Gorton-3, makes an appearance. They are lively in their delivery of the lesson and keep the lesson interesting.

Each lesson includes many review questions, games at the end for review, and a memory song.

veritas

Each lesson gives a table of contents and attachments. The table of contents lists all of the topics covered during the lesson. The attachments lists the memory song (which opens in a new window as a pdf) and any crafts. You can also access the craft supply list form the dashboard page (see below):

veritas2

The flashcards are a great tool to have even though they do introduce and show them during the first lesson of each topic. My daughter read through the cards each day before starting the lesson so she could remember the major points that were being taught. It took a couple of weeks to receive the cards and it showed on her first worksheet (she received a 66%). I didn’t realize that the 1st two cards were listed on the dashboard page under documents (see picture above) and she could have read through it on the computer. After receiving the cards, she passed all the worksheets and tests with 100%.

 

Each flashcard has a picture and the topic on the front and gives all the information for the topic on the back.

At the end of the lesson, there are sometimes optional reading listed. We opted not to do the additional reading at this time.

What we thought:

My daughter loves doing things that are exciting and lively rather than reading through a book and writing on paper. She enjoyed going through this course. She liked being able to see the places that Marcus, Eva, and Gorton-3 were discussing in the background behind them. She also liked playing the review games and “was happy that they had lots of review questions so she could get a good grade on the test.” She also said that she did not like listening to the memory song in every single lesson, she would have liked it to only be in 2 or 3 of the lessons each week.

I enjoyed this course when I sat down and watched it with her. The “teachers” were lively and made the lesson exciting. I liked hearing the memory song each lesson and found myself singing it throughout the day. It does help with learning the events in order.

Some other things I liked about this course:
  • I didn’t have to do any prep work
  • Independent
  • Keeps the grades for you
  • Continuous review (reviews stuff from the 1st lesson during the 14th lesson, etc.)
  • Also teaches geography/ map skills

The only con I have is the price of the program.

Overall, this is a great course and my daughter has learned so much. She said she would like to keep going on with the lessons.

Check out sample lessons for all of the self-paced history courses.

Keep in contact with Veritas Press through social media:
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/veritaspress
Twitter -- https://twitter.com/veritaspress
Pinterest –  http://www.pinterest.com/source/veritaspress.com/
Google+ -- https://plus.google.com/100404634762414542020/about





6/27/2014

Summer Fun

My kids wanted a pool to stay cool in this summer. We can't afford a big one, so I bought a 120 X 72 X 22 inch pool from Aldi. It's big enough for them (and me) to get cooled off in when it is hot outside. They actually love it!


6/25/2014

Go Science (Series 2) DVD’s ~ Review



We recently were given two Go Science (Series 2) DVD’s from Library and Educational Services to review.  Library and Educational Services is a wholesale distributor that sells products to homeschools, churches, missionaries, schools, and some others. They have been in business for 35 years. They offer material that is wholesome and Christian related.

goscience

About Go Science DVD’s:

The Go Science Series 2 DVD’s are a collection of segments that were originally shown on a Christian television broadcast. They are hosted by Ben Roy. He has an audience of children where he picks out a few to be his volunteers. There are approximately 10-15 segments (of experiments) on each DVD. Each segment lasts approximately 3-10 minutes. Each DVD has about one hour of science experiments on them. Ben Roy tells the children which experiments are safe to do at home and which are probably not safe (fire tornado). He also talks about the Bible and God throughout the experiments.

These DVD’s are recommended for ages 4-12 and are available for $8.97 each or $59.82 for the set of seven.



Our DVD’s:

We picked out Volume 2 and Volume 6 to review.

Volume 2 is about Life Science and Weather and has the following experiments on the DVD:

Life Science:
  • Flashlight-Animal Eyes
  • Animal Skulls
  • Bobby Pins
  • What Are You Looking At?
  • How Much Do Your Lungs Hold?
  • Eating Nails for Breakfast
  • Naked Eggs
Weather:
  • Fire Tornado
  • Ping Pong Cannon
  • Liquid Nitrogen Cloud
  • Cloud in a Bottle
  • Garbage Can Vortex
Volume 6 is about Chemistry and has the following experiments:

Chemistry 1:
  • Milk and Food Coloring
  • Elephant's Toothpaste
  • Stains
  • Staying Dry-Diapers
  • Lava Lamp
Chemistry 2:
  • Instant Snow
  • Silly Slime
  • Hydrogen Bubbles
  • Grain Elevator
  • HHO Generator
  • Mentos Fountain

 

How we used the DVD’s:

My boys (the science lovers in the house) wanted to watch the Life Science/ Weather (Volume 2) DVD first. Since these DVD’s are an hour long, I had them watch 3-4 segments at a time. Even though you are able to choose which segment you want to watch from the main menu, we watched them in order so I could remember where we left off. My boys favorite experiments from the volume 2 DVD were naked eggs and fire tornado. My 8 year old daughter said her favorite one was the garbage can vortex. My 3 year old also enjoyed watching the segments.

After we finished volume 2, we watched volume 6, chemistry. We again only watched 3-4 segments at a time on this DVD. My favorite experiment on this DVD was the instant snow. My boys  and older daughter liked the silly slime experiment best.

What we thought:
My boys and girls did like watching the videos, but my oldest who is 12, thought they were a little “babyish” for his age level. He did say he liked watching all of the experiments, but wanted something more mature. He also told me, “Since I want to be a Creationist, I liked how Mr. Roy talked about how the Bible fits in with the experiments.”

My 10 year old son said he enjoyed the experiments and “we should watch them again during the school year.” My 8 year old said she liked them and would watch it again during science time.

My thoughts: I enjoyed watching these with my kids. Mr. Roy is very energetic and loves to get the children in the audience involved. He explains the experiments well. We will definitely use these videos during our science time in the fall, especially if the segment pertains to what we are learning. I really liked how Mr. Roy tied in the Bible and God with each experiment and always ended each segment with the same quote ~ “Every time we learn something about science, we learn something about our Creator...God!"

I liked that when you put the DVD in, there was a main menu to choose which segment you want to watch. That will help in the future when trying to find a specific segment. I do wish the experiments were listed on the DVD case, though. But that is such a minor thing. I am giving these DVD’s 5 stars.







6/24/2014

If You Were Me And Lived In... ~ Book Review

Last year, I had the opportunity to review several books titled "If You Were Me and Lived In..." by Carole P. Roman. This author has several of these books that are about different countries. My children enjoyed reading through these books and loved learning about other countries.

I was recently offered the chance to review a new book in this series. I chose Australia, because I have always wanted to visit this country. I actually thought of studying missions in college and becoming a missionary to Australia. Maybe one day I will get to visit.

When the book came in the mail, my 3 year old daughter got really excited. "We have other books like that!" She wanted to look at it right away.

This book has beautiful illustrations and is written in an interesting way for children of all ages. I actually learned a few things while reading through the book. I had always pronounced the capital city as "Can- bear- a," but it is actually pronounced "Can-bruh." I love that she puts the pronunciations next to the words. The book begins by telling you, the reader, where the country is located. It also tells about popular boys and girls names, what kind of food you would eat, famous places to visit, and what kinds of games are played. This book also mentioned Australia Day and the history about it.

My 3 year old daughter loved looking at all of the illustrations and loved hearing about Australia. She also loved waving the Australian flag that the author sent us with the book. My other children (8, 10, and 12) also read through the book and liked learning some things about Australia that they didn't know.






















This book and all the others in this series are available for $8.99 (at the time of this post).

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. I was sent a free book in exchange for an honest review.

6/21/2014

Blueberry Picking

Our family loves blueberries. We have been going to the same farm since I moved to North Carolina 16 years ago. We normally pick around 30- 40 pounds each June in order to have enough to last us all year. Yesterday was our first picking day of the season and we picked 16 pounds in about an hour. It was just me and the kids. My two boys really did most of the work and did a good job. Since this was the end of the "early crop," it was a little difficult to get some good berries. The "late crop" will be ready in the next week or two. We will head back around the first week in July to get more blueberries.






















Here is one of my favorite blueberry muffin recipes.

Check out more field trip ideas:
Chestnut Grove Academy Field Trip Friday Blog Hop

6/18/2014

Homeschool Organization

Disclaimer: this post contains an affiliate link

I'm not sure if I am qualified to write an organization post. I have been homeschooling for eight years and have not been very organized. I decided that this would be the year to get organized and stick with it since my oldest is going to be in 7th grade. I really need a way to keep track of his progress as he prepares for high school.

I've looked at Pinterest, Facebook homeschool groups, and other blogs for some ideas on how to organize school materials.

Since we are branching out beyond Abeka this year, I also needed ideas on how to store and use the same curriculum for multiple students.

We are also going to try to use a 6 week on, 1 week off schedule. The kids and I always seem to burnout in March and April and just drag until we finish for the year. We will still take off 2 weeks for Christmas and any days for field trips that we need to take. We also take off a day for birthdays if it falls Monday through Friday.

First: I have tried to keep up attendance, grades, etc. through online places such as homeschool tracker. I would rather just have a paper planner to keep track of things. I was able to get a print edition of the Hey Mama! Schoolhouse Planner from The Old Schoolhouse. After I received it, I tried to think how I could best put it to practice. I remembered I had an old Well Planned Day binder. I pulled out the binding from the Hey Mama planner, punched holes in it, and placed it in the binder. I'm hoping this will work out for me and I will be able to keep track of our school days much better.



Another thing that I am hoping will help is the containers I purchased. I first purchased a small hanging file box to hold only the Mystery of History curriculum. I then realized that I should just go ahead and purchase some larger ones also. I bought a couple packs of hanging folders and set up the boxes. I have a tab for each child and what subject material is in each folder. I will use 2 folders for each of their subjects - one to hold the work for each 6 weeks of school and the other to hold the tests and quizzes that have been done during the 6 weeks. Right now, I also have room in the boxes to hold some textbooks.






















I also learned from the Mystery of History Facebook group a good way to put the textboook to use is to take out all of the pages from the original (it's perforated) and stick the whole book into a 3 inch binder. Some of the ladies then have a smaller binder and put in the pages they would need for the week. Since I am suing this as a read aloud, I thought this was a great idea.


















Just wanted to share a few ideas that I picked up from other homeschoolers. I hope you are able to implement some of them in your homeschool.


6/13/2014

Going, Going, Going, Gone

It has been a week and not a very good one either. My computer has been giving me a little trouble over the past few weeks. I would get the blue screen of death at least once a week.

You know trouble is about to happen when you get  this screen. I bought my laptop used from eBay when our desk computer quit around Christmas time.

On Tuesday (of this week), I was writing a review that was due on Thursday. I was using Windows Live Writer and was just about to finish it up and hit publish when the laptop froze and completely turned off. No blue screen, nothing. Just crashed. I tried to turn it back on, but it would not. It just kept cycling through the start up screen. 

All day Wednesday, I tried to figure out what was wrong. I did a diagnostic test and the hard drive failed. My review was on that hard drive! I had to order a new hard drive and figure out how to re-write my review. I had put so much into the original review, but couldn't remember everything. I managed to write it by hand and type it up using my kids Kindle Fire on Thursday morning before it was due. 

I had just saved a bunch of my files to a flash drive, so I didn't lose much. I am hoping to have a better week next week and get my laptop up and running again. 

6/12/2014

We Choose Virtues ~ Review










We recently were given the opportunity to review the Parenting Cards from We Choose Virtues. We also received the We Choose Virtues Download Bundle.

What is We Choose Virtues?

We Choose Virtues was founded by Heather McMillan after she, as a Children's Minister, observed children at church that lacked honesty, self-control, and perseverance.

What are Parenting Cards?

The parenting cards are 8.5 X 5.5 full colored cards that are printed front and back. The cards are geared for children ages 3 - 11 and are $38.49. There are 13 cards that come in a zip-lock type bag for easy storing when not in use. One card gives teaching hints while the other twelve are the virtue cards. The virtues taught are as follows: gentle, attentive, honest, kind, perseverant, self-controlled, forgiving, patient, obedient, diligent, helpful, and content.















On the front of each card, the virtue is listed along with a catchphrase, Bible verse, and character. It also lists the antonyms of each virtue.















On the back of each card, there is a virtue user challenge, teachable moments, what to say after "I'm sorry," and a little blurb about each character.

What is included with the download bundle?

The download bundle is available for $7.99 and includes the following:

~ Teacher handbook (PDF): this is a 56 page guide for teaching the virtues. It includes the four steps for teaching the virtues which are expect excellence, explain with enthusiasm, emphasize the everyday, and examine everything. It also lists activities and game ideas to implement each virtue.

~ Family Character Assessment (PDF): a one page assessment for each family member to use before starting.

~Coloring Book(PDF): coloring sheets of all of the characters. I printed mine in booklet form and stapled the middle to make a coloring book.














~ Sing-Along Book (PDF): 12 songs with familiar tunes to help learn the virtues.

~ Butterfly Award (PDF): given when the child has been using the virtue.

How we used We Choose Virtues:

I used this with all four of my children ages 3, 8, 10, and 12. We focused on one virtue per week. On Monday, I would read the front of the card and the virtue user challenge on the back. On Tuesday, I would go over the Bible verse again, read about the character, and go over the teachable moments. The rest of the week, I would remind them about the user challenge and encourage them to memorize the Bible verse. I also want over some of the teachable moments again.

What we thought:

I'm not sure how much my three year old learned, but she enjoyed coloring the characters.

My older children were able to learn quite a bit from the Parenting Cards. They enjoyed doing the challenges each week.

I liked that the cards were just the right size for displaying while we were learning each virtue. I also liked the challenges that were given each week. Some of the challenges were were what words not to use, such as "I'm bored." Some of the challenges were to do things for other people.

My ten and twelve year old sons said they liked doing the challenges each week, but some of them were difficult. It was difficult to go a whole day without saying the words listed on the challenge.

My eight year old daughter said she enjoyed hearing about each character.

This is a great program for homeschools, schools, and churches. I'm glad my kids were able to learn about these important virtues and to put into practice what  they learned.

Click to read Crew Reviews







6/04/2014

Field Trip

F is for Field Trip! We are officially done with school, but we still take field trips during our breaks. It was such a beautiful day on Monday (low 80's), so I decided to take a little trip to the beach with the kids. We had a picnic lunch and sat on the beach for about an hour and a half. The water was still a little cool, but my boys went in anyway. I just got my feet wet. It was refreshing. We had a really good time and hope to go back in a couple of weeks.


















My younger son wanted to be buried





6/03/2014

Kinder Cottage ~ Review

Kinder Cottage ReviewKinder Cottage Publishing has given us two books to review. We reviewed Peter Rabbit at the Farm and Peter Rabbit's Birthday.

Kinder Cottage Publishing was started in 2012 by Howard Closs and his wife Ann. Their main goal is to offer products that will help parents in the education of their young children.

The Peter Rabbit books were originally written by Duff Graham for the Henry Altemus company over 90 years ago. Kinder Cottage publishing has adapted these books with modernized text.

The books are ideal for ages 3-9 and sell on the Kinder Cottage website for $4.00 a piece or $30 for the set of 10 books. The books are hardcover and are 5X7 inches. They are both 64 pages long and have writing on one side and a colorful picture on the opposite page.

Kinder Cottage Review
In Peter Rabbit at the Farm, Peter sneaks out of the house and goes on a mischievous adventure. He meets up with various animals around Mr. McGregor's Farm. He helps clear out mud from a dam so the pond could fill back up with water. He also made friends with the farmer's watchdog. He also met the horse, watched the lambs, and went to watch the cow being milked. He got too close and the farmhand kicked him, but Peter Rabbit jumped away- right into the milk bucket. He got lost on the way home, but Jim Crow gave him a ride home. When he got home and told his mother and siblings his adventure, they were frightened. His mother told him not to run away again as she tucked him into bed, but he was already fast asleep.

Kinder Cottage Review
In Peter Rabbit's Birthday, Peter begins his day by being a little mischievous, but quickly remembers to be a good little rabbit. His mother tells him he can invite some friends over for a birthday party at 2:00. He goes off and starts inviting everyone he runs into. He also runs into a man with a hand organ and his monkey. Peter gives them some money and dances with them, but quickly loses track of time. Meanwhile, his mother and siblings are worried about him because it is almost 2:00. Peter starts crying and a boy on his bike finds him and offers him a ride home. Peter makes it home in time for his birthday party and wishes every day could be his birthday.

I read these books to my 3 year old daughter and 8 year old daughter. My 3 year old loved listening to the stories and after I finished reading wanted to look at the pictures again. My 8 year old enjoyed hearing the stories.

I enjoyed reading these stories to my girls. I never was much of a Peter Rabbit fan when I was younger, so I enjoyed hearing about all the mischievous things Peter got into in each story. These books are really a great deal for what you receive. They are the perfect size for little hands and they are hardcover. It's difficult these days to get a nice hardcover book for a little price. I know my 3 year old would love to have the rest of the books in the series. I do plan on buying the rest of the books for her for Christmas.

Right now, Kinder Cottage is offering a 20% discount when you use the code TOS at checkout.

Click to read Crew Reviews

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6/01/2014

Progeny Press ~ Review

Progeny Press Review Trying to fit literature into our homeschool day is sometimes difficult. My kids do like to read, but sometimes I don't ever find the time or resources for them to dig deeper. Progeny Press has made this possible. They have created study guides to go along with different classic and new books.

We received two downloadable interactive PDF study guides to review. My younger son reviewed the Little House in the Big Woods Study Guide which is recommended for grades 4-6 and is $16.99. My older son reviewed The Giver Study Guide which is recommended for grades 7-9 and is $18.99. These study guides can either be printed off and filled in or the student can answer the questions right onto the PDF on the computer and saving their work.

Progeny Press Review
The Giver study guide begins with a note to the instructor on how to use the study guide. It then goes into a synopsis of the book, about the author, and gives some background information. The next section lists some pre-reading activities such as researching a coming of age ceremony or making a list of careers that interest you. The next section is broken down into studying two to three chapters at a time. There are vocabulary words for the student to learn about. Sometimes you write the definition of the word, other times you write the antonym and synonym of the word. This is followed by questions about the chapters the student has read. Finally, the last two sections are "Thinking about the Story" and "Dig Deeper." The "Thinking about the Story" questions make the student have to think deeper. The "Dig Deeper" questions involve using the Bible as a guide.

My 12 year old son read through The Giver and worked on the study guide about three times a week. He worked on one section each week. The first day he would complete the vocabulary and questions. The second day he would do the thinking about the story questions and the third day he would answer the dig deeper questions. He preferred to answer the questions by typing the answers into the PDF on the computer.


Progeny Press Review The Little House in the Big Woods study guide is set up similar to The Giver study guide. There is a synopsis, about the author, and some background information at the beginning of the study guide. There are also pre-reading activities for the student. There are vocabulary words for the student to learn about, questions about the chapters, and the dig deeper questions that use the Bible as a guide. There are also projects and activities for the child to work on such as making butter, growing crystals, making hast pudding, and playing games.

My 10 year old son had already read through Little House in the Big Woods, but he read through it again as a refresher. He also worked through a section of the study guide each week. The first day he worked on the vocabulary and answered the questions, the second day he worked on the dig deeper questions, and the third day he worked on the projects and activities.

At first, my boys were reluctant in doing the study guides. They thought it would be boring. They both enjoyed reading the books, but it did take a couple of weeks before they started to "enjoy" the study guides. After going through the study guide for a few weeks, they realized that the study guides were helping them understand the books a lot better than if they had just read the book. My 12 year old said he liked that the questions made him think about the story better. My 10 year old said his favorite part of the study guide was doing the activities.

I liked that the study guides made my boys think about the story they were reading. I also liked that they used the Bible to help teach a lesson and how they apply to their lives. I am looking forward to possibly using more of these guides in our future school years.

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