April 22, 2013

Progeny Press ~ Beowulf Study Guide Review

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Progeny Press is a family-owned and family-run business operated by homeschooling parents, Michael and Rebecca Gilleland since 1992.

Progeny Press has over 100 study guides for literature, covering kindergarten, elementary, middle school and high school. Progeny Press study guides concentrate on critical thinking, comprehension, literary analysis, and Christian application. Their goal is to teach children to think clearly, to understand literature, and to rely on God's scripture for truth and values, and enjoy themselves while they do it!

You can purchase a study guide in either printed booklet form ($21.99), a CD copy ($18.99), or a downloaded, interactive pdf file ($18.99). Each study guide provides easy-to-use, reproducible lessons on literary terms, comprehension and analysis, critical thinking, related scriptural principles, vocabulary, and activities, plus a complete answer key.



We were recently given the opportunity to review the Beowulf Study Guide from Progeny Press.

It is recommended that the Beowulf study guide can be used in 8-10 weeks and is equivalent to a quarter of a credit for High School literature.  The Vocabulary, Literary Techniques, Questions, and Analysis sections of this guide help the student to comprehend this epic-poem.  There is a Dig Deeper section that incorporates applying Scripture to their reading.  There are 3 optional activities that could be used for "credit" in other subjects, such as History, Geography, and even Art.  Not to mention learning and using Research skills. 

Beowulf is the first great English, Anglo-Saxon, literary epic, chronicling a hero's exploits as northern European clans teeter between Christianity and the old religions.


Michaela (10th Grade) has been working completely independent with this thorough, activity-filled study guide.  While she is enjoying the book & study guide, her favorite part is the fact that she can input all of her answers right into the downloaded, interactive pdf copy of the study guide.  I really like that too....saves on paper and printer ink!!!



Michaela is looking forward to finishing this study guide and is considering which book & guide from Progeny Press she will use for her summer reading.



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April 17, 2013

Knowledge Quest Timeline Builder App ~ Review

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We were recently given the opportunity to review the Timeline Builder app for the iPad from Knowledge Quest.  The Timeline Builder app allows you to create custom timelines with images and descriptions.  The timelines can be as long as you need them to be, with designated beginning and ending dates. 
 
 photo TLB-main-ipad_zps51fedaaf.jpgRight now in the App Store, you can get this app for an introductory price of $4.99.  After the introductory offer, the regular price is $6.99. This app is well suited for age 10 years old and up, however, if you a tech-savvy younger child I don't think they will have any problems working in this app.  This app is set up with clear instructions for quick and easy use.  Check out this video demonstration.

We have been "timelining" for a few months now for our Early US History studies.  We created a wall timeline but we decided that it was time to paint our very white walls.  So we had to take our timeline down.

We received this review opportunity just after we took our timeline down, so I thought having Michaela put all of our wall timeline info into the Timeline Builder app would be a great tool to reinforce the last few months of US History.


Michaela watched the introduction video and then quickly began working on inputting the information.  You can start a new timeline by just tapping the "New Timeline" tab and up pops a box to start inputting your information.


You have the option of selecting different backgrounds for your timeline.


When you have finished with the Timeline name & description information, then you can start adding your timeline events.



You can add images to your timeline from either your iPad photo library or from the web.

If you make a mistake, it is so easy to fix it....just delete and redo....no more wasted paper!!!


You also have the ability to share your timelines via email or with file sharing in iTunes.


As you can see, this app gives you the ability to have many different timelines in one place. 



If you are running out of space for wall timelines or lacking shelf space for multiple binders full of timelines, then this app would be a great tool for your family.


Here is a iPad screen shot of the beginning of our Early US History timeline, it really only took Michaela about 30 minutes to complete this much.  


If you tap on one of the event images, it will open up the event information box.


All of the features in this app are so easy to use, just a finger-tap of effort to create great timelines! I think this app would be a great addition to any homeschool history curriculum.

 


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April 15, 2013

Supercharged Science e-Science ~ Review

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 photo escience-full-600px_zps738b5d59.jpgWe were recently given the opportunity to review the e-Science Online Learning Program from Supercharged Science. Let me just tell ya, right off the bat....this program is AMAZING!!!

How would you like to have a real Rocket Scientist as your kids science teacher?  Well, that is exactly what you will get!  Supercharged Science was developed about 10 years ago by Al and Aurora Lipper, their mission - to improve the way kids learn science (and REALLY enjoy it!).

The e-Science program is appropriate for K-12 students and can be used alone or along side another curriculum, such as A Beka, Apologia, Bob Jones, & more.  The conversion charts will show which experiments and activities work best with the chapter that you are currently working on in your textbook.



Watch this video for an overview of how the program can work for homeschoolers.


There are many topics available and you can start wherever you need to.  Michaela (high school) has been studying anatomy this year, so for this review we started with Unit 19: Biology 2.  I looked through the lessons to see where the best place for her to start would be, that was easy.  Most of the lessons she has all ready covered this year, so we started with lesson six, again, it was very easy to just jump right in where we needed to be.  Not a lot of wasted time trying to figure out what lesson to start with.
 


As you can see each unit is laid out perfectly for easy (stress-free) planning, with the lesson plans, materials list, experiments, & activities all in one spot, just one click away.... (my favorite part).  Most of the items on the materials list for the experiments/activities are items that you probably all ready have laying around the house.

After she finished working through Lesson six, which she did completely independent, she started just picking out other lessons that interested her.  She came across Mathemagic....she loved it!  I think, if I had let her...she would have spent her entire day doing MATH!!!

There are two different subscription levels for e-Science:

Level 1:  K-8 $37.00 per month
Level 2: K-12 $57.00 per month (the high school levels can also be used for advanced grades 5-8)

With multiple students in the home, this could be a huge budget-blessing for your science curriculum.



Get a copy of the Science Activity Video Series and Guidebook For FREE.




So, just to recap a little....

easy, almost effortless, planning for Mom....
older students can be extremely independent in their studies....
great price for multiple students....
hands-on, fun, interactive lessons....

We will definitely continue to use our e-Science!


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April 12, 2013

D is for Daddy ~ Blogging Through the Alphabet


 
Daddy, who is in the Army  Reserves, is currently away for training.  He left mid-March and will be gone until the end of June.  During the day isn't so bad...we can "pretend" that Daddy is just at work...but in the evenings and on the weekends it is harder to "pretend" that he is just at work. 
 
It makes us all sad that Daddy is missing out on our family time....this is how we spend time with Daddy right now.



 
We love and miss you Daddy!!!!

April 09, 2013

Menu Plan Monday {On Tuesday}

 


 
This weeks menu is everything that is in our fridge and cabinets.  Grocery shopping won't happen until Monday of next week.  Yo-Yo is short for "You're On Your Own" {except of course, little Everett...I don't usually start making the kids fend for themselves until they are tall enough to reach the counters}.... this is usually a night for leftovers or just raiding the fridge and cabinets for whatever is left before grocery shopping day.



Tonight we had Sauteed Beef tips with mushrooms & broccoli over white rice...sprinkled with Grated Parmesan Cheese....one of our favorites!  Well, the girls don't like the mushrooms too much....they just have to pick them out ;)

The girls started a fire in the fire pit that they built a few days ago, we all ate dinner around a cozy fire.  After eating Eli decided to run around the shed a few times...he started counting out loud...he counted all the way to 79, without help or any problems or skipped numbers.  He sat down to rest and couldn't remember what number came next...after I helped he get to number 85 he started running again....and continued to count to 100 without any help or problems.

Needless to say, I am thinking about what other "school" work we can get done while "running"!!!
 
 


April 02, 2013

Heading to the Convention...

In a couple days I will be heading down to Cincinnati for the Midwest Homeschool Convention
I have been looking forward to the convention for several months now.

I remember my very first homeschool convention....it was in 2007.  I was not prepared for the convention, wasn't really sure what to expect.  We had only been homeschooling for about two years and I didn't know anyone that was going.  Needless to say, I left feeling very overwhelmed by it....and spent way too much money on things that we never used.....and was exhausted trying to lug all of my purchases around in a book bag or in my arms.  I never made it to any of the workshops or speaker sessions.  It was NOT a very nice experience for me.

Thankfully, that terrible experience didn't deter me from attending another convention.  This year will mark my fourth convention and each year since the first has been a better experience then the last.  I learn something new each time that makes it a little easier and more enjoyable.

So I am going to share with you some of the things that I have learned about attending conventions.

1.  Review the speaker session schedule to plan which sessions you absolutely want to attend.  I was really disappointed the first year that I missed the speaker sessions. Last year, I really studied the session schedule so I knew exactly when & where the sessions were that I wanted to attend.  I was able to attend at least 3 speaker sessions each on Friday and Saturday and then I purchased the recorded CD of a few more.

2.  Bring a notebook & pen/pencils for taking notes during the speaker sessions.  Most of the sessions that I attended had handouts/pamphlets that you could take notes on, but I found it easier last year to have one place for all of my notes & session schedule to be.  I used a zippered 3-ring binder last year, which was little cumbersome sometimes in the really busy sessions that don't have much space, this year I will be bringing just a pocket folder, note pad/pen, & my iPad for notetaking....we will see how that works out.

3.  Don't forget to bring the list of books/supplies/curriculum that you are wanting to purchase.  I did that last year, thankfully, I remembered most of my list because it wasn't very long. 

4.  Check the second-hand vendors FIRST!!!  Always check the used/second-hand vendors first for specific items.  My second convention I purchased a book at full-price at one vendor and then ran across it at one of the used/second-hand vendors for half the price :(

5.  Bring a wheeled cart of some sort.  Your arms and back will thank you later!!!!  Like I said before, my first year I lugged several books around in my arms for a few hours because I didn't take anything to carry what I purchased.  Not to mention all of the free things that you pick up along the way. 

6.  You probably all ready know this but....wear REALLY comfy shoes!!!  Lots and Lots of walking!!!!

7.  Bring a sweater or jacket.  It is sometimes chilly in the vendor hall and sometimes you have to walk outside a little to get to a few of the speaker sessions....and in Ohio....you just never know what the weather will be like this time of year.

8.  Bring a water bottle.  There are water fountains in the convention hall so that you can refill as needed.  The refreshment stands are little over-priced.

9.  Last year I decided to eat at one of the local area deli/cafe's outside the convention hall.  The weather was nice for walking a few blocks.  I felt refreshed and was able to regroup my plans for the rest of the day.  It was still a little pricey but definitely not more than eating at one of the refreshment stands.

10.  And something I am doing this year....printed address labels.  Instead of constantly filling out all of the free drawings/vendor mailing lists cards, I will just affix one of my printed address labels....quick and easy!  Make sure to include your name, address, email, & phone number on your label.

Well, I hope that these little tips help you prepare for your convention trip.  If you are heading to Cincy....keep an eye out for me and say hi! 

Oh & this year....added bonus...I will get to meet some of my fellow Schoolhouse Review Crew members!!!  So excited to get the chance to meet some of them face to face!!!

God Bless,
Jenny


PS....remember a couple weeks ago when I started the Blogging Through the Alphabet hop....well I missed last week which was the letter "B".  For the life of me I couldn't think of anything "B" to post about...until this very moment!  Birthdays!!! duh...we only have about 7 of them happening between March and April!!!

So anyway....this post is linked up with Blogging Through the Alphabet....C is for Convention!!!