Archive for computer software

Jul
26

Homeschool Programming ~ A TOS Review

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The fact is that I really want my children to be more techie than I am.  I think it’s important in this time, and will be even more so, in their future.  It seems to take me forever and a day to learn something new when it comes to the computer, so I know I’m not equipped to teach them Computer Science.  As a homeschool parent/teacher, I learned long ago that don’t have to know everything.  I just have to know how to find the resource and make it available to my child.

 

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Homeschool Programming, Inc. is my resource.  They had me with their home page Welcome! and this description: “Our computer programming courses for kids and teens teach students to write programs, games, and Android applications!  No teacher expertise required! All of our award-winning computer science courses for Visual Basic, C#, and Java are self-study,” and they’ll keep me because I think their TeenCoder C# Series lays an excellent Computer Science foundation for my high school student.

 

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I had the opportunity to use TeenCoder C# Series with my son, a high school junior.  It’s designed for 9th – 12th graders, so I expected it to be a good fit for him.  I wasn’t disappointed.  He’s had no previous programming experience, but he’s familiar with navigating Windows on our PC.  That’s really the only requirement.

TeenCoder C# Series is divided into two stand alone courses, each a full semester of work.  One semester is spent on C# programming skills – Windows Programmingand another semester covers writing graphical computer games – Game Programming.  Together, they fill the need for high school Computer Science credit.

 

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Included with each course is a Student Textbook e-book, and a Teacher’s Edition, that mainly gives me a synopsis of what my student is working on.  There are also chapter tests/answers in PDF format.  The Student Text is written to the student.  My son says it is “interesting and easy to follow.”  I’ve stood over his shoulder a couple of times, out of pure personal interest; but thankfully not because he needed my help with anything.  We’ve found there’s truly no teacher experience or prep needed.  It’s not that he understands everything the first time he reads it, but he can read it again and follow the clear instructions.  Everything necessary to his success is included in the teaching.

The first chapter begins with the most basic step and builds a step at a time through the final chapter.

The Windows course covers:

Introduction and Installation of C#

C# Syntax

Data Types

Debugging

Recursion

Reading & Writing Files

Polymorphism

and more.

Thorough, detailed instructions are given with each lesson, and for audio-visual learners, additional Instructional Videos are available, to be used in conjunction with the Student Text.

 

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They work well for reinforcement and clarification, but they are not as complete as the written instructions.  We did find them helpful on occasion, but unnecessary for every lesson.  Once he read a lesson, I let my son decide if he wanted to watch the video that accompanied it, or not.  A hands-on project or Activity is assigned at the end of each chapter, with a final project due at the end of the book.  These are the best part of the course, as far as my student is concerned.  They challenge him, but then affirm that he’s learning the language and learning to program.  He hasn’t reached his final project, yet — designing a graphical chess game — because he’s in Canada with our church’s mission team; but he’s excited to complete it and see what his dad and sister think of it.  They play against each other at least 3 or 4 times a week, so they’ll be good judges of his design.

The Game course builds on Windows Programming.  It’s the next logical step, and Windows is actually a pre-requisite.

The Game course chapters cover:

An Intro and Review of What the Student Already Knows

Programming

Design

Graphics

Sprites & Swarm

Animation & Sound Effects

Multiplayer Games, Scrolling Games

and

Artificial Intelligence!

It is set up the same way as Windows, with lessons, followed by activities.  We haven’t even started Game Programming, but the cool thing is that an interest is already sparked in my son’s mind.  Whether or not he pursues Computer Science beyond high school, I think this course will benefit him.  At the moment, he just thinks it’s fun and it takes up a space on his transcript.  My view — I’m from the “knowledge is power” generation, so who knows where this might take him.

If you’re interested in a few other view points, you can click the banner below and follow the link to read reviews from my Crew mates on this, TeenCoder C# Series, and other products from Homeschool Programming, Inc.

 

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Windows Programming and Game Programming can be purchased separately, for $75. each; or as a Year Pack for $130. for both courses. The Instructional Videos are $20. each and are not a required purchase.  I am more than satisfied with this product and plan to use it with my other children.  I’ll have a new freshman next year, so I’ll write an update on how she navigates the program.

Blessings,

pk_siggy-purple2

 

Disclaimer*   I received the TeenCoder C# Series, in exchange for my honest review as a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew.  I receive no other compensation for my reviews on this blog.  The opinions expressed are my own.

 

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Thank you for your comments.  I enjoy hearing from you!

 

Contents of this blog are copyrighted;  they are the property of Knee Deep In Grace and may not be used without written permission.

 

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Yes, I have a blog on the internet; and I’ve learned a few things about attaching links to text and photos.  For this post, I even learned how to take a screen shot of a web page.  Needless to say, my skills are extremely limited and I feel like I am nearly technologically illiterate.  Therefore, I’m not comfortable teaching computer anything to my children.  I’m grateful there are now computer courses for younger children available from Phyllis Wheeler, the Computer Lady at Motherboard Books.

 

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My Schoolhouse Review Crew mates and I recently had the opportunity to review two products from Motherboard Books:  Logo Adventures a full-year, homeschool computer science curriculum using MicroWorlds Logo language developed at MIT; and the concise, short-term project e-book, Let’s Make a Web Page.

Logo Adventures is designed as a weekly lesson for 8 – 12 year olds, teaching students to read and write code, think logically, and strengthen their reasoning skills; as Ms. Wheeler walks them through the basic steps of starting to program while laying the foundation for understanding what it means to program.

 

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Logo Adventures Curriculum is a self-study book and answer key, plus MicroWorlds EX software for $129.99.  You can check out the Logo Adventures website for a sample chapter, and a Gallery page of student work.  I’m interested in reading the Crew Reviews for this one, because I didn’t have personal access to it.

A couple of my children used the 60-page tutorial e-book, Let’s Make a Web Page It is also written for children 8 – 12 years of age, but was easily adaptable for someone older, meUsing free trial software – CoffeeCup Visual Site Designer, this e-book will show you or your child how to make a Web page.  It’s just $19.95, and it includes an Introduction for Parents, 10 step-by-step lessons — from download, set up, add text and photos, to sound, links, and post your work; with an  Appendix:  How to Upload to the Internet. 

 

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Let’s Make a Web Page is easy to read and my kids found the instructions simple to understand and follow.  One of the first things Ms. Wheeler does is coach the student through an interview process to determine who and what their web page will be about.  Neither of my children had any prior experience building a web page.  They talked to me, and I explained the types of things I wanted our web page to contain;  while leaving the entire design and layout up to them.  I told them I wanted it to be about our family.  A place where we could scan and share pictures, stories, drawings, music; and more.

 

Webpage Screen Shot

 

Granted, the name isn’t the most creative, but the layout looks like they understood what I was looking for, and I like it!  We learned what HTML is and how it works; and they learned how to link text and pictures to other sites.  They had to do a little research, and were given important tips on how to safely browse the internet.  I think this is especially valuable information and I appreciate that it is included in the course.  My young web designers liked how Ms. Wheeler showed a graphic of the window they should see if they are following her directions and are on the correct page.  This was useful for comparison, reassuring to them that they were understanding the material; and a confidence builder as they worked. They were not as fond of a learn-by-error teaching technique that was used several times.  She would direct them a certain way, purposefully wrong, have them acknowledge that it didn’t work; and then redirect them in a way that would successfully accomplish the task.  Although it was effective, they felt it was a waste of time.  They prefer the do this>go here>see the positive result approach.  Overall, though, it wasn’t a deterrent; because Let’s Make a Web Page took away the fear of the unknown, eased concerns of difficulty and failure, and sparked a desire to learn more about computer programming and web design.

We haven’t published our web page, yet.  As suggested by Ms. Wheeler, I’m going to have my kids design another page or two and have a family vote to determine our favorite.  Then, I think we’ll find a free domain and publish it, so we can all keep up more easily with each other’s activities.  I’ll post an update here when we’ve settled on our final design.

My Crew mates have written more than 50 reviews of these Motherboard Books products.  Please, click the banner below and follow the link to read a few of their opinions.

 

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Blessings,

pk_siggy-red1

Disclaimer*   I received the e-book, Let’s Make a Web Page, in exchange for my honest review as a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew.  I receive no other compensation for my reviews on this blog.  The opinions expressed are my own.

 

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Thank you for your comments.  I enjoy hearing from you!

 

Contents of this blog are copyrighted;  they are the property of Knee Deep In Grace and may not be used without written permission.

 

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Sep
19

Fighting Obesity

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Everyone needs daily physical activity.  Generally, our level of physical fitness reflects the state of our overall health, and the body’s fitness is usually determined by the amount of physical work we do.  Many of our ancestors physically worked hard every day.  They were naturally active.  Technological progress has changed the very nature of work.  Often, we sit at work and then, we sit at home.  Establishing a regimen of consistent physical exercise has the potential to improve our health, well-being and life expectancy.  Yet, it seems so difficult to implement.  I’m hoping that if I start a program with my children, now, maybe it will become such a habit that they will continue it into adulthood.  The experts estimate that “by 2015 75% of all US kids, adolescents and adults will be overweight or obese.”  That’s a statistic I’d rather not have a direct connection to.

Family Time Fitness  is Physical Education for everyone, but with their Fitness 4 Homeschool Curriculum it is especially for the Home School.

 

 

 

Designed for grades K through 8th, Family Time Fitness utilizes the Guided Discovery Method to teach Movement Education.  “Guided Discovery is based on providing simple instruction then allowing children to explore movements on their own.”  Guided Discovery is approved by the International Youth Conditioning Association.

 

Family Time Fitness gives us, as parents and teachers, the instruction needed to confidently teach our children basic physical movement:

Skipping

Hopping

Crawling

Shuffling

Running

and Jumping

Each of the 260 lessons is clearly outlined with written instructions and video examples to follow.

Lessons detail –

Skills Taught

Equipment Needed

and Suggested Recovery Time

Plus –

3-5 activities for Warm-up:

Standing Leg Swings

Arm Circles

Toe Raises

Heel Walks

Ankle Alphabets

the Rocking Horse Series

and More…

3 or 4 activities for Game Play:

Wall Sits

Ball Circles

Shuffle & Skip with Toss

Partner Turn and Pass

Shoulder Tag

Bear Crawl

and Several Others…

2-3 Cool Down activities:

the Bowing Pose

Lion Pose

Crossover Stretch

Palm Tree Pose

and Single Leg Stretch

To Name a Few…

And 1 Outdoor Activity:

Freeze Tag

Monkey in the Middle

Who can Hula Hoop the Longest?

The Agility Course

and More.

 

 

 

The lessons are structured to provide 25-45 minutes of physical activity, with an additional 15-30 minutes of outdoor play included for a full 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise daily.  On average, it is taking us an entire hour just to accomplish the 25-45 minute activity.  Sometimes for fun, they do the 15-30 minute play, later in the day.  Other days, lack of time doesn’t allow us to do anymore PE for the day.  This program is flexible to any schedule, adaptable to any level of fitness and can be easily modified to meet each family’s needs.

It is recommended that Fitness 4 Homeschool be used at the same time each day, 5 days a week.  Presently, we are only using it 2 to 3 times a week.  Believing that “physical activity helps activate the brain and improves on task behavior,” we have set our family fitness time first thing in the morning; after face washing and teeth brushing, but before breakfast and school.  Starting after breakfast tends to churn up breakfast-in-the-belly because this, seriously, is a workout!

 

 

The lessons are designed so they can be done in limited space, but I think our space restrictions are a little much even for Family Time Fitness.  We couldn’t seem to do any of the activities in the house.  We did everything outside, and if the weather didn’t permit being outside then we postponed the lesson.  For those that have ample clear floor space, ideas and suggestions are added for indoor use.  For example, “Use foam balls for activities that require a ball with an alternative being a blow up beach ball.”

 

Lots of the activities are done without equipment, but some require readily available items that make the lessons more enjoyable:

Bean Bags – or small Balls, even a pair of socks rolled into a ball shape

Jump Ropes

Hula Hoops

Playground Balls – basketball, soccer ball or volley ball

Foam Balls

Cones – alternative might be a box, a bucket or even a large rock

Measuring Tape

Stop Watch

and an Exercise Mat – if needed after assessment of activity area


 

A Tracking Calendar is provided.  It can be copied and used for record keeping, as well as encouragement when a lesson is completed.

 

There is also an Assessment Form.  It is optional, but it is helpful to gauge where your child is starting in skill level and aptitude.  Assessing again, in 6-8 weeks, will usually show a noticeable improvement in a number of areas –

Strength

Mobility

Agility

Flexibility

Coordination

Balance

Endurance

and Mental Acuity

Other tools to assist you include:  a Daily Food Diary, Grocery List, a Meal Planner; and a Nutrition Log.

 

I have the PDF version of Fitness 4 Homeschool – Core 1 Physical Education Curriculum.  Paying a one time fee of $57 will give you access for a lifetime.  One of my favorite things in this format is the One Page Summaries.  One Page Summaries provide an overview of each lesson.  They were actually created to save on print costs.  How considerate!  You print one page and use it as a reference guide for the lesson you reviewed.  The lessons are formatted for the iPad and smartphones, too!  That’s another print saver.

 

 

It’s my intention to continue with Family Time Fitness and promote a few good habits with my children.  My youngest daughter loves “exercising and playing together.”  Her favorite activity is actually a Warm-up:  “Popcorn.”  The child lies flat on her back with her arms extended over her head.  She brings her knees to her chest, holding her legs with her arms wrapped around them.  She lifts her head as close to her knees as possible, holding that position to the count of 10.  Then, she “pops out” and back to the starting position!

My son gets distracted waiting for the set up or instruction for the next game.  He’s also extremely competitive and has to be reminded that every activity is not a contest against one of his siblings.  I’m looking forward to the improvement in his skill level, but also a positive change in his attitude.

The oldest daughter that is participating sees the benefit of “purposefully moving,” but has never enjoyed exercising.  “If you have to do it, Family Time Fitness is more fun with the family than working out alone.”

 

Comments or Questions?

Contact

Email ~ CustomerService@FamilyTimeFitness.com

Phone ~ 979.209.0778

or Write ~

Family Time Fitness

3131F East 29th Street

Bryan, TX  77802

 

and follow on facebook 

 

 

Please, follow the links I’ve provided throughout this post; including the banner below that directs you to the Schoolhouse Review Crew Blog and my Crew mates reviews.

 

 


 “Be enthusiastic about physical activity.  Children will give physical activity the same importance and enthusiasm that the parent or teacher gives.”

 

Blessings,

 

 

Disclaimer*   I received the Fitness 4 Homeschool – Core 1 Education Curriculum, in exchange for my honest review; as a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew.  I receive no other compensation for my reviews on this blog.  The opinions expressed are my own.

 

 

Thank you for your comments.

 

 

Contents of this blog are copyrighted;  they are the property of Knee Deep In Grace and may not be used without written permission.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Sep
12

Math 911

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Most of us relate 911 to the US emergency number.  In our house, we seem to operate in a perpetual state of Mathematics emergency.  I just never feel like we are fully equipped, especially for higher math.  Therefore, I was thrilled to discover the aid offered by Professor Martin Weissman and his Math 911       tutorial software!

 

 

Professor Weissman has been teaching Mathematics since 1963 and his passion for it has not waned.  He says, “Each start of a new year gives me an opportunity to incorporate new ideas and methods to help my students overcome their fears of Mathematics and finally master the subject.”  I appreciate the fact that he acknowledges that Math unsettles some of us, even to the point that we may fear it.

He also validates my own teaching approach, Mastery Learning, by utilizing the same method in his software program – the keep-trying-until-you-get-it approach.  Wrong answers don’t count!  The end result of the knowledge gained and retained is the ultimate goal.

Math 911 is geared for ages 12 through adult.  It is designed to actually generate problems for students, furnishing unlimited Mathematical problems with detailed solutions.  Lots of practice to achieve mastery!  Professor Weissman believes students need more practice problems and less lecture or teaching.  He supplies problems for students to solve in –

 

Introductory Algebra

Intermediate Algebra

College Algebra

Statistics

Trigonometry

and Pre-Calculus

 

The Standard Version of Math 911 can be downloaded from the upper left side of the website, where it says, “Complete Introductory Algebra Course, Click Here, Download, Install…”  It’s FREE!  Then, you can upgrade to the Premier Version, where you receive access to all the additional Mathematics Courses listed above.  The Premier Version includes separate grade reports, printable or copied to Word, for each user in the family; and lifetime updates.

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For my review of this software, I chose to use the program myself.  I’ve sort of been limping along for years, teaching Math to my children; so I decided they would benefit first by my education and then by direct application.  I really like Math 911!  It suits my temperament.  After it is downloaded, a desktop icon appears on the computer and it’s through this gateway that one gains access to a course.  I started with Introductory Algebra, knowing that I could move through the lessons at my own pace.  I was pleasantly surprised to see how quickly I mastered many of the lessons based on previous knowledge.  You complete a problem and press enter.  If correct, you see a green check and the word Right!  If incorrect, the correct answer is shown, and you are given the option to click a button to see how the problem was worked or click new problem.  If I lacked any assurance of how I arrived at an answer or if I just didn’t remember a concept, I viewed the step-by-step solution.  Answers aren’t marked wrong.  You work through problems until you get enough correct to count the level as mastered, then you move on.  The Introductory Algebra course is the only one that has instructional PDF-formatted modules available [see Intro To Whole Numbers, Addition & Subtraction, Multiplication Factorsand More directly under Screen Shots on the left side of the webpage] giving you the benefit of Professor Weissman’s teaching.  He maintains, though, that one learns best by working problems and seeing examples of their solutions, over and over again, as needed.  Practice.  Clear.  Simple.  No gaming or flashy graphics.  The fun is in the learning!

 

 

I am still working through the 11 chapters of Introductory Algebra, because I added Statistics, too.  It’s easy to switch to a new course.  Each one of the Six Courses offered is listed on your home page, along with other data:  What Version of the program you’re using, how many minutes you’ve spent on the program, what course you’re presently using, which lessons are available; and which ones you’ve completed.  When you click on a new course, Math 911 acknowledges it and proceeds to close, while directing you to click on the desktop icon again.  The program re-opens on the new course.  I’ve never taken a Statistics course before, and it is consuming.  I’m really trying to apply myself to the study.  I’ve written pages of notes from solutions, and the only problem I have with Math 911 is finding the time to do it.  It’s my goal to ace the courses, hoping to pass CLEP Exams for college credit after completing them.

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Math 911 is on sale, as a Student Special that includes a FREE USB Version, for $49.95.  This is a great value, but more remarkably, for a limited time Professor Weissman is offering a Homeschool promotionfollow this link:  www.AlgebraInAFlash.com > buy now and enter the code homeschool at Google checkout you’ll receive the flash version for just $9.95.

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Professor Weissman is personally accessible and generously tries to respond to comments, suggestions or questions within 24 hours.  His level of Customer Service is noteworthy.  He is understanding, kind and helpful.  You can  contact  him by email ~ mathprof@math911.com,  phone ~ 347.528.7837,  or standard mail ~ Professor Martin Weissman, Professor Weissman’s Software, 246 Crafton Avenue, Staten Island, NY  10314.

~

You can also gather information when you click the banner below and

read what my Crew mates have to say about Math 911.

 

 

 

Blessings,

 

 

Disclaimer*   I received a complete download, not a flash drive, of Math 911 in exchange for my honest review, as a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew.  I receive no other compensation for my reviews on this blog.  The opinions expressed are my own.

 

 

Thank you for your comments.

 

 

Contents of this blog are copyrighted;  they are the property of Knee Deep In Grace and may not be used without written permission.

 

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Jul
25

Patience Assistance

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I usually have the patience for questions, asked multiple times a day.  Actually, I’ve spent years trying to encourage and build a foundation of there-are-no-stupid-questions; so ask me anything!  But, I tend to lose patience when I’ve answered the same question many times and the recipient of the answer doesn’t seem to be paying attention, or I’ve given instructions, that seem to be received with understanding, only there is no follow through.

I’ve handled it in different ways, over the years. I have had ears checked, on occasion, to make sure I wasn’t missing a physical  ailment that was causing a hearing problem.  I would give fewer instructions at a time, and have the child repeat my list, or I’ve dictated my list and had my child write it.  I’ve even disciplined for the lack of focus – write this sentence, 20 times, “I will do my best to pay attention when I’m being spoken to, and I will focus on the tasks assigned to me.”  Yes, I did!  Admittedly, it was great for Penmanship practice, but that’s about all.

Recently, I discovered that this may be a fairly common auditory processing issue.  Realizing that I’m not being ignored, or directly disobeyed, goes a long way to assist my patience, and helps me to be more tolerant and understanding. I also have an actual issue that I can trouble shoot.  HearBuilder – Auditory Memory is an interactive CD-Rom, published by Super Duper Publications, for grades K – 8.  It is designed to help your child develop and strengthen their abilities to recall verbal information, and that sounds like a possible solution, to me.

Your child will work with Recall Agents to thwart the plans of Dr. Forgetsit [Forgets It] to take over MemoryTown.

 

Mission Adventures cover Memory for Numbers (3-7 digits), Memory for Words (3-5 words), Memory for Details (1-4 details), Auditory Closure (sentence completion); Memory for WH Information (2-3 sentences/2-4 questions – who, what, where, when; why).

 

 

 

The software program can keep track of 1 – 4 players; so, four of my children have been utilizing this program, several times a week, for several weeks.   The graphics are colorful and seem age appropriate.  It is fun and entertaining, keeping them interested through as many levels as I will let them play, at one time.  The learning is done through games/missions, and without doubt, my children like this program!  Two of them are just over half way through the missions; so far they seem fairly easy, and I wonder how it is affecting their skill levels.  The other two are not quite half way, yet.  I have not noticed a marked difference in any of their memory retention.  If  I don’t see some improvement by the time they complete the program, then I think  HB Auditory Memory, at  $69.95, is expensive fun.  We will definitely complete the program, and probably even go through it a second time, with one child.  This is research-based, award-winning software and I want it to work.  If my children learn strategies for remembering, and improve their abilities to recall verbal information, then HB Auditory Memory is an exceptional value.  I just can’t, honestly, tell you which it is, for us, yet.

My Crew mates have had the opportunity to review this program, and a few of the other products offered by Super Duper Publications.   You can read about them when you click the banner below and follow the link.  Also, please, visit the Super Duper website!  They have many new Android Apps; Fun Decks – Sequencing, Inferences, Pronoun Parade; All About You, All About Me, and more, plus interesting information and help for special needs.  When you find something you like, use code BLGAM30 at check out, through August 31, 2012, and you will receive a generous 30 % Discount on your order!

 

 

Comments and Questions?

Contact:

email ~ customerhelp@superduperinc.com

call ~ 1.800.277.8737

or write ~

Super Duper Publications

P.O. Box 24997

Greenville, SC  29616

 

Blessings,

 

 

Disclaimer*   A CD-Rom of HearBuilder – Auditory Memory was given to me, free of charge, in exchange for my honest review, as a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew.  I receive no other compensation for my reviews on this blog.  The opinions expressed are my own.

 

Thank you for your comments.

Contents of this blog are copyrighted;  they are the property of Knee Deep In Grace and may not be used without written permission.

 

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Jun
01

Under the Deep Blue Sea

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My family and I love the beach!  The sand, the waves; even the salt, but none of us are really interested in diving into the ocean and having 1500 feet of water above our heads.  That’s why it’s nice to have someone like Annie Crawley, AKA Ocean Annie, take us under the deep blue sea and show us just what we’re missing.

Annie Crawley is an accomplished boat captain, underwater cinematographer, film maker, educator, and creator of the Dive Into Your Imagination company, among other things.

 

 

 

Annie says, “Although I loved Finding Nemo, because of the exposure it gave to our oceans, it was only a story.  I wanted to give children the real story, have them exposed to the real animals and talk about the natural history of the animals because they are so animated in their natural environment, they don’t need any stories but their own.  I created Dive Into Your Imagination series for kids, to get them out of the virtual world and into the real world…”

Dive Into Your Imagination offers author Annie’s book, Ocean Life – from A to Z, a series of Dive Into Your Imagination DVD’sWhat Makes a Fish a Fish?, Who Lives In the Sea?, and Dive Into Diversity, and other products.

Dive Into Diversity is a 44 minute DVD, including The Ocean Song, and Special Features:  Meet Annie; Meet Craig (the music creator), Transcripts (covering each chapter), and Credits.    It is divided into 8 chapters –

  1. Night Diving on the Reef
  2. Dive Into Diversity
  3. Be a Submarine Pilot
  4. Swim in a Kelp Forest
  5. Invertebrates of the Sea
  6. Coral Reef Living
  7. Sea Animals with Backbones and
  8. Wacky, Weird, Crusty Crustaceans

 

 

Click graphic to view Sample video chapter

As seen on the DVD cover, this video was written for Pre-K and up.  The photography is phenomenal!  It does, indeed, hold the attention of a preschooler and a teen, at the same time.  It can be viewed in English, Spanish, or with Music only.  The musical score beautifully fits each spectacular scene!  If I could count the gorgeous real-life images only, I would say this is one of the best under-sea videos we’ve ever seen, and it is well worth the cost of $19.95.

Annie Crawley has developed Educator Guides for each DVD in the series.  The 300 page guide is a massive resource, covering grades Pre-K – 3, and when it is used in conjunction with the DVD a full unit study of learning is created.  Although it is written for use in a classroom, and therefore has many activities geared toward groups of students, I still found it easily adaptable for homeschool use.  Printed guides are $299.00 each, but are also available as individual PDF’s for $69.95.  I think the price reflects the original intent of purchase by a brick & mortar school system.

As a reader of my blog, and a follower of TOS Homeschool Crew, Annie is presenting you with a special offer!  Choose the DVD you’d like to order;  when you place your order mention that you homeschool and she will send you a FREE PDFDo not actually order the Educator Guides from the website – just make a notation in the comment section of your DVD order, such as, “I am a Homeschool Parent and I would like a copy of the Educator Guides, as offered through TOS Homeschool Crew.”  I do not know how long this offer will be available.  I can tell you that through the month of June 2012, there will be FREE SHIPPING with any order placed at www.AnnieCrawley.com/store/, as a “thank you” for your readership.

Click graphic for details of the Educator Guides

~

It is fascinating to read other’s perspectives, and I encourage you to click the graphic below and read what my Crew mates have to say about the Dive Into Your Imagination DVD Series.

 

 

Personally, I have not and will not allow my young children to watch this video without supervision, with the exception of watching in music only mode.  It is extremely time consuming to sift through the dense humanistic world-view that is in opposition to our Bible-based, Creationist world-viewMuch of the agenda is inferred, and it’s very subtle, but as this series is geared toward young, impressionable children I believe it has the potential to slowly erode the foundation that some of us are trying to build, if we are unaware.  One marketing tag line says, “Dive Into Your Imagination is changing the way a new generation views the Ocean and themselves!”

 

~

Here is quoted content, for your consideration, from the second chapter of the DVD, Dive Into Diversity

“Nature and all creatures must have balance in order to survive.  Diversity means variety, which means differences in shapes, sizes, skills, and colors.  Diversity in nature helps to protect the balance that is necessary in the world…Some animals might be fast while others are slow.  Some might be long, while others are short.  One might be purple, while another is green.  Can you think of one way that you are different from another person?  This is diversity.  Fish don’t say to one another, ‘OOOhhh, you are too…blue, or black, or white…’They don’t care about the color of one another’s skin…Did you know that Clown Fish are born male and as they grow can change to become a female?  The largest fish in their family is a she…The Wrusses are a group of fish where the girl fish can turn into a boy fish.  Animals in the sea are not concerned with what we think.  They do what they do in order to survive…So, let’s dive into the ocean of our imagination and learn to accept one another no matter our color, or our style.  Just like the animals of the sea, we all need to respect one another and our diversity.”

I think this is propaganda and it borders on attempted indoctrination.

~

In the Educator Guides you will repeatedly read leading text such as, “Thanks for helping change the way a new generation views the ocean and themselves.  Our ocean needs protected and we protect what we love…By teaching our children to thank our Ocean and give gratitude to nature, we are teaching them to have respect and gratitude for life on our planet.”

I believe we may be teaching them false doctrine if we use this Guide, as is, and do not address The Truth of Scripture.  We are to worship The One, True and Living God, without hint of any other God before Him.  We are to care for all things He has given us power and dominion over, but we are not to raise them [the planet, nature, or our ocean] above mankind or Him.

~

The DVD is much less evolutionary than many animal/nature shows on Discovery or National Geographic, but again, the mere subtlety, left unchecked, can be erosive.  The Guide tends to be more direct, with statements like, “Animals that come out at night have night vision and have evolved different senses for living in the dark.”

~

We are ones to usually enjoy any behind the scenes or special features that are available.  We enjoyed the background on Annie and proceeded to watch the brief segment on Craig, the music creator.  We watched with interest as he discusses the process of writing the musical score for the video.  You find him in his office, with his keyboard, the DVD he is scoring playing in front of him, a picture on his desk that is possibly his family, another photograph of the Dalai Lama, and two Buddha statues.  It is my opinion that this quick visual was not accidental, nor is my reference to it here.

~

Finally, while I value and respect Annie Crawley’s specialized skill in capturing life under the ocean, I do not appreciate the pervasive way Dive Into Your Imagination attempts to “change the way a new generation views” anything.  I maintain that this DVD is exceptional and it’s a remarkable view of a world usually unseen; yet, we are the sentinels charged with teaching our children a Godly world-view and we must be diligent not to lose ground.

~

Comments or Questions?

Contact:

Email ~ www.AnnieCrawley.com

Phone ~ 805.453.1947

Mail ~

Annie Crawley

10002 Aurora Ave. N

Ste 36 PMB 104

Seattle, WA  98133

or facebook ~

www.Facebook.com/DiveIntoYourImagination

Blessings,

 

 

Disclaimer*  A DVD of this product and a PDF was given to me, free of charge, in exchange for my honest review, as a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew.  I receive no other compensation for my reviews on this blog.  The opinions expressed are my own.

 

Thank you for your comments.

*Contents of this blog are copyrighted;  they are the property of Knee Deep In Grace and may not be used without written permission.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Mar
19

Maintaining Biblical Standards

Posted by: | Comments (2)

I don’t read every book that my older children read, now.  When they were younger I did.  Still, I am mindful of what they’re reading, what music they’re listening to, what movies they’re watching, and who their friends are.  I know their friends by name.  I trust my children, at this age, to make wise choices, following the standards we’ve set, in their reading material, music, viewing habits, and relationships.  They also keep themselves accountable.  I can pick up the current book they’re reading, borrow their MP3 player at any time, go to the movies with them, or sit in on one of their gatherings. 

There are organizations, and companies that assist me, as a parent, in maintaining the Biblical standards that my husband and I set for our family.  They’ve put the time and effort into watching, listening, or reading, and reviewing for me.  Many of these are run by other parents, with similar standards, like Progeny Press.

 

 

 

Progeny Press was started in 1992, and is still family owned and operated.  They present good literature, teaching good literary analysis, measuring all things in the light of Scripture.  There are now more than 100 Study Guides available to instruct writers and readers in grades K – 12.

 

Study Guides can be found for Lower Elementary, Upper Elementary, Middle School, and High School.

They can be purchased Book-bound, PDF on CD, or email with attached PDF file.  The content is the same, no matter the form of delivery.

From $10.99 single guide to $27.99 book/CD set.

I have students using the Middle School Study Guide for The Cay, by Theodore Taylor –

“Eleven-year-old Phillip lives with his parents on an island off the coast of Venezuela in 1942, but when the Nazi’s begin torpedoing ships nearby, Phillip’s mother insists that he and she return to the United States. Their ship is torpedoed by a Nazi submarine long before they reach the U.S., however, and Phillip finds himself marooned on an island with an old, but strong, black deckhand named Timothy. But when Phillip goes blind from an injury, he slowly realizes how caring, wise, and resourceful Timothy really is, and the color of their skins is unimportant.”

AND other students using the High School Study Guide for The Screwtape Letters, by C. S. Lewis –

“Screwtape, an undersecretary in the Lowerarchy of Hell, has undertaken the guidance and tutelage of his nephew Wormwood, who has been assigned a human patient to secure for eternity. In a series of letters, Screwtape guides the young demon through the finer points of temptation, the weaknesses and foibles of human beings, and the disaster of his patient becoming a Christian. Though this certainly complicates things, the two infernal beings won’t let it stop them.

From this very skewed perspective, C. S. Lewis digs into the human nature, revealing some interesting, and sometimes embarrassing, tendencies. Touching on everything from sleeplessness to the “absurdity” of God’s love for humanity, Screwtape imparts his wicked wisdom to Wormwood. Though the mirror he holds up to humanity is warped and cracked, it is still painfully revealing. Wit and parody mask a very serious analysis of what makes humans tick; and though it may make readers smile, it will also make us squirm as Screwtape picks at the cracks in our facades.”

With each Study Guide, students need access to a good dictionary, a thesaurus, a Bible, and the internet or an encyclopedia.

It is suggested that the complete novel be read first.  We didn’t know how we felt about this, as opposed to reading the book and the guide together from the beginning, but it actually makes the use of the Study Guide a little easier.  I imagine the creators of the guides already knew this.  After reading the story, the student works through the guide with the book as a constant reference.

Prereading activities are offered –

  • Written report
  • Map work
  • Time line
  • Vocabulary
  • Art work
  • Biography

 

Each Study Guide covers relative information

  • Story Synopsis
  • About the Author
  • Background/Setting

 

Did I mention that Progeny Press Study Guides for Literature are interactive for 4th – 12th grade?  They can still be printed, if you like, but the student has the capability of placing answers directly on the PC and saving his work as he progresses.  The parent/teacher is able to grade the work in the same  manner, on the PC, and leave notes or comments.  My children love it!  Especially, my son, who would rather do nearly anything instead of writing.  The Study Guides are designed so he can clearly work through the questions and vocabulary, give his attention to critical analysis, dig deeper and consider the issues portrayed in the story, while viewing each through a consistent Biblical standard.  In his case, he can give complete answers, because his biggest obstacle is removed – he’s released from hand-writing and has the option to type.  Amazing!

 

 

Optional activities include –

  • Presentations
  • Volunteer work
  • Essays
  • Research
  • Interviews
  • Brief report
  • Word search

 

Final essays are provided and post reading activities are discretionary.  High School credits are obtained 1/4 credit per Study Guide in 8 – 12 weeks.

 

(4) Completed Study Guides = (1) H.S. Credit

Click the graphic below to browse the Progeny Press Catalog.

 

 

 If you would like more information, please, follow the links I’ve provided throughout this post.  Progeny Press has a website that’s easy to navigate.

Also, read other reviews, from The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Review Crew members.

Comments or Questions?  Go directly to the source –

Contact:

Progeny Press

P. O. Box 100

Fall Creek, WI  54742

~

Toll Free  1.877.776.4369

or

Phone 715.877.9951 ext. 100

~

Email – progeny@progenypress.com

and


Follow on facebook

 

I have no doubt these will be the first of many Progeny Press Study Guides for Literature we’ll use.  Let me know which guide you choose, and what you think of it.

 

Blessings,

A trial period of this product was given to me, free of charge, in exchange, for my honest review, as a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew.  I receive no other compensation for my reviews on this blog.  The opinions expressed are my own.

 

Thanks for your comments. 

*Contents of this blog are copyrighted;  they are the property of Knee Deep In Grace and may not be used without written permission.

 

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Feb
03

Good Education

Posted by: | Comments (3)

I want to give my children the opportunity of a good education.  After feeding them and clothing them, sometimes, the cost is greater than my budget.

This isn’t the case with KinderBach.

KinderBach provides a solid music foundation for the children while, at the same time, overlapping and enhancing basic math and language skills.”  Designed for beginners, ages 3-7.  It is good education.

 

 

Karri Gregor is the fun, energetic author, illustrator and educator of KinderBach.  She uses memorable piano pals, Frisco, Dodi, and friends, to teach note reading, rhythm, singing, composition, and more, reinforcing the value of each lesson with coloring pages, worksheets, and games.

 

 

Piano for young children. The lessons are child-friendly, quick and easy!  More than 240, 10 minute lessons, achieving 6 levels.  DVD/CD packages starting at $40.45 +s/h or an instantly accessible online subscription for $95.88 per year.  That makes it good education within budget!  That’s just $7.99 per month or less than 30 cents a day for a music tutor, no scheduling conflicts and no gas money.  I didn’t even factor in the 30% off  you can get, until February 2013, when you use coupon code TOScrew2012.

I first discovered KinderBach last year, and since then there have been some exciting changes.  You can still use the program on your computer, even streaming to your TV, but now, you can also use it with iPad, Android Tablet, Nook, or Kindle Fire!

They still have their 30 Day Money Back Guarantee, plus all DVD’s & CD’s have a lifetime replacement if damaged for any reason.  There’s really no risk because KinderBach also offers a two week free trial, before you pay for anything.

 

Take a few minutes to follow the links I’ve posted here, to the KinderBach website.  It’s simple to navigate and full of great information!

 

Still have Comments or Questions?

Contact:

Email – info@KinderBach.com

Phone – 563.332.0587

Write –

KinderBach LLC

P.O. Box 181

LeClaire, IA  52773

or 

facebook

You can also choose from nearly a hundred other reviews, viewpoints, written by my crew mates, when you click the graphic below.

 

 

I think learning is simply fun and affordable with KinderBach at Home.

 

Blessings,

 

This product was given to me, free of charge, in exchange, for my honest review, as a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew. I receive no other compensation for my reviews on this blog.  The opinions expressed are my own.

 

 

*Contents of this blog are copyrighted;  they are the property of Knee Deep In Grace and may not be used without written permission.

 

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Nov
07

An Adventure to Ooka Island

Posted by: | Comments (0)

Technology has not changed at our house at the same rate that it has generally, but, we use more of it than many households do, I’m sure.

I remember a time when we didn’t own a camera.  One year, I wrote every detail I could think of to record our child’s 2nd birthday party.  We didn’t have a camera and I didn’t want her to think we hadn’t had a party for her, because there were no pictures; so, I described everything!  Eventually, we owned a Polaroid that developed instant pictures and a little 110 camera.  We had to send our 110 film off in an envelope to get it developed and then got our pictures in the mail.  Initially, 35mm disposable cameras were expensive, yet they cost less than investing in a real one.  The first 35mm camera we were able to buy was all manual.  You set the flash when you needed it, you advanced the film after a picture and rewound the film by hand and gave it to the developer.  It was certainly not an SLR, but I thought it was a wonder!  Over the years, we were able to upgrade to an automatic and I have some great pictures from those years.  The Christmas after our youngest child was born we were given our first digital camera.  You know how, usually, the first child in the family has the most pictures taken of them?  Well, that’s not the case here.  We have so many pictures of our youngest daughter!  Everything new she did was documented with the cool camera that had the itty-bitty screen on the back.  Now, a decent digital camera is reasonably priced and there are nearly half-a-dozen, owned by the teens and adults of our family.  My younger children think you look at every picture after you take it, they don’t know any different.

I used to write out every quiz and test, in duplicate, because I didn’t have a copy machine.  When our older children were our young students, they answered workbook questions on separate sheets of paper, so I could reuse the workbooks with their siblings.  For the last few years, we’ve had a do-it-all printer/scanner/copier.

In years past it wasn’t even a thought to own a personal computer.  It was way out of our budget.  Now, not only do we own a PC, but we have high-speed internet access.

Remember the Walkman that played a cassette tape?  One year, several of the children received personal CD players for Christmas.  Last year the three youngest were given MP3’s.

There are cell phones everywhere! And it wasn’t that many years ago that there were only three television stations and you actually had to leave your house to rent a VHS movie.  No HD, no DVD, no Blue-Ray and certainly not as many acronyms.

An older daughter has a Kindle and I recently bought a WebOS Touch Pad, for reading and school-on-the-go.

Our children know how to use each of these devices and more, usually before we do.  The last two school years have seen a dramatic difference in how I teach, because I’ve had access to online curricula.  I’m still working on finding a balance, but I don’t shy away from the use of technology, like I once might have done.

The fact is, some of my children are a generation apart.  Things have changed.  I have more options today than ever before, when it comes to their education.  By no means are we on the cutting edge of technology, but we are trying to keep a steady pace.

Recently, my youngest daughter and I set out on a new adventure.  Now, before I take a trip, I like to know something about my destination.  I do a little research before I book a flight or a cruise.  I read reviews, check out the best eateries and look for places that aren’t tourist traps.

I discovered an island that I hadn’t heard of before.  So, we went to the logical place to check it out – You TubeThere are dozens of videos about it!

 

This one got us excited about beginning our Ooka Island Adventure!


Click graphic to view the Official Trailer.

Ooka Island is a virtual online world.  A vibrant, energetic world created especially for ages 3 – 7 years, pre-K through 2nd grade.

Students style a personal avatar and set off on heroic quests.  Along the way, they develop skills essential to prereading, reading and spelling.  They learn to understand sounds, associate sounds with letters, blending and making words, all while mountain climbing, cave exploring, cake making and more.

This is an innovative program.  There are 24 levels of purposeful, crazy-fun 3D games, led by a robot named Zobot!  The players meet Auntie Kay, Ooka elves that need rescued and the mischievous Figgs.  20 minutes of school work, that they don’t have a clue they’re doing, and they earn 8 minutes of free time.  They’re successes are rewarded with the option to play games or buy stuff for their avatar.

Click graphic to read “the Ooka Adventure for Parents.”

The ten Ooka Island game areas, are designed to build on each other, getting more difficult with each one.  The entire system adapts to each individual child’s progress.  It is a complete curriculum, using 85 interactive e-books, on three levels:  Emergent, Beginning and Fluency.  My daughter is quite fond of the Ooka books, because they seem rather Dr. Seuss-ish and are written for the child.

Take your child on an adventure to Ooka Island, there is a Parent’s Page where you can track their progress and play along.  Together, you will motivate and teach him to be a fluent, lifelong reader.

There’s no risk with the 14-day Free Trial.

Click graphic for full pricing overview.

Use promo code:  LAUNCHSPECIAL30  and save 30% on a monthly subscription.

To read other Ooka Island Adventures reviews, click the TOS Homeschool Review Crew graphic below.

Stay up-to-date with everything on the island by following Ooka on facebook.  Browse the website:  http://www.ookaisland.com  and read Village Voices, the Ooka blog.

Blessings,


 

This product was given to me, free of charge, in exchange, for my honest review, as a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew. I receive no other compensation for my reviews on this blog.  The opinions expressed are my own.

 

*Contents of this blog are copyrighted;  they are the property of Knee Deep In Grace and may not be used without written permission.

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Oct
19

For Girls Only!

Posted by: | Comments (3)

Finding one’s place in a big family can sometimes be difficult.  Having something that belongs just to you or that didn’t belong to a sibling before you doesn’t happen often, but sometimes it’s nice.  It’s a little affirmation that you are one-of-a-kind and not just part of the group.   I look for ways to let my children know that I see them as individuals.

Our youngest daughter is the youngest of 11.  She loves her position, but we’ve made it a point to let her know that she wasn’t an afterthought.  She was/is wanted and she is an important part of our family.  It would be easy for everything she owns – clothes, toys, books & games – to be a hand-me-down, much is, but not all.  Truly, she probably wouldn’t even mind, but I would; so, when I recently had the opportunity to review an ad-free learning website, for girls only, I was just a wee-bit excited about the possibilities!  I wasn’t disappointed.

Always Icecream is geared for girls, ages 7-12, and it looks like it was created just for them.  It’s pink and fun, and frufru and fun, and cute & sweet and fun!  Much to my youngest son’s dismay, the website for boys only hasn’t been completed, yet, but I hear it is in the works.  If I’d allow it, he’d learn & play right alongside his sister, but since I haven’t, he can not wait for his siteWhy have a site, for girls only?  My guys and girls get along very well together.  My guys are a little more sensitive, considerate and compassionate and my girls are comfortable catching bugs and fishing, because of their interaction with each other, but it’s not that way in every home or classroom.

    • “Online games for girls are games that have been specifically designed to meet the interests and curiosity of girls. This gender-focus makes it possible that “girls can be girls” without the fear of being bothered by boys who tend to make fun of everything that girls consider “cute.”
    • “Within the target age group of 7-12 years, children’s preferences and ways in which they can be motivated tend to be influenced by gender.  Collaborative play (girls) versus competitive play (boys) and girls tend to be attracted by virtual goods that are “decorative”, such as clothes, versus “useful”, such as machines or armor.”

“Notwithstanding the differences in brain development and socialization, Always Icecream is adamantly opposed to stereotypes such as “girls are not interested in science or math.” The site challenges its young members to engage in learning activities across a broad spectrum of subjects:

Language Arts

Math (basic and advanced)

Science

Computer Skills

Geography

History

Foreign Languages

Music & Arts

and Religious Education

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I asked my daughter for her opinion of Always Icecream.  She said, and I quote:

I love it!  You get to make your own house and you get your own pet.  It’s fun!  The learning is still fun, too.  I am learning, you know.  There are so many activities, I can’t even tell you!  I’m practicing typing and I’m learning my states.  Want me to show you?  I’m getting higher and higher in my math and I got all of the Bible questions right, last time, because we had just learned about two of them in Children’s Church!  The pet world thingy-place is my favorite!  The pets can play games and do stuff.  You can buy them accessories, (yes, that’s her word.  We are big Fancy Nancy fans, but I’ll save that for another time) like a necklace or a bow.  You use your $coops to buy stuff.  ($coops is the earned currency in the Always Icecream world.)  You buy them food and feed them, like carrots for the rabbit, not bacon or dog bones, of course.  You give them cuddles and love and their hearts go up!  I already said it, I just love it!

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School time.  Learning time.

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 Play time.  Reward time.

Parental participation, behind the scenes, is encouraged.  Parents sign-up to receive a progress report, once a week, and may choose a number of $coops to be rewarded for special in-real-life projects, chores or accomplishments.  My kids are on a rotation to clean the cat’s litter box.  Our youngest was rewarded $coops for doing it without having to be reminded.  Granted, she would like to go to Dairy Queen in the future for real-world ice cream in exchange for a real-world chore, but since she usually only gets a “thank you” she thought getting $coops was actually “pretty cool.”

The girls earn $coops currency for completing their learning tasks, challenges, games & videos.  They create a mini-me avatar and can switch her clothes, buy rooms for the house and purchase furniture, pets and more.  My girl loved this!

There is also a social feature available, set up by the parent, that enables or not, the girls to “make friends” and communicate with one another safely through Always Icecream.  Although we didn’t choose to activate this feature, I do appreciate the excellent safety measures that are in place for the girls.  Click the graphic below for more information.

 

*  $4.99 per month  *  $29.99 per year  *  $99.99 for a lifetime membership  *Take a quick tour of the site and try out FREE GAMES before you buy.  “Satisfaction guaranteed: Your daughter will have fun and learn relevant skills – or you get your money back!”

 

You’ll want to read more reviews by my crew mates and their girls.  Click the TOS banner below to get the full $coop!

 

 

Contact:

website

email – feedback@always-icecream.com

or visit

facebook

 

 

Blessings to you and your girls,

 

This product was given to me, free of charge, in exchange, for my honest review, as a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew. I receive no other compensation for my reviews on this blog.  The opinions expressed are my own.

 

*Contents of this blog are copyrighted;  they are the property of Knee Deep In Grace and may not be used without written permission.

 

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