Archive for reviews

May
13

Papa’s Pearls ~ A TOS Review

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At just 5″ X 8″ and 113 pages, Papa’s Pearls is an exceptional, little paperback book; written by Diane Flynn Keith, about her father, Carol Joseph Flynn.  Mr. Flynn is Papa.  His pearls are words of wisdom he lived by and readily shared with his family and friends.  They are a legacy of love to his children, his grandchildren; and now to us.

 

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After I spent some time browsing Diane’s blog, learning more about her and her book, I couldn’t wait to read it!  The blog, by the same name, Papa’s Pearls, is a wonderful compliment to the book.  Appreciating family photographs, as I do, I love that Diane has set up a photo album of Papa.  It is a sweet connection to the man I’ve met while reading Papa’s Pearls:  A Father’s Gift of Love and Wisdom to His Children.

 

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I read the story of Carol Joseph Flynn’s life aloud to my children, in the evenings before bed.  They always wanted more!  Each of the 17 chapters is like a snapshot of time, detailing actual tidbits of fact and history; woven with personal accounts, Papa’s wit and feelings, and the lessons he learned.  He was born in 1922, in San Francisco.  He rose above a life of hard knocks, becoming a good man, a respected leader; and a well-loved father and grandfather.  Because he lived through war time and The Great Depression, just as my children’s grandparents did, there was much material for discussion.  We could contrast and compare what Diane wrote of his life with what we know of their lives.  I read aloud the Introduction, at the beginning of the book, so my kids would know that Papa had already died and his daughter was writing about the impact he had on his family’s life.  My husband’s parents, my mother; and my grandmother have all died in the past 15 years.  Nearly every time I read a chapter from Papa’s Pearls, our memories were sparked to reminisce and talk about our own family heritage.  How Grandpa did “this”, always said “that”, or looked at Grandma “just so.”  What Gramma “believed” and how she shared her faith.  Papa’s Pearls is indeed full of love and wisdom from a life well lived, but it is so much more to us.  It is a tool that stirs our own memories, and unlocks our personal heritage.  No doubt, we will read it time and again!

                             An autographed copy of Papa’s Pearls is available for $21.97, on the Papa’s Pearls website.  Diane Flynn Keith is also a homeschool coach and mentor, and you can find her at Homefires.com, and Carschooling.com.

 

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What a delight that Diane Keith could spend time with her dad, recounting memories of his nearly 90 years, before his death in December 2011.  She has written a fine tribute to him, his resilience and his positive out look on life; sharing with the world that we are loved more than we know.  Papa says:

“What’s the Worst Thing that Could Happen?”

“You gotta Use Your Street Smarts.”

“Tell Yourself You Like It.”

“It’s All about Family.”

“Be Grateful Everyday.”

and more.

“Tell Yourself You Like It,” is a prime example of Papa’s out look on life.  Being a plumber in San Francisco, Papa often had to work in the sewers.  When his young children asked him how he could stand the smell, he replied, “You just tell yourself you like it.  Then, it’s not so bad.”  Many years ago, my suburban raised husband got a job on a hog farm.  He was going to college and there was a house for our family, on the property, provided with the job.  The smell of the area was just animal-waste-ripe, and it seemed to permeate everything.  Every time we would leave the house, on our return up the driveway my husband would say, “Mmmm, smells like money!” and he’d smile.  We were just so thankful for a place to live and a dependable job!  We got through that time with genuinely grateful hearts and good attitudes.  We learned so many life lessons during that time, and some of them we didn’t even realize until we read Papa’s story.  Diane writes that her “Papa knew what research studies show.  People who have positive attitudes are winners in good times, and survivors in hard times.  You are what you think.  Tell yourself you like it.”

 

My crew mates have also written reviews of Papa’s Pearls:  A Father’s Gift of Love and Wisdom to His Children and Grandchildren, and you can find them when you click the banner and follow the link below.

 

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Blessings,

 

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Disclaimer*   I received an autographed copy of Papa’s Pearls, 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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Oct
26

Focus on Reading

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Did you know that there are people that don’t like to read?  It actually makes me sad to think of the joy that I get from reading, that they are robbed of because they don’t like it.  How frustrating though, to have letters that constantly flip around so the words don’t really make sense, to feel like you have to chase the words or sentences as they float off the page; or to reread the same sentence time-and-again because you keep losing your place.  Focus is one of the keys to reading.

The Schoolhouse Review Crew  recently had the opportunity to use Reading Rulers from an award-winning company that specializes in multisensory teaching resources – Crossbow Education.

 

When you visit their website you will find that they carry several tools designed to help you create a learning environment that promotes student achievement, especially for those with Dyslexia and Visual Stress.

 

They have Sand Timers, Magnetic Foam Letters, Junior Learning Products for Reading, Spelling, and Math, Activities and Games for Phonics; and  More – including the Eye Level Reading Ruler.

Reading Rulers  are made of durable, color-tinted plastic; and able to underline and highlight about six inches of text at a time.  Text is read through the transparent color.  Each Ruler is small and convenient to carry, or keep in a book used as a book mark.  “Reading Rulers reduce page glare, dancing, blurring text and other symptoms, while also providing valuable tracking support for reading.”  They are available with duo reading windows – one is 1/2″ wide and the other is 1 1/4″ wide – to aid in reading a single line of oversize text, two smaller lines of text or a short paragraph.

Reading through color can have life changing effects, with the possibility of significantly improving reading speed and even comprehension.  Students seem to respond well to the lack of over stimulation when the white background that reflects light is tinted with the transparent colored overlay.

Studies have shown that students need a spectrum of colors to choose from, to find the one that best meets their individual needs.

Crossbow Education has a Pack of 10 Eye Level Reading Rulers for $16.95.  It is their most popular package, because it allows a student to examine each color, choose the one that offers the most benefit; and then order just that color.

 Pack of 10 Colors – Pink, Celery, Sky, Magenta, Grass, Yellow, Aqua, Purple, Orange; and Jade

None of us chose the same color, so we don’t have to share our rulers.  Which is good, because we’ve found we don’t want to share our Reading Rulers.  For extensive reading they truly seem to reduce eye strain, and we like the dual window choices.  My younger reader says she can focus so much better on her line-for-line reading.  It’s increased her speed and built-up her confidence!

 

If you’d like more information, have questions or comments – you can Contact  Crossbow Education through their website; and read the Crew reviews by clicking the banner below.

 

 

Blessings,

Disclaimer*   I received a copy of this product 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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Oct
22

Going BACK to School

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No doubt, I am one of thousands of stay-at-home-moms (SAHMs) that have looked into various ways to add income into their household, while staying at home on a daily basis raising my young children.  No doubt, the state of our U.S. economy and the current rate of unemployment has encouraged many people to go back to school for training that might make them more employable upon graduation.

National Tax Training School is “the nation’s only nationally accredited correspondence school specializing in tax training…”  It is “a comprehensive tax course – especially developed for home study.”

 

 

I am currently enrolled in the Federal Income Tax Course. The “objectives of this course are that on its completion, the student will be:

– Able to define and show an understanding for the tax terminology used on federal tax returns and be

– Familiar with the tax laws required to successfully gather the documentation and information necessary to prepare individual tax returns.”

After I complete this course with a passing grade, I should have the knowledge I need to take the IRS Registered Tax Preparer (RTRP) Exam.  Once I pass that exam, I can more easily do my own tax returns, work for a company preparing tax returns for other individuals or small businesses; or even start my own tax practice!  I am on schedule to complete this course the beginning of 2013, so I probably won’t be established on time to work through the upcoming tax season and that’s a disappointment; but I’m excited about my future possibilities.

It has been many years since I was in school and my greatest challenge with the Federal Income Tax Course has been setting and maintaining a consistent time for my personal study.  I teach and I study to prepare to teach, but I haven’t been back to school for 30 years.  In my enthusiasm, I had hoped to earn my Certificate of Graduation in the 8 – 10 week time frame that many students follow; but I quickly realized it wasn’t feasible for me.  Although the material is written in non-technical language, making it fairly easy to understand, it still takes me 2 – 3 readings sometimes to feel like it’s clear.  I don’t want to miss a thing!  Needless to say, this has extended the suggested 8 hours of study time per lesson to an intensive 12 hours on occasion.  I do appreciate the fact though, that any “subject material that is irrelevant or of rare application has been omitted,” giving me the core of what I need to succeed in the least amount of time.  I’m grateful that ultimately students are given a whole year to complete the course, if necessary.

Shortly after I enrolled in the Federal Income Tax Course, everything I needed to begin was delivered to my home in a big, heavy box.  They are working toward having the entire course available online, and actually have the first 17 lesson modules, self-assessments and Unit Exams complete.  I haven’t used the online version, yet, but I have browsed it enough to see that it mirrors the contents of the physical course I have.  I think I’ll definitely use it to submit my Exams.

Your Enrollment Fee covers and includes:

– The Complete Text Material, in an overwhelming 3 inch binder.  It is a clearly written, step-by-step text with practical examples, real-life illustrations and sample computations over 20 in-depth lessons.

Self-Check Practice Problems allow you to pre-test yourself before your Unit Exam.

Examination Problems are open-book check-ups of the knowledge gained.

Instruction & Grading Service.  Completed Exams are mailed to NTTS where they are reviewed and graded, corrected and commented on by an instructor if needed.

Practical Case Studies.  You can practice and test what you’re learning using real-life case studies.

Building and Operating a Successful Tax Practice Book is nearly 300 pages of How-To set-up and efficiently run a profitable, professional tax practice.

Reference Book – The RIA Federal Tax Handbook, more than 800 pages, divided into 5059 numbered paragraphs; that answer tax questions and resolve tax problems that may arise when preparing federal tax returns.

A Graduation Certificate marking successful completion of the course.

And Postgraduate Services.  You are assigned an experienced expert in accounting and tax preparation procedures throughout your course and after completion for a period time designated by your choice of enrollment options.

No previous accounting, bookkeeping or tax knowledge is needed to take this course.  It “has been designed to give the student a clear picture of the over-all tax structure” and working knowledge of tax laws and procedures, not just the mechanics of filling-in-the-lines of a tax form.  The student is taught the reason-why behind the regulations, etc.  Because of this, I definitely feel like I have a better understanding and retention of the material.

National Tax Training School has been teaching and exclusively training tax preparers since 1952.  I have the utmost confidence in them and I’m actually looking forward to tax season!  I think the $495 enrollment fee is a good value and investment for my future.

If you have questions or comments you can contact  National Tax Training School through their informative, easy-to-navigate website.

Several of my Crew mates have had the opportunity to use the Federal Income Tax Course and you can read their reviews when you click on the banner below.

I’m hoping this course will be the answer to some of our financial needs.  I’ll let you know how it’s going as I continue to study.

Blessings,

Disclaimer*   I received a copy of this course 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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Oct
17

A Foundation for Thanksgiving

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Every Thanksgiving I am abundantly blessed to gather with my immediate family, extended family and friends in celebration of all God has done for us and our country.  This year my children and I will have a deeper more thorough understanding of one of the most important times in America’s history, thanks to Dayspring Christian Academy and The Pilgrim Story.

 

 

If you’ve already watched the short clip above or clicked on the links I included then you have an idea of what The Pilgrim Story is about and you know that the cost of the course is $99.  What you don’t know is that, if it is possible to fit this into your budget, it is well worth it!

This is a self-guided, self-paced, interactive online course.  This means that after you enroll you will have access within 48 hours, and then for the following 6 months you can view it whenever it’s convenient for you.  It doesn’t meet at a specified time.  This has been a huge bonus for my family!  Technically it is designed for grades 3 – 6, but the writer, Mary Stauffer, has led over 20 guided tours of Plymouth, Massachusetts using “the words of our country’s forefathers to teach the Pilgrim’s Story” and I personally believe students of all ages can gain insight from this study.  I’ve been able to use this course myself, ahead of my younger children, because I wanted to and not because it is a necessity.  I’ve only had to assign it to my older ones and nothing else is required from me.  They don’t even have to view it at the same time or at a designated time each day.  They have the freedom and flexibility to fit it in and around their individual schedule.

 

 

The heart of Dayspring Christian Academy is Psalm 78:1-8.  “It is important for children to learn about their history, so they do not forget the great things God has done.”

The Pilgrim Story teaches and preserves the truth of our nation’s past.  It highlights the Pilgrim’s dedication as Christians, well-grounded in The Word of God.  It clearly displays God’s hand of providence in their lives and the life of our country.  It reinforces the fact that “this nation has enjoyed freedom because it was founded on principles found in The Bible.

Because Dayspring Christian Academy teaches using The Principle Approach of Learning, there are Principles of Christian Character and Biblical Principles of self governance, hard work, perseverance and Christian Liberty throughout the presentation.  The course is organized in 5 Units of 3 or 4 Lessons each, with a Virtual Field Trip to Plymouth, MA at the end.  Each Lesson is 30 – 45 minutes long, plus an optional 60 – 90 minute Enrichment Activity.  

A Lesson consists of:

  • items needed for activities
  • documents to download
  • description of contents
  • review of previous lessons
  • vocabulary words
  • a student worksheet for notes
  • enrichment activities
  • lesson review and
  • suggestions for further reading

 

A Student Notebook is a key component of The Principle Approach and is a valuable record of their learning.  You’ll need a 1-inch binder and 5-tab dividers, one for each Unit.

 

Unit 1 – Introduction

Unit 2 – Preparation

Unit 3 – The Journey

Unit 4 – The First Winter

Unit 5 – 1621 – 1623

 

I copied the list of Recommended Books, chose which ones I wanted by grade level and then requested them from my library ahead of time.  Open Source Books, with free online access, are also listed.  Reasoning Questions for Writing Practice or Oral Presentation are included, along with Answer Keys, Grading Rubrics, and Activity Guides.  Review Questions provide a great Recall Assessment and there is a Unit Test at the end of each unit.  Dayspring Christian Academy will actually grade, record and maintain the Unit Test grade for one student, when the multiple-choice test is taken.

I do wish the video clips were closed-captioned, so my students would have the added benefit of reading along with the narrator, otherwise I am absolutely thrilled with The Pilgrim Story and the knowledge we’ve gained!

 

 

Comments or Questions?

 

Contact:

 

Dayspring Christian Academy

120 College Avenue

Mountville, PA  17554

or Call – 717.285.2000

 

Also note that several of my Crew mates had the opportunity to review this course and you can read their opinions when you click the graphic below and follow the link provided.

 

 

I hope your Thanksgiving is especially blessed this year.

 

Blessings,

 
Disclaimer*   I received 6 months online access to The Pilgrim Story, 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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Oct
15

Music to My Ears

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After many years of steadfast prayer fueled by constant desire, some of my children are now receiving music instruction from a local school of Fine Arts.  I don’t know how long we’ll have the opportunity, but with this gang we presently qualify for a big-family rate; so it’s affordable.  I appreciate the balance, as I see it, in their education; with Bible, academics, music & art, home management and community service.  I like being able to introduce my children to different things to find their level of interest and their natural bent.  A couple of my younger ones are actually starting out ahead of my older ones, thanks to KinderBach.

 

 

Karri Gregor is the creator, illustrator and teacher of KinderBach Piano Lessons.  She believes that children do not have to read to be able to learn to play piano or read music.  She has designed characters that help her students remember the piano keys, notes and the staff; instead of letters making words that must be read.  KinderBach is bright, colorful, fun and engaging!  Designed for ages 3 – 7, my younger children gained a foundation in music before they even realized they were taking lessons.

 

  • Music Theory
  • Note Reading
  • Rhythm
  • Music Vocabulary
  • Ear Training
  • Hand Position
  • Do, Re, Mi Singing
  • and More!

 

Click the graphic to view an informative video of KinderBach at Home.

 

The characters are endearing to children.  My youngest daughter was introduced to KinderBach around 6 years old, but was enthusiastic about using the online program again because of her affection for several of the characters.  You might also notice older siblings picking up instruction and building their own foundation in music from being in the same vicinity where the program is being viewed, because the lessons are lively and entertaining.  My preteen son says, “The story and songs stick in your head and then your brain recalls the pictures and instruction that is originally taught.  I know things about music that I didn’t even know I knew!”

 

Click to see the full cast of characters.

 

There’s ample material covered over 6 levels with 10 lessons each and 4 sessions in each lesson.  Yes, that’s a total of 240 sessions of private, in home music lessons!  Lessons are child-paced.  They can be watched and watched again, at no extra cost, when your daughter gets stuck on a favorite session or two like mine did.  The hands on activities thoroughly reinforce the lessons, making this a complete curriculum.  My daughter especially enjoyed attaching the little finger cues to her fingers, following the prompts and playing the piano.  I laminated the paper finger puppets so she could use them more than once, because they really encouraged her to strive for the goal of eventually playing without them.  Children quickly learn to play music that they recognize.

 

 

 

 A Year Online Membership gives you web access to all sessions by computer, iPad/iPhone, Android, Tablet, Kindle Fire or Nook; plus downloadable PDF activity pages that accompany lessons.  The best value is $7.99 a month for an annual subscription – billed in one payment of $95.88.

The TOS Crew previously had the opportunity to review KinderBach, but this time some of my Crew mates were given the chance to use the new iPad/iPhone App that’s available for Levels 1 – 3.  “App lessons can be purchased one at a time, or at a reduced rate for an entire level.”  The keyboard that’s needed for the lessons is on the screen, plus six mini-games are unlocked as you purchase more lessons.  The added convenience of education-on-the-go for just $26.99.  I’ll definitely be reading their reviews!

The entire curriculum is still available in a DVD & CD Activity Package, per levelfor the one-time charge of $40.45 each.  Value Packages are available, too!  What grabbed my attention is the fact that every disc has a “lifetime replacement”  included in KinderBach’s exceptional 30-day Money Back Guarantee!

~

 

Comments or Questions?

Contact  KinderBach  through the website.

Write:  KinderBach LLC, P.O. Box 181, Le Claire, Iowa 52753,

Call:  563.332.0587

 

and

Follow on facebook.

 

You can also read the numerous Crew reviews of the online program and the iPad app when you

click the graphic below ~


 

In addition, I have written two other reviews of KinderBach, and they can be found under the blog titles – Good Education and The Sound of Music.  This is a great program and I hope to use it with my grandchildren in the future.

 

Blessings,

 

Disclaimer*   I received 6 months online access to KinderBach, 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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Oct
10

What’s Black and White, and…

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What’s black and white and red all over?  Remember this one?  Okay, so it’s really what’s black and white and read all over?  A newspaper, of course!

What’s blue and red and eats rocks?  That’s simple.  A blue-and-red-rock-eater!  Now, what’s pink and green and eats rocks?  A pink-and-green-rock-eater, you say.  No way, I say, they only come in blue and red!

What’s fun, educational, motivating, interactive; and affordable?  No riddle here, it’s ZooWhiz!   The “online, curriculum based motivational learning system” with more than 17,000 educational activities for children ages 5 to 15.  Affordable?  Yes!  It’s Free, with a limited Keeper Account!

 

 

Want a Free Keeper Account?  Follow the Keeper Account link above, click Create a Free Keeper on the bottom left; and let your child choose a [Zoo] Keeper from a variety of pre-designed avatars.  These are all they have to choose from, at the moment, but my kids are hoping they’ll have a little more freedom in the future to design their own avatar Keeper.

 

Choose a Keeper

 

Once they’ve chosen their Keeper they sign in with their first name, or a code name if they’re anything like my son, and a parent’s email address to get permission to use ZooWhiz.  You can then use that same email to create a Free Parent Management Account, which will be connected to your child’s account; giving you the ability to keep up with his progress.

ZooWhiz is lively and engaging, with graphics that are bright, crisp; and bursting with energy!

Learn and Earn generates activities that move your child to practice math, reading, grammar, vocabulary, punctuation, spelling; and phonics according to the Age Floor you select for him, and earning coins for every correct answer given.  Two chances.  Answer the question correctly on the first try and you earn 20 coins.  If you miss it and try again you’ll still earn 10 coins with a correct answer.  Miss the answer and 10 coins are taken away and the correct answer is supplied.

The coins can then be spent in the Arcade, on games, or in the Biodome at the Zoo Animal Shop.  Keepers can choose from and collect many different animals, viewing them and learning more about them from a detailed flash-card-type graphic My children choose animal collecting 9 times out of 10, over playing games in the Arcade, and it is the highlight of the ZooWhiz online program!  It should be noted though, that the website says, “Create a Free Keeper Account and start building your very own zoo.”  This idea is compounded when you select the Biodome tab under Information for Kids, the opening tagline reads, “Enter the Biodome to choose your animals and build your very own zoo.”  As Keepers students build collections of animals, but there is no Zoo to build.  There is no place to organize or view the animals in a zoo-like setting, and there is no visiting or care giving.  My students, ages 8, 11, and 14, were all truly disappointed in this aspect of the program.  Milestones keeps track of student progress, and seeing progress is something we all need!

 

Click the graphic to see a full Animal List

~

  ZooWhiz is all about “reinforcing learning and rewarding effort!”

My 8-year-old says it is all about “fun, fun, fun!”

 

 

When you discover, as I did, that ZooWhiz is an outstanding supplement to your current curriculum, you can choose to upgrade to a Premium Zoologist AccountCurrently, a 1-year subscription is just $14.95.  Seriously.  I don’t know how long this dramatic savings will be available, but what-a-deal compared to the regular price of $59.95!  The Premium Zoologist Account entitles you, as the parent, to more management, anytime access; and detailed customization to your child’s age or learning pace.  The Premium Kid’s Account opens more games and an exciting choice of animals to collect, including rare, endangered, dinosaurs and mythological creatures.  My son earned and saved 5000 coins to add a Sasquatch to his collection!  That’s a lot of learning and this seems like an ideal place to slip in a “well done, Son!”

~

ZooWhiz has a website full of information.

I included several links to it throughout this post and I hope you’ll make use of them.

You can email your Questions and Comments through the Contact link,

or if you’re in the United States call – 1.866.215.4620.

You can also write to:  P.O. Box 658, Armidale, NSW, 2350, Australia;

or instantly connect on facebook.


My Crew mates are eager to share their ZooWhiz experiences with you, too.

You can read their reviews when you click the banner below and follow the link to the

Schoolhouse Review Crew Blog.

 

 

 

Blessings,

 

 

Disclaimer*   I received 1 year access to a ZooWhiz Premium Zoologist Account, for three of my children, 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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Oct
05

A Box of Ideas

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You might remember that I have an affection for Unit Studies.  The Unit Study Method of teaching allows me to incorporate every aspect of my focus topic, covering many subjects.  This method usually allows for a lot of hands-on learning, and often improves my child’s ability to transfer skills they learn during school to real-life situations.  Where do you get the ideas for activities that will enhance your student’s learning?  I might talk to another parent/teacher that has experience or an expressed interest in the theme of our study.  I have several home resources, an exceptional local library; and access to an array of online resources.  I have a standard bag-of-tricks, but my latest discovery is Box of IDEAs

 

 

 

There are not many boxes available, yet; but the future potential is great!  Designed for ages 9 – 16, with the flexibility for use with even younger or older students, each Box of I.D.E.As. is filled with topic-focused activities and information.  There are at least 10 modules per box that might include games, puzzles, portfolio pages, experiments and explorations, well researched web-links; and more.  All of the activities in the box are complete, but if any additional supplies are needed, like a pencil, they are listed on the module label and can be acquired before the module is even opened.

Presently, there is a Box of I.D.E.As. for World War Two, SALT, Laundry, Quilting; and the number Eleven, with Olives, Pine, and Cemeteries coming soon.  Supplementing our current study of Early America, the SALT Box of IDEAs fit well into our schedule.  The branch of interest I pursued was early means of food preservation, and there’s a module for that – Preserving with SaltAfter introducing the topic into our curriculum, I let the box of modules lead the way.  The “SALT Box of I.D.E.As. is a comprehensive look at salt and how it has helped shape history, nourish our bodies; and even build and destroy empires.”  We were prompted to dig into History, Geography, Science, Language, and Political Systems; while using math, reading, writing, and critical thinking skills among others.

Contents of the SALT Box of I.D.E.As.

The single most difficult thing about using Box of IDEAs was choosing which module to start with first!  So, I read the label on each module bag: Title, Contents, Materials Needed, and Related Quote; and pulled out the one that “struck my fancy.”

The Wall That Salt Built – “While most people know of the Great Wall of China, most people don’t realize that it was essentially paid for by salt.”

Salt of the Earth – “Although, most of the world’s salt comes from the US and China, there are salt producers in many countries around the world.”

Very Salty – “A plethora of hypersaline lakes exist all over the world.”

Need for Salt – “For human and non-human alike, if we didn’t have salt, we would cease to live.”

Nelson Mandela quote ~ “Let there be work, bread, water and salt for all.”

Producing Salt – “Finding Salt – It is something we see and possibly use every single day, but where does it come from?”

Science of Salt – “Salt is the combination of two elements – both somewhat volatile.”

Preserving with Salt – “Pre-dating the birth of Christ, salt has been utilized to make food safe for future use through preservation.”

The Game of Preservation by Salt

Salt Peppers Our Words – “Salt provides the root for many commonly used words that proliferate still today.” The Salt March – “In March of 1930, Mahatma Ghandi chose to protest, peacefully, the salt tax.”

The History of Salt – “Salt has had a profound influence on human civilization from the beginning and in all parts of the world.”

(45) 2″X3″ Salt Timeline Cards, initially used with the Salt Chronology Game

This is one of the simplest systems I’ve ever used!  I could easily assign a module to one of my middle school or high school students for independent work.  Just take the module bag out of the box and begin.  I gather pencils and make copies of the portfolio page for each of my children participating in the activity.  I also have notebook paper available for copywork and expository writing.  I read the printed material out loud and we discuss the content.  Portfolio pages record lab results, ask fill-in-the-blank questions; and prompt essay writing, etc.  Each module includes a list of 3-4 Extensions that encourage delving deeper into the topic.  The Extension activities are varied and I tend to choose two out of a list.

Here are five of over 30 Extensions suggested:

  • Find references in The Bible to salt.  It is mentioned approximately 30 times, see how many you can find and make a list.
  • Watch the 1982 movie “Ghandi” which chronicles Ghandi’s life and fight for Indian independence.
  • Make your own solar evaporator using household items…
  • What happens if a person eats too much salt?  Set up an appointment with a nutritionist or dietician to talk about salt in your diet.
  • Pick one of the top salt producers and find out how much revenue salt production brings to that country.

 

As time allows, I have the older students follow selected Web-Links for additional reading and oral presentation.  I make age appropriate writing assignments to be done after we close the module.  We normally wrap-up with one of the games or card activities included in the Box of IDEAs.

~

Box of I.D.E.As. and their complete learning modules are an outstanding benefit to our homeschool, aiding in the retention and recollection of the topic matter covered.  I think it is a good value in the combination of physical materials supplied and the time saved with immediate access to the thorough research that’s already been done.  A physical Box of I.D.E.As. is $79 and printable PDF format is $49.

 

Comments or Questions?

Contact:

Call – 333.506.9411

or

Write –

Box of IDEAs  LLC

7115 West Calla Road

Canfield, OH  44406

and

follow on facebook

 

 

My Crew mates have written reviews of two of the current boxes that are available from Box of I.D.E.As.SALT and World War Two – Pearl Harbor.   Click the banner below to read their well expressed opinions.

 

 

 

 

 

Blessings,

 

 

Disclaimer*   I received the physical SALT Box of I.D.E.As., 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
24

Let Me Introduce You to Hope

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Ahhh…reading!  Just the thought of a good book makes me smile.  It has been some time since I’ve been able to stow away and read a book just for the pleasure of reading a book.  My favorite type of story is one that carries me away to another place and time, a period piece, with golden threads of history woven through it.  These are not easy books to write.  An author will often spend a lot of time reading and researching their subject before they can even begin to put pen to paper, because most readers expect the historical account to be accurate; especially if it is a time or place that is familiar to them.

I recently found Hope.  She is a promising young author, published by Great Waters Press

 

 

The chief publishers of Great Waters Press are Hal & Melanie Young, the authors of a 2011 Book of the Year – Raising Real Men.  Hope’s first book, Book One of The Promised Land, is titled A Cry From Egypt.  It is written for ages 8 and up, and it is a superlative first effort!

Hope has researched Ancient Egypt for several years.  Her interest was kindled when she was 13 years old and her family was studying it.  Have you ever wondered how it would have been to live in Egypt during the time of the devastating plagues and the Hebrew slaves being set free?  What it would have been like to experience The Promised Land, first-hand?  Author Hope Auer has brought a cast of characters to life from this time, using her knowledge of Ancient Egypt, the few facts that are recorded about this period; and the Biblical account.  She takes no liberties with Scripture and maintains historical accuracy, while telling a fascinating story as it is lived by a 12 year old slave girl, Jarah, her family and friends.

 

 

A Cry From Egypt is set around the time of events beginning in the seventh chapter of the book of Exodus, through the 10 plagues on Egypt; and culminating with chapter 12 –

 

“…I will strike the water of the Nile, and it will be changed into blood.”

“…I will plague your whole country with frogs.”

“…and throughout the land of Egypt the dust will become gnats.”

“…I will send swarms of flies on you…”

“…the Lord will bring a terrible plague on your livestock in the field…”

“…festering boils will break out on men and animals throughout the land.”

“…I will send the worst hail storm that has ever fallen on Egypt…”

“…I will bring locusts into your country tomorrow.  They will cover the face of the ground so that it cannot be seen.”

“…and total darkness covered all Egypt for three days.”

“Every firstborn son in Egypt will die…”

 

These verses are foundational to the story, yet they are never directly referenced.  Hope has interlaced a believable story of possibilities with the Truth.  We see compassion, hatred, fear, forgiveness, unbelief, faith; and more, but it is clearly a story, not a sermon.  Through the characters, we have the freedom to question and explore, Who is Yahweh?  Can we know Him?  Does He hear our pleas for deliverance, help or salvation?  We’re reminded of God’s perfect timing and His great love for us.  We connected with Jarah and could openly discuss what it means to trust Yahweh.  Will she be willing to trust Him to lead her to the promised land?  Would we?

I chose to read this aloud to my older teens and down.  I read a few chapters at a time and then we would discuss it, not because we were having “school” but because it genuinely prompted stimulating conversation.  One evening we spent a chunk of time on, “How do you determine whether or not someone is being punished justly or abused before you step-in?  Is it ever okay to step-in?  What is the Biblical basis for your answer?  Where do we stand as a family?”

I finished the book first by myself, because I couldn’t put it down.  I wanted to know how Hope was going to write this, whether she’d mention that; and what happened to them?  I wasn’t disappointed.  The only issue I had was in finishing the chapter tease for Book Two, found at the end of A Cry From Egypt, and realizing it’s not yet written and I can’t purchase it!  Oh my, can I wait patiently or not?  That is the question.

~

You can purchase an advanced copy of A Cry From Egypt, for $12.50.  Scroll to the bottom of the Raising Real Men Web Page, right-hand side; and see Contact Us to email Hal and Melanie Young or find them on facebook – Raising Real Men: Surviving, Teaching and Appreciating Boys  and  Great Waters Press.

If you have questions or comments for Hope Auer, she has a first-rate blog @ http://acryfromegypt.com/  and she also has a facebook page.  I know she’d love to hear from you!

~

My Crew mates had the opportunity to read  A Cry From Egypt or another new book published by Great Works PressChildren in Church: Nurturing Hearts of Worship.  You can read their reviews when you click the banner below.

 

 

Hope is a homeschool graduate, and so is her illustrator, Mike Slaton.  This knowledge was an encouragement to me as I teach my own artists, musicians and writers.  It also spoke volumes to my children because it is a positive, hopeful, published writing by one-like-them.  On a more basic level, my 8 year old daughter liked the action of the story and enjoyed the fact that Jarah has an 8 year old little sister and older brothers just like she has.  It is simply a good book and that makes me smile.

 

 Blessings,

Disclaimer*   I received a pre-publication copy of A Cry From Egypt, 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
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
17

Wow, What a Decade!

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Thomas Jefferson is quoted as saying, “A morsel of genuine history is a thing so rare as to be always valuable.”  To understand where we are today, I believe we must know something of our yesterdays.  I think Family History, US History, and World History are vital to our survival and growth as individuals and as a nation.  We read and write about history, build time-lines; and visit battle fields, cemeteries, national monuments and re-enactments.  All of this enhances the learning of our history, and so does Marshall Publishing.

Marshall Publishing and Promotions, Inc. is a multifaceted media publishing organization whose management team has 30 years of experience, successfully producing and representing television and home video programs written for all ages.

 

 

You may already be familiar with their trademarked, AS SEEN ON TV “Lots and Lots of” brand DVD’s and books.  In 2011, I reviewed their  George Washington Carver DVD and was pleased with their reliability; so I was quite interested in adding the content of the  America in the 1880’s – A Decade of Progress DVD to our on-going study of US History this year.


 

Look at the cover of the DVD, how many people do you recognize?  Many are well-known today and several are actually famous over 100 years later.  This film is compiled of photographs, historical footage, and re-enactments; for 4th grade through adult.  We watched it as a family.  We easily recognized Buffalo Bill Cody on the front, but wasn’t sure if that was Geronimo beside him or not.  Susan B. Anthony and the Brooklyn Bridge was easy, too.  My older son recognized the outlaws because he previously studied their lives independently, and I tagged Sarah Bernhardt and Mark Twain.

After we watched the video we were surprised that there wasn’t a train on the front cover.  The 1880’s saw the height of railroad travel.  You could get from coast to coast in 7 days!  There are fascinating snippets packed into this DVD, and this caused two things to occur for us.  First, because the details are few we found ourselves wanting to research our own special interests; secondly, we seem to recall the people, places and events more readily than when we’re bogged down with extra information.  The 1880’s was a marvelous, often overlooked decade; with a vast array of remarkable people and major events.  The circus, theater troupes, and big music alongside life-changing inventions, gun-slinging outlaws, and outrageous clothing designs!  Four states joined the union and while that might have been significant in itself, the fact that the population increased to 63 million by 1890, largely because of the warm welcome given to European immigrants, from its humble 13 million souls in 1880, is astounding!

Using the Study Guide that’s included, our discussion led us to note that although there’s been major changes in technology in the same number of years, and advances in other areas during other time periods, the accomplishments of so many in different areas, all in the same time frame is unrivaled.  America in the 1880’s covers History, Geography and Culture through a decade of wonder.

From the website:  “What was life like in America in the 1880s?  Just like a time machine, this DVD will transport you back to discover the people and events that shaped this exciting decade: the Brooklyn Bridge …Washington Monument …Statue of Liberty …Gunfight at the O.K. Corral …Oklahoma Land Rush …Johnstown Flood …Thomas Edison …Mark Twain …Baby Doe …Sitting Bull …Sarah Bernhardt …John Philip Sousa …Buffalo Bill …Gilbert and Sullivan …Wyatt Earp…Jesse James and Billy the Kid ….Alexander Graham Bell ….John D. Rockefeller ….Andrew Carnegie ….Samuel Gompers ….Susan B. Anthony ….Lillian Russell ….and many others!  You will learn about fashion, politics, sports heroes, famous inventors, Wall Street financiers, railroad expansion, buffalo extinction, Indian resettlement, Civil Rights, union organization, urbanization, the music of the times, and much more!”

 There is also an archival documentary short film about the life of Alexander Graham Bell, his work with the deaf and the invention of the telephone, as a bonus feature of this DVD.  Approx. 60 total min.  This DVD, and the correlated Study Guide, is on sale now for $19.95, plus FREE shipping when you use coupon code TOS27 at checkout.

 ~

For more information, questions or comments – Contact:

Marshall Publishing & Promotions, Inc.
123 S. Hough St.
Barrington, IL 60010
(P) 224-238-3530
(F) 224-238-3531
EMAIL: info@marshallpublishinginc.com
CUSTOMER SERVICE: 888-300-3455 9AM – 7PM Central Time

 ~

 Marshall Publishing – the place to find “Lots & Lots of…” fun, entertainment, education, and amusement for the whole family!  Besides, America in the 1880’s – A Decade of Progress, my Crew mates reviewed the 2 DVD Set – Lots & Lots of Playful Penguins and their Toe-Tappin’ Happy Feet, and Lots & Lots of Penguins in the Wild!, The Historic Expedition of Lewis & Clark – We Proceed On!; and The History of The Oregon Trail & The Pony Express.  You can read each of their reviews when you click the banner below and follow the link to the Schoolhouse Review Crew Blog.


 

Blessings,

 

 

Disclaimer*   I received the DVD, America in the 1880’s – A Decade of Progress,  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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