Archive for TOS

Sep
16

Unlocking Student Potential ~ A TOS Review

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“The more you know about yourself, the better prepared you will be to make quality decisions for your future.”  

 

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 telephone: 1.800.779.3472

Dr. Sanford Kulkin has more than 25 years experience in the study and application of social behavior and personality assessment. Since 2004PeopleKeys.com has helped thousands of organizations achieve their corporate goals.  Assisting them with employee assessments, behavioral analysis; and more.

StudentKeys have been designed to identify student strengths in the areas of:

  • Communication
  • Learning
  • Thinking
  • Career Choices
  • Motivation
  • Career Setting

As a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew, I’ve recently had the opportunity to use and review the StudentKeys Student Binder Package, valued at $49.

 

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This binder includes six separate StudentKeys workbooks, primarily written for use by high school through college age students.  They are each 8 1/2″ x 11″, small (17 – 24 pages), black on white paper workbooks.  They can aid us, as parents and teachers, in recognizing, understanding; and teaching to our children’s strengths.

The Personality Style WB

=  designed to help you understand your strengths, limitations and encourages you to appreciate your differences and the differences of those around you.  “Personality styles are the language of observable behavior.”

The Perceptual Learning Style WB

=  created to assist you in understanding how you best absorb information and learn through your senses.  It explains the differences between the three styles of learning — Auditory, Visual, and Kinesthetic — and then profiles your personal style of learning.

The Cognitive Thinking Style WB

=  intended to enhance your understanding of how your mind thinks.  Different thinkers — Literal, Intuitive, Theoretical, or Experiential — are motivated to learn in different ways.

The Values Style WB

=  designed to help you understand and clarify your personal values style; noting that values are underlying motivators that affect every area of our life.

The Career Choice WB The Goal Setting WB

=  acknowledge your personality style using the D.I.S.C. profiling system, and help you make critical decisions, and plans to positively affect your future.

~

I originally wanted this Student Binder for my high school senior.  Once I received it and browsed through it, I decided I should include my freshman daughter, as well.  Every page of every workbook says, “All Rights Reserved.  Duplication Prohibited,” so one of the first things I did was to call StudentKeys – 1.800.779.3472, to ask their policy for making copies of worksheets within my family.  They didn’t hesitate to assure me they had no problem with my copying work pages for my own children.  They just don’t want anyone taking advantage of their generosity (my words) and making copies for co-ops or corporate.  I truly appreciate this, and decided that my college age children, my husband and I would all benefit from working through this binder.

These workbooks can easily be used alone by high school students, but I chose to facilitate the tests and exercises.  Yep, that’s my personality!  We learned, and continue to learn, to identify, understand, observe; and build effective relationships.  This is designed for high school and college classrooms, roommates, jobs, etc.; but you can see why I was excited to have more insight into better working relationships within our own family.  For the most part, it’s been accurate, real, and good for us.

We’ve been reminded that no learning style is better than another.  They all have strengths and weak areas.  This was very affirming to some of my kids!  They’re learning that they can become skilled in using all of their sensory channels, if they explore them to understand them, and then apply what they learn.  The questions and exercises throughout each of the workbooks are very helpful.

The Thinking WB  includes a thorough profile, explanation, examples and worksheet exercises.  My students didn’t feel labeled, but felt they were given a tool to discover and understand how to maximize their strengths, while minimizing their weaknesses.  I wished I’d had these tools years ago!

Even in the same family and household, each person operates on a system of values that is unique to them.  I didn’t understand this before, nearly as well as I do now.  Our values determine our perception of everything, and everyone around us.  Without a clear understanding of our own value system and attempting to understand differing values styles, we have the tendency to become hurt and offended, fearful of interaction with others, and even unsympathetic.  We’re in the process of seeing each other a little clearer.

We have enthusiastically browsed the Career and Goal Setting workbooks, but we haven’t really used them, yet.  The opportunity to  read lists of General Occupations enjoyed by each, individual personality style is definitely interesting.  A couple of my children have already had their present career choices confirmed, and that was quite a confidence builder.  The Goal Setting WB appears to include a lot of tips and worksheets — setting Career Goals, Educational Goals, Leisure Goals, and Personal Goals — with instruction for understanding and managing obstacles; and prioritizing and making a workable timeline.  Intensive, but we’re looking forward to getting to it!

The StudentKeys Student Binder is a valued asset to being our best selves and doing our best to achieve the purpose God created each of us for.

Please, browse the PeopleKeys website, and click the banner below and follow the link to read what my fellow Crew mates have to say about this product, too.

 

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Blessings,

pk-siggy-2

 

 

Disclaimer*   I received the StudentKeys Student Binder Package, 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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Aug
02

The Homegrown Preschooler ~ A TOS Review

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Gryphon House is an exceptional publisher of educational resource books for teachers and parents, public school and homeschool, young children; and administrators.  Their website is easy to navigate and stimulating.  There are hundreds of free activities available for you and your child!

 

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As a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew, I recently had the opportunity to read The Homegrown Preschooler: Teaching Your Kids in the Places They Live.  The title might be used to describe how I raised my own children; but with my youngest firmly in elementary school now, I was looking for encouragement and direction as I consider teaching other preschoolers from the same homegrown bent.  This book is just what I was looking for!

 

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The authors, Kathy Lee and Leslie Richards, are mothers of several children, birthed and adopted; including gifted and special needs.  They have years of education and hands-on experience between the two of them, and their book is beautifully compiled.  A large, 81/2″x 11″, high gloss paperback, it is bold, colorful, inviting; and full of life.  With the family pictures and personal anecdotes generously scattered throughout the book, by the end of it, I felt like I had shared conversations and special moments with wonderful, trusted friends.

From their intros, they had my attention. Kathy Lee says, “Children who experience their preschool years discovering and experiencing are more willing to take risks later in their education journey.”  I didn’t previously know this, so within the first few pages I gained valuable information.  Then, Leslie said, “. . . much of learning can be done within the everyday rhythm of life — measuring flour, skip counting on the trampoline, bringing a meal to a shut-in, writing letters to friends, participating in interesting conversations about big ideas,” and I was reminded of what I do know; and I found encouragement.

The Homegrown Preschooler is divided into 2 sections:

Chapters 1 – 9 help you understand why and how to educate your child/ren at home, giving them a foundation for life-long learning.

Homeschooling – Harvesting a Bountiful Life

Learning through Play

Sowing the Seeds – Preschool Learning

Setting the Stage

Home Life = Learning — Slow Down and Teach

Who Has Time for This?

Organizing It All

Days and Seasons That Don’t Fit in the Box

and

Special Circumstances.

The second section is nearly 100 pages, with at least 200 “easy-to-pull-together”, age appropriate Activities to prepare your child for kindergarten and beyond.  Promoting a healthy educational balance for –

Home Life

Science

Gross Motor

Fine Motor

Math

Language & Emergent Literacy

Art

and Social – Emotional skills.

An Appendix includes an Activity Checklist, Getting Started Checklist; and pages of Resources, with web sites, books, blogs and apps to lend a hand, instruct and encourage you along the way.  They share all their favorites!

I tried recipes, for food and play.  There are dozens of them throughout the book.  I’ve made ordinary finger paints and play dough before, but I’d never made clean mud or puffy paint!  The make-ahead Turkey Taco Pie is easy.  The recipe makes a lot, so it can be divided and frozen for extra pies, but it is actually perfect for my large family.  It tastes good, too!  I hone in on housekeeping and organizational tips, because the Lord knows I can use as much help in that department as I can get.  There are so many good ideas here — some I’ve had myself, implemented and forgotten, or simply slacked off on, and I’ve read them as gentle reminders; others are brand new, and more than once I’ve thought, “Duh, why didn’t I think of that!”  For example, we have wood floors and I taught my children how to sweep and mop them.  How much more fun is it to have “The Clean Floor Dance Party: This often dreaded chore will become one of your favorites! Provide your child with a pair of white tube socks and a spray bottle of white vinegar and water. Encourage your child to squirt the hard floor with the vinegar solution. Put on your favorite dance music. Dance and skate around on the floor until it is shiny!”   Clean floor, lots of fun and laughter, plus, with the amount of floor we have, this gets everyone’s heart rate up and counts as cardiovascular exercise, or PE, too!

I have no doubt, I will continue to use this book, digging into its riches.  At $29.95, it’s a treasure I can share with my daughters who are just beginning to teach my preschool grandchildren.  The Homegrown Preschooler is much more articulate than I am and I think it will be one of the best tools I can offer them for their journey.

My Crew mates had the choice of reviewing this same book or one titled, Global Art.  You can read their reviews when you click the graphic below and follow the link.

 

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Blessings,

pk_siggy-purple2

 

Disclaimer*   I received The Homegrown Preschooler: Teaching Your Kids in the Places They Live, 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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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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Jun
14

Art Ditto by Birdcage Press ~ A TOS Review

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It never ceases to amaze me what one creative, motivated momma can accomplish when she has three young children, and wants to teach them that learning is fun!   In this case, the woman is Wenda O’Reilly.  Her first game was published by Birdcage Press in 2000.  There are now more than 30 award-winning games available!

 

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“Classic card games with an educational twist.”

I recently had the opportunity to review Art DittoIt is a memory game, but it is so much more, too!

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There are 48, 2 1/2″ x 2 1/2″, high-gloss, heavy-duty tiles of famous museum-quality paintings.  The paintings depict birds, boats, cats, flowers, horses; and music.  They are gorgeous!  There are also 8, 5″ x 10″ cards that can be used for collecting art sets.  Designed for ages 4+, it is a wonderful game for family play with multiple ages.  You’ll find it on the website for $24.95, and possibly in your local art museum’s gift shop.

Because Art Ditto is a memory game, it promotes visual processing, matching, memory, taking turns; and sharing for young children.  The pictures are vibrant, and hold a child’s attention.  This game is not just for wee ones, though.  The cards list the subject of the painting, the artist; and the name of the painting and the date.  The text is written in four languages!  English, French, Spanish; and German.  (I do wish there was a pronunciation guide included, because it took me some time to look up the proper pronunciations so I could read them aloud.)  This game could easily be used, with older students, as a supplement to their art studies, history; and language.

I played it with a 4 year old.  Just me and my granddaughter.  She loved the art!  We spent at least 15 minutes just enjoying the paintings, and discussing what we saw in them.  48 cards seemed a bit overwhelming for a memory game, though, and it took us forever to match them; so after the first game, we chose themes ahead of time.  One time we chose the tiles with flowers and tiles with the color green on them, another time we chose tiles that had something “living” on them, and so on.  Each new game, we mixed up the set of tiles and played with the smaller set, making it quicker and a little more enjoyable for her age.  It’s a game that can easily grow with her, and future grandchildren.

My Crew mates reviewed several of the products that are available at Birdcage Press, and if you click the banner below and follow the link you’ll find them there.

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 Blessings,

pk-siggy-1

 

Disclaimer*   I received the game, Art Ditto, 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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Jun
07

Math Mammoth ~ A TOS Review

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This is a review of Math Mammoth — multiple math options and resources for your child — created by Maria Miller.  She has compiled hundred of pages of text and worksheets, organized as a complete curriculum, available for grades 1-6; or as worktexts/worksheets, by topic or grade level through grade 8/9 and including Algebra 1.

 

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Maria has spent more than 10 years developing these comprehensive math resources for Math Mammoth.  She has continued to make improvements to them too, adding new books over the years, and offering them not just in print form, but on CD; and as PDF downloads as well.  She has free tests on the website that can be used as basic math diagnostic tests.  I find these especially useful in determining any topic gaps or weak areas in my child’s math education to date.  In addition, Maria is more than willing to assist you with reading the test results and choosing grade level or topic placement.

Contact ~ Maria Miller – www.mathmammoth.com/contact.php

There are also more than 350 free worksheets and sample pages from Math Mammoth products and from Make It Real Learning activity workbooks, available on the Math Mammoth website.  My Schoolhouse Review Crew mates have used and reviewed the various products offered by Math Mammoth.  You can read their reviews when you click on the banner below and follow the link.

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I have been using the Light Blue Seriesfor 3rd grade, with my daughter.  The Light Blue Series complete curriculum resources include a Student Worktext A and B, along with answer keys, cumulative reviews; and tests for each specified grade level.

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The Student Worktexts are the most important part of the curriculum.  In each worktext you find the lesson material, a thorough explanation of concepts; and exercises.  We read the topic introduction together and then I answer any questions my daughter might have.  There is no prep work for me.  In all honesty, the text practically teaches itself, because Maria Miller is very clear and concise in her direction.  She has visualized how she would teach and tried to transpose that to the Student Worktext.  I usually watch my daughter work a couple of problems, and if she seems to grasp the concept then I assign some of the exercises for practice and reinforcement.  There are 163 pages in the Grade 3-A Worktext, and 158 in 3-B.  They are divided into ten chapters covering:  Addition & Subtraction, Multiplication Concept, Multiplication Tables, Telling Time, Money, Place Value with Thousands, Geometry, Measuring, Division; and Fractions.  Each chapter lists numerous internet websites that can be used to supplement book work as desired.  During the week, we choose 2 or 3 online games or worksheets that she can do for fun and added practice.  Maria’s tried to think of everything, and as I said previously, she’s always making improvements.  “The PDF files in the download or CD are enabled for annotating. This means that the student can actually complete the PDF file on the computer, using the typewriter and drawing tools available in Acrobat Reader version 9 or higher, or on a tablet device such as an iPad, using a PDF app that has annotating tools.”  The downloadable version of the curriculum includes a Worksheet Maker for extra worksheets, and conveniently there is a separate PDF file for each chapter cumulative review and test.  Many of the lessons have been completed in a day, but several have had to be spread out over 2 or 3 days.  In general, we spend an hour to an hour and a half each day on this course.

The main difference we have noticed while using Math Mammoth – Light Blue Series is that it spends concentrated, in-depth time on a topic, as opposed to skipping or jumping from topic to topic within a lesson; giving ample time and practice for mastery.  It doesn’t rely on drills & memorization as much as understanding & knowledge gained.  Maria encourages one to “plan your mathematics school year as a set of certain topics, instead of a certain book or certain pages from a book.”  I haven’t worked our math curriculum in this manner before now, but it seems to make sense and is working very well for my daughter.  A single topic, like fractions, can be mastered much quicker than the entire 3rd year math book, and she gains confidence each time she “conquers” a specific topic.  Her ability is affirmed more often and her desire to tackle the subject is evident when she enthusiastically asks, “May I do my math, now.”

There are a few manipulatives needed for the Grade 3 Curriculum:  an analog clock, a ruler, a measuring tape, measuring cups; and kitchen scales.  Other than these items, the curriculum is complete.  The full set download is $34.00, a CD is $39.00; and printed material is $45.95.  There are obvious added printing costs with the purchase of the download or the CD, but I still feel like it’s a good value.

I plan to read the reviews of the Blue Series, because it is worktexts for various topics, with each book covering 2-3 grade levels.  I expect that it is as well written as the Light Blue Series, and I’ll be able to use it to review and bridge some gaps with a couple of my older children.  Would your child benefit from using Math Mammoth?

 

Blessings,

pk_siggy-lime1

 

Disclaimer*   I received Light Blue Series – Grade 3, full set curriculum download, 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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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,

 

pk-siggy-1

 

 

 

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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Aug
22

Make a Defense

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Where did we come from?

Who are we?

Why are we here?

How should we live?

Where are we going?

Have you ever asked any of these questions?  When asked, can you answer your child, your spouse, your friend or neighbor?  These are the five most consequential questions in life, and most people, even the majority of Christians cannot give Biblically-based answers for the hope that we have.

[1 Peter 3:15]   “In your hearts honor Christ the Lord as Holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.”

When we study the reasons for why we believe what we believe, we build the strength, develop the confidence and assurance to “destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God.” [2 Corinthians 10:5]

[2 Peter 4:1-2]  “I charge you…preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.”

Many good books have been written to address these questions and the multitude of others posed by believers and skeptics alike.  Is there such a thing as truth, and can it be known?  Who made God?  Does similarity of design prove a common ancestor or a common designer?  Is Moral Law undeniable?  Do we see Biblical miracles today, and if not, why?  Why can’t all religions be true?  Is the New Testament reliable?  Did Jesus really rise from the dead?  Was he a mere prophet, The Son of God, or a madman?  The one book I have found to address each of these questions is I Don’t Have Enough FAITH to Be an ATHEISTby Norman L. Geisler and Frank Turek.

This an exceptional book of Christian Apologetics.  It is an intensive read, over 400 pages.  I’m still reading it, and sharing my single copy with two teens.  I’ve been encouraged by their comments:

“I like that it’s not just for Christians.  I can think of two people, right now, that I want to give this book to!”

“I need a dictionary, but the cool thing is that the book is interesting enough that I don’t mind getting the dictionary to reap the full benefit.”

“It’s not conversational.  I’m still being taught, but it isn’t stagnant writing.  It’s fast paced and interesting.”

“I think the authors do a good job of detailing and explaining objecting viewpoints.  They come across as being persuasive without being pushy.”

Personally, in reading I Don’t Have Enough FAITH to Be an ATHEIST, I was surprised at the level of blind faith it takes to be an Atheist, especially in light of the logical and reasonable path to belief, in Jesus Christ, that is cleared by Geisler and Turek.

~

Apologia has stepped up to make this a full Apologetic Curriculum, by publishing an exhaustive workbook based on the book.  I Don’t Have Enough FAITH to Be an ATHEIST Curriculum is an oversize, spiral-bound book, written by Frank Turek and Chuck Winter.  “It presents supplemental material, study questions, and activities designed to encourage personal reflection and discussion and build writing skills.”  It is suggested that two to three weeks be spent reading each chapter, and completing the study questions and assignments.  Because of the flexibility of this course, it is our intention to spend about a week on each chapter, the first time through the book, but then to read it again, reviewing the notes and answers we recorded the first time.  My girls and I agree, “We want to be able to make a defense now, not 9 months from now,” which is the amount of time it would take with the original course plan. 

I have browsed through the entire curriculum, but have not had much opportunity to use it, yet, because of a delivery issue that delayed the arrival of my book.  The book can be read alone, but the curriculum guides you through an in-depth study and must be used in conjunction with the text.  For every chapter in I Don’t Have Enough FAITH… there is a corresponding chapter in the Curriculum workbook.

Each chapter is divided into four main sections.

Hook – “Questions that Grab Your Mind” and stimulate your brain for learning.

Book – “Facts in This Chapter” promote a deeper study and testing of comprehension and retention of the material.

Look – “You Do the Digging” is suggested assignments that prompt you to “question with boldness,” as Thomas Jefferson said, and not just take the author’s word for it.

Took – “What Do I Do Now?” leads you through a summary and possible applications.

This workbook is consumable, but because I plan to use it with several students over the next few years, we’ll use personal notebooks to transcribe the questions and write our answers.  There is a Glossary of Terms at the back of the book and every answer to every question in this study is provided in a downloadable Answer Key.  I did use one of the highlights of the workbook weeks before the book arrived.  In each lesson there are profiles of historical people or topics that are mentioned in the book, fascinating pages that give insight to, St. Augustine, Friedrich Nietzsche, David Hume, Isaac Newton, Nontheistic Religions, Clement of Rome, Mother Teresa, Biblical Archaeology, and more.  I read every one of them!

~

I’m excited to work through this study!  I want to be ready to tell anyone, at any moment, of The Hope that I have within me.  My enthusiasm has piqued my husband’s interest, and I can say without doubt, that this will be required reading for my children.

I Don’t Have Enough FAITH to Be an ATHEIST sells for $16.00, and the I Don’t Have Enough FAITH…Curriculum can be purchased for $33.00.  There are also optional DVD’s available that correlate directly to the book.

If you have questions or comments, please CONTACT Apologia.

Write ~

Apologia Educational Ministries
1106 Meridian Plaza Suite 220
Anderson, IN 46016

or

Call ~ 888.524.4724

Thanks to Apologia, teaching the essentials of the Christian faith is much easier for me than it once was.  I have previously used and reviewed the first three books in their What We Believe Series:   Who Is God? , Who Am I? , and Who Is My Neighbor?   I also appreciate their  Resources for Parents,  especially   Educating the WholeHearted Child.

You can read additional reviews of this book and curriculum, written by my Crew mates, when you click the banner below and follow the link.


 

 

“This does not mean there is no room for faith.  But God wants us to take a step of faith in light of evidence, rather than a leap in the dark.”  ~ Norman Geisler

 

Reading this book will give you the knowledge and the courage to answer life’s big questions, whether they’re your own or someone else’s.

 

 

Blessings,

 

 

Disclaimer*   A copy of I Don’t Have Enough FAITH to Be an ATHEIST, and the Curriculum by the same name, 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 sharing your thoughts with me. 
I appreciate 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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Aug
01

Summer School and More

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Unlike many families I know, including those that homeschool, we continue schooling throughout the summer.  We take plenty of breaks during the year, at our convenience, but we do school year-round.

I’ve recently added Zane Education, with *The Missing Piece (c), to our summer schedule.

 

 

Zane Education has  “the largest, and most comprehensive fully subtitled online educational video library”  compiled to accommodate the requirements of the K-12 curriculum, and aligned to National and State Standards.  There are over 1,500 videos, covering nearly 400 topics, provided with lesson plans, interactive online quizzes, and more!

 

Subjects include:

Art

Biology

Geography

Health

History

Library Skills

Literature

Mathematics

Music

Religious Studies

Science and

Social Studies

 

Research proves that *The Missing Piece (c) – using subtitles and closed captioning on video – can dramatically improve children’s reading and literacy skills.

~

Once subscribed, you can begin by selecting a subject and then a specific topic to study, according to the access you purchased.  [In our house, a Gold Membership allows me to utilize the video library for my elementary; middle and high school aged students, and continuing education for myself, at no additional cost!]  User Guides  are available and cater to your child’s specific bent.  You can also download, and even print, a Lesson Plan Guide for each video.  Zane provides a vast Video Word Glossary, and interactive study tools:  an Encyclopedia, a Dictionary, and a Thesaurus.

Click the graphic to view a FREE Educational Video of the Day

When you watch a video, you might notice a couple of the quirks that we found slightly annoying, but not distracting enough to discontinue use of the program.

  • Videos do not play full screen.  There are some courses we could work on at the same time, but the viewing screen doesn’t really accommodate more than one person at a time; so, we’re concentrating on individual lessons.
  • There are non-functional button graphics in the videos.  I believe they are part of an older system and we just made the choice to ignore them.

 

There is also quite a bit of evolutionary content in different videos, especially in the Biological Science series.  Personally, if I am made aware of such content, ahead of time, I make it part of my student’s education and address it in comparison to our new earth creationist view.  It is my personal belief and Zane’s conviction that “students should know and understand positions outside of evangelical Christianity.   We are confident that their faith will be stronger when they know both sides and understand why we believe the Biblical view of the world is correct both intellectually and spiritually.”   Zane Education not only makes one aware of the bias, they have also written a Christian Learning Guide to assist you in teaching the truth.  “Zane Education’s educational program and this document offers you and your children two critical requirements for future influence:  (1) solid grounding and factual education, and (2) a Biblical Christian perspective and application of the program.”

~

This is our plan of action, for getting the most out of Zane Education:

Day 1 –

Print or Pull-from-File the Lesson Plan Guide for your assigned subject.  If not already done, put it in a clear plastic sleeve for future use.  Read.

Look up Glossary Terms ~ write summarized definition; key words, etc.

Day 2 –

Start video, pause at the beginning of each new page/frame and write down highlighted words that are not listed in your Glossary Terms, then restart video > listen carefully.

Look up words and write definitions.

Day 3 –

Play/Read video on mute.

Review words.

Day 4 –

Watch video and work on assigned Sharpen Your Skills projects.

Day 5 –

Watch video.

Take quiz.  (Note – Quizzes are marked and correct answers supplied by Zane, when needed, so that even in testing the learning process continues.)

~

We found this schedule fairly intensive.  We didn’t always complete the vocabulary work on the set day, and often rolled it over to the next day, but the retention of the material has been excellent!

Many of my Crew mates made use of  Zane in an entirely different way, and it’s beneficial to read their reviews, too.  You can click the banner below to do just that.


~

Monthly Subscriptions start as low as $8.99 per Subject, $12.99 per Age/Grade Level, or Full Access – All Subjects – All Videos for $17.99.

Yearly Memberships are also available, starting at $98.89 per Single Subject through the Best Value – Full Access – Gold Membership for $197.89.

~

You can contact:   Zane Education, by email ~  follow the link on their website, call ~ 1.650.488-8204, or write ~

Zane Education

2203 NE 203rd Terrace

Miami, FL  33180

Also, watch for their latest developments and new products –

Read their News Blog and follow Zane Education on facebook.

Read – What You Get with Zane


Zane Education addresses the genuine need for different learning styles, in our homes and our schools.   I encourage you to follow the links I’ve provided throughout this post, and browse their website.   You may find that it is the Visual Learning Solution for your child’s needs – whether gifted or specialized, home schooled or public schooled; Summer School, Bridge work, or Full Curriculum.

~

As a “thank you” for reading my blog, I can offer you a 35% promotional discount on the purchase of any annual subscription to Zane Education, available through August 31, 2012.  Use code ZE828HSM during checkout, to receive your discount, and leave a comment telling me which subscription you chose.  Thanks, again.

 

Blessings,

 

 

Disclaimer*   A  one year, full access, Gold Membership subscription 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.

 

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
30

No-Nonsense

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Nonsense is defined as words or language having no meaning or conveying no intelligible ideas; things of no importance or value, trifles.  On one hand, I enjoy nonsense, in its rightful place.  The quite important, intelligent babble of an excited toddler makes me smile, but it does often sound like nonsense.  I delight in the nonsensical games that children create to play.  My husband thinks I’m beautiful, and that is utter nonsense, but it warms my heart just the same.

On the other hand, I appreciate that “America’s Math Teacher,” Richard Fisher, believes Algebra should be clear and concise.  He has added No-Nonsense Algebra to his Mastering Essential Math Skills Series, published by Math Essentials.

 

 

No-Nonsense Algebra is an over-size, soft bound book, with no-frills-black on white printed pages, plus free access to corresponding online video lessons.  Each lesson is self-contained, and covered in two pages – Introduction, Examples, Exercises, and Review.  There are many examples with fully explained step-by-step solutions.  You glean important and necessary instruction without the distracting trifles.  Rick Fisher’s teaching style is conversational and interesting.  He explains each topic in a way that can be easily understood.

 

There are 10 Chapters; nearly 200 pages, covering:

Necessary Tools for Algebra

Solving Equations

Graphing and Analyzing Linear Equations

Solving and Graphing Inequalities

Systems of Linear Equations and Inequalities

Polynomials

Rational Expressions (Algebraic Fractions)

Radical Expressions and Geometry

Quadratic Equations

and Algebra Word Problems

You’ll also find Useful Resources in the back of the book.  A Glossary of Terms, Algebraic and Geometric Formulas, and Important Symbols.  There is a Multiplication Table, Commonly Used Prime Numbers, Squares and Square Roots, Fraction/Decimal Equivalents, and Solutions to the student exercises.

Having used No-Nonsense Algebra I can confidently say we have clearly seen improved comprehension of formulas and equations, and better test scores.  At just $27.95, an award-winning math teacher is personally tutoring my students, for less than a dollar a week, since Rick supplies whole-family video access with the purchase of the book!  It doesn’t take a math whiz to see that this is no-nonsense!

Mastering Essential Math Skills workbook series is a highly successful mathematics teaching system, that prepares any student for Algebra.  Each workbook uses Review Skills, Lesson Hints, and Problem Solving for reinforcement and mastery of a concept.  Individual books in the series are:  Decimals and Percents, Fractions, Geometry, Pre-Algebra Concepts, Problem Solving, and Whole Numbers and Integers.  These workbooks are geared to compliment any math curriculum, and although we did not have the time to thoroughly use the Essential Math – Geometry, yet, I’m looking forward to adding it to our schedule in the Fall.  There is also Book One, for grades 4/5, and Book Two, for Middle Grades/High School, with companion tutorial DVD’s available, that create a complete mathematics program.

Mr. Fisher is so confident that his Essential Math Skills will positively affect your student that he offers an Unconditional – No Risk – Guarantee.  If you use the materials for 20 minutes a day, as directed, and you don’t see improved math test scores, send Rick Fisher a note saying so.  You’ll receive a complete refund.

~

My Crew mates had the opportunity to review No-Nonsense Algebra, and several of the other Math Essentials products.  I’m especially interested in reading their opinions of Mastering Essential Math Skills – Book One.  This is a book and tutorial DVD set, for $33.95.  You, too, can read each of their reviews when you click on the banner below and follow the link.

 

 

 

Comments or Questions?

Contact:

Write –

Math Essentials
P.O. Box 1723
Los Gatos, CA 95031

Email –  math.essentials@verizon.net

or

  Call – 866.444.MATH

 

Blessings,

 

 

Disclaimer*   A copy of No-Nonsense Algebra, access to Online Video Lessons, and the Math Essentials – Geometry book 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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Jul
23

Study Geography Alongside History

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“It only makes sense to study geography alongside history.  In history, we learn about time, places, and people.  Geography covers the places part.”  I’d like to tell you that we’ve been studying this way throughout our homeschool journey, but I can not.  It’s more likely that we are just above the  “less than one-third of elementary and high school students showed proficiency in geography,”  as reported by the U.S. Education Department.

Children in America do not spend the time learning the lay of the land.  They do not recognize where a country is on a map, and certainly can’t identify the black outline of most countries.  Many do not know where the States of The Union are in relationship to one another.  If this isn’t sad enough, as cell phones and GPS systems become more available, students are not even developing map reading skills.

We like to travel by car.  We enjoy hiking and exploring nature, and kayaking on the lake; so, we’ve taught our children how to read a map.  They know how to follow directions, understand North, South, East and West; can calculate distance and recognize terrain, etc.  In our house, learning the names of our States, their black outlines, where they’re located, and the name of their capital city, is a common occurrence, along with the memorization of the names of the Presidents of the United States, and the recitation of the 66 Books of The Bible, among other things, but not in connection to our history.  This would be the reason we might fall outside the statistical average.

Our World Geography knowledge is poor, but I’m steadily working toward changing that, with the assistance of Knowledge Quest and their Map Trek collection of historical outline maps.

 

 

 

 

Map Trek maps are in chronological sequence; so, they can be used in conjunction with any chronological history program.  There is also specific curricula that is complimented by the use of Map TrekTruthQuest History, Tapestry of Grace, Sonlight Curriculum, Mystery of History, Living Books, and Ambleside Online, to name a few.  Free Curriculum Integration Guides are available.

Current volumes of Map Trrek include:

Map Trek – Ancient World

Map Trek – Medievel World

Map Trek – New World

Map Trek – Modern World

incorporating  the

Map Trek – U.S. Edition

There are full-color teacher maps, black outline maps, and reproducible student maps, available.  It is recommended that map study be added to a curriculum, once or twice a week.  Since we are just building our map-study-habit, we chose to use the maps just once a week.  The maps and activities are broken down into three categories; covering grades K – 12.  I chose the U.S. Edition; printing maps from our birth states and becoming familiar with their facts, even though our long term goal is to improve our World geography knowledge.  The best map work is fun and interactive, and that makes Map Trek one of the best!

~

Individual Map Trek Editions for The World are $14.95, with the U.S. Editions being $19.95 in e-book format.  The complete set of 6 e-books is $47.00, and the beautifully bound, over-sized, hard cover book, with a CD-Rom of reproducible student maps is $55.00.

~

I hope you will utilize the links I’ve provided to visit Knowledge Quest’s website for more information.  You can also read the opinions shared by my Crew mates, when you click on the banner below.

 

 

Comments or Questions?

Contact:

Write ~

Knowledge Quest

P.O. Box 789

Boring, OR  97009

Email ~ helpdesk@knowledgequestmaps.com

Call ~ 877.697.8611

or Follow on Facebook

 

 

Blessings,

 

 

Disclaimer*  An e-book set of this product 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.

 

I appreciate your viewpoint and 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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