Review of Unlock Math’s Unlock Geometry Course

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Teaching high school math can be intimidating for homeschool moms like me so I was thrilled to have my son try UnLock Geometry from UnLock Math.  I am a former High School Math teacher, so I know about all the problems that come with teaching students math.  Over the years, our family has used a variety of math programs. So I was really excited to see the product review being offered.

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One of the details that impressed me most about this company is the level of customer service they provide.  Almost immediately after receiving the email informing us of our enrollment, I received a personal phone call from the owner of the company.  He impressed me with his concern about our family and our use of the course.  Since we have used online math programs in the past, I felt comfortable with my son using this program.

Each unit includes lessons, several quizzes, a unit review and a unit test.  So far there has been a quiz after every two lessons.  I feel this does a marvelous job of ensuring my son is retaining what he is learning while not providing an overwhelming amount of material.

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Each lesson contains a warm-up (which reviews material already covered), an instructional video, practice problems, problems to help the student stay sharp, reference notes, and challenge problems.  With the exception of the challenge problems, all other problems may be attempted as many times as needed for mastery.  Because this is an adaptive program, the student only gets as much practice as they need.  Another thing  I really liked about this course was the way the challenge problems only add to my son’s score if he gets it right.  If the answer to the challenge problem is wrong, it simply does not count at all.  The days my son got the challenge problems right, he was absolutely thrilled to tell me so.

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As a parent, I set up a parent account first.  Here is what the parent screen looks like after logging in to the site. On this screen, I can find tabs for managing students, courses, billing contact, credit card, payments, and passwords.  It is easy to navigate around the screens.

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I love how I am even able to navigate to my son’s dashboard while signed into my parent account.  This becomes very useful if my son needed to redo a section after I looked at his grade for a particular assignment.  One item that took a while to get used to for our family was how the grade book shows the average based on the total number of points possible for the course instead of for only what has been completed.

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My son has really enjoyed this program so far.  Because I aim for my son to master concepts, we have not gotten as far as I would have liked.  But, I know we will finish out the course.  He really seems to be learning a lot and does not complain about doing the assignments.   I also plan on having my 14-year-old daughter do the Algebra program potentially in the fall.

I love that the computer does all the grading work for me.  All I have to do is look online to see his progress and scores.

Here are some more screenshots I took.

Currently, Unlock Math offers, Unlock Pre-Algebra, Unlock Algebra, and Unlock Algebra 2 in addition to Unlock Geometry.  If you would like to read more reviews about Unlock Geometry or any of their other courses, click here or on the graphic below.

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Review of the Adventures of Rush Revere Book Series

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American history comes to life with the Adventures of Rush Revere Book Series from Adventures of Rush Revere #1 New York Times Bestselling Book Series by Rush and Kathryn Adams Limbaugh.  When I saw the opportunity to review these books, I had to have them to add to our family library.  I have been a fan of Rush Limbaugh’s talk show for years.  So I knew our family would love these books.

Rush Limbaugh and his wife Kathryn Adams Limbaugh have written an amazing set of books that pull the reader into events from America’s past.  The stories are intriguing and pull the reader both into the current time period as well as major events from our history.  These books portray the true Christian background of our country.  With the combination of the present and the past, these stories have a definite dramatic flair that lends to being read out loud.  Every time I read a portion of these books to family members, the books enthralled our family.  The books provide laughter, humor, suspense, and all kinds of other emotions.

When the books arrived, they came wrapped in a beautiful ribbon tied in a bow.  So I had to get a picture with the ribbon.  The covers have amazing colors and details.  The paper inside makes the reader feel as though they have gone back in time.  These books contain amazing photographs, charts, maps and depictions of great events from history.  There are five books in the set.  Each one investigates important people, places, and events in American history.

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I planned on reading the books first and then having our children read them or possibly reading the books aloud as a family.  So as soon as the books arrived, I jumped right into reading the first book.  “Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims” starts with the story of Rush Revere and his talking horse, Liberty.  Rush Revere serves as a substitute teacher at Manchester Middle School.  The story opens with Rush and Liberty aboard the Mayflower.  The story chronicles the events of the Pilgrims and Strangers on the Mayflower along with the crew responsible for getting them to their new home.  Myles Standish, William Bradford, William Brewster along with Squanto and Samoset are some of the important people mentioned from history.  This story includes traveling on the Mayflower right up to the First Thanksgiving.  Tommy and Freedom enjoy traveling with Rush Revere throughout time.

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The second book is “Rush Revere and the First Patriots”.  This book includes Benjamin Franklin, Samuel Adams, and even Paul Revere.  This story begins with the most unfortunate incident of Liberty bringing Benjamin Franklin to the present.  The idea of actually getting to talk to these fathers of the United States of America brings wonder and amazement.  Unfortunately, we have only gotten about half way through this story.  But we are enjoying it as much as the first book.  One of the key parts of this story is the introduction of a new character named Cam, who becomes a good friend to Tommy and also participates in the group’s time travels.

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The third book in the series is “Rush Revere and the American Revolution”.  This book begins in the year 1775 and examines the time of the American Revolution.  So famous individuals like Dr. Joseph Warren and George Washington play an important part in the story.  In the present, Cam’s father is serving in Afganistan and Cam is relatively angry about the situation.  As the wife of a soldier, I can relate to Cam and his father, especially since we have other family members and friends who have served in the military overseas.  The story also includes the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

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The fourth book in the series is “Rush Revere and the Star-Spangled Banner”.    In this book, our group from the future is “Rush Rush Rushing” to the year 1787,  Our time-traveling crew causes a major incident at the National Archives before traveling to the past.  I am really looking forward to reading this story.

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The final book in the series is “Rush Revere and the American Presidency”.  This book includes on of the time-traveling students deciding to run for school president.  So Rush Revere and Liberty take the students back to the start of the United States of America.  So it deals a lot with George Washington as the first president and the difficult decisions and issues the country faced in those initial days.

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These books do an amazing job of making the reader actually feel he or she is present at the time of the events being described.  At the end of some stories, a list of discussion questions can be found.

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These are books that should be shared and make excellent books to be read aloud. Another option is to buy them as audiobooks to listen to on long distance travels or for students who better hearing stories instead of reading them.  By visiting the website for Rush Revere, a variety of resources including specific ones for homeschoolers can be found.  Another section of the website I really liked is the section entitled Revere Riders, which includes a history of how the series began, book summaries, scholarships and even wallpapers that can be downloaded.

Our family definitely recommends this series.  If you would like to read other reviews from other members of the Homeschool Review Crew, click here or on the graphic below.

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Blogging A to Z Challenge – “L” is for….

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I am back with another entry in my blogging a to z series.  The letter for this post is “L”, which stands for Love, Learning, and Listening.

I love having my children around during the day.  I love the freedom and flexibility that comes with homeschooling.  We can spend time on things that actually interest the children in addition to the required subjects.  I want my children to love learning (even if they do not love every single subject.

Second, “L” is for learning.  I want my children to become engrossed with learning.  I want them to seek to gain knowledge and find things that interest them.  We can use methods of teaching and researching that interests them and involves them in the learning process.

Third, “L” is for listening.  I want our children to become active listeners.  So we use things like audiobooks to help them focus their ears on what they are hearing.  Also, I want them to recognize the importance of listening as well as being able to talk in a coherent manner.

So what does “L” bring to mind for you?  I would love to hear from you.

Review for Apologia Educational Ministries’ Internship for High School Credit

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A well-planned internship can be a great way for a high school student to explore a possible career path and Apologia Educational Ministries has created Internship for High School Credit to walk students and parents through the process of a high school internship and determining high school credit for the internship.  I love the idea of my children gaining practical experience in areas related to the field they think they want to go into in the future.

When I saw the opportunity to review this product, I was excited for our family.  Over the years, we have enjoyed using many of Apologia’s products.  So I felt confident this product would be amazing and it did not disappoint me.  With a son who is about to turn twenty-one and three children still in high school, this seemed to be an excellent product to review.  Because of plans we already had for this summer and other commitments, I decided to review this product with the goal of having at least one of our children doing an internship either next spring or summer.

This review is being done from my perspective as a parent.  The workbook is broken into five sections. The introduction discusses the difference between an apprenticeship and an internship.  Also, it recognizes the need for students to have practical hands-on experience in addition to book work.  Instructions for using the workbook are included here as well.  I found the workbook to be straight-forward and easy to read.
The first section is about getting started.  This section includes determining the type of internship.  So in my oldest son’s case, he wants to be a Youth Pastor – so even though he is college-aged, this book would be a great program for him to work through and obtain an internship.  There are also suggestions for students who do not know what they want to do in the future.  My third son fits this category.  We have discussed the idea of him doing an internship and he is receptive to the idea. So once he is done helping with Vacation Bible School and then attending our church’s Youth Service Camp, I plan on going through some assessments online to find where his strengths and interest lie.  This way we can start to make actual preparations in the fall for an internship in either the spring or summer in a field that actually interests him.

Here are some examples of some brainstorming pages I did for my oldest and youngest sons as well as our 14-year-old daughter.

The first section provides information on interviewing, writing resumes, determining high school credit and even how to prepare for the first day.  All of these are important skills to know.  I know growing up I was glad to have my parents’ assistance with such tasks.  There are even suggestions for the first day.

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The second section includes information for parents.  The first part addresses contact the parents should have with potential supervisors.  It also stresses the importance of knowing and following the child labor laws for your state.  I found it helpful that parents need to make sure they know what hours students may work and how many hours are acceptable.  I also found it helpful this section points out safety concerns and that parents need to know the working conditions are acceptable.  Transcript documentation, course titles, grades and the number of credits to be earned are also discussed.   Here are some sample pages.

The third section looks at the first semester and includes worksheets for semester goals, weekly worksheets, performance worksheets, and skills gained worksheets.  Questions and activities are also provided for each week with a place for the supervisor to sign.  These worksheet pages also include helpful tips, quotes, and other helpful information.  End-of-Semester Work performance worksheets are also provided.  Here are some samples of these pages.

 

If the student is going to do another semester for the internship, additional worksheets are provided for that as well in Part IV.  A final writing assignment, thank you note suggestions and examples, along with a discussion about obtaining a letter of recommendation and how to update a resume are included.

The detailed records that are going to be accumulated through the course of the internship will provide valuable documentation for student records, portfolios or other required documentation for colleges or other organizations.  I feel confident my children will benefit from these pages in the future.  I look forward to actually setting up an internship for our third son in the coming months and seeing where the journey will take him.  Even if he decides whatever field he interns in is not for him, I know he will take away valuable insights from the experience.

If you would like to read more reviews about Internship for High School Credit or another one of Apologia Educational Ministries‘ products, How to Homeschool with Stunning Confidence, Contagious Joy, and Amazing Focus (DVD & Coursebook), click here or on the graphic below.

 

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Bloggin A to Z – “K” is for …..

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Today I am continuing my blogging a to z journey.  The letter for this post is “K”, which is for kindness and kingdoms.

One of our main goals in homeschooling our children is to raise them to be kind to others.   By homeschooling, we are able to volunteer in a variety of situations.  So my children have the opportunity to get along with all types of people in all different age groups.  We want them to recognize how important it is to be courtesy and friendly to everyone.

Another thing “k” stands for is the kingdom of God.  We want our children to serve God and advance His Kingdom.  We spend time in His Word daily.  We are able to control what they read, see and do.  We love seeing our children seek after His Will for their lives.

So what does “K” stand for in your mind?  I would love to hear from you.

Review of Memoria Press’ Course – The Book of Trees

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We reviewed The Book of Trees but Memoria Press also offers Latin Curriculum from Early Elementary to High School!  We have enjoyed using various products from Memoria Press through the years for Latin and my daughter was excited to have the opportunity to review The Book of Trees. The set we received to review included the Teacher Guide, the textbook, and the student workbook.  We did not receive The Tree Book and the Peterson Guide, so my daughter was able to use the Internet for research instead.  While I see the benefits of these other two books, I feel that supplementing with Internet research worked well for our daughter.

I enjoy taking a classical approach to our children’s’ education, so Memoria Press fits the bill nicely.  My daughter does not have plans to go into any science field in the future, but she loves learning about science.  However, it needs to be presented in a way that captures her interest.  As soon as I showed her the description on the website she was excited about the choices for science courses.  I enjoy seeing her engaged in her textbooks.

This set is designed for grades 6 – 8.  I was thrilled to see how captivated our daughter was with this set from the moment we received it.  I opened up the box and she immediately began reading the textbook and then started completing the pages in the workbook.  The textbook gave her interesting facts to share with our family.  The workbook provided opportunities to show what she had learned.

She easily answered the questions in the workbook.  Once she finished labeling the parts of the plant she even took the time to color the plants.  When her father arrived home, she had to share what she had learned that day with him.  I love watching her excitement when learning something new. She shared with hi what she found interesting from the lesson.

This set teaches everything from taxonomy to plant respiration to plant morphology, photosynthesis, flowers, and fruits.  Each day, my daughter typically did the reading in the textbook and then the pages in the workbook.  For most students, I think reading the textbook one day, doing the workbook another day and possibly doing extra activities or research on a third day of the week would work well.  After each lesson, she was ready and eager to share what she had learned with her family.  I never had to listen to her complain about the work or indicate that she did not want to do it.

Here are some pictures of the inside of the textbook.

I like the variety of activities in the workbook.  These activities included reading and questions, diagramming and labeling, actual hands-on activities, identifying trees, researching trees, and even opportunities for sketching.  For a child like ours that loves to draw this course is a great fit.

Here are some pictures of the inside of the workbook.

 

Finally, here is a picture of a page in the Teacher Guide.

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Memoria Press provides a wonderful glimpse into botany with this course.  Even though my daughter has not completed the course yet, I know we will finish it.  I see us possibly doing Nature’s Beautiful Order, another course by Memoria Press later in the summer.  The fact the curriculum is a company that provides classical Christian homeschool curriculum is a wonderful blessing for our family.

If you wish to read more reviews about this course or other products from Memoria Press, click here or on the graphic below.

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Review of YWAM’s Christian Heroes Then and Now : Betty Greene – Wings to Serve

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I love adding  Christian biographies to our studies so I was excited to review Christian Heroes- Betty Greene, one of the books from YWAM Publishing.  YWAM Publishing quickly became one of my favorite sources for quality books when we began homeschooling eleven years ago.  Over the years, we have collected quite a few of the books, so it was wonderful to find one that was new to our family.  Since we have a fourteen-year-old daughter, and her father spent some time in the Air Force, I felt Betty Greene would be a perfect match for our family.

I absolutely love books and every one that I have picked up from YWAM Publishing have blessed our family.  Betty Greene proved to be another success.  For this review, I decided to simply read the book myself and then have my daughter read the book by herself.  Although she has not finished the book at the time of this review, she definitely plans on reading it all.

Betty Greene tells the story of a young woman who discovered a passion for flying along with a passion for Jesus Christ.  She lived in Lake Washington, and with her parents’ support became a World War II WASP pilot.  Through her service during World War II, she met some men who eventually founded the Mission Aviation Fellowship.  The goal of this ministry was to provide aircraft support to those serving in the mission fields.  I loved reading about Betty Greene’s encounters with other individuals whose stories can be found in the Christian Heros series.


I loved reading about Betty Greene’s adventures while flying and how her faith never wavered or faltered.  She appeared to have an amazing ability to remain calm under some unbelievable circumstances, including a crash and flying in horrible conditions like an extraordinary sand squall known as a harmattan.  She exemplified the life of Jesus Christ in everything she did and said.  Her heart belonged to Jesus Christ and to her mission of flying.  Throughout her life, she demonstrated the heart of a Christian.

 


When I talked with my daughter about the book, she was probably about a third of the way through it. She thought the book was fun and interesting so far.  She liked the fact that Betty Greene and her twin brother had different interests from the other. She found it interesting that Betty Greene decided to take up flying.


One of the best parts of the YWAM Publishing titles is that many of them come with the option to also purchase a study guide to use along with the book.  The study guides can be found at this link.  These study guides offer additional resources to go along with the book.  The study guides offer key Bible verses, chapter questions, student explorations, community links, related themes to explore along with appendices that include books and resources to use, answers to chapter questions, and social studies reproducibles.  These guides include ideas involving history, geography, essays, creative writing, reading comprehension, drama, and art.  Using these guides along with the list of books and resources, a homeschooling parent could easily create an incredible unit study involving this book.

 

 

We decided to focus on the key Bible verses and work towards memorizing them during the review period.  Some of the key verses for this book include Mark 9:23b and Proverbs 18:15.  I also had our daughter orally answer some of the discussion questions. from the chapters as she completed them in the book.  Upon completion of the book, I plan on having her create a project involving a visual display, creative or essay assignment along with mapwork, and other relevant content.

I find the Christian Heros: Then & Now series to be a worthwhile investment.  These are books that the whole family can enjoy reading.  Another feature I love is that many of the titles are available as audiobooks, which is perfect for families taking long distant trips.  I know our family will be listening to Betty Greene and other titles from YWAM Publishing the next time we travel.

If you want to read more reviews about Betty Greene or other titles from YWAM Publishing, click here or on the image below.

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