Review of The Hamelin Stoop Series from 12 Gates Publishing

 

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We have been reading and re-reading the first two books in the brand new Hamelin Stoop Series from 12 Gates Publishing.  We received both Hamelin Stoop: The Eagle, The Cave, and the Footbridge (Book 1)and Hamelin Stoop: The Lost Princess and the Jewel of Periluna (Book 2).   As an avid reader myself, I am always on the lookout for books for our family to read.  So when I saw we had the opportunity to read this series, I was excited.  I planned on our sixteen-year-old daughter and our eighteen-year-old son reading these books as well as myself.

This young adult fantasy series by Robert B. Sloan includes adventure, danger, friendship, and more.  When I started reading the books, I was unable to put them down until I finished them. This is Mr. Sloan’s debut into the world of young adult fiction.

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The Hamelin Stoop series includes interesting characters, evil characters, unbelievable occurrence and more.  From the start of the book when we first met Johnnie and Simone, Hamelin’s parents, we had no idea of what a rollercoaster ride this book would take us on at all.  Forced to abandon their only child by pretending to throw him off a cliff and then leaving him at a Children’s Home creates dramatic tension and more.  The first book addresses Hamelin growing up from a baby to eleven years old.  He encounters a majestic eagle, a mysterious footbridge, a mysterious realm, and experiences he could not begin to imagine.

The second book finds him on a quest to help new friends find a powerful jewel and a beloved sister.  He learns of the war being waged between the evil Chimera and the mysterious Ancient One.  We also learn that appearances do not necessarily tell the true story.  Magical objects play important roles in helping the three accomplish their missions through teamwork and trust.

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This series provides ample opportunities for talking about bullying, fear, courage, change, and other characteristics and situations.  With people constantly leaving, Hamelin has to adapt to change. Yet in the case of the Hayleys’ becoming House Parents for the Children’s Home, they bring in positive experiences for all the children in the home. So for families facing change, this could be a good place to begin a conversation.

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The books contain a continuous storyline that carries on throughout the books in a way that keeps the reader interested.  I feel this book is written in a way to keep the interest of middle school students.  The language is appropriate for them as well.

The relationship between Hamelin, Layla, and her brother Bryan captures the essence of how families can arise without biological relationships. Because they are older than Hamelin,  they provide the role of being an older brother and sister.  We were able to discern there was more to Layla than what we first gathered.  Even when they leave the Children’s Home, they continue to look out for him.  The books illustrate how actions have real consequences, and helps illustrate how we need to take responsibility for our own actions.

Our family’s only real complaint with this series is that we did not like how the books seemed to cut-off abruptly and left us hanging.  The ending of the first book was acceptable because we already had the second book to read.  But the ending of the second book truly left us wanting to read more.  So I guarantee we will be investing in future books in this series.

You can find 12 Gates Publishing on social media:  on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, and Instagram.

So if you are looking for middle-grade fantasy books that include adventure, check out the new Hamelin Stoop Series from 12 Gates Publishing.  And click here or on the graphic below to read reviews by other members of the Home School Review Crew.

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Review of Techie Homeschool Mom’s Famous Artists Online Unit Study Volume 1

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Today I want to introduce you to the tech-based learning discovery experiences of the Famous Artists Online Unit Study (Vol. 1) from Techie Homeschool Mom.  The unit studies from Techie Homeschool Mom are designed to integrate multiple subjects across multiple age levels.  This online unit study incorporates, information, activities, along with creating original artwork.  The online unit study is meant to be self-paced.

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Beth Napoli, of Techie Homeschool Mom provides resources designed to guide learners in this ever-changing digital world.  From historical figures to famous artists to specific time periods and more, Techie Homeschool Mom has something for everyone.  These studies are designed for mid=elementary school children through middle school children.  Even though our daughter was outside of these age ranges, I still felt this product had something to offer our artistic daughter.

This online unit study provided an excellent amount of videos, text, audio files and more to help keep my daughter’s artistic mindset interested.  Once we were able to login to the course, the first section of the course provided detailed instructions on how the course was structured, how to used emaze (required to create an online digital art gallery.  Emaze is an additional site that is required for this particular unit study.  The instructions provided in the course made it easy to complete this task.

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Once we were set up with emaze, our daughter quickly moved into learning about what is art.  Then the course moved into information about specific artists and their time periods including Leonardo da Vinci, John James Audobon, Claude Monet, Paul Cézanne, Georges Seurat, Gustav Klimt, Henri Matisse, Wassily Kandinsky, Pablo Picasso, and  Salvador Dali.  The one thing I loved about this unit study is that it is meant to be self-paced.  So if your student wants to take off on rabbit trails, they can do so easily.

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Our daughter had to do a parody of the Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci.  She turned the Mona Lisa into a Medusa look-alike and I think she did a pretty good job.  However, when she found out I had shared the drawing with her father, she seemed to be rather surprised that I had done so.  Her brothers who saw the drawing thought she did an excellent job and were immediately able to recognize what she had done.

For each artist, our daughter had to create a word document in the program of our choice to record her thoughts and information regarding the Artistic Movement, the artist, artwork of the artist along with recording the information about the artwork.  One thing I liked as a parent is that students are given links to go to in order to find the artwork and information.  The videos are primarily contained within the online unit study, so children are not just wandering around the Internet without guidance.  I feel this material presented is age appropriate with the exception of the nudity.

If our daughter was younger, I would have previewed the course and the materials before allowing her to complete anything.  Because our daughter is 16 and I wanted to watch the materials with her, I decided to just have her begin the course.  If I had found anything objectionable, I would have either marked the section complete or found some way to minimize the information.

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My one caution about this particular course is that it does contain nudity.  However, this information is clearly stated at the beginning of the study.  Parents are given the option to preview the lessons before their student completes them and have the ability to opt-out of any lessons they do not feel are appropriate for their child.  So with that stated, I definitely feel this course is one that should be done with parental supervision.

This course is self-paced meaning there is not a particular schedule to follow.  So I let our daughter work on the course at her own pace.  So we have completed through the Impressionism period.  For the Impressionism Period, I realized too late that we did not have the materials we needed for the project, so we just used what we had on hand and will go back later to do it properly as described by the course.

Here is a sample of one of our google docs of information.

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Here is our daughter’s Mona Lisa parody.

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Here is the link to a video of our daughter’s online art gallery.

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Here are the Techie Homeschool Mom’s Social Media Links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/techiehomeschoolmom/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/TechieHSmom
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/TechieHSmom/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCGI-La5pBP4oFnd9DCRCdVg
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/techiehomeschoolmom/

All in all, I have to say our family is very pleased with the Famous Artists Online Unit Study (Vol. 1) from Techie Homeschool Mom.  So check it out for yourself.

Other members of the Home School Review Crew are reviewing other products from Techie Homeschool Mom including the Ancient Egypt Online Unit Study, the Ancient Greece Online Unit Study, the Ancient Rome Online Unit Study, the Famous Artists Online Unit Study (Vol. 1), the Famous Artists Online Unit Study (Vol. 2), the Solar System Online Unit Study, and the Famous Inventors Online Unit Study .

So click here or on the image below and check out more of these reviews of products from Techie Homeschool Mom for yourself.

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Review of Stopmotion Explosion and their Stop Motion Animation Kit

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With the Stop Motion Animation Kit from Stopmotion Explosion, my son was able to create his own Lego animation.  For as long as I can remember our youngest two have enjoyed creating things and making up their own stories.  So when our family had the opportunity to review this product, I was thrilled.  The Stop Motion Animation Kit can be used to make your own Lego Movies and more.  From stuffed animals, clay creations, Legos and more, this product offers the opportunity to make your own movies using animation.  Our 18-year-old son was excited to get to try this product.

Stopmotion Explosion offers the opportunity to animate and create almost anything you can imagine.  The Stop Motion Animation kit comes complete with Stop Motion Camera, Quick Start Guide, CD, and a seventeen chapter guide to assist you in your creations.  The Quick Start Guide includes instructions for installing the programs on Windows and MACS or even doing a mobile installation if you do not have a CD drive. how to focus the camera and additional information including a Q&A section.

Our son had to use the download since he does not have a CD drive for his computer.  He was really pleased to see that in addition to the CD, all of the software was available on the website.  It made it easy for him to get started.  He found the download quickly and easily.

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I have to say I feel the Quick Start guide provides everything you need to start creating quickly.  The 17-chapter book provides assistance with everything from how movies work, to creating stories, to building sets, cameras, lighting, composition, animating and more.  Our son only used this book when he had a question about what he was doing.  I feel it would be a fantastic book for someone who truly wants to dive deep into animation as opposed to someone who just wants to have fun.

When friends of our family heard about what we were doing, they offered to come and provide assistance to our son.  Their imaginations took flight and over the course of two very intense days, they captured a lot of pictures.  Here are some pictures of them working on the first day.

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Here are pictures of them working on the second day:

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From backdrops, lighting, figures and everything in between, the four had a great time working together.  However, we learned a very valuable lesson too late in the game for us:  make sure you back up every single photograph your family takes.  Otherwise, when you are ready to create your masterpiece film, you might find your file with all of the pictures has been corrupted and completely unable to be recovered.    This unfortunate event meant our son had to start completely from scratch.  However, I have to say I am still proud of the video he created.  You can click on the graphic below to watch the animation.

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Our son felt the book was very informative as a source for providing information.  I did not require him to read it in its entirety. From what he did see, it seemed to be well-written and the writers obviously knew what they were writing about.  However, he felt the actual program itself is very basic, and he would like to see a program that offers more options and choices.  He also felt it would be great for this to not rely so heavily on outside software, such as him using a third party program to actually create the movie itself.  He tried using the actual software to make his movie, but upon viewing it, the movie was not exactly what he had created initially.

Your creators set up scenes using their desired objects (in our case LEGOS),  and then take a series of pictures with them in various positions.  Next, the pictures are either turned into a movie using the included program, or you can upload them to a movie maker program of your choice.  From there, you can add sound effects and more.  One complaint my son had was the desire to be able to have more than one sound effect at a time.

Overall, I have to say we were pleased with this product.  However, I think my son would have enjoyed it more if he had been doing it simply for fun rather than having a deadline to meet for his creation.  I think having multiple people working on the animation could make the picture and staging part go faster.  So if you are looking for a product to do animation, you should definitely check out Stop Motion Animation Kit from Stopmotion Explosion for yourself.

You can find Stopmotion Explosion on Social media on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

Other members of the Home School Review Crew have also been using the Stop Motion Animation Kit from Stopmotion Explosion, so click here or on the graphic below to read more reviews.

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Review of CrossWired Science – Sound, and Fluid Dynamics

CrossWired Science provides online science learning in a fun and engaging way with Sound, and Fluid Dynamics.  Let’s face it, homeschooling families can use all the help they can get when it comes to streamlining our day.  I know when I was homeschooling our children, anything I could use that would allow me to combine the children into one course was helpful.  So even though we are only homeschooling two now who are both in high school, I was excited to have the opportunity to review this digital subscription.

CrossWired Science is a brand new science program that is quite different from most science curriculums.  Rather than a textbook, the program utilizes videos to convey the necessary information along with worksheets, experiments, research opportunities, reading, devotionals and more.  So it provides a wealth of learning opportunities along with opportunities to reinforce and grow your children’s faith.  A Parent login and dashboard, as well as a Student login and dashboard, are available.  The Student dashboard provides access to basically everything the student needs to complete the course.  However, some links such as the additional videos are only available on the Parental Dashboard.  The Parental Dashboard provides additional resources, planning calendars, answers to the worksheets, Quiz Results, Student progress, along with general links and unit links.  The site is easy to navigate and to find what you need.

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It is meant to be used as either a stand-alone curriculum or as a supplement and is good for children of any age.  The curriculum is Biblically-based which is important for our family.  More material and improvements to the program are being made daily.  Currently, there are two Global Topics that are available – Sound, and Fluid Dynamics.  Each of these is meant to take roughly a month to complete.  Each Global topic includes 8 core videos. The Fluid Dynamics Global Topic core videos include topics like the Wright Brothers, Planes, whiskers, boxfish and Penguins, Bernoulli, and more.

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The Sound Global Topic covers such topics as Sonar, how the ear works, how musical instruments work, how sound travels and more.  As a parent who has taken a class on sound and music in college, I was impressed by the material for this Global Topic.

A suggested plan is included on the website.  The plan is broken down for either those children who are 4-8 years old or those children who are over 8 years old.  Students will watch the Core Videos and do the quizzes and worksheets if able.  Then, each family has the freedom to select from the U-Choose selections such as Gold Digs or Digging Deeper or you can choose to use your own resources.  Students can try either level 1 or level 2 on the link lessons.  Students can read a book or magazine or start a collection.  Families can also do research, reinforcement activities, experiments or even field trips.  There is a tremendous amount of possibilities.

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Both of our children have science curriculums they are already using and love, so we were using this more as a supplement.  So currently, we are not doing the experiments, but I plan on having the two spend time this summer doing them instead.  Also, because this is a supplement, we did not choose to do everything suggested.  We focused primarily on watching the videos, discussing what we watched and doing the online quizzes.  We loved how reading is required, but various reading plans are provided.  If we were doing this as a stand-alone curriculum, we would utilize the Benge Books since we already have almost a bookcase full of them.  These books are perfect books to read alone or read aloud and even when our children were younger, they enjoyed reading or listening to them.

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So we did not work on this every day.  My goal was to cover one of the global topics within a three month time period.  I figured this plan would allow our children to go on any rabbit trails they desired.

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Since our family plays instruments and sings, we decided to start with the Sound course.  While in college, I took a course of the Physics of Sound and Music, so I was curious to see what would be discussed.  I found myself learning quite a bit as I previewed some of the material for myself.  The quality of the videos is excellent.  The videos are short enough to keep the attention of younger students.

The courses are set up with two different learning opportunities – one for first-timers, meaning those who are going through the material for the first time as well as one for second-timers – those who are repeating the material or who already have extensive knowledge of the material.

Eventually, 24 Global Topics will be available that will provide for 6 years of educational opportunities.  Over time, the depth and breadth of this program will be increased substantially.  CrossWired Science plans on keeping the cost affordable for homeschooling families, which is important to me.  It will provide for all Science material from kindergarten through Chemistry.  So if you are looking for a fresh approach to science check out CrossWired Science and online science learning in a fun and engaging way with Sound, and Fluid Dynamics.

Other members of the Home School Review Crew are discussing CrossWired Science and their experiences this week as well.  Click here or on the graphic below to check out other reviews by Crew members.

 

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Blogging A to Z – “M” is for Memories,

_M_ is for Memories, Models and More

Welcome to my next installment for the 2019 Blogging A to Z challenge.  The letter for today is “M” which is for Memories and Music.

Homeschooling has provided our family with a lot of memories.  From attending homeschooling activities to places we have been to homeschooling conventions we have attended, our family has made lots of memories.  My oldest son, many years later, still talks about his ride in an elevator with Mr. Andrew Pudewa of the Institute with Excellence in Writing.  Our children remember our many trips to Busch Gardens Williamsburg and to the cabins we have stayed at in at Fort Eustis.  We also have memories of particular products we have used and the topics we have studied.

On another trip from Pennsylvania, we took our children and three of their friends with us.  The three young ladies who came with us had never seen the ocean before.  The looks on their faces were priceless, especially when we were able to spot a school of dolphins in the ocean.

One of our most recent memories involves my second word for “M”, which is for music.  Our family loves to sing and for the last two years, we have also enjoyed playing musical instruments.  Our children have picked up various instruments including the flute, clarinet, bass clarinet, Contra-Bass (or Upright Bass), guitar, cello, viola, violin, trombone, french horn, trumpet, baritone horn, and the piano.  I love seeing our children, even at 22, 20, 18, and 16 exploring and discovering musical instruments for themselves.  Moreover, I love how my husband and I are able to play with them.

Through the years our family has sung together both as a family and in various church choirs.  We have even sung over the radio with my husband’s parents and some of his aunts (even though they were completely unaware of the fact until afterward).  The church we attended broadcasted the Sunday Service on a local radio station.  One Sunday, my in-laws and my husband’s aunts had come to Pennsylvania to visit and our immediate family was scheduled to sing a special number.  So we invited them to sing with us.  It was not until after the fact we realized they did not know it would be on the radio.  So it truly is one of our best memories.  Last fall, one of the same aunts came along with my in-laws to Texas to visit us.  Again, we made amazing memories while they were here.

One of my other favorite memories happened when we were visiting North Carolina while we were living in Pennsylvania.  We decided to take the children back to see the ocean.  So we left my in-laws house and drove to the ocean.  When we arrived I cautioned my husband that we needed to stay on the walkway since we did not have any towels with us to clean sand off our feet.  Before my husband and I had barely stepped away from our van, our daughter had run to the end of the walkway, took off her shoes, threw them up in the air and took off across the sand.  Needless to say, everyone ended up walking in the sand.

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

 

 

Blogging A to Z – “L” is for Love, Laughter, and Listening

#AtoZChallenge 2019 Tenth Anniversary blogging from A to Z challenge letter

So here is the latest installment for the Blogging A to Z challenge for 2019.  The letter for today is “L”.  “L” is for Love, Laughter, and Listening.

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The love of our children for each other was always around us.  But when we began homeschooling, the love for each other became more visible.  Also, I love watching how our three sons and our daughter interact with one another.  Friendships one child makes often spill over to their siblings. Where one child went, other children often followed.

Our home is constantly filled with laughter.  Our children laugh with each other.  My husband and I laugh with one or more of the children.  We share jokes, funny stories and more with each other.  Our children can be heard laughing with their cousins and friends while playing or talking with each other online.

Finally, listening plays a crucial role when homeschooling.  Being together all the time has its ups and downs.  Moments arise where tempers could easily flare, but if we take the time to listen to what the other person is saying things can often remain calm.  Also, listening allows us to hear and understand someone else’s viewpoint and opinion.

So what comes to mind for you when you see the letter “L”?  I would love to hear from you.

Also, if you want to read my other posts in this series, click here.

Blogging A to Z – “I” is for Instruments,

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Welcome to my next installment for my 2019 Challenge for Blogging A to Z.  Today’s letter is “I”, which is for instruments.  As a result of homeschooling, our children have had an incredible opportunity to learn different musical instruments.

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For example, our oldest son has learned to play the Cello and the Upright Bass.  He has learned a lot and has shown a lot of talent.  Right now, he plays with our homeschool band and strings program along with our local community band.  What makes this really special is that our whole family participates together in the homeschool band program, even Mom and Dad!

Our second son plays the Baritone horn, which comes from him playing the Euphonium with the Salvation Army Corps Band while we were in Pennsylvania.

Our youngest son plays the alto saxophone, the bass clarinet, the flute, and viola and also experiments with the trombone and french horn.  He desires to learn percussion, the oboe, and the piano so far.

 

Finally, our daughter plays the violin.  She loves playing with her brothers.  At home, she can be heard practicing with our youngest son on pieces they want to play together.

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So for our family, “I” is for Instruments.  What comes to mind when you see the letter “I”. I would love to hear from you.

Click here to read the rest of my posts in this series.

Blogging A to Z – “H” is for Heart, Helpful and Habits

Welcome to my next installment for the Blogging A to Z Challenge for 2019.  The letter for this installment is “H”, which reminds me of Heart, Helpful, and Habits.  First, we homeschool because we want to keep our children’s hearts.  Homeschooling allows to stay connected to our children and to demonstrate our love for them.

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Second, “H” is for helpful.  Ever since the beginning of our homeschooling journey, we have met some incredible people who have been helpful – either by means of friendship, information, or opportunities.  One of the most helpful curriculum resources I ever received was from a homeschooling mom at the beginning of our journey.  You may be wondering what that resource was, so I will tell you it was Cathy Duffy’s Top 100 Picks.  This book contains an incredible amount of information and insights that has helped our family through the years.

Finally, “H” is for habits. We wanted our children to develop good habits including habits involving their faith, their family, their schoolwork and their chores.  Homeschooling has helped us do that.

So what comes to mind when you see the letter “H”?  I would love to hear from you.

You can click here to read my other posts in this series.

 

Review of Transcripts Made Easy: The Homeschooler’s Guide to High-School Paperwork from Everyday Education

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If you need to create a high school transcript check out Transcripts Made Easy: The Homeschooler’s Guide to High-School Paperwork from Everyday Education.  As the mother of two homeschool graduates and two currently in high school, I recognize the importance of good record keeping and the need for transcripts.  But going about creating the transcripts is a different thing from just knowing about them.  Having been a public school teacher and assisting with the end of the year record keeping at one of the schools I worked for, I had some idea of what I was doing.  For this review, we received a downloadable PDF document to use.

Everyday Education offers resources for homeschooling through high school.  All of Janice Campbell’s books can be found on this site along with articles and other homeschool resources that will guide and direct you in your homeschooling journey.  Everyday Education has been a source for homeschooling resources and information since 2001.

All of our four children all have different goals and aspirations in life.  Our oldest son became a Certified Nursing Assistant and took training that only required a High School Diploma.  Our second son plans on possibly working for either the Post Office or as a Police Officer. So I expect he will need more detailed information to present when he begins the process of applying. Our third son has definite plans for going to college. So he definitely will need a detailed high school transcript. Then our daughter has other plans to attend college. But I want to have a record for her in case she changes her mind in the future.  I was glad to have the opportunity to review this product because it helped provide direction for each of these situations.

Let’s face it, it is easier to think about the need for transcripts before your child enters high school than after they have graduated.  Moreover, it is easier to record what you are doing as you are doing it rather than trying to remember what you have done. So with that in mind, I believe Transcripts Made Easy: The Homeschooler’s Guide to High-School Paperwork would benefit anyone with children who are in high school or are currently in or about to enter junior high/middle schoool.  For these younger students, starting proper record keeping early with a plan in mind will ensure an easier time creating transcripts.

Readers are advised to only refer to and use the sections they need.  So for example, if you have kept excellent records and only need to create a transcript, you can simply jump to that section.  I love the detailed explanations about the various parts of the transcript. The first section of the book truly addresses the ins and outs of what is included on the transcript.  But then the book goes on and does so much more than that.  So let’s get into what the book includes.

The ebook contains six sections which include:

  • Meet The Transcript – the basics of what is in the transcript
  • Plan with the End in Mind – think about where your child is heading
  • Keep Simple Records – keep up with what your child is doing
  • Grades, Credits, and the GPA – oh yes, grades and credits are important
  • Create the Transcript – This is where you actually make the transcript
  • References, Resources, and Reproducibles. – This includes forms to help make creating the transcript easy.

In the second section about planning with the end in mind, I found it helpful to read about skills and habits to cultivate in high school.  These basics included such things are writing basics, citations, online research, reliable research resources, personal organization and more.  Because we have lived in a state that required portfolios, I already keep samples of our children’s work.  While there was nothing really new in this section, it was nice to get reminders about what is important.  Our goal in the future is to scan the work in so we can maintain a digital record of it along with their transcripts and copies of their diplomas.  Then if they need any of it in the future it will be easily accessible.  

The third section addresses keeping simple records.  This section includes ideas for keeping a large binder with student samples, an activities log, a reading log, Class Portfolio Sheets, using Subject worksheets and more.  This section makes up a good portion of the book and includes a lot of information, including a section about Special Needs Records with Judith Munday and Special Needs Recommendations with Kathy Kuhl.

Part 4 is Grades, Credits, and the GPA.  I am a part of numerous groups on Facebook, and one of the most frequently asked questions I see are ones asking about determining credits.  Let’s face it, credits make or break a student’s ability to graduate from high school.  So planning early will take a lot of stress out of the process.  She includes suggestions for grading written work and even grading recommendations for unschoolers and the chronically relaxed. Ideas for granting credit and calculating the grade point average are also included.  So this section provides a wealth of information.  She provides a link to a grade point average calculator on her website to make this process easy.

Part 5 goes into creating the actual transcript.  This section includes design basics, issuing an official transcript, horizontal and vertical Transcript formats and instructions for creating them along with samples, and even a check-off transcript format.  A format for creating a high school diploma is also included.

The final section includes References, Resources, and Reproducibles.  This section has a glossary of terms, resources for planning and learning, books for homeschooling parents, Specials Needs information, plus testing and miscellaneous resources.   The reproducible forms including pages such as reading logs, an activities log, Class profile, Subject worksheets, vertical transcript forms, horizontal transcript forms, along with a check-off transcript form.

 

My one wish for the reproducible was that the forms could be filled out online rather than by hand and then actually having to physically create the transcript by myself.  I would love the ease of just plugging the information into a pre-existing form rather than having to actually create the form myself.  I feel this would make it easier on me as a parent.  Sometimes filling out forms is tedious.  

You can find Everyday Education on Social Media on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Whether your children have already graduated, are currently in high school or are approaching high school, there is something in Transcripts Made Easy: The Homeschooler’s Guide to High-School Paperwork for everyone.  So check out this book and Everyday Education for yourself.  Other members of the Home School Review Crew are also reviewing this product this week.  So click here or on the graphic below to read reviews by other members of the Home School Review Crew.

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Review of Theodore Roosevelt from YWAM Publishing

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I love adding  Christian biographies to our studies so I was excited for our daughter to review Theodore Roosevelt, one of the books in the Heroes of History series from YWAM Publishing. We also received a Study Guide to use with our book.  When it comes time to read about historical figures, YWAM Publishing does an amazing job creating books my family loves to read.  Throughout our years of homeschooling, we have collected quite a few of these books.  But when it came time to select a book for this review, Theodore Roosevelt won easily.  I am glad to say the book did not disappoint our 16-year-old daughter.

YWAM Publishing provides a variety of true biographies, missionary biographies, and historical biographies with their Heroes of History Series, their Christian Heroes Series and their Christian Heroes: Then & Now Series.  Our family has enjoyed reading books from all three series.  I never have to be concerned about what our children are reading when they pick up one of these books.

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When looking for books to read, historical biographies always capture my daughter’s attention, and Theodore Roosevelt was no different.  Several times during the course of reading this book, she bounced into the room I was in with some piece of trivia she wished to share with me.  For example, she was intrigued by the idea of him being a taxidermist just for fun.

He also had an extra pair of glasses sewn to the inside of whatever shirt he was wearing.  So this way, if anything happened to the pair he was wearing, he had a pair to use in that pair’s place.  He decided to keep it a secret that a doctor had told him he would live a short life if he did not stop exercising so hard.  But instead, he exercised harder. He established wildlife preserves and national parks.  During his presidency, he also established the National Forest Service.  He really liked Daniel Boone and Davy Crockett, so he and his friends established the Boone and Crockett Club, which was the first conservation club in the United States.

She was surprised by Theodore Roosevelt’s mother and the complicated relationship between his mother and father because of their different ideologies.  Also, he spent the first year of his political career making absolutely no compromises which affected his popularity.  In his third year, he recognized this fact and began making compromises.  Possibly this fascinated her because of the heated debates and discussions she has with her three older brothers in our home.  She expressed the book was a fun read and would be an excellent book to just read casually.

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In addition to the book, we also received the downloadable Study Guide to review as well.  The Study Guide comes as a link that leads to a page that includes instructions for how to use the study guide – broken down by Small Groups, Classroom Use, and Homeschool use.  The homeschool section includes ways to utilize the Heroes of History as a Year-long U.S. History course.  Personally, I love this idea for students who do not favor using the traditional textbook method.  I could see the books and study guides providing incredible opportunities for exploration and learning.

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The study guide includes instructions for using the study guide along with other helpful resources and learning opportunities such as:

• History
• Geography
• Essay writing
• Creative writing
• Reading comprehension
• Public speaking
• Drama
• Art

With all of these choices, every student will find something to interest them.  Initially, I planned on using the Study Guide with our daughter extensively.  However, she was enjoying the book so much and retaining an incredible amount of knowledge she willingly shared with us, I decided to mainly use the study guide verbally rather than writing everything out.  This method seemed to allow our daughter to express herself easier than writing may have done.  However, in the future, we may not revisit this book and complete some of the activities in the Study Guide.  If we were using the Study Guides, I probably would have allowed her multiple methods of answering questions and more including drawing, since that is her one of her passions.

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There are questions for each chapter include:  a vocabulary question drawn from the text and referenced to a page in the book, a factual question that comes from the text, two comprehension questions, as well as two open-ended questions seeking an opinion or interpretation.  The first three questions are meant for younger students, while the final three questions are more challenging.

As I have stated before, our family has essentially used YWAM Publishing materials since we began our homeschooling journey.  If you would like to read other reviews our family has done for YWAM Publishing selections, click here for our review of C.S. Lewis: Master Storyteller, part of the  Christian Heroes: Then & Now Series as well here for Betty Greene – Wings to Serve.

You can find YWAM Publishing on social media on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram at @ywampublishing.

Other members of the Home School Review Crew are reviewing selections from YWAM Publishing this week, and you can click here or on the graphic below to explore other reviews.

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