Review of Heirloom Audio Production’s Wulf the Saxon

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Our family loves listening to audio dramas.  They are a marvelous way to pass the time – especially when taking long trips in a vehicle.  So I was thrilled for our family to have the opportunity to review another audio theater production by Heirloom Audio Productions.  Heirloom Audio Productions brings another G.A. Henty novel to life with Wulf the Saxon!  This drama thoroughly captured the imaginations of my husband, our 17-year-old son, and myself during a recent trip we took that was about two hours away from our home.  For this review, we received audio cd set, which includes two compact discs that we were able to listen to easily in our vehicle.

 

I love how Heirloom Audio Productions always begins with an interaction between the character of G.A. Henty and some other individuals.  Then because of something that happens – in this case, two young men start arguing and fighting with one another.  The character of G.A. Henty then begins to talk about a story he knows and begins to tell the story to them.  I love how Heirloom Audio Productions is able to easily transition from G.A. Henty telling the story to the actual audio drama.

The story centers around the character, Wulf the Saxon, who is a young Saxon landowner. He demonstrates courage, leadership, wisdom along with his faith throughout the story.  It chronicles his journeys, adventures, and experiences throughout England and Normandy during the intense fighting that resulted over individuals wanting to claim the throne of England.  Wulf finds himself in various situations including being held captive, making new friends including Agnes De Burg and her family, fighting battles, conveying messages, and even protecting the king.  He consistently exhibits a faith that is inspiring.  He shows himself to be a true friend.  There were times, I was concerned about what would come next.

Our heart broke for Harold when he and his love Lady Edith had to part ways for the sake of England and then again when Harold died on the battlefield.  One of my absolute favorite lines from this audio theater drama references the fact that those who are able to marry for love are truly fortunate.  Wulf is fortunate to be able to marry someone he loves. I found it fitting that this quote is included in the CD case.

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This audio drama is recommended for ages six to sixteen, but I believe all ages can enjoy the story.  Because it deals with the subject of war, parts of this drama are somewhat graphic and intense during several of the battle scenes.  So you may want to use discretion on who is allowed to listen to it alone.

This production displays excellent acting, wonderful sound effects and a brilliant musical score.  The original score for Wulf the Saxon is by John Campbell, who is an Emmy Award Winning composer.  With two sons in our local homeschool band and our other son and our only daughter participating in the Homeschool Strings program, I tend to really listen to the music in the background.  The music selected for this drama suits it perfectly and helps to perfectly set the stage for the drama.

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To go along with the audio dramas, Heirloom Audio Productions has introduced a club called the Live the Adventure Club that includes a wealth of resources.

This club includes many valuable resources including a study guide for the drama.  The study guide is available as a download on the Live the Adventure Club site from Heirloom Audio Productions. The study guide offers background information on what is included in the study guide, a background on G. A. Henty, information about Heirloom Audio Productions, a list of the members of the cast and crew, background information on important people during the time of the story.  Even though we did not receive the bonus materials as part of this review, I still highly recommend you investigate it for yourself.

Our family thoroughly enjoyed Wulf the Saxon from Heirloom Audio Productions and definitely recommend it.  You may also want to check out our family’s reviews of Captain Bayley’s Heir and In the Reign of Terror – two other audio dramas by Heirloom Audio Productions.

If you would like to check out reviews by other members of the Home School Review Crew, click here or on the graphic below.

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Review of Presidents of the United States Video-Based Unit Study from Paradise Praises

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I am always on the hunt for great homeschool resources. I  am especially excited when those products come from online friends, so I was thrilled to be given the opportunity to review the Presidents of the United States Video-Based Unit Study from Paradise Praises by Katie Hornor.  I received a copy of this product for my fair and unbiased review. So all opinions expressed in this review are my own.  One of the incredible things about this product is that it can be adapted for any age – from kindergarten through high school.  As an adult, I found the videos enjoyable and educational to watch.

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This video-based product is meant to be completed over the course of one 9-week period, meaning one quarter.  The product contains a suggested nine-week schedule.  Each day the students will learn about a different president while completing activities and reading assignments.

The product contains the Presidential Biography Studies in chronological order, a listing of the Presidential videos, a listing of videos regarding the First Ladies, audiobook ideas, as well as other resources that include a field trip or virtual field trip ideas, art resources, vocabulary lists and more.  Book suggestions include picture books, early readers, and chapter books.

Our three students we are still homeschooling are all in high school, and I love the flexibility of this course.  It lends itself to flexibility and fitting the needs of a homeschool family.  The primary video for each president is only 90 seconds long.  So when your family’s time is short, your family can watch that 90-second video, complete a notebooking page for the president along with adding your Presidential figure to the timeline and be done.  On days where time is available, notebooking pages, additional reading assignments, field trips or even virtual field trips, as well as art activities, can be complete.

I have to say I loved the song for learning the names of the presidents.  I believe this would come in handy for learning the order of the presidents.  Although I have only looked over the materials myself and watched the videos, I know this resource is going to be a great asset to our family.  Whether you use it along with an existing history program or use it as a stand-alone unit study, I am sure your family will enjoy this course.  So visit the Paradise Praises Online Shop and check it out for yourself and let me know what you think.  I would love to hear from you.

Review of Writing with Sharon Watson’s Illuminating Literature: Characters in Crisis

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For quite a while now, I have followed the blog for “Writing with Sharon Watson”, so I was thrilled when our family received the opportunity to review one of the literature products from “Writing with Sharon Watson”. I  have loved reading about all of the products from Writing with Sharon Watson so I was super excited to add Illuminating Literature: Characters in Crisis to our homeschool curriculum list!  Considering that I have a son who loves anything from Shakespeare, I was very excited to see “Much Ado About Nothing” was among the selections included in this course.

In addition to “Much Ado About Nothing”, a short story entitled “A Jury of Her Peers”, another assortment of short works, and the full works of “Frankenstein”, “Silas Marner”, “Sense and Sensibility” and “The Hobbit” are included.  The materials our family received include a Teacher’s Guide, text, Quiz and Answer Manual, Novel Notebook (downloadable from the website, and online quizzes (which may be accessed on the website).

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Illuminated Literature: Characters in Crisis” is not grade-specific, but is instead designed for any high school student.  So the beauty of this program for our family is that all three of our high school students could use the same program.  On the website, you can download sample chapters, grading grids, quizzes on the course page.

The first component we received was the Teacher’s Guide, which recommends using the coordinating versions of the literature books that can be found on the Writing with Sharon Watson website.  This is because the textbook matches up with the page numbers in those versions.  This eliminates wasting time or becoming frustrated.  If using an e-reader or tablet, students should be able to use the search function proficiently.  The first pages provide a list of the books and short works that will be covered in the course.  A Grade guide and sample grading grid are also included.  This makes keeping up with requirements simple.  Course objectives are also included.  Suggested schedules, a book-of-the-month club guide and more are included in this guide.  This truly is a guide meant to direct the teacher in what students need to go along with providing an answer key.

 

The next component is the textbook, which is to be used by the student.  It includes an introduction to the course.  At the beginning of each lesson, there are certain activities the student is to complete prior to reading the assigned literature.  Some of these our children enjoyed, while other ones did not capture their attention as much.  A suggested reading and homework schedule is provided as well.  Information, descriptions and more are included for each lesson.  Our children felt the amount of work per lesson was reasonable – even if they did not always enjoy everything.  Then the students read the selection while reading the extra information along with activities.  Students complete additional activities along with a group of final selection of activities the parents or students can choose from.  For our family, I narrowed the number of choices down and then let the children select the ones that caught their attention the most.

Next, is the Novel Notebook, which is the only free downloadable component from the website.  Parents can select what questions the student answers.  Then during a discussion time, students share what they found. Or if a student is doing it alone, the teacher/parent may simply look at the novel notebook.

The final component of the program is the Quiz and Answer Manual.  Students may either complete quizzes on paper or online.  The benefit of completing the quizzes online is that feedback is immediate.  Plus, for our family, it saves paper and printing costs.  Each quiz contains approximately ten questions that demonstrate how much the student is retaining what they read.  Our children found them relatively painless to complete.

 

All-in-all, our family has been very pleased with Illuminating Literature: Characters in Crisis from Writing with Sharon Watson.  I encourage you to check it out for yourself.  You can read other reviews by other members of the Homeschool Review Crew by clicking here or on the graphic below.

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You can find Writing with Sharon Watson on social media at the following Links:
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/WritingWithSharonWatson
Pinterest:  https://www.pinterest.com/writingwithshar

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Review of Forbrain from Sound for Life LTD

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Even though our youngest is only fifteen-years-old and our oldest son is twenty-one years old, we have various ones in our family who have difficulty remembering things.  My husband is active duty in the Army Reserves and constantly has things he needs to remember.  Our four children also have times where they have difficulty remembering things.  On top of that, I have a desire for our family to memorize Scripture.  So I was excited for our family to have the chance to review this product. Over the review period, we found that our family could improve their attention with Forbrain from Sound for Life LTD.

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Forbrain is a headset designed for anyone over the age of four years old to use.  However, the headset is not adjustable so I am not sure how well it will work for younger children.  It is important to understand this headset does not go into the ears.  Instead, it rests on the bone in front of the ears.

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This product is designed for those with speech and language difficulties, those who need brain stimulation, those with auditory processing disorder, those will reading difficulties, as well as those with ADD or ADHD and more.  It is a bone conduction headphone as well as an extremely sensitive microphone.  It also has a dynamic filter designed to create a perceptive content.

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One of my favorite things about this headset is the case it comes with to protect the headset as well to keep the charger and paperwork together neatly.  At http://www.forbrain.com, you can find exercises to assist in using the product correctly.  All that is required is to read aloud.  Proper posture is also required.  This means resting the head naturally, sitting up straight, feet placed flat on the ground, while breathing calmly.  My husband did not find this difficult to do at all.

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Because his goal was improving memory, he concentrated on using the headset to memorize Scripture.  He picked out some of his favorite Scripture passages to use and then used the headset for fifteen minutes a day.  The case made it easy for him to take the headset with him even when he went to work.  Unfortunately, I did not remember to take any pictures of him wearing the headset while using it.

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The training suggestion is either a session of six or ten weeks.  Younger children should use it for approximately ten minutes a day for pronunciation and speech difficulties.  For children five years old to fifteen years old should use it for fifteen minutes a day.  They can use it to improve concentration and attention. Also, it can be used for reading or memory problems or even pronunciation or speech difficulties.  For those who are teenagers to adults, Forbrain can be used for speech or oral problems, those needing confidence or energy.  and more.  It is great for preparing for oral presentations, homework, and preparing for exams. For seniors, it should be used for thirty minutes a day to help with energy, memory or speech issues.

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All in all, my husband was very pleased with his results from using Forbrain from Sound for Life LTD.  I look forward to using it for our Family Bible Study and memorization efforts as well as using it for practicing speeches and more.  If you would like to read more reviews of this product, click here or on the graphic below

 

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Flat Stanley Came to Visit

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When we lived in Pennsylvania, we were part of the Lock Haven Salvation Army Corps.  One of my favorite activities our family assisted with was the after-school program.  So when I received a request from someone at the corps asking for families who lived out of state to host Flat Stanley.  I immediately said yes.

So last week Flat Stanley came to visit.  He helped us cook dinner.  Here are some photos.

He also attended Youth Group at our church with our youngest two.  He decided to hang out with the pastor.

He also decided to go exploring in a violin belonging to one of the young ladies in the Youth Group.

Then on Thursday, he was supposed to go to Homeschool Band with my husband, middle two children and myself.  However, he felt like it would be better to stay home and relax on my husband and my bed.

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He also took a trip to work with my husband.  However, I am waiting to get all of those pictures.  So stay tuned for additional updates on the adventures of Flat Stanley.

Review of The Pencil Grip, Inc’s “The Ultra Safety Scissors” and “The 3 Step Pencil Grip Training Kit”

 

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The Pencil Grip, Inc. sent us two of their products to try out: The Ultra Safe Safety Scissors and The 3 Step Pencil Grip Training Kit.  I was really excited to get these products.  Since our youngest child just turned fifteen-years-old, the scissors were not a necessity for our family.  I really was looking forward to getting the pencil grips.  For the purpose of this review, I had our daughter use the scissors, while I used the pencil grips.

These scissors are designed for children 3-years-old and up.  Once our daughter understood the scissors were designed for younger children, she understood why they were made the way they were.  She found them easy to use.  I drew several curvy lines for her to follow for cutting.  I think if her fingers were smaller, they would have worked much better.  The guard on the scissors did make it somewhat awkward to place the paper in that was being cut.  Once again, for a child around three or four years old, I think these would be perfect.  The ergonomic design is made so clean cuts are achieved.  Also, the blades are covered with the guard to provide absolute protection.  There is a training lever that automatically opens once the scissors are squeezed closed and also automatically opens when the scissors are opened.

The ergonomic design is made so clean cuts are achieved.  Also, the blades are covered with the guard to provide absolute protection.  There is a training lever that automatically opens once the scissors are squeezed closed and also automatically opens when the scissors are opened.

When our youngest son was three-four years old, he was diagnosed with motor skill issues.  As a result, he had to attend. physical therapy and eventually had to attend occupational therapy as well.  I feel these scissors would have been a tremendous blessing during that time in our lives.

Our family also received The 3-Step Pencil Grip Training Kit. The first step is the Crossover grip for training.  This training should occur under the supervision of an adult.  The design of this grip provides maximum structure and reinforcement to ensure proper placement of the fingers.  I love how the product description on Amazon states, ” The “super hero cape” design of the grip,  I can see that description catching my attention easily.

The second grip is designed for transitioning.  This grip is to be used on all writing instruments.  The description on Amazon states, “the unique partial “wings” allow for both structure and freedom”.  Finally, the third grip is designed to be used on all writing instruments, with the idea of providing a lifetime of comfort and control” according to the product description.

Once again, I would have loved to have used these grips when our youngest son was learning to write.  I truly believe it would have made things much easier for him.  Our daughter used the grip on a pen to create an amazing drawing in just a few minutes.  I can see me using the final grip for a long time to come because it truly is comfortable.  I also appreciate the fact the pencil grips are available either as a set or can be purchased individually.

Once again if you are looking for a terrific pair of safety scissors or pencil grips I recommend you check out The Ultra Safe Safety Scissors and The 3 Step Pencil Grip Training Kit for yourself.  These will become valuable kids school supplies.  Click here or on the graphic below to read more reviews of these products fromThe Pencil Grip, Inc..

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