Review of Math Essentials’ No-Nonsense Algebra

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Homeschool math at the high school level can be intimidating so I’d like to introduce you to No-Nonsense Algebra from Math Essentials.  Finding a math program that our 14-year-old daughter likes and understands can be challenging.  But with the included videos for the lessons taught by Richard W. Fisher, our daughter has found this program to be understandable.

Our daughter is our 4th and last child and she is definitely more gifted in the area of art than math.  So we have tried a variety of math programs through the years. Like most parents, we have found some work and some do not.  So when I saw the chance for our family to review No-Nonsense Algebra, I was glad to get it for our daughter.

This is a soft cover book that is meant to be used as a textbook, and the students need to do their work in a notebook.  Since it is not consumable, it would work well for families with more than one child.  As I have already stated, our daughter is not a math whiz kid.  She loves art a lot more.  So in her own words, she stated, “Some of the instructions and problems are worded in ‘mathease’, which is a language our daughter feels she does not speak.  However, the videos provided our daughter with clear and concise instructions that made the lessons understandable for her.

I feel like the videos are well-executed, easy to hear and easy to understand.  The instructions really helped our daughter.  This course covers everything from integers to the quadratic equation along with everything in between.

I felt like the lessons were reasonable in the material being covered, the examples that were given and the number of practice problems.  Each lesson contains an introduction which includes helpful hints, example problems worked out showing each step for solving the problem, exercises, and several review questions.

Since I have taught high school math and realize how it builds upon itself, I love the review problems.  It helps to ensure the students remember past materials.  I also loved the fact the book starts off with problems involving integers.  This is a necessary skill for solving most algebraic problems.  If a student can not solve problems with integers properly, he or she will probably have extreme difficulty later in Algebra.  Also, from my experience in teaching Algebra, the majority of mistakes in Algebra are caused by mathematical computations.  So ensuring students have a firm grasp on working with integers will help with their success.  The pictures below show two days of my daughter’s work and answers.  As I have stated, she is very artistic so her pages have to include some drawings.

I feel this book is perfect for a variety of situations.  It is perfect as a stand-alone textbook for Algebra.  It is also perfect for a student who just wants to brush up on certain skills.  It also would be perfect for a student just wanting to review Algebra for any reason. I also like the fact Math Essentials offers a variety of other products ranging from materials for 4th/5th grade all the way through this Algebra course.

I was very pleased with this book and the videos are provided with it.  This course is definitely worth taking a look at in my opinion.  If you would like to read more reviews about No-Nonsense Algebra from Math Essentials, click here or on the graphic below.

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Review of Greek ‘n’ Stuff’s I Can Study Acts Alone With God Bible Study (52 week study) KJV

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As the parents of a teenage daughter, we are always on the lookout for new Bible study materials for our daughter.  So when the opportunity came for us to review  I Can Study Acts Alone With God Bible Study (52 week study) from Greek ‘n’Stuff, I was excited for us to try this Bible study workbook.

Greek ‘n’ Stuff offers courses in Greek, Latin, Bible studies, free activities and other resources on their website.  They also provide free sample pages for their materials.  The Bible Study materials are offered in either the King James Version or the New International Version.  The Bible studies range from 13 weeks to 52 weeks.  We decided that the study on Acts was the best choice for our daughter.  This study is recommended for those in late elementary or up.

This consumable workbook contains 52 weeks of lessons.  It comes in a spiral-bound format that makes it easy to write in for the student.  Each week is broken down into daily lessons with several questions for the student to answer.  Every week also has a memory verse, which my daughter really liked.

The lessons were broken down into manageable chunks that my daughter enjoyed completing. She takes seriously the idea of memorizing the weekly memory verses.  I decided to do the lessons with her as a way of spending time with her.  This idea seemed to work very well for our family.

On the first page of each lesson, the Scriptures being covered are listed.  Then it is further broken down by day of the week.  The first step for each day is a reminder to pray asking for God’s help in studying His Word.  Then there is a reminder about reading or reviewing that week’s memory verses.  As the weeks progress, I think it is a good idea to pick a time to review the memory verses that have already been learned.  Then each day has questions for the student to answer.  These questions have been easily found in my daughter’s Bible – either from the actual verses or from the introduction to the book of Acts or in the commentary her Bible contains.  I believe a good study Bible is extremely helpful for this study.

All of the pages contain blocks containing either the week’s memory verses, additional questions that are answered for the student, or a box containing a section entitled “Think and Pray About It”.

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I also loved the fact that there were only assignments for Monday through Saturday, leaving Sunday to be the Sabbath.  We decided to use Sunday as a day to review the memory verses for the week.  I believe a family could easily rearrange the days if it was necessary – such as rearranging the days to suit when the family wanted to observe the Sabbath.

My daughter really enjoyed doing this study.  She found it relatively easy to answer the questions.  I know I enjoyed doing the study with her.  So if your family is looking for an open and go Bible study workbook, the I Can Study Acts Alone With God Bible Study (52 week study) from Greek ‘n’ Stuff.

If you would like to read more reviews of the Acts study, the company’s other Bible studies or their Greek courses, click here or on the graphic below.

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Our Area’s Homeschool Activity Fair – Part 1

 

So we are now in our second year of living in Texas.  This week I became aware that our local homeschool organization was holding an activity fair.  So I informed my youngest two and my husband the four of us would be attending.  As we drove into the parking lot and started to get out of the vehicle, I stated I was not sure how much we would find if anything.

So imagine my surprise when we entered the room the fair was in and found a number of booths that interested my children.  I am going to break this up into two parts.  Today I am going to write about the activities our 16 (getting ready to turn 17 in October) son found at the fair.

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The first activity which really interested him was the area homeschool band.  The benefit of this is that I can also play in it as a parent.  Furthermore, our second son can play as well.  After talking with the representatives a few minutes, I picked up a flyer, added our names to the list and checked one activity to add to our schedule.  So this should be fun for us.

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The next table to catch Nathan’s interest was one for an area Junior High/High School choir.  Nathan has a love of music and of singing, so again I knew this would be a good fit.  So I grabbed the flyer, noted the date of the informational meeting and then we moved on again.

My son then became distracted for a few minutes when one of his friends from church handed him a flyer for the group’s yearbook staff.  Involvement in that is still under consideration.  Then he was distracted by seeing the mother of that same friend.  So, of course, he had to go over and speak to her.

Then we stopped at a table where another one of my children’s friends was sitting.  We spoke to her for a few minutes before moving on to see what else we could find.

The next table to truly interest our son was the one for tennis lessons.  One of the moms we met when we first moved to Texas was on duty there.  We received the information, chatted for a few minutes and caught up a little bit.  I gave a sigh of relief when I realized they provided all the necessary equipment.  So that is one expense I do not have to worry about right away.

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Finally, he asked if we could stop by the table for the area athletic teams – including basketball – something he has wanted to play for years.  Unfortunately, that activity is not a possibility because it will conflict with the homeschool band.  I was glad to see my son was more interested in the band instead of basketball.

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So that is a summary of the activities our son is interested in for the new year.

Stay tuned for part 2 where I will discuss the activities our daughter is interested in for this year.

Review of Heirloom Audio Productions “In the Reign of Terror”

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Ever since we began homeschooling about 12 years ago, we have tried to find educational and interesting ways to pass the time traveling to places.  One way we have discovered to pass time and keep bickering down is to listen to audio dramas.  So I was thrilled for us to have the opportunity to do a review for Heirloom Audio Productions.  We’ve been listening to the newest radio drama from Heirloom Audio Productions called In the Reign of Terror!  This audio drama captured our imaginations and interest.

For this review, we received the actual audio CDs.  This audio drama is based on a book by G. A. Henty.  It includes action, adventure and more.  The actors and actresses who portray the characters in the drama pulled us into the story.   The soundtrack is riveting as well and fits the mood and plot of the story.  This drama is perfect for homeschooling families who wish to enrich their study of history.  I would caution that parents with young children may want to preview the drama prior to their young children listening to it.  With our family’s youngest member being 14-years-old, this drama was perfect for our family.

The story opens with a young man talking to an older gentleman in Arlington National Cemetry.  The two discuss the American Revolution versus the French Revolution.  The older gentleman makes it clear that the Americans fighting in the American Revolution relied on God and focused on Him.  While the individuals who began the French Revolution did not.

A young man named Harry is sent from England to France as a 16-year-old boy to work for a French aristocratic family.  The story initially finds Harry and his French family he is living with living normal lives.  But things take a turn for the worst when the commoners in France decided to rebel against the aristocracy.  Harry and the Marquis De St Caux find themselves in extreme danger.  Even the Marquis’ children are in extreme peril.

The Marquis enables his daughters and Harry to escape, which results in the Marquis and his mother becoming prisoners of the French commoners. Harry determines to keep his promise to keep the daughters of the Marquis safe and uses the money given to him to achieve that goal.  Ultimately, the Marquis and his mother are put to death and Harry has to make plans to get the girls to safety.  The story then focuses on their harrowing experiences while trying to reach England.

We thoroughly enjoyed this drama and I felt the producers, directors and actors/actresses did an excellent job of bringing the story to life.  We truly felt like we were part of the story.

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 – such as Maximillian Robespierre and Marie Antoinette, and other resources to facilitate the study and discussion of the story.

The questions are broken down by disc and tracks on the CD.  The questions include questions for listening well, thinking further and defining words along with opportunities to expand learning and Bible Study as well as additional resources.  Here are some screenshots of pages from the Study Guide.

 

 

 

 

With the Live the Adventure Club, you have the option to purchase the club with a set price being charged every three months.  You receive access to the Club website page that includes a treasury of resources.  These resources include access to the study guide, the Listen and Learn Library, exclusive educational treasures, discounts on all products, a supportive online community as well as exclusive resources and perks that are available only to members.  If you act right now, you can get your first 90 days of membership for only $1, along with the audio drama,  Captain Bayley’s Heir audio CDs as well as instant online access to the digital version so you can begin listening immediately.  After the initial period, you will be charged a set rate and then that same rate every 90 days.

 

Within the club, there are read-along scripts, chapter quizzes, along with the questions and defining words for each chapter.  I believe this would be extremely useful for creating an entire learning experience based around the audio drama.

Our family really enjoyed this audio drama and believe your family will also.  If you would like to read more reviews about In the Reign of Terror from Heirloom Audio Productions, click here or on the graphic below.

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Review of “Raising Leaders Not Followers by Kerry Beck

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“Raising Leaders Not Followers” by Kerry Beck is a thought-provoking book about stepping out of the traditional thoughts on education and raising children. She encourages parents to raise leaders rather than followers by focusing on God, developing character and stepping out into an education model that focuses on God, a parent’s goals for his/her child and the gifts and talents a particular child has.

The book was easy to read and captured my interest. I would definitely recommend this book to any homeschooling parents who want some new ideas for homeschooling. I loved her use of Scriptures from the Bible, quotes and other visual methods of displaying information. There is a study guide available along with a remarkable list of resources to refer to if a reader desires. I definitely needed the reminder to focus on God and character rather than checking off boxes to match what public school students are doing.

Kerry Beck brings a wealth of knowledge, experiences, and insights on how to raise students who can think for themselves and be visionaries rather than just regurgitating answers that have been fed to them by classroom teachers.
Once again I definitely recommend this book highly.

You can purchase the book here or click on the picture below.

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If you buy the book today, you will receive $180 in free resources.

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Also, you can register for a free workshop on starting homeschooling right.

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A Review of Fascinating Chemistry from Fascinating Education

 

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High school science can be so intimidating for us home schooling families so I was happy for our family to review Fascinating Chemistry from Fascinating Education.  For this review, our sixteen year old son was the one doing the actual coursework.  This is an online course that offers some printable components as well.

I love how easy the website is to navigate.  When the student enters the website for Fascinating Education and login to the members’ area,  the student then selects their correct course by clicking on the correct logo.  Here is a screenshot of that screen.

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So our son would select Fascinating Chemistry from the list by clicking on it.  In this case, it is important to pay attention to the fact there are two Chemistry courses – the one we are reviewing along with one that indicates it is a pre-course for Biology.

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The next screen that displays lists all of the lessons.  For Fascinating Chemistry, each lesson offers slideshows for the lesson, the script for the lesson, and a computerized version of the test for each lesson.  I appreciated the way this screen is laid out.  It is easy to see each lesson along with the components for each lesson.  So if we wanted to complete the lesson using a three-day schedule, the first two days could be spent watching the videos and completing any exercises for that lesson.  Then the last day could be used for taking the lesson quiz.  I appreciated how the scripts for every lesson are provided.  This allows for easy notetaking and also for review.

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In a separate section under the members tab, there is an option for Chemistry labs.   The instructions were well-written and appear to be easy to follow.  I liked how at the top of the page for the labs a clear safety warning was provided that indicates adult supervision is necessary for these labs.  The labs seemed to require items that were easily obtainable.  I would have liked for a complete lab supply list to be provided so that all the needed supplies could be purchased at one time.  Because I prefer my husband to do any science labs with our children, we decided to hold off and do the labs during his vacation later in the summer.  So look for us to post more about that sometime in late August to early September.

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As my son watched the slideshows, he was disappointed that he did not have an option to view the lessons in full-screen mode.  Like my son, for videos like this, I would prefer to have the option of watching the videos in full-screen since it makes it easier to see.

There are several things I would have liked to have with this course.  The first would have been the ability to watch the slides in full-screen.  I also would have appreciated some kind of grade book or the ability to have scores emailed to me for the tests.  This would allow for easier recordkeeping.  Without some kind of record, it could be difficult to provide proof of his scores.

But otherwise, I have to say we were very pleased with the course overall.  I felt the material was explained and the videos were well done.  The course outlines, lab instructions and PDF versions of the tests and answer keys were all easy to read and to follow the instructions for overall.  For a student that is not going into a science field, this course is perfect.  However, if a student is planning on going on to a science-type field, it may be better to look at some other options.

Fascinating Education also offers courses for Biology, a Chemistry Pre-Course for Biology, Fascinating Physics, Fascinating Anatomy & Physiology, and Fascinating Logic of Medicine.  If you would like to read more reviews of either Fascinating Chemistry or some of the other courses offered by Fascinating Education, click here or on the graphic below.

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