Posted in Home School Review Crew Posts, Homeschool Planning, Homeschooling

Review of the Hey Mama! Homeschool Planner from The Old Schoolhouse®

 

If you looking for a planner to help with your homeschool organization that comes with encouragement for the homeschooling mama, then I recommend you check out the Hey Mama! Homeschool Planner for 2019/20 Year with devotions written by Gena Suarez and published by The Old Schoolhouse®.  I have to say this is the time of the year when I begin to get excited about planning for the next school year.  And nothing gets me more excited about planning than a brand new planner that is just waiting to be written in by me.  A good planner helps keep our family on track, shows what we have done, and what we still need to do each year.
The Old Schoolhouse® provides a wide variety of products, services and more to the homeschooling community.  The Old Schoolhouse®  has been around since 2001.  I remember receiving our first issue of The Old Schoolhouse®magazine, our first year of homeschooling.  Through the years, it has become a staple around our home.  But more than just a magazine, the company offers so much more.  I was thrilled to have the opportunity to review the Hey Mama! Homeschool Planner for 2019/20 year.  Paul and Gena Suarez have done much to contribute to the world of homeschooling throughout the years.  I have to say this planner did not disappoint.
I am a planner junkie!  Nothing thrills me more than finding a new planner to try out.  I love the glossy cover of this planner along with the spiral bounding, which allows the planner to lay flat. The paper is of good quality and adds to the overall appeal of the planner.  I have to say this planner is not as detailed as many planners on the market.  However, it has everything a mother needs in a planner.  It is not too bulky, making it the perfect planner to take when you are on the go or have open when you are at home.
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With monthly calendar spreads, attendance sheets, lesson planning pages, devotions, and more this planner has quite a bit to offer.  However, it does not have so much that it becomes overwhelming.  It is just the right blend of function and information.  I love how the lesson planning pages include enough space for five children while offering enough space in the blocks to write what I need to record our lesson plans.
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This planner is definitely designed for mothers to use and is not necessarily a student planner.  I love having a planner for my own knowledge that allows me to quickly see what our two children are supposed to be doing on a given week.  I believe this is the perfect planner for homeschooling mothers.
I love how it includes attendance forms, book lists, yearly goal sheets, semester goal sheets, and even transcript forms.  This planner definitely has a lot to offer.  It even has devotions written by Gena Suarez included throughout the pages.  I found these devotions to be perfect for a homeschooling mother.

You can find The Old Schoolhouse® on Social Media at:

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/theoldschoolhouse/?fref=ts
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/tosmagazine/
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/TOSMag  @TOSMag
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/tosmag/

So if you are looking for a tool for a planner to help with your homeschool organization that comes with encouragement for the homeschooling mama, then I recommend you check out the Hey Mama! Homeschool Planner for 2019/20 Year with devotions written by Gena Suarez and published by The Old Schoolhouse®

Other members of the Homeschool Review Crew are reviewing this planner this week, and you can check out their reviews by clicking here or on the graphic below.

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Posted in Homeschool Band, Homeschooling, Music

Weekly Wrap-Up for June 2, 2019

Weekly Wrap-up

Today is the second day of June, and I am not sure where this year has gone to right now.  It seems to be speeding by at times while dragging at other times.  This week saw four of our family members participate in a Memorial Day event with the Crossroads Community Band we are part of, and our second son came to watch us.

The week before, our daughter came to see us perform at an indoor venue.  With us living in Texas, I can not say I blame her for her choice.

Percussion & Piano Lessons for our son

This coming week will see one activity resume – our youngest son will be participating in a beginner band class for percussion as well as private lessons for piano.  I am interested in seeing how much he learns during the 6 weeks.

Flute Lessons

At some point during the next week, I am going to see when I can begin flute lessons with one of the members of the Community Band who also teaches (and teaches flute specifically).

Other than these music lessons we have very little planned for this summer beyond decluttering and organizing our home in preparation what should be our last duty assignment.  Although, we are just preparing for the inevitable time when it will come.  However, we have no idea of when we might actually see those orders.  We will also be doing a light summer school schedule with our youngest two who are 18-years-old and 16-years-old respectively.

So what is going on in your world this summer?  I would love to hear from you.

 

Posted in Home School Review Crew Posts, Homeschooling, Online Homeschool Programs, Science

Review of Supercharged Science’s e-Science Homeschool Science Curriculum

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Homeschool science can be so intimidating for moms to teach but Supercharged Science makes it easy with their fun e-Science Homeschool Science Curriculum. With a sixteen-year-old daughter who is not a fan of the majority of homeschooling science textbooks, I am always on the lookout for new and exciting ways to make science come alive for her.  I have been following Aurora Lipper’s science videos for a number of years. However, when I saw she now offered the ability to go through either grade-level courses or to go by topics, I knew we needed to try this online homeschool science material.

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Supercharged Science is the creation of Aurora Lipper, who is a mechanical engineer.  Because my father was a draftsman and designer when I was growing up. her background impressed me.  The company offers science education to both families and teachers and helps people have fun while learning science.

 

There are two main ways to use this program:  first is by topics – so families can pick and choose what information they wish to study or second is by grade level.  Supercharged Science takes all the guesswork out of what to cover and arranged the material into appropriate grade level courses.  All of the high school materials are consolidated into the “Advanced Topics” section for the grade level material. 

The materials may be used as a stand-alone science curriculum or used in conjunction with your existing science materials.  In the case of using the material with an existing science material, deciding to use the topic arrangement will probably work better for your family.  However, if your family is using this program as a stand-alone product, then deciding the use the appropriate grade-level choice might be a better selection.

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With videos, worksheets, experiments and more this curriculum has something for everyone for K-12.  Because we are in the midst of finishing up our science curriculum for the year, for this review, we decided to select topics that interested our daughter.  I loved the fact the material is meant to be self-directed, so it required little preparation or oversight from me.  I love how this online homeschool science curriculum can be used by students of all ages.

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The videos included are of high-quality. We loved the variety and abundance of experiments to choose from for all of the topics.  However, I believe the sheer number of experiments could be overwhelming to many parents.  I love the advice of starting with an experiment or two to hook the students before moving into the videos and workbook pages.  We loved the advice of keeping a Science journal and taking pictures while completing the experiments.

Our daughter was more interested in watching the videos to gain scientific knowledge rather than doing the experiments.  Because we were using this as a supplement to our existing curriculum, I was fine with that decision.  She primarily concentrated on the Sound and Light units along with the Life Science units.  My plan is to have her do more of the experiments this summer when her father has more freedom and flexibility to do them with her.  Science and math are two subjects she prefers to do with her father rather than me.

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We are including pictures and videos for two of the experiments.  Our daughter wanted to make a lava lamp, but we ran into some difficulty because we had to improvise for the food coloring.

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The second experiment we are sharing is the Bull Roarer from the Sound unit.  For this experiment, we did not have any cotton string, so we tried some nylon string as well as some cotton yarn.  Here are some photographs from our experiment.

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My one wish for this curriculum would be the option of having the ability to complete the worksheets online rather than having to print everything out.  Because we are a military family and every pound counts when we move, I am trying to make our homeschool as digital as possible. So the idea of having to consistently print things out somewhat bothers me. I understand the logic behind having a notebook to use as reference material or to demonstrate what material was covered, but I would prefer to be able to keep those records digitally so our family does not have to worry about anything happening to the pages. For right now, our solution was to have our daughter answer many of the questions orally rather than writing them out.

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You can find Supercharged Science on Social Media at the following links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/superchargedsci/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/aurora_lipper
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/superchargedsci/supercharged-science/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/auroram42/videos

 

This online science program is definitely hands-on and offers a large variety of choices for students and parents to choose from as well as a variety of ways to approach the material.  So if you find the idea of teaching science to be intimidating,  Supercharged Science makes it easy with their fun e-Science Homeschool Science Curriculum.for yourself.

If you would like to read reviews of this program by other members of the Homeschool Review Crew, click here or on the graphic below.

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#hsreviews #homeschool #homeschooling #homeschoolscience #homeschoolmath #sciencelessons #homeschoolavtivities #homeschool #AuroraLipper #SuperchargedScience #STEM

Posted in Electives, Homeschool Review Crew Posts, Homeschooling, Online Homeschool Programs

Review of EdAlive’s Maths Invaders Online and Typing Tournament Online

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We received two one-year subscriptions for a typing tutor program called Typing Tournament Online and a fun math practice program called Maths Invaders Online from EdAlive.  With our children who are still being homeschooled being 16-years-old and 18-years-old, I was more interested in the typing program than the Math Invaders Online.  In these days and times, I believe that every person needs to have above average typing skills.  So I felt our children definitely could benefit from this program.  In addition, I felt my husband and I both could benefit from improving our typing skills as well as using this online program.

Because EdAlive is an Australian-based company, some of the language used will be British English rather than American English. However, our family did not find this to be a problem when utilizing this program.  We found logging in and beginning to use this problem to be quick and easy.  Their website states, “We believe that every child is special and that education gives them the best opportunity to live life to the fullest. That’s why our software and web sites make the highest quality resources available for all children to help them reach their learning potential”.

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With the Maths Invaders Online program, students work on essential numerical skills that are vital to every child’s success.  The program is designed for students ages 5 to 15.  It allows students/players to tackle a large number of problems in minutes.  It helps to develop automatic recall of important numerical math facts.  It is designed to be intrinsically motivating.  Players are able to select from a group of levels to find problems that fit their level.  It is designed to make learning fun.

Students select from the Galactic campaign, Space Rescue and practice.  By using the keyboard, players attempt to answer math questions correctly to achieve their objectives.  We found the graphics to be of high quality and fun to look at while playing.  Printable worksheets are also available as well.  From the menu, parents and players can see the leaderboards, the App library, tools and reports, help screen and more.  Students can compete against other players or the computer making it more interesting.

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Typing Tournament Online is designed for those ages 6 to adult.  I loved the fact that even adults can benefit from this program.  It allows players to begin at their current skill level and gradually introduces the whole keyboard.  Players move through the program at their own pace through 128 lessons, games, and drills.  The medieval tournament theme is highly engaging.  Our family appreciated being able to actually select a goal to reach by the end of the course and how it actively promotes using correct fingers on the right keys.  I know it easier to type faster when using proper finger placement.

Our family found this typing program to be worth using as well as being fun to practice.  The bright colors, the tournament concept and more makes this program fun to use.

Here are some pictures of the instructions for proper posture and more.

You can find EdAlive on social media at:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EdAlive/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/edalive
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com.au/edalive/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/edalive.education/

 

So if you are looking for great interactive programs for reinforcing math facts and/or typing skills, check out EdAlive’s Maths Invaders Online and Typing Tournament Online for yourself.  Other members of the Home School Review Crew are reviewing these two online programs this week so click here or on the graphic below to read additional reviews.

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Posted in Book Reviews, Home School Review Crew Posts, Homeschooling

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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Posted in 2019 Home School Review Crew Posts, Home School Review Crew Posts, Homeschooling, Online Homeschool Programs, Unit Studies

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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Posted in Homeschool Review Crew Posts, Homeschooling

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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