Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Greemu by Devonian Review

I have always had very sensitive skin so I am very picky about what I products I use.  I am always on the look out for natural products and that is exactly what I found when I was sent Greemu by Devonian to review.  Greemu is a natural plant based oil alternative to Emu Oil.  There are many great skin and hair care benefits from using Emu Oil, but the oil can only be extracted from the fatty tissue of the bird.  Devonian has worked very hard for the last few years to create their natural, plant based Greemu oil which provides the same great skin and hair benefits.  Greemu oil conforms to the standards for Grade A Emu Oil but instead of being extracted from birds, it is created using macadamia seed oil, palm oil, Shea butter,  sunflower seed oil, and rice bran oil.  Greemu is designed to protect and nourish your skin.  It can help to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.  You can also use Greemu as a hair treatment to make your hair more manageable, reduce split ends, and make your hair shiny. 
Greemu Devonian Review
I was very excited to receive my bottle of Greemu from Devonian because my sensitive skin gets terribly dried out in the winter.  I truly struggle to find products that don’t irritate my skin or leave it feeling greasy and because of this I am very picky about what I will use on my skin.  I started using my bottle of Greemu the day it came.  I started by testing it on my arms and it did not irritate my skin in any way.  It only left it feeling soft and moisturized.  I also like the very faint scent of the Greemu.  I think it has a very, very light nutty scent, but my family says I am crazy and they can’t smell it all (maybe they are the crazy ones).  I feel like I really put Greemu to the test when I put it on my legs directly after shaving them.  In the past if I put lotion on my legs right after shaving I get razor burn on them something fierce, it stings and is just uncomfortable.  I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I applied Greemu right after shaving my legs, but I was pleasantly surprised.  I didn’t suffer from any razor burn, no stinging, and instead of being uncomfortable, my legs just felt moisturized.  I started using the Greemu on my legs every time I shaved them and my legs feel so much more moisturized now.  In the past my legs would get so dry and itchy that I would scratch them until they had sores, but since I have been using the Greemu I don’t have that problem any more.  The other way I tested out Greemu was by using it in my hair.  I have been trying to grow my hair out and I have been straightening it a lot just because it is at a weird in between stage.  The directions on the Greemu say you can use it to help restore your hair.  I thought I would try it out because my hair was starting to feel dry from all the straightening.  I put the Greemu on my hair from the roots to the tips and left it in overnight.  I truly expected to have a hard time washing it out, but much to my surprise it washed right out in one shampooing.  After I washed out the Greemu, my hair was nice, soft, and manageable again.  One of the things I am most impressed with about this product is how little of the Greemu I have actually used.  I have not been sparing with it.  I have used it on myself and a couple of times on my daughter and I still have about 3/4 of the bottle left.  If you are looking for a great natural product to help with skin or hair issues, I would definitely recommend Greemu by Devonian. 
Look how much Greemu I still have left after weeks of use.
You can get more information about Greemu by Devonian at their website.  You can buy it over at Koru Naturals.  You can also check out their Facebook page and their Pinterest page.

Check out what my blogging friends at the Schoolhouse Review Crew thought about Greemu by Devonian by clicking on the banner below:
Greemu Devonian Review

Monday, April 25, 2016

Christian Heroes: Then & Now Jacob DeShazer: Forgive Your Enemies – YWAM Publishing Review

Like every mom out there, I want my kids to be reading quality books that I know are filled with wholesome, safe content.  When the review came up for YWAM Publishing, I was excited to see what they had to offer.  As I started looking at who YWAM Publishing was, I realized we had already read many of the books they publish and we love them.  The hardest part for us was trying to pick which book we would like to read.   We finally picked the book Christian Heroes: Then & Now Jacob DeShazer: Forgive Your Enemies from YWAM Publishing along with the Digital Unit Study to review.  I knew when I picked this book to review from their many options, that we would be getting a great book about a real person with a lesson that we could learn. 

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I picked the book Christian Heroes: Then & Now Jacob DeShazer: Forgive Your Enemies from YWAM Publishing along with the Digital Unit Study to review because we had never heard of Jacob DeShazer before.  We knew nothing about his story, but it sounded like something that would really capture my son’s attention.  Jacob DeShazer was one of the famous Doolittle Raiders who first attacked Japan after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.  The mission of the Doolittle Raiders was to bomb aircraft factories and oil storage tanks in Japan to stop their military, but their mission didn’t go as planned.  Jacob DeShazer knew that his mission was extremely dangerous, but he never thought he would become a prisoner of war.  It was during his time as a prisoner of war that Jacob was given a Bible and he became a Christian.  God showed Jacob that he needed to forgive his captors and that he should be a missionary to the Japanese, which he did obediently for 30 years.

When we got the book, my son was happy to receive it since we have liked the other books we have read from YWAM Publishing in the past.  He began reading aloud through the book.  My plan was for him to read through a chapter each day and then we would use the Digital Unit Study to discuss the book and to dig deeper into the book.  As he began reading, he kept asking me if he had to stop reading at the end of a chapter because it was getting really good.  So I let him keep reading.  I can’t think of any time I have told my kids they had to stop reading when they are really interested in something.  My son was captivated by Jacob DeShazer’s story and there were several times when he was reading aloud that he would stop and ask me, “Did you hear that mom?  That was amazing!”  He truly enjoyed reading this book and learning more about Jacob DeShazer and his amazing life.  I feel like I can’t share the parts of the book that he really liked without telling you too much of the story and this is really a book that is well worth the time spent reading. 


Along with the book, YWAM Publishing sent us their Digital Unit Study to review as well.  This unit study is a very valuable resource to download to go along with the book.  The unit study has instructions for using the book and the study for classrooms and for homeschooling.  It is very detailed and gives several ideas and options of how you can use the unit study with the book.  It explained how you could use the unit study devoting maximum class time to it and how to use it using minimal class time.  We opted to use the digital unit study for a moderate amount of time.  We focused on the Key Bible Verses, some Social Studies, and the Chapter Questions.  There were 4 Key Bible Verses for the Jacob DeShazer book and I thought it would be really good for my son to learn these and see how they related to the book and Jacob’s life.  I gave him the verses to study so we could discuss them.  We discussed them before he began reading the book so that he could see scripturally where the book was going.  We discussed them again mid-way through the book to see if he had seen any of these verses in action through the book and then again now that he has finished the book.  He said he could see how they fit with the book.  We used some of the Social Studies work from the unit study, but we did not use all of it.  We looked up the places the booked talked about on maps to see where we were reading about, but we did not go into as much detail as the study guide suggests.  I definitely appreciated the amount of Social Studies the unit study had in it and felt like it could definitely be a unit that counted for Social Studies and I would have used it this way had we not already been studying WWII for our current History curriculum.  We did focus on answering the Chapter Questions from the unit study as I felt it gave us many topics to discuss from the book.  I had my son answer the questions and then we would discuss his answers.  Sometimes he wrote out his answers and then we had a discussion and sometimes we just discussed them verbally.  This gave me a chance to really see if he was understanding what he was reading, if he was learning the vocabulary used in the book, and how he felt about what was happening in the book.  We truly enjoyed this book and my son wants to read more about the Doolittle Raiders this summer, which is awesome because the unit study even lists more resources that you can read that are related to this book so we will definitely be checking out this area of the study guide.  I also truly enjoyed all of the options in the unit study guide.  It gives you so many more ways to use the book.  I do plan to also use this book with our Sunday School class too (we teach 4-6th grade boys) because I think they will really enjoy the story and we can show them how God used Jacob’s life to reach others.  When we read this book with our Sunday School, I plan to use the unit study guide as well. 
YWAM  Publishing published not only this Jacob DeShazer book in their Christian Heroes series, but they have several other great books in this series.  We love the Christian Heroes series in our house because they tell true stories of missionaries and how God uses them to reach others.  YWAM Publishing also has a Heroes of History series of biographies that tell the stories of the men and women who have changed the course of history.  We have not read any of the books in the Heroes of History series, but will definitely be checking them out as we do enjoy reading about real people.  You can find YWAM Publishing on their website, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and they have a blog.  You can find the Christian Heroes: Then & Now Jacob DeShazer: Forgive Your Enemies book that we read here and you can find the accompanying downloadable unit study guide here.  You should definitely check out YWAM Publishing and the amazing books they have to offer and in our house we definitely recommend you read Christian Heroes: Then & Now Jacob DeShazer: Forgive Your Enemies.

Please take a moment to go and check out my friends on the Schoolhouse Review Crew by clicking on the banner below.  The Crew reviewed many different books from YWAM Publishing.  I can’t wait to check out the reviews and see which books we will add to our reading list.
Christian Heroes {YWAM Publishing Review}


Friday, April 22, 2016

Friday Faves: 5 of Our Favorite Dinners

I haven’t done a Friday Favorites post in quite awhile.  Ever since I started menu planning and actually trying the meals that I pin on Pinterest we have had some really delicious dinners.  I thought I would take a few minutes today and share 5 of our favorite dinners with you.  I even linked directly to the recipes for those of you who don’t have Pinterest.
  • Lemon Butter Chicken – I can’t remember when I found this recipe from Damn Delicious (sorry for the language, I did not name that blog), but it is truly a fantastic main dish.  Our family fights over the leftovers, thankfully the first time we had this meal I claimed all future leftovers any time we have this meal.  Yes it is really that good, REALLY!!!  We love the sauce for the chicken and the bright flavor it gives the meal.  My kids save the extra sauce and put it on baked potatoes for lunch the next day.  I fix this recipe with chicken breasts cut in half so they don’t take as long to cook and because I have a weird thing about bone-in chicken.  I serve this with a simple salad and a veggie.
  • Slow Cooker Chicken and Quinoa Chili – This recipe from Darcie’s Dishes is so tasty, relatively cheap, and family approved.  My son loves it so much he ate the leftovers for breakfast one time when I made it.  You can also make it on your stove top if you forget to throw everything in the crock pot (like me).  Every time I make this meal, my family asks when it will be on the menu again.  You could serve this with bread if you would like (I do not so that I stay on my eating plan).
  • Meatball Parmesan – Meatballs and gooey cheese, do I even need to say more?  There are never any of these leftover in our house.  I serve them with a simple salad and a veggie. 
  • Skillet Chicken with Creamy Cilantro Lime Sauce – We just tried this recipe this week and the family wanted it again every day this week.  They said schedule it twice next month.  It is very similar to the lemon butter chicken and we love it.  Again I used thin cut chicken breasts and it was DELICIOUS!!!  I served it with a salad and baked potatoes.
  • One Pan Mexican Quinoa – We have been doing a few more meatless meals lately just to stretch our grocery budget a little, never hurts right?  This recipe is from the same site as the lemon butter chicken.  I want to go to dinner at her house because every night must be great.  Anyway, my family loves this dish.  We are huge Mexican food fans and my family does not even miss meat in the meal.  I have added in some browned ground turkey on nights I have made it and we won’t be at home just to keep us full a little longer and it is good that way too.  It is a very versatile dish because you can add meat, more heat to it, or top it with your favorite toppings.  Sometimes we have salad with this, sometimes we don’t.  It is very filling just as it is.
Do you have any favorite meals that your family requests over and over?  Which of these meals will you put on your menu?  I would love to hear which ones of these you try or if you have a meal you think I should try let me know.  If you are looking for my April Menu Plan you can find it by clicking HERE and you can find me and all my menu plans so far on my Pinterest page.  Soon I will be planning my meals for May.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Apologia Educational Ministries – Writers in Residence Review

Language arts has never been a favorite subject for my son and this year the curriculum we were using was really frustrating for him.  Both he and I were excited to receive Writers in Residence from Apologia Educational Ministries to review because it focuses on learning language arts in a completely different way than our current curriculum did.  Writers in Residence has ended the language arts frustration for my 7th grader and I couldn’t be happier!
homeschool writing curriculum Debra Bell language arts curriculum
Writers in Residence from Apologia Educational Ministries  is a complete language arts curriculum written by Debra Bell.  The set we received is Volume 1 and it included the All in One Student Text & Workbook along with the Answer Key.  This language arts curriculum is writing focused, but it teaches your student how to find their own writing voice through completing the assignments.  The writing assignments are interesting and they help students learn more about sentence structure, parts of speech, punctuation, capitalization, and grammar.  This curriculum teaches students to write assignments that are clear, lively, and captivating.  Writers in Residence also includes a detailed lesson plan outline for 32 weeks of use, evaluation rubrics, and checklists for completing each unit.  One of my favorite features of this curriculum are the interviews with real Christian authors (I must admit that I skipped ahead in the curriculum to read all the interviews).  It is designed for students in grades 4 through 8. 

IMG_1006
My son is very good at creative writing, but getting the mechanics of writing correct all the time has been a struggle from the early years.  It has lead to a lot of frustration and he eventually began to dread writing.  The curriculum we have been using before this review does an okay job with language arts and teaching grammar concepts, but I feel like it leaves too many gaps and it has lead to confusion.  Every year I try to find material to help with these gaps, but I have never found anything that covered both language arts and grammar that I felt fit for us.  We have tried a lot of individual products for these subjects that have been just okay.  I have always been on the lookout for a complete language arts curriculum that included grammar so that we didn’t feel like we were working on two completely different subjects.  Writers in Residence is the language arts curriculum that I have been looking for and since we started using it, my son has not complained about writing, language arts, or grammar at all.  He completely understands the concepts he has been working through and I have been seeing improvements in the mechanics of his writing in each lesson that he works on.

The workbook is very thorough and has a section of how to use the curriculum at the beginning of it.  This section gives very detailed information of how and why Writers in Residence is different from other curriculum and how to use it effectively for your student.  It also includes a welcome section for the students that explains what they will be learning, why they should be writing, a quick look at the Christian authors they will find out about later on, traits of the writing model, an introduction to the writing process, and a suggested daily schedule.  Both my son and I loved these parts of the workbook that we read through before we ever got to the first lesson.  My son loved knowing that he would be learning how to write about things that were important to him – his ideas, his memories, and his stories.  He really was excited that he wouldn’t be writing papers that seemed pointless to him.  I was excited that he could see from the very beginning what he would learn, what was expected of him, and that he had a direction for his writing.
 
IMG_1005
Then we got into the real work of the textbook and workbook.  We really enjoyed reading about Bill Myers, a real life Christian author, who has written a lot of books.  The workbook is broken down into six units and each unit is broken down into modules.  Unit 1 focuses on “When I Was Young” and writing from the student’s favorite childhood memories.  My son chose to focus on the memories he made playing at his cars table when he was little.  The unit introduced the rubric that would be used to evaluate his writing and also introduced a model to follow while he was developing the story from his memories.  The unit also taught him more about verbs, vocabulary, nouns, being specific, capitalization, and sentence order among other things.  Each section that my son worked through had him reflecting on and improving his memory sentences which he is using to create his writing on “When I Was Young.”  This has opened the door for us to talking about descriptive writing, choosing specific nouns, and verbs that draw the readers in and make them feel like they are right in the memory with you.  I have seen my son’s writing improve and his confidence about writing has returned.  He is judging his work as he goes and making necessary improvements based on the lessons he has learned from Writers in Residence.  While language arts still is not his favorite subject, he no longer dreads it or complains about it.

I am extremely happy with Writers in Residence from Apologia Educational Ministries.  I really like the approach this curriculum uses to make writing real to the students by using their own memories and experiences to write from.  I really love the way it teaches students to evaluate their own work and to go back and make it stronger by adding in specific nouns, vigorous verbs, and descriptions that the reader can picture.  My favorite thing about this curriculum is that it is complete and I don’t have find separate grammar and language arts any more.  I am also thankful that language arts is no longer frustrating in our house.  We will definitely continue to work through the rest of this language arts curriculum as we finish up our school year and then we will pick up where we leave off with it next school year.  I truly hope that Apologia Educational Ministries, Writers in Residence, and Debra Bell with come out with volume 2 of this because I would certainly purchase that curriculum to follow up this one.

You can check out Apologia Educational Ministries at their website or on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.  You can find the Writers in Residence curriculum here.  Please go and check them out for yourself and see if they would be a good fit for your students.  We definitely recommend them!

You can also check out what other members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew thought about Writers in Residence by clicking on the banner below this. 

Apologia: Writers in Residence Review
 
Crew Disclaimer

Monday, April 18, 2016

A+ Interactive Math - Math Mini-Courses Review

Math is not always the easiest subject to teach kids.  There are always some concepts that are quick to teach because your student catches on right away and there are others that your student will struggle with.  Fractions can be one of those subjects - one that students either get or they don’t get.  When we had the opportunity to review Math Mini-Courses from A+ Interactive Math, I looked at the mini-courses they offered and I was very excited to find courses on fractions.  We received two different mini-courses to review.  I picked Early Elementary Fractions for my 2nd grader and  Advanced Fractions for my 7th grader. 

Math Mini-Courses {A+ Interactive Math Review}

Math Mini-Courses {A+ Interactive Math Review}

The Online Math Mini-Courses from A+ Interactive Math are designed to help close the learning gaps in areas of math that students commonly struggle or have weaknesses with.  They offer 20 different math mini courses covering a wide range of topics.  Some of the courses are for early elementary school children (1st - 3rd grade), some course can be used for all elementary school children (1st - 6th grade), and some courses are designed for upper elementary and middle school (4th - 8th grade).  The number of lessons in each mini-course depends varies.  The mini-courses offered are:
  • Counting and Identifying Numbers
  • Place Value and Number Combinations
  • Naming, Comparing, and Arranging Numbers
  • Early Elementary Fractions
  • Early Elementary Addition
  • Early Elementary Subtraction
  • Elementary & Middle School Multiplication
  • Elementary & Middle School Division, 
  • Tables, Charts and Graphs
  • Elementary Geometry
  • Elementary Algebra
  • Advanced Geometry
  • Advanced Fractions 
  • Decimal Numbers
  • Percentages
  • Time
  • Money
  • Number Types and Conversions
  • Ratio, Proportions, Probability & Statistics
  • Measurements and Conversions
You can see that these Math Mini-Courses from A+ Interactive Math cover a wide range of topics.  Each course covers a group of specific math concepts from several grade levels.  The courses are completed online (you can print off worksheets and enter the answers in after your student completes the worksheet) and the student can see their progress as well as you can in the teacher tracking area.  The courses feature automatic grading, animated lessons, audio, and tracking so you can know how far along your student is.  The Mini-Courses are affordable too.  They range in price from $9.99 to $19.99 and include access for a full year even though each course can be completed in just a couple of months.
A screenshot of one of the lessons
So how did we use our Math Mini-Courses?  I chose to receive the Early Elementary Fractions for my 2nd grader and the Advanced Fractions for my 7th grader.  My second grader is just now starting to learn the beginning of fractions in her regular math book so I thought this mini-course would be perfect to help supplement what she was learning.  The Early Elementary Fractions course covered several topics including an introduction to fractions, equivalent fractions, and adding fractions.  As she started working on it, we realized that this program was ahead of her math book which was okay.  It just meant that I had to help make sure that she paid close attention to the explanation videos and then she wanted me near when she was answering the questions since she was covering new material.   She was unsure of the new concepts she learned at first, but as she worked her way through the interactive review questions she gained confidence and really knew what she was doing.  Her favorite part of the program, besides learning new fraction concepts was clicking the frog's belly to submit her answers.  I heard cheerful "I clicked his belly" calls repeated as she worked through the lessons.  In just a short amount of time with the program, we got about halfway through completing the whole mini-course.  She will continue to work her way through the Early Elementary Fractions until she finishes the course.
Here is the frog and his belly that you click (this was from my son's course)
I also had my son working on the Advanced Fractions Math Mini-Course.  He is currently working through Pre-Algebra for school and did some fraction work this year as part of that.  I figured it couldn't hurt to have him work on this mini-course as well to just reinforce what he has learned and worked on.  This course covered several topics including the greatest common factor, mixed fractions, and several methods of converting fractions.  These were all concepts he has learned before, but I felt like this program did teach him some new ways to look at the fractions and it was a great reinforcement of what he has already learned.  He didn't mind working through this program as he knows that fractions can be tricky for him.  He did comment that he wished you didn't have to wait for the program to read all the answers to you before you select the answer.  I however though this was a good thing even though it made the lesson take a little longer because it made him stop and think through all the answers before choosing which saved him a couple of times from choosing wrong.  He really did enjoy the fact that the program graded his answers as he went and when he finished the questions, he knew his total score.  He is also about halfway through his mini-course after just a few weeks of work.  He will also continue to work his way through Advanced Fractions until he finishes the course.
They both loved seeing when they got answers right.
Overall the Math Mini-Courses we received from A+ Interactive Math have been really great.  I think they did fill in some gaps of understanding for my son in the Advanced Fractions and it has been a great starting point for my daughter with the Early Elementary Fractions since her regular math has just been introducing fractions.  I feel like it will set her up to work through fractions better in next year's math and she will have an understanding of them already.  I also liked having a teacher's login so that I could check on their progress and see what they had been working on.  I will tell you that at first it was a little confusing to figure out how to get the courses started for each child.  I didn't have any problems setting up each student, but once they logged in figuring out where they should start was a little confusing.  When they start a lesson a box pops up that has you mark the lesson as "In Progress" and if you don't mark that it will not record their work and progress.  Once we got the hang of doing that we were fine.  The other thing that you have to make sure you do is click the frog's belly to submit your answers instead of the "next" arrow.  Until we got used to the program, I had to remind them to click the belly instead of hitting next.  Other than these 2 things, I think it is a great program and it really helped my kids with fractions.  I look forward to checking their knowledge after they completely finish the program.  I am also very interested in checking out their other mini-courses to help fill in gaps in our current math program.  If your students have any weaknesses with math or you just want to reinforce what they have learned this year, you should definitely check out A+ Interactive Math.  It would be a great summer program so they don't lose what they learned over the last year.
This is a sample of what you can see in the teacher's area.  I could see what my daughter had completed.
You can check out the Math Mini-Course information here.  You can find A+ Interactive Math on their website as they have other programs to offer too.  You can also find them on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.  Please go and check them out.

Also be sure that you click the banner to check out more reviews of A+ Interactive Math from the Schoolhouse Review Crew because different crew members checked out different Mini-Courses.  I will definitely be looking through the reviews to check out the other courses that I did not try.

Math Mini-Courses {A+ Interactive Math Review}

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Talking Fingers Inc. - Read, Write & Type Review

Little Miss is always mesmerized when I am typing on the computer and she is always asking when she will get to learn to type.  She was super excited when we got the chance recently to review Read, Write & Type from Talking Fingers Inc. because it was finally her turn to learn to type.  This program was not only fun for her to use, it was also very educational which is a win-win in my book.  I didn't have any issues getting her to use the program, I only had issues getting her to stop working on it each day.

Talking Fingers Inc. Review phonics phoneme awareness early writing and spelling keyboarding vocabulary reading

Read, Write & Type from Talking Fingers Inc. is an online program that integrates phonics, reading, writing, and keyboarding.  This program has 40 lessons in it and is designed for ages 6 through 9.  It pairs speech sounds with a letter and finger stroke on the keyboard while it teaches students to pronounce, segment, type, and spell words as they play games and try to defeat the virus named Vexor who keeps stealing letters.  There are also several other characters in this program such as the Talking Hands that give the basic instructions and the story takes place in a city where you can visit many different places in the city and complete different activities.  This program also has special features for students with learning disabilities, reading difficulties, or ESL but we did not use these aspects of the program.
Little Miss getting started on Day 1 of the program.
Like I said earlier, Little Miss was super excited when she found out that we had received a One Year Subscription to Read, Write & Type from Talking Fingers Inc. to review.  She didn't have to be asked twice to get on the computer and start working with the program.  Once I got her logged in, she jumped right in and began working on the program.  She was completely mesmerized by the characters and the stories that went with them.  She absolutely loved learning the keyboarding from the program and she would re-cap the stories to me that she had read while learning the letters.  She loved the days that she got to send an "email" to other kids (don't worry she wasn't sending real emails, this is just a part of the program that simulates email to other kids).  Little Miss liked that she got instant feedback of how she was doing on the program and when she would complete 4 letters, she got a certificate of completion.  Even though the program is designed to take only about 15 minutes each day, Little Miss wanted to work each day until she got her certificate.  It was her self-imposed daily goal.
One of the Certificates of Merit (it does include her name, but I erased that part for this picture).
Another certificate Little Miss earned.
The program put the completed characters in the appropriate windows. (This was about a week or so into the program)
As a parent and her teacher, I was also really impressed with the program.  I really thought that it would just be teaching her keyboarding, but as I was listening and watching her work I saw that Read, Write & Type from Talking Fingers Inc. was also reinforcing her letter sounds, helping her with her reading skills, and working on her hand-eye coordination as she was learning where her fingers went on the keyboard.  I really appreciated that the program has a built in "Bonus Blimp" that kept track of her performance and would send her back to activities that she needed to practice on.  I also liked being able to log in under my level (the instructor's level) and get a complete report of how she was doing.  The detailed reports tracked each level and how she did in Phonics, Reading, Spelling, and an overall Average of the lesson.  There was also an area of settings for my student where I could set which days she was allowed to log in (I left it so she could log in every day, even on the weekends), the passing grade (she had to get at least 70% to pass, but she was always well above that), and the difficulty level of the program.  I set the difficulty level at easy for this time since she had no experience with this program.  Little Miss definitely wants to continue working on this program even though she has it almost completed (she has finished 8 out of the 10 levels in just a few weeks) and after she completes all 10 levels, I plan to change the difficulty of the program so she continues learning from it and building her typing skills.  I also really appreciated that once I got her logged into the site, she could work on her own.  She usually worked while I was finishing school with her brother, it kept her occupied, learning, and not interrupting his work.  I definitely recommend that you check out this program for yourself.

Here are the settings I could edit in the instructor area.
Read, Write & Type from Talking Fingers Inc. has been a great program for us to work through.  We definitely give it two thumbs up and think it is a great value for the price of it.  You can try it for yourself on their website because they do offer a free trial of this program.  Talking Fingers Inc. has several pricing plans for Read, Write & Type based on how many students you are using this program for and where you are using it (homeschool setting or a school setting).  They also offer other products for other ages that you can try out on their website too.  Please go and check them out.  You can find Talking Fingers Inc. on their website, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter.  You can find the Read, Write & Type program that we used by clicking this link.  Please go and check them out today!

You can also find out what other members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew thought of Read, Write & Type from Talking Fingers Inc. by clicking the picture below:

Talking Fingers Inc. Review




Tuesday, April 12, 2016

I'm Getting Antsy...

The countdown is on and I couldn't be more excited!  We have only 20 days of school left for this year and then we will be on summer break.  SUMMER BREAK!!!  I am totally geeked.  I love the routine of doing our school, learning something every day, and teaching, but I am also looking forward to reading for fun, lazy mornings, picking blueberries, baking, crafting, and playing in the sunshine.  I have been putting together a mental list of things we will work on this summer, but I thought I would get it down here on my blog so that you guys can check in on me and make sure I am getting fun stuff done this summer.  Don't worry you will still see many educational things on my blog this summer as we still have reviews to work on and I am sure there will be a curriculum post or two coming as it is a natural part of the homeschooling process, but I am hoping to post about crafts, recipes, baking, and reading this summer too.  I plan to actually try many of the things I pin on Pinterest and spend some serious time hanging out with the kiddos hopefully in the warmth and sunshine (last summer was not so warm or sunny here).


I am getting pretty antsy to start working on projects, but I know we have to finish school first and I have to get the grades in the computer.  I try not to let myself dive into any big summer projects until I have everything wrapped up for the year.  It's like a reward for me.  :)  Here is my summer to do list so far:
  • Finish cross stitch of wolves for my son
  • Transform an old dresser into a desk with storage
  • Start remodeling our master bedroom
  • Scrapbook 50 layouts
  • Bake 15 new cupcakes from my Pinterest board
  • De-clutter my office/scraproom
  • Teach my daughter to sew
  • Sew my own skirt
  • Sew a dress for my daughter
  • Go blueberry picking more than once
  • Make blueberry desserts
  • Cut out and hang the Bible verse in our living room
  • Finish hanging decorations in my kitchen
  • Make decorative fence for our strawberry patch
  • Make 15 crafts off of Pinterest
  • Read 10 books for fun
This list is just the beginning of my summer plans.  I am sure I will be adding to it and updating you on projects as we go through the summer, once we get there of course.  For now I will just keep focusing on finishing up school and let the list of things I want to work on this summer grow.  What are your summer plans?