Thursday, July 12, 2018

New York in Pictures

Last week we got the opportunity to go to New York.  We were the 2nd set of drivers for our youth group and we helped drive them to Word of Life camp in New York.  So we got a chance to not only visit the camps, but also to visit some gorgeous towns in New York.  We were up in the mountains and God's handiwork was AMAZING!!!  Here are some pictures from our trip:
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These are the ski jumps from the Olympic Center in Lake Placid.  We have a whole new appreciation for ski jumpers...that is a crazy ridiculous height.
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We had a lot of fun exploring, hanging out with our youth group leaders, and getting to know the teens as we drove to and from New York.  We saw the Pottersville, Schroon Lake, Lake Placid, Saranac, and Lake George areas.  Hope you enjoyed the pictures.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

A Review of Math Refresher for Adults from Math Essentials

I admit it!  I am a math nerd.  Equations and formulas make me happy.  Story problems make me squeal.  I just love math.  I even love to help others with math.  This is why I want to keep my skills fresh and sharp.  I was super excited to receive Math Refresher for Adults from Math Essentials to review.  It never hurts to work on your math skills and this product made my inner math nerd very happy.
Math Refresher for Adults, A Glimpse of Normal
Math Refresher for Adults by Richard W. Fisher is a textbook style book that is designed to help adults refresh their math skills so that they can in turn help their students.  It is practical and easy to use.  It explains topics that are covered in math from fourth grade up through algebra.  It features a detailed Table of Contents to easily find topics to work on, over 200 pages of exercises to work on, solutions to every problem, a glossary, a table of important math symbols, a multiplication table, a table of commonly used prime numbers, a table of squares and square roots, and a table of fraction/decimal equivalents.  The book is broken into 2 major sections: General Math and Pre-Algebra and Algebra.  There are 9 concepts that are refreshed in this book and they are:
  • Whole Numbers
  • Fractions
  • Decimals
  • Percents
  • Geometry
  • Integers
  • Charts and Graphs
  • Word Problems
  • Pre-Algebra and Algebra
Each lesson in this book starts with review exercises to get your brain warmed-up and ready to work. Then there are helpful hints which give tips for working on the content of the lesson.  This area is where you will find those math rules that you may have forgotten and the why of the math operations.  These hints are clear, precise, and easy to follow.  Many of them include examples too so that you can see what is expected.  Then you get your chance to practice and refresh your skills with the practice problems.  Each lesson has 2 sample problems and 10 practice problems for you to solve.  The solutions can be found in the back of the book so that you can check your work.  There are also problem solving questions at the end of many of the review exercises for extra practice.  At the end of each chapter of the book there is a review section to review all of the lessons for each chapter.  At the end of each section there is a final review of the entire section.

When you purchase this book for $28.95 you also get access to free online video lessons.  They have a video for every lesson in the book which you can access with a special code included in the book.  The videos are clear, concise, and helpful.  You can use the videos to help refresh your memory, watch them with a student who is struggling with a concept, or to see the problems worked out step by step.  The videos that go with this book are listed for their original book that they appear in so they might take a minute to sort through to find the right one, but it is worth it.

I wanted to review this book because I have 2 math students in our own homeschool and I help many of our youth group kids with their math.  Because of this, I want to and need to keep my math skills fresh at all times.  This book is perfect for that.  I started with the very first lesson when I got this book just so I could get a feel for how the lessons worked and then I skipped around.  I wanted to cover a variety of the lessons in the book.  I worked on some lessons in the whole numbers concept area, some in the percent concept area, and some in the pre-algebra and algebra section.  I feel like each lesson that I work on refreshes a set of skills that I can use with my students and the students from youth group that I help.  I worked on the lessons just like they were laid out and each lesson I did took me 15-20 minutes.  I wrote out my answers on a separate piece of paper like the book suggested.  This gave me plenty of room to work out my solutions and I can also revisit lessons over and over if I want to/need to.  I had fun sitting down each day and completing a few lessons.  When I was done with my lessons I could quickly check the answers in the back of the book to make sure I got them right.  I also went through some of the videos and watched them for a refresher for the lessons I have not had a chance to work through yet.  I wanted a quick visual reminder of what I will be doing when I get to them.  The videos are very thorough and great for visual learners.  I spent some time watching the videos on probability because this topic is probably one of my least favorites when it comes to math.
I highly recommend Math Refresher for Adults from Math Essentials for any adult that teaches or helps with any kind of math.  It is also great if you are going back to school yourself or if you just want to refresh your math memory.  There are tons of applications for this book and it can be used in so many ways.  I will definitely keep working through the rest of these lessons and I will keep my book on hand for reference in the future because it is so thorough.  You can learn more about the Math Refresher for Adults book I used by clicking here.  You can also learn more about Math Essentials and all the math books they offer by checking out their website.  You can also find Math Essentials on Facebook. I am sure that my friends on the Homeschool Review Crew checked out other lessons in this book that I haven't got to yet, so click on the banner below to find out how they used the lessons in this book.
Math Refresher for Adults {Math Essentials}

A Review of the Advanced (5th & 6th grade) Level From Bible Study Guide For All Ages

Bible is an important subject in our school so I like to see what products are out there and what might be a good fit for my students.  This is why I was excited to dig into the Advanced (5th & 6th grade) Level From Bible Study Guide For All Ages when we got a chance to review it recently.  I wanted to see how Little Miss would do with this Bible Study Curriculum.
Bible Study Guide for All Ages, A Glimpse of Normal
We are new to Bible Study Guide For All Ages so I was unfamiliar with this company before this review.  Bible Study Guide has been around since the 1970's.  It is another company that was born when Mary Baker, a homeschool mom, couldn't find the Bible curriculum that she was looking for to use with her 4 children.  The family has continued this company and their goal is the same as it has always been: "to help children and adults learn and understand the Bible, while applying it to their own lives."  I love that this is their goal and it made me eager to see what the level we received  would be all about.  They do offer other levels: Beginner (3-K), Primary (1st & 2nd grade). and Intermediate (3rd & 4th grade).  Each level of this Bible Study Curriculum can be used for individuals or groups.
We received Unit 1 of the Advanced (5th & 6th grade) Level to review.  It came with the Student Pages and Teacher Key.  They were also kind enough to send us their Bible Book Summary Cards as well that are used throughout the level.  This unit includes lessons 1-26 and is designed to be used by students in 5th and 6th grade.  It is a consumable workbook so you do need one per student.  There are a total of 16 units in the entire Advanced Level and if you completed them all, there would 416 lessons which would take a few years.  Each lesson has a specific Bible passage at the beginning of it to read.  Next is the Remember It? section that reviews something from the last lesson or the reading.  It asks questions and gives room to answer.  Then there is the Memory Workout section.  This area lists a song to sing from the optional CD set for the level and it is also where students use the Bible Book Summary Cards that we did receive.  Next is the Guess What section that gives more information about the reading or tells the historical reference of facts in the reading.  It is an educational section filled with great things to think about and learn.  Time Line or Map (depending on the lesson) is next up.  This is where students work on a timeline that is given at the top of the page or they add locations and details to a map from the lesson.  Then there is a Get Active section that has fun activities that can help students dig deeper.  Some of the activities are designed to be completed in a group so to use these, they would have to be modified.  Other activities were ones that students can complete individually.  Then there was an Apply It section.  This had students reading more Bible verses and looking at them in detail and really thinking about them.  Each lesson ended with the suggestion for the student to talk to God about what He taught them in the lesson.  On the back of each lesson is a Discover the Bible page.  This is a page that the students use to dig deeper into a lesson from the Bible.  There is a passage or two to read and then then work to do based on the reading.  The work helps students remember details from the story and walks them through it bit by bit.  Some of it is just answering questions based on facts from the story and some of it is their reasoning.  The Teacher Key has the same format as the Student Pages except for it gives answers and extra information for teaching like extra Scripture references if you want to add in those for older students.  It also has information on using the Wall Map and Wall Time Line Set if you purchase these items.

When our Advanced Level arrived, I took the time to read through the beginning of the Teacher Key and the Teacher Notes in the Student Pages so that I could see how we should be using this curriculum.  I decided that I wanted Little Miss to use this as her daily devotions.  We worked on 1-2 lessons a week and I had her do independent work and I worked with her on some of each lesson.  I would read the Bible passage with her or have her read it aloud to me, depending on the day.  Then I would have her work on the various question sections for the reading.  When she would finish with the questions, we would go over her work to make sure she answered the questions correctly.  If she got it wrong, we would discuss how her answer was different and her reasoning for answering that way.  After she finished the questions, she would work on learning the Bible Book Summary Card for the lesson.  This seemed like a better place for her to work on it rather than at the beginning of the lesson.  I think for her it was easier if she focused on the questions first and learning the Book facts all at once.  On the Discover the Bible section, we would read the Bible passage together and then I let her work on her own for this section.  I wanted her to do the digging and thinking for this section.  Many of the stories she covered in the lessons she completed, are stories that she was familiar with so I wanted her to really dig into them and dissect them for herself.  She liked working independently on this section so that she could look for the little details that completing this page required.  If she got stuck, she would ask for help, but it was rare that she did.  Little Miss has finished 9 lessons and she is looking forward to finishing up this unit so we can get the next one. She has been enjoying the lessons so far and they are helping her look for little details in the Bible passages she reads.  This is a win win to me.
Bible Book Summary Card front
Bible Book Summary Card Back with information to learn
Teacher Key
The Teacher Key gives more detail in the sidelines so you can teach at a deeper level.
We have really enjoyed using this Bible Study Curriculum.  I really like how is it broken down into sections and if you are working with one student you can space it out or if you work with a group it is paced so that you could complete a lesson each week (I used to teach Sunday School so I can see how easy this would be to use in that setting).  I like that this curriculum leads students to deeper thinking while encouraging their thoughts and feelings about the passage they are studying.  I like that it can used for different size groups and even just using it with my daughter we didn't miss not having a group setting to use it in when I adjusted the Get Active  sections.  In my opinion it is a very well written curriculum and one that we will continue to use since it is affordable.  I do wish that we had room for the Wall Maps and Timeline Set because it looks like it be a great visual reminder for this curriculum.

You can learn more about all the levels that Bible Study Guide For All Ages has to offer on their website.  You can learn about the Advanced (5th & 6th grade) Level that we received by clicking here.  You can also find Bible Study Guide For All Ages on Facebook and Twitter.  You can also learn more about this level and the other levels of this curriculum by clicking on the banner below to read the reviews from my friends on the Homeschool Review Crew.
Bible Study Guide For All Ages {Reviews}