- The first class, “What’s in your Science Tool Box” takes place on Friday, January 13 Through this session, homeschoolers will learn about the scientific process and get hands on experience working with tools of the trade.
- The second class, “Boom, Fizzle, Spark!” takes place Friday, February 10. Participants will begin class by performing experiments provided by staff then will create their own experiment with materials provided.
About the Product:
Fun-Time Phonics!™ Software – 2-PCs Win Download is a downloadable comprehensive reading program that can be used by multiple students in your home. With the license, you are able to add it to two computers. This program is geared toward children in preschool through second grade.
The program emphasizes sound/spelling patterns, vocabulary, and comprehension, not memorization, which comes in handy for children who aren’t great at memorization. The focus is more on vowel isolation in order to read.
You can check out the video below to see more:
The app is composed of these four sections:
- Section 1: Teaches children that words are made up with sounds. Activities include beginning sounds, ending sounds, vowel sounds, and words that rhyme.
- Section 2: Teaches children each short vowel sound and the letter that makes that sound.
- Section 3: This section teaches consonant-vowel coarticulation, so children learn that each consonant uses short vowels to make different sounds that are used to form words that are read.
- Section 4: Teaches children to combine their new knowledge of consonant-vowel coarticulation and ending sounds to read their first words.
Right now the program is only available for Windows computers, but an iPad version coming soon. Due to the large amount of audio files involved in the learning features of this program, the installed Windows program requires approx. 500 MB of disk space. You can purchase this program for $29.99 on The Critical Thinking Co.™ website.
I like the program. During the review period, my daughters were working on beginning and ending sounds and what is similar in various words. It keeps phonics basic, however my little girls were not really thrilled with it. It seemed more like a chore and/or work to get them to work on the program through the week. They did do the program, though.
My Kindergartener had trouble getting pass some of the quizzes. She would get frustrated having to play lessons over and over again, but I liked this feature. So many other programs will just move my children along even if they aren’t able to finish the quiz. I like that this one makes her redo the lesson. Even though this program says it is for preK through 2nd, I don’t think I would recommend starting it before Kindergarten unless you have an early reader.
My 1st grader did well with it. I like that it is reinforcing what she has already learned in phonics so far. Getting a review is always great! I know as she progresses, it will move along to lessons and topics that she hasn’t learned so far.
Overall, I like the Fun-Time Phonics!™ Software. I can see that they are learning and making strides. I will keep them on the program to get more phonics practice.
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You can also view more reviews on this products and other products by the same company with the Homeschool Review Crew. Simply click the banner below.
About the Product:
Accountable2You is is an accountability software that you can use on multiple devices with a membership. Basically it tracks the activity and will alert you when something fishy is triggered, whether in an internet search or even in a text message. The program can be set up to have someone be the accountability partner and receive an instant text or email when there is questionable activity. This program cannot be disabled unless you know the password and will instantly trigger an alert as well if it’s attempted.
It’s important to note that this is just an accountability program and NOT a web filter. The website recommends other programs for filtering.
More than just accountability on devices, it can also be set up to alert if someone is on a device after a certain time. This is perfect for kids that may try and sneak their device after it’s supposed to be put up for the night.
With the program, there are 4 plans to select from:
Individual Plan: The individual plan is made for one person. This is perfect for singles and can monitor up to 6 devices.
Family Plan: The family plan can monitor up to 20 devices! This even works for your kids that are away at College.
Group Plan: In the group plan, each user in the plan can have up to 6 devices. This is perfect for church groups or other groups that want to make sure they are accountable to someone. Member accounts have all the features of an Individual account, including reporting, accountability partners, and alerts.
Small Business Plan: The Small Business Plan is designed for businesses wanting to monitor activity on devices used within their organization. The administrator of the plan can set up unlimited devices, such as employee computers or tablets, and see all activity for all devices installed under their account.
This has actually been quite an interesting review! Since using Accountable2You, it’s opened up great discussions with our kids on what is appropriate internet usage and such. Thankfully we haven’t had any major alerts, but I’m so glad that we have this added for extra accountability. We did have a couple yellow alerts. My daughter was searching “cute shirts for girls” on Amazon and since it had the word cute and girls in the same search, it alerted me. Even though it was an innocent search, it was good to know that the program was working and that it yellow flagged a questionable search so that I knew to go review that item. We also had it triggered with some books that my kids were looking at. It will tell you the exact time and device that triggered the alert.
I found the program really easy to install on every device except on the iPad and iPhone. Android was super easy. With Apple devices, you have to disable safari and use the Accountable2You app to access the internet in order for it to track. With Android, I just had to install the app and set it up. It tracks texts on Android but not on Apple. It took a few extra steps, but wasn’t too difficult.
My favorite part of the program is that it will still track if you go in the “incognito” mode if you don’t want your internet history followed. That is a very important feature to have with kids.
I’m thankful that we have installed this on our devices and will definitely renew when it is time.
For More Information:
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When I was planning this school year, I was trying to decide what we wanted to do for science. When the opportunity came up for us to review Exploring Creation with Astronomy, 2nd Edition from Apologia Educational Ministries, I was thrilled! The kids have been asking to learn more about Astronomy and this gave us the perfect chance!
About the Product:
Children can explore the galaxy using the new and revised Exploring Creation with Astronomy, 2nd Edition. Packed full of hands-on activities to introduce elementary aged children to the Universe using a Biblical base. Available for purchase is the Exploring Creation with Astronomy, 2nd Edition textbook, Notebooking Journal, Junior Notebooking Journal, Audio CD, and the Science Kit.
In the second edition textbook and notebooking journals, you will find:
• Biblical wisdom used throughout the textbook
• Infographics to help children see information in an understandable format
• 14 lessons updated with current scientific data
• Wisdom from Above and Think About This callout boxes which give special attention to God as Creator
• A new color-coordinated schedule for the textbook, notebooking journals, and lab kit
• Fresh layouts for activities found within the textbook
• All new full-color illustrations
• Space to journal each textbook and notebook activity
For review, we received the Exploring Creation with Astronomy, 2nd Edition textbook, a Notebooking Journal, Junior Notebooking Journal, and the Audio CD.
Even though this product is geared toward elementary age students, I’ve been working on it with all 4 of my big kids, and just having my elementary schoolers do the notebooking journals. The notebooking journals have been a wonderful edition to the textbook and provide lots of hands-on activities, instruction, and experiments. There are places to record observations from experiments or write down interesting facts that you would like to remember. The Notebooking Journal is geared toward children ages 3rd-6th grade and the Junior Notebooking Journal is geared toward children ages K-3rd. I believe they are right on track with the grade levels for the journals. The Junior Notebooking Journal has fun coloring sheets intermixed with the projects and the Notebooking Journal has more writing opportunities. Both can be done simultaneously if you have multiple students of different ages like I do. In the journals, there is a schedule to help pace out your year and provide time for the experiments and the reading. That has been very helpful for me as a parent to make sure we stay on track.
The kids eagerly look forward to science time during our homeschool day. So far, we have learned about parts of the solar system, the planets, the sun, and have done some great projects like build a 3D solar system out of balloons!
Right in the textbook, you will find experiments and projects to help bring all the science knowledge to life right before your eyes. I also really appreciate how Apologia circles everything back to our Creator so we can see His hand in everything in the universe. We are always very pleased with Apologia!
For More information:
You can also read more reviews from the Schoolhouse Review Crew on this product and others by clicking the banner below.
This past summer I went to a used homeschool curriculum sale. As you all know, I’m all about saving money, especially on curriculum. It gets so expensive with multiple children.
Through the sale I attended and through some online dealings, I have a few tips to offer to the rest of you when buying used homeschool curriculum. Most of the time, you can buy used and save the difference, but you need to know what to watch.
Tips on Buying Used Homeschool Curriculum:
- Be sure and check the edition of the item you want to buy. Many editions may be old and the workbooks or answer keys may be obsolete or not available. Triple check that it is the current edition or the edition that you need to buy. A quick look at the vendor’s website should help answer that for you. Nothing worse than paying money out for something only to find out that you can’t use it and then have the hassle of trying to sell it to someone else.
- Make sure you thumb through the items you are intending to buy used. Check for pen/pencil marks and missing pages. I bought a book at this sale that was labeled as new and when I got it home, it was missing a bunch of pages. It wasn’t obvious because they weren’t all in a row, just several here and there. I had taken their word for it and not checked it myself.
- When buying online, require that the seller double check the item for you as far as edition, and if possible send lots of photos. I bought a teacher’s manual from someone online that was described as like new. When I received it, they had cut the binding off and it was a huge stack of unbound papers! I was pretty upset! Now I have it in a huge 3 ring binder that takes up more room on my homeschool shelf than the book would have taken. I recommend paying through paypal online so you do have some coverage if the items aren’t shipped.
- Compare prices to original price. Remember that many things do go on sale throughout the year. Is it still a deal? Also take in the price of shipping as well. Sometimes gently used even at close to full price can be a savings when compared to new plus the cost of shipping.
Where to Buy:
- HomeschoolClassifieds.com – Search for the item needed and then email the seller to make purchase arrangements.
- Facebook: Find local homeschool pages and list what is needed. As always, meet up in a safe place.
- Amazon: Save a bunch by buying used on Amazon.
- Local Co-ops: Reach out to local homeschool co-ops and find out if they will be having a sale.
- Friends: Ask other homeschooling moms for what you need. Sometimes they may even let you borrow!
Have things you need to pass along? Please also check out our article on How to Sell Used Homeschool Curriculum.
What is it?
FlipStir is a self-contained, 10 piece 3D puzzle that is made right here in the USA. Using the wand, you maneuver the puzzle pieces to create the picture in order. The instructions are simple – Shake, Stir, Solve! This particular puzzle is geared toward ages 7 and up. No batteries and no lost pieces! It features an easy to clean surface and helps improve fine motor skills and dexterity, hand-eye coordination, and spatial relations skills.
The award winning FlipStir puzzle has earned the following awards:
- 2015 Dr. Toy Top Ten Best Active Toys
- 2015 Creative Child Magazine “Puzzle of the Year”
- 2015 Seal of Approval from The National Parenting Center
- 2015 Family Choice Awards Winner
- 2014 Tillywig “Brain Child” award
- 2014 Creative Child Magazine “Game of the Year – Puzzle Games Category”
- Toy Man News & Reviews – The Toy Man “Seal of Approval,” The Toy Man “Award of Excellence,” The Toy Man “Editor’s Choice,” The Toy Man “Award of Recognition,” The Toy Man “S.T.E.M. Award,” The Toy Man “Mom Approved” Award
We have had fun with the FlipStir puzzle, but I must say that it is much more challenging than it appears! It took me a while to assemble the puzzle, much longer than I expected. Out of the kids, only 1 of mine have been able to put the puzzle together, but not for a lack of trying! It’s definitely been a challenge. A couple kids did get frustrated with it but have kept going back to try and complete the puzzle.
The FlipStir Puzzle is a great toy to take along on car rides or traveling to keep little hands busy. We are happy we had the chance to check out this puzzle and are eager to see if Enlivenze LLC brings out more puzzles in the future.
For More Information:
Also, be sure to click the banner below to see more reviews on other varieties of the FlipStir puzzle by members of The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew.
Here’s another fun homeschool tip for you guys! Have you heard of the website Grammarly? If not, you’re going to love this! Grammarly is the world’s leading automated proofreader. It checks for more than 250 types of spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors, enhances vocabulary usage, and suggests citations.
With Grammarly, you can:
- Copy and paste any English text into Grammarly’s online text editor or install Grammarly’s free browser extension for Chrome and Safari.
- Grammarly’s algorithms flag potential issues in the text and suggest context-specific corrections for grammar, spelling, and vocabulary. Grammarly explains the reasoning behind each correction, so you can make an informed decision about whether, and how, to correct an issue.
Even better, it’s FREE to use! Head on over to check it out and create and account!
We were asked by Timberdoodle to take a look at The Amazing Dr. Ransom’s Bestiary of Adorable Fallacies. This book boasts as a field guide for clear thinkers. I was eager to take a look at this book, although I admit that I honestly didn’t know what to expect.
First, off the bat, this book is geared toward high school and adults. In the book, adultery, abortion, and other strong topics are mentioned and discussed while reviewing fallacies, so make sure you are aware and ready for that if you choose to work through the book with younger students. Mine aren’t quite there yet, but I think this would be very benefital to helping your high school aged kids understand the logic and fallacies behind many of the heavy topics and even helping them to engage others in discussion. The concepts were presented in a humorous matter and the pictures are quite entertaining to show each fallacy as an adorable creature, ready to strike.
The Amazing Dr. Ransom’s Bestiary of Adorable Fallacies’ stories and descriptions gives teens a thorough grasp of 50 informal fallacies, each followed up with a few short discussion questions and exercises that offer real world examples. Plus both one- and two-semester schedules are included in the back of the book. Tests and quizzes are available at the publisher’s website for free.
You can find The Amazing Dr. Ransom’s Bestiary of Adorable Fallacies on Timberdoodle alone or as part of their 10th Grade Curriculum set.
If you’re looking for some reading help for your kids ages 2-7, check out this incredible deal right to to try out ABCmouse.com. They are offering 2 Months of ABCmouse.com for only $5! That’s the best deal I’ve seen! Great way to try it and see if you like it.
Cancel anytime if you do not love the program.
Available at Timberdoodle.com, the kids and I have been checking out a product called Extreme Dot-to-Dot: Spectacular Places to review for you guys. If you’re looking for something to take the attention for your older kids for a while other than electronics, this is it!
About Extreme Dot-to-Dot:
Extreme Dot-to-Dot features 96 pages in the book filled with interesting facts about places and extreme dot-to-dot challenges.
What a challenge this turned out to be for us! This Extreme Dot-to-dot is actually much harder than you would think. My oldest took almost 2 hours to do one yesterday, but she loved every minute of watching the “Spectacular Places” appear by simply connecting the dots.
Many of these pages are well over 1000 dots. Intermixed are random facts about the location featured in the dot-to-dot. This is definitely not for small kids, but perfect for tweens, teens, and adults. Both my 12 year old and 9 year old have enjoyed doing these as well as myself.
The only thing that my kids complained about are that some of the dots and numbers are much lighter than others. This wasn’t too big of a problem for us, we just used it as a reminder that we needed to go slowly and pay attention.
I definitely will be looking for more of these for gifts, as we are super pleased! It looks like many more are available besides just the Spectacular Places version, such as pets, animals, history, expl
For More Information:
Big thank you to Timberdoodle for providing the product for this review.