Thursday, June 21, 2018

Silverdale Press LLC - White House Holiday Unit Studies Review

We recently had the opportunity review the White House Holiday Unit Studies from Silverdale Press LLC.  These self-contained unit studies were a fun learning experience!

The White House Holiday Unit Studies is a series of six different holidays, some originating from Presidential orders and others are typical holiday celebrations and how the White House celebrates.  The holidays Unit Studies that are available include Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Valentine's Day, Labor Day, Veteran's Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.  

What makes the White House Holiday Unit Studies unique?  They are self-contained.  All the information that you need to complete the unit study is included.  No need to worry about ordering books from the library.  You will need some "around the house" craft materials for some of the lessons, but not a lot of prep is required.  Another perk is that each Unit Study has been created for those teaching multiple grade levels in their homes.  You can use them with kids in elementary through high school.

The lessons for each study are broken down by grade levels.  There are sections for K-6th grade studies and 7th - 12th grade studies.  Each section, depending on the unit study is organized this way.  So when you download your study, you simple select what pages you want to print and what you will not be using.

We had the opportunity to use two of these studies during our Review period.  


White House Holiday Unit Studies - Veteran's Day happened to be broken down into three lessons for each grade level.  The lessons for each grade level are kept together.  The first couple of pages in each lesson contains your teacher information.  This gives you the approximate time it will take to complete the each section to help you with planning. There is also a supply list if you there is a craft to make.  

The history of Veteran's Day is explained in the first lesson.  The student reading includes full-colored pictures.  If you were printing the pages, you could easily print these pages in black and white.  The lessons read similar to a textbook story style.  At the end of each lesson, there is an activity of either a craft, literature lesson (example of poetry in this Unit Study) or even comprehension questions.

One of the activities was learning about the connection of Poppies and World War I.  There was a craft idea included, and Caty was struggling that day and couldn't cut and make the craft.  It was a very cute flower craft to go with the poem, In Flanders Field.  Instead though she built a poppy field in her Minecraft game.  I liked the flexibility with the Unit Study, to allow for this.  She will still remember these details and poem that we read through.

Other topics covered in the White House Holidays - Veteran's Day, include food conservation during both World Wars, and why we know this as Veteran's Day and not Armistice Day. 

There are many suggestions for all grade levels on how to become more involved in showing appreciation for veterans.  The older grade level section also includes comprehension questions over some of the material being read.

The other unit study we spent time on was - White House Holidays - Labor Day.   This study is laid out very similar to the Veteran's Day unit.  It is written for Grades K - 12, and is broken down into grade levels K - 6 and grades 7 - 12.

White House Holidays Unit Studies - Labor Day focuses on the history of Labor Day, and what the true meaning is.  Have you ever thought about that?  Most people think, "That's a 3 day weekend off in September!"  When we first started homeschooling, I wondered this. I loved the textbook style format of this unit study.  I did not need to purchase or borrow any extra books for the lessons.  The Labor Day Unit Study is an informative study that can be completed easily within a week, and would be a great addition to the start of your school year just before Labor Day!

The Labor Day Unit Study includes many photographs for students to look at photographs from the early 1900s and they are asked to answer thought provoking questions about what was going on inside them.  The history of child labor and the dangers that many faced just to earn a paycheck is explored.

There were website suggestions given when working on research projects.  You can click on links if you are using the PDF download.

I really liked the upper grade level of the Labor Day unit study, since it went into short descriptions of Primary Source documents, and we were able to have discussions about looking at what websites and materials they are using for find answers to questions they are researching.

Each of the Unit studies that we have used over the last few weeks, really do not take a lot of time.  You could easily study each of them in a week.  The pictures and photographs included in the student reading of each lesson, really do help to keep a student's attention.  

The biggest benefit of using the White House Holiday Unit Studies from Silverdale Press LLC ..... almost all of the work has been done for you.  Gathering a couple art supplies you already have around the house, or printing the student reading sections if that is what you want to do, is about all of your work!!

Silverdale Press LLC is very confident that you will love their products.  They offer a Money-back guarantee, just in case you decide that their product is not for your family.  Not many companies offer this guarantee for downloadable materials.

We really have enjoyed going through these Unit Studies that are part of the White House Holiday Unit Study series.  The kids have enjoyed the reading we have done together!!

Several members of the Homeschool Review Crew were given the opportunity to review the various areas from the White House Holiday Unit Studies offered by Silverdale Press LLC.  Visit the link below to see what studies they used and what they felt about these unit studies.

Persuasive Writing & Classical Rhetoric: Practicing the Habits of Great Writers & White House Holidays Unit Studies {Silverdale Press LLC Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

MaxScholar - MaxScholar Reading Intervention Program Review

If your student is struggling with reading skills due to conditions such as dyslexia, ADHD, processing disorders or other learning disabilities, MaxScholar Reading Intervention Program could be your answer.  We recently had the opportunity to review the MaxScholar Reading Intervention Program from MaxScholar.  What a great help to your learning!

MaxScholar Reading Intervention Program offers help to a proven multi-sensory approach for learners.  They have created a program that is visual, tactile and also auditory depending on how your child learns best.  They have based their program on the well-known Orton-Gillingham reading approach and strategy.  The MaxScholar Reading Intervention Program can be used on both computers (PC/laptops) and tablets.

Caty has a comprehension delay in her processing of material, which causes her trouble breaking down words whiles she is reading.  She also does not always understand vocabulary by just reading the words around the word, and she struggles with remembering letter sounds.

So we started with the MaxPhonics and she took the pretest.  She answered a series of questions to check how much she remembered about letter sounds and blends.  This did not take very long.  Since this program was created for kindergarten and up, it's important to test student's on the basics and make sure that they understand.  Caty passed the Phonics pretest and it didn't take long for her to be transferred into MaxWords. 

Since she understood basic phonics, she was able to start looking at word roots, prefixes, and suffixes more deeply.  This in turn has helped her spelling level improve also as she has been encourages to break down words more.

Each Lesson was only as long as she made it.  So the longer she sat there, the longer the lesson would  Seriously though, the length of the lessons are really great for kids with short attention spans.  Caty is easily distracted, and most days she spent just minutes on her lessons.  Some days she could do two lessons by splitting them up.  Or if she was struggling with a concept, I could tell by the grade she received and we could sit down and review the material together and have to take that lesson again.

During this level she also practiced her fluency.  Caty still has pronunciation problems.  So some days she might struggle with some letter combinations, but she was able to practice.

Caty also used MaxReading.  In this program, as a student improves in their reading the program adjusts to their learning and continues to help them improve in their reading and comprehension skills.  Some areas of the program is reading (or listening to audio book and following along) while other areas is comprehending pictures and then answering questions.

I really liked that even though Caty has improved in her reading prior to MaxReading, she was able to have passages read to her and she could follow along as the words were highlighted.  Students learn to distinguish between main ideas, supporting details and necessary information.  This helped to reinforce what we had been talking about in her grammar/writing, and having too much information in your writing.

I could see instantly what areas that Caty needed to have extra help in.  Some days she got frustrated if she missed questions.

But she was able to re-take the chapters and areas where she didn't score as well, in order to improve her grade.  She could also refer back to the chapter if she had questions or could not remember the material she was being asked about.

MaxScholar Reading Intervention Program continues to work to keep their program very user friendly for both the parents and kids using it.

Under my parents dashboard, I can track her grades, but also print practice materials or worksheets that can help her follow along if she's having trouble following the screen that day.  Yes there are days where her eyes strain and she struggles to follow.  I could print also so that she could review on both the screen and practice afterward.  This came in handy to build her a notebook for her assessor.

I did like the way that lessons are presented by MaxScholar Reading Intervention Program.  The program does grow with your child as they are making improvements in the skills they are struggling with.  I would recommend it even for older students who are struggling and need some extra help.  They are the ones that want to use online material and yet do not want the cartoon characters, because they feel they are too old for that.  I would definitely see MaxScholar Reading Intervention Program working for students in late elementary through middle school levels.

We will continue to include MaxScholar Reading Intervention Program in Caty's weekly schedule.  She has started to grasp the elements of literature, including the main idea and supporting details.  Her comprehension skills continue to improve, as well as her spelling skills with the use of MaxWords.  As she continues to improve, she is able to work more independently which is building her confidence.

Several members of the Homeschool Review Crew were given the opportunity to review the MaxScholar Reading Intervention Program.  Click on the graphic below to see how they used this program in their homes and how they felt about it.

Reading Intervention Programs {MaxScholar Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Whirlwind May

May was a whirlwind.  We had field trips, and lectures we attended.  There was outside work to get working on.  I literally was exhausted nightly, and was never bored trying to keep up.  One really cool field trip we were able to go on was to a Border Patrol station in Michigan.  We learned some really interesting facts about this job.  And heard some great stories.  I cannot post all our pictures, but all the kids (including dad) was able to see some very cool stuff!

Learning about the drug dog and how he's trained.

Giving us a demonstration on how he works.

Never knew that Michigan Border Patrol would have bike patrols.  But there are miles of lake shore and parks.  Someone must patrol it.

Sitting in the back of the car after being detained for being from

Lots of cool equipment for us to see!

We took a field trip to the local butterfly house to finish wrapping up our butterfly studies.

We had our art show.

A few nature go with our birding adventures.

Caty got her summer hair cut.

Learned about Hummingbirds

Worked on schoolwork and art.

Lots of cooking projects underway!

Bocce ball night

Lydia running around barefoot outside had to have a large splinter removed under the skin.

Caty and her friend Amelia meeting Daniel Tiger at a local store.

Joe got me a new bike...but I've only had time to ride it once.  Hopefully soon!

Enjoying the sunshine and being the only one in the van!

Deck painting is underway!

Lydia has a bunch of riding show opportunities this summer.  We will be busy keeping up with just that!

The dogs are exhausted trying to keep up too!

Balloon Art class with the girls


A wonderful homeschool mom sets up a big Science Fair for our area.  It's a lot of fun and so neat to see all the kids hard work!

The boys worked together on their "What is Growing on Your Shoes?" project.

Caty worked on baking science.

Lydia went with Horse Anatomy.

Lydia was able to take part in the All American Youth Show in Columbus, Ohio.   She brought home her first Blue Ribbon!

Learning about a butterfly's proboscis in Science Club.  One of the moms created an experiment in how their proboscis unrolls to drink from flowers.

The last couple weeks posts have pretty much covered our month of May.  It's been nuts and very hard to keep up with all the kids and where they had to be at.  June is going to be crazy...and July too.  Both the boys will have jobs with the county Summer Youth program.  The girls have camps and playdates...and I'm getting anxiety just thinking of our schedule.  But come back next week...and see all the fun we'll be having!