Thursday, July 19, 2018

Progeny Press - The Scavengers e-Guide Review

Progeny Press

We recently had the opportunity to review The Scavengers Study e-Guide from Progeny Press.  This guide introduced us to new books for our teenager to enjoy, but it also gave me to use lessons for summer reading!

Progeny Press has several Study Guides that they have created for all grade levels (elementary through high school).  These are written from a Christian perspective, so I do not need to worry about inappropriate content (which saves me tons of pre-reading time).  The Study e-Guides are easy to download PDF files, which also include an Answer Key document, also saving me a lot of time if I have not already read the book.  

Scavengers eGuide

Each of the Study e-Guides include pre-reading ideas before you start the book, chapter-by-chapter questions, and some even have a suggested schedule if you are using it along with other materials during your school year.  This allows your child to really more intensely look at their reading selections.  The high school level e-Guides will actually give you 1/4 credit toward your student's graduation requirements (if your state requires this).  The Scavengers Study e-Guide could be done over a suggested period of up to ten weeks (it did not take Lydia that long...she LOVED this book).

We had the opportunity to review The Scavengers Study e-Guide written by Michael Perry.  The Scavengers Study e-Guide was written by Michael S. Gilleland.  This story takes your student to a world very different from their own.  Maggie, or Ford Falcon as she likes to be called, must save her family.  She and her family live outside of a Bubble City, or protected area.  There are so many dangers that she and her family must face as they work on their survival.  The Scavengers introduced Lydia to solar bears, URcorn, and GrayDevils.  She said she felt like she was on the edge of her seat all the time.

So you may ask yourself, why buy The Scavengers Study e-Guide?  The short answer, the work is done for you.  The Scavengers Study e-Guide has comprehension and vocabulary requirements already done for you.  I could either print the pages for Lydia to fill out, or she could type her answers into the sheets, and I could print them for her records.  You use these specially created Progeny Press Study Guides to easily fulfill Literature requirements for school.

The Progeny Press e-Guides are written from a Christian perspective, and also include scriptural text.  This allows your student to read about everyday life and apply scripture into their life.  You can see a sample text below.

Optional activities are also included with several chapters.  One suggestion from The Scavengers Study e-Guide surrounded the limited food choices that this family faced.  How would your child handle only being able to eat what they grow?  Would they be able to survive knowing that they could not have that mid-morning snack they have grown so used to?  Could your whole family handle this?  What meal would they plan if they had to grow the food in the area you currently live?

Vocabulary is presented in terms of both definition and use of sentences.  I really liked how this was presented.  It wasn't just presented as, this is what this word means.  Lydia had to create sentences using the vocabulary in her own sentences also, looking at the means and also the antonym of the word too.  

Toward the end of the guide, there are writing and activity suggestions for when your student is done reading the book.  These suggestions included extra research projects on both geography and social sciences. We did these more verbally, but as school starts winding back up, I plan on adding more of these assignments in for Lydia as she tackles more middle school level projects.

We did not spend several weeks on this particular study, simply because she was on break from several of her other subjects during this review period.  So she had extra time to tackle reading and study guide work.  But I definitely see how you could easily stretch this over several weeks.  The comprehension questions and vocabulary are well-written and will get your student thinking.  I was not disappointed in this selection from Progeny Press, and I'm working on picking out the next study that Lydia will be starting soon!  This is definitely a budget-friendly option for families to work through Literature studies!

Several members of the Homeschool Review Crew were given the opportunity to review various e-Guides from Progeny Press.  Click on the link below to see what they thought of these educational options, and how their student's enjoyed them.

New Study Guides for Literature From a Christian Perspective {Progeny Press Reviews}
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Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Code for Teens - Code For Teens: The Awesome Beginner's Guide to Programming Volume 1 Review

Code for Teens

Computer coding is a rising industry, but most of us did not learn today's programming skills.  So how do we teach them?  We recently had the opportunity to review Code for Teens: The Awesome Beginner's Guide to Programming Volume 1 from Code for Teens.  What a great resource for any student learning programming skills!

Code for Teens

Code for Teens: The Awesome Beginner's Guide to Programming Volume 1 takes your teen into the unfamiliar world of JavaScript and introduces them to this valuable computer language.  JavaScript is one of the most used computer languages, in fact 90% of all websites use it.  So it's definitely a top language to learn.

Code for Teens: The Awesome Beginner's Guide to Programming Volume 1 takes the guesswork out of teaching for parents.  It has been designed for your student to use on their own.  I think this is a great concept, since I know that I do not know JavaScript, just enough to get by.  Plus it helps give me a project to assign out to Lydia that allows her to work on her independent study skills, something just as important as learning computer programming.  My only responsibility is to make sure that she stays on track with her assignments. 

Speaking of assignments though, this ten chapter book continually builds on previous skills.  There are several drills in each chapter that allow your student to review and reinforce what they are learning.  Each chapter features bold-faced vocabulary terms to help your student learn their new terminology.  Code for Teens: The Awesome Beginner's Guide to Programming Volume 1 sets itself apart from other computer programming curriculums by NOT being full of cartoon characters that most teens really do not care about anymore.  This is helpful for those high school students who may have grown past Disney.  

Chapter one introduces them to using Chrome as their browser for using with this book.  Since Lydia and I have MAC, the instructions are also clearly presented if you are using a MAC.  BONUS!!  No extra research for either of us.

Lydia has been using Code for Teens: The Awesome Beginner's Guide to Programming Volume 1 during the review period.  A few things I really like about her using this program:

1.  With her visual perception delay, sometimes using textbooks versus online programs can make her struggle, but with Code for Teens: The Awesome Beginner's Guide to Programming Volume 1 she was able to follow along easily.  Bold faced text are vocabulary terms, material for her to be typing into her page, highlighted in gray.  Very easy for her eyes to follow along.  Even the chapters are color coded along the page edges.  So she can follow along with the pages that she is working on the orange pages that week, or purple, etc, and not get lost.

2.  The review at the end of each chapter allows her to reinforce what she is working on.  She can refer back to key concepts, and there are also Drills for her to work on.  The Drills not only provide review and extra practice, but also keep reinforcing the material into complete understanding of the topics.

3.  Key Points to watch for in the next chapter.  These areas at the end of each chapter give me an area to ask her some review questions verbally, without needing to read or even attempt to understand all the material in the chapters that she has been covering.

4.  Error detection.  Students need to examine why certain lines of code are coming up with errors or would produce errors if typed in different ways.  The book shows them the correct and incorrect lines of code so that they can compare and see how important symbols are in their coding.

My favorite....


Code for Teens: The Awesome Beginner's Guide to Programming Volume 1really does provide a full self-paced coding curriculum for students.  It has been written well, as if the teacher is sitting in the room.  The paragraphs are almost conversational in that the teachers words are written and examples given, and your student returns with the codes they are typing on their screen.

Code for Teens: The Awesome Beginner's Guide to Programming Volume 1 is a super affordable option for homeschool families to help their students get that head start in this ever growing option for future careers.  Some computer programing classes can cost you hundreds of dollars, and you can only them with one student.  This makes computer classes out of reach for many families.  Code for Teens: The Awesome Beginner's Guide to Programming Volume 1 is reasonably priced at $25.00 USD and there are more volumes coming soon including Code for Teens: The Awesome Beginner's Guide to Programming Volume 2 - HTML and CSS.  We'll be watching for that in the series.  This is a keeper and I plan on starting Joey on this course as well, when Lydia is finished!

Several members of the Homeschool Review Crew were given the opportunity to review Code for Teens: The Awesome Beginner's Guide to Programming Volume 1 from Code for Teens.  Visit the link below to see what they thought of this program and how they used it.

Code For Teens: The Awesome Beginner's Guide to Programming {Code for Teens Reviews}

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Thursday, July 12, 2018

Summer Staycation Ideas

We have all had those vacations.  You know...THOSE vacations.  Those vacations where you need a vacation, from your vacation.  Things are hectic, too touristy and you are so overwhelmed.

Those are the vacations that you realize.... maybe staying home and watching movies is actually a better option.  So I thought I would look up some ideas for summer staycations!

1.  Get outdoors!!  How many state or even National Parks are within an hour drive of where you live?  Pack a picnic and take a hike.  If there is a lake, pack some swim gear.  Most state parks and national parks are free to enter, or just a minimal fee.  So budget friendly.

2.  What about a food tour of your town?  Visit Yelp or ask friends about their favorite restaurants.  You could plan an international theme even.  Plan out the restaurants you want to visit and do a little research, dress the part even!

3.  Be A Tourist in your Own Area.  Google, "Places to Visit....(list your area)"  You would be surprised how much there is to see in your area!!

4.  Plan out meals, if you are not eating out.  Splurge on convenience items to make cooking easier.  Use disposable paper products to keep dishes simple.

5.  Create a drive-in movie in your driveway.  Bring a television into the driveway or borrow a screen.  Pop some popcorn, get some candy and order some pizza!!  Relax in your lawn chairs or on blankets and pillows!  (You could do this in your living room too...depends on your outside temps and weather!)

6.  Have a water fight!  You can get inexpensive squirt/water guns at the Dollar stores.  Buckets of water and soft sponges replace those messy water balloons (but feel free to use those too!)  My daughter has just as much fun playing in the water while washing our

7.  Let every family member choose something to do that day.  It can be their special day.

8.  Have dessert for dinner at least a couple nights?!?  How cool is that!!  We have ice cream for dinner nights.  It freaks out my kids.  They don't know how to act.  You could even have an ice cream sundae building contest!

Make sure to leave one or two days where you plan absolutely nothing....NO SCHEDULES!!!  I struggle there, even on out-of-town vacations.

Keep an eye on your budget.  Staycations can be just as expensive as going out of town.  So be careful if you are trying to save money.

Everyone have a wonderful summer!!

Math Essentials - Math Refresher for Adults Review

Math Essentials

Sometimes as an adult we struggle with teaching our children math, or are forced to take higher math when returning to college. We recently had a chance to review a great product, Math Refresher for Adults from Math Essentials.  This is just what we adults needed!! Are YOU struggling with math?  Don't let it affect your ability to teach your child math or take on that higher education!

Math Refresher for Adults

Besides being a homeschool parent, there are many times where refreshing your math skills is essential.  You could be going back to college, applying for a job that requires a math competency test, maybe you are preparing a student for their SAT/PSAT....Math Refresher for Adults is a great resource for you.

Math Refresher for Adults takes you back to learning math problems, without relying on a calculator.  It starts out with not only the very basic of addition (3 digit and above) through division.  You will also be taken through fractions, decimals, percents, geometry, charts/graphs, and of course pre-algebra and algebra.  Helpful hints are provided on each page, but there are videos that match up with the lessons.  Then you can use the workbook as practice for what you are learning.

The lessons are brief, but provide enough practice and instruction to help build your confidence in the topic.  The videos are non-distracting, and provide a clear instruction of the topic.  You can see them work a problem and then you get to start working.

I like that the pages are not long, and practice is brief.  I know as an adult, I don't have time to work through a ton of problems.  I'm struggling just to find time to refresh and update my skills to help my kids.  

You can check your work when you are finished.  If you answers is not correct, then you can make adjustments.

Math Refresher for Adults is very budget friendly option for families.  The material covered is review of several grade levels, late elementary through early high school (depending on when you start algebra with your student or when they decide to start that level).  More advanced levels of geometry or trigonometry are not covered in this book.  But they with the basic skills that you are reinforcing, you could easily start tackling those subjects too.

Math Refresher for Adults is a resource that will stay on our shelves for several years to come as I have kids at such varying levels of math.  I know that I can pull it down as a reference and reminder to keep myself going and not let me kids see my lack of confidence in this subject!

Several members of the Homeschool Review Crew were given the opportunity to review Math Refresher for Adults from Math Essentials.  Click on the picture below to see how they feel about this book and if it helped them with their confidence in their math skills.

Math Refresher for Adults {Math Essentials}
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Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Bible Study Guide For All Ages Curriculum, Wall Maps and Time Line Review

We recently had the opportunity to review the Bible Study Guide For All Ages curriculum in the levels of Intermediate (3rd - 4th grade) and Advanced (5th - 6th grade) Levels, as well as the Wall Maps and Time Line and Label Book published by Bible Study Guide For All Ages.

We received lessons 1 - 26, which is the first books in this series that ranges from Beginner (ages 3 - Kindergarten), Primary (1st and 2nd grade), Intermediate (3rd-4th grade) and Advanced (5th-6th grade).  Each level offers you Student Pages and Teacher Pages, which you do need both to complete the Student Pages.  

Bible Study Guide For All Ages is an affordable, and different approach to studying the Bible with your family.  They provide a fun activity page to go with each section of the bible and scriptures you are studying.  Planning is very easy, since you just go in Lesson order.

The reason you need the Teacher's Guide for this program (remember...I'm not a fan of purchasing Teacher's Guides), is it provides extra information for you to read to your child as completing the pages.  It is really necessary and helpful to have the Teacher's Guide to make your study run smoother.

Student Pages

Teacher's Guide 

There are memory questions, and reinforcement from previous pages.

Here are examples of student pages and Teacher's Guide pages.  The top is the Student, bottom is the Teacher's Guide.

You can compare the top Student Pages to the same Teacher Pages.  The answers are provided, along with Questions to ask to draw your student out.  In the above pictures you can really see the extra material provided in the gray area of the Teacher's Guide.

There are also mapping sections.

Depending on your student, the material may take up to 30 minutes to complete.  You determine the pace.  You could easily cover a Lesson a Day, or just 1-2 a week depending on your Bible Study schedule.  I really like that you are able to have multiple levels at same time. The pages are created to their age level.  It does require you buying multiple levels, but while your pre-schooler is coloring a picture, your older student is coloring and filling in a map about the same material.  Saving you time!!

The kids enjoy these pages.  Bible figures are drawn fun and make Bible study a different experience.  The only materials you need are markers, colored pencils or crayons.  And your copy of the Bible.  You can use whatever version your family uses.

We also had the opportunity to review the large Wall Maps and Time Line and the Label Book.

WOW!!  This is such a cool option to add to your Bible study.  My problem, I have a huge area, or so I thought to hang them up and I was wrong.  Even after I quickly measured, I did not have enough room to hang the maps and the timeline.  So we had to improvise and lay it on the floor during our Bible study times.  This worked out well.

We were careful to not apply the labels in the creases.  So we were able to fold it back up easy.

Speaking of labels, you will want the Label Book along with these Wall Maps and Time Line.  This was a great resource!  Not only are the labels already printed and ready for you to cut out, but it is super organized for you.  Each lesson's labels are marked clearly for the Time Line or Wall Map.

And for people like me that need all the help they can get at times....there is a page showing exactly where to place the labels.

So I could easily follow along!

We also received the Bible Book Summary Cards ...These flash cards (which are larger sized and made of sturdy paper) are made to help your students to learn about all 66 books of the Bible.  They summarize in kids terms the information in each one.

Here are examples of the Bible Book Summary Cards:

Using the Bible Book Summary Cards from Bible Study Guide on Vimeo.

We have used all levels of the Bible Study Guide For All Ages curriculum and have thoroughly enjoyed the material.  Each level of 416 lessons will take your student and family through a study of the entire Bible.  You can do this at your own pace and the fact that you can do it with multiple age/grade levels is very helpful!

Still not sure, check out this video from Bible Study Guide For All Ages.

Intro to the Bible Study Guide from Bible Study Guide on Vimeo.

Several members of the Homeschool Review Crew were given the opportunity to review Bible Study Guide For All Ages.  Take some time to read about their experiences below.

Bible Study Guide For All Ages {Reviews}
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