Friday, July 19, 2019

Crafty Classroom - U.S.A. Activity Bundle Pack Review

We are loving the U.S.A. Activity Bundle Pack from Crafty Classroom that we have had the opportunity to review the last few weeks.  The materials really help to enhance our U.S.A. State Geography studies.

Crafty Classroom provides quality learning materials in a variety of subjects including core subjects such as math, reading, writing, science, and geography.  They also have learning materials for Bible study.  The materials are meant for use by kids in Preschool through 3rd grade.  We just re-started our U.S.A. Geography study with the girls, so we were excited to get started on our traveling notebooks.

The PDF download bundle we received included, U.S.A. State-By-State, U.S.A. State Birds, and U.S.A. State-By-State Mazes.  All the files were easily downloaded.  I could pick and choose what I wanted to print.  My plan for this next year is to create a U.S. geography notebook.  There will be a tab for each state.  The U.S.A. Activity Bundle Pack is perfect for our notebooks.  And if you are using a set curriculum, you can easily use the U.S.A. Activity sheets that were created by Crafty Classroom with it or they are stand alone materials also.  We are using the sheets as a stand alone, with state books we check out from the library and a U.S. Geography show that we are watching from the Smithsonian Channel. 

Here is a look at what you get.
The activity pages are a fill-in page for your student to use.  They include an outline of the state.  Which your student can use to locate the state on the map or you can have them mark the location of the state capital, famous landmarks or geographical features, and even various larger cities in the state.  Other items featured are the State flag, State symbols such as state flower, State bird, State nickname, State abbreviation, and State number.  At the bottom is a facts area that students can write what they have learned about the state.

Since we are just starting back on U.S. Geography as part of our full-time school, I didn't require Caty to write everything in the first week.  

The U.S.A. State Birds provides a beautiful realistic picture of the state bird.  The page includes an area for your student to write information about this bird, and also includes what other state have that bird as their symbol also.

The U.S.A. State-By-State Maze book is just pure fun for students.  In this book your student gets to do a maze shaped like the state that they are studying.  It's just fun!!  But they are learning without even realizing it.  That makes the U.S.A. State-By-State Maze book a great addition to your state studies.

The U.S.A. Activity Bundle Pack is budget friendly and is great to be used by multi-level students.  You can adapt it to many levels and student abilities.  If your student cannot write, or is struggling with fine motor, use the U.S.A. State-By-State Maze book for them.  If you have an older student who is working through state studies, then all the pages would be a great addition to their portfolio. 

I have both Lydia and Caty using the pages as they begin their state studies.  I love that the pages did not take them long to work through during the week.  And they are a great addition to their learning binders when it comes to assessment time.  I am very grateful that we were introduced to them and plan to keep using the pages as we go through the school year.  If you haven't checked out all that The Crafty Classroom has to offer, you need to.  They have so many great additions to your homeschool curriculum. 

Several members of the Homeschool Review Crew were given the opportunity to review various products from The Crafty Classroom.  Click on the link below to see how they used these products with their families.

Hands-on, Low-prep and Ready to Go Learning - Tots to 3rd Grade {Crafty Classroom Reviews}
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Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Simply Music - Music & Creativity - Foundation Course

Music lessons can usually cost several hundred dollars, and this does not include vehicle wear and tear with mileage.  We were excited to review a new online music program, Music & Creativity - Foundation Course from Simply Music.  It save money and maintenance on our vehicle and most of all it's fun and easy to use!
Music & Creativity - Foundation Course is a breakthrough musical educational program created by Neil Moore that allows anyone to learn how to play the piano right from the comfort of their own home.  It is a self-study program that incorporates classical and modern contemporary pieces from the very start.  There is no dependence on learning small children nursery rhymes as your first piano pieces.  This makes Music & Creativity - Foundation Course great for all ages and skill levels.  The interest in learning to play the piano is the only prerequisite.

Instead of just tapping away to Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star, you will be taught with repetition and immersion in full songs from the beginning of the program.  You will need a piano or full size keyboard to use Music & Creativity - Foundation Course effectively.  All the books and materials are provided for you once you have created you account to login.

Each lesson is short and created with students who struggle with attention span in mind.  Music & Creativity - Foundation Course draws on your own musical rhythm that everyone already has, and yes we all have some sort of musical sense.

The sign-up process was very easy.  And the best part....Music & Creativity - Foundation Course is FREE!!!  So even if you are the parent who has been driving kids to lessons for years, and currently broke from all those summer camps, you CAN sign up and take those lessons that you have had on your bucket list too!

All the materials that you need are included with the program.  They are simple PDF files that you can download and print on your own, or just read them on your computer screen.

You can see in the photo above that there are audio files also included.  These audio files allow you to play along and hear the song that you are learning to play.  

The Music & Creativity - Foundation Course has 19 lessons for you to work through.  This new program keeps adding materials that are available for users.  It has been an amazing and super easy program to use.  You do not need to be a computer expert to use their classroom area.  The videos are well made and easy to understand also.  

When you open each lesson, you can easily see what materials you will need from the PDF books and also soundtracks that you should have downloaded and opened.  

So not only can you download the files before you get started, but he makes it so easy for people to use by also including the materials needed inside each lesson.  This makes it super organized for those who struggle to work independently with other types of learning materials.

Lydia struggles working independently.  She loses track of what she needs to be doing and even in what order.  Working out of a textbook is hard for her.  Having the lessons laid out like they are has been a great organizer for her and a timesaver for me, since I do not have to work overtop of her all the time.  

Each lesson is repeatable and encourages you to practice and keep working.  During the review period, Lydia has been progressing.  Since it's summer, she is definitely not wanting to spend a ton of time in front of her keyboard.  She wants to be outside and playing in the pool.  The Music & Creativity - Foundation Course with it's video lessons has made her learning more advanced piano skills very nice.  Since she can be so distracted, I like that she can listen to the lessons repeatedly and keep working toward mastery.  She can also see where she left off, when I tell her to go and work on her piano.  The lessons are marked when she has completed them.

There is even a Facebook group community that you can find support in.  I am finding that the Music & Creativity - Foundation Course is a great fit for our family.  Since sometimes we do not have a set time we can commit to setting up evening lessons, due to her sports schedule, the Music & Creativity - Foundation Course has allowed her to continue her summer music lessons and keep improving her skills since she can use this program anytime we can fit it in daily. 

After you have finished the Music & Creativity - Foundation Course, you can advance on to the Foundation Enhancement course for a very budget friendly price also.  Simply Music has definitely created a budget friendly music lesson program that is allowing families to start and continue music studies that they may not have been able to before.

Several members of the Homeschool Review Crew were given the opportunity to review Simply Music - Music & Creativity - Foundation Course.  Click on the box below to see how they used it in their homes and what they thought of the program.

Learn to Play the Piano with Music & Creativity - Foundation Course {Simply Music Reviews}
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Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Dyslexia Gold - Dyslexia Gold Full Bundle Review

Do you have a student who has dyslexia or who is struggling with reading or spelling?  Dyslexia Gold generously provided us with the opportunity to review a family license and lifetime membership to the Dyslexia Gold Full Bundle.  

Lydia struggles with comprehension skills due to her learning disability.  Caty has the same delay.  They both can read words, but do not always understand fully what they are reading.  Lydia has caught up almost to her level, but struggles and Caty struggles with spelling still because of this.  So we were excited to get the opportunity to see how Dyslexia Gold could help them out.  

Dyslexia Gold Full Bundle is an online reading tutor program that specializes in helping students to develop the essential tracking skills they need for reading and writing.  Dyslexia Gold goes beyond just regular phonics and using various fun programs and games to help students to improve their reading and comprehension abilities in just a few months.  

Students are encouraged to work on Dyslexia Gold Full Bundle daily using three different programs to improve their skills.  The three different programs include:

Engaging Eyes is a vision training program.  Students are encouraged to wear a pair of specialized glasses, that arrive separately with your subscription.  Many students (including our girls) have tracking issues with their eyes.  They cannot follow along well, so they are not getting the most from the material they are reading.  With Target Practice, students are forced to track what is happening on their screen.  Their eyes are trained to track letters across the screen.

Caty and Lydia both enjoyed working in the Target Practice areas.  I have noticed that Caty is making improvement in her reading skills.  Lydia is still working in this area.  I haven't seen the same improvement with her.  It shows that every student is different and some take longer to gain strength in some areas than in others.  Lydia is still relying on audiobooks to read her lessons to her.  But the Whack An Alien game is very fun and the girls both love wearing the Target Practice glasses.

Fluency Builder teaches students to find and recognize the sounds that they hear.  It recognizes the long and short vowel sounds and consonant sounds.  Students are even learning basic spelling words as they build the words they hear.

Spelling Tutor helps to teach students in a repetitive spelling program that teaches more than 1,000 commonly used words.  You can personalize and add words to the program as you go.  Parents/teachers are encouraged to work through this program alongside their students to check their work and keep track of their progress.

The Spelling Tutor encourages parents to work with their students using this program.  Students also need a notebook or paper to work on.  During each lesson, words are read to the student and they are encouraged to write it by sound first.  Next on the screen, students are given the sentence that they can check their work against.  

Caty really worked in this area.  But she got frustrated when she could barely understand the sounds that were being read to her.  Some of the words were hard to understand.  

Students are encouraged to use Dyslexia Gold daily for a minimum of 10 minutes with each program.  Dyslexia Gold advertises improvement in skills and confidence for students in just a month.  I can see improvement with Caty, and Lydia is making slower improvement.

I do like that the Dyslexia Gold Full Bundle can be used with students of all ages.  Yes there are games, but even a teenager that is struggling will be able to use this program without feeling that it is too "kiddie" for them.  Dyslexia Gold can be used alongside a full reading curriculum, it is not a stand alone reading program.  It was designed to help students improve and master skills they are learning.  So even if your student attends a typical school (and you do not homeschool), Dyslexia Gold  Full Bundle would fit great to help them with the struggles they are facing at school.

Several members of the Homeschool Review Crew were given the opportunity to review the Dyslexia Gold Full Bundle.  Click on the link below to see how they used this program in their homes and how they felt about it.

Dyslexia Gold Full Bundle {Dyslexia Gold Reviews}
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