Thursday, July 29, 2021

The Fermentools Starter Kit Review

Disclosure: I received this complimentary product through the Homeschool Review Crew.


I have always wanted to make sauerkraut, but have felt it was an overwhelming process.  We got a chance to review the Starter Kit from Fermentools.  This was such a super easy process, and my husband is in love.

The Fermentools Starter Kit arrives with the basics to start fermenting your own foods.  Fermenting foods is a centuries old procedure to preserve food, and also give your body maximum health benefits from what you are eating.  Our kit arrived with a bag of fermenting salt and the basics below.

There is also a short instruction book to get you started.  We provided the food and the wide mouth glass canning jar.

Joe love jalapenos.  So we started with a basic jalapeno coleslaw.  I cheated and bought pre-shredded coleslaw.  Then I mashed and mashed, and lets just say this took a little while.  As you mash the coleslaw you are breaking out the natural juices by adding the pink fermenting salt (included in the Starter Kit) to the mixture.  I'm going to say it was a good 20-30 minutes.  Joe and I took turns.

Then we added fresh sliced jalapenos to the mixture and continued to mash it some more.

You could see the cabbage juice starting to break down in the bowl.  This was not an instant process.  It did take a little while.

I don't know if it was the cabbage slaw we used, but I took the advice from the instruction book and we added some filtered spring water to the mixture.  Included in the Starter Kit is a glass disk.  This disk is called a glass fermentation weight and it's made specifically to fit inside a standard wide-mouth Mason jar.  I wondered why I would need that.  You can see in the picture that you use that as a weight to keep the cabbage mixture below the water/juice line.  I added the special Airlock system, the stainless steel lid from the Starter Kit, and the rubber stopper (also included).  The whole process to get this first batch going took us a little over an hour.

And then the killer part starts......the waiting game.  You can eat this in as little as a few days.  But for a good kraut, you should be patient and let it sit in a cool, dark place for at least 3 weeks minimum.  This was the jar after 3 weeks of patiently sitting on the counter.

This is now a hit.  Joe really likes his homemade jalopeno sauerkraut.  I'm going to need to keep a batch in rotation as he eat this.  And best of all, he is getting better health benefits than all the store bought probiotics that he was taking before.

The Fermentools Starter Kit took away my fear out of getting started in making my own sauerkraut.  This is really a very simple process!!!  Now to try other foods!  Next up Spicy pickles!!

Several members of the Homeschool Review Crew were given the opportunity to review the Fermentools Starter Kit.  Click on the link below to see what they thought of this kit.

Fermenting Food Made Easy with Fermentools 



Greg Landry's Homeschool Science Review

Disclosure: I received this complimentary product through the Homeschool Review Crew.

Greg Landry's Homeschool Science
We recently have the opportunity to review Greg Landry's Homeschool Science Program.  Caty has been using the Young Scientist Anatomy & Physiology.  What a great program this has been for her.

Greg Landry's Homeschool Science is a complete online science program.  He offers self-paced programs from 4th grade through 12th grade.  The choices include Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Anatomy & Physiology, Exercise & Sports Physiology, Embryology/Endocrinology, and Earth & Space Science.  
All programs are taught from a Christian, young earth point of view.  Each class does include information to encourage student success with information on studying and even note-taking.  

Students are able to work through each level at their own pace.  Each level of science, whether you choose high school, middle school, or even the Young Scientist series contains self-paced videos that run between 20-30 minutes for each session.  There are PDF files to download as the student workbook.  They include bright colored pages.  When you purchase a subscription to each class, you gain access for you whole family for a year.  This does allow for flexibility when it comes to students who want to study further into certain topics of their lessons.  This is a really neat option for families too, Professor Landry is available for questions by email!  There are very few programs that allow parents/students to email with questions in self-paced programs.

Greg Landry is a veteran homeschool dad and former college professor.  He is a young Earth creationist.  He has taught thousands of homeschool and college student throughout his career.

How have we felt about the program we chose to review?

So far, Caty has been enjoying the program.  It has been very easy to use.  As many of you know, Caty has some learning disabilities that make a major impact on her learning style.  She does well with video based learning.  She likes that she can watch a video for her lesson, instead of just reading chapters in a book.

Each one of the video lessons does start with a prayer.  There is a bit of review from what I have seen.  Students can follow along with Greg in their workbooks.  I did print the PDFs and put them in a 3 ring binder for Caty.  This is recommended by Greg.  The PDF files were easy to download, and the YS Anatomy & Physiology is broken down into two files to make it easy.  I chose to print in color, because I thought the bright colors would keep Caty's attention.

One of my favorite features in the workbook is that he does encourage note-taking.  Caty though struggles horribly in this area.  Her brain cannot handle listening and notes.  With this program, Greg has included a filled out page, and then the student can fill out a worksheet based on the page that is included with it.  So they are basically copying notes.  This has been amazing for her, especially as she was working on the cells section.  She has the filled in diagram to study as she is filling in her copy.  For someone with Executive Functioning Disorder, this is amazing!

There are comprehension questions also included with each chapter in her studies.  

I am truly amazed how easy this program is to use.  I had to print out her workbook, and simply add the videos/worksheets to her lesson plans.  So there has been very little work for me.  Makes my homeschool life so much easier.

Young Scientist Anatomy and Physiology is a 13 week program that covers topics from the Scientific Method through all aspects of human anatomy.  

In this particular course, there are not a lot of experiments.  If you do want to add some hands-on projects, you can easily do that.  I plan on adding some in during her studies, but since the rest of the planning is done this will be super easy and not take up much time.

When we are finished with this particular class, we will continue on to another Young Scientist program of Caty's choice.  

Several members of the Homeschool Review Crew were given the opportunity to review various science and virtual lab programs from Greg Landry's Homeschool Science program.  Click on the link below to see how they liked these programs and used them in their homes.

Online College Prep Science Classes with Greg Landry

Friday, July 16, 2021

Creating A Masterpiece Online Art History Review

Disclosure: I received this complimentary product through the Homeschool Review Crew.

Caty has been really driving herself to draw more.  Our latest review of the Art History from Creating a Masterpiece has been a great addition to helping improve her drawing skills.

Creating a Masterpiece Art History has been created for all ages.   The teacher, Sharon Hofer provides through step-by-step instructions videos.  Styles of Art in History contains a wide variety of projects that cover many different mediums.  These include sculpting, egg tempura, and even working with glass etching.  

Students can break down the videos in to multiple sessions, or sit and work on the more basic projects in one session.  It really depends on your student's attention span and love for art.  This can be adjusted easily to work with your student.

With most art programs there is a large investment for supplies, but with Creating a Masterpiece.  Supply cost can vary for the different programs, but that is the same with any art program that you choose.  In the Styles of Art in History side of Creating a Masterpiece, there are some specialized projects with supplies that cost a bit more.  The Drawing Program has really the least amount of supply fees.

Sharon created this program to make students feel as though they are in a studio with her.  This might seem a little odd, but it felt like we were sitting in a studio.  

For one of the Art History choices, we worked on Rose Windows.  This was a cool marker project.  Each video built onto each other, with supplies you have around the house....except us.  We could NOT find our protractor anywhere.  So we needed to hand draw.  I loved during the one video when Sharon said, you can continue to follow my lines or create your own.  After all, art is about self-expression.  And so we started just adding lines.  Caty said she felt as if she was creating her own adult coloring pages.

Caty really has enjoyed being able to work on art wherever she wanted.   She tackled the giraffe drawing project just relaxing in the kitchen while we were making a snack.

One day I was scrolling through and saw a lesson on drawing a sunflower.  This is my absolute favorite flower.  So I was pretty excited to try this video.  Creating a Masterpiece can be used by ALL ages.  

The sunflower lesson videos are short and they truly encourage to look at the shapes in what you are drawing.  By breaking down shapes, it makes the picture seem less overwhelming.

Each lesson has a supply list also.  Everything is in one spot for parents.  It makes Creating a Masterpiece very easy to use.

We are all loving the  Art History from Creating a Masterpiece.   Our next piece will be working on a realistic eye.   Creating A Masterpiece has really help with flexibility for both our learning style and talent.     I'm so glad to be introduced to Art History from Creating a Masterpiece.  It has really stood out for me, and I can't wait to see more projects from the girls using this program.

You can visit the Creating a Masterpiece website to see videos on how the program works and you can even sign up to try a free lesson!

Several members of the Homeschool Review Crew were given the opportunity to review 
Art History from Creating a Masterpiece .  Click on the link below to see how they used this program in their homes with their families.

Creating a Masterpiece Art Curriculum


Friday, July 9, 2021

CTC Online Math Curriculum Review

Disclosure: I received this complimentary product through the Homeschool Review Crew.

I will be honest, I am spread very thin teaching two kids at different learning and grade levels.  I was grateful to get the opportunity to review the CTCMath Online  math program from CTCMath for the girls.  It has helped me out so much already these last few weeks.

CTCMath is an online math program that provides extra help for students who may be struggling in various areas of math.  It offers video instruction which can be repeated as many times as the student needs.  Each lesson includes quizzes to reinforce and provide practice in the skills that your student needs extra help in.  You could use it as a standalone curriculum/teaching program or as supplemental to help reinforce skills your student may be struggling with.

CTCMath allows students to work at a pace that encourages them to master a skill, not just learn it.  The videos are short and yet are full of information which helps those with short attention spans. They give several examples of how to complete the problems, and allows students to really understand it.  If they are struggling still, they can easily re-watch the video.

CTCMath provides 
  • Almost 1,400 math videos and interactive lessons
  • 57,000 interactive questions
  • Diagnostic tests
  • Instant feedback for both parents and students
  • Help with higher level math such as algebra, trigonometry and calculus
  • Math lessons are available for students in levels from kindergarten through high school

We have been using the CTCMath online math membership for the last few weeks with the girls as their full math curriculum.  We have been working on fractions, review multiplication and division also.

The girls like the short length of the lessons.  If they do not understand the steps being taught, they can easily watch the video again and work at the skill they need to master.  

The lessons start out with the video and then there are usually ten questions that students need to answer.  They get immediate feedback.

But at the end of the lesson, you can also see a summary of all the problems they completed and the student can look at the problems they missed so they can work on what they answered wrong.

One of my favorite things about CTCMath.  The simple videos.  My kids like playing math games online.  But sometimes the flashier the program, the less they learn.  There is just too much distraction for their ADD brains.  The videos on CTCMath are simple and to the point.  They give a great explanation with several working examples.  If they need to, they can easily watch them again.  These videos save me an extraordinarily large amount of time in dealing with math instruction.  

This video from the CTC Math Youtube site, will give you a thorough explanation and shows how the individual lessons work.

Along with the student account, CTCMath Family Membership also gives parents a login.  They can use this login to not only track their student's grades, but parents can also assign out the lessons for their students.  The lessons are not laid out in order for students.  You can login and see all the lessons for each specific grade level or skill type.  Parents though can assign lessons to be completed on specific days.  You can assign out for several weeks, and also make sure that each assignment has a due date.  This is then tracked in a report that is sent to your registered email.  So you can track what lessons your student is completing on time.  

The girls have been enjoying the ease of lessons.  I like that I can adjust Caty's learning levels on various math topics.  For example she was struggling with fractions, and needed to take a couple steps back.  We discovered an area where she successfully hid that she was struggling.  I was able to easily adjust her assigned lessons, and re-assign a younger grade level on the same topic.  A "light bulb went off" and she suddenly realized that she did understand the problems!!  CTCMath online math membership is very adjustable for kids with special needs and those with learning disabilities.

I plan on continuing to use CTCMath online math subscription   as a stand alone curriculum for Caty this upcoming school year.  Lydia will also continue to use, but as a supplement for her math program, to help her master skills with extra work and video explanations.  

Several members of the Homeschool Review Crew were given the opportunity to review the CTCMath online math membership  from CTCMath.  Click on the link below to read what they felt about this program.

Online Homeschool Math with CTCMath 


Thursday, July 8, 2021

Homeschool In The Woods - Project Passport World History Studies Ancient Greece Review

Disclosure: I received this complimentary product through the Homeschool Review Crew.

Homeschool in the Woods

 We recently had the opportunity to review Project Passport World History Studies: Ancient Greece  from Home School in the Woods.   I love creating my own unit study programs for our family.  Looking up books that are tailored to each of our children takes a lot of work, but I think they appreciate it when we sit down to do the work each week.  But there are some weeks where I just am out of time and energy.  Learning must still go on, and that is when I am grateful for pre-made unit studies. 

Project Passport World History Studies: Ancient Greece (Download $33.95 and CD $34.95) is a, 8 - 12 week unit study packed with hands-on project study on Ancient Greece.  It includes 25 passport stops as you and your students travel throughout this land and time period.  You will learn about religion, medicine, writing, education system, farming, Alexander the Great, and aspects everyday life.

Your students though are not just reading and filling out a lapbook.  Project Passport World History Studies: Ancient Greece provides exciting writing opportunities disguised as creating a newspaper.  Each stop takes you on fun-filled adventures.  Included also are informational reading, instructions on how to create a folder to collect all your information in.  The pieces are included and easily printed out and assembled.   

We received the downloadable materials, but 
Project Passport World History Studies: Ancient Greece is also available in a CD format.  The souvenir postcards have also been a huge hit.  Since we travel so much, we send out a lot of postcards.  The kids thought this was a great feature and looked forward to creating postcards to go along with our Story stops as we traveled through this time period.  There is even a really great timeline that students can add pictures to as they complete each stop.

Caty had recently finished her ancient world studies, and so I decided to use the Project Passport World History Studies: Ancient Greece as summer reinforcing materials.  

This unit study is extremely easy to use.  I felt a little overwhelmed when I first started opening the files.  But I quickly discovered how to print the files that we needed for each lesson.  I was also able to quickly adjust activities to make any of them interesting for Caty.  

In fact, each travel stop is laid out for parents.  You simply need to follow along with the activities suggested.  This is the part where Caty picks and chooses materials to go through.  So it could be used by parents or students who are working independently.

I generally print the stops, itineraries, newspapers, timeline materials, and extra projects.  To print this unit study, it does require a bit more ink and definitely paper.  I keep it all together in a 3 inch binder.  I use the itinerary pages to keep track of Caty should have completed each week.

Book lists and video suggestions are provided with each lesson.  These materials were easily gotten from the library, but I was also able to find other titles if our library didn't have the suggested titles.  These books though really were not necessary because each Passport Stop was packed full of information.  You could stretch this material out with a Passport Stop each week or do 2-3 stops a week, depending on in depth you want to study Ancient Greece with your family. 

This is such a perk when using Homeschool In The Woods products.  You can easily adjust to your child's abilities.  Caty has been working independently.  She chooses one activity to due with each Stop.  One day she might work on a post card, and she always writes out the newspaper articles for those readings.  She can read the materials independently.  She was able to complete 3 stops a week per her history schedule.  

We have used Home School in the Woods Project Passports in the past, and I absolutely love them and so do the children.  All the projects included are amazing.  That is what sets Home School in the Woods apart from other unit studies.  It's not just a lap book or a few pages to read.  You can fully immerse your whole family in a historic time period.   So it's great for multi-level teaching. Homeschool in the Woods provides the materials....and you just need to provide the costumes if you really want to make it come  Caty hasn't gotten to this project yet, but she's super excited to work on the Greek Pottery project.

Because We have such a love for the projects from Homeschool In The Woods, I already purchased the study of Ancient Rome and she'll be spending the rest of the summer on that before starting her study of the Middle Ages.

Several members of  the Homeschool Review Crew were given the opportunity to try out various products from Home School in the Woods.  Take a few moments to see how they used them in their homes and if they enjoyed the Passport stops as much as we did.  Visit the Homeschool Review Crew blog below.