Thursday, June 22, 2017

Homeschool Planet - A TOS Homeschool Crew Review

Review Crew
Back in May I learned I would get to be on the review for Homeschool Buyers Co-op.

The product we received to review was a one-year subscription to Homeschool Planet.

I had the opportunity to review Homeschool Planet in the past, and I wanted to review them again to see the improvements and changes that have been made.

As soon as I received access I began entering information. To begin, I entered the information for our busy summer. The student is taking a college summer semester course through the dual enrollment program. His class meets Monday through Thursday, 8:00-10:00 a.m. I found it possible to enter this information. Either this feature has been improved or I just didn't figure it out before. There is an option, now, to select which days of the week the class will meet. Later you can adjust time on specific days.
For example, in the fall my student has a class that meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I created the class indicating that it meets from 12:30-2:00 p.m. However the class only meets at this time on Tuesday. On Thursday the class meets from 1:00-2:00 p.m. It was easy to go in and make that adjustment.
As the day goes by, the color fades, making it easy to see where you are on the schedule.

Once a week an email is sent to each email address you've given the program, letting the individual know what's coming up for the week.

In addition the program generates a daily email showing what's coming for the day. 
In addition I found that you can use your Homeschool Planet desktop to send messages. So, for example, last night I signed my son up to take the SAT on August 26. I went to my Homeschool Planet schedule and put it on the schedule. At that time I could have also sent my son a message letting him know I got it scheduled and when. (In this case I know my son wants to finish his summer school class next week before I talk to him about any other upcoming school events.)
In addition I found I can add a widget for a shopping list, which I did. This is going to be so helpful for me! When I'm ready I can print the list or send the list! If my husband calls on the way home from work and says, "Do you need anything from the store?" I can email the list to him. It wants me to put a store name down, and I think it should be able to have a list for more than one store. I guess I would add another "Shopping" list widget to do more than one store list.

Also, did you notice my background color change? The original color was very pink, and I found a way to change it to a pale blue that I like better.

Homeschool Planet has a new feature: Lesson Plans. For the month of June, anyone who tries out the "Free 30 Day Trial" receives one free lesson plan. I was planning to use BJU Geometry next year, and Homeschool Planet has a Lesson Plan for that, so they gave me a BJU Geometry Lesson Plan to try out.

Things are always hopping here, and before I could enter my BJU Lesson Plans into Homeschool Planet, we had to have a family meeting with the student about Geometry. The student and the teacher were both struggling with working together. The student feels the teacher doesn't teach well, doesn't have a plan, and doesn't adequately hold the student accountable. The teacher does have a plan, feels the student doesn't respect this teacher the way he does other teachers, and concurs there is difficulty with accountability. All concerned decided to enroll the student in Geometry as an outside class with a local organization that conducts classes for home schooled high school students.

We did. So now we are no longer going to be using BJU Geometry. We are going to be using Saxon. I found Saxon Lesson Plans on Homeschool Planet, but not Saxon Geometry. It really wouldn't matter -- my son is going to need to follow the Syllabus handed out by his class, so I'm not sure a pre-created Lesson Plan would work for the class my son will be taking on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

I still needed to be able to try out the Lesson Plan for BJU Geometry so I could tell you about it, because I  had agreed to do that. So rather than muck up "J"s schedule with a class he is not really taking, I created a second profile for him called JD to use to set up the BJU Geometry Lesson Plans.

I was able to set up the Lesson Plan with ease once I had watched the Lesson Plan Tutorial

And at the end of the tutorial it mentioned that there are a lot of tutorial videos available for Homeschool Planet. I had known that but had not previously found the tutorials. I have found Homeschool Planet intuitive enough to use without instructions, so I was doing fine before, but now I know I will be watching tutorials. I'm sure there is a lot I still don't know yet about Homeschool Planet that I will learn from them.

I am normally a paper planner type of gal, but I am just loving Homeschool Planet. I have learned how to log in from my iPhone, so now I can schedule things without having my paper planner. My phone is always with me! This is great! I am so thankful I had this opportunity to use Homeschool Planet for this, my last year of home schooling. I already don't know how I'll live without it next year. ::sigh!::

I highly recommend Homeschool Planet to you for your home school and your life! Go take a look and try it out for free for 30 days. Receive one set of Lesson Plans for free. I think you are going to love it like I do.

Other members of the Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Review Crew also reviewed Homeschool Planet. To read additional reviews please click on the button below.

Homeschool Planet {Homeschool Buyers Co-op Reviews}

Crew Disclaimer

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

UnLock Math - A TOS Homeschool Review

Review Crew
My son still needs to complete Geometry, so I was pleased when I saw UnLock Math was coming up as a Vendor.
They have a course that was a perfect fit for us called UnLock Geometry.
UnLock Geometry is presented as a complete course, which was a fabulous fit for us. Over the course of one school year (which is 180 school days), doing approximately one lesson per day, the student will complete the course by the end of the year.

My son was willing, and even interested, so we volunteered. When the program information arrived, I set up our account and got my son going. My son logged in and began working on the program.

The first night, my son came into the living room at dinner time and said, "I'm not going to lie... This is pretty cool!"  Another night, again at dinner, he said, "Right now I am learning about the Pythagorean Theorem!" Things seemed to be going smoothly.

I myself was busy with many things, so I was glad it seemed my son was doing well with this program. He has also been taking a summer dual enrollment college course, so I knew he was busy as well.

Then the Saturday came when my son took the ACT test. He came home, upset, feeling he had not done well (and blaming me and my shortcomings in teaching him!). After talking things through, what we learned is that my son needs more accountability than I have been giving him, and that even with UnLock Geometry he had not kept up his regular lessons as I had thought he was doing. In his defense, he was right. It is easy enough for the parent to check the student's account to confirm his regular progress, and I had not been doing it. 

My son had given up on UnLock Geometry. So, to fulfill our commitment to the vendor I knew I had to jump in and act as the student. It's easier to write a review when I am really familiar with the product, anyway, so I did my best.

First I found there is a four-page "UnLock Math Quickstart Guide" to help you know how to use the program. There is a similar pdf download teaching how to access and use the Gradebook, UnLock Math Gradebook Guide.

Next I moved into the UnLock Geometry program where my son left off, and here's what I found. When you open a lesson you see a lesson path like this:
So, each UnLock Geometry lesson starts with "Warm-Up" which reinforces materials previously covered. Step 2 is a Lesson Video, followed by Practice Problems. The student also completes "Stay Sharp" and "Challenge Yourself", and they are done. "Reference Notes" is the material presented in the lesson and is a pdf with can be saved and printed.

Each unit is set up with a series of relevant lessons with periodic quizzes, and culminating with a unit test. Here is an example:


So I began working my way through the material, and I like what I see. The video teacher presents the material well in a way that is easy to understand. I recommend this program to you!

This Geometry program is UnLock Math's brand new product. So now that you know I love it, I do need to let you know a few issues I had with the program. The folks from UnLock Math should also be reading my review, and I expect they will work to remedy these issues.

The first item I will mention is within the videos. The color being used on the videos is not dark enough (on the numbers on the white board) and it was hard to see the math. Here is a screen shot:

Yes, I find that difficult to see.

Another issue I had was where the program marked a correct answer wrong because it wanted me to abbreviate a certain way. The question was something like, "14,000 pounds = how many tons?" I answered 7 tons, and it wanted me to say "7 tns".

I don't know how well you can see this, but in the above screenshot you can also see how they explain the process to get to the correct answer. These explanations are always there and they are excellent!

So, from the teacher's page, here is the student's progress page I should have been tracking to keep my son accountable:
From the parent pages you can see what problems your student had trouble with and can follow up.

There are so many layers to UnLock Geometry that it is difficult for me to share everything. I imagine there are things I have missed that might be of interest to you. Fortunately for you, other members of the Homeschool Review Crew also reviewed UnLock Geometry and other programs by UnLock Math. You can read other reviews by clicking on the button below.

Pre-Algebra, Algebra and Geometry {UnLock Math Reviews}

Crew Disclaimer

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Adventures of Rush Revere - A TOS Homeschool Crew Review

Review Crew
I was so happy this year when I learned the Homeschool Review Crew would review for a repeat vendor, Adventures of Rush Revere #1 New York Times Bestselling Book Series by Rush and Kathryn Adams Limbaugh.

My husband and I have both wanted to read the Adventures of Rush Revere Book Series, and I was so glad to have the opportunity to volunteer to review this product!

I was especially happy to be considered in light of the fact that my busy student was not likely to read the books during the review period, and yet I was included on the review anyway! Thank you to Rush and Kathryn Adams Limbaugh et. al.

Exciting day! The box arrived! Our set of books, so beautifully presented!

I pulled the stack out of the box and admired the ribbon and the time and care that was taken to make this package special!

Then I untied the ribbon and began reading Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims.

The books in the series, in order, are as you see above:
  • Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims;
  • Rush Revere and the First Patriot;
  • Rush Revere and the American Revolution;
  • Rush Revere and the Star Spangled-Banner; and
  • Rush Revere and the Presidency.
The series focuses on early American history. The interwoven theme is that Rush Revere is a history teacher who periodically serves as a substitute teacher for Mrs. Borrington's Honors History Class at Manchester Middle School. (Like the play on words? "Borring"ton/"Boring"ton... Heh! Heh!)
Rush Revere has a special mascot, a horse named Liberty. Liberty was once struck by lightning, and survived to find he could talk! He could time travel! He could make himself invisible when he holds his breath! And more!
In Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims Mr. Revere initially sets up a special media system in the class to show a movie of the pilgrims in Holland. Rush actually fixes it so his phone camera is filming and sending a signal simultaneously of a time-travel trip he and Liberty take. Then he returns to present time and discusses the history with the class.

Later Mr. Revere includes classmates Tommy, the school football team's quarterback, and Freedom, a native American girl, in trips to the ship journeying to the new world, additional trips to the Plymouth Plantation, and finally to share in the first Thanksgiving. Through these journeys we meet many pilgrims, notably William Bradford and Miles Standish (who teaches Tommy how to sword fight), and Squanto and Massasoit.
This is an exciting way for the reader to experience history in a rich, vivid, living way! And Liberty is an absolute stitch! And an underlying theme is a fellow classmate, Elizabeth (the principal's daughter), who is constantly snooping around trying to figure out what Mr. Revere, Tommy and Freedom are up to. And she is certain she heard that horse talk!
In Rush Revere and the First Patriots Mr. Revere, Tommy and Freedom are joined by a new student named Cam. Elizabeth continues to spy on them and catches them going through the time travel portal with Liberty! She has a video camera installed in the school hallway so she can get her video proof. When they realize they need to placate her, they take her with them on a trip to England and meet George III. Each book has activity links and a study guide at .

During First Patriots, different trips occur with different individuals at different times and we meet Benjamin Franklin, George III, Patrick Henry, Samuel Adams, Paul Revere, John Adams and George Washington! We visit Boston right after the Boston Massacre and experience the Boston Tea Party. And Liberty learns how to blow bubbles with bubble gum.

The third book is Rush Revere and the American Revolution. It is summer break, and Mr. Revere decides to teach an Honors History summer class. The focus of the adventures are (as the title states) the American Revolution. Cam is there again, as well as Freedom and Tommy. Cam has developed a bad attitude about school, history, education... almost everything to do with respecting authority...

In our time travels we meet up again with Paul Revere, Samuel Adams, and John Hancock. We also meet Dr. Joseph Warren, William Dawes, Dr. Samuel Prescott and many signers of the Declaration of Independence. We experience some historic events and experience the danger, the drama and the fear. Liberty's antics help the travelers escape some scary situations. We are able to see character development in Cam's life with advice from Paul Revere.
Book four is Rush Revere and the Star-Spangled Banner. In this adventure  we visit the early 1800s. Rush and Liberty travel alone first, and then take a trip with Tommy, Freedom, Freedom's grandfather and Cam. Freedom's grandfather becomes one of the team and is let in, bit by bit, on knowledge of Liberty's special skills. The group travels by train to Washington to visit the National Archives. Liberty has created a scavenger hunt for o complete, locating various items within the building.

After viewing and learning more about the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, Mr. Revere takes part of the crew on a time travel to 1787 to talk to some of the Constitution's original framers. We return to present and visit the Lincoln Memorial and the Capitol. Liberty has another scavenger hunt for them in the Capitol Building. On a new day they visit the Supreme Court, with an assignment of questions to find answers to. While visiting the Supreme Court, the Crew meets a home schooler, Maddie, and her mom and make them "members" of the Crew and make plans to stay in touch. Then after a Metro ride to the Navy Yard, our Crew walks to Nat. Stadium to watch a Nationals baseball game. Then, during the Nats game, Rush and Tommy steal away on a time travel to the Battle of Ft. McHenry (1814).

Reading this particular book has been so fun for me! I live outside of Washington, DC. While I was reading this book my son, a high school senior taking dual enrollment classes at a local community college and currently enrolled in an American Government class, was on a field trip with his college class. After a Metro ride downtown, they visited the Supreme Court, followed by a tour of the Capitol! Oh, and my husband used to work at the Navy Yard, and we all have, of course, been to a Nationals game! Later they visit the White House.

Within this adventure we meet up with Dolly Madison, James Madison, George Washington, George Mason and Francis Scott Key.

Book five is titled Rush Revere and the Presidency. Cam wants to run for school president and seems to think that will make him king of Manchester Middle School. Rush takes the opportunity to begin teaching about the office of President, beginning with George Washington. We also meet Martha Washington and her two grandchildren, John and Abigail Adams, and Thomas Jefferson.

Through preparation for running for school president, with Mr. Revere's help and instruction, and with input from historic Presidents, Cam learns a great deal about hard work, not giving up, and serving others. We also learn a great deal about the development of the "Road to the Presidency".

The folks from The Adventures of Rush Revere have provided a huge amount of free resources for folks using these books. Each book has a study guide and activity links. There are also scholarship opportunities to sign your student up for.

The folks at Adventures of Rush Revere are very generous and want to see young American children succeed in learning all about our country's history. I also love the quality of these books. They are hard cover (durable) with high quality paper that is not easily torn.

I have thoroughly enjoyed reading through this series and highly recommend these books to you for your students. There are also available additional resources such as a stuffed Liberty the horse, as well as recorded versions of these books. Go to Adventures of Rush Revere to look around, and order your books today!

Other members of the Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Review Crew also reviewed these books. To see more reviews, please click the button below.
Adventures of Rush Revere Book Series {Reviews}

Crew Disclaimer

Monday, June 19, 2017

Menu Monday for 6/19/17

Wow! How did we get to mid-June so quickly? Time passes so quickly when you stay so busy!

This past week we bumped one meal with leftovers and pizza, so the cheesy corn casserole appears this week. Monday Boy Scout meetings are over for the summer, so Monday dinners don't have to be so rushed. Here are this week's meal plans. 

Saturday (6/17):  hamburger baked bean casserole (p. 89), salad

Sunday (6/18):  dinner at Becky’s

Monday (6/19):  teriyaki chicken (p. 62), rice, zucchini

Tuesday (6/20) (physical @ 10 am): cheesy corn casserole (p. 71), beets, spicy pumpkin muffins

Wednesday (6/21): spinach pie, muffins

Thursday (6/22) (CAP) (2:00 Jenny Craig): chicken broccoli (p. 33), noodles

Friday (6/23):  salmon, yams, spinach

Saturday (6/24) (quilting): marinated flank steak (p. 38), baked potato, green beans