Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Drive Thru History® - A TOS Homeschool Crew Review

Review Crew
In March I learned we had a review product coming up by Drive Thru History®
The product was perfect for my upcoming needs: Drive Thru History® – “The Gospels”

In the state of Maryland, home school law gives us two options: 

  1. Have our home school program reviewed each year (multiple times) by a public school representative, or
  2. Pay to be under an "umbrella" home school program and be reviewed (once a year, with our umbrella) by another home school mom in the program.

Guess which one I prefer? (#2, of course!) The umbrella we are with is affiliated with a Maryland Christian school and requires that "Bible" be one of the subjects covered each year.

The idea of a New Testament History class for my son, using “The Gospels” video program was totally appealing to me! This is something that will capture my son's attention and teach him new stuff in a painless, nay, appealing and engaging way! “The Gospels” program is actually a one semester program, so it is in my plans to follow it up with a second program to count it as a full year program.

Reviewers of this product received a fabulous DVD package in a faux-leather book binding, 

with course study-guide between the DVDs.

“The Gospels” contains 18 video lessons, 30 minutes each, so a full nine hours of video viewing. The style, music and narration of the content is totally engaging. We all love the narrator/travel guide, Dave Stotts!

Each lesson ends with suggested Bible reading assignments to enrich your study. Each lesson has a chapter in the Study Guide with an information section and Discussion Questions.

The Study Guide is printed on high-quality glossy paper, so thus the reflections and glare on my photos... The illustrations and photos in the Study Guide are wonderful!

The program has three DVDs with six lessons per DVD. It is designed to cover one lesson per week for 18 weeks, which is half of a 36-week school year.

I have learned something each week, and have thoroughly enjoyed myself. I even laughed out loud.

Dave Stotts calls his Land Rover "Steve McQueen".
He is so hysterical! In one episode he took ribs and barbecue sauce, wrapped it in aluminum foil, wired it to the engine and drove through throughout the desert of the Holy Lands in the episode. At the end of the episode the ribs were cooked and he ate them. I'm hoping my son won't want to try that. After all, we don't live in the desert...
I really love “The Gospels”, and I think you will too. I think this series works from upper grammar through high school (and many lower grammar kids will like it, too!). For the older kids, I recommend watching the DVD episode of the lesson on Monday, work on the Bible readings Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, and then do the Study Guide reading and discussion questions on Friday. Maybe you'll disagree. You could do the Study Guide on Tuesday and read Bible Wednesday through Friday as an alternative.

I really like Drive Thru History® – “The Gospels” and I think you will too. Other members of the Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Review Crew also reviewed this product. To see other product reviews, please click the button below.

The Gospels {Drive Thru History® Reviews}

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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Daily Bible Jigsaw - A TOS Homeschool Crew Review

Review Crew
In March I learned I would be part of the Homeschool Crew's review of a game by Planet 316.
Planet 316

For the past six weeks or so, a group of the crew has been enjoying a game app called  Daily Bible Jigsaw,  which is available on iOS devices as well as Facebook.
Daily Bible Jigsaw by Planet 316

Here are the current options for playing Daily Jigsaw:

This has been such a fun review in so many ways! And a very unique review! I mean how often do I get to review something where I can say, "Try this--it's free!" How often do I do a review where it is my job to play at something once a day?
 Daily Bible Jigsaw by Planet 316

So, true confessions here, I already spend a few "indisposed" minutes each day playing at something on my iPad. I call it "multi-tasking". Reviewing Daily Bible Jigsaw just meant, for me, switching my play time from one game to another. For purposes of this review, Crew members were given 500 coins to use, which I will explain shortly.

Daily Bible Jigsaw works on a calendar format. Each day one free puzzle is available for you to work. When you complete the puzzle, you are taken to the monthly calendar, where one new month's puzzle piece is reviewed for the puzzle you just solved. This one month puzzle motivates you to do your daily puzzle, so that at the end of the month month's picture puzzle is also revealed.

When you open Daily Bible Jigsaw you are given a jumble of puzzle pieces. 

The first thing I like to do is separate the edges from the center pieces.

Next I figure out the edges of the puzzle. You turn individual pieces by clicking on them.

When the puzzle is complete you get fanfare and an inspirational quote.

When you click on the puzzle, it takes you to your month-view puzzle. If you have your account attached to your Facebook account, you can see how well you did compared to your friends. 

Now let me tell you about the coins. When I work the puzzle on my iPod, each puzzle has one time during the puzzle where a puzzle piece lights up for a bonus. If you connect the piece to another piece while it is lit you get a bonus coin. (That is, I think you get one -- I'm not sure... you might get three...) Coins can also be purchased.

Coins are useful for various things. If there is a day that you don't get to the puzzle and you want to go do that puzzle, a past puzzle costs three coins. If you complete a puzzle and don't like your time (see my time above), particularly if you are competing with your friends, you can replay the puzzle for three coins.

Not only can you replay for two coins, but you can also speed up your time by using two coins to have the puzzle auto-rotate all the puzzle pieces to their correct positions making assembling the puzzle much quicker.

I have not chosen to use the "Guide" and "Sweep" functions, and I only used the "Magnet" function once. I guess I like the way I am playing the Daily Bible Jigsaw just with the rotate and edge options. Each of those five options use two coins per use.

At one point, using Daily Bible Jigsaw, I started getting glitches where pieces would be missing from my puzzle so I couldn't complete it. I contacted the company and they repaired the glitches and reimbursed me coins I had lost while trying to solve puzzles that couldn't be solved. They are very customer-friendly.

So I recommend you give Daily Bible Jigsaw a try. It is fun, relaxing, and only takes about five minutes a day. You get to enjoy the challenge, the relaxation, a nice picture and an inspirational quote.

 Daily Bible Jigsaw by Planet 316

Planet 316 would love it if you want to touch base with them via social media:

Other members of the Homeschool Review Crew also reviewed Daily Bible Jigsaw. To see other product reviews, please click the button below.
Daily Bible Jigsaw {Planet 316 Reviews}

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Menu Monday for 4/24/17

This week the focus of my menus is "Real Foods". I am getting recipe ideas from Lisa Leake, author of 100 Days of Real Foods Fast and Fabulous and 100 Days of Real Foods Easy Wholesome Recipes. So far the meals have been fabulous, although for me, no real food meal is "fast" (all that vegetable preparation compared to opening a can and dumping in a pan, or opening a box and adding water). However, I always lean toward real food, so I am trying to focus on allowing the necessary time I need for the prep to make sure I can serve the meals at the time my family normally eats.

Here's the plan:
Saturday (4/22):  Boston Market chicken, beans, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn bread

Sunday (4/23):  Roasted Summer Vegetable Pasta, Salad (page 220 Real Foods Fast and Fab.)

Monday (4/24)(BS Troop Mtg.) :  Real-Food Sloppy Joes (page 223 Real Foods Fast and Fab.), carrots

Tuesday (4/25): Lentil and Sausage Stew, salad, cream biscuits (page 186 Real Foods Fast and Fabulous)

Wednesday (4/26): parmesan crusted chicken, orzo with almonds, green beans

Thursday (4/27) (CAP): grilled teriyaki salmon (page 272, 100 Easy Wholesome Recipes), Asian inspired rice (page 200 100 Easy Wholesome Recipes), grilled asparagus

Friday (4/28):  Macaroni Casserole (page 252 100 Easy Wholesome Recipes)

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Friday, April 21, 2017

Week in Review, 4/21/17

It has been a while since I did my weekly review, so this is more like a catch-up review.

In late February, on a 75-degree day (that just doesn't happen in Maryland!), the Life Scout pulled together Scouts, CAP friends, and friends of friends, and got his Eagle Project completed. A county park path had been rerouted, and the job was to make the old path disappear. It was called reforestation and trail reclamation.

In March, in addition to attending his two college courses of Spanish 101 and Sociology 100, the high school junior visited two colleges -

Patrick Henry College in Purcellville, VA

and University of Arizona in Tucson, AZ.

He was scheduled also to visit University of Maryland, Baltimore County, but sickness prevented him from making this visit as scheduled.

The lad really likes U of A. It has an Air Force ROTC program, which is important to him, and he loves the climate and the topography. Being there brought back the rockhound in him (one who searches for rock samples).

Upon his return from Arizona, while scurrying to make up work missed in his two college classes (missed a Friday and a Monday), the lad had paperwork to finish on his Eagle project. He had to write up his Project Report and get it signed off. After that he had to write up his Eagle Scout Rank Application (a.k.a. "ESRA"). Then every date and merit badge needed to be checked, double checked, and re-checked. Then his Eagle notebook needed to be compiled with his Life Statement and copies of the 21 merit badges he was applying to the Eagle application. He had been in three troops, and some of his merit badges and some of his rank advancements were not in Internet Advancement, and that needed to be completed. Finally, he met with the District Eagle Coordinator, who still found errors in the paperwork, which got corrected. Now the Scout is scheduled to have his Eagle Board of Review next Friday - he missed the Board of Review opportunity in March because of his trip to Arizona (and the paperwork wasn't finished anyway!).

A test, the ACT, was rescheduled because things were just getting too packed in the schedule. 

Mom, meanwhile, has been revising Transcript and Course Descriptions in preparation for college applications in a month or two. 

In addition, the following products are currently in use for upcoming reviews:
Watch for upcoming reviews! So what's going on in your home school?

Monday, April 17, 2017

Menu Monday for 4/17/2017

Here is this week's menu plan for my family of three. Two meals already down, one might think I would have one photo from Easter, but I don't. We set a table for seven, and did not take a single photo. ::sigh::

Saturday (4/15):  Balsamic chicken, rice, broccoli

Sunday (4/16) (Easter):  Standing Rib Roast, mashed potatoes, asparagus, rolls

Monday (4/17)(BS Eagle COH Planning Mtg.)
Ravioli, salad, TX toast

Tuesday (4/18): Beef vegetable soup (using beef leftover from Sunday), salad, bread

Wednesday (4/19): Chicken Caesar salad, rolls

Thursday (4/20) (CAP): Sizzleburgers, noodles, spinach

Friday (4/21):  Date night

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Digital Savvy - A TOS Homeschool Crew Review

Review Crew
In late February I learned I was to be part of the Homeschool Review Crew's CompuScholar, Inc. review. 

CompuScholar, Inc.
I received one year's access to CompuScholar's new on-line courses, Digital Savvy

CompuScholar, Inc. Digital Savvy

Digital Savvy is a course for high school students. This is the age group CompuScholar has found most suited for this course, but you can certainly try it with a computer-savvy middle-schooler. 

Digital Savvy  counts for 1 high school credit on your student's high school transcript. This is perfect where I live, Maryland, where the state guidelines for graduation require one high school credit in "Technology" for graduation. Even though home school students can be graduated without having all the credits required by the state for public school graduated students, many of us still follow those guidelines knowing they closely align to what potential colleges will be looking for.

Digital Savvy is broken down into 25 Chapters which each contain three lessons, an activity assignment and a test. Each lesson contains a lesson video, a text assignment and a quiz. The quizzes and tests are automatically graded (immediately), and the parent can place settings so the student can retake the quiz to improve the grade, using highest grade achieved or getting an average of the scores. The parent/teacher needs to grade the Day 4 assignments. The ideal schedule to follow is to complete one chapter each week.

Digital Savvy Chapters are as follows:

  • Fundamentals of Computer Hardware;
  • Fundamentals of Computer Software;
  • Operating Systems;
  • Computer Files;
  • Computer Maintenance and Troubleshooting;
  • Computer Networks;
  • Search Engines;
  • Computer Security;
  • Word Processing;
  • Spreadsheet Programs;
  • Presentation Programs;
  • Database Technology;
  • Project Management and Teamwork;
  • Mid-Term Project;
  • Digital Images;
  • Internet Communications;
  • Social Media;
  • More Social Media;
  • Creating Web Pages;
  • Web Page Design;
  • Web Links, Images and Animation;
  • Programming Concepts;
  • Digital Logic;
  • Careers and Technical Skills; and
  • Final Project.
There is also a 26th section for Supplemental Lessons and Enrichment Topics.

So this is basically a 26 week program, and the average school year is 36 weeks. This means you can skip a week here or there, or take two weeks on a particular Chapter. If your student is really digging into one of the Chapter projects, they can have more than one day to work on it. I love this type of flexibility.

With the variety of topics covered in this course, you can certainly consider covering the material in more than one way. The obvious way to approach the course is starting at Chapter 1, Lesson 1 and go through the course in order. This is the approach I used. I was working through the course myself as the student, and there was not a lesson or project I covered where I did not learn something. The other way to approach the course is to look at the topical list and target the areas where you are most in need of additional information. I don't mind recommending this to the parent/teacher, but I don't recommend it for the high school student taking the course.

I've been using a computer since about 1983, and being a computer-user is not the equivalent of being properly or adequately educated about these devices you are using! I have loved being able to take this course myself to increase my computer knowledge base, and I recommend this to every parent who purchases the course for their student. Now here is a bonus: When you purchase the course for your student, you will also get a parent/teacher account which gives you access to the same course as your student. So you buy the course for your student and can take the course yourself as well without purchasing a 2nd student account. I highly recommend the parent work through the course, as this way at any point in the course if your student hits a point of confusion you will be better prepared to step in and try to resolve the confusion.

In the event the student's question is beyond your ability, there is a means for contacting CompuScholar to get the question answered. This will often take up to 24 hours, possibly more if it is the weekend, so it is better for the student if the parent is able to answer the question.

Digital Savvy is a new course. Sometimes new products have glitches that need to be worked out. This is another reason it can be good for the parent to work through the course first (or simultaneously). I found at least one place where the multiple choice question had two answers that both seemed to be correct. A fourth answer said "all of these are true", but that wasn't the answer because the third answer was clearly incorrect. I contacted  and they agreed and immediately changed one of the answers so that it was clear which answer was the correct choice for the question. I love that type of responsiveness in a company, and CompuScholar appreciates any assistance in improving their product. This is a win/win situation, in my opinion!

So far I have learned the differences between hardware, software and peripherals, and I now better know the differences between different operating systems. I now understand the differences between freeware, shareware, and open source software. I am really looking forward to learning more about properly protecting my computer against viruses! So much more to cover.

I highly recommend Digital Savvy to you and your high school student. I also suggest you take a look at the other courses offered by CompuScholar.  You can also touch base with them on social media here: CompuScholar Facebook and CompuScholar Twitter

Other members of the Homeschool Review Crew also reviewed products by CompuScholar. Some reviewed Digital Savvy, like I did; some also reviewed the Web Design  course, and some reviewed the Java Programming  course. To see other reviews of these CompuScholar courses, please click the link below (click on the picture below).
Digital Savvy, Web Design & Java Programming {CompuScholar,Inc Reviews}

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Monday, April 10, 2017

Menu Monday for 4/10/2017

Monday is here and my meals are planned. What is funny is how quickly plans change! I wrote this up Saturday morning, and by dinner it had changed. We had planned our dinner out for Monday night and decided to go Saturday instead. Then, Sunday I had planned salad as the vegetable and we served green beans instead, which meant I had to switch and plan salad the night I had listed green beans.

These types of switch and swaps happen all the time at my house. I usually just don't mention it. As long as I am switching what I planned for one day with what I had planned for another day it does not impact my budget.

My husband was surprised at how little he spent on groceries this week (he did the shopping). He even splurged on something not on the list that was about $9, and the total was still only about $98! Granted we didn't need any of those occasional purchases such as laundry soap, dishwasher soap, shampoo, etc., but still that was nice!

So here is what we are eating this week:

Saturday (4/8):  Dinner Out

Sunday (4/9):  chicken parmesan, green beans, rice

Monday (4/10)Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, carrots

Tuesday (4/11) (Senior CAP): Italian Wedding Soup, salad, bread

Wednesday (4/12): Balsamic chicken, rice, broccoli

Thursday (4/13)(CAP): Pork chops with honey garlic sauce, salad, noodles

Friday (4/14) (Good Friday):  grilled salmon, brussels sprouts, yams

Friday, April 7, 2017

Inoculate Kids Against Bad Ideas

This video by Summit Ministries gives an intriguing argument to think about to prepare your children to deal with life in the world.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Shepherd, Potter, Spy--and the Star Namer - A TOS Homeschool Crew Review

Review Crew
In February I learned I had been selected to be part of the crew reviewing a product for Peggy Consolver - Author. 

Peggy Consolver

On February 19 I received a package containing Shepherd, Potter, Spy--and the Star Namer.

Shepherd, Potter, Spy--and the Star Namer {Peggy Consolver}

This paperback book is about 6" X 8" X 1" and is 379 pages long. In other words, it is a pretty long book. Don't let that worry you -- it's an easy read. I've known kids to read a 900+ page book in three days if they find it interesting. Just sayin'...  Anyway, I'd say Shepherd, Potter, Spy is the right level for students 12 to adult to read to themselves, but that children 8 and up would enjoy this book being read aloud to them.

Shepherd, Potter, Spy centers around the life of a boy named Keshub, and his family, in the land of Gibeon. The story takes place in the time period when Moses lead the people of Israel to the River Jordan, and then turned leadership of Israel over to Joshua. Moses never entered the promised land.

Keshub's life is simple at the beginning of the book. Fifth son of a potter, Keshub is ten harvests plus two (12 years old). As the story begins, Kesh is a shepherd of his family's flock. The difficulties in his life come mainly from insufferable treatment from his younger cousin and from periodic mistreatment from the neighborhood bully.

A regular fun diversion, at the end of each day's labor, is when all the neighborhood boys meet together to get military training from Sir Ghaleb, who used to be a soldier. Practice with sling throwing and bow and arrow come in handy later when Keshub has some dangerous encounters in his shepherding when he encounters once a lion and once a bear.
Shepherd, Potter, Spy--and the Star Namer Peggy Consolver

Keshub's father is the potter of Ra-eef, and is known for making the best pottery in the land of Gibeon. The older sons help with the pottery-making initially, but as the story develops, things change rapidly. There are trips to be  taken to sell pottery; there are crops to be harvested. Worst of all, an evil King Zedek is eyeing the local young men he sees, desiring them for his army.

Keshub has to take on responsibilities his brothers used to handle as the older sons are moved to different tasks. Soon Keshub is barefoot, stomping clay to remove bubbles and stones, in a vat by his cousin, watching Baba and another brother making the pottery from clay coils.

As the story progresses further, Keshub is also called upon to do some spying, hence the title Shepherd, Potter, Spy. The title also could have said, "Merchant", as Keshub also made trips to sell the pottery.

While the story of Keshub is developing, there is another important story being told of turmoil and dangerous events taking place outside of Gibeon. Imagine being the residents of Israel's "Promised Land" at the time when God led the people to cross the Jordan and take the land. Imagine watching from a distance and seeing the God of Israel deliver their enemies into their hands. Imagine watching as they crossed the River Jordan on dry land during a time of floodwaters.

This book is well written and captivating. The content is well researched and the message is conveyed in rich language. I am a student of Old Testament History, and this book gave me a new perspective and put concepts together for me in a new way. I highly recommend it.

And who do you suppose "The Star Namer" is?

The author's website gives links for further depth of study into areas touched on in Shepherd, Potter, Spy. I haven't gotten through all of it, but I thoroughly enjoyed the material I covered. I loved reading about mammals indigenous to the area of Gibeon. There are videos about plaiting and using a sling. All the links relate to content in the book. There is also a 12-unit study guide available to go with Shepherd, Potter, Spy called Digging Deeper Into HIStory.

Shepherd, Potter, Spy--and the Star Namer Peggy Consolver

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and I think you will too!
Other members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew also reviewed this book. To see other product reviews, please click the button below.
Shepherd, Potter, Spy--and the Star Namer {Peggy Consolver Reviews}

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