TOS Review: Crafty Classroom – R.E.A.D. Curriculum Notebook Gr. 1

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

For the last few weeks Zakari and I have been working through Crafty Classroom‘s R.E.A.D. Curriculum Notebook Gr. 1.

R.E.A.D. Curriculum Notebook Gr. 1 is a HUGE 36 week, 4 day a week curriculum for you to use to teach your child to read.

R.E.A.D. stands for Ready, Eager, Able & Determined to READ!

What is R.E.A.D. Curriculum Notebook Gr. 1 All About?

When you download the R.E.A.D. Curriculum Notebook Gr. 1 PDF, you will initially find a 4 day a week, 36 week schedule.

For the first 2 weeks your student will be reviewing the Long Vowel Sounds.

Every week, except for review weeks your student will work through:

  • a reference charts
  • vowel teams & word list
  • sight words
  • weekly vocabulary
  • grammar
  • Science & Social Studies
  • writing assignments
  • & a early reader

Some Assembly Required

While the course is for the most part designed to be a print ready format, there are a few things that need to be prepared. This will take a few minutes before initially starting the program with your student.

For example cutting the Story Strips for your child’s Daily Writing Notebook.

How Did We Use This Program?

When I opened up the PDF I received, I was surprised to see how large it was, 942 pages to be exact.

So the first thing I did was go through and read the first few pages before I printed out anything.

Then I printed out the the Comprehensive Weekly Curriculum Overview and Curriculum Overview for reference.

Once I had that done, I went through all the workpages, and decided what my son needed work on, and what he already grasped. Because he is already reading, and I’m wanting to focus on writing, grammar and penmanship. I had to be careful and asked myself is this a good use of his time? Or is this busy work?

Once I had a few weeks of work printed, we started working through the sheets I had selected.

Busy Work? You Said Busy Work?

Like I said, Zakari is already reading, so for him, some of these work sheets are busy work. But if he was walking into this program without a strong grasp of sight words and blend, these pages would not be busy work.

If I was using this program with a child who was needing to learn how to read, I would likely hit each work sheet in the order they are presented.

Now with all that said, some of the phonics & sight word work sheets were still beneficial for Zakari to work through. We were not using them to learn sight words or phonics, we used them to work on his scanning and fine motor skills.

What Did I Like Best?

I just loved the Story Starters. While language and conversation doesn’t come easier for Zakari, I need to make a conscience effort to try to engage in conversation with him more. But it can be hard when it at times is only one sided. I never know what to say, as I don’t want it to come off contrived or forced.

While working with Doman International, we are suppose to use a choice board to help give Zakari a tool to engage in conversation. The problem is I struggle staying motivated with this because I never know what to ask.

Now I have 144 possible questions to ask my son and learn more about his likes and dislikes. It is so much fun, and then I scribe his answers in our daily writing notebook.

I know this is not the main purpose of the curriculum, but I just had to share how we were able to adapt it for a child with special needs.

Want to Know What Others Though?

If you want to learn about what other homeschooling families thought about this program and others created by Crafty Classroom, click the banner below. There you will be connect with 50 other homeschool families trying different Crafty Classroom products!

Hands-on, Low-prep and Ready to Go Learning - Tots to 3rd Grade {Crafty Classroom Reviews}
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TOS Review: The Heart Changer

The Heart Changer {Jarm Del Boccio, Author Reviews}

The Heart Changer

This month our family had the chance to read and review the Biblical/historical fiction The Heart Changer, a debut book from a, written by Jarm Del Boccio, Author.

We received a digital copy, and I was able to read it on my iPhone quite easily. The download process was seamless, and with in minutes I was able to dive right into the book.

What is the story about?

The story is told in first person, about a 12 year old Israeli girl named Miriam. In the first chapter, we learn how to Miriam is captured during a horrible raid on her village. She is picked as a “gift” to the Commander’s wife to serve as her maidservant. The Commander’s wife is dissatisfied with the maidservant she currently had, and was pleased when Miriam arrived.

Miriam struggles with her faith, feeling abandoned, as she is force to serve the family who may have been responsible for the death of her own family. There are so many unknowns in Miriam’s life, she is completely unaware how the Lord is preparing her for a greater mission.

What age range is this book for?

The Heart Changer’s publisher recommended age for this book is ages 7 to 12. I originally started reading this book with my newly 7 year old son, however within a few pages I decided to stop. For my son I decided that the book was a little too mature for him. I am not one to usually sugar coat what we read, however this book was so well written in my opinion, the scene was so real to us.

I decided to continue reading this book on my own and I will put it aside for a year or two, and then pull it out to read with my son. My decision to stop reading it with him was just a “mom gut feeling”. In no way was the book inappropriate, and I’m sure it would be a fit for many 7 year olds. However I consider Zakari to be a young 7 year old, so it just did not feel right.

That being said, limiting this book to the max age of 12 would be unfortunate. As an adult I enjoyed reading about Miriam’s trials and her journey while she struggled with her faith.

Teachers Guide

What I loved was parent’s can access the Teacher’s Guide free of charge. Just head to the publishers website, and scroll down till you a see a white graphic with black text that simply says The Heart Changer Teacher’s Guide, like the image below. Click on that image(on the publishers website), and it will bring you to a PDF copy of the teachers guide.

In this teachers guide you will find:

  • A getting to know the author section
  • Getting to know the main character Miriam section
  • Researching the setting section
  • Activities relating to The Heart Changer
  • and Syrian Recipes

What I thought about the book?

I really enjoyed the story and the style it was written in. The author capture the emotion of the character that made her come to life.

What to Know What Others Thought?

If you want to hear what other homeschooling families thought of this book, click the link below. There you will find reviews from 40+ families.

The Heart Changer {Jarm Del Boccio, Author Reviews}
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TOS Review: Learning Dynamics

Learning Dynamics Reading Program  {Learning Dynamics Reviews}

Learning Dynamics: Start Reading in 4 Weeks!

So anyone that has followed my blog for even a short time knows I believe parents should start teaching their children to read as young as possible. So when I had the chance to team up with TOS & Learning Dynamics it was a no brainer!

Zakari & I were sent the complete Learning Dynamics Reading Program to review.

This kit included:

  • Lesson Manual
  • 50+ Full-Color Books
  • 30+ Songs – Music CD: If you are like me and don’t use CDs very often, the music can also be downloaded from the Learning Dynamics Website.
  • Activity Book / Workbook
  • Letter Rewards
  • Flashcards

Right away I could see the whole kit was reusable, with the exception of the workbook. However when I went on their website I saw that extra copies of this workbook can be purchased for additional students.

All of the books and flashcards are printed on high quality paper, and I feel are very durable. They can easily withstand being passed down to younger children when done.

Want a closer look at what is included in this kit, check out the video below:

Can You Use This Program With Special Needs Children Too?

As mom to a special needs kiddo, this is a question I ask myself while reviewing each product. But I’m happy to say, yes! This program is an awesome way to help teach little ones with special needs to read.

Learning Dynamics assumes that the child has no reading experience what so ever, ans starts right at the beginning with letter sounds. Within 4 weeks your child will be reading their first book.

What if your child already knows their letter sounds?

That’s OK, just flash through the beginning part of the program as a review and slow down when you get to an area where your child starts to seem more unsure. For us that look like using the first part of the workbook as penmanship practice and then flipping further ahead really diving into the materials my son needed practice on . Like lesson 39 where Learning Dynamics starts teaching the student about vowels.

How Does The Program Work?

Learning Dynamics requires very little prep work from the parent. It is recommended that your child use the program 3 days a week.

The parent reads one page from the manual, then follows the clearly laid out instructions to teach a short 15 minute lesson to the student. Afterwards parent celebrates the child’s success and then you casually review what they learned during the day.

Our Overall Thoughts

After using this program for a few weeks, I have to say I am quite happy with it. Many other programs on the market only include a few small books for your child to work through. Learning Dynamics includes 50 books for your child to work through. This is especially motivating to a student, as they work through the lessons, their collection of book that they can read grows and grow.

Artemis the cat trying to read over Zakari’s shoulders

I love keeping the books that we have already gone through accessible to Zakari so he can practice reading at his leisure.

Now Available in Canada!

When I first received this product, I had it shipped to the border parcel service, because at the time this review was only open to US members of the TOS Review Crew. But

Interested In Trying This Program?

Use this link and receive 10% off your purchase!

Want to Know What Other Homeschooling Families Thought Of This Program?

Click the banner below and discover how 40 other homeschool families used this program!

Learning Dynamics Reading Program  {Learning Dynamics Reviews}
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TOS Review Crew: Dyslexia Gold

Dyslexia Gold Full Bundle {Dyslexia Gold Reviews}

Dyslexia Gold Review

Did you know that 98% of struggling readers, including dyslexics, have
a vision problem and poor phonological awareness? That is why I was so excited to team up with Dyslexia Gold to review their Dyslexia Gold Full Bundle.

While this is not a full reading program, it is designed to be used with students who have already been taught how to read, but are still struggling.

For our family, particularly our boys, they can decode words no issue, but convergence issues prevent them from reading as fluently as they would like.

Side note: All screen shots are taken from my personal account. My oldest son was not comfortable with me sharing his personal scores. So I have taken the screen shots from my personal account.

Engaging Eyes

engaging eye

Engaging Eyes was the program that sparked my interested in Dyslexia Gold. While none of my children suffer from Dyslexia, like I mentioned before both of my boys have convergence issues.

This is when both eyes have trouble working together. Convergence issues get worse as the person gets tired. So with my youngest for example, he will start to side eye what he is looking at, using only one eye to read. Of course this is more difficult and slows him down.

Wesley working on the Engaging Eye program

Engaging Eyes is a program that uses those old style blue and red 3D glasses. The student has to try and focus and shot the centre of several targets. As they progress the targets get more and more difficult to hit.

This game helped me realize that my oldest had worse convergence issues then I thought. So we have been using it regularly to help build up the strength in the connection between his brain and his eyes.

Fluency Builder

In the Fluency Builder portion of the program, first the student works on identifying the difference between two sounds.

After that they move on to spelling words using tiles.

Then the student selects pictures that beginning with the same sounds as the words they are told orally. For instance, the screenshot above the student is to select the picture of the nails, because it starts with the same first sound of the word given.

Once that is complete, the student has to listen to a word and select which letter needs to be changed to make a new word. For example if the word given is “cat” and they want the student to change it to “hat” they would select #1.

And finally on the hard setting, your student will read a passage and answer questions about what they read.

Spelling Tutor

Spelling Tutor asks the student to spell a series of words to determine their spelling level. Afterwards it tailors the program to the areas where your student is struggling.

What I really like about this portion of Dyslexia Gold, is the student is required to do some pen to paper writing, and correct their own work. This program is NOT teacher intensive at all.

One little hiccup with this program that frustrated my son was, sometimes the voice dictating the sentence would miss the first word. So we would have to press the button to hear the sentence twice to make sure we had the whole sentence.

Times Table Tutor

In order to be successful in math, a student needs to have their math facts at the tip of their tongue. If your anything like me, you remember sitting with a pile of flashcards practicing your times tables. Then being called to the teachers desk so s/he could test you and see how much you could remember.

It was so stressful. Thing is the brain does not learn best under stress. Even if you can remember what you learned for the test, if you learned it under stress you are less like to retain those facts long term.

Dyslexia Gold’s Times Table Tutor helps teach your child their times tables quickly in stress free. Based on Singapore Maths method, your child will learn their multiplications in just ten minutes a day.

My oldest son knows how to multiply, but needs work on doing the times table a little quicker. But the typical flashcard methods just didn’t work for him. Dyslexia Gold’s Times Table Tutor provided a way for him to practice without the pressure of Mom quizzing him. He can work independently, and notices already that the answers are starting to come quicker to him.

Sometimes the student is expected to type in the answer, other times 12 options are provided for the student to select from.

This program is based on three pillars.

  • Concrete
  • Pictorial &
  • Abstract

Student Reports

Parents can easily keep tabs on their students progress using the reports tab. In the screen shot above you can see how it is all laid out for you.

I love how you can clearly see where your child is, how much they have done and how much progress they have made.

Overall What Did We Think?

Overall, I’m really impressed with this program. At first just watching my son work through it, I wasn’t sure what he was really getting from it. It looked pretty easy. But when I sat down myself and tried it out, I really could see what Dyslexia Gold is doing.

Through practice and repetition, the student is building confidences and learning in a non threatening way. The brain is a muscle, just like any other muscle in the body. The brain grows by use. I can see with my eldest, and while trying this program myself that it can help students with convergence issues. Studies have also shown this program is very beneficial to students with dyslexia as well.

In the end, I think this program could have positive affects on any student who is using it. However if the student has fine motor skills that prevent them from using a mouse, this program is not for them.

Even if a student doesn’t suffer from dyslexia or convergence issues, it can help them become more fluent, and quicker in the key subjects Dyslexia Gold works on.

Curious what other homeschool families have thought about Dyslexia Gold?

Click the banner below to be brought to a post which hosts a linky with 40 + other homeschoolers reviews available for your to read!

Dyslexia Gold Full Bundle {Dyslexia Gold Reviews}
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The Old Schoolhouse® Hey, Mama! Homeschool Planner for 2019/20 Year REVIEW

Hey, Mama! Homeschool Planner for 2019/20 Year {The Old Schoolhouse® Reviews}

It’s that time of the year, homeschool planning! This year I was blessed with the chance to review Gena Suarez’s Hey, Mama! Homeschool Planner for 2019/20 Year from The Old Schoolhouse®.

The first thing I noticed about this book is the beautiful cover. The soft spring colors reminds me a fresh start, for a fresh year. When I’m using a planner, I need it to look pretty and inviting. If its not, I’m less drawn to use it and fill it in. This cover makes the cut.

I never know what to do when it comes to planners. When it comes to mainstream planners, they just don’t fit what I need as a homeschooler. Our first year homeschooling my youngest, I made my own planner. But that was costly and super time consuming. After flipping through the Hey, Mama! Planner, I think this will be a great fit for my family’s needs.

What Is Covered In This Planner?

The Hey, Mama! Homeschool Planner puts together nearly everything a homeschooler needs to plan the year for up to 5 children. There are 188 pages of calendars, lists, forms, and charts. As a homeschooling mom of only one little one, I am still able to utilize the extra space to do even more planning!

This planner also includes 21 Devotionals for homeschool moms sprinkled throughout the planner. One page is the devotional, and on the page to the right is an area to write notes. You can journal how this devotional relates to you, Bible verses, or ideas you might have.

Do I Think Hey, Mama! Homeschool Planner Will Work For Us?

Now because the planner does not start until July, I wasn’t able to get a real chance to use it in daily life. But I did plan out our first week of July using sticky notes.

Instead of using one column per child, I used each column to represent the days of the week. Of course because I’m only homeschooling one child, this works well.

However if I had to use it for 5 children, I’m not sure I would have enough space to really express what I’d want to do for the whole week. That being said I like to record every detail. But if you are just wanting to give a brief description about what you are planning for the week, I’m sure you could fit 5 children per weekly planner.

I love that this book is spiral bound. Its lays flat on the table, which makes it easier to follow along with and write in.

One little issue I found in the planner was a typo on the November monthly view calendar. The 3rd is missing. This is something a bottle of whiteout can easily correct, but I know for some moms out there it might bother them. For us it was no big deal.

Want To Read More About How Other Homeschooling Families Used This Product?

Click the banner below, and read how 80+ homeschool families used the Hey, Mama! Homeschool Planner for 2019/20 Year!

Hey, Mama! Homeschool Planner for 2019/20 Year {The Old Schoolhouse® Reviews}
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TOS Review: Supercharged Science

e-Science Homeschool Science Curriculum {Supercharged Science Reviews}

Supercharged Science

I love science, and I want to install that love of science in my son.

So when Zakari and I had the chance to review Supercharged Science, we jumped on it. We were given access to e-Science Homeschool Science Curriculum for all levels, K-12.

We were expected to share with you how we did a few of the experiences with our children. However I made a request to write this review from the point of view of a family that running experiments is not always possible. Some kiddos, like mine have impluse issues and difficulty with fine motor skills. Other families maybe road schooling, so experiments may not be doable. But that does not mean they cannot use Supercharged Science.

What Is Supercharged Science

Supercharged Science is an online library of 1000+ videos, designed to excite even the reluctant science student.

It is divided two ways.

  1. By Topic
  2. By Grade level

How We Used Supercharged Science

Sometimes hands on Science is hard for Zakari. What intrigued me about this program is that all the experiments are presented in video format. So while Zakari’s fine motor skills and impulse control prevent him from doing a lot of these experiments, he can still experience them!

We just sit down and put on the video. Aurora not only explains what is happening, and demonstrates it as well.

One of the lessons we worked on what about Sensing Temperature. Aurora explained to us why our body can react to differently to room temperature water when we are cold vs warmer.

So for example Zakari and I started off by watching the 12 minute video introducing the topic of temperature.

Then we dived into the reading materials, and started expanding on what we had learned from the video.

Using This Program With The Doman Method

As many of my readers know, we follow the Doman Method, when it comes to teaching Zakari. Like all homeschoolers, we adapt everything to help Zakari learn to his fullest potential.

I went through the Lesson Section on Temperature Reading. Using this 18 page PDF I created Doman Word Cards with the Key Vocabulary section. I split them into 2 groups and show each group 3 times a day for 5 days.

After about 5 days, and we have retired the key words, so I start presenting retired words in the form of a sentence. 3 sentences for 5 days, after which we retire the batch and start a new batch of 3 sentences.

Once I have introduced all the Keywords and have put a good dent in the Sentences we start to introduce Homemade books! This is Zakari’s favourite part! I present this book to him about 3 times one day, then we retire it and introduce a new book the next day!

Honestly the reading material is like GOLD to a Doman Mom!

On top of using this awesome materials, that is not dull and geared for kids, we watch the videos regularly on the website.

What Did We Like?

My son & I loved that this program is not dry or boring. Aurora teaches with passion and lots of expression. She clearly loves what she does, and her passion is contagious.

What We Might Change

One thing I would change are the amounts of emails sent out to subscribers. Some days as many as three emails arrived in my inbox. For me this is way too many, to the point I don’t even open half of them.

When I get an email that says Important! (Please Read), as a subscriber I thing that its something I need to know, like password changes, etc. Not another ad for summer camp registration, that is apparently closing. When I opened the email 5 days later and registration was still open.

The infomercial like sales tactic is a real turn off for me.

Want To See How Other Families Used This Program?

Click the link below to read how 60+ other homeschool families used Supercharged Science with their students.

e-Science Homeschool Science Curriculum {Supercharged Science Reviews}
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EdAlive: Typing Tournament Online Review

Typing Tournament & Maths Invaders Online {EdAlive Reviews}

Now a days, typing has become a very important skill for kids to learn. I had been in the market for a good quality typing program for my oldest. So when we had the chance to team up with EdAlive and try out their Typing Tournament Online, we jumped on it.

What is Typing Tournament Online?

Typing Tournament Online is a complete, 10-finger typing course designed for students ages 6 to adult. Students can work right from their current typing level, and it progressively introduces the whole keyboard.

This is a self guided, medieval tournament theme program with 128 lessons, games and drills. Typing Tournament Online actively promotes the use of the right fingers on the right keys

Why Is Typing Important To Us?

Now a days, teens tend to type more on phones and tablets, which only requires the use of their thumbs or pointer finger. I feel it is really important to make sure 10 finger typing is taught as most careers will require the use of a computer.

This upcoming year with our oldest son starting high school, he will be required to type out more papers, notes, etc. I want to make sure that he is a proficient typer so that typing will not slow him down.

How Do We Use Typing Tournament Online?

A few times a week, my son spends 15-20 minutes working though the program after school.

When he signs in, he will see this screen:

When he click View Map, he will see this:

Usually he will start off with a little keyboard practice. This is basically a game where dragons are lighting up barrels of gun powder, and he has to put them out by typing to correct letter. The knight on the screen with then throw a water balloon and put out the fire.

After which he will select a place on the map. There he finds a lesson to work through, drills, test and games using the keys being taught. Tokens are awarded for accomplishments.

What Did We Think About Typing Tournament Online?

Overall my son and I both enjoyed this program. Typing Tournament Online, helped turn something like typing, that many kids may find boring, into a fun challenge.

My son can be loudly opinionated if he’d rather not do something. With Typing Tournament Online, I have never had any objections from him when asked to practice his typing.

We plan to continue using this program for the rest of the school year and into the summer. I really feel this will help prepare him for high school.

Looking For Help With Math Practice Too?

EdAlive not only offers a great Typing program, but they also have a program called, Maths Invaders Online. It is a fast pace, space invaders game, aimed at the 5 to 15 year old group of students.

Your student can practice:

  • addition,
  • subtraction,
  • multiplication,
  • division,
  • fractions,
  • decimals,
  • percentages,
  • numeration,
  • counting,
  • squares,
  • square roots,
  • powers
  • and directed numbers

While this program was not a fit for my boys right now, I think it would be great for a child that is motivated by video games and beating scores. For my oldest, fast pace math drills have never gone over well. But I tried it out myself, and I found it quite fun, so don’t discount it because it wasn’t a fit for my son.

What Did Other Families Think About These Two Program?

If you want to see how other families used Typing Tournament Online and Maths Invaders Online, click the link below!

Typing Tournament & Maths Invaders Online {EdAlive Reviews}

Thank you EdAlive for allowing our family to try out two of your programs!

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Christian Focus Publications: God Is Better than Trucks

Big Bible Science, Elizabeth Prentiss, God is Better than Princesses,  God is Better than Trucks. {Christian Focus Reviews}

Books, Books, Books…

One thing I believe you can never have enough of are books. Anyone that knows me, knows I believe books are one of the best investments you can make in your child’s education at home.

So when we had the chance to work with Christian Focus Publications, and review one of their book, God is Better than Trucks, we jumped at it.

God is Better than Trucks

God is Better than Trucks, is a fun and easy to read book that combines learning your ABC’s and learning truths from the Bible.

Many times, it is hard for young children to relate to the stories they hear in the Bible. However author Sarah Reju, uses the subject of truck and other machinery that many young boys are naturally interested in. This draws the child into the story, and has them open to learning how God is better then these things.

My son has gone through many vehicle stages. For a while it was school buses, then semi truck, now it is a tie between submarines and race cars. So God is Better than Trucks, was a home run in our home.

How Can Families Use This Book?

When we received this book, the first thing my son and I did was read it cover to cover. But when we were done, I couldn’t help but think this book could be so much more then just a story books.

As a homeschool mom I begin to realize that God is Better than Trucks could be used as a Bible study for younger kiddos.

In the first week families could read the books from cover to cover.

Then between weeks 2-27 they could focus on one page per week. Memorizing the Bible verse, and talking about the topic in more details. Some families might like to have their child do copy work, writing out the verses. Other children might like to do draw their own vehicle pictures and recreate their own book. Now you have Bible Study, Penmanship and Art class!

If your family uses a 36 school week schedule, you could spend the next 8 weeks rereading the books and going over your child’s favourite verses.

Who Is This Book Written For?

In my opinion, this books is best for the 3 to 7 year old crowd. But don’t think this is just for boys! I know as a little girl, I loved being around my dad and uncles while they built and raced their RC cars. I was also right next to my dad on Thursday nights watching the car and truck races.

God is Better than Trucks is also a great resource for children like my son who have autism. Teaching kids on the Autism Spectrum about God can be difficult since it is not a black and white subject. My son really enjoyed seeing each of his favourite vehicles, yet then hearing a verse from the bible explaining why God is better then that vehicle.

What Did We Think?

Over the years, I’ve become pickier when it comes to children’s books. I use to like almost everything we read. It had to be pretty bad for me not to say it was good.

As the years have gone on, and we have been exposed to more and more great books, I’m starting to have a stronger opinion on what is a good children’s book and what is not. I’m no longer afraid to giveaway and donate books that we didn’t love. There are too many good books to waste time with subpar ones.

This book made the cut. God is Better than Trucks has earned a spot on our bookshelf. It was pleasant to read. The content was pure and valuable. Most importantly my son truly enjoyed it.

Thank you Christian Focus for allowing us to review one of your great children’s picture books!

What To Read What Others Thought?

Be sure to click the banner below to see what other homeschool families thought of this book, and others from Christian Focus.

Big Bible Science, Elizabeth Prentiss, God is Better than Princesses,  God is Better than Trucks. {Christian Focus Reviews}
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Pathway to Liberty Homeschool Curriculum Review

Universal History,  The Middle Ages,  US History & World History Curriculum {Pathway to Liberty Homeschool Curriculum Reviews}

Pathway to Liberty Homeschool Curriculum

The best thing about being part of the Homeschool Review Crew is getting to try out different curriculums I have not heard about yet. Two months ago I was introduced to a “new to me” company called Pathway to Liberty Homeschool Curriculum.

My family was given the chance to try out and reviewPathway to Liberty’s History Curriculum, and we chose Pathway to Liberty’s Universal History, Year 1/ Level 1.

We were also sent Chain of Liberty ebook. We however chose not to use that portion as many talks about understand the founding principles of the United States. As Canadian homeschoolers, that is just not what we need. However I did give it a flip through, and I think it would be a great book for US Citizens “who desire to understand the history of liberty and play a role in preserving and advancing liberty in their lives, business, community and nation.”

Who Created This Program?

I’m always interested to know who created the curriculum I’m looking to use with my children. I think its important to know what angle everything is being presented at.

Pathway to Liberty was created by Jayme MacCullough. She is a Christian homeschooling mom of 5 boys. Jayme is also a speaker, she has written and leads Bible studies, educational seminars, and conferences. This curriculum was created using her 20+ years of homeschooling experience, to help simplify the homeschool day.

What Does The Week Look Like Using This Program?

Multi-level lesson plans: Each week contains 4 lessons, each taking about 20-60mins to complete. Each week also contains a link to a Youtube video about the topic.

Scripture: Students will write the scripture, principle and leading idea throughout the week.

History with lesson plans, maps and vocabulary Writing Assignments: Everything is laid out for the teacher to present to the student, but it is all designed to be adaptable to each student.

Word Studies: Jayme explains that when a student masters the language, by doing word studies, it opens up so much more to the student. They begin to understand the information at a new level. Word studies help illuminate understanding & increases reading comprehension just to name a few benefits.

What Materials Are Required?

We were sent the digital teachers guide, and digital student guide. If you would like, you can instead purchase the physical guide. Do know that the physical guides are intended to only be used with one student, where as the digital copies can used for your whole family.

Some other books that are required for Year 1 Level 1 include:

  • Noah Webster’s 1828 dictionary
  • NIV Bible-study Bible is recommended.
  • Genesis: Finding Our Roots by Ruth Beechick
  • In the Days of Noah by Gloria Clanin
  • Usborne World History: Ancient World by Fiona Chandler
  • In the Days of Noah by Gloria Clanin
  • The Librarian Who Measured the Earth by Kathryn Lasky

What Will We Be Covering with Pathway to Liberty’s Universal History, Year 1/ Level 1?

During the 26 weeks in Pathway to Liberty’s Universal History, Year 1/ Level 1, you will be covering Creation to Ancient Greece. This program is created to help teach your child to think and engage biblically.

How Did We Adapt This Program To Work For Our Special Needs Child?

When working with a child who is extremely bright, but has limited communication and fine motor skill issues, I am always adapting programs.

I used the Doman Method approach to present the materials in this curriculum. Using Google Drive, I created word cards for my son using the vocabulary works for each lesson. I also created homemade books using the course content. Because asking him to answer detailed questions is like asking a penguin to fly, its not fair to go about his education this way.

Carefully I made sure I had not dumbed down the program at all. However I present it to him and trust that he understands what we are talking about and them move on to the next thing.

As for the YouTube videos, we skipped them. The ones we tried did not hold my son’s interest at this time. Honestly I felt like they were created for much older children then the K5-Grade 3 crowd this program was created for.

Warning for Sensitive Children

While I don’t often sugar coat things for my children, and I’m pretty straight forward with them, I did find some of the images used in the program on the scary side.

My Overall Thoughts

In my opinion this program is designed for a more studious child. I’m not sure I agree that this program is designed for K5 to Grade 3 age range. As a mother of 3, who also runs a home daycare working with children on a daily bases. None of my children or the ones I have cared for would be ready for this program at 5 years old. Even at nearly 7 years old, this program is still very heavy for my almost 2nd grader. We have had to pare it down greatly.

However if you have a precocious child, and want to teach them a heavily biblical based history curriculum, Pathway To Liberty might be the way to go for your family.

What To Hear More?

50+ other Homeschool Review Crew members were given the chance to review several different levels of Pathway to Liberty Homeschool Curriculum. Click the link below to read about how other families used the program!

Universal History,  The Middle Ages,  US History & World History Curriculum {Pathway to Liberty Homeschool Curriculum Reviews}
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Homeschool Review Crew: Stopmotion Explosion Review

Stop Motion Animation Kit {Stopmotion Explosion Reviews}

Stop Motion Animation Kit

For the last few weeks Stopmotion Explosion has become a new obsession in our home. Through the Homeschool Review Crew, we were sent the Stop Motion Animation Kit for our big kids to try out.

I knew they would like the set, but I thought that it would be fun the first time and then they would lose interest. But that was not the case at all. Since we have introduced it with the kids, my oldest has been spending 1-2 hours a night creating his own videos.

Do You Ready Need A Kit To Make Stop Animation?

Well I guess you don’t really need a kit to create stop animation. But I can say from experience its a whole lot easier with the kit!

I remember fondly back when I was in Grade 9, my friend and I created a stop animation/claymation for our project on The Lord Of The Flies. We used my dad’s old video camera and worked for 12 hours straight filming. That didn’t even include the hours we spent creating the figurines.

Each frame had to be done perfect, and one bad frame meant we had to refilm the whole scene. Watching the film while we worked was also not possible, because stopping the tape at exactly the last scene was next to impossible. Needless to say after many retakes, by the end of that Sunday we were frustrated and glad it was over. However we were proud of our work.

What Comes In The Kit?

When we opened up our kit we found it included:

  • a HD 1080p Web Camera
  • Software CD-ROM (Don’t worry if your like me and don’t have a CD drive. There are also instructions on how to download the software)
  • Quick Start Guide
  • A book called: “Stopmotion Explosion: Animate ANYTHING and Make Movies”

OK, But How Is This a Homeschool Product

I was a bit confused when I saw this product in the upcoming list from the Homeschool Review Crew. But once I had the product in my hand it become very clear to me.

The book, “Stopmotion Explosion: Animate ANYTHING and Make Movies” can basically be used as a Elective course for your homeschooler.

Your homeschooler could spend 2 weeks or so per chapter, learning and experimenting. Starting off with the history of film, script writing, editing and so much more.

In today’s day and age, learning to create and edit videos will became a good skill to have. Especially for kids that would like to dip their foot into the world of YouTube.

How Did We Use Stopmotion Explosion’s Kit?

Because we only had about a month to explore the product, I did not have time to really have the kids go through each chapter of the book “Stopmotion Explosion: Animate ANYTHING and Make Movies”. For now that will be a summer project. But they did reference it when they needed help.

But that’s OK! If your kids want to dive right into things before you have had a chance to figure out their lesson plan, they can do what my kids did and start with the “Quick Start Guide.”

In the Quick Start Guide, you will find help to set up the kit components and get started right away.

I let my kids play around with the camera and software, trying new settings and experimenting with props. They could not get enough of this, and it even started to suck in the attention of their Dad and Uncle.

Why Do I Think Time To Experiment with This Product is Important?

If I had jumped into the project with that big old book, and told my kids for the first week would would be learning about Film History, and then week 2 animated actors, then week 3 creating a story, I would have lost them.

However giving them time to just play with the camera, and creating their own props lit the fire of creativity in them. How that they know what they can do, they want to know how to do it better.

Also now that they know how they make animation, hearing about how the first cartoons were created is even more interesting for them. It creates a common ground between what the book is teaching and what they are already interested in.

What Did My Kids and I Think?

My kids loved it. The first Friday night I gave them free access to the program, they were downstairs for 4 hours working together. Nearly every night after that my oldest son has be working on creating videos.

I think Wesley has found a new creative outlet, and I’m anticipating that our family will be entertained with many stop motion videos created by him for many months to come.

What did I think? Since my son is a techie kid, I’m so glad to have found a creative outlet for him using technology. Slowly but surely I know I can use this to lead him into the world of script writing.

Check Out Some Of The Work My Kids Did!

Want to see how other families have used Stop Motion Animation Kit ???

Click the link below and read what 40 other families thought!

Stop Motion Animation Kit {Stopmotion Explosion Reviews}
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