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Thursday, November 13, 2014

Snake Oil from Out of the Box Games ~REVIEW

 



Yay....A fun new game to add to our towers of Family Fun!!  Yes, I said towers....we have 2 closets filled with games.  So, when our package from Out of the box Games arrived the Kiddos tore into it and played the new Snake Oil game immediately.  We have enjoyed several games from Out of the Box Games in the past, we are thankful to have the opportunity to review this one.

Out of the Box Games believes that games should be easy to learn and fun for the whole family to play together.  With BOLD BRIGHT colors and easy to figure out instructions their games deliver just that.  I know one thing I dislike is having to read complicated directions 10 times and still not honestly get the concept.  I have yet to play one of their games and have that experience.  I also appreciate that they create innovative and entertaining board and card games that our whole Family has had fun playing together.  I love that game play is usually an hour or less and encourages communication between your Family.  I love seeing the Kids make memories with each other, laughing, cutting up and having a blast.  Out of the Box Games have been around since 1998 and have earned several prestigious awards for their games.
 
Snake Oil has earned recognition from Parenting for High Potential, Mensa Selected and several magazines and groups. It's recommended for ages 10 and up and is only $19.99. Kaden is 7 and he needed a little help here and there, but it wasn't anything that a little teamwork couldn't fix.  I will say that a few cards had words that I would prefer to not be in his vocabulary.  So, you may want to take a quick look and toss any that you don't feel is appropriate.  I think there were 5 or so we tossed.  You need to have 3-10 players and a game can take anywhere between 30-60 minutes.  We have some long winded Salesman in our Family, so our games usually take a little longer.  :) 
 
 
Let me tell you how this awesome game is played....in Snake Oil, each round is played where one player is the customer and all of the other players are the "Snake Oil Salesmen"Kaden was so interested in this Snake Oil Salesman Business.  He asked a million questions, I was impressed that inside the game box was a nice little explanation.  Did you know that there was some truth to the name?  
 
Hmmmm, anyway back to the game and how it's played. The object of the game is to “sell” your thought up product to the customer. The Salesman who is able to close the deal with the customer is the winner of that round.
 
There are Word Cards and Customer Cards.  In the beginning each player draws six cards and one of the players is picked to be the customer for that round. The customer selects a Customer Card from the deck. They share what kind of customer they are. The rest of the players combine two Word Cards from their hand and try to sell their Product to the customer. The customer then chooses the best Product and gives the Customer Card to the player whose item he picked.
 
On the next round you need to choose a new player to be the Customer and continue around the table until each player has been the customer once. Whoever has the most Customer Cards at the end of the game wins!  You can change the rules up as you see fit.  We chose to play until someone had 5 customer cards....that was a long game.  We also did team Salesman, where each person picked one word card secretly and then compared with each other to try and make something to sell to the customer.  That took a lot of teamwork and patience.
 
Here is an example for playing the Game:  You have a Sports Mascot as the Customer.  We have three Snake Oil Salesman pitching their products to the Sports Mascot.  They have a Diamond Whistle, a Safety Basket or a Robot Net to pick from.  Hmmmmmm, which one can a Sports Mascot not live without?  They are all so tempting, but I think for this round the Diamond Whistle can't be passed up, so that was the winner folks....S-O-L-D!!!! 
 
We enjoyed this game so much, I highly recommend it for your Family.  Christmas is coming and this would make a great Family Gift under your tree.  Or for a Kiddo you know that has a Birthday coming up.

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The Game we played was for ages 10 and up. For younger Kiddos check out their other version, Snake Oil Party Potion it's for ages 8 and up. 







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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Purposeful Design~Review

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Many are the Plans in a Man's heart, but it is The Lord's Purpose that Prevails.  Proverbs 19:21
I have another super treat to share with you today.....Purposeful Design has given to us a Beautiful hardback book, Purposeful Design: Understanding The Creation.  It is an award winning book written by Jay Schabacker.  He wanted to share God's Wonderful Creation to the children of the world. This book walks you down the creation path revealing all the principles of science that makes our world work.  Knowing, seeing and understanding God's Love that he has for us is so apparent in the pages of this book.   

Purposeful Design: Understanding the Creation cost $18.95 and is suitable for all ages. This is a Stunning hardback book that you will enjoy years to come.
 
The Author, Jay Schabacker has done an amazing job with this breathtaking full-color book.....the photographs alone make me love this book. Then you add all the other goodies and it's easy to see why this book will sit on my coffee table stack for many many moons.  Yes, I have  a stash of picture books and book-book Favorites.  


There are seven chapters and 91 pages in this book. And each of the chapters pertain to a particular day in creation.

Chapter 1 – The First Day:
Creation of the Heavens and the Earth, the Foundation of it All ~ here you will find a little morsel from Albert Einstein....Kaden's favorite scientist and learn a little bit about just what it is that keeps us all moving around.

Chapter 2 – The Second Day:
Creation of the Atmosphere and Water ~ the beauty of the Rain Cycle is found here.  Learn about the different water on our earth and how much we have and what would happen if we had too much or not enough.

  
Chapter 3 – The Third Day:
Creation of the Dry Land and Vegetation ~ The importance of vegetation is all around us.  We couldn't survive without them.

Chapter 4 – The Fourth Day:
Creation of the Sun, Moon, and Stars ~ So much is packed into this chapter....About our Seasons, cause of Climate changes, Stonehenge, our beloved Moon, the Tides and our stars.




Chapter 5 - The Fifth Day:
Creation of the Birds and Fish ~ Learn why birds and fish were created.




Chapter 6 - Creation Day Six:
Creation of Land Creatures and Humans ~ Here you will learn about land animals and about the human body.  Great info in these pages.

Chapter 7 – The Seventh Day ~
Here shows the importance of rest, even though it is the shortest chapter it's important.  It has some beautiful verses in it.

Every chapter begins first with a scripture for each day of creation. From there you experience all the Scientific explanations and details pertaining to that particular day with mini science lessons. I feel like this is a great way to present this subject to Children, I really have nothing but good things to say about this book.  I feel that every chapter captures the Master Designer's plan and his purpose for everything he created. 

  
This book in itself is a valuable resource that can add a lot extra to any home.  But, when you add the free Young Explorer’s Club workbook, it could totally become a pretty substantial Science study.  As I said the Young Explorer's Club is a freebie to go along with the book.  It is a PDF file that has 7 sections that correspond with each chapter. It's easy to just download and go.  Nothing really extra to plan out.  A major plus!!  Each chapter of the workbook reflects on what was discussed in the book and includes questions that are both open ended and discussion.  The Kiddos will answer either fill-in-the-blank or multiple choice questions too.  The Kids will also learn additional verses and have the opportunity to do some fun hands on activities.  As the Teacher you also get a Teacher's Answer Key and a Certificate of Completion for your Kiddos to have once they are finished.  That's a nice way to wrap up the Study! :)
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We decided to use this book as a Family read.  We read all the time so this was how we started our review.  First we gathered around together after dinner one night and just flipped through looking at the pictures and stopping only on the topics that stood out to us individually.  I decided to just leave it out in the living room.  I figured it would get picked up on the random....I was right.  A few days later we sat down with our workbook and decided to take the book one chapter at a time.  We did for the most part, but there were a few chapters that we doubled up on because they were just that interesting. :)  We worked though the workbook fairly easily.  I will say for Kaden the questions were a little much.  And writing sometimes is difficult for him, but Mahala is 14 and had no problem at all.  

I was going to give a Pros and Cons list, but instead I'm just going to give this book a huge thumbs up.  It's beautiful and purposeful, it explains the miraculous Creation....What is negative about that.  I feel so Blessed to have read this with my Kiddos. 

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Purposeful Design: Understanding the Creation Won the 2013 Illumination Book Awards and in 2014 it received a bronze medal in the Coffee Table category from the Catholic Press Association.


 
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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

IXL Math and Language Arts ~REVIEW

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Once again we had the opportunity to use and review an online supplement program for our homeschool use.  IXL kindly gifted us both of their programs, IXL Math and IXL Language Arts for a year.  I had heard from other homeschool Moms about IXL and their math program.  It was something I had wanted to try with Kaden as a nice supplement and practice.   And when I  learned they had their new additional program for Language Arts, I was even more eager to check them out and see just what everyone has been talking about for myself.
No matter what grade level your Kiddo is currently doing, they will have access to all grade levels with the IXL Program.  The IXL Math program covers grades Pre K through Pre-Calculus (12th grade).  And the IXL Language Arts covers grades 2nd-8th.  Kaden loved the flexibility of picking and choosing from different grade levels.  And it conveniently reported back to me in an easy to read chart.  As a Parent this allows you to easily identify their strengths and weaknesses.



Amazingly enough we are professionals when it comes to online Math programs and if we like them or not.  We feel there are a few major must haves for it to work for our Family.  First of all it needs to be easy to log on and navigate so the kids can work at a moments notice independently.  Next, it's always fun when the Kids can see their progress.  We are a list crossing off kind of Family.  Give us a list of things to do and we will power through till everything is crossed off.  And I need a program that grades and keeps track of what the Kiddos are doing online.  This Program hits each thing Beautifully....I'll explain. 

This is not a program that is going to teach new concepts to your Kiddos.  Like their Motto says it's "Practice that feels like Play".  And this is exactly what the average and not so average Kiddo needs.  


Like I said above we need independence for the Kiddos and IXL delivers.  It's easy to set up and the navigation even between the Math and Language Arts is so simple.  I think even a young child would have no issues once they have had a quick look over the program with Mom or Dad.  The second important thing was having progress easily available to the Kiddos so they can see their hard work.  I love how the tracking is done with IXL.  They show on the side problems attempted, time elapsed and a smart score out of 100.  Once they start earning awards they are able to check out this huge grid with question marks all over it.  There they will find stars that reveal picture prizes.  Kaden and Mahala looked at it as a challenge.  Who can get the most today or in each subject.  It was nice to see them motivated to learn while playing.  The last must is the tracking of the grades and their successes and not so successful areas.  And once again my expectations were met and then some.

 You can set it up to organize everything by Grade Level or Topic....My Kiddos liked having it divided by Topics.

Kaden did use the program almost every single day for fun and that's the story he is sticking to.  Mahala only worked a few days a week.  She is now in High-school, so this program really revealed where her strengths and weaknesses are as far as math goes.  I told her after the Holidays she needed to commit to 15 minutes a day during the week.  
This program was designed to be a Review Program.  You will find over 4,000 practice skills.  This is something to use along with your current curriculum to provide a supplement.  Whether your child needs some extra help or just a little review I think you will find IXL will meet your needs what ever they are! We look forward to using this program throughout the rest of our school year and beyond during the Summer months too.

Let me tell you how affordable IXL is....an annual subscription for one child for Math is just $79; for Math AND Language Arts....it would be $129.  
Two Kiddos for Math, it's $99 for the whole year and for Math and Language Arts, it would be $149.  

Pricing for Family Memberships starts at just $9.95/month or $79/year for one subject. Each additional Kiddo costs $2/month or $20/year. You can go HERE for more Pricing Information on the Membership that Best fits you and your needs.

Be sure to follow IXL on Social Media for all the latest news and product updates.

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Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Christmas Book- If He Had Not Come~ REVIEW

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I have a Book Review....I love Books we all know this! I love Christmas time even more, so I was thrilled to have a chance to read a book from David Nicholson called If He Had Not Come. It’s a hardcover children’s book, originally written by Nan F. Weeks with 40 colorful pages of Beautiful artwork.  Kaden kept rubbing the pages expecting to feel texture, we loved the illustrations by Charles Jaskiewicz.  This book was written for Kiddos aged 6 and up.  I feel like that's about right, maybe younger Kiddos might not grasp the concept of the story.  

Christmas is an extremely important time of the year for me.  When I was a child growing up my parents decorated, cooked, baked, sang songs, entertained and shared the Joy Christ had put in their hearts with anyone who would come over for hot chocolate and some cookies.  When they died before I was a teenager that all stopped.  Growing up in foster care I never experienced that kind of celebration again until I started a Family of my own.  Every year since we have celebrated like it's the last Christmas we will ever have.  
Last December we had a traumatic event unfold right before our eyes, needless to say we lite up our tree only 2 times during the whole season.  There was no cookies, no singing and defiantly no cheer.  One thing we did do is celebrated the birth of our Lord and Savior.  Kaden and Mahala carefully assembled our little manger like every year before.  And like Magic... on Christmas morning Baby Jesus arrived in his precious bed of straw for all of us to celebrate his existence.
 
Long story extremely short this book tells a story that made me go back in time to last Christmas.  All of our traditions were thrown out the window because of our trauma.  All but the one, Christmas morning there was Jesus in our manger.  We had Hope, Faith and Thankfulness in our hearts.  
Now, let's fast forward 10 months and ask how does this relate to the story in this book.  Well, the little boy named Bobby goes about his normal Holiday traditions all the way up until Christmas Eve.  He falls asleep repeating 5 words he read that Jesus had said in the Bible,"if I had not come."  After he wakes in the morning he runs downstairs so excited and can't wait to see his presents.  Instead he finds nothing, nothing at all.  He sets out on an adventure to search for answers.  All he finds is a world without Love, without Patience, a world full of people filled with Anger and lack Compassion.  He runs across a sick elderly man and tries to help him.  But, while navigating around a town he knows well, he discovers a world with out Jesus also means a world without a lot more then just presents and Christmas trees.  

I don't want to share much more....you need to read it for yourself and share with your Family this Season.  As in the book I realized that a world without Jesus simply would be just one trauma or event after another.  It reminded me that even during all we went through last year the one single thing that brought my Family joy was the celebration of baby Jesus in that manger.


Along with the Amazing story a bonus in this book is all the Interactive Topics in the back for Families and Sunday School Teachers.  These topics and questions can be used for discussion after you read the Story together.  You will find all kinds of questions for any age range your Kiddos are in.  Some of the questions in the going Deeper are scripture based and some are questions to get you thinking.  The Gospel message in the back clearly shows in a ABC format how anyone can seek Salvation.  Receiving Jesus as their Savior is a Beautiful and Magical way to end this book.

We read this book day 1 together, but later on I found Kaden and Mahala reading it off and on.  They both have been saved already, but they both loved the Gospel Message almost as much as the story.  We have sat together and pondered just about what our life would be like without Jesus.  I'm thankful that it is not our reality and only a fleeting thought.  Please go online and connect with them on Facebook!  This is a great addition to your traditional Christmas stories.  It's always nice to bring the attention away from just presents and Santa cheer during the Holiday Season.

 If He Had Not Come can be purchased for $18.95 and is also available in ebook format for $3.99.

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Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Fascinating Biology from Fascinating Education~ REVIEW


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Fascinating Education was so kind to give us the Blessing of using and reviewing one of their three Online Science courses they have available.  The course we were given is called Fascinating Biology, the name says it all. :)   Dr. Margulies is a Neurologist and started Fascinating Education because he wanted to create a program to provide a way of learning that didn't just rely solely on the use of text books as the primary teaching tool.  He designed this program to teach Science in a clear, easy-to-understand, logic thinking way for Kiddos in Middle-school and High-school.  Dr. Margulies uses vivid illustrations and audio as the main learning tool.  You can say that this program is an audio/visual party for your mind!  Since it uses the right-hemisphere of your brain to teach you the Science information you are most likely to learn it and understand it.  Not just store it in your short term memory bank until the test is finished. 
 

I have to say in my Opinion this is hands down a Winner if you have a High Functioning Kiddo on the Spectrum.  Kaden Loves watching tons of videos on YouTube to learn about all kinds of things.  A few months ago he spent nearly 5 weeks going over and over an aerodynamics video series.  I almost died from boredom, but he was in Heaven!!!  Day one of looking at this program Kaden was hooked.  This was Christmas for his Brain he told me while learning about Homeostasis after breakfast one morning.  I decided even though Mahala is in High-school I would still use this mainly for Kaden.  She listened in on some of the lessons, but I used this daily with Kaden for the review period.  And he is still going on strong plowing through the lessons. photo Biology-Layout_zpsf55fae2a.png

When you log in this colorful screen pops up.  You will find that each unit is visible to you. I like that you can see everything right upfront with a small picture that kind of explains what that particular Unit is about.  Very Helpful for all Kiddos, but especially for a Kiddo with Special needs.  Under each picture are 3 simple Tabs.  The first Tab takes you directly to the Lesson.  The next Tab says Script and when you click this you'll open up a handy PDF of the lesson your Kiddo is currently on.  The 3rd and final Tab says Test, clicking on this will open up the lesson test.  This program doesn't track the grades for you.  So, you will need to do that separately if you want to have that on file. I do not track test scores only course completion, so this was not a problem for me.  The tests are in a PDF if you’d rather just give your Kiddo their test yourself instead of online.  

I just have to say a few things that I LOVE about the testing with this program....the test offers multiple choice questions, for both typical and Special needs Kiddos this is helpful.  I know for Kaden it is hard for him to come up with correct answers sometimes because even though he knows the answer he may word it differently in his mind then someone else would even think of.  Multiple Choice is Awesome!  I also like that the test requires at least 80%  of the questions to be correct before you are given a pass.  After taking the test your Kiddo can take a look at all the questions they answered incorrectly.  They are even given the chance to see the correct answers and given the opportunity to go back and retake the test.  All my Kiddos dislike it when a program they are working with doesn't offer an overview of their missed questions.  So, it's a major bonus star from my Kiddos that this program goes over incorrect answers and points them in the right direction to actually learn what they missed.  :)
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Fascinating Education currently offers 3 science courses for children in middle school and high school.



For our review we received the course Fascinating Biology.  
It has 19 different lessons.
 *What is Life 
*Chemistry Review 
*The Cell Membrane 
*Take in Nutrients 
*Take in Energy Part 1,2,3 & 4 
*Grow 
*Reproduce Part 1, 2 & 3 
*Homeostasis Part 1 & 2 
*Adapt Part 1 & 2 
*Prokaryotes, Protists, Animals, and Fungi 
*Plants 
*Hypothesis Testing 

My Final word about this program is I feel it's Solid.   And that it will allow you to give your Kiddos more then just a watered down version of some pretty tough Science courses.  I think for audio and visual learners this is a must to have in your Home-school.  Let me just say for those of us that have straightforward Kiddos the visuals are not bright, snazzy elementary style.  This made Kaden happy and ready to fire up the computer almost every single day without being told to.  I know the program says this is designed for Middle school and High school, but for some Middle school Kiddos may not be able to work Independently.  I would see this being a problem with the new vocabulary that is introduced and possibly topics discussed.  Kaden is 7 years old, but loves Science and was able to work independently except he needed help with the test portion.  

Fascinating Chemistry, Fascinating Biology and Fascinating Physics all cost $79 each for 1 years access.
If you register for 2 of the courses at the same time the cost is $125 for a year of access.  If you register for all 3 courses it's only $175 for 2 years access.  I will definitely be getting the other 2 courses for sure! 
Head on over to Fascinating Education online so you can check out the FREE samples of each class, that way you can see if it is a good fit for your family or not. 
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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Clued in Kids~ REVIEW

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This next Review was an exciting, blood pumping kind of Review.  Clued in Kids gifted us two sets of their Manic Mom Kiddo approved Treasure Hunt packs.  We were given the Playdate Clue Pad ($8.99) and the Multiplication Dragon Treasure Hunt ($19.99) set too. These packs are geared for Kiddos 4 and up and can be used for one child up to 10 Kiddos at a time.

Helen Bertelli had a childhood Dream while growing up in England to earn her living making Treasure Hunts for kids.  She would spread her creative gift of putting on the best treasure hunts for the kids in her neighborhood.  This carried over of course once she moved to America and had Kiddos of her own.  Helen saw the value of children's health, by keeping them up and active not at a computer desk or slumped in front of the TV.  Being Creative and making the most amazing memories together while learning something.  Her Motto is, "Treasure the Journey"!  I Love her Motto....Love it!  
Having a Kiddo on the Spectrum I understand the difficulty to keep your Kiddo active.  He doesn't want to do ANYTHING.....EVER!  The other day after I took his tablet away for the rest of the day, he gets a limited amount each day.   He said and I quote, "Mother, you are taking a piece of me away, my soul is crushed....truly crushed."  He is 7 years old, are you kidding me????  But, this is life today and we as Parents and Teachers can do something about it.  Clued in Kids now enters the room......

There are so many Hunts to pick from, here are just a few.
Baseball (printable)
Christmas Treasure Hunt Greeting Card
Gluten-Free Treasure Hunt (printable)
Halloween (printable)
Happy Tummy Treasure Hunt (printable)
  Homework Reward Treasure Hunt (printable) You can get this Treasure Hunt for FREE just by subscribing to the Clued in Kids newsletter! 
  Pirate Clue Book
Princess Clue Book
 Slumber Party Clue Book  
Thanksgiving (printable) 
Winter (printable) 
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The two Hunts my Family received were the Playdate Clue Pad and the Multiplication Dragon Treasure Hunt.  Kaden has a huge social delay and any help we can give him on playdates the better.  So, when I saw this option I jumped at the chance.  I would have pictures to share, but modern technology is not always on my side when it comes to saving pictures instead of magically deleting them.  Or I could just have a fast huge finger.  Whatever we just have to imagine for a minute what it would look like.  First off the packs are great, the pictures are nice and clear.  Not to kiddie for the older kids and yet they are simplifies for even the littles in your Family.  It's very easy on the Parent or Teacher to use, I love great directions that cover everything needed.  The clues you will see give the Kids challenges like counting chocolate chips on cookies, make their way through mazes and crack secret codes.  Kaden normally wants nothing to do with this kind of thing.  His idea of fun is taking the little fuzz balls off his socks and arranging them by size.  So, you can imagine the task that I have before me to get him to enjoy the company of another child his own age.  
It was lovely, more for the other children but I was expecting that.  Kaden did let out a chuckle and a few smiles as he raced to figure out each clue.  His feed back to me was..."why haven't we done these before?"  That is a huge compliment to Helen and her Treasure Hunts.  At least to my little guy he was able to bring the barrier down just long enough to see what was on the other side.  Such a good day!
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The other set was a Printable version, the Multiplication Dragon Treasure Hunt.  Kaden already knows his multiplication, but on days when he is easily overwhelmed or not able to do any school work for the day it would be nice to have something to review.  There is always room for improvement he always tells me. 
This hunt was also fun for him.  He has a slower recall when there are people around or if the atmosphere is not the exact same as it always is.  So, having him do this is good for teaching him that you can cut loose a little.  Things don't have to be so ridged.  This hunt has puzzles, riddles and other cool activities that teach multiplication while giving your Kiddo a wild adventure around your home.  Expect lot's of Smiles from this, you may not be used to that with Math time.  :)

Did I Love this Product?  Yes, I loved it a lot and there are so many more Clued in Kids Treasure Hunt Packs that I will be purchasing.  This would make an Excellent Christmas gift or stocking stuffer.  Birthday party bag favors instead of that little plastic stuff that everyone ends up tossing in the trash.  Let me know what packs you end up purchasing, I would love to hear your adventures and see some pictures.  Remember....stay away from the trash can icon! :)
 Here is a Video to show You how it Works!!!


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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Forbidden Book~ REVIEW

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We are coming to a close on our Review year for 2014 already.  I was pleased to hear that New Liberty Videos asked the Schoolhouse Review Crew to review several of their videos.  The Kiddos and I decided to go with The Forbidden Book DVD: The history of the English Bible($19.95).  We are on a quest right now reading through the Bible together and have never learned about the conception or preserving of our Bible. 
Brian Barker is the producer of New Liberty Videos and has been working in the Movie Industry for 40+ years.  Before he started this adventure he was employed by Universal Studios in Hollywood as an Editor on several TV shows, like B.J. And the Bear and Quincy

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This video is recommended for a general audience but I have to step in and say that I think for one it may be over their heads if you have younger Kiddos.  And I think some things discussed and described are not appropriate for younger ears.  This video definitely discusses some hard topics.  You would definitely want to preview this before sharing it with them.
  

You can preview some of the DVDs at New Liberty Videos.
    
The Forbidden Book takes you on a journey back in time when preserving the Bible throughout the era known as the Dark Ages was on the shoulders of many Godly Men.

Here are the sections included:
  • The Dark and Middle Ages
  • The Culdees
  • John Wycliffe
  • Chains of Freedom
  • William Tyndale
  • the martyrs
  • Martin Luther
  • King James Bible
  • Apocryphal Books
  • The Bible's Influence In America
I would say the majority of the video is about the life of the men that sometimes literally had to sacrifice their lives to make sure that God’s true word was preserved and kept correct.   Their lives revolved around one purpose, that God's Word would be able to be read in the common tongue.  A few of these Men, I shamelessly had never heard of before in my life were Wycliffe, Tyndale, and Luther.  There were a few others mentioned and yes, I had never heard of them before either.
I have to be honest here...my Kiddos live for documentaries.  They will watch a documentary on how grass grows, but they found it hard to sit through this one.  Their complaints was mainly the rhythm of the video and some of the content Mahala who is 2 weeks shy of 15 thought was uncalled for.  But, I agree that some of it is, it needs to be shared.  Which is why I say you should preview it before hand.  My 20 year old looked at me and was like duh Mom....you don't know this?  So, I guess I have lot's of reading to do. :)  My complaint was some of the content was over my head.  I admit I have a lot to learn, but for me I felt like a 10 year old walking into a college class mid year.  It just was hit and miss as far as my attention span was concerned.

Even though we had a hard time watching the video we still learned many facts that made the overall experience pleasurable.  Seeing how our Bible become a book that we could read was priceless. The history behind it was very eye opening and it was really sad that the men of God had so many obstacles to go through to achieve what they finally did. If it wasn't for their true love of God and sharing that love we would probably have never had our Bible that we read today.  That just makes my heart flutter when I think of all the sacrifices that occurred for what so many of us take for granted.

Some of the Things we learned and saw in the video:

*The Bible is quoted 5,000 times by Shakespeare.
 *The bible has been a best Seller for 350 Years.
 *I was able to see the Oxford and Cambridge Universities
 *In the 1300's to buy a Bible a Priest would have to use a whole years' salary!
 *In 563 AD there was a Bible College started as a secret underground movement.
 *In 1663 the first Bible was Printed in America.
*I got to also see the 1000 year old Torah on sheep skin paper

I have already really stated some of our issues.  I don't feel that a documentary about the Bible needs to bring up the prices for acts of ravishing a virgin or a priest having a mistress. I was crazy shocked that the church employed over 100,000 prostitutes at one point.  My lack of knowledge about the History of the Bible may have played into my issue.  So, just look at the previews to see if it works for you and your Family.  The overall message came across, I do plan to watch it again alone this time....and take plenty of notes. :)


Here are some other DVDs you might can try from  
New Liberty Videos:
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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Middlebury Interactive Languages ~REVIEW

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Foreign language is a hot topic in our house, we have a thirst for it.  I was very eager to try Middlebury Interactive Languages' High school German 1 Course.  We were kindly given a full Semester of classes a few weeks ago.  I was never given the opportunity to learn a foreign language growing up.  It has been something I have true regret not pursuing a language as a college student or even as a young mom.  Now I have immersed myself in Italian and German.  My Kiddos will and do have many opportunities to learn as many languages as possible.  I feel knowing another language opens up a new part of the world for you to explore and enjoy.  

Middlebury Interactive Languages has courses for your Kiddos in grades K-12, each designed by linguistic experts.  Their courses provide an interactive immersion-style learning experience.  I felt their way of teaching to be very refreshing and out of the "typical homeschool foreign language box". :)  This is the way to learn, you can learn this way 100x better then just getting bogged down with repetition.  By combining written words, pictures, audio and short videos you will find that the information gets plastered into the mind not just stored in the short term memory box.

Not all languages are available in all of the grades, so make sure to check out their website to see if your desired language is in the grade that you need.  I felt that the course was designed with the Kiddo in mind.  The lessons are not overwhelmingly long and definitely not boring.  Each lesson it just over bite size, for us that's perfect.  Not too much or too little.  The Kindergarten - 2nd grade program has 35 lessons for each semester and the 3rd-5th grade program has 45 lessons per semester.  Both of the Middle school and High school courses  have 90 lessons for each semester.  Once you get your course you will find that since it's self paced your Kiddo will need to do one lesson a day for 18 weeks. Or they can finish early with a few extra lessons here and there. :) 

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Since we were Reviewing the High school level it was Mahala's turn to give German a spin.  Everyone else including Kaden has had at least a year of German.  We love it, I love it, I think it's a beautiful language.  You know I am not good with program set up and this usually scares me away when it comes to online programs or curriculum.  This course couldn't have been any easier.  I was shocked, heck our whole family was shocked.  I had members of my family I hadn't seen in 10 years shocked at how easy I was able to start this program. :)  Once we were all set up it was as easy as click on the lesson for each day.  Mahala would finish it and a little green check mark would appear.  A major thing I appreciated with this program was all the extras.  It was exciting for Mahala to learn more about the German culture and people.  It makes it come to life for a Kiddo of any age.  We ate more sausages and German pastries thses past 3 weeks then I have in my whole life.  But, hey I'm not complaining it was nice having Mahala engaged in something other then social media.

Each week Mahala completed 5 lessons on the computer.  She wanted to use a few days to further explore and do written work, so she did those 5 lessons in 3 days.  The other 2 she made flash cards and spent time researching.  Her favorite part was the organization and the ability to figure the whole thing out on her own.  Independence is bliss at this age.  She also had fun recording all the audio.  Even Kaden gave it his Best to repeat the phrases along with her.

So, will we continue using this program?  I'm not sure, Mahala LOVES it and is learning.  But, having other Kiddos coming up through the ranks it would be awesome to have it for the future if it was reusable.  Having to pay for the semester for only the one Kiddo may prove to be too costly for our family.  Mainly because due to the nature of our family dynamics we normally take breaks throughout the year.  So, one semester may not line up just right for us to use completely.  But, for the higher levels this may work, because they can work independently and take more responsibility for their own work.  I think the cost is pretty reasonable for the quality product Middlebury Interactive Languages has to offer, it's only $119.00 per Semester.


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