Schoolhouse Review ~ FishFlix.com #hsreviews

FishFlix.com ReviewOur family LOVES movies! And Christian movies are even better! I suppose it is one of the easy ways I have found to momentarily “escape reality” and either laugh, cry … whatever. So, when the opportunity to do a review for a movie through FishFlix.com came as part of the Schoolhouse Review Crew, I was super excited! It was difficult to choose but we ended up with Superbook: A Giant Adventure.

FishFlix.com ReviewSuperbook: A Giant Adventure is a story about David and Goliath, but it isn’t necessarily your typical story. First, apparently Superbook movies have been around for quite some time as the original movie was also provided on the dvd.

I was curious about the original series after watching it on this dvd because I had never heard of it. A quick online search brought out this information from GodTube: CBN created Superbook as part of a campaign to reach Japan nearly 30 years ago. It was a monumental success drawing a weekly audience of nearly 4 million people. During the fall of communism in the 1990s Superbook aired across the former Soviet Union where millions of lives where changed through the Superbook series and more than 100 countries watched the original Superbook series. It was translated into more than 43 languages, viewed by an estimated half billion people.

How cool is that!?!?!?!

So, back to the updated version … it is a 25-minute “computer generated” (not real actors) story about two kids and their robot. It starts out with modern day (today-ish). The boy is too scared to do a band audition so the kids are taken back in time through “Superbook” (the Bible) to walk along side David as he fights Goliath. The boy learns that he is to use his gifts (playing the guitar) for God and to use God’s strength when nervous (audition).

There is a discussion guide provided in the movie case as well but we didn’t use it.

So … have you heard of FishFlix.com? I hadn’t until this review. They carry all kinds of Christian movies! As I was clicking on the different categories I was excited to see a lot of the ones I’ve watched over the years – which means I found a new resource for Christian movies! WOOT!

Another exciting thing to share is that FishFlix.com is offering a giveaway specifically for Schoolhouse Review Crew readers! It is for a 5-Movie prize pack – including War RoomThe Ultimate GiftSuperbook: A Great AdventureMy Son, My Savior and Owlegories 2.  Over $80 in DVDs! Head over to their giveaway page!

Schoolhouse Samples

Ways to keep up with FishFlix.com:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/fishflix
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/FishFlix @FishFlix
Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/ChristianDVD @ChristianDVD
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/fishflix/

Now hop over and read more reviews from the Schoolhouse Review Crew! (Keep in mind that reviews will be posted any time between 3/22 and 3/24 so make sure to come back and see them all!)

Here’s praying you have fun learning!

 

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Blogging Thru the Alphabet – Animals – U is for Uguisu

abc-blogging-button-names

I’m joining in the Blogging Through the Alphabet series with Through the Calm and Through the Storm as well as Adventures with Jude. I will be having animals as my theme.

Here are my past posts in case you missed them:

A for Aardvark    B for Badger    C for Capybara    D for Dodo    E for Eagles  F for Falcons

G for Giraffe  H for Hedgehog   I for Ibis    J for Jackal   K for Killer Whale   L for Leopard

M for Macaw   N for Nyala   O for Okapi  P for Porcupine  Q for Quetzal  R for Rhinoceros

S for Skunk  T for Termite

The Uguisu is a small bird found in Japan, Taiwan and China. It is also commonly called the Japanese Bush-Warbler. But the beauty of their song has brought them to become called the Japanese Nightingale.

ugbird

The Uguisu was first described as a documented species by Heinrich von Kittlitz in 1830.

These are a relatively small bird with dull coloration that is normally either olive-green or brown. They have long, straight tails. They have thin legs with clawed toes to help them grip as they perch.

In general they are quiet, secretive birds that are heard more than seen (but really only heard during mating season).

The female looks like the male only smaller. She builds a nest and will lay up to five eggs. The chicks hatch within two to three weeks. The babies are fed for about two weeks before they leave the nest.

The Uguisu is an omnivorous animal meaning that they feed on a variety of both plants and animals. Like other Warblers and Nightingales, the Uguisu has a predominantly insect-based diet feeding on flies, worms, beetles, moths and grasshoppers in the forest. The Uguisu is also known to forage for fruits and berries to supplement it’s diet.

This breed of bird will live from two to five years in the wild.

Interesting, but disgusting, fact: the droppings of the Uguisu (known as guano) are now used as a product in certain face creams particularly, as it is thought to make skin softer and more radiant looking. Apparently this peculiar choice in moisturizer is thought to have been used by geishas and kabuki actors throughout Japan for centuries, and it is now sold as a commercial product.

I hope you enjoyed learning about these amazing animals as much as I did! Come back next week when we cover the letter V and learn about the Viper.

Now go check out all the other posts of those who are joining in with Blogging Through the Alphabet. They can post this entire week so make sure to check back and see what has been added!

Enjoy the journey!

Schoolhouse Review ~ EdTechLens #hsreviews

Rainforest Journey EdTechLens ReviewAs part of the Schoolhouse Review Crew, we had the opportunity to review an online science course (Rainforest Journey) through EdTechLens. This program is made for grades K – 5; we are using the 2nd Grade level of this program. EdTechLens is a fairly new program with Rainforest Journey being their first major project. They are NOT a faith-based nor a young earth based company. [It is apparent in some areas but we didn’t find it to be much of an issue. This is something that is found all over our world and something we have already discussed (and continue to discuss) with our son. Additionally, this curriculum is very specifically centered (rainforest) and is more of an “add-on” item. So for us these didn’t make much difference.] With that said, let’s get to the meat of things…

Rainforest Journey EdTechLens Review

The set up of this system was extremely easy and flowed without issue for us. I went in and set P up as a student without any problems. Now, one thing I did miss (as did several other reviewers) is that somewhere along the set up process, you are actually setting up a login for your student. If you don’t realize this quickly, you will miss out on the tracking of the program with the student (unless you have them go back and do it again). You do have two choices when you set it up – the student can or canNOT move around freely within the program. I chose for him to be able to move around as he chose as that makes it easier for doing reviews. However, as you’ll see later, for us there was another benefit to doing it this way (which I didn’t realize when I set it up).

MainStudentScreen

The above screen is the main student screen. It shows their progress as well as all the different parts of their course. This 2nd Grade Science Course has five units. If you click on the unit, the areas for that unit are then shown. You can then click on whatever part of it you would like to work on. Below is a partial picture of Unit 1. The check marks in the upper right corners mean they have been completed.

Unit1

EdTechLens recommends using this program for 15 – 30 minutes a day. I’m not sure we used it that length of time simply because there is a lot of clicking and a small amount of information covered.

This program uses pictures, videos and audio and is packed full of facts. It is “short and sweet” and gets the points across quickly. Each lesson is one or two screens with each being about a minute or less of audio information. This is what each lesson page looks like:

Pag

There is a picture (normally) or a short video at the top. There is a “magnifying glass” you click on for verbiage or you can choose to listen to it using the audio choice. Most times this is about 15 – 30 seconds of information. You can then click on “Enrichment” and do the same as above.

Each lesson has a pdf file you can print and have your student complete. My son doesn’t like to write so we didn’t do these but they are nice reinforcement for what was covered. Additionally, answers are not provided for these sheets.

You then click “next” and go to the next lesson. Super easy.

In working through this program, before I realized there were two logins (one for me as the teacher and one for my son as the student) we accidentally got in to the Unit 1 Quiz – of which we were not able to get out of. We had not covered but only the beginning of the lessons so we really badly on the test. [We could have gone back in to take the test again at a later time, but we chose not to.]  We chose not to do any of the further quizzes. Here is a screen shot of the “My Quiz Results” area for the student:

QuizResults

You do have the choice of printing the tests off as a pdf or taking them online, we did the above online. The quiz was multiple choice using pictures (as shown below). Then there is an “open ended assessment” where the student provides their own answer to the questions. Then a “factual assessment” which uses sentence multiple choice. The first and third are graded online if you do the online test, the middle one shows acceptable answers but is not considered graded until the teacher evaluates and enters it. I feel the testing was adequate for the information covered.

TestPic

Each unit also offers vocabulary and illustrations. The vocabulary consists of around five words with their definitions. The illustrations are full color pdf files you can print that provide additional information of what is being covered. Here is an example of one of the illustrations in our second grade curriculum:

Illustration

Here is what the teacher can see on their progress page:

TeacherProgress

Teacher resources are also provided which consist of:

  • Teaching Guidance
    • Pedagogy
    • Lesson Planning
  • Course Materials
    • Lesson Reviews
    • Unit Assessments
  • Support
    • Quick Start Guide
    • User Guide
    • Contact

Overall we did enjoy this program but we did find it to be extremely easy and pretty simple overall. It definitely would not be an entire curriculum but a supplement you would use. It costs $50 for a one year license for one student (at the time of this review).

Ways to keep up with EdTechLens:

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/edtechlens
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/edtechlens
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/edtechlens/
Google +: https://plus.google.com/+Edtechlens
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/edtechlens

Now hop over and read more reviews from the Schoolhouse Review Crew as many different grade levels were covered! (Keep in mind that reviews will be posted any time between 3/16 and 3/18 so make sure to come back and see them all!)

Here’s praying you have fun learning!

 

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Blogging Thru the Alphabet – Animals – T is for Termite

abc-blogging-button-names

I’m joining in the Blogging Through the Alphabet series with Through the Calm and Through the Storm as well as Adventures with Jude. I will be having animals as my theme.

Here are my past posts in case you missed them:

A for Aardvark    B for Badger    C for Capybara    D for Dodo    E for Eagles  F for Falcons

G for Giraffe  H for Hedgehog   I for Ibis    J for Jackal   K for Killer Whale   L for Leopard

M for Macaw   N for Nyala   O for Okapi  P for Porcupine  Q for Quetzal  R for Rhinoceros

S for Skunk

As my husband and I are in the beginning stages of buying a house, I thought termites would be a good thing to research. Not that I expect this to be an issue with the house we are looking at but it is often discussed at some point during the buying process. So, with that, let’s find out about these creatures that we have heard of but probably don’t really know a whole lot about…

So, I hopped over to the Orkin website for a little termite help and what I found was DIS-GUST-ING! {laughing out loud} THIS is what I saw…BLECH!

Termites

Photo taken from Orkin’s website

Apparently there are SEVERAL types of termites. Nice. (NOT!)

So, here is some general information about termites:

  • They are social animals so they raise their young in groups.
  • Termite colonies each all day every day; 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  • Termites are known as “the silent killer” as they can eat through wood, flooring, walls and even wallpaper without being detected.
  • Termites cause more than FIVE BILLION DOLLARS of damage EVERY YEAR.

Termites tend to show up as winged nuances in the spring as they are looking for a place to call home. Once they find a home they shed their wings.

They are found in dark, moist areas and require moisture to survive.

Termites develop via simple metamorphosis from egg to nymph to adult. Five to six molts are necessary for the termite to attain maturity. Those that do not achieve sexual maturity become workers or soldiers. The life cycle requires a year for completion.

In termite colonies, there is one king and queen pair which develop from fully winged adults. The queen develops an enlarged abdomen to accomodate her increased egg-laying capacity. She may lay millions of eggs annually.

Queens and their colony may survive for several years. Females may live to 20 years. Non-reproductive termites live for a couple of years. Individual termite colonies have been known to exist for approximately 100 years.

I hope you enjoyed learning about these amazing animals as much as I did! Come back next week when we cover the letter U and learn about the Uguisu (bird).

Now go check out all the other posts of those who are joining in with Blogging Through the Alphabet. They can post this entire week so make sure to check back and see what has been added!

Enjoy the journey!

Schoolhouse Review ~ Demme Learning’s Math-U-See #hsreviews

TopPicWhen I saw that Demme Learning’s Math-U-See digital pack was available for review through the Schoolhouse Review Crew I was overjoyed. My son has been struggling a little with MUS Algebra 2 so I was curious to see what the Algebra 2 Digital Pack was all about. I wasn’t sure by the online description if it was going to be more in-depth than what he already had: the physical products of the instruction pack and student pack. I was hoping “other online resources” meant additional instruction of some sort. Unfortunately I was wrong.

Let me say that we LOVE Math-U-See and have used it for YEARS. It is a product I have recommended to others over the years more times than I can count. So, keep that in mind as I share my review of the digital pack. The digital packs are available for Primer through Pre-Calculus and the price increases with the difficulty of the class. The price of the Algebra 2 Digital Pack (that we are reviewing here) is $61 at the time of this review. This gives you one year of online access.

Demme Learning Math U See ReviewSo, let me tell you more about what the digital pack is and what it offers you and your student.

There is only one login. This gives you access to the instruction dvd (online video), teacher book (pdf) and book and test solutions (also pdf). As you can see below you pick your course on the top left, the lesson you want on the top right and the booklet information is available on the right sidebar. Keep in mind there is NO WAY to hide or make unavailable the solutions. (If that is an area of concern for you.)

LessonScreen

A definite way this program is helpful is that you can watch it on many different devices instead of having to have some sort of dvd player. [One reviewer mentioned in our review forum that her student used headphones as well – so that is another wonderful option.] You can use an iPhone or a table or a laptop…definitely adds convenience!

Demme Learning Math U See ReviewSomething important to note: you MUST have the student workbook to use the digital packs.

Another side note: apparently there are digital manipulatives available for those courses that manipulatives are used. That would be very helpful, I would think. Algebra 2 doesn’t require manipulatives so we have no experience with them…but check out other reviewer posts (link is below) and see what they had to say about them!

In general I was disappointed with what the digital pack was but that is only because we already had everything we needed for MUS Algebra 2 and I was hoping there would be additional helpful teaching tools found in this program. There isn’t. It is the same thing you would get in the physical set.

But remember – WE LOVE MATH-U-SEE and know that many families will find the digital pack to be the perfect fit for their family!

Ways to keep up with Demme Learning:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mathusee
Instagram: https://instagram.com/mathusee/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/mathusee  @mathusee #​mathusee #homeschoolmath​ #hsreview
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/mathusee

Now hop over and read more reviews from the Schoolhouse Review Crew! (Keep in mind that reviews will be posted any time between 3/7 and 3/9 so make sure to come back and see them all!)

Here’s praying you have fun learning!

 

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Blogging Thru the Alphabet – Animals – S is for Skunk

abc-blogging-button-names

I’m joining in the Blogging Through the Alphabet series with Through the Calm and Through the Storm as well as Adventures with Jude. I will be having animals as my theme.

Here are my past posts in case you missed them:

A for Aardvark    B for Badger    C for Capybara    D for Dodo    E for Eagles  F for Falcons

G for Giraffe  H for Hedgehog   I for Ibis    J for Jackal   K for Killer Whale   L for Leopard

M for Macaw   N for Nyala   O for Okapi  P for Porcupine  Q for Quetzal  R for Rhinoceros

I really enjoyed doing the rhino last week and was surprised with how much I learned about such a “commonly known animal.” So I thought I would do it again this week – but with a skunk. I am excited to see what we learn today!

Skunk

Nearly all skunks live in the Americas.

There are many different species of skunks that range from spotted to striped to swirled (didn’t know this either!) but they always contain black and white and normally are about the size of a house cat. The four species found here are:

  • Striped skunk (Mephitis mephitis, most common)
  • Eastern spotted skunk (Spilogale putorius)
  • Hooded skunk (Mephitis macroura)
  • Hog-nosed skunk (Conepatus leuconotus)

Skunks are known for their black color with a white stripe down the middle. They are also know for their stink, I mean, their sprayable smell. This smelly scent is actually an oil that comes from glands under their tail. This can be sprayed up to ten feet! (WOW! I did NOT know THAT!) This spray doesn’t cause any harm to whatever it hits but it does cause much discomfort and normally distracts whatever it hits. This then allows the skunk time to get away.

Skunks are opportunistic eaters with a varied diet. They are nocturnal foragers who eat fruit and plants, insects, larvae, worms, eggs, reptiles, small mammals, and even fish.

Skunks have strong forefeet and long nails, which make them excellent diggers. Skunks will live in burrows (usually made by other animals), hollow logs or empty buildings.

Each female gives birth to two to ten young every year. Average life span in the wild is 2 – 4 years. (WOW – that isn’t very long! Didn’t know this either!)

As a side note: Skunks are the primary carriers of rabies in the Midwest.

A few “interesting facts”:

  • Immune to snake venom, skunks are known to eat poisonous snakes like rattlesnakes.
  • Although skunks have very poor eyesight, they have excellent senses of smell and hearing.
  • A group of skunks is called a surfeit.

I hope you enjoyed learning about these amazing animals as much as I did! Come back next week when we cover the letter T and learn about the termite.

Now go check out all the other posts of those who are joining in with Blogging Through the Alphabet. They can post this entire week so make sure to check back and see what has been added!

Enjoy the journey!

Schoolhouse Review ~ Here to Help Learning #hsreviews

Here to Help Learning ReviewDo you have a student who isn’t overly impressed with learning about the writing process? I do! Our over-active 8 year old wants to do anything and everything but sit and write! However, we had the opportunity to review Flight 1 Paragraph Writing from Here to Help Learning as a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew.

What we reviewed was all online, but there are physical copies you can purchase if you would prefer to go that route. If so, what we are reviewing here would be Teacher’s Kit Flight 1 Paragraph Writing. A lot of times I prefer physical copies but I must say that doing this online wasn’t bad at all!  This program is broken down into the following: Flight 1, 2, 3 Paragraph Writing [for grades 1-3] and Flights, 1, 2, 3 Essay Writing [appropriate for grades 4-6]. You can find out about their system requirements by clicking HERE.

Here to Help Learning is a program that brings God – as well as fun – to the “learning to write” process – something my son seriously dislikes. Let me tell you a little about the owners – Forrest and Beth Mora are homeschool parents of eight children. They have been homeschooling for twenty years and have one child left at home. God is intertwined throughout this program (which is something we especially love!). You can ready about what they believe HERE.

This program has only one login (not one for the teacher and one for the student) which is not a problem since, in all honesty, this isn’t really something I think my 8 year old son could do alone. Once you login you are taken to the members page and you click on “Writing” in the top menu. Then you choose “Level 1, 2 or 3”. We are using / reviewing / talking about Level 1 here.

After logging in and clicking “writing” then “Flight 1,” this is what you see (below). You actually have access to both the Paragraph Writing and the Essay Writing but we haven’t looked at the Essay Writing – so I have no idea what it is. There are other reviewers on The Crew reviewing that though so you can check out their reviews if you are interested in that (click link below). So, back to our stuff…

Once here you click on the appropriate box under the appropriate lesson. As I am writing this review, after several weeks of being able to use this product, I realize we have only but just begun! WOW! There is A LOT covered here! Even though they all aren’t shown in the picture below, there are 32 lessons available.

Lessons

[One thing I do wish this program had was tracking of what you have completed and what you have not. Online programs without this option make it more difficult to know where we left off and where we need to start. I think us homeschooling moms (some of us working too) have a lot on our plates and it just makes it much more user friendly if tracking is offered. ANYWAY, I suppose in the big scheme of things this isn’t that big of a deal … just something to mention.]

Now, it is recommended that you work through each lesson using two days a week, one lesson per week. We actually found it worked best for us to go ahead and do the entire lesson at one time.

Once you click on the box, you are taken to a screen that looks like this – so far every lesson has this exact same look. This is nice because I don’t have to go searching and looking all over for anything, I know right where it is. The links on the right of the top picture are the videos available for this lesson. They are: Pre-Flight Checklist, Flight Check-In, Take Off, Full Throttle and Flying Solo. These are the same for each lesson but the Full Throttle and Flying Solo change as the lessons progress.

LessonCloser

The videos for the lesson are at the top. The pages needed to print are at the bottom. I did have some confusion as to where each sheet was supposed to go so I got to where I only printed the one or two pages that were actually needed instead of all the pages available. This was helpful for our printer ink purposes as well. [As a side note, the videos watched can be increased so they take over the entire screen, if you prefer (which we did / do).]

We did have a bit of difficulty with Lesson 1 as we weren’t sure how the program worked and the information in the video (that the kids use) is different than what your student will use – but once we figured that out we were good to go.

We really appreciated how the owner (Beth Mora) dresses up and “plays the different parts” of different things throughout the lessons. This helped bring humor and interest to the writing process.

HTHL1

Okay, so the program we used is about the writing process:

  1. Brainstorm
  2. Make a List
  3. Webbing
  4. First Rough Draft
  5. First Input
  6. Second Rough Draft
  7. Second Input
  8. Final Recopy
  9. Publish

Part of what the student does during the warm-up phase of the lessons is use a word box (as shown below). I think this is one of the best things this program had to offer for Philip – it really helped him to narrow down some ideas and then use those to write about.

LessonCloser2

As animal lovers, we enjoyed having the flight captain being a basset hound! His name is “Captain Knucklehead” which we have to chuckle every time we hear that too. You will find him at the “Flying Solo” parts of the lessons.

HTHL2

Below is part of the work we did. It is shared in the program that the students writing ability will determine whether they write it or dictate the information. Philip is NOT a writer … he never has been. So, he dictates and I write. Eventually, as time goes, I will have him write more and more. As it says at the top left, this is the “make a list” part of the writing process.

HTHL3

During this review period we were able to complete an entire writing project (six lessons). Now that we have made it through the first project, I am starting to understand how the program works and will be more able to guide Philip through the remaining 25-ish lessons. This is definitely a program I intend to continue using!

Although there as been some confusion with different aspects of the program, we absolutely LOVE the way the program works. (And works it does!)

As a last note, in general I get the idea / feeling that this program was originally more geared toward a co-op setting for using it in more of a classroom setting which makes is a little more difficult to understand the flow as someone who is using it with just one student but in general it didn’t affect our usage of this program.

Ways to keep up with Here to Help Learning:

Vendor Blog

Facebook
Twitter
Pinterest
YouTube Channel

Now hop over and read more reviews from the Schoolhouse Review Crew! (Keep in mind that reviews will be posted any time between 3/7 and 3/9 so make sure to come back and see them all!)

Here’s praying you have fun learning!

 

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