Translate

Saturday, February 4, 2017

THIN STIX ! The new Kwik Stix from The Pencil Grip!

     Last year, I had the privilege of reviewing Kwik Stix from The Pencil Grip, Inc. and was ecstatic when I was asked to review their new product,  Thin Stix 12 pack!   We jumped on this so fast!  We love our original Kwik Stix and couldn't wait to try out these new, thinner ones.
   Thin Stix are a solid tempera paint that come in a tube much like a glue stick. Whats different between these ones and the original is that they are thinner, making it easier for the user to hold and use in smaller spaces. They are about 1/2 an inch in diameter, which is about 1/2 the width of the original.
     Like the original, they are the same washable, quick drying,  non-staining, easy to use, mess-less, fantastic-ness that we have grown to love.  They are still easy to use with the same twist up top (just like a glue stick works)

Intrigued yet?  =)

 I copied this from my original post because the information is still the same with this thinner model:

     "My kids started calling these "paint crayons" which I think is a pretty accurate description of them.  The paint tube is like a glue stick.  So if you need more "paint" you twist up. Then use them just like you would an over sized crayon. They feel kind of like a crayon and a chapstick had a baby. They roll on smooth and easily.  I guess, like a dry paint (is there such a thing?), dry in several blinks of the eye, don't run, smear, or seep.  In short.  They are amazing!"
   
       The  Thin Stix 12 pack comes with a large variety of colors. The colors are well represented by the cases they are in.  They roll on smooth, bright, bold, and stay that way!  The finish is almost a soft, textured look.  It's supposed to be the same as if you had painted with tempra paint.  I think they achieve the over-all look but it's not quite exact.  I actually like the Kwik Stix finish better!


Using it:


      My kids absolutely love these things!  The are so easy to use and big kids and little kids alike like them!  I like that they are mess-less, fast drying, and in the event a child does get them on themselves or clothing, it comes right off!  
     I do think the Thin Stix have more of a "big kid" feel.  The long, thin design feels more sophisticated- lol.  It did make it much easier for them to use in their Fun-Schooling books and in making more intricate designs and drawings on their painting papers.

     They can be used on paper, in coloring books, on balloons, windows, wood, etc.  They are so versatile and the possibilities are endless.  We primarily just use our on paper products and gifts.  I admit that I am busy and don't venture to off the grid.  Paper I have, so paper we use!

PRO's and CON's: 

Pro's are abundant!


  • easy to use
  • no mess
  • bright colors
  • lasts for a really long time
  • dry's in 90 seconds
  • doesn't bleed
  • doesn't run
  • doesn't smear
  • can be used on practically every surface
  • all kids like them
  • fun!
Con's (if there really is any)
  • The only one I could think of is that if you wanted it to have a true "paint" look, this is close but not exact.  If the child has painted pretty thickly then is does look super close to regular tempera paint, if its a lighter coat then you see more of the "texture".
(Borrowed pro/con list from my original post.)


WHERE TO BUY or FOR MORE INFO:

Click on the links below to find out additional information about Kwik Stix Thin Stix.


Thursday, November 3, 2016

Scaling back.... or is it forward?


     Let me tell you a story.

     It's probably not a very interesting one but, it's part of my journey as a homeschooling parent (please notice that I used the word "parent", it's important).  I think, so often, we get caught up in the "importance" of sticking with the overall plan of things that staying on course can easily become being off course.  I believe that life circumstances and having a lot of children propelled me earlier on to be "ok" with veering off the path I thought would be the right one for our homeschooling. 


     I know I have spoken a little bit about my path from leaving the Classical Education Movement and settling into the Charlotte Mason/Eclectic side of the homeschooling pendulum but I would say that, these days, you might could also throw in a little "un-schooling" terms as well.  Why do we keep shifting?  Are my kids still learning?  Am I even schooling them really?  Yes, Yes, and most definitely YES!  It's just different, and it's good and, I feel like, as the primary homeschooling parent, (there's that word again) that I am waking up to the fact that all my children are learning in different ways.
   
Boring school from back-in-the-day.
I have shared this picture before.  Man, I was
so proud of all this "studious" school stuff.
They hated it.
That probably sounds silly saying that.  I mean, as homeschoolers, we know that part of the reason we homeschool is because we want them to learn in their own way.  But let's be honest, many times we go with what we were modeled (public school) and/or the one-hit-wonder style we want for our homeschooling.  Our family really muddled through things and I wish I had learned more from my oldest.  I really wanted her to conform to what I wanted her to like and the style I wanted for our homeschooling.  Little did I know, how wrong that ideal image was for us!  The play goes on...

     Now, in this story, there have been some key players that have brought me to where I am.  Namely, my daughter Mairyn 13.11, Adam 11.2, and Josiah 14.5.  Mairyn was the first kink in my train track,  She is the straw the broke the camels back with my hopes of returning back to the Classical model wayyyyy back in the day.  Mai-Mai hated it.  She just wanted to do her own thing, save the animals, and play.  When introduced to the Charlotte Mason stuff she literally sang and danced.  (Fair note: the older two girls at the time were not as impressed.  During our first lesson, a picture study, Faithlynn cried because she couldn't get it- it was too easy, and Hannah thought for sure I had gone bonkers and felt like surely she needed to do a full oral/written essay.... she was 7.5).  Anyway, it was Mairyn who led our group toward a love of learning and helped me to understand that I was never going to be "lesson plan mom".  We read books, found Queens (which we still use to this day), Mystery of History, and played.  Well they played, I had lots of babies!

     Next came Adam.  Adam was busy.  Adam was naughty.  Adam was impulsive.  Adam couldn't make a good decision to save his life.  Adam processed differently.  It took me years, and years, to finally figure out what was hindering my boy.  Part of it was maturity, but there was a large other part.  He has dyslexic tendencies and, what I call, left brain learning gaps. (For Adam's story, go here =)
things finally started turning around for Adam
when we started using The Thinking Tree books.
   
     Adam struggled, primarily, with reading.  This kinked the track once again.  How do I school this child when he can't read?  I started to take out the word "school" and replaced it with EDUCATE.   Mostly, I learned that not a whole lot needed to be altered for Adam with the exception of minimizing the reading frustrations and letting him show his work in different ways; like drawing, building, telling. etc.
      You see, there is a huge difference between straight up academics and education.  I removed the emphasis of academics and replaced it with rich education.  We stuck with the over- all idea of Charlotte Mason but the fantastic more un-schooling-esc  things started to pop up (for a glimps at some of the stuff from Sarah Janisse Brown-go here and look at the stuff under "Thinking Tree").

     The next cast member is my son Josiah.  His entry into the script was about the same time I was really trying to figure things out with Adam.  Their roles intertwine.  Josiah is actually my step-son.  We don't "do" steps in our home.  I am Mom and he is my son and vice versa.  The only reason I point this out is because it is part of the story.  He was still public schooled (per his bio-Mum's stance) up until recently.  In public school, he struggled to say the least.  He has some similar processing things to Adam when it comes to rote academics and I discovered he had minor dyslexia that had never been caught!  Anyway, long story short, he was failing public school 7th grade.  He hated it.  It was finally decided that he (and the other two bonus kids) would all be homeschooled.  That was almost 2 years ago now.

     Well, now I had a new challenge.  And this gets a little.... dicey.  See, I have to work very hard at making sure I love and understand Josiah well.  We are the complete opposite from each other.  If you are up on the MBTI stuff, I am an ENTP and he is an ISTP.  For those that have no idea what those letters means.  The short story is this:  I am a big picture, out-side-of-the-box thinker, and super extrovert.  He is a face value super introvert.  (If you want to take a good personality test, I like this one).  But why is any of this important?  I'll tell you.  Because I am a HOMESCHOOLING PARENT!  (that word again!).
   
     You see, deep within all this homeschooling, teaching, teachery, stuff.  At the end of the day.  I am a parent.  I am their Mom.  At the end of the school day, or the end of the school year, they don't get to say "bye-bye to teacher I don't like", and I don't get to say "Glad I am done with that one!".  THAT ONE IS MY KID!!!
      Before all this schooling stuff.  I am first their parent; their mom!  I need to make sure that at the end of each day and each year that we all still have a relationship.  If I am at risk of faltering in any of my relationships with my kids, I am MOM enough to say that I run the greatest risk with THAT ONE.  Which makes me strive even harder to understand him well, so that I can love him well.  And that also means I need to figure out the best way to teach him and instill in him a love for learning.  But I did have a problem, he had not been taught to love education and independently learn.  Also, our homeschooled kids had much more knowledge in history and science than did the public schooled kids.  I needed to bridge the gap, get the new homeschoolies up to speed and, specifically, help my Siah.

Reading before lunch from our History Focus: Ancient Egypt
     So what do we do?  How do we go about this?  I started by changing some of what the rest of us did in order to give the new homeschooling kids time to de-frag from public school.  Also, I needed to reshape Josiah's perspective on education.  He wasn't very interested in academics and was really down on himself, but he was excited to homeschool!  We just needed to change his outlook on learning.  I needed to help him discover education!  I needed him to find a love for learning.  I needed to be his homeschooling PARENT and not his teacher.

     Our first semester (Spring) was mostly small projects, getting into the swing of schooling, getting on track with math and learning a new way of education.  Since they came in mid year and everyone else in my crew was settled into our curriculum choices for the year, I didn't change a whole lot.  I took away most writing assignments, did more group and creative projects, and found everyones speed with Math (Josiah had catching up to do).

     The second year (and first full year), we ditched Mystery of History and instead did Brimwood Press for history.  This was awesome!  Very RIGHT BRAIN but still engaged plenty of left!   We kept up with Queens for Science and LA, and for math, it was either Teaching Textbooks or Khan (later in the year, Khan was switched out for CTC math.)    Oh, and we did a lot of journals.  Lot's and lot's of homeschool journals!
The start of the Homeschool Journal Craze!

     At the end of this past school year (2014/15) I realized that  my homeschool train took a huge swing in the direction of parent-led un-schooling.   The journals helped my kids and I find the
platform we needed to allow them to learn about their interest in a more concrete way but still as part of their homeschooling.  Brimwood gave us all the confidence to move away from a history curriculum and just do our own.  Taking what we LOVED about brimwood and recreating that for our home, on our own.  We still use our QUEENS stuff, that is still good, just the way it is =)  We just..... relaxed.

Me... not looking forward to fall.
     That brings us to now, fall 2016.  I actually spent a lot of time stressing out over this school year;   primarily about Josiah.  I knew I was going to be over extended in the fall.  Aside from our normal, crazy crew.  My almost 17 year old niece and 12 year old nephew both came to live with us.  I was doing curriculum reviews for the Old School House magazine, I run a homeschool enrichment group and Olympic Cotillion, my parents were moving up, we are looking for a bigger home to move into, my oldest started college, the next older two girls got jobs and are attending drivers ed, and then there is canning season, and, and, and, and.  I was not looking forward to fall!

      I started making statements like, "Can't I just let the little boys play and color and call it good?" and "We can just do our own thing for history right?".  I knew I needed to scale back but a lot of the things on my plate were things I could not get rid of.  So the answer was to figure out how to better organize and manage it all while still inspiring my less academic kids to want more education and allowing my super academic kids to still be able to fly!

      I prayed.  I ditched.  And I streamlined.  I am no longer apart of the TOS review crew.  I staggered the start-ups for the programs I run for a smoother fall.  I put together (very easily) my own history for the year using the same theory of learning that we have learned from our routine with Brimwood and The Thinking Tree.  I'm really trying to keep the education fun and applicable so that I can love and parent them well while homeschooling.  I am their homeschooling parent, not their teacher, not like that anyway.

Nature walk
     What I now can see is that in my scaling back, we have actually been moving forward.  I see them more engaged, more excited, and more interested than ever before.  I've been thinking even further outside the box.  I gave all my older kids blogs to write on.  Even my non-writers have found this to be fun and look forward to posting and reading what the other kids have posted.  We have been having art contests, we drink more tea, we are more relaxed, they are more engaged, and I am like "what????".  I literally gave them the tools, a few parameters and said "GO!" and what I am getting back is knocking my socks off.

working in our homeschool journals
     When not doing our one room school house learning, I spend my time hanging out with the little boys coloring, helping them with their reading and math, playing games and drinking tea (while reading everyones blogs and doing older kid consulting- lol).  Actually, that is only about 90 minutes of my day (aside from reading all their blogs and discussing with them), I am still crazy busy, though- lol.
      I am enjoying the insights into each of my kids as I read their blogs.  I am seeing their creativity come through in the ways they choose to show their work.  We have continued with our history book reading and tea drinking as a group.  I have stuck with the "write or draw" your notes (regardless of age).  We have all just scaled back, in general, and found that it wasn't as scary as we all thought it would be. I guess, in short, I realized that I didn't really need so much curriculum.  I just needed my kids to love learning- and we are nailing it!


recent trip to ART OF THE BRICK at the
Seattle Science Center
   It's like I, finally, really, for sure and for certain, got over myself.  Life getting busier (because that is what happens with young adults/teens) forced upon us another twist in the plot, another turn in the road.  And while I whined and complained for a while (I was pretty sure I was going to ruin my kids if we started to look more un-schooly than not), what I found out is that the more I made our lives full of rich education, the more I focused on being a homeschool PARENT, the more I strived to understand each child and play off their strengths, the more we actually learned, the more we actually accomplished, and the more we enjoyed!  What a path THAT has been!

     My encouragement to you is this:  If you feeling like you can't breath in your homeschooling, maybe what you need to do is to scale back and in that state of rest, you will probably be able to see where your story is unfolding... and it may just surprise you!

            ~Minda


Having FUN with EDUCATION!

*I'd like to note that we are not doing nothing but instead it is how we use our educational material that has changed.
Our Curric pics this year:

Math:
K-1st the complete book of math 1/2 and Math Mysteries

2nd-highschoolTeaching Textbooks 

middle school-highschool CTC MATH or TT or Khan

Language Arts:
K-3rd: Reading EggsHomeschool Journals , in general writing practice stuff and reading

4th-6th: Reading EggsHomeschool Journals Queens LAQueens cursive, reading novels

7th-highschool:  Homeschool Journals Queens LACover Story, Blog writing, LA classes on Coursera, and Future Learn. (Last two highschool only for the most part).

*ditched coverstory- just wasn't for us.

Science:
All grades:  Queens Science

Geography:
Middle School: United States DIY journal
Junior High/highschool:  Travel dreams DIY journal

ARTArt Hub for Kids on YouTube

History: 
All kids: Historical novels for engaging thinkers 4 book set  Each book represents a time period.  Ancient, Medieval, Early Modern, Modern.  We cover 2 books/time periods a semester.  We use that as our read-a-loud.  Kids take notes in their history journal (spiral bound line paper notebook).  We watch movies, read additional books, do art, and independent studies on this time period for the duration of the novel.  Then at the end of each time period, each child does an oral/visual presentation to show their knowledge.
















Sunday, August 21, 2016

Flip Stir puzzle (A Review from me to YOU)

FlipStir Puzzles Reviews

 A puzzle in a bottle????  Why, YES, YES IT IS!!!!  We received a Solar System FlipStir puzzlefrom Enlivenze LLC to review. This self-contained puzzle comes in a plastic canistercontainer that has an internal “arm” to mix around, and place, the puzzle pieces.
FlipStir Puzzles ReviewsThey have several different levels of difficulty and different designs to choose from, including a Tyrannosaurus Rex, Periodic Table, Statue of Liberty, and Rainbow Pencils.  I chose the Solar System puzzle, which is a level 2 (which makes it a little more effort to complete).  I figured this would be a great starting point for the majority of my kids.



My kids were instantly super excited about the FlipStir Puzzle.  It came in great packaging and has the picture of the finished project on it for those that need the visual help.
First impressions were fantastic!  The puzzle is contained so there is no way we will loose the pieces, the plastic is solid and of good quality.  The puzzle picture has super bright colors, is a great print job and looks like it will last forever.  The “arm” is secure and doesn’t seem like it would be easily broken.

The kids all enjoyed figuring out the puzzle.  I did have quite a few that were “one and done”.  I have other kids that keep going back to it and trying it over and over again.  Once you have solved the puzzle, you use the “arm” to stir the whole thing up again.  They loved this part; wanting to make sure it was good and mixed for the next person.
It worked well taking it with us in the car, kids playing on a rainy day, and I image it would be great for long trips.  One thing my kids did with it that they enjoyed was “racing” each other to see who could solve it the fastest.  They took turns and kept time scores.  Even my Husband found it and couldn’t put it down until he solved it.
It’s a fun and creative spin on regular puzzles.  We enjoyed it greatly! To read more about what others had to say about their puzzles, click on the banner below to read more from The Crew.

FlipStir Puzzles Reviews
ST disclaimer

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

CTCMath Review!!!!! Complete online math curric for K-12th!


     Through the TOS Crew, my family received a CTCMath Homeschool Membership from CTCMath. I want to start off by telling you that originally I was not at all happy about this BUT MAN ALIVE!  I AM SO GLAD we got to try this out!


We have tried out a few different math programs and I was getting tired of trying things out with all great hopes just to hate it in the end…. Or at least not like it enough to want to keep using it. 
  
clip of the video teaching
When reading about CTC I was kinda like “blah- blah- blah- blah- blah”.  I should have been more excited though.   CTCMath has complete math courses for K-12th grade.  It boast’s over 1,400 online tutorials for your student to learn from either as enrichment or along with each lesson. Each lesson video is no more than 5 min!

CTCMath offers the following math courses:

·                     Kindergarten
·                     1st Grade
·                     2nd Grade
·                     3rd Grade
·                     4th Grade
·                     5th Grade
·                     6th Grade
·                     Basic Math and Pre-Algebra
·                     Elementary Measurement
·                     Elementary Geometry
·                     Algebra I
·                     Pre-Calculus
·                     Calculus 
·                     Algebra II
·                     Geometry
·                     Trigonometry


For an overview of what is covered in each level CTCMath has a great downloadable lesson list for all grades.  It’s located about halfway down the FAQ page.  There is also a great video at the top of the page explaining what CTCMath is.  This program IS NOT COMMON CORE, has assessment tests, keeps track of all the grading for you, and that is only the beginning!

CTCMath can be used on your computers, iPod, iPads, and iPhones, and Android devices. This makes it so much easier for students to be able to actually get to math!  The company is always refining the program too, so if you don’t see something you want, chances are, they will add it!
Lesson videos, of course, need to be watched on line but worksheets can be done online or printed out and then answers can be imputed online.  My kids work out the problems on scratch paper but do all the lessons online.  They get up to 3 tries to get it right and you can set what percentage they need to be passing.  We have ours set at 80%

The parents and students have separate accounts/logins.  All student account filter through the parent account.  Parents can easily access their child's progress and even have weekly updates sent to their email. 
CTCMath makes tracking your child's overall progress very easy. Once you are logged in you are can look at your student's daily activity which includes when they logged in, how long they were logged in for and what they worked on.
You can view how many attempts your child took in order to answer each question. Edit or reset things they didn’t pass.  See everything they did pass, awards earned, etc, etc…. HA!
I wasn’t sure who all in my house was going to like it and who wouldn’t.  I had a few kids in mind though that I really wanted to try it with.  The main being F17g.  She stalled out with Algebra 1 and actually back-slid and then has pain stakingly been trying to find her gap and move back up. 

 CTCMath has been great for her and let me tell you why =)
1.    You login and choose the grade level you want to work in.
2.    The program breaks down each grade levels concepts into sections.
3.    Choose the section and take the diagnostic test.
4.    You will then get a score and detailed list of how you did.
5.    You can use the list to go into the lessons in that section and learn in the areas you have gaps!
6.    Thus enabling you to move forward!  You know exactly what you have mastered and what you do not =)
Besides F17g.  I also had all of my other kids 6th grade on up try it.  A11b quickly decided it was not for him- fine, no worries.  All of the other kids love it!  They like it as much as they like TT (different pro’s and cons) and they all like it the same or better than Khan (again different pro’s and cons.  Here is what they think:
F17g:  I like how the format is basic.  That makes it easy to navigate.  I like that the lessons are very clear in how they are taught.  The diagnostic test was helpful for me to locate some gaps that I had.  There are some things I didn’t like, not enough to make me stop using the program, but they did make things kind of annoying.  My Mom covers those in a minute so I won’t here.  Over-all I love CTCMath though.  It has been instrumental in me figuring out what I wasn’t getting and being able to catch up.
A16g:  Awesome.  They do a really good job teaching.  I like that the lessons are short and the problems you do to practice are exactly like the lesson.  If they add a new component, then you get a new lessons and new problems to work through.  And I really like the feedback the diagnostic test gave me.
H15g:  It’s a very good program.  I like how the lessons go exactly with the problems.  I think its fun listening to the guy teaching because he is from Australia.  I appreciate that the program is very clean.  It’s easy to navigate where you are going and to understand exactly what you worked on and how you did.
JO14b:  I like it.  I like have the sections to work with and the diagnostic tests.  Although I don’t really get how they work all their score percentages.  I think the lessons are easy to understand.
C12b:  I like that its very clean and easy to navigate.  It’s kind of like Teaching textbooks and Khan academy shoved together.  I like the lessons a lot.  They are easy to understand and I like the instant feedback on how I did.
CH11g:  I really like it a lot.  I feel like I am accomplishing more on this program that I do on Khan.  I like being able to see what I have mastered and what I haven’t in a very easy and clear way.
Now…. What we wish was different:
1.    Some of the older kid lessons do not have the option to do the problems online.  The only option is to use the worksheet, find the answers on there and input them online.  My kids don’t like that and neither do I.
2.    You can’t just “set” the program to remember what grade the student is in.  Instead, everytime you log in, you have to choose  he grade level you want to work in.  This is also true if you want to look at test results or lessons, etc.  You have to choose your grade level.
3.    We really are not sure whats going on with the percentages.  If you take the test on Monday but don’t finish it that day it will hold your spot and give you a score based upon everything you have already done and whats left to be done.  Then on Tuesday let’s say you log in, pick back up where you left off, and finish it, well now you have a new log and a new score.  We have no clue whats going on.  Did the new score factor in yesterdays work?  Because it looks like the student should have gotten a better score.
4.    After you take the diagnostic test it tells you what you have mastered and what you have not- perfect.  But then if you go into “lessons” and look at the identical list to the diagnostic it will not show anything.  I wish your results would show up there so that you knew where to start at.  I had to manually in put the information.
5.    It does not generate a “task” list for you.  So we did not use that.  Instead my kids would just keep moving through from one thing to another in the way they show up under the lessons.  I wish the program would have generated the task  list based off of the diagnostic test for us.
I feel like I am missing a couple little things…. Bugs if you will.  None of these things completely broke all the positives but they were big enough that we wanted to mention them.  Every program has its… bugs.  I haven’t found the PERFECT one YET but this is pretty close ;)


Social Media


US and Canada

Facebook
Twitter
Periscope
Pinterest
YouTube

Australia
Facebook
YouTube

To read more reviews check out the other CREW REVIEWS!

CTCMath Review

Monday, July 25, 2016

Beric The Briton by Heirloom Audio Productions {a TOS crew review}

Beric The Briton Heirloom Audio Productions  ReviewWho doesn’t love a good audio drama! WE DO!  WE DO!!  Audio drama’s are not your average “audio book”.  They are stories coming to life like the old radio show days of yore and we love them!!!  So we were totes excited to find out that we would get to review Beric The Briton by Heirloom Audio Productions as part of the TOS Review Crew.                                                  Beric the Briton is based on the book Beric the Briton by G.A. Henty.  We love Henty books and have always enjoyed hearing them put to audio theatrics!  Beric the Briton is the story of the Roman Invasion of Great Britain. You will quickly be drawn into Beric’s life as he and his best friend Bodouc, are kidnapped, retrained as gladiators, and finally out into the employment of Emperor Nero himself!!  Along the way you see the work of The Holy Spirit in their lives as they come to new realizations about themselves, their past and how that weighs into their future.
Beric the Briton is recommended for kids ages 6 to adult.  You will get 2 ½ hours of listening adventure between the 2 cd’s. I received the physical CD set as well as a few special bonuses that come with the purchase of the family four pack package. Included in the bonuses is:
Beric the Briton MP3 download
Beric the Briton E-Book by G.A. Henty
official MP3 soundtrack
printable cast poster
50 page study guide and discussion starter
inspirational verse poster with the quote, “I will gladly die for Him who died for me”
unlimited access to the Live the Adventure Letter e-newsletter
fun behind-the-scenes videos of the cast creating Beric the Briton
     These bonus’ were super cool to have.  I am not really much of a “print it” person and we don’t do books on devices (I know I know but we are old school like that).  I did look at all the bonus material and ooh and aww.  I also did do some of the study questions with my kids but mostly we listened and colored.  If you were to work this into your history program though, the study guide would be a great resource! 

HOW WE USED IT:
     It took us about 3 weeks to listen to the whole story.  We were listening in about 20 min blocks of time as, well, time would allow.  The kids were told that they could either sit and listen quietly or draw/color as they listened.  No problems there! 
     The story was an instant hit!  It was adventurous and engaging!  After the first “airing” there were cries of injustice when I turned it off!  They could not wait until the next time we would gather to listen. 


FINAL THOUGHTS:
The production was very realistic, captivating and top quality. This was A+ rate for sure!  No “B rating” at all!  Everything from the music to the actors was just….. wonderful!  We wanted to listen!
Beric the Briton was a wonderful story for the whole family.  Along with the topnotch production, it’s simply a good book!  The character quality of “dying to self and living for Christ” resounded throughout. You all really should pick this one up!

Social Media Links:

Beric The Briton FB Page

https://www.facebook.com/BericTheBriton

The Extraordinary Adventures of G.A. Henty series FB page

https://www.facebook.com/TheExtraordinaryAdventuresOfGAHenty

Heirloom Audio Productions social pages

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HeirloomAudio

Twitter: https://twitter.com/HeirloomStories 

Google+: https://plus.google.com/b/114534826166314080647/114534826166314080647  

Instagram: @HeirloomAudioOfficial 


ENJOY more review from the TOS Crew!

Beric The Briton Heirloom Audio Productions  Review

disclaimer_zps

Writing with Sharon Watson: A TOS CREW REVIEW


     

     Writing is something I LOVE!  In highschool I was not only in the AP honors English classes, but I also wrote for the school paper and was an avid poet.  My skills are somewhat less sharp these days but my love for written work remains.  
     My 2nd oldest daughter H15 is very much like me in these areas.  I was super excited when I found out that we/she would get to use and review The Power in Your Hands: Writing NonFiction in High School 2nd Edition from Writing with Sharon Watson.        
     H15 studies writing on her own and I find it hard to keep up with her in the area of finding her good curriculum/resources.  I had already heard a lot about Sharon Watson and knew H15g would be up for it!


The Power in Your Hands: Writing NonFiction in High School 2nd Edition

The Student Workbook and Teachers manual are both high-quality, glossy covered paperback books. The teachers manual is 223 pages and includes not only the weekly teaching instruction, but also how to grade and tips for you to help your student.  The student book has 396 application pages and 9 extra pages of toolbox help at the back.

There is a total of 7 parts that this writing book covers:
  1. Before You Write
  2. Persuasion
  3. Proofreading
  4. Exposition
  5. Description
  6. Narration
  7. Reference (toolbox)


     Within each Section are multiple chapters that teach the material.  The chapters are detailed and self-guided.  The chapters are full of not only writing styles, but also great “what-to-do/what-not-to-do” worked in so that the student is constantly learning practical things alongside the technical stuff.  Sprinkled throughout the book are personal little tips and famous quotes.  Those give a nice, friendly touch and breaks up the text in order to have things not “run together”.

     The student both writes in the book and has assignments outside of the book that can be done with paper and pencil or on a word processor.  H15g chose to do her assignments mainly through paper and pencil and then do final drafts on the computer.  This was her choice and her reasoning (I thought) was suberb!

     “The reason I do my assignments on paper and pencil is 3 fold.  1)There is a different connection between what you write and your brain when you are using paper and pencil.  I want that stimulation and connection.  2)I do not want the computer correcting everything for me.  I want to train my brain to find those mistakes and correct them.  3)I want good penmenship.  It might seem weird, but as a writer, I want to actual be able to “write” well.


     The Teacher’s Guide is a simple in format, clear in its directions and structured enough to give clear direction but open enough for one to teach without feeling like you are strictly reading a script.  I will be honest though, I didn’t “teach” this course to my girl.  I actually hate teachers manuals and any curriculum that comes with them I usually run from at a mad pace!  HOWEVER, with capable teens in the house that can teach themselves, I will get said curric and let them have at it.  This is what I did with H15g.  She read both books for the first few chapters and then used mainly just the Student Book but referred to the Teachers Guide as needed.  I spent time at length looking over both and then as we checked in every week, I revisited both books as well.

How We Actually Used it:

     H15g has finished up her freshman year as far as her social grade but is actually doing “Junior Year” work.  One thing we both loved about this curriculum was that it didn’t matter where you were at grade wise, it’s just good and easy to do!
     The way that we used this Writing NonFiction was easy for me- I gave it to her and she did it.  H15g is studious and self-propelled.  We would check in each week and have an open discussion over tea where she would share her thoughts, what she was learning, and her writings.  Win-Win!

H15g’s Thoughts:

     “I liked this writing course a lot! It was composed really well, easy to follow, and full of great information!  My main reason for wanting to do this course was to grow in my skills as a writer and to be challenged.  This course is definitely doing that!  I feel like the more I do, the more I improved in my skills as a writer.   I have noticed that my creative expressions are more rich and my style of writing is becoming more clear.  I feel like I am composing my works better and understanding how the mechanics of writing works in an applicable way. 
     My only negative with the program is that many of the chapters presented too much information at one time.  The first time this happened, I was sort of shocked.  The first 2 or 3 chapters (I can’t remember which off-hand) were perfect in the amount of information given and then I hit either the 3rd or 4th chapter and was just lost! I was having trouble comprehending all that they were giving me at one time.  I would read a ton of stuff and then do an assignment on what was presented at the very beginning of the reading material.  I would then have to go and re-read that section because I had forgotten what it was about.  This “information-heavy” lesson thing became more of a norm than not.   If each lesson was split in half, I think I would have liked it better.  To make it workable for me, that is exactly what I did.  It was easy enough to do, but would have been nice if it was already broken up that way.
     My favorite thing about this program is the way it was set up in general.  The chapters containing a lot of information did not take away from the clear-cut layout, easy to follow flow and clear directions.  I would recommend this program to both developing writers and those who would like to improve their skills.  There is something for everyone in there!   ~H15g ”

CHECK SHARON WATSON ON SOCIAL MEDIA!


Also check out the other reviews by the Crew members of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine!



Writing with Sharon Watson Review
disclaimer_zps7f3b646c