Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Candyland Adventures

Its time for another update on the Adventures of Caramel and Licky, the two lil turkeys who have invaded our lives and our hearts :)

We ended up taking both buns to the vet.  Licky needed a check up in regards to her eye as well as a second complication that developed from her skiff with our cat.  One of Keikie's claws punctured the bridge of Licky's nose, causing an abscess..  So, while her eye healed well, she did end up having to have a 2nd round of antibiotics.  But she recovered well from that and is back to normal. Since we were already taking Licky for her follow up, we decided to bring Caramel along to get him established with Dr Stone, the vet, so that she can get  his baseline and be familiar with him.  Caramel got a clean bill of health and Licky was cleared following her completion of the 2nd round of antibiotics.

Daddy spoiling his babies at the Vets office
Licky's Battlewound
Licky in her post healing glory

Caramel begging for treats
With health concerns out of the way, the buns have both settled into their new lives well. They enjoyed their first Christmas, getting lots of snacks and toys.  Caramel was pretty unhappy when the Christmas tree got put away as he enjoyed jumping over the fencing and hiding underneath it but now that the living room is opened up, he's been enjoying having lots of room to run around.  


Thursday, March 26, 2020

Home School In The Woods (A Homeschool Crew Review)

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.

In the past, the kids and I have used selections from the Project Passport Ancient History series from Home School in the Woods.  However, for the last few weeks, the kids and I have been learning about American History and the Early 19th Century study from the Time Travelers U.S. History Studies .

If you are unfamiliar with history studies from Home School in the Woods, they are period focused studies that have multiple components to help students learn.  Through the course of the study,  students are presented a wide variety of activities: notebooking, lapbooking, crafts, copywork, creative writing, cooking, maps, timelines and more.   This particular unit study over the Early 19th Century contains 35 various activities for the kids to complete as they learn about the invention of Morse code, the Erie Canal, the Louisiana Purchase, the California Gold Rush, the Alamo and more.

 The Time Travelers U.S. History study is a digital file that is completely contained on your computer.  Once purchased, a user downloads a ZIP file containing all the files for the study which is then extracted to their computer. This installs all the files necessary and means once installed the unit study can be accessed and printed without the need for internet access.   Once installed, the unit study is loaded up as an easy to use webpage which gives quick access to all the files needed for each lesson.   Early 19th Settlers contains 25 lessons that can be done over the course of 5-10 weeks.   Every 5th Lesson is considered a "Craft Day" which allows for the student to focus on completing projects for the previous 4 lessons as well as to concentrate and review vocabulary  and important facts/dates learned before moving on.

Each lesson contains Text Pages and Project pages. Each lesson begins with a briefly written lesson written in an interesting, story style format. This format is reminiscent of "living storybooks" or a Charlotte Mason style format.
The second component of the unit is the  lesson projects. These follow the text pages and contain activity choices to reinforce the topic just discussed.   These Project Pages tell what activities will be completed for the lesson including which pages will need to be printed out.  They also contain step by step instructions for completing each project.  A Photo Gallery is also included also gives a visual aid of the final outcome of the projects and placement of components for the lapbook to help assist with the projects.

We have been using the study as more of an enrichment curriculum for the last few weeks to go along with our current history curriculum.  Because of this, we have been shooting to complete 2 lessons each week and using the 5th lesson (Craft Day) to catch up.

For each kid, we are using a 1.5 inch binder with a pocket in the front cover for them to keep the components together.  They can then tuck their lapbook in the pocket and all other work is hole punched and kept together inside.  The study has printable binder covers as well as a printable strip for the spine of the binder that's available in both black and white or color.

Garrett's Binder.

The kids keep their timelines, writing samples,the song book which contains the lyrics of various songs important to the time period and the Westward Weekly, which is the creative writing project that allows kids to paraphrase what they are learning as if they are a reporter writing for a 19th century newspaper. 

The kids also keep a ziplock bag with their Factfile cards in the back of their binder where they can keep them together and organized for easy access.

Here's a close up of a few of the Factfile cards..

The lapbook portion of the unit is filled with small mini books, popups and more that help reinforce the material learned in each lesson.   We used different color folders for our lapbooks: blue for Ashleigh and red for Garrett.  The cover features a panhandler from the California Gold rush. We even used some gold leaf for the gold in the pan on our covers.


Inside the lapbook, the kids keep their activities such as minibooks and popup folders.  The folder is designed to have four surfaces inside in addition to a center map. 

The map sits in the very center of the lapbook.  Using clear overlays, the kids create a map with multiple levels showing things such as the growth of the United States as it expands westward and major trails used to travel throughout the west. 

 Other activities include copy work using the McGuffy's Eclectic Third Reader.  We've really enjoyed this portion of the activities as it has given Garrett an opportunity to improve his handwriting (he hates writing).

We've also enjoyed the Westward Weekly writing assignments.  These are creative writing exercises where the kids get to summarize what they have learned from the lesson as if they are writing for a newspaper publication. 

Ashleigh's favorite portion so far has been the hands on crafts.  The projects created with this unit study are things that the student can actually keep and use, keepsakes and souvenirs if you will, from their learning.  So far, we have only made the Field book, which Ashleigh is really looking forward to using in her nature studies.  Unfortunately, we had to skip making the coon skin cap (using fake fur of course) for now because we have been completely locked down for a few weeks now and was not able go to the fabric store.  However, we do plan to return to that project as I am ordering the materials for that as well as a quilt project to be completed in lesson 16 as well as the materials for the Wheat weaving and the Serape Coaster  which will involve the kids creating a loom and shuttle to weave yarn much the same way Mexican and Native Americans in the 19th century did.

Ashleigh and her field guide
I've yet to find a product from Home School in the Woods that we haven't loved and this study about the 19th Century is no different.  And with the upcoming 2020 Presidential elections quickly approaching, I have a feeling we will find ourselves purchasing and using the U.S. Elections Lap-Pak created for grades 3rd-8th to help both Ashleigh and Garrett to learn and understand how our election process works.  Some of the members of the Crew have been reviewing this Lap-Pak with their families these last few weeks, so be sure to read their reviews.  You can also find more detailed information about this product by reading Home School in the Woods blog .

#hsreviews #HSitW #homeschoolinthewoods

For more information about Home School in the Woods and their many

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/homeschoolinthewoods/
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Members of the Crew were invited to review their choice of twenty different products offered by Home School in the Woods targeting various grade ranges and periods of history. Be sure to click the banner below to read their reviews today.
Home School in the Woods Collections - Lap-pak, Timeline Figures, History Studies & Activity-Pak {Home School in the Woods Reviews}

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Math Galaxy (A Homeschool Crew Review)

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.
For the last few weeks we have been supplementing our math curriculum with fun riddles from a collection of ebook workbooks from Math Galaxy.

We were given four bundles of ebook workbooks to use in our Homeschool.  The bundles included 30 different workbooks  all together.
Whole Numbers (11 Workbooks) - 1 and 2 Digit Multiplication Riddles; 1-3 Digit Addition and Subtraction Riddles; 3 and 4 Digit Multiplication Riddles; Expanded Notation, Order of Operations and Pattern Riddles; Multi-Digit Addition and Subtraction Riddles; Time and Money Riddles; Whole Number Division Riddles; Whole Number World Problem Riddles; Spelling Jumbles Grade 3-5; Rounding & Estimating Whole Number Riddles

Fractions (8 Workbooks) - Adding & Subtracting Fractions Riddles; Equivalent Fraction Riddles; Fraction World Problem Riddles; Identifying Fractions Riddles; Length & Area Riddles; Multiply & Divide Fractions; Reducing & Improper Fractions; Volume, Capacity, Weight & Angles Riddles

PreAlgebra (7 workbooks) - Decimal Operations Riddles; Decimal World Problem Riddles; Length & Area Riddles; Percents Riddles; Ratios & Proportions Riddles; Understanding Decimals Riddles; Volume, Capacity, Weight & Angles

Algebra ( 5 workbooks) - Algebra-Properties & Operations Riddles; Algebra-Solving Equations Riddles; Algebra- Word Problem Riddles; Algebra- Scientific & Metric Notation & Operations Riddles; Algebra - Linear Equations Riddles

 Each workbook follows a basic format - students are given a riddle to which they must solve questions in order to figure out the answer.   Each answer corresponds with a letter that they use to fill in to answer the riddle.  Some workbooks offer both a riddle page as well as just a practice worksheet without the riddle for students to work.   They also range in page size - the workbook for Multiplication is 43 pages in length while one of the Algebra ebooks is 143pages.

For this review we focused on using the 1 and 2 Digit Multiplication Riddles ebook as this is what the kids needed the most practice with as of lately.  This gave us 20 worksheets for the kids to use for this section.  Each day, I would print out one worksheet for the kids to work on their on.  Each workbook contains both the student worksheet as well as a corresponding answer worksheet that has the solution to the riddle.

The riddles proved to be a great incentive for the kids. This particular riddle workbook featured child appropriate riddles.  These riddles have been super cute and it has become a new thing in our house for the kids to get to share their riddles with their grandparents when they call throughout the week.  Their PawPaw usually calls at least three times a week and they are always eager to share the day's joke with him when he calls.

In addition to the printable ebook, there is also a file for Google Slides. These files can be uploaded to your Google Drive account and accessed on the computer to provide paperless practice for many of the same skills found in the ebooks. While we personally did not use this in our homeschool, I did look at how this option works and I see where this could be extremely useful for a larger classroom setting with many students and where situations where distance learning is needed (much likewhat the country is finding itself at currently).

Using the Google Slides for Practice

 For more information about Math Galaxy and their selection of ebook workbooks as well as iOS apps, visit their website.  You can also find them on the following social media platforms:

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/gilr0077/

Members of the Crew have been using both the ebook workbooks as well as a series of iOS Apps for Math Galaxy with their families.  Click the banner below to read their reviews today.
3rd Grade -Algebra Fundametals Math Apps {Math Galaxy Reviews}

Monday, March 23, 2020

YWAM Louis Zamperini (A Homeschool Crew Review)

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.

On December 10th, 2012, the base that we live at, Edwards Air Force Base had a very special visitor. The 95-year-old World War II aviator and American hero, Louis Zamperini, as well as his son Luke, arrived on base to give a very motivating speech to the men and women stationed here.  As he sat in a comfy leather chair on the stage of the base theater, he spoke of his amazing life.  The kids were too young at the time to have sat thru his presentation and I was stuck at home with them, however, my husband had the opportunity to get to see him.

Zamperini's story is one that can inspire as well as make one realize just how God can be with us even in the absolute worst of times.  His was a story I wanted to share with Ashleigh and Garrett.  YWAM Publishing offers a wonderful selection for sharing Louis's story with Louis Zamperini: Redemption, one of 29 books from the Heroes of History series.    We were also given a digital copy of the unit study guide that accompanied the book.

YWAM Publishing offers many biographical books written by Janet and Geoff Benge.   

With books about Presidents such as George Washington and Ronald Reagan, great inventors like Thomas Edison, pioneers such as Davey Crockett or Meriwether Lewis , Civil Rights icons like Harriet Tubman, Religious leaders like Billy Graham and Missionaries such as Nate Saint and Corrie Ten Boom and even people like Ben Carson who are making an impact today, there's so many options that are sure to spark interest in any reader.
  • There are currently 29 books in the series
  • Written in a gripping adventure style
  • Unique narrative format
  • Written for readers ages 10 and up - enjoyed by adults
  • Audiobook editions available

YWAM Publishing brings each story to life through engaging biographies written by Janet & Geoff Benge.  Each book focuses on extraordinary people whose faith helped them to achieve some of the greatest accomplishments in history.

The kids had a hard time narrowing down to just one selection for us to pick for this review.  Ashleigh asked for us to review Louis Zamperini while Garrett had interest in the biography about Ronald Reagan.  Ultimately, Ashleigh's selection won out by a choice of number. (Ronald Reagan will be ordered soon). 

For the review period, the kids and I enjoyed the book together as a read aloud selection each day.  We would read roughly one chapter each morning - although there were a few days we had to read two chapters because the previous chapter ended on a cliffhanger.   The 224 page paperback is a true story of determination, endurance, overcoming hardship, and forgiveness.

If you are unfamiliar with the Zamperini story, Louis first made headlines as a Olympic runner in the 1936 Berlin games during the rise of Adolf Hitler.   Four years later, as the war ragged on, he was commissioned into the United States Army Air Forces as a lieutenant as served as a bombardier on the B-24D Liberator.  During a rescue mission, his plane crashed into the Pacific Ocean, killing all but three members of the eleven member crew.  For 47 days, Louis found himself adift in the ocean, resulting in the death of one of the three survivors, when they were found by enemy Japanese troops and were taken as Prisoners of War where they were treated severely.   Thought dead, Louis once again made headlines two years later at the end of the war.  But that is where the story begins.  As Louis struggled to put his life back together through a struggling marriage, his life became a testament of forgiveness and God's glory.

The digital study guide always proves to be a great resource to go along with the reading book.  Loaded up as a web page, the file gives access to the 61 page PDF file that contains a multi-subject study guide to help incorporate language arts, science, writing, arts and crafts, ect into the study while reading the book. 

There were many ways we hoped to use this study guide activity suggestions, but unfortunately, the current health pandemic limited us severely.  However, once we are once again able to travel freely here in California, we hope to take a few trips to areas that were significant to Louis Zamperini.  With Louis's hometown of Torrance being only 115 miles from my home, we would really like to take the kids to Zamperini air field.  We also would like to take the children up to Atwater to see a nearby B-24D liberator that is on display.

However, things we could do during time inside involved watching the movie about Louis's life and using Google Earth to track the places where Zamperini was throughout his life. 

Garrett using Google Earth to locate Naeotsu, Japan
Tracking Louis' Travels with Google Earth
We also used the comprehension questions to  make sure that Garrett and Ashleigh were both paying attention to the reading.  As they both enjoyed the book very much, this was not an issue for them.  Each chapter of the book has 6 questions following the reading, five of which usually could be answered straight from the reading while the last question was usually a discussion question.

In addition to Google Earth, we also found ourselves utilizing YouTube and Google for many different activities.  Together we've watched the opening ceremonies of the 1936 Olympic games, watched videos of Louis running in those Olympics, interviews with Louis in his later years and even heard him read his letter of forgiveness to "The Bird".  It's really been a pretty amazing unit study for the kids.

I highly recommend adding this book to your reading library, as I do all the other books from both the Heroes of History as well as the Christian Heroes: Then & Now series.  These are books that I have purchased on my own and read in my free time (I personally just finished the Corrie Ten Boom biography and am halfway done with the Nate Saint biography). 

About YWAM Publishing

YWAM Publishing is part of the YWAM (Youth With A Mission) Ministries that was founded in 1960 and offers a large selection of quality books written about figures whose lives not only had a huge impact in history but also showcase how their faith helped shaped them and how God used them to make a difference in the world. 

#hsreviews #christianheroesthenandnow #christianheroes #christianbiographies #americanhistory #truebiographies #americanheroes #historicalbiography #homeschooling #homeschoolingcurriculum #heroesofhistory

 For more information about the wide selection of biographies available from YWAM Publishing, be sure to visit their website.  You can also find them on the following social media platforms:

Members of the Review Crew were offered a wide selection of choices when picking the book they would like to review.  Be sure to click the banner below to read reviews for any of the 30 choices offered.
32 Heroes of History {YWAM Publishing Reviews}

Star of Persia (Book Review)

I have always liked the story of Esther in the Bible.   In a book where story after story is about men leading and making changes, the story of Esther (along with the story of Mary) show us how God can use women to move mountains as well.   So when I was given the opportunity to get  my hands on a review copy of  Star of Persia: Esther's Story by Jill Eileen Smith, I knew I was going to enjoy it.


In an effort to complete a war his father had planned to win, King Xerxes calls every governor, satrap, and official in his vast kingdom to his palace in Susa to strategize and feast. When they finally leave, he decides on one more week of frivolity, which ends in the banishment of his favorite wife, something he never intended to do. But when he discovers Esther, Xerxes is sure he has a second chance at happiness.

In her wildest dreams, Esther could never have imagined that she would end up as queen of Persia. Yet she knows better than to become complacent. Another of Xerxes's wives is vying for position, and his closest advisor has a deep and dangerous grudge against Esther's adoptive father. Caught in the middle of palace politics, Esther will find herself in an impossible position: risk her life or consign her people to annihilation.

Star of Persia: Esther's Story is a fictional telling of Esther as told by author Jill Eileen Smith.  Smith is a master Biblical historical fiction author, having previously written series the Wives of King David, the Loves of King Solomon, and the Wives of the Patriarchs, each which focuses on a chosen woman of the Bible.  Esther's Story is no different, as Smith once again weaves a beautiful story that really brings Esther to life for the reader.  She also really beings minor characters such as Vashti to the forefront, allowing us to feel and understand them as well.  The excellent writing makes them relatable, taking them off the Biblical pages and turning them into real people to the reader.

As with any Biblical historical fiction, the author takes liberties by including situations, dialogue and events that aren't found in the Bible. However, Jill Eileen Smith always does a great job of still maintaining a Biblical sound story.

Overall, this is a great book and I highly recommend it for anyone looking for an inspirational, fictional book regarding Biblical persons.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

The Action Bible Anytime Devotions (A Homeschool Crew Review)

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.

I really want to offer my kids ways to grow their faith in Christ.  However, it's difficult to find ways that really interest Garrett.  Often there's too much reading without any pictures to break up the words and spacing on the page and that really discourages him.

With The Action Bible Anytime Devotions from David C Cook, we have found a devotion that turned out to be absolutely perfect for Garrett by combining short devotions that are streamlined for him but with plenty of images to help to help him from being overwhelmed by the writing.

The Action Bible is a Bible that our family is already very familiar with. This has been the Bible of
Sample from the Action Bible
choice for my son because it breaks the Bible down into 215 Bible stories from both the Old and New Testament and presents them to readers in a comic book style format.  For Garrett, this has been one of the few books that he actually picks up and reads on his own.

When we were offered the chance to review The Action Bible Anytime Devotions, I thought it would possible be a good choice for Garrett.   Since he already enjoyed the stories in his Action Bible, I figured that he may possible also enjoy the Devotions in this book from the same company.

This 195 page, full color paperback features 90 devotionals that help children to build a link between real world problems and turning to the Lord for solutions.   By focusing on topics that a child might be experiencing, such as bullying, following the crowd, and temptations, Anytime Devotions uses examples and scriptures from the Bible, prayers, and activities to help children make the connection between what they are experiencing and how to turn to God for help.

The devotion uses a six step approach to do this:

Learn God's Word with an action verse
Apply it to what's happening in your life
Relate it to real people from the Bible
Think about it to help you grow
Share with others through questions
Take it further by going back to the Bible

Each devotional is presented over a two page spread.  The first page starts with a Bible verse and a introduces the devotional with a short example of something that the child can relate to in their lives.  From that example, the devotional then shows how those in the Bible suffered thru very similar situations.
Two page full color spread for each of the 90 devotions

Real life situations tie into the Bible
The second page of each devotional is designed to help the reader make the connection between the Bible and themselves.  Using questions that lead to deeper discussion and thinking, activities to help the reader develop their relationship with Christ, and prayer suggestions for those who struggle with communicating with him.

Using the Devotional along with the Action Bible
  Finally, the Take it Further section invites reader to either read more in their Bible, or, if like Garrett, they have the Action Bible, the matching story..  

Garrett has really enjoyed the addition of this devotion to his reading.  It's a book that we encourage him to pick up and read one devotional at least a few times a week so that we can discuss it, although he has been enjoying picking it up and actually reading it on his own more often.

The only complaint I had in regards to this devotional, although my son did not seem to mind, is that the illustrations are the same set of pictures over an over.  With only 16 different illustrations in a 200 page book, it gets rather repetitive.    But the material found in each devotional far outweighs the repetition of the illustrations and this is only a minimal complaint.

#hsreviews #actionbible #theactionbible #davidccook #tabanytimedevo

For more information about the Action Bible Anytime Devotional, visit the publisher's website.  You can also find David C Cook at the following social media sites:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DavidCCookPublic/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/David_C_Cook
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/david.c.cook/
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/davidccook/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/DavidCCookVideos

Many members of the Crew have been sharing the Action Bible Anytime Devotional with their families.  To read their reviews, be sure to click the banner below.
The Action Bible Anytime Devotions {David C Cook Reviews}


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