Thursday, September 30, 2021

Math Essentials (A Homeschool Crew Review)

   DISCLAIMER:  I received this complimentary product through the Homeschool Review Crew

For the last few weeks, Garrett has been working on his math skills using Basic Math Skills Rescue Parts 1 and 2 from Math Essentials.  These are consumable workbooks designed to help sharpen math skills and establish a solid foundation for solving algebraic equations. 


Basic Math Skills Rescue is a set of two books written by Richard W. Fisher that covers a large range of mathematics skills. The first book, Part 1, covers topics involving whole numbers, fractions and decimals and percentages. The softbound book is 242 pages in length and includes skills such as addition, subtraction, multiplication and division and then using these skills to solve problems with integers, fractions, and decimals.  Students also work on skills involving percentages.   

The second book, Part 2, begins taking the skills from book 2 and apply them to more advanced mathematical problems.  In this book, students begin with geometry equations such as finding the perimeter and area of various shapes, circumference and radius of circles and more.  The second part of the book focuses on problem solving such as using various graphs, multi-step problems using whole numbers, fractions and decimals, and reviewing percents.  The third portion of the book focuses on pre-algebra skills such as learning the order of operations, scientific notation, square roots, and solving algebraic equations. This softbound book is 248 pages in length. 

Both books have a table of contents at the beginning showing each of the type of skills to review. An answer key for each of the problems, as well as a glossary of mathematics terms, a list of important symbols, a multiplication table, list of prime numbers, a charge of squares and square roots, and a chart of fraction/decimal equivalents is also found at the back of both Book 1 and Book 2.  

Both books follow a very similar format. Each page focuses on a particular skill.  At the top of the page, students have a set of 6 review exercises to help refresh the students memory of previous skills.  After the review exercises, the author includes a "Helpful Hints" section to remind students how to solve particular types of equations or other helpful information they may not remember.  Then the student will find new material to work on with several problems for them to solve.  The final portion of the page includes a "Problem Solving" section - this typically is a word problem that often not only uses the skill the student had worked with, but also requires them to "go beyond" and use other additional skills.  For example, after learning about how to calculate square footage of a room, the student might have a question asking for them to not only calculate the square footage of the room, but how much it would cost to re-floor the room if the cost is $20 per square foot.  


While neither book actually contains lessons on the topics, the book does include lessons on how to access online video tutorials that coincide with the books where students can access lessons for each skill.  Students can either access these lessons prior to turning to the page in the workbook if they are unfamiliar with the skill, or if they attempt the page and do not understand as well as they originally thought, they can review the lesson in order to help understand better.

For this review, I have simply been getting Garrett to work on a page a week in addition to his current math lessons. We had opted to start with Book 1 and just work our way thru the book from beginning to end.

More often than not, he does all the work on the page, although occasionally he will get a piece of scratch paper to work on if he feels there isn't enough room for his work.  I then simply just use the answer key in the back to check his answers. Anything he gets wrong, I mark on the side for him to know which ones he needs to go back and correct.  This has worked well for us.

Overall, I do think the book is helpful for remediation for skills he might not understand as well as he could, but we have not really used the videos for our review simply because we are using this in addition to our regular math curriculum. However, it's a great resource for extra practice and it will definitely be helpful as we get into more advanced math skills as he enters high school level/algebra math.  

For more information about Math Essentials and the large variety of resources available for your homeschooling setting, be sure to visit their website. 

Members of the Crew have been using the these two workbooks in various ways with their own families.  Be sure to click the banner below to read their reviews today.

Ensure Success in Algebra 1 with Math Essentials

Sunday, September 26, 2021

The Weekly Wrapup

It's been a few weeks since I posted, not because we haven't been doing school (we have) but because I've been out of commission, flat on my back for the last few weeks.  It would seem that I decided to take our experiments regarding the Law of Gravity a bit too far and decided to make an introduction with the concrete outside our house, resulting in a sprained back.  So for the last two weeks, I've been on pain killers, muscle relaxers, and heat therapy in bed.  Next Monday I start physical therapy.  Let me tell ya, getting older isn't all it's cracked up to be. 

But even with that, the kids have been working hard with reading, writing and arithmetic.  They are a bit behind in science and Latin, because I'm not downstairs to help them with that right now, but they have done a great job getting everything else done. 

They have been reading "The Magicians Nephew" independently (yes, even Garrett is reading his chapters like he's suppose to be) and doing writing assignments in regards to that.  This week, they learned the main elements of a story (characters, setting,plot,  conflict, climax and resolution) and then had to take a passage from their reading and identify and make a key word outline for the passage highlighting those elements. They also had a test over their reading and I was really shocked how well Garrett did - sometimes I just don't give him enough credit when it comes to reading and writing. This coming week, we will also be adding the book Redwall by Brian Jacques to their reading as they do a unit study over that (upcoming review item). 

The kids have also been working thru Vocabulary Virtuoso from The Thinking Company (another upcoming review item) which focuses on mastering middle school vocabulary. This has led us down some interesting rabbit holes - for example, this week they had the word "legerdemain" and a question in regards to David Copperfield, the magician from the 80s and 90s.  Granted, David Copperfield was way before their time but thanks to YouTube, we watched him make both a leer jet and the Statue of Liberty disappear.  The kids were pretty impressed and it was a neat rabbit hole to explore. 

For history this week, we discussed the Separatists and their move to Holland from England and eventually their trip across the Atlantic to the New World.  They learned about William Bradford, Miles Standish, John Carver and the Pilgrims who came across on the Mayflower.  We discussed the Mayflower Compact, the brutal conditions that the Pilgrims faced their first winter in Plymouth, and about how Squanto and the Wampanoag tribe assisted them. We also discussed Henry Hudson and his tragic third voyage to the new world while trying to find a northwest passage. 

Both kids are still working thru Teaching Textbooks on their own and I believe both are currently studying how to work with mixed numbers. I'll be honest, all I've done with their math is make sure that the assignments are completed and check their grades. 

Finally, they have been both working hard practicing with their musical instrument.  They have been taking live classes thru Practice Monkey (review to come soon), although these last two weeks, they have been using the recorded classes simply because I've been out of commission. Ashleigh is working on Piano, Garrett is working on violin, and both have been doing Self Defense together.  Both should resume live classes this week and Garrett is probably going to see if he's ready for an assessment on Wednesday to see if he can move up to the next level. 

Saturday, September 11, 2021

Where We You When The World Stopped Turning

REBLOG from 2015, with minor changes... But I still feel this way!! 

Where We You When the World Stopped Turning?

Even 20 years later, thoughts of 9/11 and the lives lost affects me and I spent much of the day in tears or fighting tears.  

Anyone of us over a certain age remembers exactly what they were doing after a specific time on 9/11.  That moment when you realized, watching the 2nd plane hit the south tower, that the first plane wasn't an accident but instead that our country and our way of life was under attack.  We remember that exact moment as if it were happening this very moment; we've relived it for 20 years now.  

Where were you when the world stopped turning?

For me, I was sitting at my computer, getting ready for another day of college.  I was in my first year of respiratory school.  My daughter was 2 at the time.   The morning news show was playing in the back ground on the tv and I was paying very little attention to it until they reported breaking news out of NY - a plane had just hit the North Tower of the World Trade center. Nobody knew what was happening at that moment - did the plane malfunction? Did the pilot have an emergency rendering him unable to fly?  Less than 20 minutes later, we knew the truth when the second plane hit the South Tower.  We were under attack.

I remember grabbing my daughter, loading her up in our car and heading to my then (now ex) husbands  work. A member of the US Army, he worked at an airport owned and operated by the military.  I knew that I would be able to get answers for what was going on there before I would at home.  After passing through security, we watched in his unit's breakroom as events unfolded.  We watched as people jumped from the buildings, facing their inevitable death on their own terms rather than on those dictated by terrorists.  We watched as the towers collapsed and knew the loss of life was going to be high.  

At this time, everything went high alert.  Living in the Houston area, the military was scrambling because there was fear that the Williams tower might be a possible target.   I was asked to leave and so I brought my daughter to day care and headed to my college classes, all the while listening to the latest developments on the radio during my 45 minute drive.

As a class, we were all in shock. Our instructors weren't around, just the students. We kept the lights in the room at a dim as most of of our eyes were rimmed red and hurt from crying.  It was quiet, only occasionally we would talk about what was going on, what it all meant.  We prayed, we cried, we each died a little bit.   Twenty minutes later, one of our instructors came in and told us class was cancelled for the rest of the week.   And like most of the country, we went home and we sat in front of our TV sets for days, watching and praying for a miracle for survivors, prayers for the rescuers and saying prayers for those lost.

Where were you when the world stopped turning?

It's 20 years later and that harrowing experience lives with many of us. The loss of life totaled 2,977 people of all walks of life.  It could have been much worse but God's hand was involved in guiding many of those inside to safety.  My daughter is too young to remember that day, was too young when it happened to understand anything about what was happening. She was lucky enough to live in a world of innocence, if only in her mind. To her, 9/11 is an event she learns about in history books or in a documentary. My other two children weren't even alive at the time and they also will never understand the feeling of knowing our way of life was forever altered.  They currently live in a world where we stand divided among ourselves and will never know how it was to unite under President Bush, even if that unity was temporary.  They will not feel the pride in their hearts listening to a video of Bush telling the rescue workers "I can hear you... I can hear you, the rest of the world can hear you and the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon." People may criticize Bush but he always had the American people in his heart and I cannot imagine any other man in office at the time.

And I know that 20 years from now, the pain will be just as raw as it was then and as it is today.  

Where we you when the world stopped turning?

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

WORLD Watch ( A Homeschool Crew Review)

  DISCLAIMER:  I received this complimentary product through the Homeschool Review Crew


When I was in high school, every morning at the beginning of class, we would watch a now defunct news program called Channel 1.  It was designed to introduce students to daily news events as well as other stories of interest to help students develop interest in the world around them.  As my own homeschooled children got older, I really wanted to find a program very similar in format that would grab their attention and provide quality stories from around the globe.  I had looked at various options available for homeschool students but found that most of them came from a very slanted worldview and covered topics that I felt really did not reflect well from a Christian outlook.  

When we were given the opportunity to review WORLD Watch, a daily news program from a Christian worldview, I was pretty intrigued.  Reviewers were given a 6 month subscription of WORLD Watch that allowed the whole family to view the programing.  For the last month, we have been using the daily, ten minute program before our class, much like I use to view the other program when I was a student, as a way to start our day with current events and other stories of interest. 

WORLD Watch is a 10 minute daily broadcast that offers a wide array of stories of interest.  Each episode covers topics such as current events, history, science, technology, world cultures, government, economics and more while presenting material with a Biblical worldview.  Hosted by Brian Basham, AKA "The Big Bash" who is also the program director, WORLD Watch programing believes that "Whatever the news, the purpose of the Lord will stand".


How We Used It

During the first half of this review period, we would routinely watch the daily program during our dinner time, while everyone was together.  We would get our plates, sit at the table and I would turn the program on and we would watch together. 

This quickly became a highlight of our dining time, as both kids would remind me that we had to watch the daily news.  

Once our school started up full time, we switched to watching the daily show at the beginning of our day as a way to get into the educational mindset. I simply log into the website and find the days broadcast and hit play.

When we first started watching the program, the kids would find the stories about animals of the most interest.  I remember there was a story about scientists observing a glass octopus for the first time and the kids really enjoyed that story immensely and couldn't wait til their dad returned home from work that evening to be able to tell him all about it.  At first, the world event stories did not really stick with them, although they were paying attention. 

However, as world events transitioned to events that actually affected their lives, I noticed they paid more attention and were discussing those events more in detail. This played out with the stories involving the conflict and withdraw of our troops from Afghanistan. 

We live on a military base - Holloman AFB in New Mexico to be exact.  Holloman is one of the 6 bases who have been receiving Afghan Refugees and life on base has changed in the last few weeks for us as we have brought in both refugees as well as outside military members who are part of the Task Force to take care of them.  The kids are able to see the Task Force "tent city" that was erected down the street from our house. 

Tent City for Refugee Task Force on Holloman

Because of this, I noticed they paid much closer attention to stories about Afghanistan, the refugees and the military task force taking care of them. Granted, they still liked the stories about the migration of right whales, but their attention seemed to focus more on the current events being shown. 


The kids also really like "The Big Bash" as the host.  Brian Basham tends to throw in a big of comedy towards the closing moments of the show, which the kids enjoy a lot.  As a host, he's engaging and charismatic, drawing them into the stories.  The other reporters are also very engaging and relatable, which I think helps them to pay attention - as opposed to stuffy reporters at a news desk just reading a story in a pretty monotone voice.  WORLD Watch has a mix reporters of various ages and races of both sexes, giving both Ashleigh and Garrett a diversity of people to watch and learn from, showing them that again, you don't have to be a stuffy reporter at a news desk to tell the news.  I personally like this, as someone who studied journalism in both high school and college, because it shows them both that they don't have to check off a specific box to report the news or to be in a news program.  

As a parent, I appreciate the fact I'm not having to prescreen each broadcast for questionable content. While I know "alternative lifestyles" and the LGBT+ community are a part of today's society, I really don't like having my kids bombarded with it on a daily basis in every program they watch.  I definitely appreciate the God centered view this programming holds to, without all the secular stories that are common in today's world. 

Overall, I'm very happy with using this as a quick ten minute morning program to start our day off with world events and more, without any questionable content, and I look forward to continuing to use it even after our 6 month subscription is ended. 

#hsreviews #WORLDWatch #WORLDWatchNews

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World News That Builds Biblical Discernment


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