Sunday, October 24, 2021

DND Campaign


We would like to invite you to take a journey thru the unknown with us. We cannot guarantee you will make it out alive as there are vampires, warewolves, witches and more along the way.  Honestly, we cannot guarantee much of anything but what we will try to do is entertain you and if you're new to the world of Dungeons and Dragons 5e, hopefully we can inspire you to create your own character and start your own campaign into the mists of Barovia.  Our adventure, Royally Screwed, is scheduled to begin in early October and we expect that it will run for at least a year and a half. This blog will serve as a digital adventure log for our sessions for others to follow along, as well as for our players to be able to look back on our campaign in the future.  We are also currently discussing a possible podcast to accompany this blog.

We are the Prince family (hence the Royal reference for the name of this blog). We are your average run of the mill military family throughout the week. But for a few hours every weekend, we are a brave band of heroes who enjoy delving into the dark recesses of caves and dungeons, fighting mobs of goblins, bugbears and orcs as we make our way across the Forgotten Realms.  Our marry band of explorers will be swept away to the far away land of Barovia in October as we begin the horror that is Curse of Strahd

This campaign will be using elements from The Curse of Strahd: Reloaded developed by DragnaCarta (DM of Curse of Strahd: Twice Bitten), Fleshing Out Curse of Strahd by MandyMod, as well as some homebrewed ideas from yours truly.  We offer a warning for those who are sensitive to more adult topics - Curse of Strahd is a gothic horror campaign which contains themes and topics that can be a bit more dark and disturbing in nature.  Without giving away spoilers in case my players come here hoping to get insight to the campaign, some of these topics include drug use/addiction, child neglect/abuse/murder, torture, and animal cruelty , just to name a few.  Two of our players will be teenagers who are mature enough to handle most of the topics found in the campaign, but because of their ages, some topics found in Strahd will either be glossed over or left out entirely (such as racism, sexism, and sexual assault). However, be aware that if these types of topics are triggers for you, proceed cautiously.

If you would like to follow our adventures into the DnD realm, we invite you to follow along at our sister blog.  You can find it by clicking the banner below.

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

LightSail (A Homeschool Crew Review)

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


For the last few weeks, we have been using the LightSail for Homeschoolers Premium Subscription with Ashleigh to help improve her reading ability.

LightSail offers instruction to help strengthen reading, writing, vocabulary, and fluency for grades preschool through high school.  The program is Lexile driven, meaning that it uses the Lexile scale to match books and vocabulary to math the child's current reading level and then provides activities that help to raise their level as they read books and answer questions. 


 What Is LightSail for Homeschoolers

LightSail is an online program that focuses on reading, comprehension, vocabulary and fluency.  Students are either assigned books (by the parent) or if the parent opts, can be given access to the full library of available books in the LightSail library.  There are over 12,000 books available with the LightSail Premium subscription (LightSail Standard library contains half that amount) that cover a wide variety of subjects such as science, history, non fiction, fiction and more. Books in Spanish are also available for ESL learners (or could also be used for students who are learning Spanish and looking for extra practice). These library texts range from grades K-12 and cover a wide range of Lexile measures. Audiobooks are also available for many selections that give students who are struggling with reading an option to listen to the story while reading and following alone with the book.

These texts are embedded with assessments and cover a variety of subject matter. Once a book is selected, it is uploaded to the students account so they can begin reading it.  As the student reads the book, different questions are presented. These questions can be comprehensive, asking about something going on in the story, or they can ask about what the author is trying to get across to the reader.  Other activities might ask the student to fill in a missing word that has been omitted from the sentence.   If the student answers the question wrong, the answer they selected turns red and the correct answer is colored green for them to review. These activities are designed to improve comprehension, recognize main points of the story, and help build and improve vocabulary while the student reads. As student ability grows, LightSail tracks achievement and updates the selections in each reader’s library – that way, students are always reading just right texts.

Another portion of the LightSail program includes writing.  Some books have writing assignments that are attached with them as part of the LightSail for Homeschoolers.  While we have not used the writing sections of the program yet, books with available writing assignments are noted in the library so that parents can know if these types of activities are available for the book they are selecting.  Parents can also go to the writing section of the Dashboard and find writing activities in that section, such as writing book reports and taking notes.

LightSail for Homeschoolers offers different subscription tiers, including those only for World Books as well as the Premium Subscription and the Standard Subscription for the LightSail program. Focusing on these last two subscription packages, both packages provide access to more than 20K educational videos, 150+ unit studies, and 13K audiobook options.  However, the Premium subscription offers more than 12K books vs 6K in the standard tier, and also offers 51K+ encyclopedia articles, 10K biographies, enhanced 360* photographs, World Book timelines, World Book Maps and Atlas, World Book Behind the Headlines articles, access to quotations, and probably most importantly, support for ADHD/Dyslexia reading support for those with reading disabilities.

How We Used It

Originally, we were going to use LightSail with both Ashleigh and Garrett.  However, with our current reading lessons, I am requiring the kids to read a novel independently for their classwork.  This is the first time Garrett has been required to read a novel on his own as well as test weekly over what he's reading, so to avoid overwhelming him, I opted to only have Ashleigh use LightSail for this review period.  We did set Garrett up with an account that we will use once he's completed his current novel.

 Before Ashleigh began actually working with the program, she had to take an assessment first.  This was a test that took her about 20-30 minutes where reading comprehension and her vocabulary skills were evaluated.  Completion of this assessment gave us a Lexile score based on her performance.  The program also gave me a scale to allow me to see where she was in comparison to grade level.  She actually did well and was within the scale for her current grade level. 

After she took her test, I added a few books that I thought she would enjoy in her library and then bookmarked the site for her to use on her tablet.  We had no problem using the program on her tablet (albiet, the tablet loaded things a bit slower than my computer did, but that is due to her tablet, not the program) which I was glad because while initially we could use our regular Firefox browser to access the program, later it said we could only use the Chrome browser to use it. This wasn't an issue on her tablet.

She was a bit upset that a few of the options required her to read a "Power Text" first, meaning she had to read something she wasn't as interested in reading before she could read (or request to read - as I had parental approval turned on) things she was more interested in.  

One lil "hickup" we had (totally my fault) was that I had logged in Ashleigh on her tablet under my sign in.  This meant that she was given full access to all the books without my approval but it also meant that when she read and completed activities, it wasn't tracked and graded under her account.  When I logged in to look at her scores, it simply said she hadn't read anything. She didn't notice my name up at the top instead of her own, and I didn't think to check because she was on her tablet. 

However, what reading she did do, she really enjoyed.  She discovered Edgar Allen Poe as there are a few selections on Lightsail and she really enjoyed his short stories.  Actually, that's an understatement, as she proceeded to ask us if she could get a book of his works so she could read more than what was available.

Overall, I like the selections available, especially the selections available in the classics area. There's also a large selection of historic non fiction, such as a whole section of faith based writings.  However, there was some content that I personally would not want my kids to read.  One audio book selection that we decided on had a character referring to another as an "idiot" and there's also a selection of books with LGBT themes which I wouldn't feel comfortable with my kids reading.  However, the variety available makes it so that even the pickiest of readers should be able to find something that will interest them and the fact that the program allows for parental approval before the child reads a particular book is helpful to weed out those that a parent might not find acceptable. 



 For more information about LightSail for Homeschoolers, be sure to visit their website.  You can also find them on the following social media sites


Members of the Crew have been using LightSail for Homeschoolers with their families in various ways.  Be sure to click the banner below to read their reviews today. 

Improve Reading Skills with LightSail for Homeschoolers

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Bible Breakdowns (A Homeschool Crew Review)

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


Sometimes, understanding the main points of the Bible can be challenging, I'm always looking for ways to make our Bible study time easier, especially for the kids. So when I was given the opportunity to review Bible Breakdowns from Teach Sunday School, I was pretty interested to see how I could incorporate this resource into our own Bible study each day. 


For this review, we were given a the digital PDF copies for both the Old Testament and New Testament, with one PDF file for each.  Each book of the Bible has it's own corresponding page that is easy to print out and keep as a reference sheet for that book.  The only exception to the one page rule is for the book of Matthew, which has two pages.  These pages are easy to print out and the purchase license allows for the buyer to print as many times as needed for personal, family, or single church/school use.  (License for multiple schools or churches can be purchased separately.)

 Each page breaks down the books of the Bible in the same format, making it a quick reference to keep on hand. The header of the page states the Book in large font.  Beside the name of the book is a number and either NT or OT, indicating the order in which that book can be found and whether it's in the Old Testament or New Testament. 

 After the header is a short synopsis of the book itself with interesting bits of information about the book.  For example, for the book of 1 Corinthians, it tells that Paul had heard that there was fighting among the church in Corinth after he had left and that his epistle to them starts by offering advice as to the various problems that he has heard and moves to helping them understand doctrines. It also lets you know that he ends the letter by preaching the gospel and giving words of encouragement.

Following the synopsis, there is graphic to help bring your attention quickly to a few facts regarding the book.  These graphics give general information, such as how many chapters are in the book, what type of book it is (history, law, prophecy, gospel, epistle, ect), a rough time span of when the book was written and what period of time it covers, and who the author of the book is believed to be. 

The final section of each page breaks down the book by chapter and verse with a thematic listing that focuses on what those verses are about. A checkbox is provided beside each section, allowing the user to easily use the Bible Breakdown as a Bible Study/Reading Plan and keep track of what they have read thus far.  The breakdown also makes use of a color coded system that highlights classic Bible stories such as the Christmas story in Matthew, the Crucifixion and Resurrection in all four Gospels, the plagues of Egypt in Exodus, Daniel in the Lion's Den in Daniel, ect.  A final section included contains "Most Popular Verses" from each book, including a ranking that shows the popularity of that verse in comparison of both the book itself as well as compared to the rest of the Bible. 

This format is used for all 66 books found in the standard Protestant Bible.  For my Catholic readers, please note that the 7 addition Deuterocanon books found in the Catholic Bible are not included in the Bible Breakdowns.

 Using Bible Breakdowns

Looking over Bible Breakdown simplistic design, there are endless ways that these can easily be incorporated into your daily Bible time, family study time, or even for a Sunday school class or Bible study.  

For this review, we used them two different ways.  First, the kids have been studying the Book of James with their morning Bible study for their homeschool curriculum, so I was able to simply print out the Breakdown for James, punch holes in the page, and the kids were able to keep this sheet at the beginning of their Bible section of their daily notebooks.  For our first 6 weeks of school, we focused on James 1, Verses 1-12.  The Bible Breakdown sheet informed them that the main focus of this particular section was about Testing Your Faith. 

The second way I personally used the Bible Breakdown was with my own women's Bible Studies.  Currently, I am involved in two studies, one focused on the Book of 2nd Timothy and a second study that doesn't focus on a particular book in itself but jumps around to various parts of scripture.  This allowed for me to use the Bible Breakdowns two significantly different ways. For the 2nd Timothy study, which follows the book verse by verse, I was able to print out the sheet and simply tuck it in the study workbook that we are currently using and use it as reference to help me focus on main topics of the verses as well as to use the "Most Popular Verses" as a reference for two verses to memorize. 

For the second Bible study, I found that downloading the Bible Breakdowns to my tablet worked best, since I couldn't know ahead of time which book we would be reading from each week. By downloading the files, I could simply open the file on my tablet once we began reading, have it opened beside my Bible, and use it as a quick reference for our reading. 

The only issue I've had with the sheets is that when printing in grey scale on a monotone printer, such as the laser printer I use, is that the blue text indicating classic Bible stories is indistinguishable from the rest of the text.  This isn't a problem with the sheets themselves, but is a slight limitation for those printing them out in grey scale and would like having that additional reference available to them.  When printed in color, the blue text would be apparent and when viewing on my tablet, again, this text is apparent. 


#hsreviews #biblebreakdowns #biblestudytools #bibleeducation #readingthebible #biblestudyguide #bibleprintable

To find more information about Bible Breakdowns, as well as the vast line of other Bible study products offered by Teach Sunday School, be sure to visit their website.  You can also find more information about Teach Sunday School on these social media platforms. 

Facebook - Instagram  - YouTube - Pinterest


These Bible Breakdowns sheets are a great addition for quick reference for any Bible story and can be used in so many ways.  Be sure to click the banner below to read reviews as to how other members of the crew found useful ways to incorporate them in their own homes.

Boob-by-Book Bible Study Printable Breakdowns

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Critical Thinking Company (A Homeschool Crew Review)

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


 For the last few weeks, the kids have been expanding their vocabulary using Vocabulary Virtuoso: Mastering Middle School Vocabulary from The Critical Thinking Co.™ . This digital vocabulary workbook for middle school students helps to increase vocabulary, stimulates imagination, and boosts standards-based language arts skills and teaches 180 PSAT vocabulary words.

Vocabulary Virtuoso is a middle school level vocabulary curriculum that includes 15 weeks of activities that help to expand students vocabulary.  This curriculum is a 164 page, printable PDF file that includes activities such as identifying words, using them correctly in given sentences, and having students write their own sentences using the words each week. Each lesson contains definitions, pronunciation keys, parts of speech, and alternate choices for each word made up of synonyms, idioms, and/or phrases.

Each week, students are given a list of 12 words that would not typically be used in everyday conversation.  Following the vocabulary list, there are 6 activities that follow that use these words to be used throughout the week.  These activities start pretty simple and work their way up to show better understanding of the words given. 


For the first activity, students are given sentences along with three word options in which they choose the correct word to use. Students simply select the correct word that works for the sentence and then circle their answer. 

Each activity becomes a bit more difficult and requires the student to begin to not only recognize the word but also learn to add case endings to the words.  For the second exercise, students are given a word bank with the words (some of them with ending such as -ed or -ing) in which they have to identify the correct word to complete the sentence. 

The third exercise requires the student to fill words in to complete a story. Again, a list is given at the top of the page, and students must identify the correct word to use for the story. 

The next exercise has the student reading a sentence and then unscrambling the letters to form the correct word to complete the sentence.  No word bank is given for the words this time and students must use comprehension to identify the word. 

The sixth activity asked the student to look at the word and identify an idiom or phrase that defines the word, however, these do not echo the definitions found at the original list of words.  This requires the student to think about what the idiom/definition might mean and then translate that to the original definition of the word. 

The final activity asks students to write their own sentences for the words, using their own words and not copying sentences from the previous activities.

How We Used It

We have really enjoyed adding this vocabulary exercise to our daily language arts time.  I simply load the PDF file up onto my computer each week and print out the weekly activities for the kids. (License for this product allows for parents to print as many copies as are necessary for their own private use). Each morning, we complete one activity from the packet (with two activities being completed on Friday). 

Ashleigh and Garrett completing their daily vocabulary exercise

The kids have really seemed to enjoy these activities and have had a good time learning new words such as "Legerdemain", "Spelunker" and "Juggernaut".  I have also noticed that they have been using their new words in various conversations which has been extremely impressive.  


For example, one of our words one week was "egregious" and Ashleigh later that week mentioned that running out of cereal was the most egregious of crimes. I've also heard words such as "heinous", "serendipitous" and "mundane" used lately, all words that have come from the vocabulary lists. 

Even Licky likes this curriculum

Another thing we found was that we found explore rabbit holes in regards to some of the sentences that we have completed.  One particular lesson, using the word "legerdemain" involved David Copperfield, the magician who was extremely popular in the 80s and early 90s.  This led us to watching some Youtube videos of him performing magic tricks such as making both the Statue of Liberty and a small leer jet disappear, which the kids thought was pretty cool.  They then took time out to research on their own how he performed these tricks which led to a really great understanding of what "legerdemain" actually means. 

Overall, we've been very happy with this vocabulary curriculum and the kids have responded well to it.  Just hearing them use the new words that they are learning in conversation lets me know that they are paying attention and are expanding their vocabulary each week with these new list of words.

To learn more about The Critical Thinking Co.™ , Visit their website. You can also find them on the following social media sites.




Members of the Crew have been using different products from The Critical Thinking Co.™ with their families.  Click the banner below to read their reviews today.

Critical Thinking Co. Reviews


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