Christian Heroes: Then & Now – C.S. Lewis From YWAM Publishing (A Review)

 

Christian Heroes- C.S. Lewis

From

YWAM Publishing

 

Today I will be reviewing Christian Heroes- C.S. Lewis from YWAM Publishing. It is from their Christian Heroes Then And Now Series.  Kira was extremely excited to begin this lesson! She is a big fan of C.S. Lewis.  The Chronicles of Narnia is among her favorite collections of series. It was no surprise to see her dive straight into the book when it arrived!

You will also note that Kira has the study guide open on our desktop as she was reading. I cannot tell you adequately enough how amazing the study guide is!

The included incredible study guide contains everything you need! I was simply amazed at all there is! The unit study curriculum guide is absolutely incredible. Kira loves it too. I can print it out or leave it on the computer, which is especially nice as we share the computer.  I could conceivable plan a year’s worth of lessons with this guide!  It is, simply put, INCREDIBLE! From key bible verses to memorize, to chapter questions, and everything in between. Kira loved the student activities!

Kira has a folder designated specifically for  Christian Heroes- C.S. Lewis from YWAM Publishing! Above she is working on maps of the United Kingdom and a map of Europe. At one point, Kira had her globe out and was searching; amidst this, she expressed how much she was enjoying these lessons. The activities with the maps alone are phenomenal!

Perhaps one of the best parts, for me personally, was when Kira mentioned she had many theological questions that reading  Christian Heroes- C.S. Lewis from YWAM Publishing brought to mind.  Any home school parent will tell you, a curious child is a learning child! My beautiful teenager had a full page of questions ready for me.  Ranging from topics like, “Who made God?” to “Why does God let innocent children suffer?” I welcomed the questions, not as a means to force my beliefs and faith on Kira, but as an opportunity to share with her what I believe personally, as well as what others believe.  I told her it is up to her to decide which faith feels right for her and what she believes will help guide her.  It was the first significant conversation we had had about God in many years.  Kira also expressed the wonderment of learning about an author she admired. As an aspiring author herself, I believe  Christian Heroes- C.S. Lewis from YWAM Publishing was an important tool on her journey.

We have lessons that will surely last us throughout the year now, but are already looking to  Christian Heroes Then And Now Series from  YWAM Publishing. We are considering David Livingstone next, although I honestly wouldn’t mind any of the available titles.

We also have looked over the Heroes Of History from YWAM Publishing  and will be incorporating several titles into Kira’s history studies within our curriculum!

I asked Kira what she thought about  Christian Heroes- C.S. Lewis from YWAM Publishing and she said, “I enjoyed reading the book. It was concise and beautifully written.  The book provided many details into aspects of his life that I would have never otherwise known. I especially enjoyed learning about what was behind The Chronicles of Narnia. The study guide was AWESOME! The chapter questions were both fun and thought provoking, causing me to reflect upon what I read, and ensuring I fully understood each concept presented within. The student activities were fun; I could not possibly choose a favorite!”

We highly recommend Christian Heroes Then And Now Series from  YWAM Publishing. Kira especially recommends Christian Heroes- C.S. Lewis!

 

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A+ Interactive Math From A+ TutorSoft Inc. (A Review)

 

A+ Interactive Math

From

 A+ TutorSoft Inc

Today I will be reviewing Adaptive Math Curriculum Online  from A+ TutorSoft Inc.

With a plethora of curriculum available on line for math, it can seem as though, as home educators, we may be missing something our precious children may need to ensure that they are learning everything they should.  As a parent, and an educator to your child, it can be a terrible feeling to realize you may have missed something along the way. This can be especially true when it comes to Math.  All it takes is missing one element to have your child fall drastically behind, or, worse, completely fail to understand something because a key lesson was somehow missed. Enter into the equation Adaptive Math Curriculum Online  from A+ TutorSoft Inc.

The user interface of Adaptive Math Curriculum Online  from A+ TutorSoft Inc. is clear and concise.  I found no trouble at all using the site, nor did my daughter.

You will have a parent log on as well as a separate child log on. I found this extremely beneficial to see exactly where Kira was excelling and lacking!

 

I first enrolled Kira into her target grade level.  Now, Kira is starting 9th grade; however, the highest level available was 7th grade.  For us, this was not a problem, because we know Kira needs to relearn much that she has either forgotten or simply did not learn it adequately. Kira then took a placement test.

This test then gave Adaptive Math Curriculum Online  from A+ TutorSoft Inc. all of the information they needed to cater to Kira’s educational needs. As Kira is already a bit higher than the highest level available, she was able to easily reach the level goal after retaking two of the tests.

When she did not reach her goal, Kira was able to go back and retake the test after reviewing the video lessons.

Kira found the tests challenging, but not too hard. She personally hates having anything that is timed, however. Kira enjoyed the videos and said they explained everything clearly for her.

As she passed these, there were no worksheets required to further her education at the level of pre Algebra.

There is also the Family Math Package  available. Unlike the  Adaptive Math Curriculum Online , the Family Math Package  does not pre-test students. It is a package including all grades 1- 6, Pre-Algebra and Algebra 1.

I am so very glad we have had the opportunity to use Adaptive Math Curriculum Online  from A+ TutorSoft Inc. It helped show exactly what areas Kira needed to strengthen as she will be entering the wonderful world of Algebra 2!

While visiting  A+ TutorSoft Inc., be sure to check out their freebies section too!

Kira and I both highly recommend Adaptive Math Curriculum Online  from A+ TutorSoft Inc, especially if your child is in grades 6-8. If it were not for their placement test Kira may have failed Algebra 2 and we would have had no clue as to why.

 

 

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Sculpting Virtually

I may have previously mentioned sculpting and art within virtual reality, I do not remember if I have. Another fun health issue, my ever failing memory.  I combed my previous posts and did not site one addressing this, and as it is one the mediums I seem to be adoring the most as of late, I would be remiss to not mention it.

The above is a quick burst of some of the sculpting I have been trying to learn in Virtual Reality.

When I first tried VR a while ago, it was on a unit that went with my cell phone.  The VR Gear from Oculus, designed specifically for Samsung.  I knew the minute I “stepped in” that I would be hooked.

Many moons ago,  (1995 to be specific) I fell in love with a television show called VR5*.  The concept behind this show truly drew me in. Once the show stopped airing, my fascination remained.

Fast forward to 2015, a friend tagged me in on a post via Facebook.  The post showed someone immersed in a virtual reality scene and drawing all around them.  I swear to you, my heart stopped.  My eyes filled with tears.  Okay, even now as I am typing this, I am welling up with tears.  I really cannot explain to you the feeling.  It was just incredible. I knew I HAD to have this.

When it was time to replace our cell phones, I was surprised to see that as a bonus, the company was offering the choice of either the VR kit or an expanded memory card.  My husband chose the expanded memory card and I, obviously chose the VR. Thankfully, later my husband gave me the memory card too as between the VR and my propensity to take pictures of everything and everything I needed it.

When the kit arrived, I dove right in.  I was a bit gutted to then realize the art program I was tagged on earlier was not available on the phone based VR.  I was shattered.  Okay, that is a bit dramatic, I wasn’t shattered, but I was a bit saddened.  Nonetheless, the fact that this amazing device made everything look better to my failing eyes was amazing.  Plus, well, I am a gamer, so I got straight on that aspect and began playing non stop.

Suddenly, I started reading more and more about the virtual art.  I found one app that actually did work on the set I had.  Sadly, it was just not as intuitive as those I was seeing advertised and boasted about.

My husband is an amazing man.  He is not an art fan, whatsoever. However, he has always been extremely supportive of me and my career and the many financial burdens it places on us as a family.  Let’s face it, artistry and illustration is hardly lucrative. Nonetheless, he has never once suggested it is a burden. So, it should be no surprise that he went in head first and purchased me the full system needed to use Oculus Rift. Though my computer was not that old at the time, it certainly lacked a lot that was the required minimum to run a Virtual Reality system. As if the system itself alone weren’t expensive enough, this required a brand new computer and monitor. Did I mention he is amazing already?

It has been a love affair ever since.  I do not manage to do art and sculpt nearly as often as I would like to enable myself the time needed to learn it all.  However, for now as I am amidst normal day to day chores, home schooling my beautiful teenager, and illustrating children’s picture books, I realize any time at all to do anything else at all is precious!

My eye sight is worsening and I missed my last appointment and must reschedule it soon.  I fear I may not be able to achieve all I would like via VR as if I cannot see, that will be something I absolutely cannot do.

To see my sculpting progress please feel free to follow my Oculus Gallery.

You can also subscribe to my YouTube Channel. For now, I am not publishing sculpting videos, I hope to once I learn more.

 

My first attempt at sculpting.

 

 

 This is supposed to be a love monster.

 

 Tried making a lighthouse.

*To learn more about VR5 please visit it’s Wikipedia Page or the IMDB Page. Episodes are also available on YouTube.

HelpTeaching.com Help Teaching Pro One Year Subscription (A Review)

HelpTeaching.com
Help Teaching Pro one year subscription

 

 

 

Today I am reviewing HelpTeaching.com’s Help Teaching Pro One Year Subscription.  Although your curriculum may seem complete, there is always a need to have multiple sources.  This will help ensure a broad spectrum of educational materials. It also can reassure you are covering all of your educational fundamentals. I believe one of our biggest fears as homeschool parents is that we may somehow miss something that our children would receive in a traditional brick and mortar school setting.

HelpTeaching.com’s Help Teaching Pro One Year Subscription is an amazing resource to help all of your home school needs.  It is virtually one-stop shopping, without the normal one-stop shopping price tag!

Before I continue, let me give you our back story…..

As Kira is getting set to be a high school student this year, I have decided to do a complete review of all that she has learned throughout middle school.  We want to ensure that she knows the basics inside and out. I truly believe reiterating and reviewing is a paramount key to our home educational process. Although Kira may think it is boring at times, she, too, sees the need in this, especially when she realizes there are areas that were not adequately addressed, or even worse, areas our curriculum choices some home never even addressed at all! We sadly discovered this last year.  It would seem our math lessons were virtually a year behind the standards. And although Kira could perform up to standards, she was not thriving at them. Anyone who homeschools can tell you, these kids are perfectionists.  Getting a B or a C simply will not do.

When I did my end of the year review and exams, I discovered areas Kira fell short of making an A on.  Before we begin our full 9th grade curriculum, we have opted to ensure Kira excels on all topics and areas. As we homeschool year round, this was easy enough to incorporate into our schedule and did not take away from any breaks as a traditional summer school setting would.

Enter in  HelpTeaching.com’s Help Teaching Pro One Year Subscription.  As I logged in, I immediately found what I needed.  It was a quick and easy navigation to each subject, grade, and topic needed.  And it is as all inclusive as you could possibly want.  Before I go off on one of my tangents, I have got to mention the ability to download or print.  I LOVE that I do not have to print everything right away.  Being able to save things to .PDF format on my computer and print later is perhaps one of my favorite things about  HelpTeaching.com’s Help Teaching Pro One Year Subscription, especially when it came to the answer keys.  Why print those up and waste ink and paper? It also helps me as I do not like to leave Kira on the internet without my direct supervision.  I know, this may seem strange to some of you.  I am a parent who has learned first hand why teenagers should never be on the internet unsupervised.  Within as much, it was safer and easier for us, and our educational process, to save what is able to be saved to .PDF and print when we were unable to stand over Kira while she completed her online lessons.

We found ourselves not only addressing the areas Kira fell short of an A in, but also other topics she wanted to learn more about! In order to learn more about those she already more than passed, however, we first had to address the areas she was not excelling in.  First and foremost came Math, ahh the dreaded Math.  In Kira’s defense, it is no wonder she does not easily ace this subject. Neither I nor my husband especially care for Math.  Dare I say, Math was perhaps my worst subject, and certainly my least liked!

HelpTeaching.com’s Help Teaching Pro One Year Subscription provides the tools we needed to help Kira. They have virtually everything you can possibly think of to aid your educational tool box! From printable and online worksheets, quizzes and activities, to online testing and worksheet generators! There are even printable games, perhaps Kira’s favorite aspect! You can edit the games and even save them and their answer keys.  Look at this fabulous word search that I made!  All I had to do was type in the words I wanted and name it; the generator did the rest!

 

The lessons for middle and high school students are meant for self-directed online learning. Many  lessons will have  a brief introduction and a video  to ensure your student understands the topic.  The lessons also include practice questions and links to formal tests and worksheets to  then assess what your child has learned. Kira seemed to enjoy this quite a bit.  Especially when she was amidst the lessons of subjects she did ace, such as Science.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As you can see, we printed a wealth of educational tools. This is actually only a small selection of all we have been using each week.

HelpTeaching.com’s Help Teaching Pro One Year Subscription is an exceptional value whether you use it casually or as a full supplemental curriculum.  I highly recommend also viewing the blog section for wonderful activities.

I also found it helpful to print up generated tests on subjects more advanced than Kira’s present grade state.  I did this to help me see which areas she was already familiar with and which areas she had no clue whatsoever about.  Although you may think as a home educator you know all that your child knows, doing this may surprise you! I know it certainly surprised me.

 

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To See Or Not To See, That Is The Question

A little more than a year has passed since I had the cataract procedure done on my right eye.  At my last appointment, my eye DR assured me that the visionary issues I complained about were normal and to be expected.  Granted, my normal is a bit different than most.  Cataract procedures are usually a different process for most.  However, as I had previous surgery on my right eye for retinopathy, the cataract removal would be a more invasive surgery and require a different, less routine procedure. Within as much, I ignored the fact that unlike every other single person I knew who had the cataract procedure done with what they touted as “amazing results”, as being a different version of normal.

However, it has been a year now.  Actually over a year.  I still cannot see right.  The light sensitivity is ridiculous.  I cannot see in the dark the way I used to, even with the cataract.  My entire vision is blurry and still doubled in that eye….what the surgery was supposed to correct.  Not only did it not correct it, it added this horrible light sensitivity and made my vision worse. As an artist, my eyes are very important to me.  As a Mother, they are EVERYTHING.

I have an eye appointment follow up scheduled for tomorrow morning.  I may not be as willing to accept the dismissiveness from my doctor as I was at my last visit.  I have unreasonable headaches.  The reader glasses I try to use only seem to make matters worse.  Compiled on this all, I am almost certain the cataract in my left eye has progressed.  No doubt due to the fact my poor left eye is desperately trying to compensate for my right eye.

I never make waves at the doctors.  I really no longer even like to go to any doctors. I stopped bringing up the fibromyalgia, arthritis, and neuropathy. I have come to realize my pain is permanent, and I do what I know is the absolute best to care for myself and my health. I stay active. Drugs are not the answer, as pain medications and things like Lyrica have never helped in my pain. I do not dwell on the pain.  It does not stop me or limit my abilities.  I tend to agree with everything the doctors say and stay quiet to get the heck out of their office as quickly as I can. My eyes though, I cannot make myself see what my eye cannot see. I fear if I and my concerns are dismissed again tomorrow that I may lose it. What I am experiencing is not imaginary. To look into my eyes through your machine and say, “everything looks normal”, when I am unable to see something I could see just fine a few days ago is NOT NORMAL.

Watchman Pictures, Princess Cut (A Review)

 Princess Cut

From

Watchman Pictures

Today, I will be reviewing, The movie Princess Cut  from Watchman Pictures.

We host family movie night the first Friday of every month in our home. Finding movies that are actually suitable for a 14 year old child can be difficult, at best. Between the gore, the language, and the violence, it can be hard to watch anything other than animated features. Every now and then a movie comes along that has something for each and every family member, Princess Cut is one of those movies.

I was quite excited to receive our copy of Princess Cut to review after watching the trailer. The cover touts, “The Best Christian Romance in Years”, and I happen to agree.  This story line is completely in touch with the struggles young women face today in finding relationships. The battle of staying true to one’s self versus the battle of giving in to what another desires, all for the sake of remaining in a relationship.

Without divulging too much of the story line….

I personally found the movie inspirational and touching. The main character of the story, Grace, was relatable. The wholesome depiction of her plight  left me feeling comfortable, as I watched with my daughter, unlike most romances. I felt drawn in instantly to her character and story. I also loved that Grace was able to show that no matter what your friend’s believe, you can stay true to your own faith and beliefs.

The characters were all likable and believable. The story line itself had me in tears more than once.  I, as a parent, and a wife, could relate to both Grace and her parents. It also forced me to think more about my own daughter and the choices she will soon be facing. My, it does seem too early to even consider her dating.

When I asked my daughter Kira for her honest opinion about the movie Princess Cut, she said this, “It was a good movie, with a good plot.  At times it seemed to be slow. Although it is not my typical preference in movie styles because I prefer Science Fiction, if you love Christian Romances, you will love this movie.”

 

 

 

 

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Memoria Press, First Form Latin (A Review)

Memoria Press

First Form Latin

 

Today I will be reviewing First Form Latin Complete Set from  Memoria Press.

When Kira first learned she would be studying Latin this year, she squealed with joy! But when Kira then learned it would be through Memoria Press, she could barely contain herself.  Kira loved when we reviewed the Illiad And Odyssey Complete Set from, Memoria Press last year.

As you can clearly see, Kira was very excited when the package from Memoria Press arrived!!!

It was no surprise to be completely impressed with the contents of the box! This First Form Latin Complete Set is truly COMPLETE!

And as with all boxes which enter into our household, the Memoria Press First Form Latin Complete Set box was warmly received by our cat, χιόνι. Although his name may be Snow in Greek, it certainly seemed as though he was more interested in learning Latin!

I am lucky in that Kira is one of those amazing children who actually love to learn.  My little sponge tries to absorb all she can, every where that she is able to.  At first, I had trepidation, as Kira has been studying both Spanish and Greek. I feared introducing a third language might cause confusion. However, I was pleasantly surprised when Kira expressed how much fun she has been having learning Latin with Memoria Press and First Form Latin!

Although every homeschool style and schedule is different, we do language studies daily. Kira opted to do her language lessons first thing each day. This typically will only take an hour to two hours per day. Typically every lesson incorporates new words, which, of course, are on flash cards to study and learn.  Here is perhaps our most fun part! This is where we get my husband to participate! Now, let me just say, this man has one wicked sense of humor.  Despite the fact we have the pronunciation CD that comes with the First Form Latin Complete Set, my husband decided he would pronounce things his way. This truly made for comical review sessions each day! Each evening, just prior to dinner, Chuck would grab the cards and review them with Kira.  And each time, Kira would correct his atrociously hilarious pronunciations thereof!

In hindsight, I should have perhaps made a video of this hilarious daily exchange. It made my night, every day!

Memoria Press and First Form Latin make learning Latin a breeze.  Kira has not complained once.  In fact, she actually has been bragging about how much she has learned and how much she is enjoying learning Latin!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Presently, Kira is pleasantly proud of all she has accomplished thus far with what she has learned while using the Memoria Press First Form Latin Complete Set.  Kira found it fascinating how many of our own words are derived from Latin. Kira has stated it will help her more in her language lessons in the future as well.

 

The  Memoria Press First Form Latin Complete Set comes with;

Student Text – A beautiful book to accompany the workbook, full of everything your child needs to complete his/her lessons. Kira loves that it includes historical Latin phrases as well as the origins of these phrases.

Student Workbook – This workbook contains approximately 4-6 pages of exercises per lesson. The lessons are laid out in a way to ensure your student learns. Kira says her favorite part of the work book is translating the Latin sentences into English, and diagraming the Latin sentences.

Quizzes And Tests Book- This will help enforce your child’s learning and comprehension. Kira expressed that the tests and quizzes ensure she is mastering the lessons, and said they are challenging but not impossible.

A Pronunciation CD – Comprehensive CD containing all of the vocabulary and grammar within each lesson. This is a brilliant way to be sure you are actually saying everything right!

Flashcards – These contain all of the forms, vocabulary and phrases for each lesson. We had way too much fun with these every evening. Upon reaching her last set of cards, Kira was in shock that she was at the end of the set.  I think she has enjoyed the cards the most. Especially the special interaction time with her hilarious father!

DVD – Set of 3 Discs featuring former Highlands Latin School teacher Glen Moore. We cannot rave enough about the DVDs.  These are absolutely fabulous.

The Teacher Key- This will help you grade all quizzes and tests.

Teacher Manual – A comprehensive manual to make teaching not only easy, but incredibly fun!

We highly recommend Memoria Press First Form Latin Complete Set for all who are interested in studying and learning Latin.  We already are preparing to get Kira Second Form Latin next!

 

 

 

 

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