CompuScholar, Inc – Digital Savvy (A Review)

 Reviewing

CompuScholar, Inc and Digital Savvy

This is a review of CompuScholar, Inc, formerly known as  Homeschool Programming. Although there are many courses available such as Web Design,  and Java Programing, today I will be reviewing Digital Savvy.

As Kira is fairly new to computer systems, I felt as though Digital Savvy would be our best option for her to begin with.  From the fundamentals to hands-on projects, it truly helps your child learn everything he or she needs in today’s ever-growing technological universe!

Although Kira has used a computer for years, she actually knew nothing about the machines she has used. When it came to file saving, searching, or other things that required more than a simple click, she always came to me. Now this is where I fell short.  Although I had with some things, I had never actually taken the time to sit and show her each element into our operating system or any behind the scenes aspects to our computers. Perhaps I took it for granted.  I learned it all hands-on.  I had no user manuals. Perhaps I thought Kira would learn via osmosis somehow? I only realized how little she knew once she began Digital Savvy!

Kira was quite excited to try Digital Savvy from CompuScholar, Inc.  Although Kira does have her own tablet and laptop, she rarely uses either. All of her school lessons are done on our desktop computer.  The normal routine would be that I turn the computer on, load her lessons and sign her in.  It was not an issue of me not trusting Kira either.  I just never ever gave it a second thought.  Mind you, she has done coding lessons on the computer previously. So, when it came to the computer itself, I really never gave it any thought.  Actually, a bit stupid of me really. Especially when I think back to my own transitioning between Windows 8 to Windows 10. I imagine to a child, learning Windows is paramount to learning another language entirely. Perhaps this is precisely why now computer programming itself is being considered a language option for public educators.

I digress, I am straying from topic, aren’t I? Kira was extremely eager and could not wait to dive in. We scheduled Digital Savvy  daily amidst Kira’s lessons. It was simply amazing how much Kira was learning and how fast.

Kira and I both loved the program layout.  Although we did struggle to hear some of the educational videos, despite turning our volume past 40.

Each evening as we prepared dinner Kira would quiz us as to our own computer knowledge. It was cute to hear her ask questions like, “Mommy, do you know what FLOPS is?” As each day passed, her questions became more and more difficult. At one point she asked, “Do we have baseband or broadband?” I honestly could not answer. I suddenly realized perhaps I could benefit from her lessons as well!

The course contains 25 chapters.  Each chapter contains structures lessons. Each  structured lesson contains a Lesson Video, Lesson Text, and Lesson Quiz.

The layout is simple and wonderful. I can imagine younger children would also easily navigate throughout the lesson.

Surprisingly, Kira exhibited zero angst with the quizzes, perhaps because the subject matter was more fun for her. Normally quizzes involve a mini temper tantrum of some sort, whether it be a display of anxiety or an audible sigh of annoyance. Instead, this time, I heard, “Hey Mommy, I aced the quiz!”

The hands on lessons were simply a God send for me personally, as Kira is an aspiring author. I have allowed her space to transcribe her hand written books on the desktop.  Whenever she wanted to work on her books (yes, I said bookS , at 13 she has finished writing 3 and is amidst writing 4 others) I would open Microsoft Word for her and set it up. Digital Savvy includes word processing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

{Insert happy dance here!}

Suddenly, Kira was making her own lists and tables.  Could this be? Oh, a choir of angels sang!

I am absolutely in LOVE with CompuScholar, Inc  and Digital Savvy, Kira and I highly recommend it to any home school family with a computer! We are very excited to try Web Design and Java Programming next!

 

Homeschool Programming
Facebook – www.facebook.com/HomeschoolProgramming
Twitter – https://twitter.com/HSProgramming   @hsprogramming

CompuScholar, Inc
https://www.facebook.com/CompuScholar
https://twitter.com/CompuScholar   @compuscholar

 

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Shepherd, Potter, Spy and the Star Namer by Peggy Consolver – Author (A Review)

Reviewing

Shepherd, Potter, Spy and the Star Namer

by Peggy Consolver – Author

Kira was very excited when we received Shepherd, Potter, Spy and the Star Namer from Peggy Consolver – Author to review! My little reader always lights up when she receives mail, but to receive a book in the mail….well this is perhaps her most favorite!  Needless to say, my little avid reader dove straight in! The beautiful bookmark that was enclosed was also a delightful bonus!

 

Kira was extremely pleased with this book! Kira said, ” Before I found the story of the invasion of Canaan boring. I never thought of it from the view that Peggy Consolver – Author had portrayed in Shepherd, Potter, Spy and the Star Namer . I like how it had the two sides, the Hebrews and the Canaanites.

Kira reads a lot. As a homeschool parent, I always fear she is not fully comprehending what she reads. This is especially true when reading her bible.  Any outside source that can compliment bible study is always a welcomed blessing!

The corresponding study guide is a wonderful tool to compliment the story! The cultural information was absolutely terrific, to explore both ancient and modern culture of the  Israelites. Kira found many projects as a result for us to do.  This has enabled us to enrich our present curriculum to include extra fun activities, all the while learning throughout the process!

As if by fate, my husband and I had just been amidst organizing our craft room.  While doing so I had spotted some thread I purchased many moons ago to make bracelets.  When Kira spotted the plaiting and asked if we could do this craft, I easily agreed, remembering the thread I had just seen!  With Kira in tow, we quickly went to retrieve my thread!

 

 

 

Kira absolutely loved the plaiting lesson!

As a fan of reading and art, Shepherd, Potter, Spy and the Star Namer from Peggy Consolver – Author was a wonderful addition to our curriculum.

Suddenly a 379 paged book has enabled us to fill over a month’s worth of lessons and crafts!!!

When I asked Kira what her favorite part of Shepherd, Potter, Spy and the Star Namer from Peggy Consolver – Author was, she said she could not name one part as she actually loved the whole book.  However, she did tell me that her favorite character was, Eskie.  Kira said she liked Eskie because he reminder her of herself, in that he talks a lot and is funny.  She also liked his braveness.

Both Kira and I highly recommend Shepherd, Potter, Spy and the Star Namer from Peggy Consolver – Author. Whether as a stand alone lesson or a supplement to a preexisting curriculum, this story is a delightful way to learn.  It provides an endless abundance of learning opportunities for your young reader, while also providing valuable curriculum resources to enable a full round lesson.

We are so delighted to have had the opportunity to review Shepherd, Potter, Spy and the Star Namer from Peggy Consolver – Author.  Her historical fiction take on this story is absolutely fabulous.  Peggy Consolver draws the reader in instantly! Kira read the book cover to cover and would not put it down until it was finished!

 

 https://www.facebook.com/peggy.consolver

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Illiad And Odyssey Complete Set (Memoria Press Review)

Reviewing Iliad & Odyssey Complete Set

by Memoria Press

 

 

 

This a review of the  Iliad & Odyssey Complete Set by Memoria Press. This completely inclusive set is simply AMAZING! I was flabbergasted when the box arrived. Although the description clearly states all that is included, I honestly did not realize just how much material is included. The box was heavy!

Now, as I have stated more than once before, Kira is an AVID reader, to say the least.  Kira previously read both The Iliad and The Odyssey.  Within as much, she was excited to have an opportunity to do so again and assumed that this would be a breeze! In Kira’s own words, “I first thought this would be very easy, reading these before. Instead, I found this a pleasant challenge.  It forced me to have an alternate perspective, and I enjoyed this immensely!”

I scheduled Kira to work on her Iliad & Odyssey Complete Set lessons three times weekly, but Kira, on her own, did lessons every day!

 

The adventure began with The Iliad. I must say, as a homeschool Mom, teacher guides are an absolute must. The teacher guides provided by Memoria Press within the Iliad & Odyssey Complete Set are outstanding. The teacher guide is a plethora of knowledge and provides essential tools for any homeschool parent.  It is fully inclusive in your pursuit of educating your young learner on all things Homer! This guide is not simply a list of answers, it is absolutely wonderful! There is a teacher guide for each title!

As if the Teachers Guides weren’t enough, there is total of 11  instructional DVDs!!!!! Kira was not especially fond of the DVD aspect.  She was more consumed by counting how many times the instructor said, “Um” than actually paying full attention to him. I personally believe this is because she previously read each book. The instructional DVDs seem more targeted to a  reader who has never read Homer.

Nonetheless, Kira watched and listened. I personally enjoyed watching along and listening.  We both were pronouncing Iliad wrong, so at least if nothing else, now Kira will say it properly!

Kira was ready to begin work on her Iliad & Odyssey Complete Set lessons. To refresh her memory she read The Iliad as translated by Samuel Butler that was included in the set from Memoria Press.

Again, I must iterate Kira is an avid reader.  Within as much, Kira tends to read a bit faster than most teenagers.  It also helped that she has previously read the Homer poem. The Iliad & Odyssey Complete Set  is  divided into 24 books with 24 corresponding lessons (per each title) which helped to pace my little speed reader.  For Kira, these lessons can be done at three or four per day. Thus meaning she could finish the lessons far faster than the suggested 3 per week. Financially speaking, slower for me would be better,  but I will not slow her pace, if I can see that she is fully comprehending and actually learning.  Which, thank God, she presently is.

The workbooks are absolutely wonderful. The corresponding Teacher Guide provided in the Iliad & Odyssey Complete Set  helped me to ensure Kira was fully comprehending  The Iliad, no matter what pace she worked at!  The student guide forced Kira to view the poem in a totally different light, it was very refreshing to hear her explain to me how this set from Memoria Press forced her to think deeper and more about the characters of the poem, thus enabling Kira to fully grasp the true meaning behind Homer’s prose.

Kira previously read the actual poem itself. And although I believed her when she said she understood the words, I now realize she did not truly grasp their underlying meaning. The Iliad & Odyssey Complete Set  has rectified this!

The Iliad & Odyssey Complete Set  is wonderful because after reading The Iliad, a reader can feel left like they are hanging on a cliff. The Odyssey thus enables your young reader to further venture on Homer’s poetic journey and fulfill the burning questions remaining after completing The Iliad!

Although Memoria Press does provide each separately, I highly recommend purchasing The Iliad & Odyssey Complete Set.

Kira has enjoyed The Iliad & Odyssey Complete Set by  Memoria Press  so much that we are now browsing their entire eighth grade curriculum! Kira is quite enthusiastic about all they have available!!

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Reviewing Bessie’s Pillow Published by Strong Learning Inc

Reviewing Bessie’s Pillow Published by Strong Learning Inc

 

 

This a review of the book, Bessie’s Pillow  published by Strong Learning Inc.

Kira loves to read.  Love is an understatement, actually. By the age of 6 she had read virtually all of the young children’s section of our local library. This was on top of her own personal collection which held 200+ titles.

Her love of reading was inherited from my Mother, I imagine.  Many of her personal collection were given to her by my Mother before she passed from cancer in 2009. I mention my Mother as the following review will have quite a bit to do with her.

I knew prior to receiving the book that this would be a wonderful lesson for Kira,  especially with the current state of affairs in our country with immigration.  As descendants of immigrants, I felt this was a perfect lesson prompt for Kira about immigration. Linda Bress Silbert’s “Bessie’s Pillow” is an absolutely perfect way to begin a homeschool lesson about immigration. Her historical fiction first person account of an immigrant’s plight truly is outstanding and a perfect way to introduce a young mind into the world of an immigrant.

Kira quickly read through the 279 (small font) novel in an afternoon.  I did not ask Kira to read it quickly.  This was her own doing.  Although she loves reading, she does not love every book she reads.  Bessie’s Pillow falls under the category of a book she loved.

Kira’s favorite character was Nathan Dreizen. Kira normally finds history boring, but said this story was great.

After reading the book, Kira was curious and eager to learn more.  She asked permission to visit the Bessie’s Pillow website as mentioned in the back of the book. Once we visit the site and landed on the Discover Bessie’s America page, the fun began!

Once we began exploring the website we quickly navigated to the European Immigration page. Once there, we started our own little ancestry search. I knew a handful of information only.  As I mentioned earlier, I lost my Mother in ’09 to cancer.  I lost my father at the tender age of 11.  Both my maternal and paternal grandparents have also passed.  Although I do have quite a gigantic family on both sides, I do not have a great deal of lineage information.  In tow with what little I could remember, we began our search.  What a delight this was!  I had done this once before in about 2007….information was not as readily available as now,  however, and I could not find much at all. This time though, we found a plethora of knowledge all at our hands courtesy of the links on :Discover Bessie’s America page!

My Mother’s grandparents hail from Ireland and Germany, we found them in no time. Our search took us back to my great-great grandparents before we were forced to stop for dinner! I printed off what we found. We next will begin our search on my Father’s side, then we get to begin my husband’s ancestry.

Now our St. Patrick’s day celebration and my preparation of brisket and soda bread has a new meaning for Kira, as do the decorations around our home on the holiday. The history behind the celebrations we have will help keep traditions for many generations to come, I hope.  I fondly remember my Nana telling me stories and now I can share those with Kira.

Bessie’s Pillow , published by Strong Learning Inc. provided the perfect gateway to a fabulous lesson which shall last us for several months.

Our searches have not cost us a single penny either! Although there are several sites out there that may provide more information at a price, we managed to obtain all our information without spending any money!

Kira and I highly recommend Bessie’s Pillow to every home school family.
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BessiesPillow
Twitter: https://twitter.com/BessiesPillow  @BessiesPillow

 

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Creating A Masterpiece Monthly Plan

 Creating A Masterpiece’s Monthly Plan

Create A Masterpiece Logo

This a review of Create A Masterpiece’s Monthly Plan.  My daughter Kira decided to use lessons in charcoal for our review of Creating A Masterpiece’s monthly plan. It has been a wonderful journey with Creating a Masterpiece. Kira has learned a lot and loved each moment!

 

Lessons in Charcoal: Sailing Adventure and Lessons in Charcoal Shading; Stork, both available on the wonderful Creating A Masterpiece site.

Kira has been having a blast with Create A Masterpiece!!!

Kira began with the Lessons in Charcoal; Sailing Adventure.

Being an artist myself, you would think I could easily teach Kira the basics of charcoal. Indeed I have tried. But Kira would become frustrated easily when I did try.

We both would end up with soot-colored hands and extremely frustrated. I felt dreadful because I really could not explain properly for Kira to learn.

I think it is  easier for me to just create art than actually try and explain my personal process.  Especially when I do not follow any sort of fundamental technique. Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised as Kira began immediately sketching along with the videos as she watched. I kept my distance and although I could see and hear everything, I essentially was not involved what so ever. I knew from previewing the videos myself prior that all any young budding artist needed was there for the viewing. I just hoped that Kira would soak it up like a little artistic sponge!

Create A Masterpiece Logo
CAM-Logo-Final

Kira has always loved to draw.  It was no big surprise when she quickly completed her first lesson. Although she  is her own worse critic, I was absolutely amazed at the results and how quickly she achieved them with Creating A Masterpiece! When she was frustrated, Kira could pause the lesson and walk away. The waves and mast had her slightly annoyed at first. But as quick as that came, it soon left! The monthly plan is a phenomenal deal for any family!

 

Create A Masterpiece Logo

Once she completed the lesson, Kira requested to try more, even asked if she could try a more difficult level! I of course was beaming with pride.  It always excites me when Kira is eager to learn!

Create A Masterpiece Logo

Once Kira began her second Creating A Masterpiece lesson, Charcoal Shading: Stork, her pace slowed a bit. I could see and hear that she was learning a lot more with the more advanced lesson.  She would pause the video and study her piece and take her time.  Kira was slightly frustrated at first with the legs. I believe she finally grasped that art is far from perfect and saw how wonderfully her own Stork was becoming!

Create A Masterpiece Logo

Once completed, Kira was SMILING! Finally, something she made that she liked! It was very hard not to try and say, “do this” or “try that”. But I knew that she needed ZERO input from me.  The lesson was completely inclusive. All I had to supply was charcoal and a sketch pad, which of course we had plenty of.

Now Kira would like to tackle even harder lessons.  I imagine before long my child will surpass me artistically, if she has not already.  I am perfectly fine with that.  In fact, I absolutely love it!

I wish I had learned about this site sooner. The lessons are absolutely amazing. Kira and I highly recommend Creating A Masterpiece to every home school family.
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/createamasterpiece

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Reviewing Creative Freewriting Adventure

 

Reviewing Creative Freewriting Adventure

Kira has been having a blast creative writing  with Home School Adventure Co.’s Creative Freewriting Adventure!

This a review of the Creative Freewriting Adventure: A journey into freewriting.

For some children, writing  is a difficult task. Trying to create the perfect story and rewriting over and over can seem quite mundane to any child.  With the tools available from Philosophy Adventure , children are able to establish writing skills  over the course of several weeks with clear step-by-step instructions and writing checklists!

At first Kira was EXTREMELY leery.  When she first read her instructions, Kira freaked out.  It was….wait for it…..wait…..TIMED! Now how dare they?!? Kira has always panicked when something was timed. When I say panic, I mean full bodied anxiety.  There is nothing quite like watching your child go into meltdown over something so… well, let’s face it, trivial.  I (in my mind, of course) counted to ten, took a deep breath and told Kira to just give it a try. After all, it was for a review.  If she hated it, no big deal. What happened next was nothing short of a God given miracle!

Her first writing prompt was about Thales. She was provided 15 minutes to come up with a story. Much to her surprise, she completed her story in 13 minutes.  Mind you, she does not like the story, but was impressed that she was actually able to write it in under the allotted time! Here is her story from this first lesson;

I set out late one night for the well, thirsty for a drink of water. When I arrived, what a sight did I see before my eyes!

     It was Thales, the old philosopher. Like normal, he was watching the constellations, not paying a lick of attention to where he was going. many in the village say he is a batty old loon, but I like his philosophy and way of thinking.

     Anyways, Thales was not watching the ground below his feet, so he did not see the large stone protruding from the ground just a few feet in front of him. I started to cry a warning, But, alas, it was too late! He tripped magnificently and fell in the well with a loud cry and a large splash.

     So maybe it was wrong, but I had to bite my tongue to keep from laughing. I extended a hand and pulled the old man out of the water. “Are you okay?” I asked him.

     He did not respond, but walked away with an indignant turn of his head, dripping a trail of water as he went. And, of course, he was still gazing at the stars.

     I watched, bewildered, for a minute, then turned to get that forgotten drink of water.

 

By the time she made her way to a prompt to write her own take on another book she felt like a pro!!! In the allotted time of 30 minutes she was able to complete the two part prompt in 25 minutes. Here is her story;

She was shroud in black, and spoke not a word, like a mysterious ghost of foreboding.

     I am just a simple scribe, working under His and Her Majesties. I have worked for them almost three decades now, but never have I seen anything like this.

     Princess Rosalie, their daughter, is a troubled and troublesome young lady. She moans and frets constantly, unhappy with this “awful life”, and upsetting the castle. If you ask me, she is just spoilt-rotten and deserve nothing more than a what-for.

   Tonight, as the moon rises with the twilight sky, they have called upon this woman in black to fix their daughter. They call her simply ” the wise woman”.

     “Please,” the queen pleads with her, “there has to be something you can do to help her.”

   The cloaked woman listens silently, impassive, almost. When they have finished their testimony, she takes the king’s goblet in one hand, gnarled and wizened from age. She raises it to the black expanse ‘neath her hood and drains it, slamming it down on the table.

     “I’ll be back.”

     They were the only words she spoke that night. She glided swiftly and silently out of that room and out of the palace.                                    

                                                                           ***

     It is the second night, and the “wise woman” has returned. The king and queen are watching her with hopeful faces. She circles the room, surveying both the room and the food and drink on the table.

     Finally she comes to a stop before the king’s throne. Thunder bellows outside. She stands before him and unclasps her robe.

     We gasp and cover our eyes, not from the sight of her, but, rather, the blinding light radiating from her. Within a few moments, the light is lessened, though not completely gone, and we open our eyes.

     The king and queen look around the throne room, bewildered. It is obvious that, for them, she has disappeared.

     I, however, can still see her with my eyes. Unlike the hand yesterday told, she is not a wizened old crone, but a beautiful young maiden, more beautiful than any princess I ever have and ever will see. She was not unclothes, but clad in a shimmering emerald dress.

     “If you want my help, there is a price to pay!” she cries in a voice that is sweeter than honey, but stronger than steel.

To complement the wonderful writing lesson there is an amazing coloring book!

For my mini artist/writer this was quite the bonus! Kira had a blast writing and coloring!

I let Kira pick her favorite to post;

I admit that Kira has always loved to write. So writing was not her learning struggle. It was the timing aspect. I tried to explain to her what creative writing was like for me in school. Hard to compare when being asked, “Is that not why you home school me?” Yes, Kira is quick on her feet! But I remembered being timed, I actually loved it because it forced me to focus. I see how it has done the same now with Kira! Although she has always written amazing stories, this has forced her to actually fully focus. It is an enormous blessing in all of her lessons!

Philosophy Adventure is designed to help students 6th-12th grade. The lessons are great by themselves or can be used to complement other educational resources.  You need nothing extra either! Well, a pen and a computer of course.

They have subjects including English Composition, World History/Geography, Speech/Communications, and Logic/Critical Thinking.

Kira shares her own review here;

 

I wish I had learned about this site sooner. The resources are absolutely amazing. Kira and I highly recommend Home School Adventure Co to every home school family.

You are invited to sign up for Home School Adventure’s  newsletter and receive a free Study on Thales – The Father of Western Philosophy. The study includes: Thales Lesson, Note booking Page, Freewriting Assignment, Memory Cards, and more.

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/HomeSchoolAdven  @HomeSchoolAdven
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YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/HomeSchoolAdventure

 

 

 

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Nutrish Review

Stinky With Nutrish

When the box of Rachael Ray Nutrish Indoor Complete Chicken with Lentils & Salmon Recipe box arrived for us to review and try from Influenster, my cats went NUTS!

Stinky and Choni

 

Stinky (black and white cat) was the first to examine the contents!

Stinky in box

I first gave the kitties small amounts as treats. They kept begging for more.

Both Stinky and Χιόνι absolutely love Rachael Ray Nutrish Indoor Complete Chicken with Lentils & Salmon Recipe. We highly recommend it!