Thursday, June 25, 2020

The Mayflower at Cape Cod ~ A Review


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

The Mayflower at Cape Cod – Stories, activities, and research that connect 1620 with life today is a seven-lesson unit study on what exactly happened after the Mayflower landed on the coast of Cape Cod in 1620. The study not only talks about the happenings surrounding that time but then it connects to present day. The Mayflower at Cape Cod is a paperback, spiral-bound book. The covers are thicker cardstock and are in color. The cost of the book varies depending on the version you choose. The Teachers Pay Teachers digital version is $8.50. The publisher version pay by PayPal is $20.00 + $4.00 shipping. You can also purchase a copy on Amazon for $20.00 + shipping. 

 

The Mayflower at Cape Cod is intended for 6th-12th grade. The unit study could most definitely be used in the homeschool, co-op, or school setting. There are many projects and activities that are specifically intended for a group setting. I think that most types of learners would benefit from this unit study. There are over 70 activities and 80 research areas in total for the student to choose from. Some of the activities included within the units include:


·      Art

·      Cooking

·      Drama

·      Games

·      Poetry

·      Group Work

·      Reading

 

The Lessons included within The Mayflower at Cape Cod are:


1.     First Encounter

2.     Exploration

3.     Landing

4.     Expeditions

5.     Natives

6.     After First Encounters

7.     Present Awareness

 

I am going to walk you through Lesson 3 entitled, The Mayflower Landing on Cape Cod. Each lesson begins with a Learning Objective. The objective for lesson three is, 


“To recognize the role of King James I in part of the Mayflower story;

to justify the Mayflower’s new landing location and subsequent 

contract; to analyze the survival situation and identify trees; to 

recognize the issues of hunger, courage, and isolation as well as 

needs verses wants; to make decisions about wilderness survival items.”


After the objective student then read the Lesson Story. The story, on average, is about three pages. After the student reads the story for the lesson they then read through the activities and research topics for the lesson. I guess depending on the situation the teacher may be the one to decide the activity and research topic. I let my daughter choose what she wanted to do. My daughter is 11 years old and in the 6th grade. For this particular lesson my daughter chose to do, Leaf Art. She was instructed to choose a leaf shape from one of the indigenous trees on Cape Cod: oak, pine, holly, cedar, sassafras, or maple. Inside the leaf she was then supposed to make a collage of drawings of items that would have represented life of the Native Indians on Cape Cop in 1620. She drew an Indian head dress, a canoe, a hut (wetu), corn, fish jumping out of water, a fire made with sticks for cooking, a bear, a bird, etc. We found a picture of a maple leaf online and enlarged it and printed it out. For our research project topic for Lesson 3 we chose, Oil Lamps. “As the alternative to candles, what did oil lamps look like in the 1600’s? What animal fats were used as fuel and how were they obtained? What plants were also used for lamp fuel?”

 

Some of the other fun activities that my daughter did while working through the other lessons were:


·      Note Taking Through Drawing Comparing the 1400’s, 1500’s and the 1600’s

·      Corn Game 

·      Cranberry Muffins

·      Gratitude Tree Art

·      Rule Discussion

 

My daughter really enjoyed this seven-lesson study. She enjoyed that the reading part of the lesson was not too long and that each lesson had fun activities that she got to do after she read. Many of the research topics were way above her grade level so she did not do many of them. My daughter definitely learns better when she is able to reinforce what she has read through activities. The unit study model is definitely a huge draw for me as a homeschooler. I really liked the choices of activities and research topics that went along with this study. 

 

I would recommend The Mayflower at Cape Cod – Stories, activities, and research that connect 1620 with life today to fellow homeschoolers and educators. 

 

-Product review by Jennifer Ladewig, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, May 2020

 

Friday, June 19, 2020

The Write Foundation


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



The Write Foundation: Homeschool Writing Curriculum is a writing curriculum that has 5 different levels for ages 8-18. The Entry Level I: Prepare to Write is for ages 8-11. Entry Level II: Creating Sentences is for ages 9-12. Level 1: Sentence to Paragraph Writing is for ages 12-14. This is the level that we reviewed. Level 2: Paragraph Writing is for ages 14-16. And, Level 3: Essay Writing is for ages 16-18. There are free samples for each of the levels to help determine which level best fits your child’s academic level. Reading lists are also available for each writing level. Step-by-Step lesson plans help guide the parent as they teach the student through the course. In Level 1: Sentence to Paragraph Writing there are 30 lessons. There are two spiral notebooks. Each spiral notebook contains instructions for 15 lessons. 

Sentence to Paragraph Writing, developed for ages 12-14, or 7th through 9th grade covers grammar, sentence composition, paragraph structure, and writing organization. My 11-year-old, 6th grader has been working her way through this level over the past couple of months. This curriculum is perfect for homeschoolers. This would also work really well for the co-op setting. Everything is precisely written out so that there is minimal preparation for the parent. This program would work well for most all learners. For the learner that is struggling a bit with writing the parent can be a bit more hands on. For the student that excels at writing you can easily bump them up a level to challenge them in their writing. The reading that goes along with the curriculum, there are multiple levels of books from easier to more difficult books. One aspect of the curriculum is reading good literature. They stress that the best readers make for the best writers. Even though this particular level is for 7th to 9th graders they still encourage reading to students in addition to listening to audio books as well as encouraging students to select books to read independently. There is a point system and it is determined by the length of the book as well as the reading level. For example, a 4-point book would be, The Courage of Sarah Noble by Alice Dalgliesh. A 14-point book example would be, Number the Stars by Lois Lowry. A 20-point book example would be, Jane Austen’s, Pride and Prejudice. Let’s take a look at a lesson so that you can better understand exactly how the curriculum works. At the beginning Lesson 5 there is a layout for a 5-day or a 9-day set-up. For most weeks we chose to go with the 5-day lay-out. I should preface by saying that The Write Foundation uses Mind Benders® in its curriculum. For Level 1: Sentence to Paragraph Writing they use Mind Benders® Level 3. Back to Lesson 5. Here is the lay-out of Lesson 5. 

Lesson 5

Day 1
1.     Students complete work from Day 4
2.     Mind Benders®
3.     Adverb Practice

Day 2
1.     Adverb Game

Day 3
1.     Warning Sentences, Students Brainstorm, Writing Assignment

Day 4
1.     Students write, edit, and type 6 warning sentences

Day 5
1.     Concrete Poetry, students write poetry

Students are guided at the beginning of the program as to how to create their three-ring binder with written tabs. As assignments are completed students place completed work in the designated section in their binder. The sections are: Worksheets, Assignments, Checklists, Word Lists, Lesson Notes, Reading List, Graded Work, and Mind Benders®. The Worksheets, the main part of The Write Foundation student curriculum come already hole punched and ready to go into a binder. Students simply have to go to the worksheet that corresponds to the lesson and worksheet that the teacher requests such as, Lesson 5, Worksheet WS2. Grading is pretty straight forward as well. In the student’s worksheets there are checklists listing exactly what must be contained within each assignment. For example, at the end of Lesson 5 students must write out 10 Warning Sentences. Each sentence must contain 8 words. The student must write, edit, and type each sentence using the information from the Waring Brainstorm. The sentences must follow the Sentence Writing Checklist. Each sentence must state, the name of the product with a warning or reason for warning. An adverb (‘ly) without repeating any ‘ly adverbs. I did not require my daughter to type out her sentences. It should also be noted that the books that go along with the literature must be purchased on your own. 

Overall, as a whole, I was quite impressed with the curriculum and would recommend it to my friends and fellow homeschoolers. My daughter actually liked the curriculum. She liked that it had clear and easy to follow instructions and, in her words, “made sense.” I loved that good literature was included in the curriculum! This was a huge drawing point for me. My daughter liked that she got to choose from a wide variety of books. I also liked that the literature books were broken down into a point system to help parents figure out about the level of book their child needed to read. The curriculum was in my daughter’s words, “not boring like a lot of other writing curriculums.” I would have to agree with her on this point. 

There really wasn’t anything that I disliked about the curriculum. 

The Write Foundation ~ Level 1: Sentence to Paragraph Writing curriculum throughout its 30 lessons cover how to write descriptive sentences all of the way to writing concise single paragraphs. Emphasis on grammar and figures of speech will be studied as students learn the writing process. Be sure to go to the website to check out all of the levels and to read more about The Write Foundation. 


-Product review by Jennifer Ladewig, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, May 2020

Thursday, June 18, 2020

The Genius of Homeschooling


There are so many amazing benefits of homeschooling. Today there was a wonderful live Facebook discussion that Dr. V.A. Shiva Ayyadurai hosted on his Facebook page entitled, The Genius of Homeschooling. He was talking about vital skill that children need. He had two homeschool parents in the discussion. Concerning homeschooled children, how do we has parents ensure that vital skills are taught and how do homeschool children differ from their peers in the school system. I loved this part of the discussion. I would have loved to have jumped in! As a homeschool parents of 21 years I see the amazing benefits of homeschooling. Here is a list of what I see as the benefits and skills that I see many homeschooled gain as a result of home education.
  1. I have my children's hearts. What does this mean? Because they are not in school 8 hours a day I was able to deal with the heart issues of my children from an early age. Each of my six children are so very different. For example, some of my kiddos are very strong willed and needed firm boundaries and limits. Consistency is so very important. Having them at home enabled me to deal with the being consistent in discipline. Children crave boundaries and discipline. I am not talking about using corporal punishment. I am talking about age appropriate punishments and/or using currency that will get your child's attention (taking away something they enjoy doing or have). This also means helping your child to learn appropriate and positive ways to express their emotions. It is also so very important to keep open lines of communication open with your children as they grow up. I am proud to say that as my children entered the teen years they have come to both my husband and I for advice. We have wonderful relationships with all of our teenagers and adult children. We have not dealt with rebellion. 
  2. Homeschooled children, because they are around adults more than their school peers tend to have more respect and the ability for conversing with adults. They also tend to have more tolerance for younger children because of younger sibling in the household or because they are around younger children in homeschool groups or co-ops. 
  3. Homeschoolers tend to be able to work independently at a younger age. Personally, by the time my children were in the 3 grade they were doing a lot of their work independently. By this time they were all very strong readers. I would, of course teach new concepts. But honestly some of my kiddos did not even need me to do that. They read through the examples and instructions and did the work and I graded it. My philosophy was, we did not move on until the work was completed to 100%. They were able to work at their own pace. Some moved through the curriculum faster than others. It should be pointed out, not one specific curriculum works for all children. I found this out early on. What works for one child may total not work for the next. That is the BEAUTY of homeschooling. You CANNOT put all children into the same box and teach them! In my opinion, that is a set-up for disaster. 
  4. I have a quote in the header of my blog by John Dewey that says, "Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself." I absolutely love this quote. I think that our modern day education system has total failed children. Again, homeschooler learn very early that LIFE HAPPENS! Yes, education is very important but what we learn in life in our daily living and how we respond and react to it is so very important to. Our family deals with a huge amount of complicated medical issues. Several of our children have been and continue to be in and out of the hospital. Multiple times we have almost lost them. Over the years our children have learned that when one of the sibling are in the hospital they have to pick up some slack at home since I am gone. That means helping with cooking, cleaning, laundry, helping with younger sibling, and making sure that they prioritize and schedule out their school work. Daddy is home and his way of doing things are different from mine. Everyone has to work together. My children have learned how fragile life really is. Education is all around us. It is going to the zoo or botanical gardens. It is sending the kiddos outside because they are restless and cannot concentrate. The day is too beautiful. Instead you choose to spend an hour taking a walk. The kiddos play with rolly pollys, collect leaves and then come home and look up what each leave is. By then the kiddos are focused to get back to schoolwork. Maybe your child is interested in carving and woodwork and so you find a neighbor or friend who can work with your child during the week. My son, at the age of 15 decided that he wanted to learn to play the violin. Well, we had a next door neighbor that was a retired orchestra teacher. He offered to teach my son violin for free. Having your children help prepare lunch while you chat about life or something they are interested in. My oldest daughter dances. By the time she was 14 she was an apprentice at her studio. She assisted dance classes for the 2-5 year olds during the day. If she were in school she would not have been able to do that. She loved it! Because she did that she got to take classes for free in exchange for helping out. By the time she was 17 she was teaching her own classes. She is now 24 and married. She still teaches ballet and tap. She is doing what she loves. There was a period of time when my kiddos were younger that we went to a retirement home to just "be" with the residents. What a healthy experience not only for my kiddos but also for them. The opportunities are so great and vast when you as a parent have your children at home. You CHOOSE what your children do. 
  5. I can tell you that it DOES NOT TAKE 8 HOURS TO ACCOMPLISH A HOMESCHOOL DAY! Of course as your children get older the work load get more intense and the time that they spend is substantial. But in the younger years it is not. All of the wasted hours that children spend in a typical school day, wow. This is time that homeschool children can hone into their talents and personal interests. They can also just BE KIDS! My children spent hours; building with blocks, playing with Legos, making houses with Lincoln Logs, putting puzzles together, playing with Schleich animals, playing with Playmobil sets, playing with their child size kitchen and play food/kitchen stuff, etc. I read to my children a lot! We have a HUGE library of books. When they were little I would read stacks of books at a time. Many of my children are avid readers. They would spend hours reading. It would be nothing for some of my children to read a novel in a couple of days. 
  6. I will add more as time permits and it comes to mind...

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

A Bit of Summer...



Ribbit! Look at this cute little guy that the kiddos found outside.


 New Snow Cone Machine 🍧






Berries from our yard! 😋


Gluten free pie!


Slime time! 





Monday, June 15, 2020

HelpTeaching.com ~ A Review


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


I have been using the HelpTeaching Pro Subscription from HelpTeaching.com over the past weeks. HelpTeaching.com is an online resource for parents and educators that provide printable tests, activities, games, and lessons for PreK-12. Often times I need to fill in the gaps and this site is helpful in providing easy to access learning aids. HelpTeaching.com is a bit of a one stop shop. Whether you are looking for math help on concepts that your child is struggling with, SAT practice, or learning about the French Revolution, HelpTeaching.com truly has it allThe wide range of teaching tools is just a click away. Looking for a way to generate a test, quiz, or worksheet? HelpTeaching.com has the ability to do this a well. For the lower grades the site has plenty of resources for your little ones too. Preschool children can learn their letter and the sounds that they make. There are complete phonics lessons. Your young child can learn shapes, colors, matching, how many?, following simple directions and more. Each grade level is broken down into subject and then subtopics. New material is constantly being added. I utilized the site for my 7th, 9th and, 12th graders. 

My high school daughter was able to get a crash course on the French
Revolution. There was a pretty informative YouTube video and then a 
short test that you could either take on the site and it auto scored or 
you could print it out. 









There is a really awesome Top 100 SAT Words section. Students can 
go through each of the 100 words on a YouTube video and see the 
word, the definition and a picture to go with the picture
There is then a test where the students can test their recall on the words
that they have just reviewed. Students can either take the test within
the site or print the test out. 


Here is what the WORDS look like.






Here is the Test.






There are many other activities that students can do with the SAT words. 


My 6th grader was working on protractors in her math the other day. 
I for the life of me could not find any of our protractors. 
I decided to go onto HelpTeaching.com and search protractor worksheets and
vola! 



Worksheet Generator





My 7th grader was working on the 8th grade Water Cycle Diagram 
from the above online activities.


I really like HelpTeaching.com as a teaching aid. It has so many amazing resources for PreK-12 grade. This site is a great resource for SUMMER LEARNING! So often kiddos need help filling in gaps in subjects that they struggled with during the school year. This site would be wonderful at helping to fill in those gaps. There is definitely plenty of material. Maybe your child needs some help before entering into the next grade. HelpTeaching would be a great bridge to fill in that gap. Wondering if you little one is ready for school in the Fall. Is your 3 or 4 year old anxious to do some BIG KID SCHOOLWORK but you don't know where to start. HelpTeaching.com has everything broken down into age and grade level. The site is easy to navigate. Check out to see what my Fellow Crew Members had to say about HelpTeaching.com.

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Friday, June 12, 2020

Across the Board Marbles & Jokers Game ~ A Review


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

Across the Board Marbles & Jokers Game is a great game for the young and the seasoned game players. The game comes with three plastic coated decks of cards, a black, velvet drawstring bag with 30 marbles (yellow, black, white, red, green, and blue), and six colored, wooden game paddles, and six cheat sheets. The game is intended to be played with 2-6 players. The game retails for $62.00. 

 

Across the Board Marbles & Jokers Game does not specify an age range. My youngest child playing the game was 11 years old. The only warning on the game is a choking hazard for children 3 and under for the marbles. In my opinion I think that children much younger than 11 would be able to catch on to the rules and be able to play. Like I stated above, the game is intended for 2-6 players. Each player uses one game paddles with corresponding colored marbles. Marbles are placed in the starting position on the paddle. All three decks of cards are supposed to be shuffled. Each player is dealt five cards face down. The remaining cards are put in the middle face down. In order to be able to move your marble from the start position you must have an ACE, KING, QUEEN, or a JACK. The player discards the card used and draws a new one. If unable to move, they must discard a card from their hand, draw another card. Here are the CHEAT SHEET RULES:


·      KING, QUEEN, and JACK moves a marble out of START OR moves forward 10 spaces

·      ACE moves a marble out of START OR moves forward 1 space

·      2 moves forward 2 spaces OR exchanges positions with any marble in play on board

·      3, 4, 5, 6, and 10 moves forward face value of card

·      7 moves forward 7 spaces OR splits between 2 marbles to total 7 spaces

·      8 moves backward 8 spaces

·      9 moves forward 9 spaces OR splits between two marbles- one forward and one back – to total 9 spaces

·      JOKER – 2 marbles have to be moved. A marble may be moved out of START OR any other marble may be moved to replace an opponent’s marble and return to START

 

We have even learned that someone can jump into the game when a couple of players have their marbles on the board. Marbles and Jokers gives the players several opportunities, throughout the game, to send an opponent’s marble back to their beginning home base. It’s fun to listen to one player, “beg for mercy” from a fellow player, when he/she is going to be sent back to their beginning base. Players try to make deals and offer a reward of returning mercy to the player that is about to send their marble back to the beginning. My favorite number to roll on the dice, is the number “9”. A roll of a number “9” gives the player the opportunity to move forward with all “9”, or to split the “9”, to use on two different marbles. Imagine the case scenario, when you roll a “9”, and you get to place one of your marbles into home base and to send someone else back to the beginning base! Marbles and Jokers can be a game that doesn’t end quite as soon as some players would like. When a player has to send a marble around the board three or four times, the game gets kind of long. We are thinking of a rule that we can add to the game to end it a bit sooner. The Marbles and Jokers game offers the players several options, with the roll of the dice, to move in different directions or to send another player back to the beginning.  

 

Our family loves games and we were so excited to play Marbles and Jokers. We spend a lot of family time together playing games. My daughter had been playing a somewhat similar version of Across the Board Marbles & Jokers Game with her grandmother and so I was very excited for them to play this game when it came in the mail. Marbles & Jokers is a reinvention of an old classic. My mother remembers this game by different names, Aces and Faces and Pegs and Jokers. These older classics though slightly different from the Across the Board Marbles & Jokers Game set-up are reminiscent of the past. Sometimes it is important to set aside one’s electronics, video games, and cell phones and enjoy the simplicity of an old classic game with family around the table. It was fun to watch my mom and my daughter’s play the game together. Though the game was long there was a lot of laughter and banter going on between the four of them.  

The one downside is that my children said that the game lasted way too long. Their first game lasted over two hours! The simple solution would have been to spit the game up into two sessions instead of trying to play the game in one sitting. 




Here is what my children had to say about the game. My 17-year-old said, “The game was too long for a game that required no thought process. After a while, the repetition of the game plus the time it took to play it made me uninterested to play it again.” My 13-year-old said, “I guess you could say it’s fun in the beginning, but after a while it gets way too repetitive. I don’t think I’ll be interested in playing the game again for a while because of how long it took to play.” My 11-year-old said, “I think you need to play it with the right people to really have fun. It doesn’t take much brain power at all but, in my personal opinion sometimes you are in the mood to just play a game with not much thought. I have only played the game once, but I think I’ll probably end up playing it a whole lot more.” My mom said, “Anytime I can play a game with my grandchildren I am happy.”

 

Overall, I recommend Across the Board Marbles & Jokers Game. Gather a few snacks, find a friend, siblings, a grandparent or a parent and enjoy an afternoon or an evening of fun. 

 

-Product review by Jennifer Ladewig, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, May 2020

 

The Talented Miss Farwell

Miss Rebecca Farwell at a young age is great with numbers. As all of her graduating class is off to start their lives she is stuck at home c...