Wednesday, May 31, 2017

YWAM ~ A Review

My daughter enjoyed reading about Meriwether Lewis part of the Heroes of History series from YWAM Publishing . Along with the book we were given access to a study guide  was provided via an e-mailed downloadable, pdf version.  

Who exactly was Meriwether Lewis? 
You may recognize him more by the reference Lewis & Clark. Meriwether Lewis was commissioned by President Thomas Jefferson to explore the Louisiana Territory purchased from France in 1803.  Meriwether asked his longtime friend William Clark to join him on this expedition. Together they would explore the lands west of the Mississippi. Jefferson charged them with gathering information about the land, plants that grew in territory, animals that inhabited the area, and people that called the territory home. Their adventures were greatly aided by Sacagawea who would provide the help they would need communicating with the people as well navigating the territory. After completing the expedition Lewis would later be named the governor of the Louisiana Territory. 

The day cold and fair with a high easterly wind: we were visited by two Indians who gave us an account of the country and people near the Rocky mountains where they had been.
~Meriwether Lewis~

The book Meriwether Lewis: Off the Edge of the Map is 231 pages in length. 

There are 4 questions related to each of the 18 chapters in Meriwether Lewis: Off the Edge of the Map:
  1. vocabulary questions drawn from the text
  2. factual questions from the text
  3. comprehension questions
  4. open-ended questions
How We Used The Material
We have a growing collection of the Christian Hero Books by YWAM Publishing, and have enjoyed each book that we have read. The book on Meriwether Lewis was another great read. The books are written in a way that both children and adults can appreciate. 

One of my favorite aspects of the Unit Study Curriculum Guide is that there are activities for all learning styles. Some examples of activities include:
  • creating a display (maps, flags, navigation equipment, articles, books, models, photos)
  • creative writing
  • written essays (for students in upper grades)
  • dioramas
  • research projects 
Your child can use the map provided in the unit study print-outs to trace the path that Lewis and Clark took. They can learn about rivers, their sources, and courses. Your student can identify the major geographical regions and mountain ranges. As they trace Lewis and Clarks journey they can learn about some of the tools that were used to help them navigate. My daughter had fun using a compass to help her find a given destination. She learned that precision as well as ones surrounding is very important. 

One of the questions for further exploration that I found to be particularly interesting was, "Find three Native American tribes listed in Meriwether Lewis: Off the Edge of the Map. Do these tribes still exist? If so, where do they live today? How does the population of the tribe today compare to that of the tribe in 1804? Why?"

The Related Themes Web gives students the ability to go beyond the book and explore other avenues of interest in more depth. Areas of exploration include but are not limited to:
  • Math
  • Science
  • Geography
  • History
  • Current Events
In the Social Studies section students will learn about:
  • places of significance talked about in the book
  • journey taken
  • terms/vocabulary 
  • geographical characteristics
  • timeline plotting historical events during this time period
  • conceptional questions (more in depth discussion questions for upper level students)
For younger students you can make a paper machie canoe. You can create an Indian headdress or a beaded necklace. 

My daughter said, "This book on Meriwether Lewis was not the first book that I have read in the YWAM collection. I have enjoyed reading lots of them. I didn't really know too much about Meriwether Lewis before reading this book. I learned so much and found his expedition to be very exciting. I think that Lewis and Clark made a great team. They encountered lots of challenges but in the end they completed their expedition. I enjoyed doing some of the fun activities in the study guide. My least favorite part of the guide where the chapter questions."

In addition to the Heroes of History there is also a series of book on Christian Heroes: Then & Now. We have a small but growing collection of titles from both of these collections. I would highly recommend these books to others. 

To read more reviews click here.

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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The Typing Coach ~ A Review

The Typing Coach Online Typing Course  from The Typing Coach is a great introductory course for children or adults that need to learn how to type. This online typing course is only $17 a per person for an entire YEAR access! Audio, video, and written instruction are used in combination with lots of practice and objective, timed, and scored assessments to get the student typing like a pro. 

Several of my kiddos would definitely benefit from this typing course. With electronic devices we sometimes assume that our children will JUST learn how to type. As I tell my children typing and typing properly are two different things. Using your index fingers is not typing. My 10 year old daughter eagerly volunteered to do the course. She had been wanting to learn how to type for some time now. She was very excited. After she got started she actually asked if she could practice typing and do more lessons. I gave her free reign to progress at her own pace. 

My daughter is a very competitive person so she not only set out to type the selections perfectly but she also wanted to continually increase her speed. 

I was able to have Microsoft Word open alongside The Typing Coach website page. If she wanted to slow down or stop for some reason she only had to click the audio pause button. 

I tried to have her use proper posture and hand positioning most of the time. She was very receptive to the instructions given in the beginning of the course about the importance of keyboard placement, posture and hand positioning. 

The Typing Coach website is easy to navigate and downloading practice sheets to print was easy. 

The course layout is pretty straightforward. The program offers slower paced lessons for the student that needs a slower progression. I don't really remember back to my own typing course in high school. I am sure it was a similar set-up to this one. I like how the student learns each row separately and slowly combines rows once they are learned. Once the student learns where all of the keys are and is proficient they are challenged with some serious practice excerpts. At the end of the course the student takes a final assessment. 

There are several ways for the student to listen to the audio lessons. Directions are given for various systems. 

This fun progress chart helps the student keep track of where they are within the course. My daughter added in her times to the activities. 

Lessons start out simple. As you can see, when learning the keys what is typed is pretty much garble. There is plenty of repetition in order for the student to gain proficiency. The course encourages the student to practice each row and master the lesson before moving on. The course encourages the student to not get into the HABIT of looking at the keyboard when typing. 

Each lesson has detailed instructions to aid the student in their typing proficiency. My daughter was really challenged when she was told to not look at the keyboard or the screen. Not wanting to make mistakes this was hard. After awhile she realized that if she trained herself to keep her eyes on the practice sheet ONLY that most of the time she was able to type the given selection without error.

Since my daughter so willingly wanted to learn to type she did more than the one lesson a week recommendation. If the student follows the one lesson a week plan they will complete the course in 10 weeks.

My daughter said, "I was very excited about learning how to type. I thought it was going to be a lot harder than it really was. Sometimes I get nervous about not keeping up but that didn't happen. The man who talks during the lessons is really good at talking slow and repeating what he says lots of times. Typing is fun. Pretty soon I will be able to type whatever I want." 

Eventually the student will work on typing selections such as the U.S. Bill of Rights and a motivational selection from Charles Swindoll on Attitude. This course is set up in a way that if followed according to what is asked of the student typing mastery is achieved. It is important that the student realize that when they complete the course they need to continually practice their typing to increase wpm, typing with fewer errors, fluidity of typing,  and overall proficiency. 

My daughter had a short time when life was a bit chaotic in our house. She missed about a week of typing. I was concerned with how she would do jumping back in where she left off. Instead of having her progress to the next lesson I had her use the practice sheets that she had already completed. She spent a day reinforcing the rows and combinations and then continued on with a new lesson. As the saying goes, "Repetition is the mother of all learning." 

Overall I really liked this program. I would definitely recommend it to others. The price is fantastic. This would be perfect for a summer enrichment. I will most definitely be using this course with some of my other children. 

To read more reviews click here.

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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Kwik Stix ~ A Review

The Pencil Grip, Inc. has many useful and fun educational products. One of my favorites is the Thin Stix 6pk of Classic Colors. The Pencil Grip, Inc. has amazing educational products. Kwik Stix are NO MESS, fast drying, tempera paints. You can finally let your kiddos paint without the worry of all of the mess associated with painting. No water is needed! Simply uncap, twist, and paint. The paint glides on and the colors are vibrant. Kwik Stix are solid tempura, non-toxic paint. 

Here is a side by side of the original Kwik Stix and the newer Thin Stix. The original Kwik Stix are ideal for younger children. I have let a one year old that was over at our house paint with the original, chunkier Kwik Stix. I will add that due to small parts the product is not recommended for children under the age of 3. With that said, with close adult supervision your younger children will loved and enjoy becoming tiny Picasso's. When my kids were toddlers I really did not enjoy getting paints out. It was such a MESS! Kwik Stix are definitely a mother's dream! 

When I was first introduced to Kwik Stix I was worried about my kiddos blowing though these sticks at an alarming rate. I have been pleasantly surprised at how long they last! 

Thin Stix give your little artist the ability to paint with much more detail. By the way, Kwik Stix are not just for little kids! Big kids and adults will love them too!! My daughter recently did an art project where it called for poster paint. My daughter asked if she could use Kwik Stix instead. Of course I happily said yes because I knew it meant less mess and clean up. When I compared the finished art project in her art book to her recreation I thought her looked better. The colors were more vibrant and  nicer. 

Today is my daughter's 11th Birthday! Her older sister decided to make her a Happy Birthday banner using the Thin Stix. We loved the 6 pack Thin Stix so much I decided to order the 12 pack of Thin Stix too. 

The six pack which I received for this review comes with black, brown, blue, green, red, and yellow. 

The twelve pack that we purchased because my kiddos wanted more options have the above same colors and orange, white, light blue, pink, light green, and purple.

I had my daughter draw a lightbulb on black paper so that you can see how bold and vibrant the colors are. 

The Thin Stix are great for practicing cursive. The paint glides onto paper effortlessly and makes for easy flow of the letters. My daughter has actually found it much easier to write in cursive using Kwik Stix verses a pencil. I guess one could say that it is more fun too! 

I have recommended Kwik Stix to ALOT of friends with young children and they have all come back to thank me. My 17 year old daughter who is a gifted artist absolutely loves Kwik Stix. She loves the quality of the product and how creamy and smooth they glide onto paper. I have to admit that I find them fun too. 

Kwik Stix would be a great addition to any gift. With Kwik Stix you can really let your kiddos paint anywhere. My kiddos actually prefer these to crayons or markers. As summer is upon us these would be great for summer camps, VBS, or to keep your kiddos busy at home. I have taken these to doctor's appointments along with tablets of paper and others in the waiting area are shocked when they find out that it is PAINT. 

I would definitely recommend Kwik Stix to everyone. Whether you are 3 or 93 these paints are fun! 

To read more reviews click here.

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Sunday, May 21, 2017

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Fine Art Adventures

Fine Art Adventures ~ 36 Creative, Hands-On Projects Inspired
by Classic Masterpieces 

Buffel, Buffle
Jakob van der Schley 
c. 1770

Buffalo Painting 
(We didn't have the exact materials available that 
we listed but improvised with materials on hand.)

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Focus on the Family ~ A Review

For 40 years, Focus On The Family has been ministering to individuals, families, and the world through daily broadcasts, books, magazines, online resources, and so much more. Recently my kiddos had the opportunity to read Captain Absolutely  a comic book based story about defending truth and justice. This softcover comic book is 105 pages in length.

Who is Captain Absolutely? Metropolatinville librarian Josiah King had never heard of the Bible. A massive explosion exposes a chamber filled with banned books. Josiah stumbles upon a Bible and for the first time reads God's truth! To add a bit of sci-fi into the mix Josiah is exposed to mysterious radioactive fumes that transform him into Captain Absolutely. 

When this comic book arrived in the mail my 10 year old daughter snatched it up and ran off to read it. After about 30 minutes she came back and said how much she liked the story and asked if there were more. My daughter was familiar with Captain Absolutely from the Clubhouse magazines that she receives from Focus On The Family. 

My daughter said, "Captain Absolutely is about a hero who battles against evil. While battling the villains he gives out God's Word. Along the way he finds new friends and also enemies. His greatest enemy is Dr. Relative. Bibles are banned from Metropolitanville. One of my favorite parts was when Captain Absolutely was in a store. He said, 'Some villain replaced the shirts, skirts and dresses in the is store with immodest duplicates.' Another favorite was when Dr. Relative made flying machines who criticized people using God's Word. I really, really liked this comic book. I really am not a fan of comic books but am definitely a fan of this one."

At the end of the comic book there is a Character highlights section that gives further information into each character. A brief synopsis of each character as well as character stats are listed. 

Captain Absolutely is based off of Josiah in the Bible (2 Kings 22-23). Each character has a verse accompanying their character. Dr. Relative's verse is:

"A fool's way is right in his own eyes, but whoever listens to counsel is wise." Proverbs 12:15

A section at the end entitled, Big Questions, engages kiddos with questions relating to the comic book text. Some question examples are:

What does the Bible say about fear? (Start with Psalm 27:1) p.16

Does holding a grudge ever make things better? p.44

The page number where the answers to the questions are found can be used to help children make sure that they know the right answers. 

As a mom I would most definitely recommend this comic book for the child in your life. Not only will your child learn about great Bible truths but they will be entertained too. As a disclaimer, no your child does not need to be entertained to learn the word of God because God's Word is enough on its own. God's Word is living and active and powerful enough to reach even children. Rather, it is nice to have Christian based children's material to encourage children in their faith. Grab a copy and follow Captain Absolutely as he defends truth, justice, and lots more truuuth!

To read more reviews click here.

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Confetti Eggs