Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Drive Thru History Adventures ~ A Review

My daughter has been working through a 12-week trip through American History, from Columbus to the Constitution from Drive Thru History AdventuresDrive Thru History Adventures offers three online courses for students - Ancient History, American History, and Bible History. Unlike most history curriculums Drive Thru History Adventures literally takes students one adventures with as they travel with Dave Stotts, via video field trips exploring history. This curriculum is geared for students ages 12 and older. Younger students (5-11) can glean from the curriculum from watching the videos and answering the more simple questions with their parents. High School students can be challenged more by doing research outside of the curriculum on topics of interest, writing research papers, completing projects, and digging deeper into the subject matter.

Drive Thru American History

So what exactly will your student be doing during their "adventure with Dave Stotts" each week? Well, here is a short run down list of what they can expect:
  1. Students will watch the Adventure video - a short written summary follows the video
  2. Next, is the Suggested Reading - this can be read on your device or printed out
  3. Answer the Discussion Questions - this can be done aloud or printed/written out
  4. Side Road 
  5. Digging Deeper Resources 
The 12 week course covers:
  1. The Discovery
  2. Pilgrim Search for Freedom
  3. Beginnings of Revolution
  4. Whitefield & Boston's Freedom Trail
  5. William Penn & Early Philadelphia
  6. Founding Fathers of Philadelphia
  7. Fighters of the Revolution
  8. Early Colonial Virginia
  9. Founding Fathers of Virginia
  10. Revolution of New York
  11. New York and the First President
  12. New Jersey and Epilogue

Video Adventures
Each video is approximately 28 minutes in length. Dave Stotts definitely has a love for history and keeps students engaged. For students that find history BORING this is a great way to make history make sense and come alive. 

My 11 year old daughter said, 
"I enjoyed watching the videos. Mr. Stotts is very entertaining. I have learned a lot about history and it has actually be kind of interesting. Even though the videos are almost 30 minutes long they go by really fast. I have learned about not only history but some geography, art, and fun facts too. It was neat seeing all of the historic places from history that Mr. Stotts drives to in the episodes each week. Seeing the actual places where history took place is so cool! Because a lot of what Mr. Stotts covers is new to me I think that I will probably watch the videos more than once. I really like learning history with Mr. Stotts." 

I do feel that for students lacking a lot of history background they may feel a bit lost just listening to the videos without further explanation into the time period, events, people, etc. It was helpful to stop and pause the videos from time to time to explain various events with my daughter or to look up topics in order to get a thorough understanding before continuing on with a video. With that said, I feel like if my daughter were a bit older this would not be an issue. I absolutely love history and found myself glued to the videos whenever my daughter was watching them. I enjoyed John Stotts take on teaching history and appreciated how he brought scripture and God into his lessons. I myself really enjoyed seeing the historical sites where history actually took place. For so many individuals that will never have the opportunity to actually see the sites of these historical places, John Stotts brings them to you in these videos. 

Suggested Reading
IMO, this reading is geared more for the older student. My 11-year-old daughter found these reading to be a bit over her head. I do like that Drive Thru History makes reading these on your given device easy so as not to have to print them out and waste printer ink. For the student that prefers a physical copy students can simply print the readings. Some students find it helpful to highlight the text, have a physical copy, and keep a binder for physical reference later on. 

Discussion Questions 
Questions such as, "Why was crossing the Delaware River so very difficult for the colonial army?" is just one example of the questions asked. Most of the questions were pretty straight forward and my daughter was able to answer them. Every once in awhile she did come across a question that she did not recall hearing about in the video. 

A couple of weeks ago we got a huge surprise in the mail! Drive Thru History Adventures 
sent us two iron on patches and two car decals. They are pictured here with my daughter 
while she is working on her Episode Three worksheet. 

Students can print out chapter worksheets which include the Episode number and title, weekly quote, video summary, and discussion questions with space given to write answers. 

Dig Deeper
These are the suggested projects for the older students needing or wishing to further their study on their weekly adventure. One example is for younger students to present John Hancock's Thanksgiving Day Proclamation. John Hancock presented this proclamation   and was "Given at the Council-Chamber, in Boston, the fifth Day of October, in the Year of our Lord, One Thousand Seven Hundred and Ninety-One, and in the sixteenth Year of the Independence of the United States of America."

This is just an example of one of the many amazing photographs that your student will find throughout their study. I have always loved this picture. 

After completing each weeks lesson your student will see this at the bottom of their screen congratulating them on finishing their weekly history adventure. 

E-Mail Communications
John sends emails sharing his many side road adventures and topics such as "The History of Cheese" and "The History of Groundhog Day" to name a few. Earlier in February Dave was fighting the flu and so his side road video topic is "Crazy Fashion Shows, Germ Free Living"   and was dressed in a hazmat suit. He cracks me up. 

Overall Thoughts
I really liked Drive Thru History overall. The setup is easy to follow and it engages the student. I would definitely recommend this program to others. 

To read more reviews click here.

Social Media
Facebook:  http://facebook.com/drivethruhistory 
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/drivethruhistory/       
Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/drivethruhistory/          


Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Daring to Hope

The pages of “Daring to Hope” by Katie Davis Majors are steeped with grace and mercy.  Katie opens her heart and her home to help those who are in need. Her endurance is stretched in ways that even she cannot imagine. She finds time and energy to take young girls into her home and gives aid to so many along the way.
  One example of Katie’s mercy is shown to a man who has been burned in a fire. Katie dares to take on the unimaginable task of caring for his wounds. God leads her through a painstaking journey. It seems that whatever God lays before Katie, she handles, with God’s help.
    Life and death are a journey that Katie travels in her endeavor to serve God. She faces hard decisions, monumental difficulties and always turns to God for her every need.
    This book will give you hope and a greater sense that God is bigger than any circumstance we face. Katie is an inspiration. The book is an excellent read.

Disclaimer-"I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review."

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Bytes of Learning ~ A Review

Over the past weeks two of my kiddos have been working their way through learning how to type using the UltraKey Online Family Subscription from Bytes of Learning. This program is ideal for students aged 8 and older. 

Some of the key features that make this program unique:
  • instruction is voice supported
  • self-paced
  • depending on age and preferences a variety of interfaces are customizable 
  • lots of practice is included in the program
  • challenge material is included to motivate the student
  • game zone
  • placement tests to place student right where they need to be
  • positive reinforcements along the way
  • program tracks students progress
  • works well for all ages, not kiddish
  • sets goals for students that can be adjusted
  • operated on all major browsers
  • extremely affordable
  • user friendly
  • fun
There are several ways that a user can set goals for themselves in the program:
  1. The manager (teacher) can set the goals
  2. The user can set their own goals
  3. The program can set goals for the user
  4. The user can take goal assessments

If the user chooses to utilize the goal assessments they are in the form of one minute typing tests. The student completes the test, the program automatically assesses and assigns goals. 

Both speed and accuracy goals are kept track of on the student's progress report. The clipboard has all of your students information right at your fingertips. I was extremely impressed by the graphs and information provided by the Bytes of Learning program. It was extremely comprehensive and detailed. 

Here is an example of the detail that you will get. This is the My Progress.

One of the ways that the program is extremely user friendly is that the student only had to scroll over any given item on the screen and an explanation box will pop up explaining exactly what can be found in each section. The student doesn't have to click around trying to remember where to do what. I love this!! Most programs have an introductory video and the student has to remember where and how to go within the program. Bytes of Learning takes the hassle out of having to remember all of that. Need a refresher on posture, no problem. Simply click on the posture icon and review it all over again. Everything is laid out in a very user friendly manner. 

Students can customize their screen background, keyboard, and even details such as the hand skin tones displayed on the screen. 

Our Experience

Soon after we got access to our subscription one of my kiddos ended up in the hospital. This put a temporary hold on one of my daughters typing which she was not too happy about. I was a bit concerned about how this would affect her progress but the laptop needed to come with me. Once my daughter who was in the hospital was stable and feeling better I decided that I would get her started on typing. She didn't have a lot of energy and so I thought maybe typing would be a good alternative since it didn't require much intense thinking. She is in middle school and types in her "own way" as you could say. She is known to type a one or two page paper in her iPod, lol. Texting fingers are mighty fast. Needless to say, she needs to learn how to properly type. She was shocked at how fast she progressed in a short amount of time. 

My 11 year old has used several typing programs over the past couple of years. After using this program she said, "This program is by far the best one that I have used. Other programs teach the keyboard really fast and expect you to then type a passage within a short amount of time. This program goes slow and actually teaches to learn. I haven't gotten frustrated and have actually had fun learning how to type. My progress my be slow but my progress reports constantly show improvement which means that I am doing well." 

Step by step your child will learn how to type. 

Students are given certificates of achievement when they have completed all of the skill checks and lessons for the goals set. 

Once the students have completed and graduated they can then go back in and set new goals and continue on with new goals with higher wpm. 

Once the craziness in our house dies down a bit my 9 year old will be starting in on her own typing journey too! 

Dare to Enter the Game Zone!

I was extremely impressed with Bytes of Learning. Over the years I have both purchased and reviewed many typing programs in order to teach my children how to type. We have used one of the more well known programs on the market and I would definitely say that Bytes of Learning is far superior to that program. I would highly recommend this program to anyone looking for a great typing program for a child, teenager, or adult needing to learn how to type or needing to improve their typing skills. 

To read more reviews click here.

Social Media


Monday, February 19, 2018

Wulf The Saxon ~ A Review

Heirloom Audio Productions presents its newest audio adventure, Wulf the SaxonG.A. Henty, dubbed history's master of storytelling, brings history alive in his books of daring adventures. Heirloom Audio truly brings history to life with its audio dramas of G.A. Henty's books. Heirloom Audio Productions philosophy of a Christ-centered history is refreshing amidst a world of humanistic thinking. As you listen to each story unfold you feel like you are living the adventure. Heirloom's Audio Drama's together with Henty's great books make for an engaging way to learn history. The audio dramas are a collaboration of creative storytelling, gifted orators/actors, realistic sound effects, and amazing composed music to make for a captivating historical drama. These audio dramas can be enjoyed by the whole family. 

What is Wulf the Saxon about?

Wulf the Saxon aged 16 has been banished from the kings court for disrespecting those above him. He is sent to Steyning his childhood home for a time until the King calls him back to court under the charge of Earl Harold Godwinson. 

Later, the men board three ships and a storm rages. Sensing eminent peril Harold shouts, "May each man make his peace with God." As the ship crashes against the rocks the ships spins and twists and casts the cargo and men overboard. The men struggle to the beach as they make a human chain. The locals approach. Being shipwrecked Saxons put them in a venerable position and danger. Count Conrad of Ponthieu and his Soldiers confronted Count Harold and his men and sent them to the dungeon. The pages were made to wait upon Count Conrad. The pages escaped. Wulf and Beorn stay at Chattau de Burg awaiting the release of Harold and his men. Lady Agnes entertains Wulf and Beorn. 

Later, a Battle ensued with the Bretons. Wulf protects Guy, the son of Baron de Burg, during the battle. Guy is gravely injured and looses an arm. Wulf stays at Chattau de Burg for some time recovering from battle injuries.

Wulf of Steyning and Beorn of Fareham are brought before the King to be honored for their bravery for saving Earl Harold and his men. 

Wulf attacks and takes hold of the Welch castle of Llewellyn ap Rhys. A battle ensued as the Welch enter the castle through a secret back way into the castle after the bridge is destroyed. Submission or death! Yet another conquest for Wulf. 

King Edward has become ill. 

Lady Edith makes a great sacrifice due to a family feud that could destroy the monarchy. The love that she and Harold have together must end or she will make it end. 

Vision of the King upon is death. Monks, of his youth. God said put a curse on England. Enemies will devastate it from on end to the other within the year. 

King Harold is now on throne!

I will not spoil the rest of the story. 

My children said, "This adventure was exciting just like the rest have been. Wulf grew so much. We felt so bad for Lady Edith. A monarchy is just as messed up as modern day government." 

Heirloom Audio also has a wonderful program called Live The Adventure Club which provides so many great educational extras. Your club membership includes:

I would highly recommend Heirloom Audio to others. I have reviewed many other audio adventures and have not been disappointed. I have had the privilege of reviewing The Cat of BubastesThe Dragon And The RavenWith Lee In VirginiaIn Freedom's CauseIn The Reign of TerrorBeric The Briton and Captain Bayley's Heir My children have learned so much about history. The study guide for Wulf the Saxon is in the works at this time. 

To read more reviews click here.

Social Media
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/HeirloomAudio      
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/HeirloomStories       
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/heirloomaudio/             
Instagram:   https://instagram.com/HeirloomAudioOfficial          

Confetti Eggs