Thursday, February 21, 2019

IXL ~ A Review

Over the past weeks my two daughters have been working through the various subjects contained in IXL Learning by IXL. IXL Learning is an online learning tool designed to enhance your child's learning experience. There are lessons in Math, English/Language Arts, Science, Social Studies, and Spanish. The material covers lessons for levels Pre-K through 12th grade. Your child will be able to explore over 7,500+ topics in the above areas of academics. 

I started out this review with only my 5th grader working on IXL Learning. Over the course of the first week my 7th grader was constantly looking over the shoulder of her younger sister asking about what she was doing and asking if she could do it too. She was so disappointed and asked if there was a way to sign her up too. I messaged the program help and asked if I could add my daughter on for the review period. I got a quick response back. She was added on and my daughter was so excited! She spent over two hours the first day on IXL Learning. Both my 5th grader and my 7th grader have enjoyed working through the various subjects in IXL  Learning. As a mother and educator this is very exciting when you find something that your kiddos like that is both educational and you don't have to beg your kiddos to work on. Score!!

Very quickly my daughters got quite competitive and set out to see who could spend more time and get the most rewards. Talk about some healthy competition. Neither of them saw IXL as boring or as schoolwork. Rather, they saw it more as a learning game, a challenge, a test of "what did they know" if that makes sense. They loved the freedom of being able to choose what subjects they worked on and then within each subject what topics they wanted to test their knowledge on. 

Each subject and topic will start by telling the student what they will need to do in order to
earn a reward. In this case the student has to answer 4 questions in a row correctly.

This particular topic is the Properties in Science, 5th Grade. 

If the student gets a problem incorrect the correct answer is highlighted and then 
an explanation is given so that the student can understand the reasoning behind
the correct answer. I really liked this! Instead of the answer just being check marked wrong
 and moving on the student actually gets a thorough understanding of what the correct 
answer is and why. Awesome!!

As your child moves up in the stages of challenges on their way to earning a 
reward/certificate, a timer is also keeping track of the time it is taking them
to complete each step. A counter is also keeping track of how many questions 
it takes the student to answer the questions in the challenge, example: 4 correct 
question in a row. It may take a student a total of answering 18 questions before they
correctly answer 4 question correctly in a row. 

Each subject is broken down in subtopics. 

My 5th grader has had no prior Spanish but thought she would try and 
work through the beginning parts of the Spanish to learn some Spanish. Even 
though the purpose of IXL is to test your knowledge of current subject matter and build
upon what you already know I thought why not. I was surprised at how quickly she
picked up on the basics of Spanish. 

As a parent you will receive e-mails each time your student receives a certificate
or hits a significant milestone. 

You will also receive e-mail recommendations for your student to try. 
There is also an area called Diagnostic where the student can answer questions and
figure out what their diagnostic level is and then get recommendations as to 
what they should work on and start with. 

Within the program you will find a Certificate Center which is where
you will find a running list of all of your child's cumulative earned certificates.
You can view the certificates and also print them out. 

For Language Art the kids are rewarded with really cool nesting dolls. 

For Math students get to uncover what is under squares. 

Under Analytics the parent can look to see in the last 30 days how many hours their child has spent in the program, how many questions they have answered, and how many skills they have mastered. There are several graphs that break down your students progress so that you can more easily see visually how they are doing. The parent is also able to click on each day that their student has logged in and worked and get examples of what they have worked on. The Analytics section is full of very useful information for the parent. 

I would most definitely recommend IXL Learning to others. The program is simple to use and with its reward system students feel motivated to level up to get their next reward and certificate. With the over 7,500+ topics to choose from students have plenty of choices. 

To read more reviews click here.

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Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Proud Mama Moment

I am so very proud of my 17-year-old son! He is currently in his 
Sophomore year of college while holding down a part time job. Today
he was awarded a $2,500.00 scholarship at work. 

Way to go Joshua!!! I am so very proud of your hard work and achievement. 
God has big plans for you. 

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

I Love You, Funny Bunny

I Love You, Funny Bunny is written and illustrated by Sean Julian. This precious children's storybook would make the perfect addition to your child's library of books or as a gift. The hardcover book is 32 pages in length. It is published by Zonderkidz. The target age range is 4-8 years old but I could very well see younger children enjoying this book as well. Most pages contain only one or two sentences. The opposite page contains only artwork that spans both pages. This is an example of two pages from the storybook.

The wording is rhyming so very catchy.

"I love your sense of wonder, 
when you first see something new. 
I love the times we cuddle close
and share a book or two."

The artwork is colorful and will definitely draw in a young child's attention. This endearing story will truly melt the heart of the adult reading the book. A great nap time, bedtime, or anytime story. Cuddle up with your little one and enjoy this delightful book, I Love You, Funny Bunny.  

Disclaimer~Reviewed for BookLooker. 

Friday, February 15, 2019

Don't Close Your Eyes

Don't Close Your Eyes ~ A Silly Bedtime Story by Bob Hostetler is a whimsical story that all parents will truly relate to. This book is by Tommy Nelson Publishers. It is a board book. The book is 20 pages in length. The pictures are vivid and rich in color to keep your young child's attention. The target age for this book is preschool and up. 

How often do we hear the words, "But I am not tired.", when it is time for bedtime? Your child can be having a full-blown meltdown, yawning, and barely be keeping their eyes open but still resist sleep. This book is all about convincing your child to keep their eyes open. As the sun is going down and the moon is rising, all of the animal friends are nesting down for the night. The gophers are gophers out. Pigs are sleeping tail to snout. But whatever you do, don't close your eyes. 

This book reminds me of how Jane and Michael in Mary Poppins are determined to stay awake because they are not tired. Mary Poppins begins singing and they fall fast asleep. This book too may just be the magic that is needed to get your little ones to settle into their beds and close their little eyes just like the animals in the book.

Disclaimer ~ Reviewed for BookLookers

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

For The Temple ~ A Review

We loved listening to For The Temple from Heirloom Audio. This 2-CD set is the newest addition to the Heirloom Audio drama line-up. G.A. Henty, dubbed history's master of storytelling, brings history alive in his books of daring adventures. Heirloom Audio Productions philosophy of a Christ-centered history is refreshing amidst a world of humanistic thinking. Heirloom Audio truly brings history to life. As you listen to the story unfolding you feel like you are really 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. 

Audio Chapters
  • Chapter 1 – Cafe Landtmann
  • Chapter 2 – The Storm
  • Chapter 3 – Recruited
  • Chapter 4 – Loyalty
  • Chapter 5 – A Mighty Armada
  • Chapter 6 – First Taste of War
  • Chapter 7 – Jotapata Stands
  • Chapter 8 – Jotapata Falls
  • Chapter 9 – To Life!
  • Chapter 10 – Leader of the Band
  • Chapter 11 – Let The Harassment Begin
  • Chapter 12 – A Hero is Born
  • Chapter 13 – Tobin of Gischalla
  • Chapter 14 – The Other John
  • Chapter 15 – We Are Pledged to the Temple
  • Chapter 16 – A Walk Interrupted
  • Chapter 17 – Promises To Keep
  • Chapter 18 – Good News, Bad News
  • Chapter 19 – The Holy City
  • Chapter 20 – Battles Inside and Out
  • Chapter 21 – The Cruel Face of War
  • Chapter 22 – The Wall
  • Chapter 23 – For The Temple
  • Chapter 24 – August 5th AD 70
  • Chapter 25 – The Road To Rome
  • Chapter 26 – Homecoming
  • Chapter 27 – Always More Stories
What is For The Temple about?
The story takes place in the year 67 A.D. The Jews lived in Roman Occupation under Nero. Palestine, is full of sedition against Rome which greatly angered Nero. On the Eastern shore of Galilee other things are taking place. John is explaining pruning of branches to contain disease within branches to preserve a vineyard. Mary and John get caught in a storm while on a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee. They are rescued by a Roman galley ship. Simon is asked by the leader of the Roman ship if he can enlist John as a soldier. He has seen that John is wise and faithful under duress. John contemplates, and decides to enlist. He is to join Josephus and his Army. Josephus sends John and Joab to Tiberius to search out the peoples allegiance there. They hear the people shouting "we are loyal to King Agrippa" as another person approaches the gate and asks a question. This information was relayed back to Josephus. Tiberius's allegiance had been overtaken by the Romans. An armada of boats have surrounded Tiberius, lead by Josephus. Jaul says that it is only certain people within the city that yelled "we are loyal to King Agrippa" in order to cause confusion, dissension, and tricked loyalty. Attack, war breaks out! The easy battle at Gadara was a set-up so that the Romans could plan a bigger counter attack elsewhere. Joab is fatally wounded. John finds a young boy named Jonas who is young and very willing to share important tactics on escape and how to ensure ones safety from the Romans. Was Jonas sharing secrets that he shouldn't have? Was this God's way of enabling the Jews to conquer the Romans? A simple fishing line, pulley system was the simple way. As Jotapota falls and soldiers on both sides are lost in great numbers John and Jonas use the pulley system to make their way to safety. They lay hidden and still for days. The Romas lay waste to the city. On the 5th day they retreated. They quietly climbed the wall back into the city. In the distance they saw a fire. Fires everywhere. Destruction. John wants to check on his family. They hear a scream, that of Mary. John runs. Mary thought John had died as they had heard that everyone was dead. The house of Simon became a house of mourning to a house of rejoicing. Jonas became a son of Simon for his courage and bravery in saving John. Josephus was taken prisoner for being in alliance with the Romans. John is disturbed by the Romans destruction of all that belong to the Jews. John and Jonas search Galilee for a band of men to go and fight the Romans in the mountains. They search for young men under 20 and those that are unmarried. He had to tell Mary that he was again leaving. Even though they only have 20 men and the Roman's have far many more they recount the story of Gideon's Army. They also talk about the Roman's superstitions about "the holy land" that make them fear. They talk about the strength of the arrow and the sling. The Jews long for vengeance on the oppression towards their country. John says that he will be leader. He asks if all are in agreement and all agree. Great trust was garnered. For 3 nights rams horns are heard around the Roman encampments. This is the doings of John's Army. The Romans are disturbed and are sleepless due to the rams horns all night. They decide to drink wine in order to sleep. John's Army surrounds the Roman camp and as they sleep decide to collapse the tents, set the tents on fire, as well as to as much of the armor and ammunition as possible. Kill if it is needed. Let the harassment begin! Half of the camp is dead as well as supply tent. They set out to destroy Gamala...John's men disbanded until they see that the Roman's are invading Jerusalem and the Temple. John goes home and hears tales of a "John" who is a mighty warrior who terrorized the Romans and caused destruction for their army. This John is considered a HERO. Then the secret is out that it was him. They set out to build their band of warriors to almost 400. It is time to protect Jerusalem and our Temple. Until then we must train. Rabbi Ben Menasa says that trouble has hit Jerusalem. Camp was made on Mt. Carmel. Nero is dead! ...Grain is sparse in Jerusalem. People are starving. The cruel face of war. John calls out to God for help. John wants to share their grain stores but his army does not want to share. They want to ensure that they have enough to stay strong to fight. Romans called for a mass crucifixion on the refugees of the city. This crucifixion is in the thousands. John did share his rations with a woman and his child. John's blessings have saved them by giving them strength. His decision to share his grain in return ultimately saves John's life. John, along with the woman and her child were able to escape via underground springs that the woman tells John about. I do not want to continue to share the rest of the story and spoil the ending. 

My Thoughts
I am always totally blown away but the casts ability to truly bring its listeners into the story. It is really like you are right there amidst the action. You find yourself wanting to run and hide so as not to be struck by a stray arrow or be seen by the rebel army. You intimately feel the feelings that the characters are feeling and are truly living the adventure! I do not have enough amazing things to say about Heirloom Audio Productions. Our family truly looks forward to each new adventure! Learning history has never been so fun and alive. What I really like about these audio adventures too is that unlike movies, the listeners get to imagine in their own minds. But, then again Heirloom Audio does such an amazing job at describing the surroundings and action that it doesn't take much to imagine what it would have looked like. They have done a fantastic job at bringing G.H. Henty's books to life. It isn't often that great writers of the past are read today. Too often they are forgotten and lost amidst the troves of literature that saturates the literary world and vies for our children's attention today. G.A. Henty would be so happy to see that his works and legacy are being loved and shared with newer generations. Good, rich literature is so very hard to come by. 

Study Guide
The study guide is a FABULOUS complement to the audio drama CD's. I found the study guide to be extremely helpful in discussing the story with my children. The study guide is set up to aid the younger student in understanding the story as well as challenging the older student at a deeper level. The study questions are divided into three sections.

Some historical events, people and topics discussed in For The Temple are
  • The Jewish War
  • Food in Ancient Jerusalem
  • Gideon's Army
  • Vespasian & the Flavian Ampitheatre 
  • Sabbath and Shabbat
  • Siege of Jerusalem

This audio adventure is 2 1/2 hours in length. Along with the CD's the following were included in the form of downloads:
  • A Study Guide for For The Temple 

I have created binders for the audio adventures that we have had the privilege of having access to the study guides for. We own all of the Heirloom Audio Adventures and have enjoyed each and every one of them. After printing the guides out I put the pages in protective sleeve covers. Since printing these colorful guides can get a bit expensive placing the pages in protective sleeves ensures that over the years as my children listen to the Audio Adventures the guides stay in perfect condition. If printing is not an option, viewing the pdf format online is a great option as well. The guide is quite professional looking. 

The Listening Well - focuses on what was heard

The Thinking Further - challenges the child to think, draw conclusions, and speculate

The Defining Words - defining unfamiliar vocabulary

I love that they have included new and words in the study guide. Often times students, get lost in reading and in this case listening when they hear too many unfamiliar words. It is a great idea to go over the list of Defining Words before each chapter. Ensure that your children understand the words and what their means are so that when they hear the words when listening they are better able to understand the flow of the audio drama. 

From time to time it may be vital to pause the CD or download in order to further explain what is going on or explain a particular event. Don't see this as a negative. Rather, see this a a teaching moment and a great learning tool. Remember this is history. If you find that your child is not particularly enjoying the adventure it is probably because they are getting lost in the history. That this as an opportunity to explain the history of what is going on. I guarantee that once they understand the history on a level that they get they will love Heirloom Audio! Often times listening to the adventure the second time around is even better than the first. 

The study guide which is available via computer download is great for a wide range of ages. For the younger child there are vocabulary words to define and for the older child there are great discussion questions. Many times, after listening to the Heirloom Adventures, it has sparked further discussion and interest in periods of history that likely would have been overlooked.

Expand Your Learning
In the Expand Your Learning sections my kiddos learned some very interesting facts.

At the end of each Heirloom Adventure there is a short Bible Study section that is definitely worth working through. 

Live the Adventure Club is a community forum as well as a treasure trove of extra resources, games, and extras for the whole family. Your child can take online quizzes, print out coloring pages, solve word searches, and so much more. You and your child can follow along using a copy of the actual audio drama script! Don't want to print out the study guide, no problem. You can download the guide in a friendly pdf version. Teachers and parents can search through the teachers resources to find enrichments to go along with each audio adventure. I love this new addition. My kiddos love to get on and eagerly complete each activity relating to the audio drama that we are currently listening to. 

Summing It Up
Like all of all of the other audio adventures produced by Heirloom Audio this one did not disappoint! I would highly recommend Heirloom Audio to everyone of all ages. 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 BritonCaptain Bayley's HeirWulf the Saxon, and St. Bartholomew's Eve. I would highly recommend these audio adventures. 

To read more reviews click here.

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Instagram: @HeirloomAudioOfficial

Confetti Eggs