Sunday, September 20, 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 caring for her ailing father and his in trouble business. She soon gets a job at City Hall and soon moves up the ranks as they see her potential with finances and numbers. On a trip with her father to the medical school she drops him off at the barber shop. She strolls over to the university campus and enters into the arts department. She begins looking at art and falls in love with a piece of art. This is the beginning of her obsession with art and her eventual undoing. I don't want to divulge anymore about the book and spoil it for you as the reader. This book was well written and was hard to put down once I started it. It is a pretty quick read. I read it in two afternoon sittings. 


Monday, September 14, 2020

Story Blox ~ The Island

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.

Story Blox, The Island is an E-Blox building bricks set. Users go on an adventure with Seymour and his robot Robyn as they investigate a mysterious light in the ocean. Along the way users will build Robyn the Robot, Glen a Wicklow Terrier, Glen Sitting, a Boat, Stairway Lights, a Seahorse, Devyn the Devon Rex Cat, and the final build is a Morse Code Transmitter. The included booklet, The Island: A Chapter in the E-Blox® Novelette “Earth One,” is a story that you read along the way that has QR codes to introduce each new build. There is a, The Island Assembly Manual which takes readers step by step in building each of the 8 projects. The set includes over 100 parts. The cost of the kit is $54.99. 

Story Blox, The Island in my opinion is ideal for use in the home setting. The set is intended for ages 8 and above. This product is labeled a STREAM product which stands for: Science, Technology, Reading, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics. The main components that power each of the 8 projects are the tin-plated blocks which safely carry electric current through a circuit from a 9V battery housed which a building block which then utilizes LED’s in other blocks. The kit provides children with experience in the following areas:

  • Robotics
  • Canine Breeds
  • Nautical Terms
  • Marine Biology
  • Metaphysics
  • Laser Technology
  • Architectural Weather Forecasting
  • Google Navigation
  • Morse Code
  • Feline Breeds
  • 3D Electronic Circuits
  • Architecture
  • Mechanics
  • Vocabulary & Reading

The story is 10 pages in length. As you read the story you will research using QR codes and build the projects. My 12-year-old daughter has had a fun time building each of the fun projects. She is not an avid reader and so was excited that the reading part was very minimal. All of my children love building sets and so I knew that this would be a hit. My daughter loved that each of the projects lit up! She thought that the final building project, the Morse Code was pretty cool. The information that is learned from the QR codes is very informative. One of the QR codes was coordinates of a location at 54.324633, -9.637499 which took us to a map. The location was in Ireland. The QR codes take users to Wikipedia for most the information. 

Story Blox, The Island: A Chapter in the E-Blox® Novelette “Earth One” is part of the Novelette Earth One which also includes the following chapters: The City, The Cave, The Sea & Sky, The Moon’s Face, Thee Hard Iceberg, The Night Stars, The Creature, and The Spirit.

 My daughter and her sibling really enjoyed Story Blox, The Island. I would most definitely recommend this building set to educators and parents looking for a building set that goes beyond just building. Your child will have an interactive learning experience with Seymour and his companions. 

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

Monday, September 7, 2020

Botley 2.0 ~ The Coding Robot

 Botley gives the young child a creative and fun way to learn early coding skills. The robot has many features that provides the child multiple ways to interact with it. Botley is perfect for small hands and easy to work. The instructions start out with very simple commands. It then introduces simple coding. Botley can perform sequences of up to 150 steps! There is a LOOP button which enables the user to repeat a step or sequence. Botley also has an object detection button to "see" objects in his path and will perform alternate sequences. In the dark, Botley's eyes will light up! You can even customize the color of Botley's eyes. There is a light bulb button and if you press it for a couple of seconds Botley will play short melodies. Botley will follow hand-drawn black lines. Botley has two different interchangeable faces and arms. There are also secret codes that you can enter for Botley to perform secret tricks such as sounding like a train, a police car, a dinosaur, a frog, and an old lighthouse. These are just some of the amazing things that Botley can do. My 12-year-old daughter has had fun playing around with Botley. Botley is designed for ages 5 years and older.  

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Reading Eggs ~ 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.

We have been using Reading Eggs from Blake eLearning Inc over the past weeks. Reading Eggs is an online, self-paced, phonics based reading program for children. If you have multiple children using the program each child will receive their own special log-in. There are 4 levels to the program: Reading Eggs Jr (ages 2-4), Reading Eggs (ages 3-7), Fast Phonics (ages 5-10), and Reading Eggspress (ages 7-13). The subscription all gives you access to Math Seeds. There are three pricing options. There is a Family Plan for 2-4 children with all access, a 12 month all access subscription for 1 child, and then a monthly all access subscription option. 

So how does READING EGGS teach your child to learn to read?

  1. Children learn reading and phonic skills through the use of animated lessons that keep your child focused and engaged. 
  2. As your child learns to read they will be introduced to books using the words that they have mastered in their lessons. 
  3. All children love rewards! Reading Eggs uses "Golden Eggs" as their reward system. With Golden Eggs the children can buy games or items for their avatar or house. Upon completion of each section or "map" your child is awarded a certificate that can be printed out. 
  4. Quizzes are given after 10 lessons so that you can assess how your child is doing in the program. 
The Spelling section of Reading Eggs goes from K-2nd grade. Here is a link to the Skills Bank Spelling Section which shows all 96 lessons and the Focus Sound Words, High Fluency Sight Words, and the Challenge Words. 

Stepping Stones Reading which is also a part of the Reading Eggs program builds phonemic awareness and phonics, sight words, vocabulary, fluency and comprehension. There are 3 levels and 120 lessons. 

Storylands which is new is a Clinker Castle book series. Here is more Reading Eggs Storylands information about this now addition. 

Reading Eggs Jr. is an amazing program that provides young children with the essential building block foundations of reading. We are excited about how James, who is 4 years old,  has done with the program so far. He has learned so much in such this short time. He thinks he is just playing on the computer not realizing he is actually learning. He asks every morning to do Reading Eggs before any other of his school activities. We are happy about this. 

Also, part of the classic Reading Eggs program is Reading Eggs Junior for ages 2-4 with fun games to help introduce your young child to the alphabet and pre-reading skills. There is also Reading Eggspress for ages 7-13 that helps the older child build confidence in their reading skills. My 12 year old daughter has been working on Reading Eggspress. 

Here is the dashboard for Reading Eggspress. Lessons in this program are tied to 
books of varying genres. You student will work on concepts such as reading
comprehension, grammar, spelling, and vocabulary. There are quizzes and tests 
that they must pass at a certain level in order to move onto the next level. They may 
retake quizzes and tests over if needed. 

This is the English Skills section. 

This is the Library. 

This is one of the books entitled, Modern Wonders. 

After each chapter there are quizzes to test your child's comprehension of the material they 
have read. 

This is the Arcade. 

Another program that is a part of Reading Eggs is Fast Phonics. Your child will enter into 
Yeti world where they will meet a friendly Yeti and work through mountain peaks
and earn coins. With these coins they can swap out for different colored Yeti's. 
This program is a great way for younger children to learn their letters, their 
sounds and learn to read basic readers. There are 20 levels to the program 
including skills such as letter-sound recognition, blending, and spelling. 

I overall am very impressed with Reading Eggs and would definitely recommend this program to others. Be sure to check out what my fellow Crew Members had to say about Reading Eggs. 

Confetti Eggs