Thursday, May 26, 2016

Learn Multiplication and Division A Fun Way with Sunya Publishing! A Schoolhouse Review Crew Review.

Math and Science {Sunya Publishing Review}
 
We love playing games around our house. Of course the boy's love their video games, but board games and card games are also a favorite pastime. We have even learned to incorporate games into our homeschool, and when we do it is always a success. Recently we had the opportunity to review a math card game from a brand new company by the name of Sunya Publishing. We found that the Sunya  - The Magic and Wonder of Math and Science Multiplying & Dividing card game is a powerful tool for learning multiplication and dividing.
 
I mainly asked for this game for Joshua and I to play together. Joshua has a difficult time with math in general and especially multiplication and division. I was hoping that this card game would be something that would really help and I think it will be. Let me describe what we got and how to play.
 
What we got - Over 60 playing cards and 30 math and science fact/riddle cards. A wonderful spiral bound 26 page book of directions and other great math and science helps. A nifty multiplying and dividing number line. All are very sturdy and well made. 
 
 
 
 
Math and Science {Sunya Publishing Review}
 
 
The play of the regular game is super easy. The dealer puts a number sentence out on the table for either multiplication or division. For example:
 
2 x 4 = 8
 
He then deals four cards out to each player. The next player draws a card from the pile and looks at his cards to see if he can make another number sentence either using the cards in his hand, or a combination of the cards in his hand and the number sentence on the table. For example: the next player has a 5, 6, 3, 0, and he draws a 7. He can put his 3 on top of the 4 and his 6 on top of the 8 to make:
 
2 x 3 = 6
 
It's that simple! If a player doesn't have cards that make up a new number sentence then he continues to draw until he does. When he is about to go out he has to say SUN YA and he wins the game. The winner is then instructed to pick a card up from the fact/riddle pile and read it to everyone to try to figure out the answer. That increases the learning and is a fun way to end the game. A sample of the a fact/riddle card is pictured below. The division game is the same only you are making division number sentences instead of multiplication sentences. There are various other small rules and regulations but that is the basic concept of the game. It is incredibly easy but incredibly effective!

But, that's not the only reason why I really love this game. In today's society so many things are cut throat. Always striving to be the best and it doesn't matter about the other person. Use them, crush them and throw them away after you are done with them! Not with Sunya. With their games you are encouraged to help the other person! You're even allowed to look at the other persons cards! If a player can't figure out a number sentence but has one in his hand then other players can help them find it. If a player has made a mistake then the other players are instructed to KINDLY point out the other persons mistake and help them correct it. By doing those things, it increases the learning of everyone. When helping others is part of the game, it makes the game more fun and less cut throat. I really like that.

I think that it is pretty evident that I am a fan of this game. Sunya is a brand new company, and I am sure that if all of their other games are like this then this company is going to go places. To find out more about Sunya Publishing and the Sunya  - The Magic and Wonder of Math and Science Multiplying & Dividing card game just click on any of the highlighted links above. Other members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew reviewed this game and Sunya's adding and subtracting game and you can find what they had to say by clicking on the banner below. Happy Homeschooling! 
 
 
 
Math and Science {Sunya Publishing Review}
 
 
Math and Science {Sunya Publishing Review}
 
 
Crew Disclaimer
 

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Introductory Science from Science Shepherd - A Schoolhouse Review Crew Review

Science Shepherd Review

I don't think that it is any secret that Science is not one of our strong subjects. You would think that it might be. After all, when I was younger I either wanted to be a forest ranger or a zoo keeper. I remember getting my brother's set of World Book Encyclopedia and looking up all that I could about trees. Also, growing up on a small farm gave me a lot of experience with farm animals. However, alas, the science interests from my youth didn't carry over to my homeschool teaching. So, I am always excited to review any science curriculum that I can. We have reviewed some good ones this year and Introductory Science form Science Shepherd is one of the best if not THE best.

Introductory Scienceis a video based program for ages 6-11 and also has a workbook component that is to be used along with the watching the videos. There are two workbooks to choose from. Level A is for 6-8 year olds and Level B is for 9-11 year olds. I would recommend looking at the samples on the Science Shepherd website to decide which workbook to choose. We chose Level B and my very reading challenged 10 year old is doing fine with it so really the level depends on the child and not necessarily the age.

Let me discuss the two main components:

Introductory Science Videos - My kids love the videos because they are short, but there is a lot of information packed into that short timeframe. Each video is usually less than five minutes long. Dr. Scott Hardin, the developer of Homeschool Shepherd is the teacher. The set looks very much like a nightly news setting. As Dr. Hardin teaches in a very pleasant and clear way, pictures and demonstrations of what he is talking about are shown on the screens behind him. And, let me tell you, the lessons are interesting! I often will want to view the next lessons, but only one lesson a day is recommended. There are enough lessons to be used five days a week for 35 weeks but they can be viewed at any pace.

I like this series because it is completely Christian based and homeschool friendly. If you are looking for a secular science program that teaches evolution this is probably not the program for you. The whole study begins with the six days of creation and goes from there. In the 35 week time, the study covers everything from Meteorology to Geology to Oceanography, Plants, Astronomy, Flying  Creatures, Land Creatures, Human Beings and more! It is truly a complete Introductory Science program. It is also homeschool friendly. The creators are homeschoolers so they know what homeschoolers like and how much they can do. I really like that.

Science Shepherd Review

Introductory Science Workbook - My kids love the workbook as well because it is not full of a bunch of worksheet stuff that just wastes time. There is usually a page or two of questions that cover the material learned in each video along with a puzzle that further reviews the day. Sometimes there is an activity such as a science experiment that usually involves things found around the home or a small research project. At the end of each week there is a fun crossword review. There is an answer key that gives the answers to all of the questions and solutions to the puzzles. It is all super easy to use. Although I have not allowed them to do it yet, I'm sure my kids could use this program independently if I wanted them to.

I am thrilled that we were chosen for this review. It is definitely a keeper for us and we will continue to use it even though the review period is over. To find out more about Introductory Science from Science Shepherd just click on any of the highlighted links above. Other members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew reviewed other programs from Science Shepherd and you can find what they had to say by clicking on the banner below. Happy Homeschooling!

Science Shepherd Review
 
 
Crew Disclaimer

Friday, May 20, 2016

D'Aulares' Greek Myths - Wow! Was This A New Experience! - A Schoolhouse Review Crew Review

Logic, Greek Myths and Astronomy Memoria Press Review
 

I have talked several times about our families approach to homeschooling. We are super eclectic not only in the things that we use, but also in our style. In a lot of ways we are very delight directed and kind of "unschoolish" but in other ways I kind of "introduce" things to my kids that they may never choose to learn about but I think are important. For example, when John Allen, our oldest, first started homeschooling in fourth grade, we studied Latin. I felt that it would be a good thing to learn not only to help him with his own English language but also, since Latin is the basis for a lot of languages, it would be a good start in learning a foreign language. One thing that I never thought that I would introduce to my children was Greek mythology. It was never something that I learned and I really didn't have much of an interest in it. Well, as God often does, he put Greek mythology right smack dab in the middle of our homeschooling through the Schoolhouse Review Crew. We were chosen to review D'Aulaires' Greek Myths using the curriculum developed by Memoria Press.

We were familiar with Memoria Press because that is what we used when John Allen studied Latin, and we also reviewed a great Geography curriculum by Memoria that Joshua absolutely loves. And, of course, the excellent reading guides that we reviewed earlier this year. So, I knew that it would be great material, I just wasn't convinced that the Greek Myth part of it would be something that the boys would actually enjoy. However, to my great surprise, they are actually enjoying it. When I mentioned to Joshua that I was writing the review he quickly asked "We aren't done with the book are we?" No, we are far from done, but we did get through a good portion of it during the review period and both boys give it two thumbs up.

Logic, Greek Myths and Astronomy Memoria Press Review

Here's what we received and reviewed:

D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths - I had no idea how complicated and intertwining the stories of the Greek god's could be, however, D'Aulaires did a good job in trying to explain everything in a way that my boys, and even I, could understand. This huge, colorful, 192 page book begins with a couple of short stories on how the earth began and then is divided into three sections - ZEUS and his family; MINOR GODS, Nymphs, Satyrs and Centaurs; and MORTAL DESCENDENTS OF ZEUS. Each story is short - basically only 2-4 pages long - and is divided by pictures. In fact, probably half of the book is colorful pictures that depict what is going on in the story. Pictures really help a lot in this because sometimes the gods and other creatures are so unusually that it is hard to picture what they look like by just reading the description. Really, you could learn a lot about Greek myths just by reading this book, but the Student Guide and Teacher Guide really help to make things clear and make the stories applicable to everyday life.

D'Aulaires' Greek Myths Student Guide by Cheryl Lowe and Leigh Lowe - As I mentioned above, this book and the accompanying Teacher Guide really pulls everything together. They divide D'Aulares' Book of Greek Myths into 25 bite sized lessons. After reading the short section from the book, there are four sections to be completed in the student book.

  • Facts to Know - This section contains several facts, usually around 10 or 11 that are very important that the student remember from the story. Important people, places, or things are briefly defined and are to be reviewed throughout the year. These are things that the authors suggest should be drilled so much that the student can recite them with ease at the end of the year.
  • Vocabulary - As with any classical work, there are bound to be words and phrases that a student finds difficult. Especially 3-6 grade students, for whom this book is written, might find a few words challenging. Each word is used in a short phrase and the student is to look the word up and give a brief definition.
  • Comprehension Questions - The comprehension questions are easy short answer questions that come straight from the story. The students answer them to make sure that they understand what they are reading.
  • Activities - I probably liked this section the most. This is where we got into some interesting discussions. Remember me mentioning that the book was probably at least half pictures? Well, part of the activity section has us going back to look at the pictures to identify certain key things and characters from the story. They also ask some great discussion questions about the story and often ask the student to further define things found in the story. Finally, there are several lists at the end of the book such as "heroes hidden in youth" or "sisters" that the student is asked to add too as they are mentioned in the reading selections.
  • Review Lessons - After every five lesson there is a review lesson where the student reviews the things learned in each lesson through "fill in the blank from a word bank" questions, multiple choice, and other easy methods.

D'Aulaires' Greek Myths Teachers Guide by Cheryl Lowe - Never fear! This book has good advice on how to use all of the material and has the answers to all of the questions in the student book. It also has questions for an exam to be given after every five lessons and also a final exam.

Flash Cards - Do you remember those important facts that were supposed to be reviewed each year? Well, the Greek Myths set includes handy-dandy flash cards that can use to review them!

We are super excited that we were chosen to review D'Aulaires' Greek Myths from Memoria Press. Because I was using it with both Joshua, who is an above level reader but has some problems with comprehension, and Jacob, who has a difficult time with reading but has excellent comprehension, I chose to use this book as a read aloud and we did the questions from the student book together. It worked out well for us and the boys (and I) have learned a lot.

To find out more about D'Aulaires' Greek Myths and Memoria Press just click on any of the highlighted links above. To find what other members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew had to say about this product and other products from Memoria Press just click on the banner below. Happy Homeschooling!

Logic, Greek Myths and Astronomy Memoria Press Review
 
 
Crew Disclaimer
 
 

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

His Funeral is Tomorrow



I remember Russell coming up to Good News Mission when he was a preteen and young teen. He lived down the street in a big white house on the corner. He always had a smile on his face and was always interested in the lesson. He and his friend Matthew would often stop by to visit and just talk. They were both good kids. Russell moved away when he was in his teens. Every once in a while I would hear something about him or ask about him. His grandparents moved into the projects a few months ago and I was hoping that I might be able to see Russell again but it never happened. Russell was killed in a traffic accident last Friday. His dad was seriously injured. Russell was only 22 years old. His funeral is tomorrow.

Recently, it seems time and time again, I have been reminded of the brevity of life. The brevity of time itself. 1 Thessalonians 5:2 says: 
 
 
For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night.
 
 
We don't know when the Lord will return. We don't know when our last chance to reach someone might be. We have to be ready in season and out of season to give the gospel to someone. That person may not be there tomorrow. The day the Lord returns is not getting further away but closer every day. We could be gone tomorrow. Just think of Russell.
 
I know that Russell heard the gospel. I know that after he moved away he was baptized. Although only God knows the heart I believe that Russell was saved. I am praising the Lord for that.
 
What about the next person, though? What about the next person who comes into your life? What about the new neighbor across the street? What about that old friend that you always meant to catch up on but never seem to have the time? When will it be the last chance to reach them?
 
Time is short. I am praying that God will give me the courage, power and urgency to tell people while I can because tomorrow they may be gone.
 
 
 

This is how I remember Russell.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

What's More Fun Than A Barrel of Monkeys? - The Kwik Stix 12 pk of Course! - A Homeschool Review Crew Review

Kwik Stix The Pencil Grip, Inc. Review
 
 
 
Since we have two kids on the autism spectrum, we tend not to do things that are messy. One of our children in particular is very sensory and can't stand things that are icky and gooey. So, we tend not to do homeschool projects that require him to get touch yucky feeling stuff, finger painting, paper mache, and that type of thing. Well, when I found out that we were going to get to review the Kwik Stix 12 pk from The Pencil Grip, Inc. I was skeptical but excited. By the way they looked in the pictures that I saw I wondered if they were going to be messy. I was pleasantly surprised!

Kwik Stix are ingenious! It is simply solid tempera paint in a tube. There is no water needed and it dries in 90 seconds. When I first saw it I thought it was gong to be one of those paint tubes with a roller on the end. Those can be very messy. However, this is nothing like that at all. It actually really is solid. When you use it, it almost feels like coloring with a crayon. It is not slick so that it slips and kids can make mistakes but it makes contact with the paper so that the kids can feel what they are doing. Does that make sense? All the kids have to do is uncap the top, twist the bottom so that the solid tempera paint comes to the top, and create!

Kwik Stix The Pencil Grip, Inc. Review

One of the projects that we decided to do was make Mother's Day cards with them for Sarah this weekend. Jacob had a blast. He was the one that I worried about using them the most. Since they are bigger around than a crayon, he had no problem gripping them even though he has small motor problems. As I mentioned before, because of the solid consistency of the paint, he could actually feel what he was doing and that made it easier. The solid consistency and the fact that it dries so quickly means that it doesn't bleed through the paper so we could actually use them to make cards and not worry about what the inside was going to look like. We received the Kwik Stix 12 pk and the colors are vibrant. The cards are going to be beautiful and I will add pictures to this post when they are completely done.

Kwik Stix The Pencil Grip, Inc. Review

I think that it is really neat that these paints can be used on different materials. The Pencil Grip, Inc. folks have been very helpful and they even sent us some suggestions for Mother's Day crafts. They suggested that we buy white mylar balloons to decorate as well. I didn't find those but the suggestion got me to thinking of all of the neat things we could do with Kwik Stix. You can decorate wood, paper, mylar and all sorts of things with this. This is a keeper for us!

Okay, you may have noticed that the name of the company is The Pencil Grip, Inc. That is because one of their top products is, indeed, a pencil grip. They sent us a sample to use and I love it. Some of you may know that I was an educational therapist for eleven years when I lived in Florida. I worked with special needs children that had learning disabilities. One of the things that we were very particular about was the way kids held their pencil. It would take much to long to explain everything, but it really is important that children (and adults) hold their pencil in the old tried and true way. The sample we received helps (almost forces) a child to hold their pencil correctly. This is going to be something we use time and time again.

Well, as you can probably tell, we are super thrilled with the Kwik Stix 12 pk that we reviewed. It has really opened up a new world for my kids. No more just using crayons, markers, or colored pencils for their art work. They can actually use tempera paint! To find out more about this product or any of the other products from The Pencil Grip, Inc. just click on any one of the highlighted links above. To see what other members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew have to say just click on the banner below. Happy Homeschooling!

Kwik Stix The Pencil Grip, Inc. Review
 
 
Crew Disclaimer
 



Saturday, April 30, 2016

Money. . . What IS it really all about? - A Throwback Thursday/Scripture Sunday Post.

It's been a busy past couple of months and I realize I haven't been posting much more than reviews. Things have started to calm down a little bit so I am going to try to post more family and non-review posts. When I was thinking about what to write about the Lord led me to an old post from my old Angelfire blog. I think it was really to remind me of what is really important in life.

Families Again

Sunday, 1 August 2010
Money...What IS it really all about?
Mood:  not sure
Topic: The Purple Files



I've been thinking about money lately. I think about it off and on, but this bout began the other day. I was driving to a neighboring town to take one of my kids to therapy when I passed a pet grooming business. It got me to thinking about all of the people who actually take their pets and spend 20, 30, 50, perhaps hundreds of dollars a year. For what? For someone to comb their pets fur and put pretty bows in it? Now, we could go on and on about the benefits of having a pet and how therapeutic they are, etc. I am not against having a pet. We have a cat and a dog ourselves. But is that really the best use of our money? A use that would be glorifying to God?

Perhaps it's because we work with low income families and support kids through Compassion International. I have seen what it's like to live with little money here in the United States and I've read about and corresponded with children who have next to nothing in life. But, I've never seen or experienced extreme poverty before. My wife and I were talking about this just today. She made the comment that perhaps one of the reason God sends us on mission's trips is to jolt us back into reality when we get back. To make us realize what is really important in life.

A blogging acquaintance of mine, Kristen, from We are THAT Family has experienced just that. A few months ago Kristen was on the blogging team that went to Kenya with Compassion International to write about what they saw and post it on their blogs. You can read their amazing posts by clicking here. I could never verbalize it in the excellent way that Kristen did, but her Kenya trip had a profound impact on her. She came back a totally different person. So much so that her husband commented that he wasn't sure that he knew her anymore. To which Kristen commented back that she wasn't sure she even knew herself. Things just seemed so empty when she got back...so odd.
On her trip Kristen experienced traveling through one of the worst slums in the world. So bad was this slum that they had to split up into groups of three or four and have a personal body guard. They were told not to stare and to refrain from taking pictures while traveling on foot to get to the Compassion project in the middle of the slum. One lady, a professional photographer did take pictures however. She took them from her hip from under a jacket. Those photographs are amazing to look at but disgusting as well. You can find them by clicking on the posts of the bloggers that traveled through this filth called Mathare Valley. Read more of Kristen's story appropriately titled "Today, I Went to Hell" by clicking here.
 
Kristen had experienced extreme poverty. This isn't the government housing area that Sarah and I work in, or the one in your town...this is EXTREME POVERTY! When she got home Kristen felt lost. She made the comment that she wanted to sell everything and live in her garage. She struggled with coming to terms with what she had seen in Kenya and what she came home to in America. She is still dealing with this and it has had a profound impact on how she and her family now live. I encourage you to click here and go to her blog to see what she and her family are doing now. It's amazing.
 
The stories that these bloggers told really had an impact on me. Since experiencing the poverty in Kenya through their blogs, I've been contemplating money a lot. I've been contemplating a lot of things a lot. And, no, it's not my depression this time. As some of you know, I've suffered from depression in the past. This time, however, it's God. God has been talking to me lately. I mean really talking to me. About a lot of things. This is just one of them. The other day I posted about another. I'll post more of my thoughts on this and other things that God is revealing to me in the future as well.
Money is just one thing that God has been dealing with me on. Don't get me wrong. I don't begrudge people that have money. Many great Christian people have had money. It's what people do with their money that frustrates me. It's what I do with my money that frustrates me.
 
I Timothy 6:10 says:
For the love of money is the root of all evil...

Notice it doesn't say that "Money is the root of all evil". It's not money that is evil, it's what you do with your money. Are you frivolous with what God has given you? A dear friend of ours who tragically died in an auto accident used to say "Hold on to things loosely". Don't allow things to get in the way of what is right and what is true in life. Contrary to what some people think, money cannot buy you happiness. In fact, most of the time it is just the opposite. Hold on to what you have loosely. Use your money and your talents to help others. Use them for the Lord.

Lord, although you haven't given my family much, thank you for what you have given us. Thank you for providing for all of our needs. Lord, please help us to "hold on to things loosely" as Betsy used to say. Help us to use what you have given us to further your kingdom. Not just the money that you give us, but everything that you give us. Out talents, our home, our ministry, our time, everything, Lord. Help us to use it for your glory. In your name I pray. Amen 

The following is a video of a group of Mathare children singing at the compassion project. Below the video are the lyrics.
 
 
Adhi e dala malo
Am going home on high


Dala gi yesu Ruodha
The home of Christ my Lord


Dala mar auma
The home of splendor


Tinga malo adhi anee dala
Lift me up, so I may see my home


Neuru achako achako wuoth madhi ka wuonwa
I have began, began this journey to the father


Gimaneno ndalo mabiro piny ni rumo
I realise that this world is soon ending


Neuru achako achako wuoth ma dhi ka wuonwa
See I have began this journey to the father


Gimaneno ndalo mabiro piny dong’ gunda
I realize this world will soon be uninhabited


Adhi e dala malo
Am going home on high


Dala gi yesu Ruodha
The home of Christ my Lord


Dala mar auma
The home of splendor


Tinga malo adhi anee dala
Lift me up, so I may see my home


Tinga malo tinga
Lift me up lift me


Tinga malo tinga
Lift me up lift me


Tinga malo tinga
Lift me up lift me


Tera adhi anee dala
Take me to see home


Wach ni awinjo
I hear this message


Wach no aneno komaka gi wuoro
This message feels me with awe


Omaka gi wuoro
Feels me with awe


Gimaneno ndalo mabiro piny ni rumo
I perceive this world is ending soon


Wach ni awinjo
I hear this message


Wach ni aneno komaka gi wuoro
This message feels me with awe


Gimaneno ndalo mabiro piny dong’ gunda
I realize this world will soon be uninhabited



Courtesy of Compassion International: http://blog.compassion.com/mathare-community-outreach-talent/#ixzz0vQ9FmI4Q

       
 

Friday, April 29, 2016

It's Coming! Favorite FREE! (or Cheap) Homeschool Resources!

Favorite  FREE / Cheap Homeschool Resources
 
The Schoolhouse Review Crew does so much more than reviews. One of the other things that they do is provide homeschool help to homeschool parents. Every couple of weeks they have what they call a "round-up". A round-up is when the crew members submit some of their posts that revolve around a certain topic. For this next weeks topic we submitted posts that talk about our Favorite FREE! (or Cheap) Homeschool Resources.
 
Have you ever thought about homeschooling but didn't really know how you could afford it? Well, let me tell you, we used to spend hundreds of dollars a year on homeschool things. Over the years, however, we have learned how to homeschool by spending little or no money. Of course, being on the Schoolhouse Review Crew has helped, and there are some things that John Allen used that we have used with our younger boys as well, but, many of the things we use now weren't from the Schoolhouse Review Crew or weren't hand-me-downs. They are things that we have found either free or very cheap. We have even developed our own history curriculum using inexpensive resources.
 
How do we do it? Well, you'll have to wait until next Friday when the Favorite FREE! (or Cheap) Homeschool Resources round-up goes live. When it does you'll find the three posts that I submitted and posts from many, many, other Schoolhouse Review Crew members. So, stay tuned and put on your calendar to come back to this post and click on the banner above. It will take you to all of the neat posts. Happy Homeschooling!