homeschooling

[Homeschool Review Crew] Rescue Me! What Superheroes Can Teach Us About the Power of Faith

I was really into comic books growing up and I am happy to report that I have not outgrown it. When I heard that there was an opportunity to review The Captain Sun Adventures and read Book 1, Rescue Me! What Superheroes Can Teach Us About the Power of Faith, you can bet I’m all over it like a radioactive spider on the arm of a teenager named Peter.

The format of the book is a part-comic book, part-devotional. There are panels showcasing the adventures of the superhero. The difference with other traditional comic books comes in with the devotionals that show up every couple of pages.

rescueme2
The newspaper is a nice touch. I wonder if this is a nod to Superman’s The Daily Planet. 

We read this book on a screen since I received a PDF copy. As a product, I have no complaints about the quality. It perfectly captures the comic book feel with bright colors and well-made illustrations. The expressions of the characters are also quite convincing.

rescueme
The illustrations are appealing enough to a wide range of ages. 

We read the book leisurely during our spare time. I took about two weeks to do it because we would read a few pages each night before bed. Originally, I thought about incorporating it into our homeschooling lessons, but I’m glad it didn’t work out that way. This is because the kids took this as a fun activity where they didn’t feel pressured.

The devotional and the teaching don’t have to slap you hard in the face all the time. Wouldn’t it be great if the things we learn in church spilled over to the everyday activities we do, like reading a book?

This is exactly what this book accomplished. Sure, it has bible truths in its pages, but it is also a fun read. The story is not dry and completely captivated my kids. On that note, my kids, 3 and 6, were both listening to me read to them and they rarely agree on what’s interesting when it comes to books. That’s the highest seal of approval in this household.

My son, of course, was drawn immediately to the hero, Captain Sun. He loves all superheroes and this character ticks off all the boxes for him.

Finally, at the back of the book are additional questions for each chapter that can jumpstart deeper conversations.

From our experience, I can highly recommend this to other parents. It is age-appropriate, entertaining, and has commendable content. It’s a win-win.

You can find out more about the product by heading over to the following social media pages.

Facebook: www.facebook.com/itscaptainsun
Twitter: www.twitter.com/itscaptainsun
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/itscaptainsun/vacation-bible-school-superhero/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/itscaptainsun

We loved this book as a family, but, don’t just take my word for it. You should also hear other parents weigh in on this book. Read what they have to say by clicking on the link below.

Rescue Me! What Superheroes Can Teach Us About the Power of Faith {The Captain Sun Adventures Reviews}

Crew Disclaimer

Advertisements
homeschooling

[Homeschool Review Crew] Julie Polanco Review

I don’t know about you, but there are some days when I look at my kids and think, “homeschooling was a terrible, terrible mistake.” I am just one giant ball of doubt and anxiety it’s hard to see why we are doing this at all. Thankfully, I had the chance to review a book called God Schooling: How God Intended Children to Learn by Julie Polanco. Here is my review, if you would like to see.

God Schooling, in a nutshell, is a book that reminds parents what education is. Not just from the academic perspective. Not just from the self-care, self-development perspective. But rather, from the perspective that matters the most: the heavenly one.

The author, Julie Polanco, comes from the point of experience. She is a homeschooling mom of four children. Her work has appeared in many homeschooling resources like The Old Schoolhouse Magazine and http://www.schoolhouseteachers.com. The biggest proof of her expertise is that her oldest child already transitioned from homeschooling in 2016.

She’s done it, you guys.

As for the book, it is a meaty read with 215 pages. It is divided into two sections: myths and practice. In the first part, it tackles subjects like the need for a curriculum and how to get children to obey. Specifically, she delves into unschooling from the point of view of the Bible.

In addition, it is basically filled with encouragement and Biblical references to help parents with their homeschooling journey. At the end of it, the book hopes to give parents a different view and confidence in their approach to educating their kids.

The book retails for $16.99 for paperback and $9.99 for the eBook version.

On My Impressions

To be honest, I have a lot of prejudice when it comes to unschooling. It immediately conjures up images of children running in the wild, ignoring their reading and writing. I know that’s not the case, in my brain. But, I have a lot of bias, mainly because I do not know a lot about it.

But Julie manages to present the idea in such a way that is conversational and more importantly, experiential. When she talks about how the world is not necessarily in line with the way God wants to do things, you find yourself nodding in agreement. It’s also hard to disagree when she devotes a lot of time talking about investing in the eternal, like character.

Personally, I don’t have it in me to follow the natural way of learning. I’m too easily frazzled without a detailed, point-by-point guide in my hand. But, there are a lot of things said in the book that really spoke out to me. Even if you do not completely agree with the methods offered, opening your mind to them can still make an impact.

This is definitely a good read for parents who are new to homeschooling (so they can see what others have done) and parents who are homeschooling (a great source of encouragement).

Want to learn more about Julie Polanco? Find her on Facebook.
Other homeschooling families have also read the book. Click the link below to see what they have to say.

God Schooling: How God Intended Children to Learn {Julie Polanco Reviews}

Crew Disclaimer

homeschooling, Uncategorized

[Homeschool Review Crew] Paddington Bear Children’s Literature Study from Branch Out World

One of the first books I read growing up was Paddington Bear. Being in the Philippines where books are expensive and therefore, not readily available, I was keenly aware that it was a luxury. Even at a young age, it felt like something precious. Getting to share that experience with my children by reviewing Paddington Bear Picture Book Explorers unit from Branch Out World is thus, very meaningful to me.

 Picture Book Explorers - Paddington

This is a unit-based study that can be done over the course of several days:

  • Day 1 – Exploring the setting
  • Day 2 – Exploring the words
  • Day 3 – Exploring the pictures
  • Day 4 – Exploring Science
  • Day 5 – Exploring maths, crafts, and more

Each day is jam-packed with activities like mapping, timelines, and crafts.

On day 1, we read the book together, which of course, meant a million questions. I think this is the beauty of literature-based lessons — you open up conversations and have the opportunity to be led by children’s curiosity.

It just so happened that I just purchased an interactive map puzzle, so we were able to find the locations in it.

Day 2 focused on the words. For some reason, we ended up discussing how important it is to learn the context of literature. It was something that our Pastor often talks about even when interpreting the bible.

We researched more about the author and what could have possibly led him into writing the way he did. Honestly, I’m not sure how much of it stuck considering that my kids are 6 and 3, but I think they get a general idea.

Day 3, 4, and 5 we stretched out over a couple of days because we had music and art classes. Plus some commitments with our homeschool provider, so we definitely took out time.

Our science experiment did not work out the way it was intended. Mainly, because it got mixed in with other ingredients like cornstarch.

Another thing that I liked about this unit study is that I was able to integrate it with our existing lessons. In this case, I used the experiment also as a way to teach the scientific method.

The thing is, we don’t have a lot of luxury when it comes to time, so any integration is an A-plus in my book.

Overall, there’s an earnest sweetness in this product and I highly recommend it, especially for the younger kids. It’s also one of the more fun curriculums I’ve reviewed; mainly, because it has an air of nostalgia.

Other products may offer more in terms of cramming in information, but this has the right balance of form and function. It hits the sweet spot of being just right.

Learn more about Branch Out World through the following social media pages:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/BranchOutWorld @BranchOutWorld
Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/belzibow @belzibow
Instagram: www.instagram.com/belzibow @belzibow
Twitter: www.twitter.com/belzibow @belzibow

If you want to hear more about this product, please visit the link below.

Paddington Bear {Branch Out World Reviews}

Crew Disclaimer

homeschooling

[Homeschool Review Crew] WriteBonnieRose Review

One of my goals for homeschooling is to make science come alive for my kids. I love science but I feel like I missed out just because of the way our generation was taught. When I had the opportunity to write a review for WriteBonnieRose, I jumped at the chance. We ended up with Learning About Science Collection, Level 1

Learning about Science Collection Level 1

This book contains seven different units and a list of website links for further study. The units are Familiar Plants and How they GrowFruits and Vegetables Around the WorldAnimal Habitats of the WorldOur Senses and Systems and How They WorkLearning About Life CyclesEarth Layers, Earthquakes, and Volcanoes, and Exploring Senses of Matter.

The collection is easily downloadable in PDF format, so it is a quick and easy buy. Each unit is presented in story form and is jam-packed with information. As an aside, it is great practice for reading and reading comprehension too.

The book is beautifully illustrated, which is always a plus point when it comes to younger kids.

In the life cycles unit, the different kinds of animals were tackled. I appreciated the comprehensiveness of it all. Most life cycle lessons are limited to butterflies and frogs because of the concept of metamorphosis. But this book talked about the different animals. There was information on mammals, birds, reptiles, and more.

Image may contain: 1 person
Why is she dressed as sheep? She wanted to wear it when we read about animal habitats. You know what they say, “follow the child!”

On our end, we used this material as a supplement to our science classes since I couldn’t interrupt the flow of our current subject matter. I hesitate to say this, but we used it for fun. Yes, that’s right. I said to my kids, “put down the iPads because I want to show you something.”

And you know what? No complaints. I think that’s the highest recommendation any parent can give you on an academic product. The kids didn’t mind setting aside Netflix for it. It also helped that the kids played dress up while reading — it may or may not have included me.

Personally, I like the integration of the lessons. There was science, language arts, and also some copywork for penmanship. It’s a great value.

The Learning Learning About Science Collection is reasonably priced. It can even be purchased individually from $1.49-$3.49 depending on the unit. Bonnie is offering a sweet deal. Until August 15, you can use the coupon code REVIEWCREW50 to buy all three sets for $6 or $6.50 each.

You can learn more about WriteBonnieRose through the following social media channels:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WriteBonnieRose/  @WriteBonnieRose
Twitter: https://twitter.com/WriteBonnieRose  @WriteBonnieRose
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/writebonnierose/  @WriteBonnieRose

Do you want to read what other homeschoolers are saying about this product? Click on the picture below.

Learning About Science collections {WriteBonnieRose Reviews}

Crew Disclaimer

homeschooling

[Homeschool Review Crew] New Study Guides for Literature From a Christian Perspective

For the past couple of weeks, we’ve been discussing the seasons of life in church. Between that message and this review, I feel like the universe is throwing me a lifeline.

I am thankful for the extra help that Progeny Press gave us with the Josefina’s Story Quilt e-Guide because maaaan, grace has been in short supply recently — and this book helped me get through our reading classes without much stress and worries.

Josefina Story Quilt

What is it about?
The story is in easy-to-digest length and it is perfect for practicing reading. The guide comes with a workbook so children and answer questions and work on some material as they go along.

Most reading guides I’ve used cover the reading comprehension aspect. Questions like “describe the characters” or “what happened in the story?” For this guide, it is different. There’s a surprising amount of technical English skills that was covered. For instance, the book explained what a metaphor is — perfect for us, since I’ve been introducing figures of speech to H.

But from the title, the most important aspect of the book is the Christian perspective. It had verses that it tied up with the story so that biblical principles are taught in conjunction with the story. A lot has been said about the value of prayer. It’s heartfelt.

The guide that we used is just one of the many titles available from Progeny Press. Other titles include guide for classics like Frog and Toad Together, which I am thinking of purchasing because this book is next on our to-read list.

On Our Impressions

The lessons are well-planned and easily executed. I think there are a lot of other activities that can be done to enrich the lesson more, like maybe a visit to the museum or making the quilt yourself. In our case, mom has been going through some personal issues lately so our lessons had to be trimmed down to the essentials. But, this guide still worked for us.

Which brings me to one point that I like most about this guide: it’s flexibility. Progeny Press recommends reading the book and then working on the activities over the course of 8-10 weeks. For us, we zoomed through the book and then worked on the activities over a shorter period of time.

I think this is a great helper for homeschooling families who need assistance with making a comprehensive language art content. For me, personally, it saved me a lot of time having to come up with activities and guide questions for our reading practice. Without going through the details, it’s such a relief in this season.

You can find out more about Progeny Press on FacebookTwitterPinterest, and You-Tube.

To read up on what other homeschooling families are saying about this product, please click on the picture below.

Picture

Picture

homeschooling

[Homeschool Review Crew Review] The Master and His Apprentices: Art History from a Christian Perspective

I received a copy of the Master and His Apprentices; Art History from a Christian Perspective from The Master and His Apprentices to review. This review will be little different because my kids are too young  to use this so I was the one who actually used this. Here are my impressions if you would like to read.

On the Books

I got a package of the textbook and a teacher’s guide in digital format. There are also print versions, if that’s something that you would prefer. Personally, I’m happy with the digital version because the books are not light reading — literally. The textbook is 380 pages long so it will be too heavy to haul around.

It’s length is not due to the wordiness of the writer, but because of the information packed into it. The subject matter spans across cultures and time periods. With lots of areas to cover, it’s no wonder its big book.

The Table of Contents can give you a glimpse on how comprehensive this book is.

The books are more suited for older learners because of the details presented. From an old fogey like me to high school students. Students who go through the book can earn a full year of high school credit. But younger kids can also benefit from it. In our case, my kids liked looking at the pictures. The book includes hundred and hundreds of pictures of art works.

The material breaks down the topics into periods: The Beginning, Ancient Cultures, Classical Antiquity, Middle Ages, Renaissance, and Baroque and Beyond. At the end of the book, there are essays and timelines that can help put perspective on what the book has covered.

The teacher’s guide has open-ended questions for discussion, worksheets, and even exams to come up with a more structured form of learning. I noticed the focus on these learning tools is towards analyzing the content. It doesn’t require memorization, but rather being able to describe a period in relation to another.

On My Impression

I think that the book covers a lot of topics, which  makes it worthwhile to look. Of course, this shouldn’t be surprising considering that art has existed since the beginning of history. As jam-packed as this book is, it doesn’t even cover art history in entirety. Possible Book 2 maybe?

masterandapprentice
The book makes sure that even creation, such as animal diversity or properties of light, points to God as being a master artist.

The book really lives up to its title. One of the things I liked most about it is that in the introduction, the author took time to explain the purpose of the book. The idea of God as the original artist — he is the Creator, after all — and all the other artists in history are his apprentices, just jumped out to me. Honestly, I will be thinking about this my whole life. It’s such an beautiful perspective and I will be repeating this to others, of course, crediting it to this book, to anyone who would listen.

I like that the content of the book doesn’t just talk about art history, but actually tackles history as a whole. I think it’s important to provide context to the art to be able to understand it better. Even innovators like Leonardo da Vinci operate within their societies. Getting a glimpse of the culture and events at that time is helpful to making sense of the art produced.

But, one very important thing I think people should know about these books is that it is clear that the author believes in a young Earth, placing creation at around 4004 B.C. In fact, the book is very vocal about Christian beliefs.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise since it says so in the title. But I feel like since there are many differences even within Christians, this is not a book that you just assign to your kids. It is important for the parent to actually read through the book themselves and take time to figure out where you stand.

For example, I personally don’t believe in a young Earth, so it is something that I would skip or explain further when teaching my kids. I mention this because if you’re going to read The Master and His Apprentices, you will most certainly encounter doctrine and concrete teachings. Some might be in line with your beliefs, some might be contradictory. That’s why I think parents should read the book first, or read it alongside their kids, to be able to explain things further.

Having said that, the book and the teachers guide are well-organized and well-written. I will definitely be referring to this book when my kids are ready. Content-wise, it tackles the major points of art in history so this will make a good textbook for students. I also appreciate the Christian perspective and again, her main thesis of God being the master artist, is just (for lack of a better word) masterful.

To learn more about The Master and His Apprentices: Art History from a Christian Perspective, find them on social media:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/The-Master-and-His-Apprentices-245504999349223/
Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/themasterandhisapprentices/boards/

Other homeschooling families have also read the book. Find out what they have to say by clicking the link below.

 

homeschooling

[Homeschool Review Crew] MaxScholar: Multisensory Reading Intervention Program for Children

As the parent of a young learner, I am constantly in the lookout for new ways to introduce reading to my kids. One of the programs that I recently had the chance to use is the Reading Intervention Programs offered by MaxScholar.

On MaxScholar’s Multisensory Reading Program

The premise is based on the Orton-Gillingham method, which uses the different senses to reinforce reading skills. The advantage of this is that no matter what your child’s learning style is — such as visual or kinesthetic — they will positively respond to the program.

maxscholar2.jpg
Each area is designed to teach and enhance a particular skill set

There are different learning areas that come with the subscription to MaxScholar. First is MaxPhonics, which is designed for younger children. It is the foundation of reading because it introduces letters and sounds. For the MaxWords section, students are taught to build their vocabulary as well as learn how to spell. Notably, it also teaches Greek and Latin root words. MaxReading is all about reading comprehension and helps practice students pay attention to what they are reading. This part is fun — MaxMusic helps practice auditory skills using music. MaxVocab build vocabulary using games. Rounding it out are MaxPlaces, which uses geography to help build reading comprehension skills and MaxBios, which focuses reading about famous people.

On Using the Program

The account has separate logins for parents and students. Like most reading programs, the student can take an assessment test to see where their skill levels are. Although the test is optional, it can provide parents a better idea on which part of the program their child should start with.

One thing I appreciated is the well-designed interface of the program. The design is clear, uncluttered, and intuitive. Even dinosaurs scared of the computer (like me!) won’t have a hard time operating it. There is also an effective tutorial option at the beginning for extra assistance.

maxscholar
Any program with a tutorial gets a thumbs up from me.

For our family, I intended to use MaxScholar to help H practice reading. Her reading has improved exponentially over the summer, so she was able to start practicing with the MaxBios section with assistance.

Incidentally, I get the feeling that the makers of MaxScholars are from the cool crowd because it had sections on hip-hop artists featuring Biggie Smalls and Jay Z. Tyra Banks is included alongside Helen Keller under the Amazing Women category.

On Our Impressions

I think the main advantage of MaxScholar is that it means what it says about the multisensory approach. There’s music, games, and other activities that keep the lessons from being stale and dry for kids.

MaxScholar lives up to its name in that there is a scholarly approach to learning, but there is also a lightheartedness about it that really appeals us. I can’t get over the fact that kids get to read about Jay Z and Tyra Banks! In other programs, this would be considered heresy. But why not? This to me also makes a very valid point about reading: you don’t have to be so high brow to be a good reader. Contemporary topics are just as good as Beatrix Potter-era books.

This for me is the biggest reason why parents should explore the MaxScholar program. More than the reading skills (which of course I think is also good), I think it teaches a love of reading that goes beyond the usual. Reading should be an inclusive activity and I really appreciate that this is not dismissive of more contemporary topics.

To find out more about MaxScholar and its products, follow them on social media:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/maxscholarllc?lang=en
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MaxScholarLLC/
Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/company/maxscholar/

Find out what other homeschooling families have to say about this product by clicking on the link below.

Reading Intervention Programs {MaxScholar Reviews}

Crew Disclaimer