Home School in the Woods – A Homeschool Review

Home School in the Woods – A Homeschool Review

Did you know that learning about history can actually be pretty fun?

Well it can! We have been playing some of the file folder games from Home School in the Woods. They now offer many of their hands-on history projects Á La Carte.

We chose two different file folder games to review: Mercenary Madness! and Journey Through the Middle Ages, both at a very reasonable price of $4.95. They are both geared toward children in grades 3 to 8. We used them with my 2nd grader and 5th grader as they are both studying this time period in our homeschool right now!

Journey Through the Middle Ages

The first game we used was Journey Through the Middle Ages. It comes as a neatly organized pdf file with full instructions on what supplies will be needed, how to print the pages (some are better to print on card stock) and how to assemble them.

Then we set off cutting out, gluing and coloring all the different components. This is a really neat part about these file folder games. Not only do you end up with a fun game to play together, but the kids get to actually make and put it together themselves (with a little help from mom).

After getting it all put together we read through the game instructions and started playing. Some of the questions were a bit tough for my 2nd and 5th graders as we haven’t covered all of the material in our personal studies yet. I went through the question cards and picked out ones they would know, or at least had a better chance of guessing at. We also threw in a couple of the harder ones for fun, and I just gave hints as needed.

The players move around the map, making their way to the different castles. At each castle, they collect a castle card. The first one to collect all the different castle cards wins!

The more we played the game, the more they started to remember the answers. It’s a really neat way to learn history trivia while feeling like play!

Both children asked to play again and again. They enjoyed the friendly competition between the two of them, and I enjoyed that they were learning something!

Mercenary Madness!

The next item we chose was Mercenary Madness! It is also a file folder style game, with the setup instructions being fairly similar to the first game. Print, color, cut and paste.

The questions in this one were a bit more challenging, as we haven’t quite gotten that far in our studies yet. But I was still able to find a good number of the questions that they have learned about, and gave hints for the others.

In this game they collect coins as they move around the board. There are Spoils and Spoilers squares, and depending on how they answer the trivia questions, they can collect or lose coins. They had a lot of fun with this game too!

The game ends when both players make it to the battlefield. The winner is determined by who has the most coins at the end. My daughter was so excited that she beat her big brother by just two coins!

More fun while learning about history!

Home School in the Woods has many other Á La Carte items available on their website. They range in price from $1.95 to $9.95, which is quite an affordable way to add a little fun to your studies if you ask me.

Of course we weren’t able to try them all for this review, but there are a couple of other ones that look really fun that I might like to try out in the future.

The Jamestown Replica would be so much fun for any young builder in your family.

The Art Of Quilling would be great for children (or even adults) who are more artistic.

For more info about Home School in the Woods, be sure to follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ or YouTube.

À La Carte Projects - Individual projects designed to enhance your studies! {Home School in the Woods Reviews}
CursiveLogic – A Homeschool Review

CursiveLogic – A Homeschool Review

Hello there! It’s time for another homeschool review!

We’ve been pretty busy during the last few months trying out different homeschooling products to share with you, and it’s been a lot of fun! This week we will be looking at the CursiveLogic Quick-Start Pack and The Art of Cursive from the wonderful people over at CursiveLogic.

I can’t begin to tell you how excited I was to open the mail and find these waiting for me in all their beautiful glory! (Does it make me sound weird to be so excited over homeschool things? Haha!) But before even receiving the books in the mail, I received an email with a link to an instructional webinar that explains the CursiveLogic method step by step for parents.

I thought this was wonderful! I was able to watch through the webinar and see exactly how I am supposed to work through the book with my son. So once the books did arrive, we were ready to dive right in, knowing exactly how to get started!

I decided to use CursiveLogic with my 11 year old son who is in 5th grade. He’s certainly seen cursive writing before, but has never written in cursive. I’ve always know that I want my children to learn cursive in our homeschool, but it always seemed like a daunting task and so I had been putting it on the back burner. Well there is no excuse now! CursiveLogic has fallen into our laps, and it looked like a clear and concise program to use.

CursiveLogic has a wonderful approach for learning cursive to work for kinesthetic, visual, and auditory learners. It teaches the lowercase cursive alphabet by breaking them up into four groups based on shape. Each group is taught together, using tracing, a catch-phrase, and writing the letter grouping (or string, as CursiveLogic calls it) on your own. I really like this approach. Rather than trying to teach each letter individually, students are learning them in groups, and seeing, right from the beginning, how the letters connect together. There are even dry erase pages at the end of the book so your child can practice their cursive again and again!

As you can see from the picture above, the workbook is bound at the top edge rather than the sides. With side-bound books my son usually struggles with the binding being in his way when he turns the page over. With CursiveLogic we don’t have that problem, they’ve really thought of everything!

Here are some before and during photos of my sons writing. The before sample is what his printing usually looks like. You can see that his letter sizes aren’t the same, and in the bottom line he hasn’t left space between his words. Often times he will also have what I like to call “floating” letters, where some are high and others are low.

Now you can see, after just a couple of weeks in he was already showing great progress with his cursive. No more floating letters, his letter size and spacing is improving too. I don’t doubt that it will get even neater as we continue to work through the different letter strings and he has more practice.

We also received The Art of Cursive, which is cursive instruction artfully woven into an adult coloring book! How neat is that?! Now it’s not designed to teach cursive to children, there just isn’t enough instruction for that. But it would easily help a teen or adult to learn and practice cursive. Or for those that already know cursive but like to color, it’s a great tool to really cement those cursive strokes. I have been having fun with it, using it as a nice relaxing activity once the house has quieted down for the evening, or before the kids are up in the morning. I think it could also be used as good practice tool for a young one who likes to color and draw, after they’ve already been through the workbook.

As a little bonus to our readers, CursiveLogic has given us a special discount for you!  Using the code CREW2018, you can save 20% on the Quick-Start Pack, which is the webinar + workbook combo.  The code will be active through the end of March. Enjoy!

Also, if you’d like to connect with CursiveLogic please visit them at their website: www.cursivelogic.com, or through their Facebook page here:  https://www.facebook.com/ilovecursive/

The Art of Cursive & Quick Start Cursive {Cursive Logic Reviews}
The Starfall Home Membership – A Homeschool Review

The Starfall Home Membership – A Homeschool Review

Hi there fellow parents and homeschoolers! Today I want to share with you my review of The Starfall Home Membership from the Starfall Education Foundation.

So You Might Be Wondering, What Is The Starfall Home Membership?

The Starfall Home Membership is a yearly subscription that unlocks hundreds of fun, educational activities for children from Pre-K to 2nd grade. Children can learn essential reading and math skills through play with animated songs, mathematics, and reading activities.You can get this low-cost membership program for only $35/year.

The program can be accessed via your computer/laptop or through the app on a tablet. I love that there are two options! When we are at home it’s nice to be able to pull up the website on the laptop which has a bigger screen. When we are on the go I can bring up the app on the tablet for the kids to use while out waiting for an appointment or running errands. And the tablet is much easier to hand over to my toddler, without worrying that he might find a way to wreck my laptop!

How have we been using Starfall?

My youngest two children have both been using Starfall. My 7 year old daughter is in grade two, and although we find some of the material to be too young for her, there are still plenty of activities for her to have fun with. She has been reading some of the short stories as well as practicing her addition and subtraction facts.

In the center of the home page you will find a character smiling back at you. Your child can change the appearance of the character to suit their likes, or even to resemble themselves! My daughter loves this type of thing and set to work straight away to pick out a hair style and clothing for her new friend. I think this is a really cute way to add a personal touch to the program.

I also have a 2 year old who may not quite be pre-k age, but he still really loves to explore through the Starfall app on our tablet. He clicks through the alphabet and colors and enjoys all the fun songs too! Whenever he is using the app all I hear are squeals of excitement and adorable giggles!

Starfall also provides a Parent-Teacher area. This is where you will find a bunch of helpful resources on how to use Starfall, such as a complete guide to using Starfall for different ages and subjects. There are also many supplemental resources to use along side the Starfall website/app. From ELA and Math worksheet generators, to custom printables and downloads, you will be sure to find something that will complement your child’s learning experience.

Would I recommend Starfall?

Absolutely! If you have children in the target age range of Pre-K to 2nd grade Starfall would make an excellent addition to their learning. My kids are always wanting to use technology in their play, whether it is the computer or a tablet. I’m glad that there is an educational option available for them. It gives more purpose to using electronics, which is a big factor in my decisions on which games/programs to purchase and use with them.

How can you get The Starfall Home Membership?

You can visit The Starfall Home Membership page at the Starfall Education Foundation website and become a member today!

Would you like some more ways to connect with Starfall? Check out their social media links below:

Ultrakey Online Family Subscription | A Homeschooler Review

Ultrakey Online Family Subscription | A Homeschooler Review

In today’s world our children are surrounded by computers and technology. Learning how to type proficiently has become an expected part of educating our children. Even some preschool aged children are using tablets and other tech devices on a daily basis now!

So where does a homeschooling parent start when it’s time to teach and solidify good typing habits? Look no further, because I’m going to tell you all about a great typing program that we had the chance to use recently.
Let me introduce you to my new favorite typing program: UltraKey Online Family Subscription from Bytes of Learning.

There are a few different options to choose from, including: personal use, family use and classroom use. For this review we were given access to the 1-yr Online Family Subscription. A free parent account is included, and from there you can choose how many student accounts you’d like (3, 5 or 8). Depending on the number of students, the cost ranges from $29.95 to $49.95 which, in my opinion is very reasonable as it works out to roughly $10 or less per student account.

During our review I had both my 7 yr old and my 11 yr old using the program. Both of them really enjoyed the program right from the beginning. They would work through a lesson and a skill check each day, which amounted to about 20-30 minutes per day. Their main focus was on accuracy this time around, but I plan to have them work towards improving their speed once they have completed the beginner level.

One of the great things about UltraKey is that it can be used by pretty much anyone, beginners to advanced users. You can set your own goals or have the program set them for you. There is even a placement test you can take to find out where you’re at and what your goals should be.

To get started students will learn proper keyboarding posture and where to place their hands. My 7 yr old went through these lessons as she is a beginner at typing, but my 11 yr old decided to skip them as he has been typing for some time now and has the posture/hand placement thing down pat. After that they worked through the different lessons, each followed by a skill check to see how they are progressing.

There are many settings that you can adjust to better suit each student. You can enable or disable back spacing, adjust the transparency of the model hands in the lessons, and even change the background image!
I loved that we had so much control over how we used the program. I was able to tailor the program to each of my children, rather than be forced to use “cookie-cutter” settings.

During the lessons students are encouraged to take a break and stretch. My children both found this fun and would get up out of their chairs to stretch, usually followed by a few giggles after I would ask what they were doing. “It told me to do it”, laughed my daughter.

When they aren’t working on their lessons or skill checks, they can visit the games section. The games help them to practice their typing while being a little more interesting than the lessons. I’m not sure either of my children would consider them exciting games, but more like fun practice. Either way, it is a nice change of pace to break up the lessons and practice what they are learning.

I really appreciate the parent dashboard where I can view the progress of each of my children and see how they are improving. As they finish the lessons they are congratulated with a completion certificate that you can print out and present to them. My 11 year old was eager to have his certificate printed out as it gave him something physical to show his accomplishments.

I would definitely recommend this program to anyone wanting to teach typing to their children, or even to improve their own skills. Anything that my kids can use without complaint is a winner in my book! Both of them are happy to do their daily lesson when I ask them, and there are no moans or groans about it!

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