Curriculum, Education, Homeschool, Homeschool Family, Math, Middle School Math

CTCMath Review!

Disclosure: I received this complimentary product through the Homeschool Review Crew.

I think the CTCMath is one of my favorite reviews to write for the Homeschool School Review Crew! We received a 12-month family membership and we absolutely love CTCMath it is a must-have for our homeschool resources.

CTCMath is an online complete math curriculum for grades K-12 grade. The online math platform comes with:

  • Instructional Videos
  • Customizable Printables
  • Parent Dashboard
  • Task Manager
  • Lesson Tracking and Self Grading
  • Record Keeping
  • Award Certificates
  • Fluency Games

This year we approached CTCMath in a different way, I decided to make the program a part of our weekly math rotation. Previously we used it as a way to supplement when my son needed help with concepts he was learning in his spine curriculum. This year we are starting from the beginning of the 5th-grade concepts and we are going to work our way through all the concepts in order from start to finish. I decided to do it this way this year because I want to pinpoint and find holes. So far he has been progressing very well and we have only hit one hole I am making sure we review this concept and have it reviewed.

Each week I assign my son 3-5 tasks a week and when he finishes those tasks I assign the next set. I decided not to do the diagnostic assessment when we first started because I really wanted to work through the 5th-grade concepts, just in case, the assessment placed him higher because this homeschool year we are focusing on mastery of foundations.

Since I have made CTCMath part of our routine math lessons I am sure to include them in my lesson plan and my son’s checklist. I set the task to expire in 7 days so he has all week to get them completed and I have his pass grade set at 95 percent and 3 attempts. My son likes to spread his task out but he knows to get them done before the week is over.

What I really like about CTCMath is how easy it is to use, the lessons adapt to your students, the instructional videos are clear, and give excellent step-by-step examples. Sometimes I will print out the instructional lesson and place the examples in his math folder so he can reference them back. I really like the flow of CTCMath because it is straight to the point and not boring. If you are looking for a lot of graphics and huge amounts of math gaming CTCMath has very minimal.

CTCMath provides extensive reports of your student’s progress that can be easily printed off and slid into a student portfolio. I also enjoy the 5th-grade checklist you can also print out and track your student’s grades.

I also use CTCMath when I tutor students in my home so I can help them better understand a concept when I am teaching. I find that the videos are very helpful when going over concepts and practicing areas they need support in. My son does use one of our extra seats to work on higher-level math concepts as he would like to learn.

CTCMath is an affordable online math curriculum it has won many awards and remains to be one of the Homeschool Review Crew member’s favorite online math programs. It can be used as a supplement or a full math curriculum. Students can do their lesson digitally or they can print it out. Highly adaptable students have access to all grade levels on their dashboards. With individual student logins, this is great for multiple families.

I highly recommend CTCMath for all students it is worth the cost and I really love how it has grown with my son over the years. Be sure to check out the other Crew’s reviews by clicking the banner below.

Social Media Links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ctcmath/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/CTCMathOfficial
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ctcmath/
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com.au/ctcmath/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/ctcmathyoutube

Curriculum, Education, Grammar, Homeschool, Vocabulary

Dynamic Literacy, LLC: Wordbuild Online Review!

Disclosure: I received this complimentary product through the Homeschool Review Crew.

We are testing family and this year when I noticed right away there was a substantial amount of vocabulary on the exam. For the last 2 years, we have worked on vocabulary-building activities through workbooks and curriculums. I was thrilled when the Crew was offered to review Dynamic Literacy, LLC: Wordbuild Online .

In all honesty, I had never heard of Wordbuild Online until we were presented with the opportunity to review it. At first glance at the website, I was very impressed with the scope and sequence. Wordbuild Online really concentrates on the prefixes and suffixes, Greek, and Latin roots. There are 3 foundation levels reviewing prefixes and suffixes with 25 units per level. After your student masters, these 75 exercises the students will move on to the Elements level which also has 3 levels of 25-36 units of Greek and Latin roots.

The company started all of our Crew accounts at the foundations level and to be honest with you I thought this was a great idea. Having my son started at the beginning was fine with me because I wanted him to take advantage of everything this online platform had to offer. Starting from the beginning also let me know where he was in his knowledge of roots and where I needed to focus our attention. Students are given a placement test at the beginning as well students watch an introductory video about the English language.

Students are recommended to work the 10-15 min lessons 5 days a week. I highly recommend that you do these lessons consecutively. I made this mistake in week one of us using the program and thereafter we worked consistently. Foundations level 1-3 are students 2- 5th grade, but I personally feel students should start at the beginning Wordbuild Online instead of jumping directly to the Greek and Latin roots. Foundations and Elements break the lesson down into 5 different activities. The requirement for

  • Day 1 Affix Square (Foundations)
  • Daty 2 Affix Adder (Foundations )
  • Day 3 Magic Square (Foundations) / Stair Steps (Elements)
  • Day 4 Comprehension Booster (Foundations) / In Other Words (Elements)
  • Day 5 Question Assessment (Foundations) /10 Question Assessment (Elements)

What We Think!

My SON LOVES this program! It is the first thing he does after breakfast, he has been very consistent with the platform. He learning and reviewing so much and enjoying watching himself get better. At first, he was getting a rating score of 2’s and I was concerned maybe we needed to do some review. I just sat back and just observed his work and I realize that Wordbuild Online was presenting these lessons in a different way than he was used to seeing them as pretty basic. Wordbuild Online was teaching him definitions and vocabulary and having him really dissect these words in sentence comprehension. Those few 2’s started turning into 4’s because he had found his rhythm and gotten over the learning curve.

I really like how Wordbuild Online presents the affix, then students define it in their own words using a new word. Then they work on sentence comprehension by using the new word and picking the correct use in the sentence. The students continue to work on many more activities that increase vocabulary, spelling, and review. I love the parent dashboard that is simple and you can reset it if you want your student to rework an affix.

Since using Wordbuild Online the last few weeks our current vocabulary curriculum has taken the backseat because he really prefers this over his book. When it comes time for the Crew to vote for the best vocabulary curriculum for the year we are definitely casting our vote for Wordbuild Online.

Be sure to check out the other Crew reviews of Dynamic Literacy, LLC: Wordbuild Online by clicking the banner below.

Social Media Links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wordbuild/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/DynamicLiteracy
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/wordbuild_online/

Curriculum, Education, Homeschool, Math, Middle School Math

Math Essentials: Mastering Essential Math Skills Book 2

Disclosure: I received this complimentary product through the Homeschool Review Crew.

Have you ever found that one resource that was your #1 go-to when needing to supplement a subject? Well, Math Essentials is my #1 go-to for all things supplemental for math. When all as fails I know for sure that any of my Math Essentials books in my homeschool arsenal will get the job down. There was no doubt I was completely on board when the Homeschool Review Crew was given the opportunity to review the Mastering Essential Math Skills Book 2 I was definitely wanting to be a part of this review.

There are 8 chapters in the Mastering Essential Math Skills Book 2, this newly revised 3rd edition is designed for middle and high schoolers. The Mastering Essential Math Skills Book 2 is perfect for my rising 5th grader because we are currently working on middle school math in his spine curriculum. Mastering Essential Math Skills Book 2 covers:

  • Whole Numbers
  • Fractions
  • Decimals
  • Geometry
  • Percents
  • Integers
  • Charts & Graphs
  • Word Problems

Mastering Essential Math Skills Book 2 can be used as a full curriculum or as a supplemental. Practice takes an average of 20-30 minutes a day with each lesson with a corresponding video. The company recommends you use the book daily for math success. There are 8 steps to completing lessons:

  • Review Exercises
  • Speed Drills
  • Work through review problems
  • Introduction to new material
  • Helpful hints & sample problems
  • Daily exercises
  • Correct problems

You don’t have to follow this layout, but I will tell you that it will make the lessons go by smoother if do.

How We Use

We use Mastering Essential Math Skills Book 2 as our daily math warm-ups or we use it on Fridays as our math skills review. The only difference is I work the review exercises on the board. My son and I play this game in which he works on his book and me on the whiteboard and then we check each other’s answers. I purposely sometimes get the answers incorrect so he can check my work and show me he understands the review. Sometimes I let him watch the lesson videos and other times I teach the lesson and then he works on the problems and I check them and help him with any problems he has incorrect. I do also correlate Mastering Essential Math Skills Book 2 with my son’s spine math curriculum for extra practice.

Final Thoughts

Mastering Essential Math Skills Book 2 is a great math review book, perfect for prepping for those end-of-the-year assessments and SAT/PSAT prepping. The lessons sequence nicely together so there is no worry about students developing holes in their math. I like that the lessons are short to the point and there are video lessons.

A great amount of problem-solving and logic activities. Mastering Essential Math Skills Book 2 is available in Spanish and Bilingual. If you are looking for a math supplement for your middle or high school student I encourage you to check out Mastering Essential Math Skills Book 2 from Math Essentials. If you are interested in checking out Math Essentials Math and Algebra platform code CREW2022 and try for free for 3 months.

Be sure to check out the other Crew’s reviews on Math Essentials by clicking the banner below.

Education, History, Homeschool Family

Home School in the Woods Project Passport: Ancient Egypt Review!

Disclosure: I received this complimentary product through the Homeschool Review Crew.

It’s that time of year again when decisions are being made on a new homeschool curriculum. This year I am being even more selective in curriculum and supplements. We were given the opportunity to review Home School in the Woods: Project Passport World History Studies, Ancient Egypt.

This year we are studying Ancient Civilizations as part of our spine curriculum so I am looking for ways to add some hands-on activities to the mix. Home School in the Woods: Project Passport World History Studies, Ancient Egypt takes kids on a journey back to Ancient Egypt. Project Passport World History Studies, Ancient Egypt is for grades 3-8th. Project Passport World History Studies, Ancient Egypt is not a secular curriculum you will see biblical references throughout the lessons. There are 25 stops on the learning journey complete with a guidebook, travel itinerary, and 50 plus printable activities in black/white and color. Students will have activities that include:

  • Creative Writing
  • Mapping
  • Government
  • Culture
  • Life Skills
  • Timelines
  • Crafts
  • Lapbook projects and much more!

Project Passport World History Studies, Ancient Egypt also includes additional resources that suggested helping your child dig deeper into the studies. Project Passport World History Studies, Ancient Egypt provides everything you need to prep and move through the study with ease. There are notebook covers for a 3-ring binder to help your students stay organized and help the study flow easier. I will tell you there is a lot of printing required for this study, so I would print as you go. Of course, since the kids are taking a trip it wouldn’t be complete with a passport and luggage folder.

The detailed teacher guidebook provides the readings and lessons and structure for the Project Passport World History Studies, Ancient Egypt. You can pick and choose what activities you would like to do. Project Passport World History Studies, Ancient Egypt stretches over 5-grade levels so I would really pace myself when working the study so you don’t burn your student out. So work at your own pace, I personally was really overwhelmed by so many activities, it may have been just I was in the planning and researching studies for our upcoming homeschool year.

Project Passport World History Studies, Ancient Egypt covers a multitude of timeline figures you can see a full list here. There is also a scope and sequence on the product page for you to review. Project Passport World History Studies, Ancient Egypt provides step by step picture guide on how to put the lapbook together (HUGE PLUS)….super thank you for this Home School in the Woods. Project Passport World History Studies, Ancient Egypt also includes audio and project photos this is also super helpful for both students and parents.

We teach gentle true history in our home and because of this, I have to read everything before presenting it to my son and check for historical accuracies. One of the things I found confusing was the organization of the file. I would have preferred the guidebook and travel itinerary to be one concise pdf. The start here file is very helpful because it breaks the down guide into the 25 stops and provides the direct link to both the guide and itinerary, I just would like it all together. I do like that a symbol guide is included in the activities because it lets you know if there is a photo, audio, scrapbook, 3-D craft, and dining activity.

I am still reading and reviewing a lot of the materials in the Project Passport World History Studies, Ancient Egypt, I wish there was more information on Kush and I found it interesting that the newspaper template is named The Kemet Chronicle when in fact the real name of Egypt is Kemet.

Last Thoughts

I think the Project Passport World History Studies, Ancient Egypt is a nice unit study if you are looking for a study on Ancient Egypt. I would recommend you fact-check any materials presented. There are several Biblical references within the study, you can omit those parts if you like and still be successful at doing the unit study. There are 4 additional Project Passports in this series so be sure to check them out I am quite sure some of the Homeschool Review Crew members will be reviewing them as well. If you want to learn more about the Project Passport World History Studies and other Homeschool in the Woods products be sure to click the banner below and read what other Crew members review.

Social Media Links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/homeschoolinthewoods
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/homeschoolinthewoods/
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/hsinthewoods/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCrKq6iLty2fpB6R6ZpcUb8A

4th Grade, 5th Grade, 6th Grade, Education, Family, Homeschool, Homeschool Family, Unit Study

Five Senses Literature Lessons: Children of the Longhouse Unit Study!

Complimentary product received from Five Senses Literature Lessons

I am starting to lesson plan for our upcoming school year and one of the things I like to include is 3-4 unit studies each year. Last year my son had the opportunity to take classes with Kelly Tudor, if you are not familiar with Kelly Tudor she is a citizen of the Lipan Apache Tribe in Texas. She teaches Indigenous studies classes in Outschool, and she is a wealth of truth about Indigenous people. We love her classes and we will be taking full advantage of them again this year.

I mention Mrs. Tudor because we always do an Indigenous study between October and November. This year we will be using the Five Senses Literature Lessons ,Children of the Longhouse Unit Study.

About Five Senses Literature Lessons

Five Senses Literature Lessons were developed by an occupational therapist, turned homeschool. The lessons are secular and can be used as a full curriculum depending on the student. There are 4 levels instead of grade levels, the reason being the lesson is designed to appeal to all students based on their abilities.

You will see some overlapping of skills because not all children learn at the same pace and may need more time to develop skills. The literature lesson covers multiple academic disciplines such as:

  • History and Social Studies
  • Science and Math
  • Art and Health
  • Language Arts

Everything you need to teach these lessons is within the literature guide. Speaking of the lessons you will receive embedded video and resource links for each lesson which makes this guide easier to implement. You really don’t have to print out the guide itself just the appendix section that has all the printables you will need. I personally like to have both a hard copy (planning and note-taking reasons) and a digital version for the clickable links.

I want children to experience learning with their whole bodies. I want them to not only hear about something but taste it, feel it, talk about it and wonder about it beyond what they were shown. I do not believe that learning about history, science, art or language should hinge on how well a child can read or write.

Laura Sowdon – Five Senses Learning

Five Senses Literature Lessons work for children with disabilities as well as gifted children. The guides appeal to all learning styles and I really like that they were created by the occupational therapist because she has taken the time to really design a program that is relaxed and stress-free for both the learner and parent.

Children of the Longhouse Unit Study

Children of the Longhouse, Unit Study is a part of the green level for students ages 8-12 years. The green level concentrates on historical fiction, critical thinking skills, independent learning, and ambitious hands-on activities. The creator of this unit study was very intentional to point out that the unit was about Appreciation not Appropriation I really like this because I don’t know how many times I have tossed a book or printable because of misappropriation.

There are 13 lessons that directly correlate with each chapter in the book. You will find a book list, how-to-use, supply list, pre-reading activities, and appendix. There is a detailed chart that tells you what subjects are going to be covered in each chapter lesson. Students will learn about Indigenous culture, herbology, sports, woodworking, food, anatomy, and first aid. I really appreciate the life skills included in the resource and recipes.

Last Thoughts!

I really like the Children of the Longhouse, Unit Study from Five Senses Literature Lessons. The unit has cut down my prep time for this year’s unit study on Indigenous Studies. I like the included book list for optional resources all I have to do is grab the books from the library. I do like she included the Wildcraft board game that has been one on my list for our homeschool. November is our slow-down month with homeschool so having all the integrated subjects included takes my mind off lesson planning for those subjects. We are working on independent learning this year so having some of the activities that encourage these skills is a major plus. Five Senses Literature Lessons are great for family studies and morning baskets.

Right now there are 7 unit studies available in the Five Senses shop. I am hoping that she will come out with some new unit studies. At the time of this review Children of the Longhouse, Unit Study is $9.95 and she is having a Summer Sale you can save 25% off with the code hotmom2022.

If you would like to see a full walkthrough of this unit be on the lookout for our video on Little Learner and Mom IG.

Until the Next Time!

Mom

Homeschool, Education, Family, 5th Grade, Teaching Resources

HUE HD Pro Camera Review!

Complimentary product received from HUE!

When the pandemic struck I was teaching at my son’s homeschool co-op. After several weeks of trying to pull things together for our students, we ended our school year on a sad note. Then Fall 2020 came and like many schools, homeschool co-ops turned to virtual teaching so we could stay connected with our students. Fast forward 9 months and teachers across the country had learn to adapt and come up with some innovative ways to teach online. I happened to follow one great teacher on Instagram and she spoke highly of the HUE HD PRO Camera. Teachers commented on the post saying the same great things about HUE HD PRO Camera. I knew I needed to get one of these because I was also teaching online and needed a better way to present lessons.

When I was approached to review HUE HD PRO Camera I was overjoyed because this has been on my list to purchase as soon as I could.

HUE HD PRO Camera is super simple to set up and can be used on PC and MAC computers, be sure to check your system with the HUE HD PRO Camera system requirements. I first set it up on my son’s PC because he has already told me that he is using it for stop animation, so I went ahead and downloaded the software for him and HE showed me how to use the camera. Then my husband got wind that I was setting up on my son’s computer and he insisted he was next on his MAC so he could use it for recording music production tutorials. Later I set it up on my computer to try out with my summer virtual students.

HUE HD PRO Camera includes a flexible body and stand, you can use the camera while on the stand or attach it directly to your computer. The camera can capture a standard size document or A4. With manual focus and magnification, you can use up close with objects for demonstrations. HUE HD PRO Camera uses a high-quality microphone and LED lights. The additional HUE INTUITION software is spectacular for teaching allowing you to be able to “annotate and manipulate the live video stream”. The HUE INTUITION software also allows you to:

  • Record Videos
  • Scan documents
  • Image Capture
  • Skype

I am super impressed using it with one of my virtual students I tutor he likes to have a visual of the page we are working on so he can find the page faster in his book and we can work together. Now before having the HUE HD PRO Camera I had to scan the sheet then upload it to my computer, then try to work on the sheet with him using annotate in Zoom while trying to manage my teacher’s manual. Now all I have to do is turn on my camera share screen and place the page in a sheet protector and slide under HUE HD PRO Camera and keep it moving. No more scanning and weird clumsy writing with annotating.

HUE HD PRO Camera is a really great addition to our homeschool and my teaching online. I am still learning my way around HUE INTUITION so I can really use the software to make things easier for my students and my son. At the time of this review HUE HD PRO Camera is $79.95 and it comes in four cool colors. You can also project on whiteboards and projectors, this is definitely a must-have for back to school for teachers. If you are looking for a gift to give your student’s teacher I recommend HUE HD PRO Camera they will love it.

Until the Next Time,

Mom and J

Early Math Skills, Education, Family, Homeschool, Preschool

Creta Class: Math Class

This review is in partnership with Creta Class. I received access to the app to facilitate my review all opinions are my own.

Math is one of those skills you want to start your children on the right path. As parents, we are our children’s first teachers and we play all kinds of finger play games for counting and read tons of picture books with numbers and counting. What if there was an app that could start your little learners on the right path. Well, the creators at Creta Class have created a wonderful educational platform for children ages 3-8.

At first glance, I was captivated by Creta Class graphics and Momo and his friends. Creta Class was designed by early education experts to ensure your little mathematicians kickstart their math skills on the right foot. Creta Class experts have really outdone themselves with the app. We have reviewed many apps and I was very impressed with how this app was designed.

Creta Class learning approach is systemic there are 5 stages of learning, starting with the very basics of 2D & 3D shapes. Students will work over the week concentrating on that week’s skill. I really appreciate that the app is done daily for as little as 10 minutes a day. Creta Class Math Class lessons are presented with fun animation between the videos students practice the skill 3 times. Creta Class is a mastery math class, students will practice skills and review until they move on to the next week’s unit. Parents receive a detailed report after each week’s unit as well as students can see their progress. Creta Class Math Class is a great way to lesson plan if you are a homeschooler and supplement learning.

What I really like about Creta Class is it’s not a video game or overly loaded with games. The lessons are meaningful and designed to keep your student’s interest and help them learn basic math skills, without all the extra distractions. Creta Class lessons cover:

  • Problem Solving
  • Arithmetic
  • Logical Reasoning
  • Builds Confidence
  • Spatial Awareness

Creta Class 5 stage plan has 240 lessons with one lesson a day for 12 months. I also like that the platform combines lessons that use both real-life pictures and illustrations. With me having background in Montessori I really appreciated the simplicity of the lessons and they are child-led and focus on the whole child.

My son and I tried out several of the units. My son is older than the app appeals to but he found the app fun and agreed with me that this would have been great if he was younger. I really enjoyed the weekly challenge at the end of Unit 1 week 3, he said it was cool how they reviewed all the week’s concepts at the end of the week with a racetrack race. I personally also liked that Thursdays is a review of all the week’s lessons. Creta Class is a safe and educational app that I would feel comfortable using with a younger child. This purposeful screen time with a focus and goal, I wish this app was around when my son was younger.

I really like Creta Class Math Class for ages 3-8 years the program lays a solid foundation for early math skills. With 1000+ lessons, personalized lesson plans, and engaging activities math is fun and easy to master. Students develop a healthy growth mindset toward math and build self-esteem.

Creta ClassI highly recommends Creta Class, you can learn more about this fabulous math app by clicking the banner below or clicking here. Creta Class is available on IOS and Google play. If you are looking to start your students on a great path to math excellence Creta Class is definitely where I would start.

Until the Next Time,

Mom and J

4th Grade, 5th Grade, 6th Grade, Education, Family, History, Homeschool

Beautiful Feet Books: Around California with Children’s Books Pack: A History of the Golden State Review!

(Gifted)

Little Learner and Mom were once again given the honor of showcasing more of Beautiful Feet Books History and Science History curriculums. Our family was sent the Around California with Children’s Books Pack: A History of the Golden State. I was very impressed by the selection of picture books and equally impressed by the books included in the rabbit trails and library recommendations.

When you think of history does California come to mind? Probably not, because when teaching US History we traditionally think about the eastern coast of the United States first and don’t usually venture further west until after the Civil War. Well while the east coast history plays a significant part in US History Beautiful Feet Book Around California with Children’s Books Pack: A History of the Golden State brings the excitement about the West Coast.

Beautiful Feet Books curriculums are a Charlotte Mason-inspired. The company creators are homeschoolers themselves and have been inspiring families for 30 years with their beautiful illustrated literature.

To help homeschool parents ignite wonder and connect with their kids through the best stories and guided lessons.

Beautiful Feet Books History and Science History curriculums

Around California with Children’s Books Pack: A History of the Golden State starts its journey through California’s rich history with the Ice Age. Students will embark on learning about animals during this time period and natural disasters. My learner and I spent time researching the La Brea Tarpits and the weather conditions of the world during the Ice Age. I thought of some fun movies (Ice Age animated series) and suggested documentaries suggested in the lesson guide. Around California with Children’s Books Pack: A History of the Golden State covers history, geography, nature study, culinary history, and art study. Each lesson is estimated to take an hour for grades 4-6. You can find a complete scope and sequence on the product page.

Around California with Children’s Books Pack: A History of the Golden State includes:

  • Teacher Guide
  • 80 Multi-Sensory Lessons
  • Blank Notebook
  • 17 Books
  • Downloadable timeline sheet

What is intriguing about Around California with Children’s Books Pack: A History of the Golden State is the inclusive diversity of lessons presented. I was very pleased to see the inclusivity of African Americas and Asian Americans in the later lessons. Indigenous studies were included throughout the lessons as well which were done respectfully and with attention to detail. The selection of books was broad and packed with beautiful illustrations that held my 5th grader’s interest.

My son enjoyed the relaxed feel of learning about California he really spent time writing his journal and adding to his notes. We spent time painting, reading, and engaging in discussions about animals, culture, and global perspectives of California. We visited the story Kalifia as a rabbit trail we went down. He really enjoys geography, art, and culture.

Around California with Children’s Books Pack: A History of the Golden State is meant to be covered in a complete school year. I can see how one can make this their entire year’s history because it is so much you can do that will combine other historical information about the US in this one curriculum. I hope that in the near future that Beautiful Feet Books will add more states because there is so much to unpack in US History.

What I did notice is when it was time to do the lessons we set up the environment. My son cleared our table and prepared a light snack, set out the materials, and turned on the diffuser with little lavender essential oils. I always made sure there was something art relative for us to do while I was reading the literature for that lesson. He did art, snacked and we talked. I don’t know what it was about setting up the environment this way but it made our lessons enjoyable and special.

We will be stretching this curriculum over the next 2 years and it will become our special interest history. I want to take our time with this one because along with what the curriculum provides I want to be able to include more historical information during certain time periods.

Library finds we added to our studies

At the time of this review Around California with Children’s Books Pack: A History of the Golden State cost is $252.95.

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Curriculum, Education, Homeschool, Math, Middle School Math

Unlock Math: Unlock Math Foundations Review!

Complimentary Product Received!

I have 2 words to say FRACTIONS AND DECIMALS!!! Talk about a major panic button hit for this mama. My son LOVES fractions, but we started moving into higher-level fraction lessons and I started to panic. Just as I am panicking I look over the coming lessons and BAM DECIMALS!! This mama was a nervous wreck until the Squad was offered the opportunity to review Unlock Math!

What is Unlock Math

Unlock Math is an online multi-sensory math curriculum for 6th-12 grade. Unlock Math was created by a fellow homeschool family, which is a major plus in my opinion. If you are like me I am also refreshing myself while my son is working through the lessons. We are working our way through Unlock Foundations. Unlock Math covers six math discipline areas and a foundational course. The five areas of courses offered are:

  • Foundations
  • Pre-Algebra
  • Algebra 1
  • Algebra 2
  • Geometry
  • Pre-Calculus

Students are engaged from the start Unlock Math provides interactive questions with a continuous review for long-term retention. All review questions, as well as tests and quizzes, also provide links for your student to review if needed. There are step by step guidance for each solution if they respond incorrectly. The parent dashboard is comprehensive there is auto-grading, pacing guides, reports, and parent resources. The student dashboard is detailed with guides and a printable math textbook. Unlock Math has fabulous online customer service and math tutoring at no additional cost.

My son is working his way through the Unlock Foundations curriculum. The Unlock Foundations is perfect for us at this time because it is preparing him for pre-algebra and finding gaps and making sure he has a solid foundation of fundamentals skills he needs in order to be successful in Pre-Algebra.

How Does It Work?

Unlock Foundations is divided into thirteen comprehensive units and within those units there are six to thirteen lessons depending on the unit. What I really liked about the Unlock Foundations is that the lessons include an introduction and printable reference notes. As the students begin the lesson they will work through 6 steps:

  • Warm-Up (Material from the day before)
  • Instructional Video (Introduction to new concept)
  • Practice Problems
  • Stay Sharp Exercises (Covers previous lesson concept practice)
  • Challenge Yourself (Stretches their math knowledge)
  • Quiz, Review Test ( Every 2-3 days 5 question quiz, then unit test and midterm)

Our Experience with Unlock Foundations

My son is working his way through the Unlock Foundations curriculum. The Unlock Foundations is perfect for us at this time because it is preparing him for pre-algebra and finding gaps and making sure he has a solid foundation of fundamentals skills he needs in order to be successful in Pre-Algebra. At the time of beginning Unlock Foundations my son was working on decimals in his math curriculum so we started with unit ten decimals. My son has some experience working with decimals but I wanted to see how Unlock Foundations Unit 10 Decimals would measure up with my son’s math curriculum so I had him work on the Unlock Foundations unit 10 decimals lesson first then the next day we worked in my son’s math curriculum. I was pleasantly surprised that my son instantly did really well and used several of Unlock Foundations terminology while doing the lesson. He had no issues with the concept and when comparing the two curriculums Unlock Foundations went deeper into the concept than my son’s curriculum when we got to a certain area in his math textbook he nailed the concept.

For the earlier units in Unlock Foundations, I had my son complete the quizzes first after I reviewed the concepts topics because I didn’t want him to have to work on concepts he had previously mastered. At the time of this review my son has worked on 16 lessons and will continue to work through Unlock Foundations.

In Conclusion

Unlock Math is a comprehensive math curriculum that can be done digitally, hard copy, or a combination of both. You can also use it alongside any math curriculum as well as a supplement. Unlock Math’s multi-sensory approach really appeals to my learning, it is not overly distracting for him and it is to the point and easy to follow. I have used it personally to refresh my math skills so I can better help my student. If my student finishes foundations earlier within our 1-year subscription we can move to another Unlock Math curriculum at no extra charge.

The cost of Unlock Math is $299 per student for the year and you need to select which curriculum works best for you. We will continue to use Unlock Math over the summer for our summer math enrichment as well over the Fall. I highly recommend Unlock Math for homeschoolers and if you have a student who is entering middle school Unlock Foundations is a great way to ensure they have full mastery of skills before moving on to higher-level math.

Until the next time,

Mom and J

Homeschool, Education, Writing, Curriculum

Memoria Press: Classical Composition I Fables!

Complimentary Product Received!

We are on a journey to find a supplement for our 5th-grade writing curriculum, so I have been considering a few options. The Squad was given the opportunity to review Memoria Press Classical Composition I: Fable Set for grade 4+.

Memoria Press is considered to be one of the leading companies in classical Christian education curriculums. The creates a curriculum that follows the classical education philosophy of liberal arts, quality literature, and the great thinkers of the western tradition. A great deal of Memoria Press curriculums contains Christian values and biblical scriptures. I personally didn’t find the Christian additions overwhelming or indoctrinating and I have reviewed several of Memoria Press‘s curriculums.

Classical Composition I: Fable Set

Classical Composition I: Fable Set comes with a teacher and student guide. The set we received came with the DVD but the company also has a streaming option. I will be reaching out to the company to inquire about receiving the streaming service because we don’t own a DVD player. I was able to find some helpful videos on the Memori Press Youtube channel.

There are 20 lessons to be completed each lesson is broken down into 4 pages. The Fable stage covers the first 14 steps to mastering writing. In the Fable stage, the students learn 3 plot components:

  • Recogintion – teaches to look parts of the story they can relate to.
  • Reversal – teaches to students identify the characters and see when their character roles reverse in the story.
  • Suffering – the conflict.

The students then move on to the variation section in which they have to come up with 3 synonyms for the words listed and then use the words they come up with in sentences. I highly recommend having a thesaurus or dictionary handy when doing this activity especially if you don’t have a student who has yet tapped into their creative writing. In the outline portion of the lesson, students will summarize the fable.

Paraphrase the students will rewrite the fable using anemographic, dendrographia, and ethopoeia . I know what you thinking WHAT, trust me when I say I was right there with you on this one. The teacher’s guide is a lifesaver with this curriculum you need this don’t skip it. Students need to use their online and variation part one to complete this part. Then students will need to rewrite the fable by reduction, meaning they need to pull out key details and leave out the extra details in their writing. Lastly, there are Variations part 2 which is a direct repeat of the Variations part 1, but with different words.

Our Review

Okay so I know I said a mouthful above and trust me if you have the opportunity to look over Classical Composition I: Fable Set you will get a better grasp of the flow of the lessons. You can also check out samples of lessons on the Classical Composition I: Fable Set product details page. At first a little unsure about this type of writing because it isn’t how I learned to write and I thought my son wouldn’t be really interested in the flow. After reading the teacher’s guide and looking over the lessons I started to really understand the flow a little better and how this really works for a student who is a creative or logical writer. My son doesn’t love to write but I think because this guided writing he isn’t left to just figure it out himself. While I know you may be thinking wouldn’t this just be the student copying another person’s work? In reality, they aren’t copying the work they are rather enhancing it and putting their own spin on it. I do like that it encourages the use of outlining because this is something I am very familiar with myself.

Classical Composition I: Fable there is parent involvement needed especially in those first few lessons. The DVD/Streaming is of great need for this curriculum, I wish I would have had access to the live streaming. If your student has not had any formal mechanics in writing lessons I highly recommend you review these skills before starting. I would recommend looking at Memoria Press Introduction to Composition. Classical Composition I: Fable will help your student learn how to organize writings and encourage some creative writings of other’s works which will hopefully translate into their own writings.

Classical Composition I: Fable is a contender for our upcoming 5th-grade writing curriculum. It would be used as a supplement to our spine for creative writing and switching things up.

Until the next time,

Mom and J