Curriculum, Education, Homeschool

My Teaching Library

(Gifted )

The Melanated Gold Review Squad was given a subscription to My Teaching Library. So let’s dig deep into this review.

The My Teaching Library membership offers unlimited downloads/resources for grades PreK-12th grade. You will find resources for all subjects and bonus resources for miscellaneous use. There are over 1,000 downloaded resources for you to choose from in the My Teaching Library.

I was hoping My Teaching Library membership would be a valuable resource for homeschool. The resources provided on My Teaching Library can provide extra support for families’ current curriculums, but you really have to dig deep into the library to find the quality materials. Over the weekend I downloaded 70+ plus files that I thought would be useful for our current spine curriculum. I know you are wondering why so many files? Well, the way the files are listed on the website several of the files that would fit into one unit are separated so you have to download each file for a complete unit and there are no sample pages. My son is doing 5th/6th hybrid homeschool year so I needed to download for both years. You can’t view a lot samples of the files which also makes it hard to judge if it will work for you so you just have to download and decide later.

After going through 70+ files I found about only about 20 files would work for us. I found several typos, grammar errors, poorly aligned printable, misinformation, and spelling errors. Many of the printable overall quality wasn’t very tidy and some of the text was extremely small. Many of the printable were either a hit or a miss. I did like some of the posters and a few of the organizers for history, science, and note taking.

The dashboard is nice because it stores all downloads. Depending on your membership you will need to download your items within 30 days or before your subscription expires. Without a membership you can pay per download but with no or little samples to view you need to be careful.

So I know what you are wondering would I invest in My Teaching Library ? My Teaching Library just isn’t a good fit for my family. I rarely review a product that I say this about, there were just too many issue for us.

If you are looking for educational resources to add to your homeschool, My Teaching Library I would proceed with caution. At the time of this review, membership is $60.00 a year or $276 for a lifetime membership. Be sure to check out the other Melanated Good Review Squad members reviews by clicking the banner below.

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)

The Melanated Gold Review Squad team was 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. Be sure to check out the other Melananted Gold Review Squad’s reviews of Beautiful Feet Books by clicking the banner below.

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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.

Be sure to check out the other Melanated Gold Review Squads reviews of Unlock Math by clicking the banner below.

Curriculum, Education, Homeschool, Writing

Memoria Press: Classical Composition I Fables!

Complimentary Product Received through Melananted Gold Review Squad!

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 anemographia, 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.

Education, Grammar, Homeschool, Language Arts, Writing

Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW): Fix it Grammar Levels 2 and 3

Complimentary product received!

When I was in school I didn’t love grammar, but since I have been homeschooling my son I have learned to love it. I am not the best at it but I am relearning along the way with him. We were sent Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW) Level 2 Town Mouse and Country Mouse for grades 3-5th and Level 3 Robin Hood for grades 6-8th.

It was such a coincidence that I was getting ready to start my son on the older version of Level 2 Robin Hood when Institute for Excellence in Writing released the new books. I like the old books but I LOVE the new books. The redesign of the new books is super exciting. I love how the company added another book to the Fix-It Grammar lineup. The new Level 2 Town Mouse and Country Mouse is a perfect bridge from Nose Tree.

We are very familiar with Institute for Excellence in Writing we have used Structure and Style for Students: Year 1 Level A Basic and the original Level 1 Nose Tree. I have really liked using both of the above mention products so I was really excited when I was asked to review the newly released Level 2 Town Mouse and Country Mouse and Level 3 Robin Hood.

The new revised edition upgrades still feature the read it, mark it, fix it patterns which can be done in any order. The revised also includes:

  • Table of Contents
  • Proofreading chart
  • Scope and sequence charts
  • Weekly Vocabulary chart
  • List of Grammar Fixes
  • Indiviual daily pages
  • Writing space

My son has a strong grammar foundation and I was looking for a program that I could add as a complement to our current spine grammar curricula and Level 2 Town Mouse and Country Mouse are perfect. Level 2 Town Mouse and Country Mouse and Level 3 Robin Hood is 30 weeks of comprehensive incremental grammar lessons. There is a detailed scope and sequence on the Level 2 Town Mouse and Country Mouse product detail page under the samples tab. Students will cover lessons that cover:

  • Parts of Speech
  • Captialization
  • Commas
  • Clauses
  • Homophones
  • Stylistic Techniques and much more.

The Level 3 Robin Hood also covers the same items of targeted grammar and mechanics. It reviews the concepts of the previous level while adding:

  • Additonal Comma Rules
  • Various phrasel/ Clause Concstructions
  • Quotations
  • Indefinite/ Demostrative/ Reflexive Pronouns
  • Much more

You can also find a sample of the scope and sequence of Level 3 Robin Hood on the product detail page under the samples tab. We haven’t started working in Level 3 Robin Hood as of yet because we started in Level 2 Town Mouse and Country Mouse. We did however start working on the older version because that was originally the next level after the older version of Nose Tree. The company inserted the new Level 2 Town Mouse and Country Mouse so now Level 3 Robin Hood is the 3rd book in the series. The insertion of a new level 2 is a great bridge between level 1 and level 3. I did feel like the old level 2 of Robin Hood was really heavy coming from Nose Tree.

I started my son in the Level 2 Town Mouse and Country Mouse because we are working on a rigorous grammar curriculum and I wanted to use Level 2 Town Mouse and Country Mouse as a way to lighten his load 3 days a week. We are currently on week 7 and he has really enjoyed working the lessons. At the beginning of each weekly lesson I sit down with him and go over the grammar instruction and for the rest of the week, he works on the lessons independently. Students only have to complete 4 days of lessons. So how do lessons go:

  1. Students learns or reviews grammar concept at the beginning of the week
  2. Check the bold vocabulary word (learn defination)
  3. Search for the grammar concepts in passage and correct puncuation
  4. Rewrite passage with corrections

The new design of the Fixt Grammar Level 2 Town Mouse and Country Mouse and Level 3 Robin Hood is perfect because all of his work can be completed in the student book. Each day has its own page, unlike the old version where each sentence from the passage was to be completed on one page on a small line.

How We Do a Lessons

At the top of the lesson page, students have a list of what grammar concepts they need to search for and how they should identify them. I put little highlighted dots next to each one and I tell my son to check off each one he has found. The very top line of the rewrite area my son uses that for his vocabulary word definition. The Level 2 Town Mouse and Country Mouse has primary lines for writing and Level 3 Robin Hood has regular lines with plenty of room for those students that like to write large.

Both of the levels include a downloadable vocabulary list that you can download and retrieve from your files on IEW. We also received the new Fix-It Grammar Cards I LOVE THESE!!!! You have no idea how much I love these cards we use them across our spine grammar curriculum. It is so hard to find grammar cards that are high quality and comprehensive. The great part is that the Fix-It Grammar Cards can use alongside all 6 levels of Fix-it Grammar books.

Looking to check out the other levels of Fix-It Grammar check out the other squad’s reviews by clicking the banner below and if you are curious out Structure and Style for Students: Year 1 Level A Basic review click this link here. Institute for Excellence in Writing Structure and Style for Students series is a great complement to Fix It Grammar levels. Be sure to be on the lookout for our upcoming review of Level 4 Mowgli and Shere Khan.

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Education, Homeschool, Math

Educo Learning Center Review!

Disclaimer: I received this complimentary product through the Homeschool Review Crew!

Over the last few weeks, we have reviewed Educo Learning Center. Educo Learning Center is an online math platform for grades 1st-8th grade. Educo Learning Center our family received a one-year subscription for up to three students and a corresponding physical workbook for each student registered.

Educo Learning Center provides a comprehensive common core math program. The program provides students with questions that correspond with the workbook. If your student isn’t familiar with common core math, there may be a little of a learning curve for your student. We received the 5th-grade level and my student is familiar with many of the concepts but the concepts were taught differently. The 5th grade level of Educo Learning Center covers:

  • Real Numbers Systems and Operations on Numbers
  • Factors, Multiples, Exponents and Fractions
  • Decimals
  • Measurement
  • Ratio, Rates, Percents and Financial Literacy
  • Basic Geometery and Geometric Measurments
  • Patterns and Symmetry
  • Data Handling

During our review period, we worked on Chapter 6 Basic Geometry and Geometric Measurements. We choose this section is because this is the section we are currently working on in our math curriculum. This section was a great supplement to our math curriculum because it took our current lesson to a more in-depth learning lesson. Educo Learning Center gave us deeper instruction in two dimension shapes, triangles and quadrilaterals.

Educo Learning Center math workbook offers over 3000’s questions, with illustrations, tutorials, reviews, and critical thinking questions. The Educo Learning Center is a printed version of the online program. The online program provides great practice of what is covered in the workbook. The online tracks your student’s progress and times the students as they move through the practice.

One of the things I wish the program offered was the ability to toggle between grade levels. It would have been nice to be able to use the 6th grade online as well as toggle through the 4th grade just as a review for some concepts. I do believe the book and online are on grade level, but I do think there needs to be some flexibility in the toggling between grades. I think because I did see some concepts that are taught in unfamiliar presentations it would be to the benefit to look at other grade levels. The parent dashboard only allows you to see your student’s activity. There is no way to assign assignments or adjust grade levels. Educo Learning Center does have a brief orientation video, but I did find it hard to follow. My son and I both ran into some technical issues while working on the platform.

Educo Learning Center does require that your computer meet their software requirements. When logging your system is run through their diagnostic to check for compatibility. We were not able to use Educo Learning Center on our mobile devices, which was disappointing.

Overall I think Educo Learning Center may be a helpful resource for parents who are looking for more common core math practice. My son prefers the workbook so we will add it to our resources. The company does offer a trial for parents to try out before purchasing. Be sure to check out the other Crew’s reviews of Educo Learning Center by clicking the banner below.

Social Media Links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EducoLC
Twitter: https://twitter.com/educoLC

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/educolearningcenter/

Education, Family, Games and Apps, Geography, Homeschool

SimplyFun: Dish Em Out and Eagle Chase Review!

Complimentary Product Received!

I have always been curious about SimplyFun Games for our homeschool, so when Melanated Review Squad was given the opportunity to check out Dish Em Out and Eagle Chase I was excited to be a part of this review.

About SimplyFun

The company was launched in 2004, their unique educational games are designed to help students master skills through play. The games promote character building, educational skill development, cooperative play opportunities, and fun. With the growing rate of use of screens, SimplyFun brings fun to board games.

SimplyFun games are for kids ages 3 – 12+, 2-5 players. The games are divided into 4 categories when purchasing:

  • Reading & Language Arts
  • Math & Stem
  • Social Science & Studies
  • Life & Thinking Skills

I really like how SimplyFun games accommodate all children learning and playing needs. When you select a game on the website the company gives you details on how to play, educational standards, skills, special needs, students with autism, and extended play. I know many parents will find having this information handy when selecting games and it is also offered as a free download. There are also instructional videos for each of their games, this is a major plus.

Instead of simply teaching kids to play, could we create games that help them thrive?

Simply Fun

Dish ’em Out

Are you a fan of the game Dinner Dash? If so you are going to love playing Dish ’em Out. Dish ’em Out is a fast-paced game of logic and critical thinking skills. Your student is given the opportunity to run a breakfast diner, but the catch is you have to use your critical thinking skills to make sure you select the correct items to cook in enough time per each turn because some items have a faster cook time. The gameplay was super easy and my son enjoyed playing as if we were in a real diner cooking. I noticed my son spent time carefully deciding on what items to cook first, but also learning from his mistakes when he picked the wrong items and had to discard them and lose points.

Dish ’em Out is for 2-5 players ages 8 & up the game is all about strategy in order to gain the most points. Gameplay is about 30 mins but I can see it going 45 mins when you are first learning to play. I did use the videos on the SimplyFun website to learn to play. The cost of Dish ’em Out is in heavy rotation for family game night and when we just need a brain break from homeschool lessons.

Eagle Chase

Eagle Chase is a United States geography and history game, players will travel across the country learning about the states. Sound easy right? Well, it is not that easy some of the geographical/historical facts students may be familiar with and some you and your kids may not know. I again used the video on the SimplyFun website to learn to play. The objective of the game is to chase the wooden eagle around the board to win points. You have to play your location cards and chase cards as you move on your turns. You also earn points on locations you visit in your hand. The chase cards can work to your advantage depending on what you choose to do. My son LOVED Eagle Chase because he really loves history and geography and let me just tell you we played this game every day for 2 weeks straight. I won 2 games and he won the rest.

Eagle Chase replaced our US geography lessons for 2 weeks and I welcomed it. The game is still in rotation we are averaging 2 plays a week. Eagle Chase is for 2-5 players ages 10 up with 30 mins of gameplay. He has learned more US geography/history these last few weeks than he has learned in an entire school year. He has always known his state’s locations but sometimes would get a few confused when looking on the map now he knows all 50 locations and flies around the Eagle Chase board with his token.

My overall impression of the company is very positive, they come across as family-friendly, dedicated, and provide quality products. The gameboards are beautifully designed and durable game pieces. I appreciate that they have games for older students and the game prices are reasonable. My goal is to try to purchase 1-2 games a month to use with our upcoming school year. Some of the games I am looking to purchase are Word Bits, Cash Out, Vinculum, Eye to Eye bundle, and a few more are on my wish list.

If you are looking for some educational games that your student will enjoy I highly recommend SimplyFun Games and the games mentioned in this review. At the time of this review Dish ‘em Out is $34.99 and Eagle Chase is $39.99 a great investment for your homeschool or home!

Critical Thinking and Logic, Curriculum, Education, Family, Geography, History, Homeschool

Curiosity Chronicles: Volume 2 Early Modern History Review!

Complimentary Product Received!

We love history in our home and focus on gentle truth history. We have several history curriculums we pull from and I always check actual true history that is secular. The gracious creators of the Curiosity Chronicles sent us their latest release Early Modern History Volume 2 to review.

We are no strangers to Curiosity Chronicles history curriculum; we actually own the Ancient, Medieval, and Early Modern Vol 1 curriculums. My son has really enjoyed the lessons we have done and I haven’t found any questionable text. Ted and Mona have been long-time friends of ours as we have journeyed our way through history over the years. Curiosity Chronicles is a multi-sensory history curriculum that works for students with different learning styles.

We believe everyone has a place at the table when it comes to telling history.

Curiosity Chronicles

Curiosity Chronicles is not your typical history of the curriculum. Students learn history through snapshots of historical time periods and global events. The curriculum follows Mona Ted through history through dialogues. The students are introduced to the characters then they begin to engage in historical conversations and take your students on adventures learning about artistic, cultural, scientific, and political perspectives in history.

Students learn history from a global perspective. History is never dull when using Curiosity Chronicles kids will engage in meaningful conversation with you and want to learn more. What I like about Curiosity Chronicles is that the lesson is actual snapshots of history topics. I have found that a vast majority of the snapshots in the text are never mentioned in other elementary history curriculums. I am also pleased the company includes so much diversity in the characters, illustration, and subject matter.

Early Modern History Volume 2 picks up right where Early Modern Vol 1 leaves off and starts the conversations between Ted and Mona discussing Catherine the Great of Russia. Early Modern History Volume 2 has 36 chapters Ithat are divided into 18 sections. Students will study history snapshots from 1550- 1850, with topics such as the Haitian Revolutionary War, Empires in Africa, Bolivarian Revolution, American Revolution, and much more. We received hard and digital copies of Early Modern History Volume 2 curriculum package.

The complete Early Modern History Volume 2 includes:

  • Snapshots of Early Modern History Vol. 2 text
  • Softcover Insrutctor and Student Guide
  • Audiobook Snapshots of Early Modern Vol. 2
  • Digital Ted’s Timeline Kit: Early Modern Vol. 2

In both Vol 1 and Vol 2 we see Ted and Mona’s friends Arthur and Lily in the cultural corners at the end of select chapters as they highlight important artists, writers, scientists, and musicians.

Curiosity Chronicles Early Modern History Volume 2 is truly a fun-filled comprehensive curriculum. Students will complete written lessons, mapwork, coloring pages, puzzles, STEM activities, and my son’s favorite Minecraft challenges. Lessons can be done family-style and the company is adding extension activities soon for older students. There are sections in the snapshot that invite students to research more on the historical topic they are studying. Early Modern History Volume 2 breaks important historical events down the curriculum is designed to with the children and not at them. My son enjoys curriculums that he feels are a part of the discussion.

Students will learn to discuss complex ideas, develop critical thinking skills, engage in hands-on learning, and find tangential learning!

Curiosity Chronicles Early Modern History Volume 2 comes with a Teds Timeline kit. The Timeline kit comes with templates and pictures for your student to construct a wall timeline (color or black and white) or notebook timeline. We have a history timeline notebook so we will be using this instead of the templates provided. For this review I let my son decide on what area of time he wanted to learn about and he choose Section 31 Empires of Africa Chapter 61 Shaka forges the Zulu. He listened to the audiobook snapshot during breakfast and later during the day we went through the Snapshots of Early Modern History Volume 2 text. We talked about the Zulu, Swazis, Basotho, Xhosa, Boers, and Southern Africa. Through our study, we discussed the different biomes of Africa and the migration of the great people of Africa across the continent. We were introduced to the great Zulu warrior Shaka and his military. My son was intrigued by this chapter he started researching EVERYTHING about the Zulu people. He went to work on his assignments and his Minecraft challenges. He really enjoyed this sneak peek into our history lesson for the Fall, not sure I am going to be able to keep this one on the shelf until September.

I highly recommend Curiosity Chronicles Early Modern History Volume 2 as well as all of the other history curriculums published by Curiosity Chronicles. The history is easy to follow and interactive. Be sure to check out the other Melananated Gold Review Squad reviews of Curiosity Chronicles by clicking the banner below.

Critical Thinking and Logic, Curriculum, Education, Language Arts, Vocabulary, Writing

Michael Clay Thompson Language Arts: Level 2 Grammar Town Review!

Complimentary Product Received!

This homeschool year has been difficult choosing a language curriculum. I decided to go with the curriculum we had last year, but that was an epic fail. After 3 months of trying to find a new language arts program before our 2nd semester started, I ran across Royal Fireworks Press language arts curricula Michael Clay Thompson Language Arts: Level 2 Grammar Town. The Melanated Gold Squad was offered the opportunity to review MCT Level 2 Complete Homeschool Package and I was selected to review.

My son is newly turned 9 and he loves grammar, we noticed early on he was gifted in this area of his homeschool studies. Finding a grammar curriculum that was both rigorous and amusing has become arduous. This year alone we have set aside 3 curriculums and decided on multiple review books. Michael Clay Thompson Language Arts: Level 2 Grammar Town has been the curriculum we needed to feed his ferocious grammar inclinations.

Michael Clay Thompson Language Arts: Level 2 Grammar Town is for students ages 9-11 in grades 4-5. Grammar Town picks up where Grammar Island leaves off with the continued practice of the “4 grammar analysis of (1) parts of speech, (2) parts of the sentence, (3) phrases, and (4) clauses.” No worries if you haven’t done the previous level as long as your student has a strong understanding of grammar they will be alright with starting level 2, but I wouldn’t recommend jumping into level 3 without previously doing level 3. Even though the curriculum is presented for children who are gifted/dyslexic I have found that children who are able to read fluently and have strong reading comprehension will find this curriculum gratifying.

Level 2 : Grammar Town Layout

MCT Language Arts: Level 2 Grammar Town is beautifully designed with simple distinctive vibrant illustrations. The curriculum covers 5 strands Grammar (Grammar Practice), Vocabulary, Writing, Poetics, and Literature. The complete homeschool package comes with a lesson guide, student books, and teacher’s manuals (this includes the readers) for each of the MCT sections. The program in my opinion is designed to be conversational. MCT is not like your typical language arts curriculums you will not find the typical question and answer busy work. The lessons are intellectually stimulating and thought-provoking. I found myself relearning and grasping a better understanding of grammar. My son instantly took to the Grammar Town book, he repeatedly would point out how he better-understood grammar concepts.

There are 30 weekly lessons of MCT Language Arts: Level 2 Grammar Town the lessons are designed to gradually include the other textbooks included in the MCT Level 2 Complete Homeschool Package. Students should work at their own pace and make sure they have a complete mastery of the Grammar Town book before moving on to the next book. There are assessment pages in the books, but you can also download the assessment pages from a link provided by Royal Fireworks Press inside the book. The assessment pages are there to make sure your student is mastering the materials before moving on to the next section in the book. These assessment pages are not the same as Practice Town.

The very first-week students are to read the Grammar Town book on their own. I was amazed to see how intrigued my son was by the illustrations and the story. Several times he came to me and asked questions and wanted to discuss the stories. On the days we didn’t do lessons he requested MCT Language Arts: Level 2 Grammar Town over his other language arts books.

Today lesson was intellectually restorative….Learning about the complexity of sentence structure and how all the the words we use in sentences are reflective of the 8 parts of speech that make a sentence cohesive. Thinking about it from that point of view makes sense into why a sentence must a have a subject and verb.

J

Caesar’s English is the vocabulary section students will embark on a historical language journey. Students will learn Latin roots, history, and word origins. Again students are exposed to wonderful visual and practice pages. Students will also see a brief intro to Latin roots in Grammar Town on the first pages. Practice Town includes 100 sentences of practice for students the skills learned in Grammar Town and writing. Paragraph Town is another fun-filled narrative of learning paragraph fundamentals and punctuation. The poetry book Building Poems is metaphoric it is written to teach students poetry terms as if they are constructing a building. MCT Language Arts: Level 2 Grammar Town includes the literature books:

  • Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
  • Peter Pan
  • The Wind in the Willows

Each book is reproduced in its entirety and includes Michael’s “language illustrations”—close-ups of poetic techniques, four-level analyses of interesting grammar, and comments about writing strategies

Royal Fireworks Press

How We Used MCT Language Arts: Level 2 Grammar Town

For the first 3 weeks, we used the curriculum as the implementation guide suggests. I made little tweaks here in there. My son was introduced to some Latin roots and I wrote these roots on index cards for him. I also wrote out grammar cards for him of all of the parts of speech components. We also put together a vocabulary journal for words we were instructed to define. My son enjoyed the assignments on select pages, some of these we did in his notebook and some we did on a dry erase board. The lessons are short we spent time in meaningful discussions.

MCT Language Arts: Level 2 Grammar Town was used daily for the first 3 weeks and I added in some supplemental resources just to ensure mastery. After week 3 we went to a 3 day a week schedule and 2 days a week supplemental materials. I was sure to use supplemental material that would complement MCT Language Arts: Level 2 Grammar Town. Overall my son prefers MCT Language Arts: Level 2 Grammar Town over his previous language arts curriculum and I have shelved what we were using prior. We are in week 6 of the suggested implementation lesson guide and have begun using Caesar’s English I, Classical Education Color Edition.

Wrap up

MCT Language Arts: Level 2 Grammar Town is a rigorous and complete language arts program. If you are looking for a new way to introduced grammar to your student I highly recommend this curriculum. The curriculum does require parent involvement in my opinion wasn’t intense and I welcomed it. I enjoyed having conversations with him and seeing his face light up. The curriculum is designed for mastery and it is suggested you don’t move on until your student has mastered each section.

While the literature part I thought was going to be monotonous. I understand why the books were selected and remastered to complement the curriculum. I do hope in the future the company would consider adding some optional remastered diverse readers.

Would I buy Level 3 in the Fall absolutely! I again caution against not jumping into level 3 without going through level 2. You can get away with not doing Level 1, but making that jump into level 3 is not advisable. The levels don’t coordinate with the grade levels so please take note of this. If you are the type of homeschooler that needs tons of worksheets after each lesson this is not the curriculum for you. MCT Language Arts: Level 2 Grammar Town is in a class by itself rigor without the complexity of busywork, this was more of relaxed conversational language arts. MCT Language Arts: Level 2 Grammar Town takes its time to ensure students really understand language and how they work together. I learned so much the last 6 weeks reviewing MCT Language Arts: Level 2 Grammar Town .

MCT Language Arts: Level 2 Grammar Town works on this sequence per their website:

  1. Do grammar first.
  2. Begin the vocabulary text after you finish the parts of speech in the grammar book.
  3. Begin the practice book after the entire text of the grammar book is complete.
  4. Begin the writing text once four-level analysis is strong, as seen in the practice sentences.
  5. Begin the poetics text after the writing book is complete to develop expertise in controlling the sounds of sentences.
  6. Extend the curriculum with literature.

Royal Fireworks Press provides Overview Chart, Elementary Guide, and Secondary Guide on their website. There are seven levels to the MCT Language Arts program and there are also implementation videos.

The cost of MCT Level 2 Complete Homeschool Package is $290 the company is also converting their books into Kindle format which may help you cut costs. This program is comprehensive and worth the cost. I highly recommend MCT Language Arts: Level 2 Grammar Town if you are looking for a different way to teach language arts. Be sure to check out the other squad’s reviews of Royal Fireworks Press curriculums.

Until the Next,

Mom and J

Education, Family, Homeschool, Writing

Typesy Review !

Complimentary Product Received.

Did you take typing or keyboarding in high school? Well, I did and it was BORING!!!! I suffered through a semester of typing on an old-school electric typewriter. Fast forward a few years and now have your own kiddos and technology is forever changing. Kids spend more time on tablets and computers, the need for learning how to properly type is important skill students need. The Melanated Gold Review Squad was given Typesy Homeschool accounts for up to 5 students to review.

About Typesy

Typesy is an interactive online typing program that combines curriculum-based lessons to improve students typing and overall academics. The program includes the Typesy kid’s curriculum for students K-10. Students will learn to type across ELA, Math, Science, Social Studies passages no more gibberish we all knew.

Typesy program provides:

  • Over 4,000 lessons
  • 3D Animated Story Based Teaching
  • Fun Games
  • Tracking
  • Parent Dashboard
  • Student Logins

How We Used Typsey

Using Typesy this last few weeks has been my son’s first introduction to typing. Now he does use a computer on a regular basis but his typing skills need some work. Typsey 2.0 Curriculum 4th- 5th grade starts students off with the basics of learning the home row keys combing ELA skills such as similes metaphors and narratives. Parents can print out the helpful guide to use along with students’ homeschool ELA lessons. Students build confidence as they practice with gentle encouragement and practice from the program.

My son enjoyed playing the games and learning the proper way to place his hands on the keyboard. He also has told me he noticed it easier for him to find the letters now that he is practicing his typing. I personally like that I can import his spelling words into Typesy word bank. Typsey also teaches students computer basics, web skills, google suite, career skills, vocabulary, and much more.

Typesy Homeschool is more than just a typing program, the additional programs and lessons are of huge value for homeschoolers. The program is affordable and can be useful for the whole family. I found myself testing my own typing skills and realized I was a little rusty on WPM.

I recommend Typesy Homeschool, gone are the days of those weird typing gibberish. Students can learn while they practice typing. Typesy Homeschool extended learning resources stand out above other typing programs. If you would like to learn more about Typesy Homeschool check out the other Melanated Gold Review Squad reviews by clicking the banner below.