5th Grade, Coding, Games and Apps, Homeschool, Math, Reviews, S.T.E.A.M

Let’s Start Coding: Base Kit 2 Review!

I received Let’s Start Coding Base Kit from Timberdoodle Co. in exchange for my fair and honest review.

We love technology in our home, and lately, my son has really gotten into coding. He has tried several online programs and has taken online classes for coding. I like having him code things that allow him to be hands-on and interactive. With the fast growth of technology, it is really important that students are exposed to coding early. I am very grateful that many companies like Timbersdoodle Co understand this importance and are including resources such as Let’s Start Coding Base Kit in their curriculum kits.

We were given the opportunity to try out Let’s Start Coding Base Kit which is included in the Timberdoodle Co 2022 Fifth-Grade Curriculum Kit. My son has really enjoyed the Let’s Start Coding Base Kit, he really likes having the storage kit that provides easy access and convenient storage. Even though my son has experience in coding the Let’s Start Coding Base Kit did an excellent job reviewing concepts and introducing new ones.

The Let’s Start Coding Base Kit includes:

  • Storage tackle storage box
  • 12 pieces of electronics including a mini speaker, LED lights, and makers board
  • 50 + Projects
  • Coding Reference Cards

Let’s Start Coding Base Kit is free to install directly on your computer. The process was easy to install and my son was coding away in 5 mins. The project board for the Base Kit has informative videos that I highly recommend you have your student review before getting started. The get started videos cover a wealth of information for the student, just in case they run into problems. After looking over the first set of videos students will jump right into the coding project.

How it works

Let’s Start Coding Base Kit is a beginner’s program for students 8+, so keep this in mind if you have a student who is an advanced coder they may jump right to the challenging part of the project in which they can change the code around. The initial code for the project is already given to the students all they have to do is properly insert the parts needed for the code. I really like that the student has a visual so they are sure they using the correct parts and inserting the correctly. My son is a visual learner and he really appreciated this assistance. The students connect the parts and run the code, but once they have successfully run the code, students looking for more of a challenge can move onto the checklist. I also like the reference cards that are included the cards teach the student the proper coding language and definitions.

My son did an estimate of ten codes during the review process and also explored the challenge checklist. He said the Let’s Start Coding Base Kit is easy to use and he liked how the website gave him a lot more ideas for coding. We plan to use the Let’s Start Coding Base Kit over the holiday for extra coding practice. I personally like how he could independently set up the program and run it. My son keeps his Let’s Start Coding Base Kit on his desk for easy access.

If you are looking to check out Let’s Start Coding Base Kit be sure to click the banner below and don’t forget that Let’s Start Coding Base Kit is included in the Timberdoodle Co 2022 Fifth-Grade Curriculum Kit.

Until the Next Time,

Mom and J

6th Grade, 7th Grade, Curriculum, Education, Homeschool, Middle School Math

TabletClass Math: Pre-Algebra Review!

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

As we move through our current school year my mind is always focused on the future of upper-level math for my son. We are pretty much set for this school year for math curriculums, but I have been wondering if we are on the right track for Algebra. I was given the opportunity to review TabletClass Math Pre-Algebra.

TabletClass Math Pre-Algebra is an online math curriculum with pre-recorded lectures. There is a student and parent portal, student portal is where your student will do their coursework. I really do like the parental portal it gives you an in-depth understanding of the curriculum along with answer keys. Once the student completes the course student you can print out a certificate. The parent portal is easy to use and gives you a pacing guide which I really love because it shows you the different levels of pacing from slower, average, and accelerated. Having this pacing guide will allow you to use TabletClass Math Pre-Algebra as it best works for your family.

TabletClass Math Pre-Algebra is a little long and reminds me of a traditional classroom lecture. Mr. Zimmerman opens the class by him teaching the lesson on a whiteboard, I really like this method of teaching because it encourages students to take notes. We are working on taking notes in our other curriculums and I am always on my son about taking accurate notes in his current math curriculum. I like how Mr. Zimmerman uses highlighting as he teaches the lessons, my son loves to highlight. I had my son watch a few of the videos and asked him what he thought of this teaching style, and if would it be something he would like to try, and he did point out to me that lessons are long, but he likes how Mr. Zimmerman writes great notes and teaches slowly each of the steps. I totally agree with his observations, and for this reason, I will pull this out when we are really struggling with a concept.

How to Complete a Lesson

Students will take notes from the instruction video, I highly recommend you encourage your student to do this. After they watch the instruction video students will then work on the example problems, which are available to print out or students can work in a notebook. Once the student completes the first set of examples problems, they can go to the video that is marked for that section of problems and check their answers or correct the problems they didn’t get correct. I love this self-correcting option because Mr. Zimmerman walks them through the steps of each problem and your student can see what they did wrong and make the adjustments accordingly.

There are sixteen chapters in TabletClass Math Pre-Algebra currently out of those sixteen chapters I can honestly say that my son has had exposure to each of the topics covered. Now I said exposure not mastery, so with that being said will start from chapter one. One of the things I really enjoyed was Mr. Zimmerman’s tone of voice/pace, visual aids, and bits of humor in the lessons. I felt like he was having a conversation with the students rather than talking at them and rushing through the concept. My son watched the first video and instantly caught on to the concept being explained and didn’t feel overwhelmed.

What I found different about TabletClass Math Pre-Algebra is they really concentrate on those pre-algebra concepts that I remember in 8th and 9th grade. If your students don’t have the proper foundation for basic elementary skills, you will know right away once you start TabletClass Math Pre-Algebra. My son is almost 10 years old and works at a 6th-grade math level he had no problem looking over the topics we previewed, so I highly recommend you make sure your student has basic and early middle school math skills nailed.

Overall Review

I really like TabletClass Math Pre-Algebra it gives me that old-school way of learning upper-level math. Notetaking is a huge plus in my opinion because it is setting your student up for success with math and independent learning. The self-correcting alongside Mr. Zimmerman is also a plus because it not only helps your student to see their errors but also allows the parent to help students. The self-correcting also helps support your student with the organization. I don’t know how many times I have to tell my student to show his work in his current curriculum and have to explain why he needs to make this a habit. Mr. Zimmerman wants your student to show their work so they can review and better understand.

We will defiantly be using TabletClass Math Pre-Algebra once we finish our last 10 lessons in our current math curriculum to bridge the gap until we start our new curriculum in January. I would love to fit it into our rotation now, but I want us to finish these last 10 lessons first. I highly recommend this curriculum if you are looking for pre-algebra support. TabletClass Math Pre-Algebra also works well for those independent learners and for those families looking to help transition their students to independent learning. TabletClass Math Pre-Algebra tests and exams are also a big plus for me. I know some homeschoolers aren’t big on tests and exams, but I do like to have something that reflects that my student understands what he has been learning and use these results to help me with lesson plans and for his portfolio.

Be sure to check out the other crew member’s reviews of TabletClass Math by clicking the banner below.

Social Media Links:

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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.

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, Family, Homeschool, Spanish

Whistlefritz: Educator’s Spanish CollectionReview!

Disclaimer: Complimentary Product Received through the Homeschool Review Crew!

When my son was younger I had a bad habit of speaking Spanglish to him. While I do speak Spanish fluently my son still has a bad Spanglish habit. The Crew was given the opportunity to review Whistlefritz Educator’s Spanish Collection and Educator’s French Collection and we choose to review the digital Educator’s Spanish Collection.

My son already takes 1:1 Spanish classes with a wonderful Maestra who is located in Columbia. He meets with her 2 days a week for an hour. She is the real deal and we love her no English in her class is permitted. While he meets with her 2 days a week and she assigns homework. I wanted to also reinforce what he was learning in class and that’s where Educator’s Spanish Collection digital comes in.

Educator’s Spanish Collection is a fun at home Spanish program for kids preschool to early elementary they provide DVD or Digital language learning videos, music, and lessons plans. They also offer a free home educators guide for homeschoolers. The Educator’s Spanish Collection comes with:

  • Detailed Lesson Plans
  • Digitals Videos
  • Digital music
  • Matching cards

Whistlefritz is a language immersion program, your students are immediately introduced to the language. I personally prefer a total immersion approach I feel students pick up the language better. I also like that music is included in the program because when learning a new language it’s important that you not only immersed yourself into the language but also into the culture. It is was nice that the program has a native speaker doing the videos.

Whistlefritz Educator’s Spanish Collection is geared towards ages one to seven years old. I wish I had this program when my son was younger because I probably could have avoided his Spanglish habits. Now we used Educator’s Spanish Collection a little differently from how it was intended. Since we are Spanish speaking family I was more interested in my son working on his ability to and write Spanish. The 174 page educators guide was perfect for this practice. I decided to take the lessons and write them on our big board and he needed to fill in in the blanks in his notebooks, I also did dication practice and he had to write down what I was saying in his notebook and use the correct the vocabulary word.

Educator’s Spanish Collection videos are colorful and packed with tons of vocabulary. The use of puppets and children of all ages and ethnic backgrounds is a huge plus. The fun songs are easy to learn and enjoyable. I didn notice that the digital version only came with 4 sheets of the matching card game, but I am thinking this may be and error because there are suppose to be 50 cards. We used those cards we did have for vocabulary and I plan to reach out to the company to get the other cards.

I highly recommend Whistlefritz Educator’s Spanish Collection for younger students, the program provides a solid spanish beginning foundations. I love how the instructor speaks in Spanish naturally and at the correct pace. Some may find this difficult but this immersion stops the unnatural flow of the language. The progma is engaging and the 40 lessons provide parents with helpful ways to teach Spanish. Whistlefritz Educator’s Spanish Collection is geared to younger learners, but it works well for older students for learning a second language.

I did have my son watch a few of the videos that were in Spanish only. I did this because he is familiar with Spanish only and I am I trying to break those habits of Spanglish.

Be sure to check out the other Crew’s reviews of Whistlefritz Educator’s Spanish Collection and Educator’s French Collection by clicking the banner below.

Curriculum, Education, Homeschool, Writing

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

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.

Until the next time,

Mom and J

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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 the gentle truth of 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, illustrations, 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 that 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.

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 it.

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 on the skills learned in Grammar Town and writing. Paragraph Town is another fun-filled narrative about 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 introduce 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 in 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 the 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, Games and Apps, Homeschool, Unit Study

The Waldock Way Human Body Unit Review!

Complimentary Product Received!

One of my favorite homeschool mom influencers is Jessica from The Waldock Way. I have always been a fan of her Instagram and YouTube. We have used all of her unit studies and they are in constant rotation in our home. To date, our favorite has been Traveling the World with a strong runner-up Holidays Around the World. My son stalks her YouTube channel for her Amazon Hauls.

Quite natural I am a member of The Waldock Way Community Facebook group, but then it happened the rumors started she has possibly had a new unit in the works that would debut sometime early 2022. Then it happened she announced the new unit would be Human Body which dropped on February 28th during her annual Spring Sale.

So it was an honor to be one of the first people to get an exclusive first look at this amazing unit study! So let me begin this review with OMGOSH!! Human Body Unit is a full package deal it covers EVERYTHING! I mean I saw lessons on cells, tissue types, scientist study, mazes, puzzles, diagrams, human body idioms, and play-doh mats. This is truly an extraordinary unit study.

The Human Body Unit includes:

  • 13 Family Lessons
  • Comprehensive Resource Guide
  • 9 Human Body System
  • Anatomy
  • Health & Nutrition
  • Review Pages
  • Writing Themes
  • Interactive Activities and much more!

The Human Body Unit is beautifully illustrated by Jessica’s husband. Excellent attention to detail in the illustration as well diversity in skin tones (much appreciated ). One of the things I love about how the Human Body Unit is laid out is that you can go at your own pace and order. My plan is to use the Human Body Unit over a period of time. We will begin with her Health and Nutrition and Five Senses.

The Hunan Body Unit is easy to follow and very relaxed. I was able to locate all of her suggested books at my local library. The unit is written in such a way that you can use almost any human body books you may have on hand.

Okay let me put in a side note the Human Body Unit is a unit study, just like her other products. Nowhere on her website or in her materials does she claim that her unit studies are curriculums. Jessica does what she does best create unit studies that are meant to engage your student in an exploration of learning through literature, game schooling, crafts, adventures, resources, and hands-on activities.

The Waldock Way is nonsectarian. None of our products promote any specific view, so that they can be enjoyed by all homeschoolers.

-Jessica

For copyright reasons I am not sharing many pictures from the actual Human Body Unit but you can see a full walkthrough of the Human Body Unit on The Waldock Way YouTube as well as follow The Waldock Way on Instagram.

So I know what you think how much? Right now at the time of this review the unit is on sale for $19 but regularly priced at $28. I highly recommend the Human Body Unit and I can’t wait to dive into it.

If you are interested in reading more about The Waldock Way products be sure to check out the Melanated Gold Squads reviews by clicking the banner below.

Until the Next Time,

Mom and J