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.
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
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.
WhistlefritzEducator’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 WhistlefritzEducator’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. WhistlefritzEducator’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.
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.
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
Indefinite/ Demostrative/ Reflexive Pronouns
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:
Students learns or reviews grammar concept at the beginning of the week
Check the bold vocabulary word (learn defination)
Search for the grammar concepts in passage and correct puncuation
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.
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.
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
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
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 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 .
If you don’t know who the Heritage Mom is I am super excited to be able to tell you about this wonderful blogger, mom, homeschooler, philanthropist, and Charlotte Mason guru. Okay so I had had the pleasure of meeting Amber O’Neal Johnston and once a member of her Heritage Homeschoolers group in Georgia and I can honestly tell you she is one of the sweetest and kindest people I have met during my homeschooling journey.
When Heritage Mom offered to have the Squad review 3 of her culture guides, I knew had to be part of this opportunity. Let me keep it real I own about 90 % of her culture guides already and we are still working our way through Amazing Africa. We own Schomburg, Heart and Soul, Harlem Ressianance Stomp, and now the Civil Rights Heritage culture guide. All of the culture guides are excellent, Heritage Mom gives you everything you need to use these guidesto teach African and African American history.
The Civil Rights Movement guide is divided into 10 topics of study starting the journey in the 1950s and ending with Civil Rights today. The guide is meant for grades 4-6 but you can review the suggested living books and materials you can stretch to 2nd grade. Civil Rights Movement is 36 weekly lessons now you can stretch to the entire 36 weeks or you can do more lessons a week. We are averaging 3 lessons a week in Amazing Africa, but after looking through the Civil Rights Movement guide we will spend a little more time on our lessons because is one of my son’s favorite areas of history to study. Anyone who says they were able to unpack any of her culture guides in 8 weeks, I can honestly say they didn’t give these carefully planned guides the respect they deserve.
The Civil Rights Heritage Pack is a survey of the brave men and women who risked their reputation, livelihoods, and often their very lives to press towards what they knew to be right.
The Civil Rights Movement includes two core books, you need to select one of these books to use with the guide, both reasonably priced. She also includes bonus books and recommends not substituting the core books because those books are impeded throughout the guide. She also has movie suggestions that hyperlinked and inserted disclaimers to prescreen them to make sure they are appropriate for your family. There are additional books used in the lesson plan, they are a nice mixture I love she included picture books and chapter books. Now that my son is reading more chapter books I miss those days of really great picture books. I found all the books listed in the lesson plan at my local library. There are also additional books for older or advanced children but these books are not scheduled in the lesson plans.
The lesson plans are easy to follow, with clickable links that take you to videos and she tells you what book you will be using and pages to read. There are 4 weeks of plans one page. The culture guides are meant to be just that guides, if you are looking for a long-drawn-out lesson plan with tons of writing and worksheets you aren’t going to find it in this guide. Amber O’Neal is a Charlotte Mason-inspired homeschooler and her guides are written in that way of homeschooling. These guides are literature-based and meant to allow you and your student to explore and go down rabbit holes.
Out of respect for her and all her hard work you won’t see pictures of pictures of her hard work in this review. You can literally go on her social media and you will feel the admiration so many people have for these creative works. Each guide of the Heritage Mom packs are filled with so much potential you can stretch these materials for years to come.
Disclosure: I received this complimentary product through the Homeschool Review Crew.
We added the Progeny Press guide to our Language Arts studies for our Black Pioneers study in December, we were excited to receive the Wagon Wheels Study Guide this time to review. Wagon Wheels Study Guide is a digital download that includes the student activity sheets and a separate answer key. The study guide is recommended for grades 1-3rd grade but my 4th grader will be fine doing this.
The book Wagon Wheels is for students in grades 2nd – 4th, you could possibly stretch the book to 5th grade for its historical content. The story takes place during the time after the civil war when freedmen and their children migrate west to Kansas in search of settling in Nicomdemus Town, land provided from the Homestead Act of 1862. The Muldie boys cross the plains and lose their mother along the way. The three boys and their father reach the town and build themselves a dugout and brace for the harsh winter. The Muldie family encounters the Osage Nation and they rescue them from hungry and they are able to survive. The dad must leave to find work and the Muldie boys (11, 8, and 3) are left to fend for themselves and the support of the community to continue their new life. The book is based upon the memoirs of Lulu Sadler Craig.
Wagon Wheels Study Guide provides brief background information on the Homestead Act of 1862 as well as the synopsis of the book the Wagon Wheels. Students are also given before and after they read activities, vocabulary, grammar, and literary terms to work on. The study guide also provides an external link to other activities to stretch the study guide. In the study guide, you will find 4 questions that do have Bible scriptures attached to them but I didn’t feel as if they were indoctrinating.
The reading comprehensions are divided into 2 chapters sections and the questions require in-depth reflection. Students will answer 7-10 questions in each section. For a 1st grader, the writing may be a bit much, so you can do those questions verbally and they would do fine. Some of the activities include crossword puzzles and drawing, and cooking.
I personally read the book Wagon Wheels for this review and went over the study guide sheets and questions myself. We plan to study Black Pioneers in December so I didn’t let my son do the activities or read the story. I looked over everything and this will definitely be part of our study and I will come back and update my review. I would have liked to see more book resources in the back of the guide about black pioneers, cowboys, Osage Nation.
Be sure to click the banner below to check out the other crew’s reviews of Progeny Press study guides.
Disclosure: I received this complimentary product through the Homeschool Review Crew.
We finished off our language arts curriculum in early May and the crew was offered an opportunity to review EdAliveWords Rock Online and I thought this would be a fun way to prevent the summer slide with this online program.
Words Rock Online is an online vocabulary and language arts digital platform game. Students are given games to play similar to battleship and they can earn rewards. While Words Rock Online is set up like a video game for the students to capture interest the meat of the program works on the following skills:
Punctuation and Literacy
My son who is a moderate gamer wasn’t very much interested in the games, I suspect it may have been just his willingness to learn how to play the slug game. He decided to work on the academics parts instead to my surprise.
Words Rock Online is designed for students ages 5-15 and it adapts to the students the students progress. We saw a lot grammar that my son has covered over this school year and previous years. The program isn’t a teaching program in my opinion it really is more so of a review. I think if students haven’t had a lot of exposure to grammar concepts they may find this program a little difficult to maneuver, but for those students who have a had a strong grammar foundations this program is wonderful for reviewing and keeping those skills sharp. Students are giving to chances to get theirs answers correct, before they move on. I wish that there was a explanation for the correct answers. Parents can check out their students progress and achievements in the parent dashboard, which is nice and can help you with your planning. We will continue to use Words Rock Online for our 4th grade year to help review
At the time of this review the cost of EdAliveWords Rock Online is $90/year with a monthly options for each child. EdAlive also has two more online programs be sure to check out those the reviews by clicking the banner below.
Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.
I love creating variety in our homeschool so my son doesn’t get bored. We received 12 months of access to both Math Shed and Spelling Shed. These are both digital online learning platforms that make it easy to add some fun to your math and spelling lessons. Math Shed and Spelling Shed is for 1st- 5th grade (Spelling Shed can stretch to 8th) and if you have advanced kindergartner this program can be beneficial. Students earn points to they can use to retrieve items for their avatar.
Math Shed is a fun fast paced math fluency practice game. Students are able to practice several skills focusing on :
Powers of 10
Addition and Subtraction
Year 4 Multiplications
Math Shed has designed the program so students can work on the targeted skills in depth by giving the students the option to select concept area and the degree of difficulty (easy, medium, and hard). My son is working on his time tables and I really enjoyed how he could pick from mixed, single, related +decimals, and year 4 multiplication. Having this option has allows him to cover multitude of skills at pace that works for him. The times tables also includes division and the facts 0-12 which I love because kids cover two skills at once.
Spelling Shed gives parents a variety of spelling list they can choose from for their student. Parents can choose from these already generate list that are phonics, dolch, fry, and UIL 3rd – 8th. Parents also have the option to create their own list, I personally used this option for my son. I really like the option of creating my own list because I was able to input my sons current homeschool spelling curriculum and have him use the program 3-4 days a week to practice. The teacher hub also allows you to do pre/post test and you can track your students knowledge. The teacher also lets you track all your students activity and gives you the ability to assign activities. Just like in Math Shed students can choose their activities and level of difficulty and earn points. The games offer the students a variety of ways for them to practice their words.
At the time of this review the cost for Math Shed or Spelling Shed is $24.95 a year for up to 5 students, if you decide to purchase both you can save 15% off. Both programs can be used on the computer or tablet. We have IOS system in homes and so my son played on his Ipad and our Macs. Overall these are great programs if you are looking to add some fun to your homeschool and summer enrichment.