Thursday, June 22, 2017

UnLock Algebra1 REVIEW

UnLock Math Algebra 1
What perfect timing.  As we leave the 7th grade and enter into the 8th grade we were given an opportunity to try out UnLock Algebra1 from UnLock Math.  I was especially excited about trying this because it is an online video curriculum much like what we have been doing for math for the past few years.  This curriculum is a complete program but can also be used as a supplement.  It is accessible through a one-year subscription.

We have been using this program over the past month or so and find it pretty similar to our past math program.  You log in online and there are parent and student accounts.   From the Parent Login you are able to manage your student's account (assignment of courses, billing, payment info and passwords).  You are also able to login to the Student Account from the Parent Login.  If you give your student a password they can then login to their account by themselves.  The program tracks progress and grades for you.

UnLock Math
The lessons are broken down into units and there is a 472-page Complete Reference Notes document (for UnLock Algebra1) that you can refer to or printout that covers the material shown in the lesson videos.  Each Unit consists of Daily Lessons and Review and Quizzes and Tests if applicable.  A lesson consists of:
  • Warm up - to get your student in math mode
  • Short Video (less than 10 minutes)
  • Practice Problems - may be completed as many times as necessary and best grade will be recorded.
  • Stay Sharp problems for review
  • Challenge questions - can add 5% bonus on overall grade
  • Reference Notes - a link for that particular lesson
To start each unit the student clicks on the Unit to activate it then the Launch icon to begin that unit.  This unlocks the unit and allows the student to begin lessons in that unit.  Once lessons are complete they are graded and entered into the students record.  There is also a Pacing Guide available as a pdf file to print or view online.  It lists how many days it takes for each unit and the total days in the program.  Each lesson is expected to take approximately 30 minutes (takes us closer to an hour).  There are 170 days worth of lessons, reviews, and tests.  If you work 4 days per week it can be completed in 43 weeks (10 3/4 months).  If you work 5 days a week it would take 34 weeks (8 1/2 months).

UnLock Math

The weighting of the grades is as follows:
  • Warm-ups - 0%
  • Practice Problems - 30%
  • Stay Sharp - 10%
  • Challenge - 5% bonus to overall grade but not penalized for bad grade
  • Review - 0%
  • Quizzes - 15%
  • Test - (can be taken multiple times with best grade recorded) 30%
  • Midterm - (can be taken multiple times with best grade recorded) 5%
  • Final Exam - (can be taken multiple times with best grade recorded) 10 %
The program tracks your student's progress in all areas.  You can see if they are completing the warm ups, practice problems, stay sharp, and quizzes.  I really like this program and think it is a good fit for how my son learns.  The short video lessons are great for him.  The lessons are not too long or cumbersome.  The only challenge that I don't like compared to our old program is that he does not get immediate feedback on each problem.  In UnLock Math when he answers a question he does not know until the end of the lesson what he got wrong or right.  In the past this was a necessity for him (knowing immediately if he got problem right or wrong) just because of the way his mind works.  But I can see a little maturity in him and it didn't seem to bother him as much as I thought it would.  Score!  Based on our experience we recommend this program for your consideration when looking for a math curriculum.

You can connect with UnLock Math at FACEBOOK, TWITTER, or PINTEREST.

They also provide courses in Pre-Algebra, Algebra2 and now their newest release, Geometry!  Be sure to check out the other reviews on UnLock Algebra1 and the other courses they offer by clicking on the banner below.

Pre-Algebra, Algebra and Geometry {UnLock Math Reviews}

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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Adventures of Rush Revere REVIEW

We have been having so much fun reading the Adventures of Rush Revere Book Series from Adventures of Rush Revere #1 New York Times Bestselling Book Series by Rush and Kathryn-Adams Limbaugh.  This book series has been a fun journey in learning history while enjoying an entertaining story.  I have learned in our house that the best way to get retention and learning in history is to use autobiographies and entertaining stories like this series.

Adventures of Rush Revere

The books came packaged so nicely with a tied up ribbon.  There are 5 books in this series.  The hard backed books are of very nice quality.  The book jackets are very nice and colorful and the pages of the book are of a very heavy duty and glossy type paper.  These are books you will want to keep as part of your library for some time to come to use with the whole family.

Rush Revere is a comical character with his trusty horse Liberty.  The two of them along with the Time-Traveling Crew (Freedom, Cam and Tommy) go on many adventures through time learning about our United States History.  Liberty was struck by lightning and appeared in the present day and allows Rush and his Crew to travel back in time.  Liberty has a comical sense of humor and is able to make himself appear invisible by camouflaging himself into his surroundings.

The books are an easy read and I would recommend for ages 8-12.  As an adult I am really enjoying the series so of course older children would also enjoy the content. We choose to read these as read-alouds but my son would also pick it up on occasion and read on his own.  I would of course have to go back and "catch up" when he did this.  We have not completed the series yet due to "life occurrences" while we were working on this review (grandpa visited for a week among other things).  We would take about a week and a half or so per book.  My son is a slow reader and would probably easily complete a book per week.  An avid reader could complete in a day or two.

Adventures of Rush Revere

The series consists of:
  • Rush Revere and the Star-Spangled Banner
  • Rush Revere and the American Revolution
  • Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims
  • Rush Revere and the First Patriots
  • Rush Revere and the Presidency
While reading the Star-Spangled Banner we learned so much more about our history.  While going on a field trip to Washington D.C. the Crew learned all about the nations capital, our constitution and the Bill of Rights.  Who is James Madison, Francis Scott Key or Betsy Ross?  What did they do and why are they important?  What is the meaning behind the song this book is named after?  Answers to these questions and so much more history were covered in this book. I also really like that there are pictures throughout the books.  Pictures of characters mixed in with real life pictures of actual monuments and places.

In Rush Revere and the American Revolution follow Rush, Liberty and the Crew as they travel back in time to visit Paul Revere and learn about the battles of Lexington, Concord and Bunker Hill.  Cam learns to deal with his anger towards the fact that his dad is away serving in Afghanistan.  His mother, Danielle reaches out to Rush to ask him to help him understand.  Through all their adventures, Cam does come to understand and have a new respect for what his father is doing.

Travel back in time again to be aboard the Mayflower and learn about the Brave Pilgrims, Thanksgiving, Plymouth Rock and the history surrounding it all.  Who are William Bradford, Elder William Brewster and Myles Standish?  What was life like on the ship?  What is the Mayflower Compact?  It's a must read to find out!

Rush Revere and the First Patriots takes you back in time to British Rule and why our Patriots fought so hard for their freedoms. What were the 13 colonies and who were Samuel Adams, Ben Franklin and Patrick Henry?  What is the King's Stamp Act and why were the colonies opposed to it?  What was the Boston Massacre?  Learn about the Boston Tea Party and what the Intolerable Acts was.  This book has some overlapping themes that will help reinforce what was learned in some of the other books.

The last book on the Presidency covers the time of the first three presidents of the United States.  Learn about what went on during their time in office and about their wives and families. How decisions they made were important to the stabilization of the freedoms that had been fought for and how elections back then differed from today's elections.  Learn about the Louisiana Purchase and how it greatly expanded our territory.

I have nothing negative to say about these wonderful books.  They were easy reads that were entertaining and kept the attention of my 13 year old.  I enjoyed reading them myself and reliving parts of history in a fun and comical way.  Rush and Liberty keep you on your toes and a chuckle on your lips as you read through history.
Adventures of Rush Revere

You can connect with Adventures of Rush Revere on FACEBOOK, TWITTER, and YOUTUBE.

Please be sure to check out the other reviews by clicking on the banner below.

Adventures of Rush Revere Book Series {Reviews}+

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Monday, June 19, 2017


How to HOMESCHOOL with Stunning Confidence, Contagious Joy, and Amazing Focus (DVD & Coursebook)
Although I have been homeschooling for about 12 years now, I was still excited to get to review How to HOMESCHOOL with Stunning Confidence, Contagious Joy, and Amazing Focus (DVD & Coursebook) published by Apologia Educational Ministries in partnership with Teach Them Diligently.  We are nearing preparation for high school and beyond and I knew this program covered that and many other important aspects of homeschooling.  I was especially intrigued to find out that the authors are Rachael Carman (co-founder with her husband) of Teach Them Diligently, and Leslie Nunnery who, along with her husband, founded Apologia Educational Ministries.

The product consists of a workbook with homework assignments and space for taking notes and 2 DVDs containing 15 lessons.  The lessons covered are:
  • How to Get the Most Out of This Course
  • Setting Goals for the Journey
  • Finding Support
  • Choosing Curriculum
  • Practical How-To's (Nuts and Bolts)
  • Organizing Your Homeschool Stuff
  • Organizing Your Homeschool Day
  • Tips from Veterans
  • Family Matters -- Marriage
  • Family Matters -- The Rest
  • Dealing with Opposition
  • High School Graduation and College
  • If College is Not the End Game
  • You Can Make It!
  • Continuing Education and Encouragement Opportunities
The DVDs are set up in interview type style with Rachael and Leslie basically having a discussion about topics on homeschooling and how they handled it in their lives.  It is very relaxed and informative.  The sessions are short, from about 12-15 minutes each, which is perfect for bite-sized learning.  You can go through a lesson a day or 2-3 per week depending on how you want to handle your homework assignments.  It is a very practical, hands-on method of getting great information to you about homeschooling in an efficient and simple manner.  There is also a link with password provided to an online appendix that is full of wonderful resources and additional information that is very helpful.

If you have never homeschooled before or are considering it, this is a very good resource to start with.  If you are a veteran homeschooler, I think there is still some information to be gleaned.  They cover everything from the very basics of setting up, choosing curriculum, organizing, setting goals, working with your family dynamics, dealing with opposition from others, prepping for college and ideas for the non-college bound, and just basic encouragement to stay your course.

I really liked that they stressed and talked about your "Why" and how that can change over time.  "Why" did you choose to homeschool.  What are your motivations?  The advice and suggestions they have are very grace-based and they help you to feel more comfortable in the role you have been tasked to do as a homeschooling mom. Throughout the lessons they are constantly reminding you that we are not all perfect and life happens.  You do the best you can with what you have and let God do what He does best, providing for your every need.

If you find that you are currently overwhelmed in your homeschooling situation, Chapter 3 - Finding Support, might be just what you need. I especially liked Chapter 4 on Choosing Curriculum.  It seems we are always doing that, aren't we?  I love how they give you permission to dump an ineffective program.  I really like that they remind you that your child is an individual and therefore each child may learn differently and need different resources to thrive best in their studies.  Children have a natural desire to learn and they encourage you to tap into that instead of allowing strife and tears to derail your desire for them to have joy in their learning.

The homework "assignments" are not complicated or long.  In Chapter 5, Practical How-To's (Nuts and Bolts), the assignment simply asks you to list any homeschooling tips and tricks you learned in the session or already have in your "toolbox."

I could write a mini-book on how informative and helpful this program has been.  They stress that your relationship with your children and your spouse are key to the success in the homeschool model.  You don't want to lose your child's heart and alienate your husband while you accomplish the task of educating your child(ren) to become contributing members of society.

I definitely recommend that you give this program a try.  I do not believe you will be disappointed.  There is so much material and information they cover in such a short time it will be well worth your time to check it out.

Apologia Educational Ministries

You can connect with Apologia Educational Ministries on FACEBOOK, TWITTER, PINTEREST, INSTAGRAM, GOOGLE+, and YOUTUBE.

Please take the time to check out the other reviews on this program and the Internship for High School Credit program they offer by clicking the banner below.

Homeschool with Confidence & Internship for High School {Apologia Educational Ministries Reviews}

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