Progeny Press Review

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Reading good literature is important to me in our homeschool life. Having a great study guide to go along with a great book makes it a lot more fun! Recently, we have been using The Little House on the Prairie Study Guide from Progeny Press. We also were sent the study guide for The Shadow Spinner have been using that one as well!

The Mission of Progeny Press
“To teach our children to think clearly, to understand literature, and to rely on the scripture for truth and values, and enjoy themselves while they do it!”

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I was really excited to get The Little House on the Prairie because just a few weeks earlier, I found a cute copy at a thrift store. I couldn’t wait to get started with the study guide for it. This study guide is best for grades 4-6.  Progeny Press does such a great job with their study guides. They are easy to follow and there are so many great resources in it. Each one starts off with giving you information about the study guide author as well as a background of the author of the book. They give you some pre-reading activities before you actually read the story which is fun to introduce the literature. Progeny Press recommends you having the student read the complete book before starting the activities in the study guide. Then they can work through the study guide using the book as a reference. Having a dictionary, thesaurus and Bible are also recommended to have close by while working. The study guide is broken into chapters of the book. There are also ideas for essay writing as well as additional resources you can use for the book study. I like that they include a separate answer key for checking your answers.

 

 

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I had never heard of the Shadow Spinner but was excited to read it and complete the study guide. We didn’t get as much done on this study guide because I like to focus on one book at a time but I am looking forward to finishing it with my boys. This study guide is recommended for Grades 5-8. I got the audio book from our local library and we listen to the story in the car.

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Here’s an example of a page from the study guide for Shadow Spinner.

 

 

One thing I really like about these study guides is grades 4 and up are able to use fillable online pages which makes it more interactive. This is great for students who would rather work on the computer than have printable pages. My oldest son likes to do his work on the computer and my younger son likes to have worksheets. The study guide allows them to do both!

Progeny Press is great and we love using their study guides. Last year, we did the study guide for The Josefina Story Quilt. It was a lot of fun! You can read the blog post about that here.

 

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Review crew members reviewed other study guides. To read what they think about them, click the banner below:

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HiGASFY Art History Video Series Review

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Teaching art education can be a struggle when homeschooling but HiGASFY Art History Video Series made it very easy to add to our weekly studies. Mrs. Beth and Gasfy (the animated paint drop) help make learning about art history really fun! The curriculum is geared towards grade 1-8, for a 16 week course, and uses a multi-dimensional approach.

Each week, Mrs. Beth and Gasfy, teach your child about the artists and artwork from 4 times periods: Renaissance, Baroque, Impressionist, and Post-Impressionist.

The curriculum is designed for large school groups, homeschool co-ops or for at home use. You are also given access to the curriculum bundle that includes a wealth of information to go along with the video series.

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You can start the series at whatever time period you want so we started with the Renaissance Period. This includes 12 video lessons which are about 20 minutes long each. With the curriculum bundle, you are given a 66 page lesson plan that includes lessons to help support the videos. The lessons do not just focus on the art itself, it also includes: Vocabulary, Science, Writing, Geography, History, Critical Thinking and more! There are also fun games like crossword puzzles and word searches.

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Here, you can see the table of contents of the lesson plans for the Renaissance Period.

 

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Name That Artist PowerPoint- For the Renaissance Period, there are 45 beautiful images of art work that you can show to your students.

In addition to all of the above in the curriculum bundle, there are also flashcards. For the Renaissance period there are 49 pages of images designed to enable you to learn the artwork and the artist for the time period you’re working on.

What We Thought:

I think the information in the program is really great! You can tell that Ms. Beth knows her stuff! She makes the videos fun and enjoyable. The curriculum bundle is really awesome, with so much information in the lesson plans to really create an awesome art history class. I really enjoyed seeing all of the beautiful art work showcased throughout the videos and extras in the curriculum bundle.

I have two boys, ages 9 and 13. They enjoyed learning about the information provided but were definetly slow to warm up to the animated character. I think that is just their personalities and trying to be “too cool” for animated characters. I thought Gasfy was great!

If you would like to try out a free sample lesson, you can click this link: https://www.higasfy.com/free-episode-sign-up.

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City Creek Press, Inc. Review

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Multiplication facts can seem like a daunting task to teach your children at home. Everyone can agree that it is an important skill that your child should have down before they start complex math problems. If your child doesn’t know their facts, it is going to significantly slow them down when attempting to complete their math work in the upper grades. When I learned my multiplication tables, it was done through repetition and memorization, which does work for some kids. Recently, we have been able to learn multiplication facts the fun way with a 6 month Online Times Alive subscription from City Creek Press, Inc.

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What It Is

Times Alive is a fun way to teach your child their multiplication tables. The program teaches your child their multiplication facts from 0-9 using cartoons, stories and tricks. It uses mnemonic devices and visual clues to help your child learn their facts through movies, songs, games and progress checks. This program is based on the best selling book, Times Tables The Fun Way Book for Kids.

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Each multiplication fact has its own little story that helps you remember the fact. Above, you can see part of the “cheer” for 4 times 3. Below is an example of the story of the snowmen to help you learn what the answer to 8 times 8. The snowmen use sticks (which sounds like 6) for (4) the fire. So 8 times 8 equals 64.

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You can download the Times Alive App in the places above. I downloaded it on my iphone and that is the primary place that we accessed the program. It is very user friendly and easy to navigate. In the picture below, you can see the lessons in the order the appear on the app. It will also show you your progress.

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If you are on a computer, your progress will look a little different. Below, you can see what our progress report looks like. We only used the app so it doesn’t show any progress but you can see how all of the lessons are laid out and where the results would show. In the picture below, you can also see the key. This will show you whether each lesson is a movie, song, paint, quiz or test. It moves you through all the lessons and you can stop whenever you would like. You can also redo any lessons as needed for more practice.

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If you would like to try the program, you can use the coupon code lovetolearn to waive the $6.95 sign up fee!

To read what the other crew members have to say about Times Alive, click the banner below:

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Easy Grammar Systems Review

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Grammar is a very important subject to teach in your homeschool. I try to focus on it when teaching reading and writing but having a specific workbook to tackle all of the concepts that come with grammar is really helpful! For the past few weeks, we have been reviewing Daily GRAMS: Grade 3 by Easy Grammar Systems. 

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What We Received:

We received a physical student workbook that my 9 year old has been working through. The Daily GRAMS workbook has 180 lessons that should take 5-10 minutes a day. It is designed so that your child can practice their grammar skills to work up to mastery of the skills. Each page is set up the same which is really helpful.

What It Is:

Sentence #1 : Capitalization Review- This may include days of the week, months of the year, a persons name, initials or a title used with a name, holidays, states, towns, countries and more!

Sentence #2 : Punctuation Review- This may include periods after abbreviations, commas used when writing dates, ending punctuation, commas between cities and states, as well as punctuation involved in writing friendly letters.

Sentences #3 and #4:  General Concepts- These sentences address general concepts in grammar. The book advises to skip or replace the concepts if you have not taught it to your student. The topics include but are not limited to: Adjectives, adverbs, verbs, nouns, alphabetizing, subject/verb agreement, dictionary skills, sentence types, plural nouns, antonyms/synonyms as well as writing a friendly letter.

Sentence  #5: Sentence Combining- This section takes 2-3 sentences and your student will combine the sentences to create more complex sentences.

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What We Thought:

I think this is a great warm up for your grammar lessons. I like that it’s designed to take 5-10 minutes a day and repeats the same sort of topics so that your child can master them. Carter was recently diagnosed with dyslexia and in his testing, he struggled with sentence combining. I really enjoyed seeing his work on sentence combining in this workbook. He struggled at first but has since really improved. I like how each day is on one page but do wish the format was a little different. I think having some page breaks, or boxes would be helpful. It was difficult for him to see where the next question or concept was because it is a little bunched together. Once he got the hang of it, he did ok. This product can be used for homeschools, co-ops or even classrooms. I will continue to use this to help Carter master his grammar skills this year.

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Other crew members reviewed Daily GRAMS for other grades as well as other products that Easy Grammar has to offer. Click on the banner below to read what they thought about it.

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My School Year Homeschool Record Keeping Review

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Record keeping is really important in the homeschool world. There are a lot of things we have to keep up with and the best way to do this is to keep records as best as you can. The flexibility with homeschool  means you can record keep as much or as little as you want. I’ve been able to review the Annual Membership Plan from My School Year Homeschool Record Keeping.

This online subscription can be accessed anywhere you have an internet connection! This means you can access it from your computer, laptop, tablet and even your smart phone. With this program, you can fully customize and record your homeschool life and more. In this review, I will go over some of the awesome parts of this program. We haven’t started our homeschool year yet so I don’t really have any records kept in it, other than extra curriculars. I am excited to give this program a real shot once we start our school year. I’m already so pumped by just checking out all of its features and how well it’s going to help me keep track of our days, weeks and school year!

Sy1 Here is your homeroom. From here you can access your classes, attendance, awards, readings, extra curricular and tests. You can quickly see the days you have completed as well. You’re able to change your term from this page to see what has been done for each term. You can also switch between your students to see the progress and information for both.

 

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In the reports section, you can see reports for attendance, events, lesson plans, awards and much more. Here you can also change the type of report you want to see! I like that you are able to view and print transcripts and you can even do this from your phone.

 

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On the calendar tab, you can view all of your appointments, events, extra curricular, lessons and reading list. You can change your view to see the agenda, the day, week or month at a glance. I really love how customizable this calendar is! I also like that you can switch between students so you can see what is on the calendar for each of them.

 

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There is a section called the Teacher’s Aid. Here, you are sent “notices.” I look at them as notifications about your record keeping. They alert you when you’re missing things and also prompts you to add some things that you may not have added yet. As you can see, mine is letting me know I haven’t added days but this is because we have not started our school year yet. Once we do though, I know this section will be super helpful because “mom brain!”

 

 

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There are so many parts to this program! Another one of them is the Setup section. Here you can customize the grading scales, materials, schools, students, subjects and terms.

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In the Tools section, you can copy classes/lessons and reading log/list. You can also create a plan for your students, reschedule lessons and track attendance.

If you need extra support within the program, there is help section that has video tutorials, FAQ’s and Guides. The site also has its own blog which is accessible through the website.

 

With this program, you can also allow your child access where they can keep up with their attendance, classes, activities and even chores! Since it is 100% user friendly they are able to check all of this from their phone! I can’t wait to really utilize this feature with my 8th grader. I know the upcoming school year will run a lot smoother and more efficiently with the use of this program!

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To read what other homeschool moms have to say, click the banner below:

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CTCMath Review

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Over the summer, our family has been using the 12 Month Family Membership from CTCMath. CTCMath was created by a homeschool dad to 10 children! He wanted something different for his children that would cater to different learning styles and be fun at the same time. This program is an online math program from K-12th grade.

We received a 12 month membership and have really enjoyed getting to know all that the program offers. When you sign up, you will create accounts for each child as well as the parent. I like how this is set up because it gives each child their own little math area where they can see everything they need to learn, have learned and so much more.

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When your child logs in, they will see all of their lessons. From here, it will show how well they understood as well as a grade for the lesson. As you can see from above, there are also diagnostic tests that they can take to see what they already know.

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When they are ready to start a lesson, they just click on the title of it. Then a screen like the one above will show up. Here, they are able to watch a short video explaining the concept. I really like how the videos are short and to the point. If they were any longer, my kiddos would check out.

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Once your child has watched the video, they click on the “Questions” tab. Here they are given about 10 questions to answer based on what they learned. I like that there is one question per screen so it doesn’t seem overwhelming to them. If they get the problem wrong, the correct answer is show immediately. They are able to go back and try the task again if they do not get it right the first time.

You are also able to complete worksheets for each lesson as well. You can print out the worksheet and there is a spot for your child to write in the answers.

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CTCMath also offers practice with speed skills. From addition all the way to the order of operations. This is a fun way to get your child practicing their basic skills. My students liked doing this as well because it breaks up the idea of a formal lesson.

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The times tables practice was one of our favorites. It reminds me of a math game I played in elementary school. They can choose which number family they want to work on. Then they have to use their rocket ship to answer the problems by shooting the answer. Once the do it 3 times successfully, they speed it up so they can improve their fact fluency.

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Your child will also be able to see reports and see exactly how they are doing with each concept. They can ear badges and awards for their success as well!

The parent dashboard is really helpful as well. You are able to add tasks for your student if you want them to work on something specific. You can also add questions from the question bank which allows you to personalize their lessons/tests. You’re able to see all of their activity on the site as well as reports of their progress.

We love CTCMath and will definitely continue to use it throughout our school year!

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Crafty Classroom Review

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Recently, we have been learning all about the USA with USA Activity Bundle Pack from Crafty Classroom. 

This has been the perfect addition to our summer schedule. The Crafty Classroom has fun, engaging activities designed to help your children learn while having fun! They offer activities to help your children learn more about the Alphabet, the Bible, Science, Geography, Math, Reading and Writing. There are SO many cute and awesome activities. One look at their website and you will be ready to get your hands on these materials. I am a girl all about aesthetics and their website, font choices, color choices…all of it…it’s just really cute. It doesn’t stop there though, the products really are awesome!

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I was sent the USA Activity Bundle which includes:

+U.S.A. State by State Activity Notebook
+U.S.A. State Bird Art Cards
+U.S.A. 50 State Mazes

These products are a downloadable product and were sent to my email as pdf’s. They were super easy to open and navigate through. I chose to print out what pages we need as we go through them and decided to add them to a notebook to keep it all organized and together.

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U.S.A. State by State Activity Notebook:

The activity pack has a page for each of the 50 states. On each page, students are able to map the location, capitol, state abbreviation, landmarks, state flower and bird as well as the nickname for the state. They can also color the flag, bird and flower. There is a space on each page to add extra notes about the state. The notebook also includes 2 games: USA Bingo and Roll Across America. These activity pages and games will help your child learn all about the 50 states of the USA.

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U.S.A. State Bird Art Cards:

This set includes 27 state birds as some of the states share the same bird. Students are able to look at the realistic picture of the bird and copy the coloring of it by looking at its unique markings. There is also a memory matching card game that you can print out to give your students more practice with the state birds.

 

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U.S.A. 50 State Mazes:

This set includes a maze for each of the 50 states. This is a fun way for your child to get familiar with the states while completing an activity to help their brain work. Carter, my 9 year old, really enjoyed completing these mazes.

 

We have had a great time using this product. It is a nice change of pace from traditional school work and reading. Even though the products from The Crafty Classroom are geared towards Pre-K through 3rd grade, my 9 year old son and 12 year old son have both used a lot of the workbooks and I haven’t heard one complaint. I think it’s always a great idea to make learning as fun as possible. Even the preteens/teens like to color! I plan to continue to use this product throughout our school year and I am excited to try out some other resources from The Crafty Classroom.

 

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