Embracing a Healthy Family

Home School in the Woods' Time Travelers American History Series World War II Review

History is fun and exciting to me and I've tried to instill this in my children as the future depends on the past or as I usually tell my children, 'knowledge is power.' To find a hands-on history company that provides multiple products was such a thrill to me which is what
Home School in the Woods' Time Travelers American History World War II provided my child. From maps, timelines, and laptop projects, it provides an interesting chance for the student to live the time period. One of the ways I found that I learn best is by doing and the Home School in the Woods Time Travelers provided that.

The Basics:

The Time Travelers American History series World War II was available either by download or a CD with three types of licenses available: family, teacher or school making it versatile for any learning environment. For the purposes of this review, I downloaded my appropriate PDF files first and utilized the online functionality from the CD view.

It has 25 lessons that can be adjusted to the needs of the child or the expected length of time the teacher would like to cover the decade long time period over 5-10 weeks.

To begin, I utilized the Lesson Plan Schedule which was very helpful. It separates each lesson by either lapbook, notebook or project, for example. One could either pre-plan and print off each lesson all at once or one at a time. I preferred one at a time to absorb myself in what I was about to teach my student. There is a nice introduction that helps explain the course as well as helpful tips in preparing for the course. Everything is provided to ensure a fun successful learning experience.

There are also Project Days included in the lesson plans to provide extra time as needed. There are many options available to ensure your student is enjoying the lesson which makes it a very versatile curriculum.

Pages are key coded making it easier to find the appropriate page for each lesson such as Master, Project or Teacher Keys.

Lessons are grouped from:

  • Lessons 1-5 - Ante Bellum; Adolf Hitler; War Before War; Blitzkreig-Dunkirk; Project Day 1
  • Lessons 6-10 - The Battle of Britain; The Turn East; Pearl Harbor; War in Africa; Project Day 2
  • Lessons 11-15 - War in the Pacific; Hitler's Fortress; Market Garden; The Bulge; Project Day 3
  • Lessons 16-20 - Into Germany; Kristallnacht and the Camps; VE Day; Iwo Jima and the Atomic Bomb; Project Day 4
  • Lessons 21-25 - Back Home; And What Happened After? Project Day
  • Other Resources:
    • All Master Pages (i.e. Penmanship, Newspapers, maps, etc)
    • Gallery of Project Photos - this is nice so you and the student can ensure you completed the projects correctly as a picture is always a nice validation.
    • Lap-Book Instructions - as above, this is a nice section to provide extra assistance in completing the lap-books.

Starting with Lesson 1, upon reading the text PDF file, it provided a very good review of setting up the world scene 20 years prior to World War II which is essential for understanding the mood of particular countries whether it was their desire to stay out or their need to get involved.

Each lesson includes text pages and project pages. For Lesson 1, after we read the text, we started with the lesson projects. Each lesson varies and provides a student an opportunity to try out various projects to broaden their learning experience. Lesson 1, for example, included Penmanship which encompassed quotes and a selection to choose from to find the right level for the student. The other project was the Notebook Timeline that included the timeline as well as Timeline Figures of the major players and events of World War II. The final project was on the topic of Dictators. This project reinforced the knowledge of the major players of the war and was the start of the lap-book.

For Lesson 9, War in Africa, we learned about V-Mail in the Lesson Projects. V-Mail was a means for our service members and families to correspond with one another without adding enormous costs on shipping the letters as well as cutting down on the mass volume. This lesson, like the others, provided an opportunity to create many different projects. This was one of my favorites with all the options available and being a former journalism major in high school, I loved the newspaper lessons.

My student enjoyed this project as well as I think she was able to pretend she was writing her grandfather who was in the Air Force. The reproductions, taken from originals, was fun to create and gave her a feel of what it was like back then.

The number of activities are interesting, fun and creative. For example, from creative writing to ration cooking recipes to games to authentic documents, there are just so many creative and fun ways to really teach all about World War II.

Final Thoughts:

Overall, we really enjoyed Time Travelers American History World War II due to its hands-on approach to teaching history. Although it is recommended for grades 3-8, I think it would be ideal even for the older levels especially if the child still enjoys creating projects. It's a very comprehensive course to teach an important part of history in a non-dull manner thus encouraging the chances of retention to be higher in my opinion. I also enjoyed teaching and guiding her throughout the weeks of learning and plan to look into some of the other products available through Home School in the Woods such as:

  • History Through the Ages Timeline Materials
  • Olde World Style Map Sets
  • Project Passport World History Studies
  • Hands-On History Activity-Paks
  • Hands-On History Lap-Paks
  • Hands-On History Activity Studies
  • A La Carte Projects
  • Other new projects such as the early release from Home School in the Woods on the launch of Project Passport: Ancient Rome study ahead of schedule that can be downloaded here and the complete Project Passport collection is available to here.

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Check out what others on the Crew thought about this hands-on curriculum as well as other products:

Hands-on-History, Project Passport, À La Carte Timelines and Time Travelers {Home School in the Woods Reviews}

Smart Kidz Media's New Smart Kidz Radio Review

Smart Kidz Radio

Smart Kidz Media's newest offering, Smart Kidz Radio, is a new edutainment for kids utilizing songs that surely will entertain while teaching little ones. This is an online streaming media library filled with songs and stories that are sure to entertain children across many ages. What sets this station apart from others is the songs are original life skill songs and stories that promote positive values. The Smart Kidz Radio is part of a network of educational websites administered by the Smart Kidz Academy that provides educational resources at no cost! I have found many features that are appealing especially since it's more than just entertainment, there is the learning aspect which includes:

  • Free live stream media that allows anyone to listen to the songs and stories. One of the first topics I heard was an informational intro of not fighting that turned into a song. I could see how a young child would learn from the fun music and words that aspire them to do good things.
  • Signing up was easy and again, it's free!
  • It's versatile and there will be IOS app downloads available for an iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad as well as an app for Android that will be free. Whether on a laptop or desktop or on the go, the child will have the opportunity to take it with them.
  • An optional On Demand radio programs is available at a low cost with an upgraded free membership. There are over 1,000 original children's songs and stories featured in the On Demand programs from topics such as My First Life Skills to Bedtime Stories. The options are vast and there is a 14 day free trial.
  • The stories and songs are sung by kids without any worry of offensive lyrics. This is a huge plus for my family as I prefer them listening to wholesome positive songs and stories.
  • Stay up to date by signing up for the free newsletter.

Additional Features:

  • Another area within the Smart Kidz Radio is called Player app that contains the options to view the local weather, traffic map along with the option to submit a song request and the ability to seek help with a click of the mouse.
  • Podcasts are also available with a variety of songs and stories such as Itsy Bitsy Spider or The Three Musketeers.
  • There is an option to replay what was recently played which is great for the little ones that get caught up loving a particular song or story. 

The Smart Kidz Radio from Smart Kidz Media is a fun learning adventure for children to hear stories and songs that will promote good behavior and citizenship while sprinkling it with fun amusement. The music is catchy and performed by children as we know children love children! Overall, we recommend it and my grandson, who is 3, couldn't quit smiling and singing along as he listened.

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Check out with others from the Crew thought:

Smart Kidz Radio Homeschool Reviews

Hurry and Upgrade to the HP Envy x360 Laptop and Save $100 Until July 28, 2018

Disclaimer:  This is a sponsored post for the HP Envy x360 Laptop.

Everything is technology driven and with that is a need for the best computers. At least in my family where we have tablets, laptops and desktops, we don't have time to be bogged down with sluggish computers or those without the most up to date features. I blog, of course, but I'm also an author and a homeschooling parent so I need technology that supports my lifestyle as well as my family's. I purchased a lesser type model of another brand and regret it every time I have to use it. When I read about the HP Envy x360 Laptop, I was sold for many reasons. Some of the features that are most appealing include:

  • The Windows 10 Operating System actually has the old Windows 7 Start Menu which I love! Not only did it roll back and bring that back but it also includes new features like the Edge Web browser that lets you mark up the web pages! Isn't that really cool? 
    • Built for Windows Ink which allows the user to jot sticky notes, sketch and draw on screenshots with your pen. No pen?  Just use your finger or a mouse it's that easy. It's a handy feature to jot down reminders such as call the doctor or pick up dinner.
    • My teen and tween would love that sketchpad functionality which allows the user to use a pen, pencil, highlighter, etc. It would definitely bring out their creativity whenever they want to draw something or to use the screen shot feature.
  • The full HD touch screen is 1920 x 1080 resolution that will provide rich robust colors without compromising any clarity. Finger touch technology is also a nice feature to have instead of relying on a mouse all the time.
  • The HP Envy x360 has 8GB of system memory making it ideal for multi-tasking and game playing! AMD processors make them fast and thin! Game playing would spark the interest in every one of my family member's eyes! The photo and video editing applications would leave them salivating as well. They play around with making their own videos and to have a laptop this robust with these capabilities would make them extremely happy!
  • The 360° flip-and-fold design makes it versatile by allowing it to be viewed by an audience, on your lap, on a table or even tablet form. This great 2-in-1 device allows the user to go from laptop to tablet in seconds!

If you are ready to upgrade to a faster, thinner, full HD touch laptop that has the ability to convert from a laptop to a tablet in seconds, this is the choice for you! Extra features like Windows Ink is such a innovative concept and with the video and photo editing applications, it's a win for our house whether at home or on the go!

Check out the HP Envy x360 Laptop 13 inch or the HP Envy x360 Laptop 15 inch now. 

Purchase before July 28th and save $100!

Review: Northwest Treasures' Dinosaurs and the Bible Online Class Is Fossil-istic

I have always had an interest in geology so I was excited to have the opportunity to watch the introductory video Taking the Mystery Out of Geology and to have my dinosaur loving daughter take the Dinosaurs and the Bible from Northwest Treasures. Dinosaurs are fun and most kids love dinosaurs and who would have even connected the idea of dinosaurs with the Bible? It's a great way to get your child or student thinking on a grander level of all things began with God if you haven't already.

I found Taking the Mystery out of Geology a good pre-cursor to Dinosaurs and the Bible. The short 20 minute video helps to provide an introductory to geology. Patrick Nurre provides an easy to understand connection between geology from a Biblical perspective.  The photographs that accompany his lecture are perfect and his repetitive references to the Bible is an excellent manner in ensuring children understand the world with an unshakable foundation with the Bible. Many schools will teach geology with no references at all to the Bible or God which to me, seems impossible to do. Many won't even provide a connection and will try to tie it with some other non-proven scientific explanation. Mr. Nurre teaches 13 important terms in understanding geology. He doesn't complicate it and makes it easier to understand with examples such as his simple template of time events from Creation to Post Flood Period. As he concludes the course, "go deeper in your geology study. Grow deeper in your faith."

Northwest Treasures' Dinosaurs and the Bible is perfect in helping to explain how dinosaurs can be taught hand in hand with the Bible. I have not done a good enough job of reinforcing Bible reading and I found this course is ideal in helping to reinforce what she knows as well as understanding more about how the Bible correlates with geologic events and dinosaurs. The supplemental photographs, actual photographs of bones and artifacts, words and more makes it more interesting than just merely watching the instructor. After each lesson, there is a worksheet to complete and at the end, there will be a comprehensive test. They also encourage communication via e-mail.

Dinosaurs and the Bible is a six part series that run from 16:23 minutes to 21:38 minutes long. Each part is broken down to:

  • Lesson 1: How We Got Our Modern View of Dinosaurs
  • Lesson 2: The Classification of Dinosaurs
  • Lesson 3: Dinosaurs and the Bible, The Great Dinosaur Rush
  • Lesson 4: The Extinction of the Dinosaurs
  • Lesson 5: Dinosaurs and the Ice Age
  • Lesson 6: Fossils, Age, and Soft Tissue

I absolutely love how he does not teach the course in absolutes from mainstream teaching. Topics like evolution and carbon dating is based on theories and have not been proven. I prefer my children be taught subjects in conjunction with the Bible as that's truth to me. He really makes the student think and to start questioning the acceptable way things are taught. While teaching, he never diminishes the contribution of all the dinosaur finds of the past. It really opened my daughter's eyes especially after watching some other courses online. 

We recommend Northwest Treasures' Dinosaurs and the Bible as it provides a firm Biblical foundation to include discussing limitations of how this topic is taught in the mainstream. Online courses allow the student to complete it on their own schedule, to pause or stop and resume later. The six part segments are not too long and are definitely not boring.

I liked the course so much, I've been telling everyone I can about how it's a must see!

There are other courses to include fossil kits available such as Geology for "Little Eyes" (PreK-3rd).

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Read what others from the Crew thought:

Online Geology Classes{Northwest Treasures Reviews}

Amplify Your Summer with Ultimate Ears MEGABLAST and BLAST Portable Speakers

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post.

Summer is half order but there is still plenty of time to enjoy summer as Ultimate Ears announced new updates for MEGABLAST and BLAST portable speakers to help them get smarter and better over time. There is nothing that beats great sound especially when you are poolside, hanging outside or just relaxing indoors. Look at some of the new experiences for MEGABLAST and BLAST include:

  • Enhanced controls on the Ultimate Ears app: Now you can control volume remotely from the app! If you are an app driven junky like many of us, this is especially useful if you have your music cranked up loud and want to use Alexa. You can also check battery status in two ways, either through the app, or right from the speaker by pressing the “+/-” volume buttons simultaneously! This past May saw a new feature of being able to personalize your sound for any artist or music genre with the custom equalizer (EQ). Now that is pretty cool! 

  • Voice control on Spotify and more is coming soon:  You will be able to just ask “Alexa, play my Discover Weekly” or any music from Spotify on MEGABLAST and BLAST. Spotify will soon be joining other Amazon Alexa supported music services such as Amazon Music, Deezer and TuneIn globally; and Pandora, iHeartRadio and SiriusXM in the U.S. -- Being able to use your voice to control music from these streaming services over Wi-Fi is awesome! On Bluetooth, you can enjoy music from any of your favorite music services.
  • A better way to listen with Spotify Connect is also coming soon: MEGABLAST and BLAST will be the first Ultimate Ears speakers to integrate Spotify Connect. When on Wi-Fi, simply open the Spotify app on your phone and play music directly to our speakers (under “Devices Available”) without the need to pair through Bluetooth. I prefer that as sometimes I have had issues pairing up with Bluetooth. Music fans can also stream the highest quality sound possible from Spotify. With Spotify Connect, text message or make calls without interrupting the music and save your phone's battery. That is another cool feature as so many apps make you interrupt what you are doing to respond to calls and texts.
  • New grouping experience for smart speakers is coming soon: You can group up to eight MEGABLAST and BLAST speakers on Bluetooth and Wi-Fi! Stereo mode is supported when you connect two MEGABLAST or BLAST speakers. Optimized to take advantage of the speakers’ built-in Wi-Fi capability, you will experience greater range for grouped speakers and improved connection reliability. Grouping is expected to be available later this year. For those with large houses or outdoor areas, this is great news having such flexibility to move around listening to your favorite songs.

Ultimate Ears MEGABLAST

Ultimate Ears BLAST

Have more fun this summer with Ultimate Ears MEGABLAST and BLAST Portable Speakers! From stunning clarity and deep, heart-pounding bass, the fun won't end with  Alexa built-in technology and other coming soon features!  Click the links above to learn more!

#ad @ultimateears, @BestBuy

Perfect Gift Idea from PersonalizedCart: Natural Wood Watch Review

I spend so much time trying to find that unique and personalized gift for my family and friends and sometimes it's really difficult when someone doesn't have a lot of hobbies or interests. I can find a ton of things that I would buy myself as I have too many interests. My husband is turning 50 next month and I was trying to find a personalized gift to give him from the children. When I was asked to review a product of my choice from PersonalizedCart, I chose the natural wood watch due to the sleekness of its appearance. The wooden personalized box and how it was presented also sold me on picking this gift.

I'm the type that tries to not only pick the best gift possible that means something but I also enjoy making the gift look fabulous. PersonalizedCart does this for me already and I don't think I could have done a better job with presentation!

The watch is made from natural bamboo and has a smooth cowhide leather band. It's very soft and flexible. It is water resistant and the buyer has the option to have the back of the watch and the wooden gift box engraved for no additional cost! It's extremely affordable too!

We ended up giving the watch to him early for this review and he looked at it and said it looked great! He couldn't wait to open it and put it on. He liked how it fit and was happy it had a second hand as he needs that to take vital signs at work. It's very nice and sleek! The only draw back is it's hard to read the darkened back in some lights. To me, that's a minor drawback and it really does like very stylish. The box was really amazing and I suppose since I'm a wrapping paper nerd, I just loved the presentation of the watch.

PersonalizedCart.com has gifts for weddings, for her, for baby, and for him. There are so many personalized gifts to choose from and here are some of my favorites:

The Photo Puzzle Maker

The Kimono Robe

Check out PersonalizedCart.com for your next gift!

New Children’s Animated Musical Movie ANCHORS UP Sails July 24th

Anchors Up is a 75 minute new children’s movie with an adorable little rescue boat called Elias. Elias is a hero when he answers the call to save a boat and is then asked to leave and work for the Big Harbor leaving his friends behind. While working in his new home, he discovers a gang mining illegally and not only are they mining a precious metal but this metal emits electromagnetic waves that affects the weather. Elias experiences what it means to have friends around to help.

My grandchildren and I were provided a screen link to view ahead of time and they were really into the movie! They thought it was funny and it had them enthralled from time to time with good, non-scary suspense. I believe they truly enjoyed it and it’s a fun safe film for your children.The moral of the story is one in which one becomes much stronger when accompanied by others. To me, it helped show the children team work is important in life as well as loyalty to your friends.

The animation is cute and modern with vibrant colors and interesting characters. They enjoyed it and we recommend it as a must see for the fun, the suspense, even a little romance and the animated scenes of the beautiful coastline of Norway.

Anchors Up is co-directed by William John Ashurt and Simen Alsvik and stars Cameron Simpson as the fearless rescue boat, Elias. The character Elias and the Rescue Boat was developed in 1988 by Alf Knutsen and Sigurd Slåttebrekk. The story might seem familiar to many as stories about the little Rescue Boat have been produced in 91 television episodes all around the world.

We recommend Anchors Up! See the Anchors Up trailer:

                Check out my other giveaways her.

You can purchase Anchors Up on Digital and On Demand on July 24th. Click on the link to purchase Anchors Up now.

Progeny Press' Perelandra - eGuide (Interactive) Review


Progeny Press makes earning High School Literature credits easy with high school level study guides such as Perelandra - eGuide. Perelandra is C.S. Lewis' second book in his trilogy Space Trilogy.  C.S. Lewis' Narnia is a favorite of mine which is why I chose this eGuide for my student. The book and interactive eGuide will help the student learn many important skills from famous authors and information such as about the author, research skills, vocabulary words, literary techniques, moral lessons and character values to putting the knowledge to test in writing assignments and activities. Upon completion, the student will have the opportunity to pursue other books by the author or like minded authors and topics. 

If you have never heard of C.S. Lewis' Perelandra, here is a summary of the second book in his trilogy:

A world of seas and floating, multicolored islands, Perelandra is filled with mystical creatures and almost overpowering pleasures. Only two people inhabit this Garden of Eden - the beautiful and innocent Green Lady, and the King, from whom she has been separated. But shortly after Ransom arrives, so does another man from Earth, a man named Weston. Ransom and Weston had tangled before on Malacandra where Weston's mission had been the extermination of the native races in preparation for human colonization. Ransom expects no better in this Perelandrian confrontation. Can Dr. Ransom keep the two original people from following the human race into sin? Full of rich and imaginative description and practical insights into sin and temptation.

The guide is downloadable making it not only quicker to use as there is no wait for shipping but it doesn't require any additional software since it opens in Adobe which is free. It is an interactive eGuide so the student can complete it online and you can grade it online. 

It is broken down into easy to follow sections:

  • Note to Instructor
  • Synopsis
  • Background Information
  • Synopsis of Out of the Silent Planet
  • About the Author
  • Prereading Activities
  • Chapters 1 & 2
  • Chapters 3 & 4
  • Chapters 5 & 6
  • Chapter 7
  • Chapters 8 & 9
  • Chapters 10 & 11
  • Chapters 12, 13 & 14
  • Chapters 15, 16 & 17
  • Essays and Activities
  • Additional Resources
  • Answer Key

As you can see from the Table of Contents, it's quite robust and it's really an in-depth learning opportunity for your student to dive into an author of this magnitude and one of his best works. To me, I have budding authors in this house to include myself, so having the opportunity to oversea my student's work with curriculum such as this is a thrill. This eGuide is meant to show the student how to better enjoy literature and to notice how each author crafted their stories and how to think through themes and ideas throughout the story. Each section, within the Table of Contents, breaks it down into easy to understand sections that aren't too long or laborious. My students have low attention spans so this allowed us to complete the activities and lessons in a manner more suited for her skill level.

Some of the other things I liked about Progeny Press' Perelandra - eGuide were:

  • Suggested use of a dictionary, a thesaurus and a Bible as all three are important books to master.
  • The entire eGuide is suggested to take eight to ten weeks for most middle and high school level students. The suggestion is to have the student read the novel entirely during the first week and then utilize the eGuide for the remainder of time.
  • Most Christian high schools Progeny Press has spoken to have assigned a one-fourth credit to each study guide!
  • All websites noted in the eGuide have been checked to ensure they are safe for our students.
  • The Synopsis allows the student the chance to reinforce what they just read in the novel and to ensure they fully understood what they read and grabbed the key points that go along with the eGuide.
  • The pages that require student responses allows the student to type in their answers if they opt to utilize the eGuide online which I did like. Interactive guides provide the student more than just a print out which is nice and some students prefer to type in this day and age. Since there are many opportunities to write elsewhere, I was definitely good with this option.
  • Each chapter section is usually a combination of two or three chapters that begins with a vocabulary section, questions that challenge the student's knowledge and what they have read, an analysis section and a section to dig deeper. This requires the student to really think about what they read and to interpret what the author was trying to say. This was always a difficult area for me in school as my interpretation always seemed to not be the same as the teacher's. Although I'm not a huge fan of this, I am when it comes to teaching it because there is no escaping this way of thinking from not only high school to college but also within many careers.
  • The section on Essays and Activities is well rounded from focusing on Point of View lessons to reading Genesis and creating a list of similarities. It's an array of extra activities that will surely inspire the student to learn more. 
  • I found the eGuide was also flexible and I could guide my student around an activity if they weren't really keen on completing it. 

Here is a sample page from Dig Deeper:

Overall, my student did like the eGuide but I think it was too intensive for her as she's 15 but has some learning disabilities from having epilepsy. I am going to retry it with her in a year where I think it will be better suited. I know my robust 11 year old would thrive with this and I will try another eGuide for her to use next. I, myself, really enjoyed it and learned a lot. I would recommend Progeny Press and their interactive eGuides particulary Perelandra - eGuide as there was a lot of pre-work done to write these comprehensive, interactive guides.

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See what others on the Crew thought:
New Study Guides for Literature From a Christian Perspective {Progeny Press Reviews}