Heirloom Audio St. Bartholomew’s Eve {Review}

Heirloom Audio has done it again! You guys know how much of a fan I am of their audio dramas! The latest one is called St. Bartholomew’s Eve.
St. Bartholomew's EveNow, I will admit, I really didn’t know much about this period of time going into it…therefore, the kids didn’t either! But I think that made it even more exciting!

But because we didn’t know much about it all before hand, it made listening to it a little confusing.

We ended up listening to it twice!

The first time around we did chapter by chapter, a new one each day, which is what we usually do with Heirloom Audio products.

I think that helped and hindered us on knowing what was going on. First of all, the accents were really strong this time for us. Second, there are a lot of characters right away in the story. And third, the not knowing the background of the story that I already mentioned.

I think that this particular drama would have benefited greatly from the study guides that they used to put out as an add on with purchase! I miss those!

But what we decided to do, was finish going through each chapter one by one like we were. We started to research more about that time period, and then we understood more of the story, the characters, and what was going on in each scene!

It is quite a sad story we figure out, even moreso than the drama portrays. Tens of thousands of Huguenots all across France were killed.

This is acted out in this audio book, so keep that in mind. There are a couple parts that have a little of this violence. The suggested age for this is 6-16+, but I would listen to it first for yourself if you have some of the younger ones. You will then be able to know what they would be comfortable with.

Anyway, after we listened to it once through, chapter by chapter, and then did the research about all that went on and the circumstances around it all, we listened to it again.

This time we listened to it in two sittings. One cd at a time. That was the best thing to do! It definitely helped us remember who the characters were and what was going on.

The little stories within the stories are great. There are characters that are thrown in here and there and then surprise you with another appearance at the end in a more lighter, happier time.

This story mentions  a couple different virtues, but I love that they also threw humbleness in there. It was just quick, but I think being humble is so important!
Heirloom-Audio-ProductionsI appreciate these audio theater stories so much! They put so much life into stories that make it so much more real. You can always read about it like we did to understand more, but to hear it with such lifelike emotion and sounds, it makes such a difference!

If you are new to Heirloom Audio, it isn’t just an audio book being read. This is basically like going to the theater to watch a movie, but with a blindfold. They put so much work into the sounds and the effects of everything. The actors put their all into their characters as well!

I love listening to the very end where they list the credits of these. One actor can play a few different characters and sometimes we are caught by surprise by which ones they had played!

While I wasn’t sure if we were going to like St. Bartholomew’s Eve, it has definitely turned into one of our favorites! I am so glad that we were able to really learn about this like we did as it really hasn’t been mentioned much in our history books!

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Heirloom Audio St. Bartholomew’s Eve

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Another fun trip!

We just had some crazy travel! This one was another fun trip!
another fun trip
This trip was squished in between two other trips, so it was pretty hectic!

Jeffy’s family flew in from Arizona and we rented a cabin-y type place for all of us. It worked out well as there was also a guest house that the two grandmas stayed in and almost everyone else had their own room. Kyle didn’t like the bed he had so he slept on the couch, and then Lauren and Emily shared a bed.

The place had it’s quirks but it was definitely something that added to the memories of the trip.

We got there on the 3rd, but his family wasn’t planning on getting there until after midnight as they had a late flight and then a little bit of a drive.

Emily’s birthday happened to be on the 4th, so we filled up as many balloons as the two helium tanks allowed and went to work. It was fun! It made it a bit more festive for them to walk in I think.

We had a bunch of fun playing some games, we went to the Biltmore for the Chihuly exhibit and we also did our favorite bike ride at the Virginia Creeper trail.

I was hoping for a bit more in the fall color department, but you can’t win them all! Maybe next year!!

I don’t have more pictures to share as I am writing this between stops, maybe I will add more at a later date!

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CashCrunch Careers {Review}

All three of my kids really don’t know exactly what they want to be when they grow up. I mean, they have ideas….but… I am sure you know how that is. We were excited to try out the CashCrunch Careers survey from CashCrunch Games.

CashCrunchCareers
A couple years ago Ryan did a free career test online with his homeschool co-op group. Nothing really clicked for him 100%, but then again, it was a couple years ago.

I wanted to try CashCrunch Careers with all three kids to see the different results for all of them.
CashCrunchQuestions
The questionnaire is set up like any of the personality tests online pretty much. Just click the one that is more like you. A lot of them are similar but just using different words that help the results be more accurate.

The kids all did them at different times, but it worked out that they did them in age order, so I will mention Ryan first.
CashCrunch Results - Ryan2
CashCrunch Results Ryan3I like that it goes through and mentions the attributes as well as the motivators and de-motivators. Sometimes you many not even think that you feel about something so strongly until it is pointed out to you.

The Career Attributes section totally describes Ryan. Anyone that knows him would more than likely agree. I can totally see him in the other results section.

Now, I will list both of those sections for Kyle.

CashCrunch Results - Kyle
CashCrunch Results - Kyle2
This describes Kyle as well, although there was a couple surprises that I didn’t even think about, but totally make sense..

Here are the same sections for Lauren.
CashCrunch Results - Lauren2
CashCrunch Results - Lauren3
CashCrunch Results - Lauren4Again, these definitely describe Lauren!

All three of the kids are very calm and adaptable. They have a lot of similar results, but some definite different ones as well!

Now, you might be wondering what jobs they were matched up with since they were similar yet different in the above results. Here they are, with Ryan at the top, Kyle in the middle, and Lauren on the bottom.
CashCrunch Results - Ryan
CashCrunch Results - Kyle3
CashCrunch Results - LaurenIt is interesting that their results were similar yet different, just like they are. Almost all of them are management positions, which doesn’t fit any of them at all.

The website mentions that most people will get results that are similar like this. As you are looking at the list, you can then click on each job and it will bring you to another menu.
CashCrunch Agriculture
CashCrunch Agriculture4
So, in clicking on the Farmers & Ranchers section, one of the few that weren’t a manager position, you can see the tabs at the top. Under the Course tab, it lists the general duties, activities and then it shows how it matched up with the quiz you took.
CashCrunch Agriculture2
On the Colleges tab, it has a list of colleges that you could look into that involve this particular job.
CashCrunch Agriculture3
The video tab includes a video that shows more of what the job is, and different things about it.

You can see that you can click on any career on the list at the left, and it will take you to the same sort of page that you can then click through.

The site is very easy to navigate, which is always a plus in my opinion!

I do like seeing a lot of the different results, but I do wish that the listing for careers would be more in depth. None of my kids are interested in a manager position, but as you click through the different jobs, there are definitely some that they would be interested in.

And on another note, I didn’t realize that a funeral director would be such a popular job career on here…goodness..

All in all, I do like this program, I just wish the results were more finely tuned instead of mostly the manager type jobs that were listed. Immediately my kids just said that they weren’t interested in anything because they saw the word manager in the title.

I appreciate all the information that was gathered and listed into one place, the college lists and such. That is so helpful to have, especially if one of the jobs was interesting to you, you could just click on the list of schools and go from there…

It definitely gets you thinking!

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Books of the Bible At-a-Glance {Review}

When we are doing school, a lot of our schoolwork is intertwined with the Bible somehow. We focus a lot on the familiar books, but sometimes we use some of the ones that aren’t as familiar. These Printable Books of the Bible “Summary Sheets” by Teach Sunday School are fantastic!

Books-of-the-Bible-at-a-Glance-cover-2018
These are very easy to use! You can print them off all at once and keep them in a notebook, or just print them as you need them!

We printed them off as we needed them, although we used them for different things.
Books of the Bible At-a-Glance
One of our drawing things that we do each day is basically drawing through the Bible. One of them that we do is drawing through the book of Acts, and one of them is about the life of Jesus.

We spend a lot of time in Acts, but the kids don’t really know much about the book, or the books in general in the Bible.

These sheets go over a lot of information in just a short little page.

For this particular book, which is Acts, It tells you the very basic info like if it is Old or New Testament, who the author was, and when it was written. A lot of the times the kids always ask me who wrote a particular book and sometimes I just don’t even know… This is totally great for that.

It mentions the time period that it was covered too. That is nice if you are doing a timeline or something similar.

There is a claim to fame for the book as well as some famous stories and the most famous verses. I think if you were looking for a particular story, it would be great to have these all printed so that you could just scan for that story. The same with the verses.

At the very bottom of the page there is some important points about the book.

It is all put together so very nicely. Your eyes follow the next thing in order and aren’t just roaming across the page wondering where to land. The graphics aren’t distracting and are quite helpful.
Books of the Bible At-a-Glance
Now another thing we did was print off some sheets from books that we really hadn’t gone into much, or at all.

Nahum is such a short chapter, I know that if we went through it at all it would have just been briefly.

I enjoyed the summaries a lot for these books, the ones that we weren’t as familiar with!

When Ryan was little, one of his favorite Bible stories involved Ninevah. You know, it was Jonah, right? Anyway, this is about the other part of Ninevah…

The sheet is set up the same as the others, which is nice for familiarity of knowing where to look for the information that you are wanting. You can tell that this one has a lot more writing in the important points section than the one from Acts! And for a book that is only three chapters long, you know that it must be an important book!

Books-of-the-bible-sample
I think these are great for families! I could also see them being used in Sunday School at church or in a co-op setting with your homeschool. There is a lot of information on each one, and I love that there may be information that you don’t know on there!

If you want to see what others though about their time with these Book-By-Book Bible Printables, feel free to click the banner below!
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Forensic Faith for Kids {Review}

Y’all know how much I like to read and therefore we read a lot in school. This past month had us reading Forensic Faith for Kids by David C Cook and Case Makers Academy.
Forensic Faith cover
This book is geared towards kids that are younger than mine, but I was drawn in by a couple things when I first saw it.

First of all, the author, J. Warner Wallace is a cold-case homicide detective. I thought that was pretty cool. His cases have been featured in tv shows and news channels.

Another thing I thought was interesting was that he was an atheist until his mid-30s when he decided to follow Christ.

I think this book mixes both of things really well!

The story involves a few children, and the reader, in a couple different situations. One is to figure out where this adorable little dog came from, and the other is how to convince someone that Jesus is God.

Both of those are pretty huge! This book is written very well in regards for the audience reading it.
Forensic Faith definition
There are little sections in the book that have you do other things. Some involve reading passages in the Bible and answering questions, that sort of thing.. But actually one of my favorites is this definition section. I love reading how words came to be, what language they are from and what that word then means. I am fascinated with it all and I am glad that they put that in there!

The book is broken down into just eight chapters, and the book itself is not even 150 pages so it was definitely an easy read for us.

Even still, we did just read one chapter a day.
Forensic Faith Screen
Accompanying the book is an online tool that you can go to. The little sections in the book suggest using this website as well. As you log onto the site, it is broken down by chapter as well.

There is a video with a recap and some extra discussion on what happened in the chapter. You can also download a few things to do as you go through that specific chapter.

The buttons on the bottom have extras that you can download and print if you so choose.

The activity sheets are varied so they aren’t doing the same thing every chapter. Chapter 4 was fun, it had you write down all the characters names and then fill in the circled letters to spell something out at the bottom. There are also word searches and things like that.

There are notebook sheets that you can print out and keep in their own notebook. They are basically sheets to reinforce what they read, make sure they retain it. I like some of the questions asked as they are different from what other worksheets are like.

Lastly is a leader guide. This works in conjunction with another book from the same author, Forensic Faith: A Homicide Detective Makes the Case for a More Reasonable, Evidential Christian Faith.

I didn’t have this book as we were reading Forensic Faith for Kids, but I see now how well the two would pair together.

Anyway, the leader guide has you reading some from both books. In this chapter, it had a section on the important concepts as well as some good questions to ask. I think that for our family, I would have wanted to read both at the same time, to get the most out of them that we could!

I like the fact that the author doesn’t just say, this is why you should be a Christian and that’s that. You are sent out to find out answers for yourself and come to your own conclusion with those answers. It will more than likely not be instant, but definitely be plenty to think on for a while.

I think this book is great, even for older kids like mine! A great starting off point!

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What I read in September

My book reading slowed wayyyy down this past month! Well, in comparison.. But I am still on book 60 out of 65 for my Goodreads challenge, so I think I am still doing ok. Have you read any great books lately? Here is what I read in September!
What I read in September 1
Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward – Jesmyn Ward’s first novel since her National Book Award–winning Salvage the Bones, this singular American writer brings the archetypal road novel into rural twenty-first-century America. An intimate portrait of a family and an epic tale of hope and struggle, Sing, Unburied, Sing journeys through Mississippi’s past and present, examining the ugly truths at the heart of the American story and the power—and limitations—of family bonds.

Jojo is thirteen years old and trying to understand what it means to be a man. He doesn’t lack in fathers to study, chief among them his Black grandfather, Pop. But there are other men who complicate his understanding: his absent White father, Michael, who is being released from prison; his absent White grandfather, Big Joseph, who won’t acknowledge his existence; and the memories of his dead uncle, Given, who died as a teenager.

His mother, Leonie, is an inconsistent presence in his and his toddler sister’s lives. She is an imperfect mother in constant conflict with herself and those around her. She is Black and her children’s father is White. She wants to be a better mother but can’t put her children above her own needs, especially her drug use. Simultaneously tormented and comforted by visions of her dead brother, which only come to her when she’s high, Leonie is embattled in ways that reflect the brutal reality of her circumstances.

When the children’s father is released from prison, Leonie packs her kids and a friend into her car and drives north to the heart of Mississippi and Parchman Farm, the State Penitentiary. At Parchman, there is another thirteen-year-old boy, the ghost of a dead inmate who carries all of the ugly history of the South with him in his wandering. He too has something to teach Jojo about fathers and sons, about legacies, about violence, about love.

What I thought – There was so much goodness in this book… but the ghosts and just some other random things made it lose some of the appeal to me after a while of reading.

What I read in September 2
Girl Unknown by Karen Perry – ‘I think you might be my father . . .’

When first-year student Zoë Barry walks into Professor David Connolly’s office and tentatively says these words, he is left reeling. But it is the lives of his family – particularly his wife Caroline – which are turned upside down by the arrival of this stranger.

A daughter, a sister, a friend . . . an enemy?

Though no one knows quite who Zoë is, she is soon entangled in their lives. Yet her stories don’t ring true and Caroline is determined to learn if the girl is the unlucky innocent she claims to be or someone with a far darker agenda.

A deadly cuckoo in the nest . . .Because by letting Zoë in, David and Caroline aren’t just leaving themselves vulnerable. They’re risking the most precious thing in the world – the lives of their children . . .

What I thought: It was an easy read, but it just didn’t have the suspense and story that I thought it would. It did have me keep reading, but it just wasn’t as exciting as I had hoped.

What I read in September 3

Flying at Night by Rebecca L. Brown – An emotionally charged debut novel, told through the voices of three family members, who learn that when your world changes, so does your destination….

Stay-at-home mom Piper Whitman Hart is too close to her nine-year-old son Fred to realize that his idiosyncrasies are signs of something more. And just when his diagnosis of autism sends her life reeling, she’s dragged back into the orbit of her emotionally abusive father, Lance, after a heart attack leaves him with brain damage.

Fred is in need of a friend. Lance is in need of care. And Piper just wants to feel stable ground beneath her feet. What she never expects is that Fred and Lance–both misunderstood by the world–will start to connect in the most miraculous of ways…

What I thought: At first I thought this was the authors story, it just seemed so real. It was a great story full of well done characters. I actually enjoyed the three character narration as it wasn’t too involved…
What I read in September 4
Forever, or a Long, Long Time by Caela Carter – An achingly beautiful story in the vein of Rebecca Stead and R. J. Palacio about two foster children who want desperately to believe that they’ve found their forever home.

Flora and her brother, Julian, don’t believe they were born. They’ve lived in so many foster homes, they can’t remember where they came from. And even now that they’ve been adopted, Flora still struggles to believe in forever. So along with their new mother, Flora and Julian begin a journey to go back and discover their past—for only then can they really begin to build their future.

What I thought: So, this was a middle grade book. And it was just everything. I am so very glad that I read it and wow. I am still thinking about it. It’s hard to know that things like this are happening to so many children every day. Foster care and adoption is all so very hard, but so very worth it. Gah, everyone should read this book…

That’s all I read for this month! Let me know of your favorites and I will put them on my list!!

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Yearbook portraits..

Tomorrow I am doing our yearbook portraits for our homeschool group.

yearbook portraits

The crazy thing is that I will be using lights for the first time. I have never had a studio or anything to require them. I mean, hello beautiful light in Arizona 360 days out of the year… 😉

I am so thankful that my friend is letting me use her studio though, especially with the crazy weather we are having. I mean, the hurricane just left and who knows what’s coming!

She was very nice to set everything up for me so perfectly too. All I had to do was just come in and pick out a backdrop that she had and go from there! I picked white as that seemed completely different than the past years yearbook portraits.

Of course I will still be doing some outdoor shots, because how can you not? I think next year I will schedule them more into October so that I can get more fall color. Of course I also have to come up with a location for that. That’s the tricky thing. At least I have almost a year to think of something.

Looking forward to doing these portraits every year and I think this year will just be a fun change…

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Fitting Words Classical Rhetoric {Review}

Do you use a rhetoric curriculum? We have used a couple in the past because I think it is important and really not talked about much! We have been using Fitting Words Classical Rhetoric (complete program) from Roman Roads Media recently and it has been so very good!
Fitting Words package
This is such a complete set! Honestly, I was a little overwhelmed when I first got it. Included is the main text book, a workbook, answer key, exam packet, and a set of DVDs.

The text book is definitely a quality book. It is a hardcover book and it is the thick kind, like a good school text book is.

Since I was a little overwhelmed with how it all would work together, I immediately just opened up the text book and started reading the Introduction as well as the section on How to use the book. They are both extremely helpful, and I suggest it to anyone who gets this set!

I was also intrigued by the other section in the preface that was a letter explaining more about rhetoric and putting it all in a nice little package. This too was a good read! I never really thought much about rhetoric, and this put it in easy terms for me to understand.

Being used to seeing textbooks have all sorts of pictures or cartoons, I was surprised that this one didn’t. Until I started reading more and understanding what sort of curriculum this was! This is very thorough and serious, but not stuffy or boring…if that makes sense. It is so full of information that you don’t miss any of the silliness that you find in other text books.

There are little drawings or sketches throughout the book. There are three that help you see different sections that occur frequently so it is easier to find them, etc. Then there are some of famous orators. They really are great little drawings!

The lessons are broken down to where you can complete the course in one year, but they also show how you could take it slower and cover it all in two years. We started out doing the one year, but it seemed a little fast for us, so I think from here on out we will be just going at a speed that might be in between the two? We will see. Our school year only has seven weeks left and we tend to have a lighter school load towards the end, so we might be able to stay on track for the one year.

Fitting Words video
One thing that I was surprised to like so much was the videos. We normally aren’t huge on the dvd learning, but these were great! In this video example for Lesson 4, they were reading from the text. It was meant to have two people talking so it was nice actually having that. What was the best was not having to read it myself out loud! ha!

The videos are such great quality too, which not a lot of videos are. They are very crisp visually and the speaking is very easy to hear and understand.
Fitting Words Video 2After the lesson is read, it moves on into the application part of the lesson. This goes over things that the lesson may have covered, or new things that are learned. I am thankful to for this because we can learn how to correctly pronounce each word without having to look them up in the dictionary. So we get a little lazy sometimes…..

The videos aren’t very long, in fact, the actual lessons aren’t very long really. They are just very thorough, so the complete lesson has taken us a while each time.
Fitting Words workbook
I may be picky, but one thing I absolutely love is when a company makes the workbook spiral bound. It’s so hard to try and hold open a book and write in it at the same time.

Some of the questions are review questions from the lesson, some ask how you feel about something, they are pretty much varied in the style of question asked so it doesn’t get get stagnant.

The answer key is set up to match with the workbook, which I also love, as it is easy to find where you are to start grading. The answers are actually in a handwriting font too, which makes it even easier!

There is also a three-hole punched exam packet. This saves printing!

I hadn’t heard of this company, Roman Roads Media, before we tried out Fitting Words Classical Rhetoric but I am sold! They thought of so many things to make it a very user-friendly curriculum. Everything is great quality as well. I am very impressed.

Christianity is also a large part of the curriculum, which is very rare for a rhetoric subject I have noticed from my experience with other studies that we have tried. I like how they weave it throughout the whole of the curriculum. There are also famous speeches by many different people throughout history. It is just a very complete set.

If you want to see what others thought of Fitting Words Classical Rhetoric (complete program) , feel free to click the banner below! You will also be able to see reviews on some of their other offerings, which are intriguing to me! Picta Dicta Natural World and Picta Dicta Vocabulary Builder. They both teach you Latin in a very easy to understand way! If you just click on these links to learn more, I think you will be fascinated by both of these as well!
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Hurricane Florence

So… Gotta love hurricane season in North Caroline. This time it is Hurricane Florence. hurricane

It looks like it is coming straight for us, but I know that could change at any time.

I haven’t been in a really bad hurricane, just a few small ones.

I am hoping that somehow it will just last minute turn away and go back into the ocean, but it doesn’t seem like it will.

All of the water and bread and eggs are gone in the stores. Of course. First thing to go.

We have a little generator that will at least power a few things, but definitely not the air conditioner. Thankfully the weather won’t be too awfully hot, but still.

Doesn’t look like too busy of a hurricane season besides this one, which is nice. I know there is still a month and a half left of the season.

Welp, I guess all we can do is just watch and wait!

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GrammarPlanet {Review}

Do you know your grammar? I thought I did. And then we started using GrammarPlanet. Um, we definitely needed this!
GrammarPlanet
You can make an account as the teacher/parent and then make accounts for your children or students. Those accounts are different and do different things, but if you wanted to take the course as well, you could always make yourself a student.

When we first started the course, the first thing mentioned was nouns. Everyone knows what nouns are! Right? This had us second guessing ourselves right from the beginning and we couldn’t figure out why!

Since we kind of jumped in without reading the directions (ahem) we figured we would give it a go. It made much more sense after that! Figures, right?
GrammarPlanet Video
Once you are in the program you have a pretty empty screen. There is a video in the middle and two little buttons on the bottom of the screen.

The button on the left is where you can see the notes for that particular lesson. These are extremely helpful! You can print them off to refer to them, which I highly suggest! We have had a color go out on ours and so of course our printer doesn’t print without it, so I will have to go through and print them when we get ink again. For now, we just keep them open on another tab to refer to.
GrammarPlanet Video 2
As you start the video, you can hover over it and see what is going to be talked about. You can jump around and repeat things that you want. The speaker goes over everything on the sheet of notes and expands on anything that might be questionable.
GrammarPlanet Video 3As you watch the video, you come to little quiz sections. They are pretty much just questions that refer back to what was just talked about. You can easily answer them by paying attention to the video, or even looking at the notes.
Grammar Planet quiz
You can see in the example that the questions on the video quiz is pretty easy. It tells you right away if you are correct or not.
GrammarPlanet Lesson
After you look at both the notes and the video, you can move onto the interactive lesson. You label each word that applies to what you have learned so far. Some words are left blank because you haven’t learned that yet.

It is mentioned numerous times that you should label the words in a specific order. That is definitely helpful, although it takes a lot to make that a habit if you aren’t used to doing that!

You can see in this example that we missed one. I wanted to show you what that looks like. Sometimes at the bottom it will say that a particular word isn’t marked because you haven’t learned it yet, or sometimes it won’t say anything. You can see the correction at the top of the word that was missed though, it tells you what is the correct way to label that particular word.
GrammarPlanet Lesson 2
Here is a sentence that was all correct. It typically says ‘good job’ or something similar at the bottom. When you miss one, it says ‘oh, so close’ or something similar.

As you work through the lesson it builds on different sentences, sometimes they are longer or more difficult. It keeps track of how many sentences you miss.
GrammarPlanet Locked
We just went through this lesson quickly for the sake of this review. You can see at the top that it locked the students account and it suggests to the student to ask the teacher what to improve on.

You can then log into your own account and open the lesson back up again for them to work on again.

GrammarPlanet full lesson
This is an example of a completed lesson with tests and everything. It goes through enough practice lessons to make sure that the student really understands. On this particular lesson the student only missed one on a couple of the tests listed. But they got enough correct I think that it put it on through.

It is suggested to not rush through this even if you already know grammar. I highly agree with this. It’s just different and takes a bit of time to do everything in the order that they are wanting!

A few days a week and 10-15 minutes a day is perfect! That way, if your child is a little overwhelmed, they won’t be if they just do the time suggested.

I like the way that the information builds on each lesson. I can see us working on this for a long time, taking it slow. It’s interesting how much of a refresher it was for us! We hadn’t really worked on grammar for quite a few years and it’s nice that I will be able to have this for them to use.

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