Sound, and Fluid Dynamics {Review}

We have had many years of science over the last eight or so years of homeschooling three children. We have done many different forms of curriculum as well, as we love changing things up a bit! I was definitely intrigued by a new online science, Sound, and Fluid Dynamics from CrossWired Science.
Sound, and Fluid Dynamics 1
I can honestly say that I haven’t seen anything like this in all the different sciences we have tried!

After logging in for the first time to check it out, I was a little overwhelmed at first. But once I looked around a bit more, it all made sense on how it worked. There are tips on each page to help you too, just in case.

One thing that was added recently was a section with different calendars. After a few years of doing unit studies a lot when they were younger, we tend to like more of a scheduled school day. It also works with their college schedule.
Sound, and Fluid Dynamics Calendar 1
This is the standard calendar. It is great if you have different age groups working together. It is also the same one that is used for the lower levels. There is another one that is meant for the older kids that is a one month version. It cuts out certain things but it all kind of evens out. They even include 4, 5, and 6 week blank calendars that you can customize to fit your own schedule.

I admit, our schedule was kind of wonky because the kids were coming to the end of their college semester, but it really was a nice break to log in to this program! Not that it was an easy thing per se, but that it was informative while going about it in an almost entertaining way.

Since my kids are older, we do a lot of book science lately. You know the kind….. But with Sound, and Fluid Dynamics we learned so much already in the short time we have been using them!
Sound, and Fluid Dynamics coursesThe two courses are Sound, and Fluid Dynamics. They are just the first two of many more to come. In choosing what to start first, I chose Sound, because honestly, I wasn’t sure what Fluid Dynamics was just from the title..

I have never learned so much about the ear and hearing before. Even after a very lengthy Biology course that we did last year!

As you click on the image, it will take you to everything that you will need for your course! Such a wonderful thing to have it all in one place, and easy to understand what each thing is! I appreciate user friendly-ness.

They include experiments that are unlike most science experiments. There are so many that I would love to do that we haven’t yet. Using flour clay to make the mini bones of the ear. How fascinating is that!?! I love it.

Another is something as simple as trying to record 25 different bird calls. Sure, most people don’t have 25 different birds around their house, but you could go to a zoo, to a different part of your state, or anything! We have one around here that we have been hearing lately, we aren’t sure what it is though yet!
Sound, and Fluid Dynamics video
There are plenty of videos on the site. They are very short, most just a few minutes long. The information moves very quick, so I highly suggest making sure there are no distractions while it plays! There is so much information included that you don’t want to miss it!

Each video is a mix of people talking, photographs, graphics, etc. Everything moves fast, like I mentioned, but it definitely kept our interest.

After each video is a little quiz. It will be automatically graded at the end! You can view the quiz again after if you’d like, or just keep going to the next section. There are also printable worksheets that are great!

If you look on the calendar above, you can see all of the different things to do for each topic. They supply everything off of the one page. Of course you can click ahead if you’d like. But they even have devotionals, and the digging deeper sections are definitely fascinating.

You can tell that this took them a lot of man hours to put together. The site has undergone quite a bit of changes just since we first logged on, as they are constantly adding more to it! They hope to have enough on their site for years of science!

By the way, Fluid Dynamics is the flow of something. 😉 But it includes much more of what you are probably thinking. One of the experiments with this one is dissecting a fish or shark, we’ve got that one done already! hehe..

There is a section on their website called Why We Do What We Do, and I highly suggest that you read it. I love everything that they say. There is a section about fieldtrips and they mention how they think it is so important for kids to just get outside and experience nature, and life, and just see everything that God has blessed us with. That is huge with me, I do think that kids need to get outside more!

If you would like to read how others used Sound, and Fluid Dynamics from CrossWired Science, feel free to click the banner below. There have been kids of all ages using this and I am sure that there is someone that has kids that are your kids ages!
Sound, and Fluid Dynamics




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Transcripts Made Easy: The Homeschooler’s Guide to High-School Paperwork {Review}

A few years ago when we first started homeschooling high school, it was a little overwhelming! If you have been in that position then you know! I am always happy to try things that make it a little easier! Transcripts Made Easy: The Homeschooler’s Guide to High-School Paperwork from Everyday Education has been such a good resource!
Transcripts made easySince we have one child that has already graduated, and the other two are in 11th grade, I wasn’t sure how much information this would have for me that I didn’t know.

Goodness, I really was naive in that! This book is just totally full of plenty of information for so many different people!

There are six different parts in the book.

  • Part 1: Meet the Transcript – Even if you know what a transcript is and what it is for, this is still a very useful section. I learned a lot just in this part! It mentions who is going to see the transcript and what information should be included on it. It also goes into where you should start with what grade your kids are in. This is nice because even if your child is a senior, there is still time to work through it, and she mentions how it is done.
  • Part 2: Plan With the End in Mind – This was one of the parts that I was very interested in before I even got this book! The what to study section was a big one for us. With Ryan it was just kind of grasping at straws and hoping it worked. We kind of went with a generic public school type schedule. With Kyle and Lauren, we were a little bit more organized, but it is still just a little all over the place. It goes over what to study in high school and that was good to read that we did ok with our choices! My kids do community college while they are in high school, so they don’t need the typical college sections, but I did like the College Alternatives section! The jobs that they want to do don’t necessarily need a college degree, but we agreed that if they at least got their Associates, it would be a step in the right direction.
  • Part 3: Keep Simple Records – We are reallllly bad at keeping records. We finally started a couple years ago, but I wonder if it is enough! This section at least got me some tips and made it not so overwhelming. Although I never thought to keep sample items, so that is something that we should start doing! There was a section on naming classes, and I admit, I just called them what they were: English, History, Math, etc. But really, a lot of our past school work was using unit studies, so it was all over the place. This was a great section for us!
  • Part 4: Grades, Credit, and the GPA – We are pretty set on grades. This has fantastic information for the people that are just starting with high school, or just new to grading in general. The different curricula that we use have great rubrics on how to grade certain things and it has worked out for us. But it also has sections for unschoolers, because grading just isn’t really a thing for them. AP classes, Honors Classes, and dual credit are also on there. My kids get actual credits from their college classes, so I don’t have to do that, although the college does want those classes listed on their transcripts as well as their regular coursework that we do at home.
  • Part 5: Create the Transcript – The author was in a similar situation as we were. Our kids are using the community college path starting during high school years. Her oldest and my oldest both didn’t need much of a transcript when they first started, but our younger ones did. I use a program right now that keeps track of grades and prints out a transcript for me, which has been good enough so far, but this is still a helpful section in case I do need to make one that looks more official. There is also a section on creating a diploma. Again, I send away for these, so that is one thing that I don’t have to worry about. But helpful for the person that wants to do it themselves!
  • Part 6: References, Resources, and Reproducibles – This section is what I typically call ‘the back of the book’. 🙂 It includes a glossary, resources that will help you that includes websites and books, and then a reproducible section. This has logs and and other forms that you would use to help organize your homeschool.

There really is so much more throughout this book. One slogan that they use is Transcripts Made Easy takes the work out of paperwork! It is so true! And this book is totally something that every homeschool needs. I wish I had it ohhh at least five or six years ago. It really isn’t overwhelming and it is very easy to read. The author does a great job at explaining everything to where it all just seems so simple.

I only mentioned how it worked for my family, but if you want to read how it worked for other families, feel free to click the image below! I have a feeling that Transcripts Made Easy: The Homeschooler’s Guide to High-School Paperwork will be on your next list of things to get!
Transcripts Made Easy: The Homeschooler’s Guide to High-School Paperwork

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Pollen Apocalypse


Have you guys had the crazy pollen where you live this year? It seems like it is getting worse and worse every year!

This was a picture that has been everywhere lately, showing the pollen here in Durham. It is crazy that you can go into a store for an hour and come back out to a yellow car.

Kyle gets allergies really bad and I am not looking forward to how bad it is going to be for him this year. Nobody else in our family really gets it bad. I sneeze a few times or whatever, but that’s it.

How does it look where you live? Is it like the pollen apocalypse that it is here?

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What I read in March

Sooo… Do you want to know what I read in March?
You will be sorely disappointed.. As I am. I thought for sure that there was more, but I guess not. I did start one book that is quite long and involved and I just haven’t had as much time as normal to read. So alas, here is what I read in March.

What I read in March
The Tudor Tutor by Barb Alexander – From the bloody Wars of the Roses to Queen Elizabeth I’s iconic rule, the Tudor Dynasty was a period of sex, scandal, and intrigue. Monarchs such as Henry VIII and Queen Elizabeth I have become a part of modern pop culture, resulting in endless parodies, satires, rumors, and urban legends that grace our television screens. But as with all urban legends and parodies, facts surrounding the lives of these rulers are greatly exaggerated. In this entertaining guide, Barb Alexander serves to debunk those rumors and educate you about the dynasty.

History doesn’t have to be dry, boring, and difficult to read. As an educator, Barb knows exactly how to engage an audience. This pocket-sized guide is not only informative, but also filled with cheek, snark, and wit. With 50 beautiful illustrations that depict Tudor Monarchs and key players during their rule, this book is guaranteed to garner a chuckle or two. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the lesson. Before long, you’ll be sharing Tudor history facts that will be sure to impress your less-informed peers.

What I thought: Well, it was a book that was a nice change from some of the stuffier school books that we have read. It was a fun book about a topic that might not be a favorite for some people. I loved the illustrations throughout the book though for sure!

So, that concludes what I read in March. Disappointing, eh? Yes, I thought so…

Hopefully next month will have more books read, as I am usually at least four books ahead on my goodreads goal and now I am only just on track!!

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Blog updating..

Blog updating!
BlogThroughout the last few months we have noticed that my blog needs to be updated.

Eventually it will have a new look, which is exciting!

But blog posts may disappear and reappear, or the blog might be down for a period of time.

I just wanted to let you know what was going to happen ahead of time, just in case!

I am trying to remember how long I have had this one, and I think it has been a good while!

Thankful for my brother who keeps me on my toes with letting me know about things that need to happen with my blog! 🙂

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Drive Thru History® “Acts to Revelation” {Review}

I have been a fan of Drive Thru History® since I was introduced to it not that long ago. I had heard so many of my friends talking about it, so I was glad to experience it for myself! Their newest release is Drive Thru History® “Acts to Revelation” and it is a great addition!
Acts to Revelation
I wasn’t sure exactly how these DVDs would work their way through Acts to Revelation. The whole family was excited to find out!

I had previously reviewed Drive Thru History® – “The Gospels” which was the first experience I had with the company. You can read that review here. So you can see why I was so excited that there was a new series!

Acts to Revelation 2
The packaging on their products is always phenomenal. So very well done, great quality.

There are three DVDs in the set. They fit within the little ‘book’ so well, it makes it great for taking in your purse or something, without fear of them falling out.

Also included is a little study guide, or basically I call it an episode review. This is not removable, which is how I prefer it anyway!

Each episode has a coordinating section in the guide. The first page of each section has a Bible verse with a picture behind it. There is mention on where or what that picture is. The next page is just a very quick summary of that episode as well as a few more images.
Acts to Revelation 2The third page has some discussion questions, as you can see in the image above. There are only five questions. They make for some good discussion topics. They also help to just reiterate what you watched. If you aren’t sure of the answer, you can skip to the back for the answers, but really, the questions aren’t too difficult, but sometimes it is the names of people that threw us off!

The last page of each section is a little side road section. Basically an interesting tidbit of information that goes with that particular episode. As well, there are more images. So each episode section only has four pages each.

The artwork throughout the study guide is beautiful. It gives you an idea of the images included on the DVDs, but during the show, they seem to come alive. It is all quite fascinating!
Acts to Revelation 4There are also photographs included in the book. Places of significance that Dave Stotts traveled to throughout the series. These are beautiful as well.

This only covers the book and the DVDs! The episodes themselves are pretty dang awesome as well! Check out the trailer

Dave Stotts is just the perfect narrator for these. He has a good way of explaining things or covering events without making them boring. He throws some jokes in there and just generally looks like he is having a good time.

We always appreciate the different vehicles he drives, and I think other people must comment on that as well, because he always talks about them. 🙂 Still impressed that Steve McQueen the Land Rover is still going, it’s about as old as I am!

We’ve almost finished the whole set of DVDs. One of my favorite episodes, just for the fun factor, is where he went into a local restaurant. He ordered some food and they kept bringing out the food. It was interesting to see what local food he was eating. And we all had a chuckle at the table in back of him looking at all the food on his table as well…

I can’t even imagine traveling to any of the places that he went to during this series, much less even just one of them! He makes us all want to go and visit these locations.. although some of them aren’t the best to go to at the moment.

We soon found out how he tied in the whole Acts to Revelation thing. Each of the books of the Bible were shown on a map and he went to the places involved with those books. The series followed the different Apostles and told the stories of what happened in that part of the Bible.

The last episode mentions that they will be going on a road trip through the seven churches addressed in the Book of Revelation. We are excited to watch that one, and we are almost there!

I can’t believe how many of these structures are still around. So many things could have brought them down. It is fascinating..

These series do so much to make you really look deep into yourself….it’s quite a personal experience… The beginning of Christianity! Think how long ago that actually was…and all that occurred. You really do just sit awe struck during these shows and for long after.

I think these would be fantastic to watch with someone that is new to church or Christianity. It is such an easy way to see what happened and where. So many conversations could happen after watching even just one episode!

With Dave narrating about the specific occurrences in the Bible while actually being in these locations is just pretty amazing. Next best thing to being there yourself!

I highly recommend any of the Drive Thru History® items, but really, I am thinking that this Drive Thru History® “Acts to Revelation” is a definite favorite!

If you want to read what others thought about it, or how they used the little study guide book, feel free to click the banner below!

Drive Thru History® “Acts to Revelation”

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What I read in February

February is such a short month, I never know if I will read more or less than normal. But we seemed to have read quite a few books for school, so this month has many different books! I started a long book late in the month so I know my March might be kinda light on the books, but here is what I read in February. Let me know if you have any favorite books right now!
What I read in February 1
Mornings on Horseback by David McCullough – Mornings on Horseback: The Story of an Extraordinary Family, a Vanished Way of Life, and the Unique Child Who Became Theodore Roosevelt is the brilliant biography of the young Theodore Roosevelt. Hailed as a masterpiece by Newsday, it also won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Biography. Now with a new introduction by the author, Mornings on Horseback is reprinted as a Simon & Schuster Classic Edition.

Mornings on Horseback is about the world of the young Theodore Roosevelt. It is the story of a remarkable little boy, seriously handicapped by recurrent and nearly fatal attacks of asthma, and his struggle to manhood: an amazing metamorphosis seen in the context of the very uncommon household (and rarefied social world) in which he was raised.

His father is the first Theodore Roosevelt, “Greatheart,” a figure of unbounded energy, enormously attractive and selfless, a god in the eyes of his small, frail namesake. His mother, Mittie Bulloch Roosevelt, is a Southerner and celebrated beauty, but also considerably more, which the book makes clear as never before. There are sisters Anna and Corinne, brother Elliott (who becomes the father of Eleanor Roosevelt), and the lovely, tragic Alice Lee, Teddy Roosevelt’s first love. And while such disparate figures as Abraham Lincoln, Mrs. John Jacob Astor, and Senator Roscoe Conkling play a part, it is this diverse and intensely human assemblage of Roosevelts, all brought to vivid life, which gives the book its remarkable power.

The book spans seventeen years � from 1869 when little “Teedie” is ten, to 1886 when, as a hardened “real life cowboy,” he returns from the West to pick up the pieces of a shattered life and begin anew, a grown man, whole in body and spirit. The story does for Teddy Roosevelt what Sunrise at Campobello did for FDR � reveals the inner man through his battle against dreadful odds.

Like David McCullough’s The Great Bridge, also set in New York, this is at once an enthralling story, with all the elements of a great novel, and a penetrating character study. It is brilliant social history and a work of important scholarship, which does away with several old myths and breaks entirely new ground. For the first time, for example, Roosevelt’s asthma is examined closely, drawing on information gleaned from private Roosevelt family papers and in light of present-day knowledge of the disease and its psychosomatic aspects.

At heart it is a book about life intensely lived…about family love and family loyalty…about courtship and childbirth and death, fathers and sons…about winter on the Nile in the grand manner and Harvard College…about gutter politics in washrooms and the tumultuous Republican Convention of 1884…about grizzly bears, grief and courage, and “blessed” mornings on horseback at Oyster Bay or beneath the limitless skies of the Badlands. “Black care rarely sits behind a rider whose pace is fast enough,” Roosevelt once wrote. It is the key to his life and to much that is so memorable in this magnificent book.

What I thought: The book had quite a bit of back story, like the first half of the book. I think they could have left some of it out. But all in all, it was interesting reading about the Roosevelt family!
What I read in February 2
Before Columbus by Charles C. Mann – A companion book for young readers based on 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus, the groundbreaking bestseller by Charles C. Mann.

What I thought: This book had some interesting bits in it for this time period. It was a good add to our homeschool…
What I read in February 3
A Map of Days by Ransom Riggs – Having defeated the monstrous threat that nearly destroyed the peculiar world, Jacob Portman is back where his story began, in Florida. Except now Miss Peregrine, Emma, and their peculiar friends are with him, and doing their best to blend in. But carefree days of beach visits and normalling lessons are soon interrupted by a discovery—a subterranean bunker that belonged to Jacob’s grandfather, Abe.

Clues to Abe’s double-life as a peculiar operative start to emerge, secrets long hidden in plain sight. And Jacob begins to learn about the dangerous legacy he has inherited—truths that were part of him long before he walked into Miss Peregrine’s time loop.

Now, the stakes are higher than ever as Jacob and his friends are thrust into the untamed landscape of American peculiardom—a world with few ymbrynes, or rules—that none of them understand. New wonders, and dangers, await in this brilliant next chapter for Miss Peregrine’s peculiar children. Their story is again illustrated throughout by haunting vintage photographs, but with a striking addition for this all-new, multi-era American adventure—full color.

What I thought: This was a good read, it wasn’t my favorite of the series. I saw quite a few errors throughout the book as well, and that kind of threw me a bit!
What I read in February 4
Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs – The adventure that began with Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and continued in Hollow City comes to a thrilling conclusion with Library of Souls. As the story opens, sixteen-year-old Jacob discovers a powerful new ability, and soon he’s diving through history to rescue his peculiar companions from a heavily guarded fortress. Accompanying Jacob on his journey are Emma Bloom, a girl with fire at her fingertips, and Addison MacHenry, a dog with a nose for sniffing out lost children.

They’ll travel from modern-day London to the labyrinthine alleys of Devil’s Acre, the most wretched slum in all of Victorian England. It’s a place where the fate of peculiar children everywhere will be decided once and for all. Like its predecessors, Library of Souls blends thrilling fantasy with never-before-published vintage photography to create a one-of-a-kind reading experience.

What I thought: I enjoyed this one more than the second one in the series. I think it would be great for a movie with computer designs involved. Well, it would have to be that way, lol…
What I read in February 5
Why Poetry by Matthew Zapruder – In Why Poetry, award-winning poet Matthew Zapruder argues that the way we have been taught to read poetry is the very thing that prevents us from enjoying it. He takes on what it is that poetry—and poetry alone—can do. In lively, lilting prose, he shows us how that misunderstanding interferes with our direct experience of poetry and creates the sense of confusion or inadequacy that many of us feel when faced with a poem.

Zapruder explores what poems are and how we can read them so that we can, as Whitman wrote, “possess the origin of all poems” without the aid of any teacher or expert. Most important, he asks how reading poetry can help us to lead our lives with greater meaning and purpose.

Anchored in poetic analysis and steered through Zapruder’s personal experience of coming to the form, Why Poetry is engaging and conversational, even as it makes a passionate argument for the necessity of poetry in an age when information is constantly being mistaken for knowledge. While providing a simple reading method for approaching poems and illuminating concepts like associative movement, metaphor, and negative capability, Zapruder explicitly confronts the obstacles that readers face when they encounter poetry to show us that poetry can be read, and enjoyed, by anyone.

What I thought: I like that at the beginning of the book it mentions how a lot of people don’t like poetry, mostly because they don’t get it. That’s pretty much the theme throughout the book. He says that too many people are trying to get poetry and not enjoy it. It’s kind of interesting…
What I read in February 6
Fifth Born by Zelda Lockhart – When Odessa Blackburn is three years old her beloved grandmother dies, and so begins her story, set in St. Louis, Missouri, and rural Mississippi. As the fifth born of eight children, Odessa loses her innocence at first when her drunken father sexually abuses her, and then again when she alone witnesses her father taking the life of his own brother.

Fifth Born is Zelda Lockhart’s debut novel, lyrically written and powerful in its exploration of how secrets can tear apart lives and families. It is a story of love, longing, and redemption, as Odessa walks away from those whom she believes to be her kin to discover the true meaning of family.

What I thought: Wow, this book. It takes you to a lot of places. Some I wanted to just walk away from. It’s definitely worth a read, although I didn’t care much for the last part of the book…just thought it would have been different to go along with the rest of the book.
What I read in February 7
Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss – We all know the basics of punctuation. Or do we? A look at most neighborhood signage tells a different story. Through sloppy usage and low standards on the Internet, in e-mail, and now text messages, we have made proper punctuation an endangered species.

In Eats, Shoots & Leaves, former editor Truss dares to say, in her delightfully urbane, witty, and very English way, that it is time to look at our commas and semicolons and see them as the wonderful and necessary things they are. This is a book for people who love punctuation and get upset when it is mishandled. From the invention of the question mark in the time of Charlemagne to George Orwell shunning the semicolon, this lively history makes a powerful case for the preservation of a system of printing conventions that is much too subtle to be mucked about with.

What I thought: This was a pretty funny book about punctuation. It is written by someone from England, so then there is that also, and she combines the differences with American punctuation. It’s not a bad read at all!
What I read in February 8
The Autobiography of Calvin Coolidge – CONTENTS: Scenes of My Childhood Seeking an Education The Law and Politics In National Politics On Entering and Leaving the Presidency Some of the Duties of the President Why I Did Not Choose to Run

What I thought: I enjoyed reading his autobiography. It was kind of freaky though when I realized the strong connection in the looks department that him and his mother have with a friend of mine and her son. It’s odd, it truly is.. But I did like the book!
What I read in February 9
The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli – As a young Florentine envoy to the courts of France and the Italian principalities, Niccolò Machiavelli (1469–1527) was able to observe firsthand the lives of people strongly united under one powerful ruler. His fascination with that political rarity and his intense desire to see the Medici family assume a similar role in Italy provided the foundation for his “primer for princes.” In this classic guide to acquiring and maintaining political power, Machiavelli used a rational approach to advise prospective rulers, developing logical arguments and alternatives for a number of potential problems, among them governing hereditary monarchies, dealing with colonies and the treatment of conquered peoples.

Refreshing in its directness, yet often disturbing in its cold practicality, The Prince sets down a frighteningly pragmatic formula for political fortune. Starkly relevant to the political upheavals of the 20th century, this calculating prescription for power remains today, nearly 500 years after it was written, a timely and startling lesson in the practice of autocratic rule that continues to be much read and studied by students, scholars and general readers as well.

What I thought: We finished it, but it was not pleasant. We had no interest in this book whatsoever.
What I read in February 10
The Gold Eaters by Ronald Wright – Kidnapped at sea by conquistadors seeking the golden land of Peru, a young Inca boy named Waman is the everyman thrown into extraordinary circumstances. Forced to become Francisco Pizarro’s translator, he finds himself caught up in one of history’s great clashes of civilzations, the Spanish invasion of the Incan Empire of the 1530s. To survive, he must not only learn political gamesmanship but also discover who he truly is, and in what country and culture he belongs. Only then can he be reunited with the love of his life and begin the search for his shattered family, journeying through a land and a time vividly depicted here.

Based closely on real historical events, The Gold Eaters draws on Ronald Wright’s imaginative skill as a novelist and his deep knowledge of South America to bring alive an epic struggle that laid the foundations of the modern world.

What I thought: I enjoyed reading this story! There were some bits that were not right to be reading out loud to the kids, but other than that, I thought it was good!
What I read in February 11
The Field Guide to the North American Teenager by Ben Philippe – Norris Kaplan is clever, cynical, and quite possibly too smart for his own good. A black French Canadian, he knows from watching American sitcoms that those three things don’t bode well when you are moving to Austin, Texas. Plunked into a new high school and sweating a ridiculous amount from the oppressive Texas heat, Norris finds himself cataloging everyone he meets: the Cheerleaders, the Jocks, the Loners, and even the Manic Pixie Dream Girl. Making a ton of friends has never been a priority for him, and this way he can at least amuse himself until it’s time to go back to Canada, where he belongs.

Yet, against all odds, those labels soon become actual people to Norris. Be it loner Liam, who makes it his mission to befriend Norris, or Madison the beta cheerleader, who is so nice that it has to be a trap. Not to mention Aarti the Manic Pixie Dream Girl, who might, in fact, be a real love interest in the making. He even starts playing actual hockey with these Texans.

But the night of the prom, Norris screws everything up royally. As he tries to pick up the pieces, he realizes it might be time to stop hiding behind his snarky opinions and start living his life—along with the people who have found their way into his heart.

What I thought: This book was a fun quick read. I enjoyed the flow of it, and even the parts that I knew were coming anyway, because those happen in most of these books.

Ok, that’s what I read in February! Quite a bit more than I thought! I need to get busy if I want to make my goal though, I am usually much further ahead than I am!

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IXL Learning {Review}

Our family was given the opportunity to try out IXL from IXL Learning recently.. I thought we would use it because they have math all the way to twelfth grade, but we decided to do something differently!
IXL bannerI first logged in and set up each account. This part was so very easy! The account has one main account. And then each person can have their own ‘secret word’ to access their account. They also get their own little person or picture to represent their account as well.
IXL Diagnostic 1To start, I had planned to have each child do two weeks in the Diagnostic section. This shows weak areas and would give me an idea of where we needed more work. We have had such a rough go with math in high school finding just the right fit!

After that I was just going to have them start in the area that they were roughly in and just keep going.

Well, the results from the Diagnostic section were eye-opening! So, after the two weeks in the Diagnostic section, I decided to just let the program lead them on what they needed to work on!

Since they were doing Algebra and other high school math before this, it’s been a long time since they worked on some of these other questions. It was crazy to see that there were some things in 4th grade, or 7th grade, that they needed to review. But it makes sense since it has been so long!

I figured that doing all of this review would be better than continuing the high school math for a while, and I think they appreciated the ‘break’ that it gave them.

They logged in every school day for a minimum of 20 minutes. I think that is a good amount of time to get a lot done each week, especially with their college schedule.
IXL UsageWhat I love is that on the parent account, you can see when they logged in, for how long, and what they worked on. It will also list questions that were trouble spots so you can work on them with your child if you choose.
IXL DiagnosticYou can click through all of these tabs to see what your child is doing. Everything on the parent side is so very well organized and user-friendly! I am very impressed with that end of it!

As your child continues through the questions, the program adapts to the things they have mastered. It will then introduce new things that they need help with and just keep moving on through.

The kids have enjoyed it as well. They said that the questions are very easy to get what they are asking of them. That has been a sore subject in the past! They are remembering how to do things that they were doing before letters got involved….and are understanding how everything works together.

I would definitely recommend this to anyone that asks for a math program!

But for the awesome part, they also have other subjects! We just focused on math as that is the area we needed the most help in, but for high school grades you can work on Language Arts too! Pre-K to first grade is Math and Language Arts, but once you hit second grade up to eighth grade, it adds science and social studies. And something new is they added Spanish!

We have an annual membership, but monthly programs start at just $9.95!

I think that this would be a great addition to any homeschool or even if you just wanted extra help in different subjects! If you want to read what others thought of their time with IXL, feel free to click the banner below! I am sure that others had kids in different grades that used something besides just the math! Worth checking out for sure!

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Heirloom Audio For the Temple {Review}

You guys know that I am a huge fan of Heirloom Audio. I recently had the opportunity to listen to their newest production, For the Temple. say this frequently, but I think this one is one of my top two favorites. It is a tie with another one that we listened to. It really caught our attention early on, and kept it!

The main story starts out with John, a gardener, and his love Mary. They are talking about being married and everything that entails.

And as so often is the case, life happens. While Mary and John are on a boat, a storm comes and sets them off course. Jewish fighters save them and John gets involved in their cause. This requires him to be off fighting many battles and Mary doesn’t know anything about what is going on.

John is gone for a long time and ends up getting quite the reputation from the battles! And not a bad one! Word has traveled back to Mary about a warrior named John that has succeeded in battles and she jokes about this man named John that is so famous and that there is no way it is ‘her’ John… And of course, what does she soon find out? Ahhh, I love that part…

This audio story had a great story line. Definitely more than what I included here, this part I mentioned was just a favorite. It was actually quite involved and really put into perspective the story of the Temple and trying to save it.

What I liked was that there wasn’t too much violence included. Some of them are a bit too much for me, but then again, I am not a fan of fighting anyway. I know it has to be included though since that is what life was like.

The acting was extremely well done, as usual. My husband kept coming in as we were watching thinking that we were watching a movie. He kept commenting how well done it was. He hasn’t had an opportunity to hear one before! I think he is a huge fan now!
For The Temple study guideEvery now and again we get a study guide included with our audio story and we love them! Each track has it’s own section on the study guide. It will typically have three different sections.

Listening Well is basically the questions to see how much you retained of what happened. Telling back the story from the questions. Sometimes you get so involved in the story that you miss something, so you can always just listen to that one section again. We would listen to only a couple tracks a day so that was easy to do. Most of the questions were easy enough to answer, but some of the questions were tricky!
For the TempleThe next section is Thinking Further. This is my favorite section. There are more questions, but they are more involved. Some of them are asking your opinion, others are asking you to find out something, and others are asking you to draw something. I love the variety and it really helps get that extra involvement in the story, to make it more real. This was a quick activity to find out how far it was from Yodfat to the Sea of Galilee. Instead of just writing it down, they just did a quick picture.

The last section are Defining Words, which is basically just definitions. I will say that the kids knew most of the words, but there were a couple that threw them for a loop! I know that the younger crowd will most definitely want a dictionary to work through them!

The very end has some wonderful things, especially for older kids like mine! Book suggestions and Bible studies. We have not gotten through the Bible studies yet, but in looking at them, they look wonderful so I would want to take my time with them.

I don’t want to say too much about the story, but it is just so well done, you really get invested in the characters. My favorite is John, of course. He changed so much throughout the story, but yet stayed true to who he was, and his word.

You really can’t go wrong with anything from Heirloom Audio. And they aren’t just for kids either, like I said, my husband is now a huge fan! If you want to read what others thought, feel free to click the banner below!
Heirloom-Audio-Productions-For-The-Temple-ReviewsHeirloom Audio For the Temple

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What I read in January

January kind of seemed a little long but went pretty fast. I am not sure how that happened. The year is going slower than I thought for books, but thankfully we are reading a lot of school books this year that should help. Here is what I read in January!
What I read in January 1Monday’s Not Coming by Tiffany D. Jackson –

Monday Charles is missing, and only Claudia seems to notice. Claudia and Monday have always been inseparable—more sisters than friends. So when Monday doesn’t turn up for the first day of school, Claudia’s worried. When she doesn’t show for the second day, or second week, Claudia knows that something is wrong. Monday wouldn’t just leave her to endure tests and bullies alone. Not after last year’s rumors and not with her grades on the line. Now Claudia needs her best—and only—friend more than ever. But Monday’s mother refuses to give Claudia a straight answer, and Monday’s sister April is even less help.

As Claudia digs deeper into her friend’s disappearance, she discovers that no one seems to remember the last time they saw Monday. How can a teenage girl just vanish without anyone noticing that she’s gone?

What I thought: There was so much that I loved about this book, but it just kind went eh at the end. The writing throughout was great!

What I read in January 2Neverworld Wake by Marisha Pessl –

Once upon a time, back at Darrow-Harker School, Beatrice Hartley and her five best friends were the cool kids, the beautiful ones. Then the shocking death of Jim – their creative genius and Beatrice’s boyfriend – changed everything.

One year after graduation, Beatrice is returning to Wincroft – the seaside estate where they spent so many nights sharing secrets, crushes, plans to change the world – hoping she’ll get to the bottom of the dark questions gnawing at her about Jim’s death.

But as the night plays out in a haze of stilted jokes and unfathomable silence, Beatrice senses she’s never going to know what really happened.

Then a mysterious man knocks on the door. Blithely, he announces the impossible: time for them has become stuck, snagged on a splinter that can only be removed if the former friends make the harshest of decisions.

Now Beatrice has one last shot at answers… and at life.

And so begins the Neverworld Wake.

What I thought: This was an interesting book in the way it was told. Bits of it were slow but I still enjoyed reading it. I could see it embellished in a movie or something…

What I read in January 3
Puddin’ by Julie Murphy –

It is a companion novel to Dumplin’, which follows supporting characters from the first book in the months after Willowdean’s star turn in the Clover City pageant.

Millie Michalchuk has gone to fat camp every year since she was a girl. Not this year. This year she has new plans to chase her secret dream—and to kiss her crush. Callie Reyes is the pretty girl who is next in line for dance team captain and has the popular boyfriend. But when it comes to other girls, she’s more frenemy than friend. When circumstances bring the girls together over the course of a semester, they will surprise everyone (especially themselves) by realizing they might have more in common than they ever imagined.

What I thought: This was a book that goes with Dumplin’, but I haven’t read that one. I might have to look for it at the library next time. I thought this was cute. It wasn’t crazy exciting or anything, but definitely cute…

What I read in January 4

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness –

Prentisstown isn’t like other towns. Everyone can hear everyone else’s thoughts in an overwhelming, never-ending stream of Noise. Just a month away from the birthday that will make him a man, Todd and his dog, Manchee — whose thoughts Todd can hear too, whether he wants to or not — stumble upon an area of complete silence. They find that in a town where privacy is impossible, something terrible has been hidden — a secret so awful that Todd and Manchee must run for their lives.

But how do you escape when your pursuers can hear your every thought?

What I thought: I had read this a couple years ago or so and it was great to read it again. The writing was great and you can totally get a feel of how they are, even with the misspelled words and all of the ‘noisy’ pages. I heard it is eventually going to be a movie, it keeps getting pushed back, so who knows when. I would go see it to see how they play it out…

So, that’s what I read in January! February is a short month, but we should be finishing a couple extra school books, so look for those! Let me know if you have any favorites!

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