02 April 2020

On the Edge Of The Dark Sea Of Darkness by Andrew Peterson Book Review

Janner Igiby, his brother, Tink, and their disabled sister, Leeli, are gifted children as all children are, loved well by a noble mother and ex-pirate grandfather. But they will need all their gifts and all that they love to survive the evil pursuit of the venomous Fangs of Dang, who have crossed the dark sea to rule the land with malice. The Igibys hold the secret to the lost legend and jewels of good King Wingfeather of the Shining Isle of Anniera.

Full of characters rich in heart, smarts, and courage, On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness is a tale children of all ages will cherish, families can read aloud, and readers' groups are sure to enjoy discussing for its many layers of meaning. Extra features include new interior illustrations from Joe Sutphin, funny footnotes, a map of the fantastical world, inventive appendices, and fanciful line art in the tradition of the original Frank L. Baum Wizard of Oz storybooks.

My Thoughts:

This is the first book in a four books in The Wingfeather Saga. The intended age is 8-12, however older teens will very much enjoy this saga. The book has several black and white illustrations throughout the book.

This was an excellent book that reminded me of Narnia, Hobbit, and The Lord of the Rings. Except it is uniquely its own book with its own creative characters and plot. It is funny too and has a different feel as the characters aren’t as serious. Lots of creativity and did I mention humorous. Peterson’s writing style is different. This is also a Christian fantasy book with no sex, foul language, witchcraft, or wizards. There are villains that are of a bad character that are very worldly. This is also a war story and there are several battles.

The book starts off slow and at first I had a hard time putting it together. It’s setting the stage for the plot and getting you familiar with the characters. I’m glad I hung in there as it all came together and the pace picked up.

It’s about a family that’s lands of Aerwiar and the Glipwood Township in the land of Skree that been infested with the Fangs of Dang and oppress the people for many years. There are a lot of complex characters. In this story you meet kids willing to stand up and against the oppression. Janner, Tink, Leeli, and a dog named Nugget end up on an adventure after discovering a map. Are you intrigued yet.

I received a free copy of this product from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family. I am disclosing this information accordance with the FTC Regulations.

Accelerated Individualized Mastery (AIM) for Addition and Subtraction Review

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.
I’m excited to tell you about Accelerated Individualized Mastery (AIM) for Addition and Subtraction from Math-U-See. My family received a physical set and accesses to the digital components the program which gives you 12 month access.

AIM is intended for kids 8-16, this is for kids who have not mastered certain concepts with single digit addition and subtraction.  This set can be used with multiply students. This isn’t an independent curriculum and will involve a parent/teacher working one on one with a student and not teaching it in a group setting.

If you aren’t sure if your child has mastered their addition and subtraction facts they recommend you take the Before AIM Assessment. There is a short 2 minute video and a PDF to download. This is done verbally and recommended you do this in 1 to 2 minute sessions and then take a break several times. You want to see if they can answer the math equations in 3 seconds or less, without using their fingers, or needing to use tally marks and such. If they answer all the problems or score a certain percent then you will not need AIM. More information is provided on the PDF. I appreciate that this assessment lets you see if you really need to purchase it. It may not be needed for your student.
What’s inside the box? 

Inside the box I had a piece of paper that had my code to grant me access to the digital component of the program. You will need to either create an account or log into your Demme Learning account. 

After you locate your item in the Digital Packs page you will need to add the digital pack to your cart. Once you’re in the checkout section you will see an area to add your code that is on your paper. This will give out a zero balance and you are ready to complete your order. 

AIM Resource Guide-is a teacher’s guide. It gives you the information you need to teach your child the steps using a step-by-step techniques on each of the 22 Lessons. In each lesson it will inform you of additional activities and reviews and also if there are online worksheets and activities. 
 It is recommended that each lesson doesn’t exceed 15 minutes in a sitting. This isn’t a full math course and should take your student around 6 to 8 weeks to complete. Depending on your child it can be used with your current math curriculum or you can shelf your current math program while using AIM.
You don’t move forward with a lesson until they have mastered all the facts in that section. You can monitor it by coloring the Addition & Subtraction Facts Mastery Chart (found in the Digital Toolbox) by having them mark the ones they know. Another way is with the Fact Check Cards flashcards. Each flashcard has 3 stars at the bottom that they have to be able to recall the facts quickly. You will continue to revisit all the problems throughout the lessons to maintain that math fact mastery. To be more successful they recommend that you don’t jump around in the lessons as with all Math-U-See programs they build upon one another.

The guide is laid out the same for each lesson that will walk you through it step by step. 
Prepare: gives you an overview of what you will do-watch, read, study, and gather. 
Materials: A handy section so you can grab all the items needed for the lesson.
In the margins are several reminders, resources, exceptions, related facts, and material to print out in the digital resource section. They vary with each lesson. Some lessons may take several days to complete depending on mastery of the concepts.
The lessons are broken down in sessions. These steps I mention are general as they vary some. There are games to play like Build-A-Fact, Math Toss, and several other in the Digital Toolbox. You can use the Digital Manipulatives, and other resources you will have access to.
Session A: Present the Lesson Instructions 
This session involves watching the lesson video showing you how to use the blocks for that particular math fact family. (Videos can be gone over in other sessions too.)

 The main purpose is to Build, Write, and Say while working through the Session A. 
 Session B: Demonstrate Understanding
My daughter told me in the part that she is the teacher as she had to teach the skill of what she learned back to me using the blocks.

We would also use the Fast Check Cards and work on word problems. If your student struggles  in this session you have to work on a few more steps. You usually will print out some worksheets online.
Session C: Transition Math Facts to Visual Memory 
Depending on if your student can draw, write, and say the math facts will determine your lesson plan.Usually you are going over new Fast Check Cards and reviewing ones already learned.

You want them to try not to rely on the blocks as much when figuring out the problems. It's like taking off the training wheels except you are slowly taking away the blocks. You  also add in games to work on mastery. 
Session D: Assess for Mastery 

This will determine whether you go to the next lesson. You want them to know all the facts in the lesson. All 3 stars should be marked in the Fact Check Cards.

You can also use the Worksheet Generator and Online Drills afterwards to maintain the mastery after completing all 22 lessons. 
Math-U-See Integer Blocks- 29 blocks total. Each block color represents a number like 10 is the color blue or pink is 3. The Integer Blocks are heavy duty plastic and well made.
Math-U-See Coloring Pencils- The coloring pencils are pretty close to the color of the Integer Blocks. You will use these throughout the lessons. 
Math Fact Strategy Poster-13 posters 8 ½” x 11” poster flashcards on a heavy duty card stock. Full color illustrations of the concepts showing the strategies in the lessons. Each card in your bottom right side has a letter/number combo to locate it for your lesson example-P8.When you are gathering your material you will search by the letter/number combo.
Fact Check Cards-addition and subtraction flashcards on a heavy duty cardstock. The cards are perforated for you to separate easily. These are used in just about every lesson. They just have the math problem on the front side along with 3 stars that you color in once you have successfully mastered the math fact.
Digital Pack- You will have 12-month access to all the videos, worksheets, digital manipulatives, and additional resources needed to support you teaching your student to master addition and subtraction.

How Did I Use Accelerated Individualized Mastery (AIM) for Addition and Subtraction? 

When I started homeschooling my daughter math didn’t start out really good. We had many tears with math and I blamed myself and questioned my ability to homeschool. Back then I didn’t know all of my daughter’s learning disabilities either.
After 2 years of math fails Math-U-See was at our local homeschool convention and I attended one of their workshops. I was extremely encouraged and felt some hope and bought all the blocks, wood block holder, Primer and Alpha levels. We started the Primer immediately that spring and I immediately seen results.
You may be wondering why AIM if my daughter did so well with Math-U-See? Math-U-See is a mastery approach curriculum so she should be set with math. In theory yes-except my daughter (now 17) has several learning disabilities. She regresses often and I find us back at square one going over the basics math concepts(not just in math either). Currently she is working at a 6th grade level with most concepts. Right now she is in a good place and whizzed through AIM. That might not be the case in 2 weeks or a month!
After I had everything set up I had my daughter do the Before AIM Assessment verbally. She actually got 100% on both addition and subtraction. She was a bit upset that I didn’t time her answers and she insisted on doing the worksheet and write her own answers that we timed.
The videos are only a few minutes long and are concise and to the point explaining the concepts. They are a crucial part of the program.
We worked through each lesson and we actually finished everything in 5 weeks. She did more than one lesson a day. She did get hung up on her addition with the 6 facts and a few subtraction problems but I think it was more stress related with everything going on in the world with the COVID-19. 
My daughter is teaching me the 10 facts. She thought it was fun teaching mom math!
We watched the videos together and worked on each session. We did a reverse role many times and I had her teach me each session many times to build her confidence. Having her teach me makes her think about the steps involved and made it a bit more challenging for her. She loved playing the games especially the Math Toss and throwing a ball back and forth calling out random math facts. I was able to Individualize AIM for my daughter’s needs. We added more games and I let her lead to build her confidence up.
She enjoyed the lessons and I think it made her confidence surge through the roof! I’m very grateful for Math-U-See as it has been a huge blessing helping my daughter with math throughout the years. I’m so glad to see this pint size curriculum to help kids who struggle to grasp some of the basics concepts that so many of us take for granted. 

What I would love to see with AIM 

My daughter actually struggles more with multiple digits in addition and subtraction more often than single digits when she regresses. I would love to see AIM add more kits with multiple digits for addition, subtraction and multiplication and division in the future.
I know that we will need to go back again over addition and subtraction in the future I’m glad to see that you can purchase just the Digital Packet separate without the physical components.  I’m thrilled to see Math-U-See create a way to help students who are struggling with mastering addition and subtraction.
Social Media Links:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mathusee
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mathusee/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/mathusee

I am 1 of 45 reviewers from the Homeschool Review Crew using Accelerated Individualized Mastery (AIM) for Addition and Subtraction from Math-U-See. Click here or on the graphic below to see what others think.


27 March 2020

Shabbat Shalom

26 March 2020

Timeline Collection: A Collection of Historical Timeline Figures Review

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.

Home School in the Woods has been a favorite vendor throughout our years of homeschooling. When I first started homeschooling many years ago one of our curriculums that we used for many years used the Timeline Collection: A Collection of Historical Timeline Figures. My kids loved coloring and putting the timeline figures in our timeline book, it was the highlight of the day when we did this.

Now that my kids are older they still have a love of timelines and especially Timeline Collection: A Collection of Historical Timeline Figures (grades K-12). We are a family that loves history and the more we can learn about it the happier we are. Seeing history come together in a timeline really makes it more tangible when you are tying so many events/people together.

My family received the family license; however you can use them in a small co-op with some exceptions.  There is a license available for teachers and schools too. This is available as a download and a physical CD.
I received an email to download my file. The download is a zip file that you will need to extract. Instructions are provided if you need assistance on how to download and extract your files. Once you have extracted your files they will be in a PDF format.
This set includes over 1,260 black & white timeline figures plus 80 bonus figures. My family loves the details of each and every one of these realistic renditions of historical events and people. 
Notebook size is on the left & Wall size on your right
There are a couple different sizes: Wall and notebook size. The Wall size can be used to create a timeline on your wall but also other ways. The Notebook figures are smaller and more compacted in size.
There is a plethora of information in files on how to incorporate timelines into your homeschool. You see picture of wall timelines, notebook timelines, lapbooks, and even a game using the timeline figures. Included is also a lot of tips on the timeline figures and ways to fit your needs.
The timeline figures come in two styles. Both styles have an image which is drawn by Amy Pak. Just look at the details and complexity of the images!
Everything is well organized in the various files. At first it may seem overwhelming with the shear amount of timeline figures. Once you get familiar with the files you will really appreciate the layout of everything.
A timeline figure with more details
 One format has a brief description of either the history or biography of the figure, along with the name and date. 

The timeline shows you the event and date of it

The second one has the name of the person or historical event with the date underneath it.
The timeline figures are broken up in 2 Parts.
Part 1:  This section has 4 files of the History Through the Ages Timeline sets which includes Creation to Christ, Resurrection to Revolution, Napoleon to Now, America’s History, and the 80 Bonus Figures. Within each file you have an option to choose with or without text in all the sizes.
GIF Format is easy to locate a single timeline and you can easy adjust size

Part 2: This section has the same timeline figures but it has the timeline figures that can be used for coloring pages or any way you can imagine. It is in a GIF format. You can also print off just one image instead of the whole page of timeline figures. You can actually adjust the size to fit your needs by cutting and pasting it.

You can search by era

There is a lot here and you can search by era in the PDF files:
America's History (Explorers to 21st Century AD)
Bonus Figures (80)
Creation to Christ (Beginning to 1st Century AD)
Napoleon to Now (1750 AD to Modern Day)
Resurrection to Revolution (0-1799 AD)

This is a nice feature as you can see all the timeline figures available quickly

Another way is by index with it all being in Chronological order with the name and page number listed by it to help you locate where the figure is.

How Did I Use Timeline Collection: A Collection of Historical Timeline Figures?

After I extracted the files and got adjusted to locating everything. I showed my 2 teenagers the pictures of the different ways to use the timeline figures.
This was printed on a full size paper. I could have easily made it into a half page. This is available without the description and I can adjust the size with every timeline figure in the GIF format

My son created a customized timeline off a book he was reading

My son has been reading a book on Douglas MacArthur and thought it would be neat creating a timeline of the events and people surrounding him. We looked over the index to see what we could find based off of MacArthur’s life. Using the numbers we quickly located and printed off the pages he needed. Both of my kids preferred the wall size figures over the notebook size. They like that they can see more details and color it more. Unfortunately my son did his timeline twice because he used the wall size figures and it took up two pages. He wanted it more compacted and redid it using the notebook size figures. He also wanted the full size image of Douglas MacArthur. He will put both pages with the book report he is writing.
My daughter has been adding to her timeline book she has used for the last 11 years

My 17 year old daughter has Autism and was pretty stuck not going outside of her book she has used for many years. We went through her current history curriculum and compared it to the timeline figures she had and filled in the missing ones.

My daughter is going to memorize the chronological order of the events in the Bible with her timeline figures on the index cards

My daughter was also enamored with the Creation to Christ (Beginning to 1st Century AD) timeline figures and wanted all of them on index cards and put them in chronological order so she could remember the events in order. Give her a few months and she will have them all remembered after she completes her project. She is coloring her wall sized timeline figures and working slowly on them.

I highly recommend Timeline Collection: A Collection of Historical Timeline Figures for your homeschool. This is a product that can be used yearly in your homeschool. They are so versatile that they will never get boring with the many ways you can enhance your homeschool. You will definitely get your money’s worth out of this.

Home School in the Woods has a U.S. Elections Lap-Pak (grades 3-8) would be a great learning tool in your homeschool exploring the upcoming US Elections. Find out more on this wonderful blog post.

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Home School in the Woods is always very generous to the Homeschool Review Crew. 80 of us are reviewing different products. Click on the graphic below to find out more about other products reviewed. 


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