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Review: MaxScholar Reading Intervention Programs

For the past few months, Bam Bam has been mastering phonics via the Reading Intervention Programs offered by MaxScholar. This unique, multi-sensory, mobile, activity-based program was designed specifically to help students with Dyslexia, ADHD, and other reading processing problems. I decided to review this program for additional assistance in correcting our four-year-old’s speech impediment. We used this program at least four times each week and the lessons took approximately 7 to 15 minutes to complete. Let’s walk through the website and discuss how each part worked for our homeschool.

ASSESSMENTS
Assessments for each reading program offered is available when your child logs into MaxScholar for the first time. Scores indicate your child’s placement and level of difficulty within each intervention program. I helped Bam Bam take the phonics and reading tests. The phonics portion was too long for a young child and there was not an option to pause testing and come back to it. Because of the time that it took us to work through phonics, we decided to take the reading test the next day. He passed most of the reading comprehension questions because he was able to look at the picture while I read him the story and then tell me what was going on. Since my son is currently learning how to read he was not able to work through most of the reading test. I had to use the skip option for a least 70% of it. Based on the final results he was placed in Level 2 for phonics and Level 0 for reading which was accurate for him. His dashboard only provided options for phonics and reading but there are five additional programs offered.

MAXREADING
The MAXREADING section was the least used out of his two options. The directions are for the student to read the story, highlight various aspects, and answer questions. The reading program is designed with stories that have chapters unlock after you pass the comprehension test. The stories were long and included too many words for his level of a reading. Even though he could not read the text he was able to listen to the story, read by me, and answer the comprehension questions out loud. It showed that he did understand what was going on but does not know how to gather (read) the information himself.

Though this section was not a favorite for us I do think that highlighting important things, understanding the main idea, and answering comprehension questions are all great skills to learn at this age. I also believe that a picture book option should be made available for children who do not know how to read. Sight words flashcards and adding audio to shorter stories are also other options that should be looked into.

MAXPHONICS
Our favorite Reading Intervention Program was MAXPHONICS because of the layout and activities. We are currently working on reading lessons and this program lined up perfectly alongside that. Each lesson includes introducing a letter, hearing the sound, learning words that start with that letter, and writing practice. Some letter sounds work great and is accurate but others are quite confusing. For example, the /f/ sound is not at all similar to that heard in any of the words shown. If more emphasis was added it would be easier to hear in the video example. In the end, a master exam is given which includes working through each activity again. Once your child scores a 100% on each activity that letter is considered mastered.

Since Bam Bam has a speech impediment it has taken us quite some time to work through the phonics. He needs a lot of practice saying each of the letter sounds and over time he gained confidence in this area. The program will repeat each lesson until your child has mastered it which was a definite plus for me. I want to ensure that our son has a clear understanding of phonics because that is the baseline of his speech therapy. I didn’t mind him having to repeat lessons and made sure that I monitored his progress as he worked through the program. Once he mastered a letter no one was happier than his father and I because we know that they sounds did not come easily to him.

TEACHER DASHBOARD
Upon logging into the teacher account you are greeted with a welcome sign and the dashboard menu. I thought that the layout for the dashboard was convenient and easy to use. In the Reports section, your options include looking at reports for individual students or an entire class, which is good for those of us who have multiple children. A generated report includes percentages for each available activity. The length of time the app was used for each day. The Materials section provides instant downloads of articles, teaching aids, and printables for your child. The other portions of the dashboard menu were not applicable to our homeschool because I only had one student enrolled.

You also have the option to preview some lessons and activities available via your dashboard by clicking Go to My Max. In this section you are shown an example of what year students dashboard would look like. From there you are able to click through the program and see what is offered. The only con for this section is that I believe that it should highlight where your child is specifically so you can view that first. I like the chance to get an overview of the entire program and seeing what is coming up so I can plan accordingly.

EASE OF USE
This is a convenient, easy to access, and user friendly website. It is recommended that you use this with a Chrome browser which does allow the audio instructions to play automatically. We tried this on a different browser and the program worked well. This website can be used on various devices but I strongly recommend using it on a tablet or computer. Cell phone view is a bit skewed and we had to constantly rotate the phone for the best view.

The MaxScholar Reading Intervention Programs offer a variety of activities that can be catered specifically for each child in your household. Though all the features weren’t available to us, the phonics program did work well for Bam Bam and helped improve his impediment. Frequent use of the website and practicing letter sounds did build his speech confidence therefore, we will continue to use this program. With consistent use, people with other learning disabilities or struggling readers might also benefit.

Click the MAXIMUM SIZED picture below to hear what members of the Homeschool Review Crew think about all MaxScholar’s Reading Intervention Programs have to offer.

Reading Intervention Programs {MaxScholar Reviews}

Make this week grand,

Ta’Neisha K.

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Textured Finger Painting

While watching YouTube I came across a fun video by Our Realistic Homeschool Life featuring a fun, new way to finger paint. Her video featured adding texture to the paper which gives the children something different a feeling as they are creating their masterpieces. Here’s a list of the supplies you will need for this activity:

  • Glue gun
  • Glue sticks
  • Paper or styrofoam plate
  • Paint
  • Construction paper or cardstock
  • Mixing mediums (optional)

I had a my oldest son help the children create their glue stick art. Next, they were able to freely use the color palette to create the cutest pieces.

The in results where amazing because all the children, even my oldest, enjoy this project and were able to truly express themselves in a really meet away. Each of their masterpieces perfectly display their personalities and I was so happy to try this art project with them.

Be sure to check out a tutorial and a blog featuring this cool way of finger painting.

Also, don’t forget to check out the original video that inspired me as well.

Make this week artistic,

Ta’Neisha K.

Review: Classical Composition I Fable Set

For the latter part of our school year, Bear has been using a unique writing program derived from the lessons of the world’s greatest writers. Classical Composition I: Fable Set, by Memoria Press, presents traditional writing techniques, vocabulary lessons, improves handwriting, and enhances communication.

This Classical Composition curriculum was designed based on the lessons that were used in schools for nearly 1500 years and taught by great teachers and speakers like Cicero and Quintilian. This program uses the ancient Greek progymnasmata approach. This method taught students to speak with proficiency and prepared them to create literary works that appealed to vast audiences. Classical Composition I: Fable Set includes a Teacher Guide, Student Book, and Instructional DVDs. The entire course covers 20 of Aesop’s Fables.

The Teacher Guide begins with a detailed breakdown of all the instructional components. The lesson is structured to read the prevented fable aloud, repeat and learn any vocabulary words, and then narrate from memory. Next, you help your child work through several paraphrasing exercises to better understand the meaning of the fable. After that, you guide them through the plot structure by writing a summary of the story. A grade based rubric is also included that provides appropriate variables for 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th graders. Each lesson includes a screenshot of the Student Book with a myriad of examples for the vocabulary words as well as sample answers for the rewrites and paraphrases. Within the appendix, located in the very back of the book, you can find figures of writing descriptions with detailed examples for each. There is also an essay about the progymnasmata teaching style which includes a bit of the history and how it is a being applied currently in an updated way.

The Student Book begins with the aforementioned breakdown of all the instructional components. I used this portion of the workbook to explain what the curriculum was about and answer any questions Bear head prior to beginning the lessons. Each lesson begins with a written version of the fable and has separated response sections for every part of the lesson. The response sections are lined similarly to college rule paper which didn’t work well for our son. He writes neat but still rather large, even in cursive so more room was needed for some answers. The appendix, located in the back of the book, includes the previously mentioned writing descriptions with examples and the essay.

The DVD set comes with four instructional discs, each housing five lessons. The main menu gives you the chance to pick which lesson you would like to go over. After you pick, each lesson has its own menu which includes the separate sections of it. From there you are able to decipher which portion of the lesson you would like to go over. The vocabulary words shown in the student and teacher books are provided on the screen for the student. The video lessons are approximately 30 minutes each. There are mentioned moments to pause the DVD so your child has the opportunity to fill in their answers. Upon return, the answers are displayed on the screen and explained. I like the idea of having the instructional DVD however, you do miss the opportunities for discussion with your child. Talking with Bear is one of my favorite things to do as his homeschool teacher. I also found that when we did it by ourselves it did not take them for 30 minutes as presented by the videos. Each portion of the lesson is broken down well but the instructional DVD didn’t work for us. However, I do think this would be good for students who have trouble reading or prefer video lessons.

The first DVD includes a course introduction which you can view, along with a sample lesson, via Vimeo.

As usual, Memoria Press has found a unique and updated way to use classical education to teach and perfect a new skill. With Classical Composition I: Fable Set Bear was able to learn and expound upon his writing and communication skills. We used this program twice a week and each lesson was completed within twenty minutes. I saw improvement while using this program and we look forward to continuing it when our next school year starts in July.

Be sure to CLICK HERE to read other reviews by the Homeschool Review Crew members. We each took various products and used them with our children. I have enjoyed all the reviews I’ve read thus far and I’m sure you will too.

Make this week grand,

Ta’Neisha K.

End of the Year Homeschool Wrap-Up (2017-2018)

I’m so excited to share everything we have accomplished during this school year. During this year we endured the loss of two awesome grandfathers and dealt with severe sickness but God strengthened us through it all. We learned how to love each other through grief, support one another in trying new things, and cater to those that are sick and shut-in. It has been a school year like none other and I’m so glad I have my wonderful husband and The Cool Kids to share this homeschool experience with.


Here are a few things we’ve done recently:

  • Spent the weekend on the Kemah Boardwalk (vlog coming soon)
  • Participated in several local sports camps
  • Bear did a phenomenal job in swim lessons and was invited to participate on a team
  • Bam Bam was able to participate in swim lessons and had so much fun
  • Princess perfected potty training
  • I started reading books again
  • Husband’s team soared to number one in the company and has remained there
  • All The Cool Kids did exceptional well on their assessments leaving me with a 5th, Kindergartener, and Preschooler for next year
  • Bam Bam gave a speech at the holiday luncheon
  • Princess grew, and grew, and grew
  • We had art appreciation month (vlog coming soon)
  • Bear built a few robots and that has peaked his interest in robotics
  • We finished My Father’s World Exploring Countries and Cultures


To see more of what we have had going on be sure to watch this recent YouTube video.


We had a fantastic year and I am already planning for our rest month as well as the next academic year. Be sure to follow the blog for updates on our education journey and you can see everything we’ve been doing on our homeschool Instagram, @TeamKempAcademy.


Make this week awesome,
Ta’Neisha K.

My Favorite Homeschool Planner

Today’s topic needs no introduction because it is something we all have either mastered, need assistance in, or have completely failed at. Today’s topic is organization and planning as it pertains to homeschool.

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Since the beginning of our homeschool journey I have used several different planners to keep our lesson plans, projects, library notices, and activities organized. Some of them I found quite overwhelming in the beginning since I only had one child. There were also a few that I found needed a bit more, no matter how many children you are teaching. Today, I want to share my current to favorite planners for homeschool and how I use them at Team Kemp Academy.

Screenshot_20180517-134219_Samsung Internet.jpgFirst up is the A Simple Plan, Homeschool Planner which can only be purchased at Mardel in-store or online.  This you meet teacher plan is geared toward the Christian home school family. I love that includes scripture throughout, always has a unique design, and is fairly priced. This planner also includes a detailed letter explaining the features as well as several example pages to ensure that you use your planner effectively and efficiently.

 

 The Simple Plan system is also noted for having matching accessories as well as coordinating student planners each year. The varieties offered with the designs are amazing and you will never get bored because every year there is something different to choose from for your children. The only con I’ve noted is that occasionally the spring that holds the planner together does come apart. However, according to Mardel they have updated the design and that will no longer be an issue.  Also they only have one planner available for teachers so for those who like to mix and match or have a unique look that is not unlikely.  Since the planner is always so beautiful the latter has not been an issue for me in previous years.

 

To see how I have used this planner in the past, check out this YouTube video.

 

 Next up for discussion is The Happy Planner system by Me and My Big Ideas (MAMBI). This system is based on using disk to attach and remove paper from your planner as well as their variety of covers and colorful accessories. For several years they have incorporated a teacher planner system that includes various kits as well as individual large planners.  These items are available in-store and on from various retailers as well as the MAMBI website. This school year I switch to this planner because my simple home school planner did tear up because of the after mentioned spring. I was reluctant to add another happy planner to my repertoire but it worked out well. I enjoy the ability to quickly add and remove things so I can organize my planner the way I see fit.

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Though they are beautiful, the complimentary accessories might be noted as a con because it is an additional cost to the user. By the time you purchase your planner, stickers, folder packs, and protective covers you may have broken the bank.  Next, another con might be that there are too many choices within the happy planner system. You might like the cover on one, the monthly calendars on another, and the folders in another. Unless you buy all three, there is no truly cost effective way to perfectly customize your planner.  Finally, in the past it was mentioned that some teachers did not like the large size of the planners. To fix that this year MAMBI put out a classic sized teacher planner for those who prefer less space.

 

To see how I’ve used this planner for homeschool, check out my recent YouTube video.

 

So, here we are preparing for our next school year which begins in July.  I have been looking at my previous planners and going through the pros and cons of each system. Ultimately, I have decided on which one I will use next year but you’ll have to wait to find that out. Just know that it has shipped and is on the way.

 

Make this week organized,

 

-Ta’Neisha K.

Review: Apologia Anatomy & Physiology Course

Our oldest son has thoroughly enjoyed his science experience while using Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology. Apologia did an excellent job structuring the scientific components and including the word of God in this curriculum. Let’s dive right into our thoughts on these products!

  • Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology Text: This book includes over 250 pages of information for your student to discover, perform projects, and gain a clear understanding of anatomy and physiology God’s way. It is filled with a myriad of vivid illustrations and diagrams that allow the surrounding paragraphs to come alive to any student reading. Throughout the book, there are several helpful hints for the children including reminders to explain what they learn to someone else, key vocabulary words in bold print along with their definitions, a subject index, and narrative questions. The “Try This” and “Project” opportunities are scattered within the pages and each offers a deeper understanding of the lesson via crafts, experiments, and discussion. The 14 lessons cover various body systems, nutrition, health, how God designed their immune system, embryology and much more.

  • Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology MP3 Audio CD: Having the physical textbook was great but being able to listen to the text was truly grand. This audiobook is read by the author, Jeannie Fulbright. The past month has been extremely busy for us so we’ve had school in the car twice each week. It has been great to have the MP3 version playing while riding from various appointments and meetings. This format would also be beneficial to auditory learners and slow readers. Parents of students with disabilities that make reading difficult might also prefer this version. This is an MP3-CD that will only play in an MP3-compatible CD player or on a computer. Be sure to check your vehicle capabilities if you plan to travel while learning with this version.

“I think the textbook is really cool because it gives you a lot of stuff to think about with your body and opportunities to test the theories that you think of with exercises. The audio version was easy to listen to and follow along with. I prefer the textbook at home but on our busy Doctor’s appointments days it was good to have the audiobook as well.” Bear, age 10

  • Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology Notebooking Journal: Seeing my son use this journal frequently was my favorite part of using this curriculum. He took notes while reading and conducting experiments, drew pictures, learned provided vocabulary words, completed puzzles, and practiced writing via scripture copy work. The journal includes a complete syllabus for your child with each assignment, project, and reading scheduled. There are also reminders to narrate the text, meaning your student must explain what they have read to someone. The narration is perfect practice for comprehension and public speaking, of course. Bear writes large, even in cursive so I allowed him to narrate the answers to the review questions too. The notebook also includes an answer key and mini flap books that will be created while using this curriculum.

  • Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology Junior Notebooking Journal: The junior version of the original notebook is geared towards younger students still new to writing or children with limited writing skills no matter their age. This was also designed for students with learning disabilities. The beginning of each session has two coloring sheets for the students to complete while listening to the audiobook. The children are still given activities to complete but much fewer crosswords and overall writing time. The miniature books are still included but the aforementioned review questions are not.

“I think the notebook comes in handy for you to write what you learned in the lesson and what you think including whether you agree, disagree, like, or don’t like it. So far drawing the pictures is my favorite part and I try my best to make it look realistic.” Bear, age 10

Overall, Apologia has definitely won me over with this elementary science course. Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology takes your child on a journey from the history of medicine, through cells, DNA, and on into the body’s systems. Recently Bear was hospitalized and because of this course, he understood his diagnosis and treatment plan. I’ve found that the textbook (or audiobook) provides the details while the notebook activities give children the chance to illustrate their understanding. The whole curriculum uses the immersion approach to explain how and why our bodies work with language and activities appropriate for elementary aged children. The consistent acknowledgement to God for designing our bodies and creating everything was also a daily reminder of how magnificent he is. Finally, I was happy to see a science curriculum where the items needed for experiments are inexpensive, can be easily found in stores, or are most likely already in your home.

“I think this entire system works because the book gives great detail but the notebook allows you to break down what you’ve learned. Plus, you can always come back to your notebook and look at everything you’ve studied.” Bear, age 10

Be sure to CLICK THIS HYPERLINK TO READ REVIEWS about this curriculum by the Homeschool Review Crew

Make this week awesome,

Ta’Neisha K.

Review: Princess Cut & Purity

Discussing sexual purity with your children at any age might seem a sensitive topic to some. But, as believers, we are encouraged to start this process very early on so that when our children mature into young adulthood they have a clear understanding of what the word says and how to apply the principals. That’s why I was truly excited to watch and review the Princess Cut movie by Watchman pictures.

Princess Cut is a movie about a young Christian woman dealing with the process of being pursued and dating. So many things were touched on during this film. Since I don’t want to give away the plot here are a few details on the topics covered.

  • HOME SWEET HOME

The first thing that I noticed about this movie was that the young lady was still living at home. In this day and age, people are so set on pushing their children out of the house when they turn 18, upon the revelation that they are grown adults. I was elated to see that she was still at home and her family was still a major part of her life with her father being the forefront. I was also grateful that he wanted to meet the men that were interested in her and as a result of those conversations he was able to tell her who was good and bad. You are never too grown for parental advice and while your parents are alive you should appreciate their presence and wisdom in your life.

  • FAMILY FUELED FAITH

Another thing that was fascinating to me was that the whole family supported her desire to live for God and save herself for marriage. Her youngest brother even puts out a newspaper add about her ability to make delicious mac and cheese. This shows that what the parents are speaking and living is being soaked in by him. Her father’s love was portrayed when he worked hard to provide but was still present in their lives. A mother’s love and comfort were showcased by being there as a shoulder to cry on and a listening ear when she needed to vent.

  • FRIENDS OR FRIENEMIES

This film touches on parts of friendships that can be quite sensitive. Sometimes your friends appear to have your best interests at heart but their secret desire is just to keep you on the same level. Your friends should honor your decisions, especially as a Christian, and they should also act accordingly. Insecure friends will also try to use you to act out their desires.

  • LOVELY LOVE STORY

I thought it was so fitting that the love interest was not initially desired. I honestly think this seems to be the case for a lot of successful relationships, mine in particular. The chase makes the love story all much more intriguing, funny, and memorable in movies as well as a real life. Plus we know what we “allegedly want” but God knows what we actually need.

  • DATE TO MARRY

I enjoyed the repeated standard for abstinence (celibacy was also touched on) and I was proud of her for holding true to her convictions. We also teach our children not to kiss prior to marriage because it can lead to so much more. Finally, I was happy about the importance of dating with the intention to marry. I believe that if more Christians held to this standard during their pursuit of others then we would have more successful marriages. It is truly sad that in this day and age the Christian divorce rate is the exact same, and higher occasionally than that of the United States.

Overall Princess Cut by Watchman Pictures was fun to watch and should spark a conversation about purity with older children. This can also be a great opportunity to discuss celibacy amongst family and friends as well as young adults. I’ve already watched it twice and have several friends interested in purchasing it too.

CLICK HERE to read additional reviews by the Homeschool Review Crew.

Currently, this film is available in DVD and Digital formats. You can also purchase the soundtrack for this film. Check out the trailer for this film via this YouTube video.

Make this week grand,

Ta’Neisha K.