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We FINALLY Finished Exploring Countries and Cultures

Our journey with My Father’s World has been a joyous one with few mishaps and disappointments. We have thoroughly enjoyed all the lessons and commitment to Bible based history, geography, and language arts. After two years, we have FINALLY finished our journey through Exploring Countries and Cultures. I put this blog post together as a one stop shop for all things ECC. Check the lists below for details on how we have used this program in our homeschool.

ECC Final Review

ECC Experience Videos

ECC Haul Videos

ECC Blog Posts

I hope you enjoyed the final review and look back at our journey. We have already started our new school year and details on our curriculum are coming soon. Until then, be sure to follow our homeschool journey via @TeamKEMPacademy on Instagram. You can also catch video updates on our YouTube Channel.

Make this week grand,

Ta’Neisha K.

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Review: Bible Study Guide For All Ages

This review needs no cute introduction because all the materials we received from Bible Study Guide For All Ages speak for themselves. Today, I’ll be discussing the Beginner (3-K) first-quarter lessons, Intermediate (3rd & 4th grade) first-quarter lessons, and the Wall Maps and Timeline set.

The Beginner (3-K) set includes Beginner Student Pages and a Beginner Time Line. The student pages for each lesson include a large picture of the story, comprehension questions, and activities. There was also plenty of reading on each page for adults and not children. I think the showcased text should be written for younger children since some can read by this age. Teaching dialogue is shown in bold text on these pages too but I think that should be included in a teacher key instead. The Beginner Time Line includes 34 colorful, card stock pictures designed to show major people and events in the Bible. These were perfect for Bam Bam and Princess to visualize the bible stories and they liked walking through the timeline each school morning. This was specifically designed for non-reading children but I think all younger children can benefit from using it.

The Intermediate (3rd & 4th grade) set includes Intermediate Student Pages, Intermediate Teacher Key, Bible Book Summary Cards. The Teacher Key provides detailed instructions for each lesson. Directives for the placement of the corresponding map and timeline labels are also given. A copy of each student page is shown providing the correct answers. Review questions, additional scriptures, and teaching tips are available for each lesson as well. The student pages break down the bible stories using activities, art, and questions to help your children dig deeper. Each lesson begins with memory review exercises to go over the biblical timeline and previous lessons. The large Bible Book Summary Cards are flash cards that represent the message of each book within the Bible. A description of the pictures and comprehension questions can be found on the back of each card. Bear enjoyed the discussion and activities but preferred to use the timeline rather than the book summary cards.

The Wall Maps and Timeline set
includes three large maps and a two-piece timeline covering creation until now. Three wall maps are provided which show important places mentioned throughout the bible. The timeline and maps are printed on high-quality paper but should be laminated if you want to keep them for a while. The labels, instructions, and keys can be found inside the three-ringed Label Book. This book includes cardstock labels for every lesson in this curriculum. Though the maps and timeline work hand in hand, they don’t need to be located along one wall. Our timelines are on one wall and the maps were placed on the adjacent wall. These items take up plenty of wall space but it is so worth it.

Overall the Bible Study Guide For All Ages curriculum paired well with our current history studies. I appreciated that all age groups covered the same material and each lesson was easy to present. I think the activities within the Beginner (3-K) and Intermediate (3rd & 4th grade) lessons were geared toward a traditional classroom setting but they can be modified for your homescool. We used this twice a week throughout the late Spring and early summer. The Wall Maps and Timeline set was my FAVORITE feature of this curriculum and we will definitely continue using it throughout our next school year.

Click the image below to read more Crew reviews about Bible Study Guide For All Ages.

Bible Study Guide For All Ages {Reviews}

Make this week grand,

Ta’Neisha

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.

Celebrating Fatherhood

Fatherhood is a job that cannot be fully described because it takes on so much. Not just creating the child but strengthening, protecting, guiding, teaching biblical values, and providing as children grow is only part of the job. I’m grateful for all the faithful fathers in my life!

This time last year I posted a Happy Father’s Day message to six men and within 365 days our family has lost three of them. My father-in-love in July 2017, my grandfather shortly before Christmas, and my husband’s grandfather just last Monday. As I’m writing this, I seriously can’t believe how much we have dealt with in one year but God has comforted us through it all. Our family is grateful and blessed to have had many years with these phenomenal Christian men before they rested.

Over the years I have been so confused at how minimal emphasis is placed on Father’s Day because the Father is extremely important to every child. I know every paternal relationship is not perfect but that can all change with forgiveness. Choosing to forgive and move forward is important to create a loving, peaceful environment. Both you and your father deserve that. If your father has passed on, you can still forgive, make peace, and move forward.

Let each of us make today about the special men in our lives! Buy some cards or make some with your children for the fathers, fathers-in-law, grandfathers, great grandfathers, and uncles that make a difference. Call or Video chat with them, (DO NOT text) and spend a couple of minutes expressing gratitude. If your father is no longer here, join in with other family members to appreciate your uncle or grandfather. A balloon release is another way to remember your loved one and even younger children can participate in that. Visiting a nursing home or Senior Care facility is a great way to spread the love on Father’s Day too.

Hope your week is off to a grand start. Enjoy the day celebrating your father or the father figures in your life.

Celebrate life,

Ta’Neisha K.

Check out these videos for more on the importance of fatherhood:

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.

2018-2019 Homeschool Planner Preview

If you enjoyed last week’s post and any of it piqued your interest then you will definitely enjoy today’s post. Yes, our school year is over but that doesn’t mean that preparation for our new start in July has stopped.

I am so excited to share these new Happy Planners with you all! Initially, I was going to get another Simple Plan Homeschool Planner but because of how it tore apart on me last year, I decided to continue my journey with the disc system.

If you enjoyed last week’s post and any of it piqued your interest then you will definitely enjoy today’s sneak peeks. Check out these to flip through videos featuring the newest Teacher Happy Planners released from Me and My Big Ideas. These planners are currently available at various retailers in-store and online.

Keep checking back because in a couple of weeks I will share my personal planner spreads as well as a giveaway.

Make this week awesome,

Ta’Neisha K.