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Schoolhouse Review: Heirloom Audio Productions

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

All of my children love audio books. They listen to them every, single, day, so when we were chosen to review With Lee in Virginia by Heirloom Audio Productions my kiddos were so excited! 
Lee in Virginia Review 
What we received:

  • 2-Cd “Active Listening” audio book, 2+ hours!
  • With Lee in Virginia E-Book Study Guide
  • Printable copy of the inspirational quote discovered in a letter from Robert E. Lee to his son: “Do your duty in all things. You cannot do more, you should never wish to do less.”
  • The Official With Lee In Virginia Soundtrack MP3 download.
  • Unlimited access to the Live The Adventure Letter E-Newsletter.
  • G.A. Henty's original With Lee In Virginia E-Book with all new colorful graphics. Heirloom Audio Productions had a graphic design team redesign and illustrate the original book.
  • Promotions poster that you can download and print
If you love history and enjoy G.A. Henty books than With Lee in Virginia audio drama is a must to add to your collection. Even if you’ve already read the book. Heirloom Audio Productions did an amazing job with bringing this book to life!

With an all star cast: Sean Astin, the ever famous Kirk Cameron, Chris Anthony, Kathy Lansdowne, and we all know Jim Weiss.
With Lee in Virginia
Lee in Virginia is set during the civil war and is the story of a boy entering into manhood. Vincent is the heir to a wealthy Virginian plantation. He becomes more and more aware of the evils of slavery which leads to his questioning it and wondering where he stands.

Vincent, out of a sense of duty signs up as a cavalryman in the confederate army and fighting along side Robert E Lee. Beginning his adventure and final leg of his journey to manhood, Vincent takes the reader on several harrowing adventures. Learns many valuable lessons and discovers what his convictions are and acts on them. He is wounded twice escapes from a prison of war camp and is almost hanged.

The  48 page study guide is gorgeous. I love the front cover it’s the same as what is on the disc. The pages look aged, and I absolutely love that there are authentic looking photos.
Each track has a corresponding Study Guide page. At the top of the page the disc and track number. There are three parts:
  • Listening Well: This is a series of questions to ask your child what he/she remembered. My kids new that I’d be asking questions which was great because knowing that I was going to ask questions it kept them more focused with listening. All the answers can be found by listening to the chapter again or even by reading the chapter in the E-book that is included in this package (the Family Four-Pack)
  • Thinking Further: These questions have your children think a bit hard and sometimes looking something up that was mentioned in the story. For instance in the first track (chapter) one of the questions is: Why would a railroad insist that “people of color” sit in a separate car at the rear of the train?” then the next question is: How is this contrary to the gospel of Christ and the law of God? See Mathew 7:12; 22:37-40, James 2:8-9; Luke 10:25-37; Acts 10:28
  • Defining Words: Here are a list of words you can have the children look up in a dictionary or discuss together. We went over them orally together. I would ask the children what the words meant and usually at least one of them was able to define the word.
The Study Guide also includes some information about G.A. Henty, General E. Lee, and General Thomas “Stonewell” Jackson, a map that can be printed in color to so you can find the locations of cities and major battles, and in the back there is a mini Bible study.
With Lee in Virgina
How we used With Lee in Virginia: All my kids listened to With Lee in Virginia several times before I started the Study Guide. There was no way I was going to restrain them from listening to only one track a day.

I printed the Study Guide pages in black and white (although if it wasn’t for the ink issue I’d have preferred to print the guide in color). I did print the map in color and placed it in a sheet protector.
My helpers with using the Study Guide along with the Cd: Caleb 14, Brent 13, Ethan 12, Lance 10
Before listening to the audio drama I would go over the vocabulary words (defining words) from the Study Guide. Sometimes I’d even go over some of the questions I was going to ask. I read a few years back that by having the children go over the questions before reading a book or in our case listening to it the children are more apt to pay better attention because they will be listening for the answers to the questions.

After going over the words and some questions we’d listen to the track, pause, answer the Listening Well questions, then discuss the Thinking Further ones. We used the map to see where the battles were fought, find the location of major cities, and to trace the route of Dan and Vincent.
Most days we listened to one track (chapter) because of the time it took to answer and discuss all the questions. Sometimes we’d listen to two chapters and only complete one study page. The Study Guide is very flexible. I did always make sure to go over the vocabulary words though.
With Lee in Virginia 1
Final thoughts: We all really enjoyed listening to With Lee in Virginia. If you are studying the Civil War era (and even if you’re not) and want to add some ‘life’ to your history time, than please look into purchasing this exciting audio drama. It will truly captivate your child(ren) as if they are there. And I’m sure this audio drama will be listened to over and over as it is here at Homeschooling6. At the time of me writing this review my kiddos have listened to it over a dozen times!!!
With Lee in Virginia Audio Drama Review
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Schoolhouse Review: UnLock Math

Monday, July 27, 2015

I’m absolutely thrilled that we were selected to review UnLock Math. Their UnLock Pre-Algebra course is truly a unique math program that we are loving here at Homeschooling6!
A Homeschooling6 Review
Review helper: 13 year old Brent

We received a full year of Pre-Algebra from UnLock Math an online program. Alesia Blackwood has a gift for teaching math. Her enthusiasm with teaching math really does make it so much more enjoyable. 

The Blackwoods have truly created an easy to navigate program. Unlock Math not only teaches your child math but gives immediate grading and feedback.
Some neat features of Unlock Math:

  • Immediate feedback on lessons, quizzes, and test!
  • Grading, saves mom time (I don’t like grading papers so this is wonderful).
  • Fully explained solutions
  • One problem shown at a time so it’s not overwhelming for the child.
  • Grade book and progress report, I love this!!! I can log into the parent account and see Brent’s scores.
  • Adaptive to your student. As your child masters the concepts the problems become more difficult (this begins in the 5th unit).
Navigation is super easy. 

I love the way Alesia and Mathew have set up UnLock Math. Each lesson follows the same path: Wrap-Up, Lesson, Practice, Stay Sharp, Challenge, and Reference Notes.
Unlock Math  
Warm-Up to get your child’s brain into ‘math’ mode. There is a set of five questions to stretch those brain muscles.

Lesson: Next your child will watch an entertaining tutorial. No boring math lessons when using Unlock Math. Alesia is energetic and really knows how to liven up a subject that is usually boring. Sometimes she uses props to really get the child’s attention. We absolutely love Alesia and are so thankful to have her as Brent’s math ‘teacher’!

Practice: here your child will get a chance to practice what he learned in the video lesson. There’s between 10-12 questions. If your child needs more practice new questions will be generated and Unlock Math will record the child’s best grade.

Stay Sharp: to make sure your child doesn’t forget anything from previous lessons your child will complete 10 review questions. And as with the Practice section, if your child needs to have more practice in this area the program will generate a new set of questions and the best score will be recorded.

Challenge: your child will get 1 challenge question. The challenge question doesn’t count against the child’s score but if answered correctly he will get extra credit!

Reference Notes: your child can print the lesson if necessary.
UnLock Your Childs Potential
UnLock Math includes 16 Units and a Final Review & Test. Each unit is titled and contains the lessons, quizzes and tests.

UnLock Math grading system:
  • Warm-ups are given weight of 0%
  • Practice Problems are given the weight of 30%
  • Stay Sharp 10%
  • Challenge 5% bonus on their overall grade, but it’s not counted against them
  • Review 0% – this reviews the entire unit and has more questions which your student may take 2 days to complete.
  • Quizzes 15% (your child can take the quiz twice, the best score will be recorded)
  • Test 30% and again, your child can take the test twice with the best score being recorded.
  • Midterm Exam 5% (taken after unit 8)
  • Final Exam 10% (taken at the end of the program)
A note about the review: I find that if Brent knows that the review questions will not count against him he is more relaxed.

As your child completes each lesson a padlock icon becomes unlocked and changes from purple to blue so your child will always know where he/she left off!
UnLock Math a Homeschooling6 Review
Everyone loves a program that adapts to your child’s needs. UnLock doesn’t disappoint in this area. Unlike many other programs UnLock Math shepherds your child through the difficult problems and is reteaching your child through the process.

So instead of only giving your child easier problems to work with UnLock directs your child through them.

The parent account houses all your students if you have more than one. The Gradebook shows the assignment your child completed, their score, grading detail meaning you can see which problems were missed and which ones he did fabulous on, and the time spent completing each portion of the assignment.

I love that I can pull up Brent’s work and see exactly which math problem he missed. Also included is mom stuff like billing, contact, courses, etc.

The Student account: Brent’s account mirrors the parent account (minus the mom stuff). Brent was able go to the Gradebook and look to see what he did wrong by viewing the complete solutions below the problem he missed.
UnLock Math a Homeschooling6 Review
How we used UnLock Math: Brent was able to use this independently and I must say, he really enjoyed math ‘class’!

The program was so easy to navigate. There wasn’t a lot of clicking around to get to the lesson. The lessons where not super long either.

I had Brent use Unlock Math 3-4 times a week. He stopped using his current math program (and I don’t think he’ll be going back to it anytime soon).

Alesia made math understandable to Brent. Her fun teaching style made things stick. If he did have a difficult time with understanding a concept he would either re-watch the video, re-do the practice problems until he better understood it, and/or print out the reference notes to study the lesson. This is what we both liked about Unlock Math, there’s more than one way to review a concept if needed.

Being able to see his progress was motivating for Brent. For some reason my kids love receiving grades.

When UnLock Math claims they will melt your child’s math anxiety, they mean it!

Any cons with UnLock Math? We did experience a few glitches with Unlock Math. Brent completed a few lessons with his grade not being recorded. Thankfully it only happened a few times and Brent was okay with  just continuing on with his lessons. He will redo them before moving on to the next unit to receive a recorded grade.


UnLock Math has resolved the issues. Their customer service is top notch. UnLock responded to my issues in a timely manner and were always friendly.
UnLock Math
Final thoughts: On a scale from 1-5 Brent and I give UnLock Math a 10! It’s one of the best math programs we’ve used. Brent asked to continue only using UnLock Math, and of course I responded with a bit “Yes!”

After watching only the first lesson with Brent, I knew this math program was a winner. Alesia’s enthusiasm for math is contagious. She truly has a gift of making math a not-so-boring subject.

I must say I have not seen anything like UnLock Math on the market. The technology of using a large digital screen was a brilliant idea. The graphics help keep the child’s attention and the zeal of the teacher really makes this a unique math program.

Now if I can only talk Alesia into adding UnLock Grammar and UnLock Writing!
You can visit UnLock Math to watch a free demo and pricing.
Unlock Math Review
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Joshua is a Certified Barista!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Yesterday Joshua came home a certified Barista! 
Homeschooling6

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Sonic Fun

Friday, July 24, 2015


Sonic Fun
Yesterday was .99 hot dogs so hubby took us out for supper! We figured we’d spend about $10 on the family and enjoy a night out. Um, no, once there and out of the car in the 99 degree weather Lupe ended up buying everyone Cherry Limeade. My kids favorite!
Sonic Fun
Our $10 cheap meal ended up being a $30 meal once done buying more than hotdogs.
I caved in and ate a hot dog, bun and all. I also ordered a Diet Dr. Pepper. I haven’t had one in over 2 years!!!
High carb meal

Me enjoying my chemicals, hehe.
My Sweets too.
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Yummy, it was good.
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When I got home I took a few Bulletproof Upgraded Coconut Charcoal capsules.
Coconut Charcoal
Hopefully it absorbed all the chemicals I ate!
bbcstircoffeebear

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Illuminating Literature Arrived at Homeschooling6!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

We won’t officially start Illuminating Literature: When Worlds Collide by Sharon Watson until next week because my Mother-in-law and Sis-in-law are here along with my adorable niece and 2 cute nephews. With that said, they left for three days to visit family in El Paso so Caleb and Brent will do a few lessons this week.
Illuminating Literature
I’m really excited to start this with them. A little nervous because they really haven’t done a literature program before. The boys don’t read as much as Josh and Annette either. Definitely not reading good literature. They do listen to lots of great books but reading is a whole different ball game, yikes!

Excited: because this will be so good for them.
Nervous: because they struggle with reading.

The boys have picked up their reading this past year though. Caleb reads lots of books on the history of the military. He also likes reading Star Wars books.
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Brent enjoys some history books. He mostly reads military books especially Delta Force.
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I’m just thankful they are past reading things like The Magic Tree House Winking smile!

The first book the boys and I will be reading together using Illuminating Literature is  Pudd’nhead Wilson by Mark Twain. I purchased an extra workbook and reader for Brent and an extra reader for me. I’m going to encourage the children to interact with the book and teach them how to really read literature.

We completed Lesson 1 and half of Lesson 2.  Basically we went over what is literature, the course philosophy, and why the name When Worlds Collide. Just in case you were wondering the books in this course were chosen because of their collisions: physical, political, extraterrestrial, racial, spiritual, and philosophical. Worlds of major proportions are crashing into each other and are creating plenty of trouble for characters.

There were questions for the boys to answer like: What do I want to learn from this course? And the boys checked all that applied. One that Caleb checked was, I want to learn how to get through a course without losing my mind, haha, funny! Another one he checked was, I want to learn how to be a more discerning and savvy reader.

Tomorrow we’ll finish Lesson 2 and Lesson 3. Lots of learning about the character against himself, against another character, against nature, against God/the gods/fate, technology/biotechnology, and two more ways of looking at conflict. Then they will answer some questions about the character against self, nature, God, etc. from a book they recently read or movie they watched. This will be pretty interesting!

Some pretty exciting stuff! I’ll keep you all updated.

© by Homeschooling6

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My Sweets is so Sweet!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Sunday the 12th I woke to this!
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My Sweets woke up early and made me a cup of coffee. He served it in my favorite mug, with my favorite sugar, and the cream was in a little cup! I was surprised. My hubby has never made a cup of java in his life Coffee cup.
It was so good and he made me smile.

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Schoolhouse Review: Home School in the Woods

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Homes School in the Woods
For the past five weeks the 4 younger kids and I have traveled back in time using Home School in the Woods. We used their Project Passport World History Study: Ancient Egypt and are having a wonderful trip!

We received a download version but if you prefer they also sell this Project Passport on Cd as well.
Home School in the Woods Review
Home School in the Woods Project Passport: Ancient Egypt has 25 Stops or lessons. You can do as many or little Stops during the week. Some Stops have more activities than others.

At each Stop you and your children will learn something new about Ancient Egypt. The first two Stops you are preparing for the trip. You will prepare luggage, make your passport, create a map to take along, prepare your timeline, and  familiarize yourself with travel tips and so forth.

At other Stops you will learn about Egyptians everyday life, agriculture, trade, education, science, medicine, great builders, governing the land, religion, the first Dynasties, and so much more.

While on your journey your student will create a lap book, fill a timeline, ‘receive’ postcards, create a newspaper, make edible projects and 3-D ones too, and take audio tours.

Terms used:

  • Snapshot Moments=timeline
  • Scrapbook Sights=student notebook
  • Postcard=child will ‘receive’ a postcard
  • Audio Tour=listen to Mp3 for example one tour was: Touring Down the Nile
Ancient Egypt Project Passport World Studies Ancient Egypt
Here is what a Stop looks like:
Stop 5: Everyday Life-Part III~ in this Stop you will read about Everyday Life focusing on graves, pyramids, Valley of the Kings, mummies, funerals, and sarcophagi. This is provided so you don’t have to find books or resources yourself.

The Snapshot Moment is to color, cut, and place the First Step Pyramid is built timeline figure to the timeline.

Add to the newspaper by writing about Making Mummies, make an advertisement for Sabet The Sarcopha-Guy, and another advertisement for the Mummy-To-Be-Shop.

For the lap book your child will create a layered booklet of an Egyptian Mummy.
3-D project (not all stops have a 3-D project) you all will make a mummy, sarcophagus, and canopic jars.

And lastly is an audio tour which you can listen to at any time of course.

Some Stops have less activities for instance Stop 6 which focuses on agriculture, trade, and transportation only has the reading pages, adding the the newspaper “The Kemet Chronicle”, and make a souvenir (a reed boat). 

An optional book list is included. From the list of books I chose about 4 picture books to use and found a few audio books. I purposely chose not to use too many read aloud books. I did this to see if the program could be used as a stand alone history unit without adding a lot of other books and still have enough information for the kids. I thought there was enough details I felt if one didn’t want to add book it would be enough.

Not only is there a few pages at each Stop to be read to the children but there is also the audio tours and most of the activities have information as well. For me there was plenty of information that I felt we didn’t need to add lots, and lots of books.

With that said though, if you want to flesh it out with picture books and a few read aloud books and/or books that you would like the kids to read on their own to really dig deeper, you can do that as well.  The beauty of this program is you can add to it or just use it as is. Either way you will enjoy the hands on learning.
Home School in the Woods Egyptian Menu
How we used Project Passports in our homeschool: My goal was to complete 2 Stops a week. At that pace it will take us about 12 weeks to complete. At the time of writing this review we are wrapping up Stop 8.

2 Stops a week was perfect for us. This doesn’t mean we only worked on this twice a week though. There is a fare amount of coloring, cutting, and gluing.

On the weekend I printed everything we would need for the Stops that were to be completed that week. I three hole punched them and put it all in my 3-inch teacher binder.
Most weeks we worked on our Project Passport: Ancient Egypt 4 days a week. Some days all we did was color. While they colored I would read the information for that Stop.

Another day we would assemble the activities. What I liked and so did the kids was seeing a finished product and adding it to our binder.

I worked on Project Passport with 4 boys ages 10, 12, 13, and 14. They all enjoyed using Home School in the Woods but did think there was a lot of coloring. Many of our projects are either partially colored or not colored at all.

My daughter Annette didn’t join in with using Home School in the Woods because she is busy wrapping up her 9th grade year, she did say that she would have loved to have used the Ancient Egypt Project Passport.
Home School in the Woods Review
Final thoughts: I loved the flexibility of this program. You can use as much or as little as you like. You can add to it and go on some rabbit trails which is really easy when studying mummies, pyramids, and other Ancient Egypt stuff. For the purpose of this review I chose not to go on rabbit trails or add in extras. If I had we’d still be in Stop 5 with learning about mummies. With 4 boys using this,  yeah, mummies are super fascinating.

There is a lot of prep work for mom with printing and even afterwards with helping put the activities together but it’s fun. I helped out with some coloring, cutting, and gluing (for us it was double sided tape!) and really enjoyed sitting with my boys (after all they won’t be young forever).

With 4 boys there was much coloring which meant half colored projects but when all assembled it all still looked pretty impressive!

Project Passport: Ancient Egypt did get my guys reading about Egypt on their own. Lance even wrote his name in hieroglyphics, I thought that was pretty neat!

I do recommend a long-reach book stapler. I love mine and have had it for years. It comes in handy when making lap books because you don’t get that fold when trying to staple on the spine of the book. Another item I would highly recommend is double-sided tape the one that is narrow. Glue sticks are great and we used them too but I absolutely LOVE double sided tape!

Before you get started on  your trip you will want to make sure you have your supplies like colored paper and cardstock, glue stick, liquid glue, color pencils/crayons, clay, acrylic paint, etc. Do make sure you plan a few weeks (Stops) ahead so if there is something you don’t have you have time to purchase it.

Many item for the projects one will most likely have in a well stocked craft closet but there are a few things that you will need to purchase or can be substituted.

If you don’t mind the prep work and are looking for a hands-on Ancient Egypt history study, I encourage you to check out Home in the Woods, I’m looking at using The Old Testament with my boys next. And I’m so tempted to purchase their timeline binder. It looks amazing!!!
Home School in the Woods Review
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They Grow Up so Fast!!!!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

It’s going to be a busy week starting today! By Wednesday we’ll have 18 more people here in our little house of one bathroom Smile 
The only schooling we will be doing is Unlock Math. It’s a review item so we’ll continue on with that. Thankfully it’s an awesome math program so Brent doesn’t mind too much Winking smile
Other than us being super busy to de-clutter our house we’ve been doing well, tired, but well.

Homeschooling has been a challenge this year. It’s been good but you know how those days of doubt can creep in Confused smile? I think a lot has to do with my oldest being a senior this year. It’s scary. He’s our first child, he’s our guinea pig child Winking smileso I wonder if we did okay. I know homeschooling him was what we were suppose to do. I know it’s in the Lord hands and he has great plans for Josh but my flesh keeps butting in and trying to take over. I need to leave it with Jesus and continue to pray for Josh.

Joshua had a birthday in May.

Here is Joshua at age 16. His last day as a 16 year old.
And my baby the next day, 17 years old!
Just think, when he was born 17 years ago I didn’t even own a digital camera or a recorder. My MIL use to record or video him when he was a baby for me with one of those big and bulky camcorders. I’m so thankful for that.

I’m so grateful to the Lord that he likes me! He still hangs out with his mama!
He has a part-time job working at Starbucks Coffee cup with an amazing crew! His boss I babysit for. His Auntie works there and the little guy that I use to watch daily, his mom is a shift leader there. So it helps to let him go (shh, knowing I have all those eyes there Winking smile)
He is not a big coffee drinker but does enjoy the blended mochas. I say they have too much sugar but he’s old enough to make that call now. Passing that baton is not easy. Especially when I know what that sugar is doing to his insides. All I can do is continue to educate him Smile.
Oh, wait, I’m being a bad example Open-mouthed smile!!! Hehe, mine is an iced coffee with cream and sweetened with stevia that I carry.

This coming school year Josh will use Ace PACEs. He loves Heart of Dakota but with his schedule Ace will be a better choice for him. He’s a pretty busy guy these days.
I’m pretty sure he’ll take speech as an elective and an auto mechanics course! The rest of his schooling will be the PACEs. I thought about using Notgrass but with his textbook kind of mind I believe the PACEs will work out better. (although I really like the looks of Notgrass)

Here is Joshua at a electronics store. He found a book that he was interested in but was way too expensive.

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It is easier to build strong children Frederick Douglass quote at DailyLearners.com Thank goodness I was never sent to school...Beatrix Potter quote at DailyLearners.com


If God sends us on a stony path, He will provide us with strong shoes. --A. Maclaren

If you live right, chances are your children will too. But teach them everything. What you don't teach them someone else will-and you might not like those lessons.-The Delany Sisters



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