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God's Mail {Review}

I was given the opportunity through the Homeschool Review Crew to review a book that is meant to encourage and is full of scripture and poems of comfort. If you follow my blog or social media you will know my family is going through a pretty hard time right now, so God's Mail Volume 3 came at a good time.

What I received was a physical softcover copy of God's Mail Volume 3 from God's Mail

Rod Hardin is the author of God's Mail: Volume 3 ~ he has been writing poems since 1983. His writings give encouragement, comfort, instruction, and correction (for example~ angels are not babies or loved ones who have passed on)

Ron is a believer who uses his gift of writing to help others walk through the difficult time which he himself has experienced.

Before coming to Christ Ron was a high school drop out, gang member, and abused alcohol and drugs. He was also in and out of jail!

At age 28 he started his own ministry and at about that time is when he started writing poems for the Lord. 

I love how the book is set up with Scripture on the left and the poem on the right.

Scripture is taken from different translations:
KJV = King James Version
NKJV = New King James Version
MSG = The Message Bible
TLB = Living Bible
GW = God's Word Translation
AMP = Amplified Bible
GNT = The Good News Bible

You could use God's Mail several ways: read for fifteen minutes a day and go through several of the pages (I mean page spreads, counting the scripture and poem as one). Or you can read a page a day, again meaning both pages in a sitting.

What I did was before bed I'd read God's Mail both the Scriptures and the poem. It was a great way to end the day because after a busy day of homeschooling, tending the home, and working part-time, it was a good thing to read God's Mail.

If you are a doodler, there is enough space on the pages to add cross-references, draw little squiggles, hearts, and flowers, and even write your own prayer or poem along the edges. I think gel pens would be nice for this.

Visit God's Mail website to see God's Mail Volume 1 and Volume 2 as well. 

From the Introduction of the book:
The book covers a lot of ground, dealing with common and sensitive issues from many different angles. At times it is pastoral, prophetic, evangelistic, philosophical, but most of all spiritually nourishing and just plain thought-provoking.

To read more reviews about God's Mail please click on the graphic below!

God's Mail: Volume 3 {God's Mail Reviews}

Crew Disclaimer

Elephant Learning Math Academy {Review}

One subject with my kiddos that I really want them to master is math.   I am not a mathy person myself so I'm terrified to teach it. My husband is great at math but has been really busy putting in extra hours ar work.

When Elephant Learning Math Academy came up as one of the Homeschool Review Crew vendors I thought I'd give it a try. We received a 12-month subscription to Elephant Learning Math Academy. This program is geared toward ages 2-16. My kiddo that is using it is 15.

Elephant Learning Math covers counting through Algebra but not like high school Algebra 1 & 2. It is more suited for the older child who struggles with math and needs some help.

The program claims to raise your child's math skills by one year in three months using the program. The child needs to use the program three times a week at least 10 minutes a day (30 minutes per week).

The whole sign up process was easy. Once your child's account is set up they can pick an avatar (and they are so adorable!!!).

The assessment at the beginning of the program is great because the student really can't tell that they are being "tested" and the program just eases into the program. It really does streamline into the lessons.

You can also print worksheets for your child.

Here is a screenshot showing what has been completed and if the student passed or failed.

Elephant Learning (my kiddos and I shortened the name) goes beyond only playing online. I found out that Ethan never memorized his multiplication of 8x7 and 8x9 so Elephant Learning gave us a few ideas with how to practice his multiplication.

Here are some screenshots of the learning games. The one below shows where Lance is at.

The cute little guy pops up at the end (this is just one of many).

Our Thoughts:
While I really see the benefits of Elephant Learning Math my kids were not too crazy about it. They didn't care for the voices but you can turn the sound off and read it if necessary. Maybe because they were on the higher end of the age limit for this program (ages 15 and 16).

With one of my son's he did mention that the colors were too bright for him so I had to dim the computer screen for him a bit.

What I did like was seeing that they did understand math. They got a lot of the answers correct. What I didn't understand though was their elephant age was always younger than their real age ~even though there were getting most of the answers correct.

What I absolutely loved was the parent dashboard because you can see what your child has completed. My kiddos didn't want me to share their dashboard otherwise I'd have put a screenshot.

Final Thoughts! All-in-all I am very thankful that we were allowed to review Elephant Learning Math because there are a few gaps my boys have and now we can address them. It was great to see that my boys do understand math concepts. This is a part of homeschooling that I am nervous about.

Please click on the graphic below to read more Elephant Learning Math Reviews by the Homeschool Review Crew!

Elephant Learning Math Academy Subscription {Elephant Learning Math Academy Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer

Calvert Homeschool Online {Review}

Calvert Homeschool is a well known homeschool program. In fact we used Calvert for a few years back when the kiddos were little. It was a year when I really needed someone else to schedule everything for me. I had was exhausted with two toddlers and a baby.

We received six-month access to the Family Plan of Calvert Homeschool Online. The Family Plan gives you access to all grade levels and courses which is at least 45! Courses include Language Arts, History & Geography, Math, and Science.

We used the History/Geography and Science courses. I love that the courses are numbered and do not say Grade 5 or Grade 11 etc. This is great if you are backtracking like we are.

We are using the courses to fill in some gaps in these two subjects. I might add the Language Arts in later. I don't want to overwhelm him with too much as we do need to finish our current LA.

The Calvert Homeschool Online has a free Diagnostic Test so you can place your child exactly where they need to start. This is great if you are planning to use all the subjects!

Calvert Homeschool Online has it all, scheduling, automatic grading, quizzes, test, and a parent dashboard where you can assign subjects and check what your child has completed.

You can literally take school anywhere with you and not have to worry about forgetting a math or science book because it's all online.

The lessons even have it where you can have the lesson read to the child. It's kind of like a robotish voice ~like the downloadable ones.

Below is a screenshot of how the courses are set up. The student clicks on the course, below it's Science Safety.

 Once the child clicks on Science Safety lesson a menu of lessons or what Calvert shows as Problems.

When the child clicks on Problem 1 (or lesson 1), there is a complete lesson. This on Safety has four "pages".

At the end was a recap and quiz

At the bottom of the lessons are questions to be answered. In this case, it's an essay to be written.

Below shows the full window of what is required of the student when writing the essay (the screenshot is taken from the same lesson shown above). You might need to click on it to see it better, sorry that it's showing up so small. 

If you were not able to read the instructions on the graphic here is what it says:

Part 1. Include important facts found in your research. Includes the answers to questions 1-4 for each of the occupations you choose.
Part 2. Include information a visual representation of the data and answer to questions 1-6.
Submission Requirements: 
The student should submit a presentation created with a slideshow or Presentation Program of their choice. The presentation should include important facts obtained through research, references, images, data, graphs, and answers to the reflections questions. Upload your presentation to the box below.
Here are a few screenshots from the World Geography Course.

This lesson had a short video.

Here are a few screenshots from one of the grade school spelling lessons. The child can select a bee.

We didn't use the spelling but I thought the bees were so cute. We did play around with it for the purpose of this review.

Our Thoughts:

The set-up for me was a little bit bumpy. I had two accounts which I'm sure was the problem. I had one under my regular email that I set up before the review. When I was picked for this review I set up another one under my email that I use for the Review Crew and I don't know if they were "colliding" and getting confused but I kept losing our lessons. Anyway, long story short ~ it was eventually fixed.

Calvert has the best customer service. One of their representatives called me to help me through the set-up problem. She also walked me through a few things as well, and made sure I understood the program. She even followed up a few weeks earlier.

One of the features I liked and so did my son was the audible part. He is a reluctant reader so he followed along. Plus with science and history/geography there are names and places that are hard to pronounce so we really appreciated that we had the choice of having it pronounced.

Calvert does a wonderful job with the student set-up. I like how my son can hop on the computer and just go down the lessons. Right now he is using two subjects but I'd like him to use more.

He's not a textbook guy meaning the physical textbooks are big and overwhelming for him. With Calvert Homeschool Online he doesn't see the thickness of a book because it's all online and the lessons are "broken" down for him.

I admit it does take a bit of learning to navigate the site and we are not completing all the assignments. We pick and choose but I love that WE can pick and choose. It's our homeschool and we don't let the curriculum rule us. We make it work for us. 

Final thoughts! I really like Calvert Homeschool. My son, well, it's "school" for him. My kiddo would always rather be playing with Legos or playing a computer game with his brothers rather than do anything school-related (including reading books, sigh). 

Be sure to click on the graphic below to read more reviews from my Crew Mates!
Calvert Homeschool Online {Calvert Homeschool Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer

Excelerate SPANISH ~ Review

Spanish is a language that comes in so helpful and many companies here in Texas have that add on to their help wanted sign "Spanish speaking preferred" or "Spanish speaking helpful" ~ in our area and even the business we own there are many Spanish speaking customers.

Even though I am Hispanic, other than counting to ten and a handful of food words, I never learned Spanish. My kiddos don't speak Spanish fluently. Reviewing Excelerate SPANISH, well it's a blessing for my family. Excelerate SPANISH Streaming requires no disc which means no lost lessons, no having to repurchase a disc because it got scratched!

We received a one-year streaming membership with access to Level 1 and Level 2! We also have access to Quizlet which is to reinforce their learning through: Flashcards, Write, Spell, and Test.

Excelerate SPANISH is a program where the students are engaging and acting out the words they are learning. Instead of sitting and filling out worksheets your child will use hand motions and body movements to understand a word and it's meaning. For instance, Va means go so the student is shown to walk. Parada means stop ~ the student is taught to put their hand out to show 'stop'.

As the students are introduced to the new words they are adding the previous words creating skits, storytelling, and movements.

Lessons range from 30-40 minutes and typically one lesson usually takes two weeks (at least in our homeschool). Year 1 will last a little over a school year but if you school through the summer or year around you should be able to complete it within the year.

Both Levels 1 and 2 include 24 lessons.

Again, I am really liking the streaming of the lessons instead of us downloading or having to have DVDs or disc.

At first, I planned for us to have Spanish class together but with teens, our schedules are all over the place~ with jobs and studies. What I did, was email all the kiddos the website and login information.

We all are staying together for the lessons but the kids are doing the lessons on their own time. I thought it would be best for us all to stay in the same lessons so we could help each other.

I must admit at first we were a little lost. The program does have optional workbooks but for this review, we didn't receive them. The program can be used successfully without them.

We, on the other hand, had a hard time following the program so I ended up purchasing the workbooks and it helped not only the kiddos but me as well.

Looking back what we probably could have done was along with using Quizlet maybe I should have had the kids write all the words and their meanings down in a notebook. I did find a blog post about using your walls and I like that idea too (although right now we don't have much wall space).

A screenshot of Quizlet

I would recommend mom to watch the first video on her own to get a feel for the program. You can then have your children watch part or all of it. I say this because at first I just had all the kiddos watch the video and a few days later I watched it. It was then that I realized how long the videos were and it could be overwhelming.

Tip! Use the first week for the kids to watch the video and use the second week to use Quizlet, write the words and meaning down and if necessery rewatch parts of the video. In our case, the kids used the workbooks that I purchased.

Once we found the above rythm it's going more smoothly.

I love how the program reaches a wide variety of learners, especially those who need to move around.

I do recommend purchasing the optional workbooks.

Read more Excelerate SPANISH Reviews by clicking on the banner below!

Excelerate SPANISH help your students to learn FAST, naturally! (Streaming)  {Excelerate SPANISH Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer

Creating A Masterpiece Review!

Art, this is a class that has been a challenge in our homeschool. My older two did fine with using books for our art courses. My four younger kiddos, well, they are more visual and need a "teacher" to show the steps.

#artclass #highschoolart

Drawing Program from Creating a Masterpiece fits that bill! 

The Homeschool Review Crew received a one-year subscription to the Drawing Program which includes Beginners to Level 3. Creative Masterpiece has been very generous to us!

Sharon Hofer teaches students (and adults) how to draw beyond stick figures (like way beyond) ~ it's amazing! The lesson videos are short, so one lesson may have four videos which really keeps the program from being overwhelming to the student. 

#artclassforallages #creatingamasterpiece

The lessons are all on the Creating a Masterpiece site so you don't have to download them and no disc to lose! I use to be one that preferred having disc but after homeschooling for 20 years and seeing that no matter how careful we are the disc either gets lost or scratched so I'm really liking modern technology where the course is online. 

The Beginning Drawing Course has eight lessons, Drawing Level 1 has seven, Level 2 has six, and Level 3 has eight. The videos for each lesson varies as you can see in the graphic below. One lesson may have four videos while another seven.

Ms. Sharon Hofer does a great job of explaining each step. I and my kiddos found it easy to follow the lessons. 

The first time we did a lesson we followed along but realized that sometimes she gave us more instruction or said something toward the end of the video that was helpful. After the first lesson, we decided that it was better to watch the video first then replay and draw along with her during the replay.

We paused the video often too. Because we all needed to pause the video at different times we decided to watch the videos on our own. Meaning we didn't all sit and have art class together. 

One son would complete a lesson at night in his room while another during the day in the kitchen.

The Drawing Program is not only great for kiddos and teens but adults too. I found that I really enjoyed the courses as well. Ms. Sharon teaches in a way that all feel welcome in "her class".

After completing a few lessons, some of us would go back and redo the lesson. As we continue with the program I think we'll continue to redo some of them.

We tried to keep one lesson within one week. Sometimes we'd do a lesson over two weeks. This is with doing art twice a week. My kiddos are older ages 15-18 so younger kiddos may need more time.

It is recommended to use good quality supplies and the course does provide a link to Blick art supplies. You don't have to purchase from Blick but I found that some of the items were much easier to order ~ like the single Prism pencils. Since I was buying those I added a few other items to my cart. You could easily find many of the supplies at your local hobby and art supply store though.

If you are looking for an art course for your high schoolers (or elementary students) I would encourage you to look into Creating A Masterpiece. Check out their sample page ~ the sample is not from the same course that I reviewed but it will give you an idea of what to expect.

I highly recommend Creating A Masterpiece!

Be sure to click on the graphic below to read more Creating A Masterpiece reviews!

Learning to Draw {Creating a Masterpiece Reviews}
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