Friday, June 23, 2017

Weekly Wrap Up - Summer Break Week 4

Before I go into our week, be sure to check out my Watch Ya Mouth Review and Give Away!   Your family will have a blast playing this game!   The give away closes at midnight on June 25, so pop over and enter right away!
This has been another busy week.  That whole "slow days of summer" thing is a farce, much like "stay at home mom", ahem, moving on.  

Lindsey has spent her time at the community college again this week learning how to build computers.  She has realized that she really does like gadgets and electronics, and likes working on these projects.   Her classes are from 1-4pm, so today is her final class, and she'll be doing a presentation, so I'll have photos for you next week, hopefully.

Olivia has been working on UnLock Algebra I all week.  She's really liking this program, well as much as one can like Algebra.   She'll be completing this program during the summer/early fall before moving into Algebra II, to make sure she has a really good understanding of the basic concepts.

She also worked on some World War II studies this week and made a garrison cap from felt.  I think it turned out pretty well.

Olivia also had volleyball and basketball practice this week.   She will be the new setter for the JV volleyball team and they'll be getting uniforms sized in the next few weeks.   Her first game w August 23.  Basketball is still iffy.   The division the school is in only allows 3 homeschooled students per team, and they have 4, so she'll have to try out and see if she makes the cut or not.

We went to a few baseball games in the evenings.  It's fun sitting in the stands and watching the games and the fans.   It takes so much pressure off when your kid isn't on the team, no worries if there's a strike out or bad play, grins.   The league we go to is all college players who are hoping to make it big.  It's nice when you do see one of them get drafted by a major league team.

How has your week been?  Anything exciting going on for the weekend?

Linking up with the Weekly Wrap Up.

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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

UnLock Math - UnLock Algebra I (Review)

Can I be honest?  My 9th grader struggled with Algebra I this year.  Please don't revoke my good homeschool mom membership, grins. The good news, is we were given an opportunity to review UnLock Algebra I from UnLock Math as we began wrapping up the academic year.

UnLock Math is an online math program that currently offers UnLock Pre-Algebra, UnLock Algebra I, UnLock Algebra II, and UnLock Geometry.  UnLock Pre-Calculus will be offered later this year and UnLock Calculus will be following in 2018.  Account set up is quick and easy to understand.   There is a printable pacing guide (useful in scheduling) as well as progress reports and an online grade book to help the parent see exactly what the student has done, and how well they've completed the work.

UnLock Algebra I has a 19 lesson Pre-Algebra review followed by 12 units of Algebra.   Each unit has several lessons and each lesson contains a video, Warm Up, Practice Problems, Stay Sharps, Challenge Questions and Quizzes.  There are also Unit Tests and a Midterm Exam and Final Exam.

For a student who didn't like, or excel in Algebra, finding out that she was doing MORE of it, and probably working on it all summer was not a huge thrill for her.   I totally understood that, however I felt like she really needed stronger skills and understanding before moving on.    Day 1 she started with a bit of an attitude (just keeping it real).   After completing a couple of the Pre-Algebra review lessons, she was actually liking the program.  (HUGE SCORE)

At the end of the first week, I asked Olivia her overall opinion.   She said she really enjoys the videos, and likes that the instructor teaches in a way that is fun but not silly.  She also liked that the instructor uses words that she can understand and explains and shows hows how to do problems as she goes.

Several weeks into the review, and Olivia is actually enjoying doing Algebra. She's doing several days worth of work each day, which literally means she's working a couple of hours a day on Algebra.   Remember, this is being used as a remedial/strengthening skills class, so I don't necessarily recommend that pace for a student new to higher math.

One thing that we've both been frustrated by is that there have been several occasions where she knows the answer, but doesn't know how to enter it the way they want it. For example, there was nowhere in the instructions that explained to her how to make an exponent show up little and where it's supposed to go, so she got those wrong.  Nor did she know that for showing something is to be multiplied she is supposed to use an * between the two numbers...again, she had the right answer but got those wrong.    However, a quick email and they fixed her score.

Another HUGE plus for this program is their customer service.   We have had a few small glitches, and I've emailed the company (directly through our UnLock Math account web page), and not only have they responded in record time, they've taken the time to CALL me when the issue has been something on their end.  That's almost unheard of!  I also contacted them about  the not knowing how to enter the answers, and within minutes they sent back full instructions, and have since added those to the site.

To read more Crew member reviews of this and other UnLock Math products, click here.

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Monday, June 19, 2017

Adventures of Rush Revere (Review)

My teen history lover was excited to see  Adventures of Rush Revere #1 New York Times Bestselling Book Series by Rush and Kathryn Adams Limbaugh show up on our review list.   We received all five books in the Rush Revere book series.  Titles included in this series area as follows.

Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims
Rush Revere and the First Patriots
Rush Revere and the American Revolution
Rush Revere and the Star Spangled Banner
Rush Revere and the Presidency
The books themselves are hardback, and the pages have an "aged" look.   There are colorful graphics and artwork strewn throughout the book, as well as actual photos of historic locations.   You'll also find images of "Rush Revere"'s basically the authors actual photo placed on a graphic. It reminds both Olivia and I of the little bobble heads from back in the day.  (No disrespect meant towards the author at all.)

Since we like to study history chronologically, Olivia, age 14, started off  reading the Brave Pilgrims.  She really enjoyed the writing style and the quirkiness of the book and said that it was entertaining. I on the other hand found the quirkiness to be a bit too silly.   The basic premise of the books is that American history teacher, Rush Revere and his talking horse Liberty (yes, talking horse) and a couple of students manage to travel back in time to historical events.    Cell phones still work in the 1600's and taking selfies during the signing of the Mayflower Compact were a must.

Moving onto the 2nd book in the series, Rush Revere and the Brave Patriots, the whimsy of the cuteness wore off for Olivia.  While she still found the book entertaining, she felt like it made actual history look a bit...fictitious.  She said she felt like younger readers, would be confused at to what parts of the story were actual history and what parts were just creative writing.

Since Olivia's opinion varied from book 1 to book 2, I opted to read the next book in the series, Rush Revere and the American Revolution.   From an educational standpoint, there were a few things I really loved.  First off, dates and places are mentioned, and reviewed often.  Even a student who isn't big into memorizing history facts will pick up on those without the tediousness of having to memorize.  Lesser known heroes are brought to light as well.   I also like that the teacher, Rush Revere, reviews a great deal with his time traveling students, again, helping students to pick up and retain facts that are brought out in the story.   I also like that the author works themes from history into the modern lives of students.

The final two books in the series, Rush Revere and the Star Spangled Banner and Rush Revere and the Presidency follow the same pattern with traveling in time to the events, followed by discussion and application of what was learned during the time traveling trips.

Truthfully, I didn't think I'd like these books at first.  However, I really enjoy the author's writing style, and his descriptions of places, battle scenes and events really are engaging.    I especially think boys would like the battle scenes, as it describes the sights, sounds and smells of battle without painting vividly gruesome pictures for young readers.

To read other Crew member reviews, click here.

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Saturday, June 17, 2017

Watch Ya Mouth Game Review and a GIVEAWAY!!

We typically have family game night each weekend, and we love the chance to play new games.  When the folks at Watch Ya Mouth contacted me about doing a review, I had no idea what I was getting myself into!  We were given a copy of  Watch Ya Mouth Throwdown, and their brand new Bible Expansion Pack.
The premise of the game is you insert a plastic mouth piece into your mouth (they come in adult and child size) and then challenge another player, as you both attempt to do or say whatever goofy thing is on the card you draw.   You will be amazed at how challenging, and hysterically funny this game is!

So, let me warn you, the photos I'm going to share are in NO WAY flattering.   But that makes the game even funnier!   We laughed so hard playing this game, I literally had tears running down my face (and slobber running down my chin).   Here's the whole family, in all our glory.  Lindsey is modeling the child size mouth piece, the rest of us have the adult mouthpiece in.

Now that you're traumatized by our candid photos, lets show you a challenge in the works.  One cup has water, one does not.  The object is to move the most water from one cup to the other, and beat your opponent before the time runs out.   Olivia did really good at this, oddly enough.
 My husband (who is all but in hysterics at this point) is not as gifted as the child who challenged him.
The Bible Expansion Pack comes with 200 phrase cards (5 blank cards included).   You can't begin to imagine how difficult, and funny it is to try to say "Breastplate of Righteousness" with a mouth piece inserted!   This game would be a total scream for teen events!

A few words to the wise, first if you're going to have a lot of people playing, buy extra mouth guards, because really you don't want to be sharing during the game!  After the game, wash with soap and water, then either place in boiling water or in the top rack of your dishwasher to sanitize.   Also, extended use can make your gums sore, so be sure to take those guards out intermittently so your mouth can have a rest.   Lastly, the pieces are sturdy, but like anything else they can break so be sure to supervise children to prevent possible choking hazards.

Watch Ya Mouth was included in the 2017 Amazon Summer Toys List, it's listed under the Rainy Day Fun section.    This would make a great addition to your family game stash!!

Give Away!!!

The folks at Watch Ya Mouth have generously offered to give one free game to one of my lucky readers!   To win, simply leave me a message and let me know what phrase (KEEP IT CLEAN) would be hard to say while wearing a mouth piece!    You may enter to win more than once (one entry per comment), and the give away will end at midnight on June 25, 2017.  

I'll announce a random winner on June 26, 2017.    Please make sure you include a way for me to contact you in your comment!  Winner will have 24 hours to respond with shipping information, or another winner will be picked.   Open to those with a U.S. shipping address only.

Good luck!!

I received a free copy of this product(s) for review purposes only.   I was not required to write a positive review, nor was I compensated in any way other than the free product.  The thoughts and opinions here are strictly my own.

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Friday, June 16, 2017

Weekly Wrap Up - Summer Break Week 3

Our local community college offers various classes for kids and youth during the summer.   This week, they hosted three electronics/robotics classes for girls only, and they were completely free!   Surprisingly enough, they almost had to cancel due to lack of enrollment.    

Lindsey spent her week learning to build and program Boe Bot Robots.  She was beyond thrilled to learn that she also got to keep her robot. 

Olivia's class learned about coding and animation using the ALICE 3 software.  She did a couple of really funny clips, but all I have is two lame photos to share.
All the girls in the camp got this really cool t-shirt too.  I love the color, but the saying is what really caught my eye.
In other news, Olivia had both volleyball and basketball practice this week.   This was her first time practicing with the basketball team.   This whole high school sports thing is going to take some getting used to.

I've spent my free time getting in some extra long workouts at the gym.   I've also spent time in the garden and have been working on co-op planning.   It was a good week, but the running back and forth was tiring.

How did your week go?

Linking up with the Weekly Wrap Up.
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