Monday, March 25, 2013

ADVENTUS: A Schoolhouse Crew Review

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I was given the opportunity to review MusIQ Homeschool  an award winning music program that was developed by ADVENTUS.

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Musiq Homeschool offers music lessons that are done right at home with computer software that is downloaded to your computer if you decide to just do a monthly subscription, but if you do decide to pay for the entire program a CD ROM will be mailed to you. There are so many different bundles to choose from, which helps make the program fit the needs of your family's budget All you need to operate this program is the software, and a MIDI Capable Keyboard that you just plug into your computer. Go here to learn more about the computer system requirements. Based on the age or experience of the child you can choose from the Early Curriculum (4-10 yrs) or the Multi-level curriculum (10+)

All three of the kids and I have been learning how to play the piano with this program. For the purposes of this review I will share how DJ is getting piano lessons right at home! I started DJ in Level I of the Children's Music Journey. DJ was instantly reeled in when he saw a log in page and was able to set up his profile and create a password. DJ loves to use the computer so this wasn't impressive to me, but he has never expressed wanting to learn a musical instrument before so it was still wait and see. 

In his first lesson he was caught by surprise when he was asked to identify what a piano was, his first thought was this is for babies. At first I thought maybe I should be starting him in another level. Well he quickly liked learning his High and Lows, and learning some music appreciation with a beautiful lesson about Beethoven, who was also DJ's instructor( O.K. not really:) As he progressed and finally made it to level 2 he was so excited about entering the recording studio where he was able to perform a new song . Once DJ made it to Level 2 he has been independently working through the lessons and he is hooked! 

What I really like is the detailed lessons, and the suggested activities were relevant and encouraged a love of practicing, which all of the kids wanted to do everyday. Most days they all used this program for at least thirty minutes. I quickly had to create a practice schedule so they wouldn't rip each other's eyeballs out to get a chance to practice ( just kidding). Seriously, if you do have more than one child I highly recommend you first implement a practice schedule to prevent any chaos, because your kids are going to love this!

If you are interested in your children learning how to play the piano I would give this program a try. It is perfect for us! It covers every one's abilities, here is the link to all of the software. Go ahead try it! If you have any doubts click here for a FREE 7 DAY TRIAL.

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Sunday, March 24, 2013

Homeschooling? A Quick Update

February hit me hard with a lot of unexpected changes, some good some bad. The bad is I lost my Kindergartner and it was very sad for Janessa and I.  I'll try not to go into too great of detail, but I'll share that attendance had a lot to do with it. I can't guide Janessa if she isn't here most of the time! Not everyone takes Homeschooling as serious as me. So I cried and now I look forward to maybe one day working with Janessa again, she really is a great kid to share my day with.

The good news is that our new business venture is moving along rather smoothly, but slow at the same time. Right when I started moving in I had to find a new assistant at the same time. The children I care for needed my attention more (especially since I was the only one:) You gotta love them though, it wasn't about the lessons, they needed me more because changes were happening. Truthfully I needed them all more because changes were happening! The positive side is that I now have two part time assistants that I pray that this new arrangement works out for all three of us and especially for the children who thrive on stability and positive relationships from the caregiver.

 The kids look forward to going to the "Studio" everyday. Not much "school work" has happened, but a lot of family bonding has been going on.

 DJ truly is mastering putting things together like tables and chairs. He is getting so good that he is timing himself according to the size of the table or shelf.
 Ken has been excitedly playing with new materials and let me tell you this girl has a bunch of great ideas for the studio and I can't wait to implement them.

Michelle is still attending the Academy in the mornings, and getting Friday Shout Outs every week. The Shout Outs are done by the instructors acknowledging a students hard work for the week and are sent out to the entire staff, parents and student body via email.   

 For the most part we have just been doing exactly what the t-shirts say.

This week I should have some pictures to share of the kids learning space at the Studio, another review to share, and hopefully some regularity to my postings.                      

I am linking up with What's New? hosted by Vibrant Wanderings.                                                                                                                     

Friday, March 22, 2013

The Discovery of Deduction: A Schoolhouse Crew Review


I bet you guys know by now that when you see that logo up there I'll be sharing something that I love. You're right!  Classical Academic Press  has another material that we were able to review that has sealed the deal, this company is my go to for all the extras we love to have in our homeschool. This time around Michelle and I had the pleasure of reviewing The Discovery of Deduction: An Introduction to Formal Logic, along with The Discovery of Deduction Teacher's Edition.

The Discovery of Deduction: An Introduction to Formal Logic is a course of study that is geared towards children in grades as early as eighth grade. It includes 4 units that is made up of 9 chapters, each chapter is divided by lessons. There are 9.7 lessons in this course. You may choose to follow the Suggested Schedules for either a semester or year long study. This course is intended to be used after the The Art of Argument, An Introduction to the Informal Fallacies, however it can still be used as a stand alone course. The cost of this text is $26.95.  The text is written to the student and it includes workbook style pages for the student to use to illustrate their understanding of the text and in Michelle's case dig deeper into the study. You can see samples here.
The Teacher's Edition is made in the exact style of the student's text, but it also includes the answers to the  workbook style pages. Unlike most Teacher's Editions that I purchased before this one as a real feel to it. I loved that I was being an active participant during our lesson time.  We were able to read our lessons together and I was still able to take the lead when it was necessary with the answers right there in front of me. Although I never hide my lack of knowledge in a subject area from my children, it was good to feel confident about my understanding without have to say " I'll have to find that answer later." The cost of the Teacher's Edition is $29.95, you can find samples here.

We started using this course as outlined in the suggested year long schedule, but we had to eventually make up of our own schedule due to Michelle's strong interest in this course. The first lesson went slower than I thought it would. Michelle learned the difference between formal logic and informal logic, but she came away with learning more about Socrates. Which led us to study Socrates, and we have been studying Socrates ever since!! In between getting to know Socrates we were able to squeeze in all those workbook pages verbally. It would of been pointless for her to record the answers since she was exhibiting so much passion in our dialogues. I relied heavily on the questions in the textbook to lead discussions and to keep Michelle's attention on the Points to Remember which is a brief section that outlines what is to be the focus of the lesson.  This course can be done with the student working alone,  but after I had a chance to look through the material I decided this was a course that I could greatly benefit from as well and I also would of felt lost in following her progress if I wasn't an active participant.  I highly recommend this course for high school grades and especially those students who love to debate. Michelle has fallen deeper in love with forming arguments and I can see that this course will prepare Michelle for her dream of being on a college debate team.

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Saturday, March 16, 2013

Day 5 Hands-On Projects: Teaching Creatively Blog Hop

As promised, a post sharing about how we do Hands-On Projects.

This post is intended to be a part of the 5 Days of Teaching Creatively Blog Hop.


Even when my kids were babies I have fostered a Hands-On approach to learning. I can remember very clearly how Michelle would respond when I would read the beloved story Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown. Michelle would run around the house looking for things in the book to say goodnight to. It may not appear to be Hands-On, but indeed it was. Michelle would grab the book right out of my hand at a little under a year old, crawl as fast as she could to the window to say goodnight to the Moon. This treasured book helped her to discover our Moon, what mittens felt like, and  develop a rhythm of what happens during day/night. Since she is my oldest the love of acting out stories and sparking interest through Hands-On exploration has been my favorite way to get my kids involved in taking charge of their learning.

It was so exciting watching them present what their own interpretations were on the Presidential debates.

As long as it is Hands-On all three of them are ready to take on the job. It doesn't always have to be something that they can keep forever. Although every now and then they take pictures of their work.  

Some of their Hands-On projects become abandon.


  A lot of their projects have been ignited by the moment or whatever is their latest interest.
When they obtain great focus through their projects they are never ending, they create short /long term goals with determined end results. 






They all truly have their own interest led project themes. The same theme shows up in all of their independent research work as well. What I love most about the Hands-On approach is the encouragement of them finding their passion. 

Because you never know what makes you passionate about something until you can feel it.

They decided last summer that they didn't like being owners of a Lemonade Stand.
Now, they have chosen other careers paths that doesn't include squeezing lemons:)                                                   


Friday, March 15, 2013

Touch Math: A Schoolhouse Crew Review

We received a math program to review from Touch Math. Touch Math offers math programs from PreK- 2nd grade. We reviewed their First Grade math program.

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.There are four units that make up the First Grade Program the cost of each unit separately is $59.95. Mia and I were almost able to complete the first unit, Unit A: Adding and Subtracting Within 9

Unit A Covers
  • Counting to 120
  • Mastering Touch Points
  • Adding and Subtracting Within 5
  • Adding Within 9
  • Subtracting Within 9
  • Adding and Subtracting Within 9
There are tons of hands on manipulatives that compliment each unit. It isn't necessary to use all of the manipulatives, but I do recommend them. The manipulatives helped Mia sensorially, she was able to touch and see the numbers which helped her to recall rather easily.

 The cost of purchasing the manipulatives that were sent to us is about 19.99 for each set of Flip Cards, the Student Number Cards are $24.00 for a set of 10, Touch Math Tutor First Grade Software is $99.00 for a single license, and  the Touch Numerals are $99.00.

You can use Touch Math as your main math program or as a supplement. For those who are aiming in their homeschool to use the Common Core this program is designed to meet those standards.

I was really happy to be able to use this program with Mia. This is a child who loves to learn, but she tends to shy away from math lessons. Giving Mia work that just her and I could work on together was perfect to get her energy ramped up for some math.

We started the lessons right at the beginning although Mia is not in first grade she still knew the prerequisites to begin at this level. The Touch Numerals helped her tremendously to be able to correctly write her numbers. . 

After a couple of times of  her working with me to learn the correct Touch Point on the Touch Numerals, I set up the activity to become an independent work for her.

Once she was able to work independently with the Touch Numerals math has been her first choice of work for the day.

I can also see why Touch Math could be used as a supplementary program too. After Mia felt confident with numbers from one to ten she went on to master teen numbers quickly. 

Every since Mia has been introduced to Touch Math she has requested new math lessons everyday!! 

What I like most about this math program is that it got Mia interested in math and playing with numbers. The worksheets were short and sweet. The software which contains some wonderful games was played eagerly, still Mia was more interested in doing the worksheets and learning by doing more hands on math.

To see what my other crew members shared about Touch Math click on the banner below.


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