{Review} Enlivenze LLC ~ FlipStir Solar System Puzzle

FlipStir Puzzles Reviews
Do you have a puzzle fan in the house?  Are you tired of pulling out puzzles only to find you are missing some pieces?  Are you looking for a puzzle that you can take with you while traveling?  Then I have a puzzle for you to try!  My family had the pleasure of getting to try one of the FlipStir Puzzles by Enlivenze LLC.  We received the Solar System FlipStir Puzzle to review.

FlipStir Puzzles ReviewsThe Solar System puzzle, for ages 7 & older, has ten 3D pieces that are sealed in a durable container.  No need to worry about trying to find that lost puzzle piece!  They will not come out!  The instructions are very simple!  Shake. Stir. Solve.  That is right!  Shake!  Stir!  Solve!  There is a metal wand with a plastic foot to help you maneuver the pieces around inside of the container or to hold the completed pieces together.  A sticker of the completed puzzle is located on the bottom of the container if you need to take a peek at what goes next.  Shake and stir again to enjoy the puzzle another time.

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When our FlipStir Puzzle arrived, my hubby took it and had the puzzle completed in just a couple of minutes.  It took me about 15 minutes to complete and it kept the girls occupied for much longer.  I love that we can take it along with us and not have to worry about losing any pieces.  No more lost puzzle pieces with a FlipStir Puzzle!  This is an awesome product!

For more information you can find the FlipStir Puzzle on Facebook and Twitter and you can find Enlivenze LLC on Facebook and Twitter.

There are a total of four FlipStir Puzzles being reviewed by crew members.  Please click on the banner below to read reviews for the Rainbow PencilsTyrannosaurus RexSolar System, and Statue of Liberty FlipStir Puzzles!

FlipStir Puzzles Reviews

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{Review} Veritas Press

Old and New Testament Online Self-Paced Bible Veritas Review

Are you looking for a fun and engaging online Bible program for your family?  My family had the pleasure of reviewing a one year family subscription of VeritasBible.com by Veritas Press.

 

Old and New Testament Online Self-Paced Bible Veritas Review
VeritasBible.com is a fun and engaging program for the entire family!  There are currently three courses available on VeritasBible.com and they are: Genesis to Joshua, Judges to Kings, and  The Gospels.  According to their website two additional courses, Chronicles to Malachi and Job & Acts to Revelation are in the works.

Setting up accounts for my kids was very simple.  I entered their name, selected their gender, selected an avatar, and the account was ready to go!  Every student account is individual so your children can work independently, at their own pace.  You can go back and forth between the three courses however, the lessons in each course must be completed in order.  The only time any skipping around is allowed is in sessions that have already been completed.  Your students are also free to go through and review the previously completed lessons as many times as they wish.

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The lessons can be adapted to any schedule.  Every lesson is split up into multiple sections and when you log in the next time you have the option to pick up right where you left off.  This makes it easy to find your place should you have to stop in the middle of lesson.  There are multiple, professional, videos in every lesson and each one is kept to a couple minutes or less.  The videos are engaging and keep the attention of even the younger crowd.  For example the lesson will start off with a 2 minute video, followed by another video that is 45 seconds, and then a third that is a little over a minute.  Following will be some review questions or new questions, then back to a few more videos.  At the end of every lesson there will be a graded worksheet to be completed.  Once the worksheet is submitted, it will be graded and you will have an opportunity to print the graded pages for your record.  On the printed pages it will record the date, the child’s name, the questions asked, the correct answers, and the answer that was chosen by the student.  The passing grade for the graded pages is 70% and the student must earn a star in order to move on to the next lesson.

Initially, I had set up individual accounts for Sweet Pea, Peanut, and Lil’ Bit.  However, Peanut and Lil’ Bit preferred to watch the video with Sweet Pea.  Since I couldn’t skip past the videos on their accounts so they could do the interactive portion of the lesson they just worked together under Sweet Pea’s account.  We started with the Genesis to Joshua course.  Peanut and Lil’ Bit enjoyed watching the videos.  Sweet Pea said she enjoys all of it, especially the videos.  She also mentioned that sometimes she finds it hard but is glad that it is challenging her.

 

Old and New Testament Online Self-Paced Bible Veritas Review

I highly encourage you to sign up for a free 14 day trial and give VeritasBible.com a try!  The free trial does NOT require you to provide a credit card and you receive 100% access to the membership area for the trial.

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Old and New Testament Online Self-Paced Bible Veritas Review

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{Review} MySchoolYear.com

MySchoolYear.com Review
I have been looking for a homeschool planner that fits the needs of our family and I had the opportunity to review My School Year (Homeschool Record Keeping) by MySchoolYear.com.  I received an annual membership to the online planner.

MySchoolYear.com is an on-line planner for homeschool families that keeps track everyone’s schedule and homeschool information.  The planner can be accessed from anywhere there is an internet connection and an annual subscription is $40 per year.

 

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Setting up a New Term is simple.  As you can see in the picture above when setting up the New Term once the start and end dates are set, school days and days off are scheduled it will calculate all of the information.  I will know how long the term is (One calendar year for us since we homeschool year round.), how many school days in the term are available, how many scheduled days off we will have, and how many actual school days we have on the schedule.  I would like to point out that I have not yet marked some of our days off that we have taken and I have not scheduled some of our days off for the fall.  The number of official school days will be closer to 180 – 200, when everything is said and done.

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Homeroom gives me an overview for each of my children.  In Homeroom, I can select the term and view all of the information for the term for one of my children.  The information includes classes, attendance, events, awards, readings, extra curricular, and tests.

Planbook

The planbook is the overview of all of the scheduled items.  A feature that I love and is a great asset is the search button!  I have not come across this type of search in any other on-line planners that I have tried.  Searching my planbook allows me to search by my choice of dates and then I can filter out the results after that.  I can filter by student, subject, and date, including filtering assignments that are overdue, due today, are upcoming and have no date.  I wish I could filter multiple items in each category.  For instance I can search assignments for all of the girls or one individually but I cannot filter the search for two of the three.  The same thing with the other categories you can either search one or all.  Another thing that I cannot do is print from my planbook.

Reports

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There are lots of reports that are available to be created!  While we won’t be using every report option, it is nice that it is available if we need it.  This is where the copy of  the planbook can be printed! Create a report for the Lesson Plan and it creates a PDF report, which you can print and save.

Teacher’s Aids

I really like the Teacher’s Aids!  It provides reminders to add lesson plans and asks questions such as did my child earn any awards, attend any events, and what their reading list was so I can fill in the information, if I choose.

I am given the choice to fix the notice or to delete the notice.  If I choose to fix the notice, it will take me directly to the page so I can make any changes.  Once I am through with the notice I can delete it.  There are two options for deleting the notices.  By default it is set on safe delete where I will receive a confirmation before deleting the notice.  Then there is an option for the notice to be deleted without a confirmation.

Tools

MySchoolYear.com makes it easy when needing to copy the same assignment for multiple children.  This is a must for our family since multiple children are working on the same schoolwork together.  There is also an option to share assignments between MySchoolYear.com users!  I have not used the share feature between MySchoolYear.com users but this is a great option to have available!

Create-A-Plan is the place for batch planning.  I was able easily set up multiple lessons in less than a minute.  MySchoolYear.com gave me the option of rapid repeating the item (ie: chores, practices, and lessons) or using quick split and allow their software to split it up for me.  The quick split is great for dividing up book pages!

I can also reschedule lessons which is another very important and needed feature.  Sometimes something comes up at the spur of the moment (ie: funeral, doctor’s appointment, etc.) and the reschedule feature helps readjust the schedule smoothly.  I can choose to move the date ahead by however many days I need to adjust the schedule and there is a choice for adjusting all of the subjects together or one individual subject.

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There are two options for tracking attendance.  MySchoolYear.com can automatically track my attendance or I can manually enter all of the information.

Setup

Setup is where all of the details such as grading, materials, students, schools are set up.  I can set up the grading scale that I want to use and change the value of the grade, including the minimum grade required for a Pass/Fail class.  All of our resources and curriculum that we own can be found in one easy spot.

I believe that I have found our planner!  We don’t use every feature but what we do use right now serves our needs.  As our children get older I anticipate on using the other features to become beneficial.  I encourage any homeschool families looking for a planner to check out My School Year (Homeschool Record Keeping).  There is a small learning curve at first due to no FAQ page to answer questions such as, “How do I print my Planbook?” or “How can I reschedule my classes?”  There is a ‘Need Help?’ button that gives a brief description of what is on the page.  Other than that it is very homeschool friendly!

A 1 month free trial is available and there is a Price Lock Guarantee should you decide to subscribe to their annual membership.

UPDATE 7/16/2016:

A week and a half after I published this review, I received an email from MySchoolYear.com saying that as a result of the review they began working on video tutorials and already released their first one, Site Introduction.  I had not gotten a chance to watch the tutorial until tonight, 7/16/2016.  It is well done and walks through the different pages with a brief description.  Since then they have added 6 additional video tutorials, a FAQ page with answers to 8 questions, and a guide.  The guide is a downloadable advanced technique cheat sheet for Create-A-Plan with instructions on how to generate complex lesson plan patterns.  Thank you MySchoolYear.com for quickly adding these things!

 

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Homeschool Record Keeping {MySchoolYear.com Review}

 

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{Review} Progeny Press ~ The Drinking Gourd Study E-Guide

 

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Sweet Pea and I had the pleasure of reviewing The Drinking Gourd E-Guide by Progeny Press.  We received one copy of The Drinking Gourd E-Guide by PDF.

 

Literature Study Guides from a Christian Perspective {Progeny Press Review}
The Drinking Gourd E-Guide is a 34 page PDF file.  You can either print the e-guide out or use your computer or tablet to read it and print out only the pages you need.  I chose to print the entire e-guide since it was a small book.  The copyright includes permission for me to make as many copies as needed for my family.  It also gives permission for teachers to print a copy for their classroom.  I printed two copies of the guide out.  One duplexed copy for me and I printed Sweet Pea’s pages out single sided.

 

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Priced at $11.99, The Drinking Gourd E-Guide is a great price for homeschoolers.  The low price does not mean low quality.  I found this guide to be well planned and thought out full of various activities.  The physical copy of The Drinking Gourd by F.N. Monjo (pictured above) is needed to complete this e-guide.  The book retails for $3.99 and you can buy the book directly through Progeny Press.  I had never read this book until we got this review.  Sweet Pea and I enjoyed reading this book together.  It is a book about a young boy who learns about the Underground Railroad as he and his dad helps a family with two young children continue on their journey to be free.  Read the book to see if they make it through without being caught by those who are actively seeking this family.

The e-guide starts of with a note to the instructor with information on how to use a Progeny Press Study Guide, a synopsis of The Drinking Gourd, and background information on the Underground Railroad.

 

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One of the first activities that Sweet Pea completed was drawing a line between the states that were free of slavery and those who still have slaves.  Then she was asked to color in the states as seen in the picture above.  The free states were colored blue and the slave states were colored gray.  Next there were 10 multiple choice vocabulary words.  Every sentence had an underline word that the student needs to choose the correct meaning for.  Next there were a set of questions for every chapter with lines for the students to write their answers.  Instead of having Sweet Pea write every answer we sat down and discusses the answers.  On one of the last pages there was a hidden message game in which the students were expected to solve the secret message.  Words varying from 7 to 19 letters had to be unscrambled and filled in according to their number.  Once every word is unscrambled a group of circled letters will reveal the answer.  Sweet Pea is a little young for this activity but it is great for an older child!  An additional activity we also completed was listening to Follow the Drinking Gourd on YouTube.  It was an enjoyable song!  The book finishes up with suggestions for further reading and the answer key to the comprehension questions.  Progeny Press also offers a list of other available study guides for lower elementary, upper elementary, middle school, and high school.

I look forward to checking out additional titles that are available for purchase!

 

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Literature Study Guides from a Christian Perspective {Progeny Press Review}

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{Review} Forbrain – Sound For Life Ltd

Forbrain – Sound For Life Ltd Review
My family had the pleasure of reviewing Forbrain – Sound For Life Ltd and we received their bone conduction headset.

My first thought when Forbrain was offered to the Crew members to review was it would be perfect for my sweet girl Peanut and helping her speech.  She does have some difficulty with speech and exhibits signs of auditory process likely as a result of being born prematurely.

Forbrain is designed to help with attention, concentration, speech, and memory.  You speak into the microphone and the different frequencies are filtered before you hear it delivered through your bones.  Yes, your bones!  The sound is delivered through your bones and the bone conduction.  I recommend checking out their site which is packed full with tons of information including information about auditory processing, Forbrain’s auditory technology, and completed scientific studies and studies that are still in progress.

Forbrain is for ages 5 to adult.  Young children until teenagers should use it for 15 minutes daily and for teenagers and above 20 minutes daily.  You can wear it longer than the suggested times but not to use it longer than 2 hours a day.  Then the headset should be worn 5 days a week for at least 6 weeks.  Forbrain can be used alone, with parents, or with a professional such as therapist, teacher or coach.

When the package arrived the headset came in a very sturdy zippered case.  Inside the case, the headset is well protected by a foam insert.  The headset is wireless and has a high quality adjustable microphone.  There is also a USB cable to plug into your computer for charging.  A user manual, a quick start guide, and additional microphone covers are also included.

Forbrain – Sound For Life Ltd Review

 

The first thing that you need to do when you receive the Forbrain is to charge it.  After the battery is fully charged you will get over 6 hours of use before you need to charge it again!  The Forbrain headset is not worn like a regular set of headphones.  It hooks over your ears, wraps around the back of your head and the bone conduction transducers rest in front of your ears.  The headset is universal and will fit both small children and adults.  There are no specific set of written exercises that come with Forbrain but is designed to be used based on the needs of the individual students.  You can use it while talking, reading, or doing other activities.

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Forbrain works!  I was very impressed and I saw results quickly.  Peanut wore the headset during various times of our days.  Sometimes it was when we were working on school work and other times it was worn while she was playing with her siblings in the house.  She wore it for at least 15 minutes every time and sometimes a bit longer.  Where I saw the results were during the other times of the day when she did not wear the headset.  Peanut was remembering to speak louder and more clearly without having to be reminded, like she did prior to using Forbrain.  In the pictures above Peanut is using Forbrain during Spanish.  Our Spanish curriculum is an interactive video based program and the children repeat various words and sentences throughout every Spanish lesson.

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Sweet Pea wore it while singing and also while watching her Spanish lessons.  In the pictures above she is using it while we are watching our Spanish curriculum.  She liked that she could hear her own voice.  Lil’ Bit  while not using Forbrain during the review enjoyed trying it and she smiled saying that she likes, “hearing my voice loud”.  I also tried it and found the headset to be very comfortable to wear.

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You can find Forbrain on the following social media sites:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/forbrainLTD
Twitter: https://twitter.com/forbrainheadset
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/forbrain—retrain-the-way-you-process-information

 

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{Review} Hey Mama! Print Schoolhouse Planner 2016-2017

Hey Mama! Schoolhouse Planner 2016-2017 Review

Are you looking for a new planner to plan all that wonderful curriculum that you bought either at your local homeschool convention or somewhere else?  The Hey Mama! Print Schoolhouse Planner 2016-2017 from The Old Schoolhouse is hot off the press and I had the opportunity to review it!

 

Hey Mama! Schoolhouse Planner 2016-2017 Review

I received the print edition of The Hey Mama! Print Schoolhouse Planner 2016-2017 and the planner is based on the traditional school planners that begin in July and end the following June.  As a momma of five I think this planner is great!  It is hard to find a planner that can accommodate five children’s school schedule.

There are 12 dated monthly calendars and lined pages for every months to make notes.  Every day has plenty of space to record field trips, appointments, etc.  On the left side of the calendar there is space for additional notes.

The planner has 36 blank weekly planning pages.  I love that they are blank so I can set it up to fit our family!  The downside however is that there are only 36 weekly planning pages.  It is great for a family that follows the traditional school schedule of 36 weeks.  For a family, like mine, that homeschools year round there are not enough weekly planning pages.  I am still deciding on how to use the planning pages.  I am leaning towards writing the days of the week across the top and the subjects down the side.  There is enough space for me to record what the three oldest have completed every day together on each subject space.

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There are five of each of the following pages; monthly goals, semester goals, yearly goals, attendance charts, book logs, and curriculum planning sheets.   The goals on all of the goal pages are for educational, spiritual, physical, personal talents, life skills, financial, and relational goals.  There is plenty of space to write goals but if your monthly goals change frequently, there may not be enough space for all of the changes depending on how many children you have.  For semester goals you may need to divide the blocks for first and second semester goals.  The attendance charts are for an 180 day school year.  The book log includes spaces to record the title, author, and date completed.  The curriculum planning pages includes information to record the subject, grade level, curriculum name, price, vendor, and contact information.

Following the above pages there is a homeschooling contact list page where you can write down the name, address, phone number, and email of other homeschooler.

Other pages that The Old Schoolhouse included in the Hey Mama! Schoolhouse Planner 2016-2017 are 36 General Writing Prompts, Story Starters, The Thirteen Colonies by Date, Timeline of Inventions, U.S. Presidents and Their Wives, Branches of Federal, State and Local Governments, United States and Capitals, Creating an Academic Transcript, one Academic Transcript page for high school, one Checklist and Skills Learned page, and one Other Courses page.

For larger families, year round homeschoolers, and those who would like to customize their planner there is a digital edition of the Hey Mama! Schoolhouse Planner 2016-17 available as well.

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One thing that I absolutely loved was that throughout the planner there are encouraging letters, Bible verses, and fun facts to read throughout the year.

If you are interested in the planner there is a coupon available until July 15, 2016 for $10 off of the planner.  Type CREWCODE in the coupon box for the discount.

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{Review} Essential Skills Advantage

Essential Skills Advantage Review
Our family had the opportunity to review the Complete Home Learning Suite by Essential Skills Advantage.  We received a one year online subscription for two students.

 

Essential Skills Advantage Review

The Complete Home Learning Suite by Essential Skills Advantage has over 14,000 lessons available in Math (grades K-6), Reading (grades K-6), Language & Grammar (grades K-6), Science (grades K-3), and Geography (grades 4-6).  It is all online and self paced.

The classroom is nicely laid out.  Every student is listed and there are three options to click on; Info, Marks, and Signin.  Under Info you can change your students information, including changing the password.  There is also the option to require a password.  I like the option that ESA has given us to choose whether or not we want to require a password.  Marks gives you an overview on how your students are doing, how much time they have spent on each area, and the last time they logged in.  You will see how much of each unit has been completed and the average score of each section.  You do have the option of tracking this information or not.  ESA gives a breakdown of every individual page that the child works on, how many attempts have been make, and the total time.  There is a icon for completion certificates and to create a report card.

When the girls log in on their account they select the subject (math, reading, language & grammar, science or geography), then they choose the grade level (K-6, K-3, or 4-6 depending on the subject), and then the student selects the program.  I really liked that we could choose where to start off and which grade level we wanted to work in.  In the upper left hand corner there are a set of buttons to allow easy switching between students, subjects, grades, and programs.

 

Essential Skills Advantage Review

I let Sweet Pea and Peanut choose what they wanted to work on.  Peanut requested math and reading activities and she thoroughly enjoyed the matching game and that was the most requested game.  Sweet Pea explored all over in science, math, reading, and spelling.  Once I logged them in they could work for the most part unassisted, even for the one who is a non reader.  There was one time when Sweet Pea answered the question correct and brought it to my attention that she was correct but it said she was wrong.  I reassured her that I knew she answered it correctly and it was alright.  The answer being marked wrong did affect her overall scoring.  The directions for every activity are read to them and there is an instructions button if they need the directions read again.  There are a variety of activities for every subject and grade level & the activities held the interest of my girls.  This program is a supplementary program and the girls have learned a lot from using it!

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The Complete Home Learning Suite is an affordable program.  It is $7.99 a month for one student and an additional $0.99 per student per month.  ESA does offer other plans including plans for up to 10 students, 6 month and yearly plans.

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