With-in the Old and New Testament sets, each page covers one book of the Bible. The page includes important information such as:
When it was written
Time period covered
Type of book
Number of chapters
There is also a short one-paragraph overview of what that book covers.
Below that information is a guideline or blueprint of what is in the book, which breaks it down into more significant information sections. For example, 1 Corinthians is divided into three sections: Quarrelling and Resolutions, Advice on Eliminating the Sins of the Church, and Explaining the Spiritual Gifts. The author then goes on to give an explanation and overview under each of those headings.
How Can You Use Bible Blueprints?
These could be great to use in your homeschool to help students get a better understanding of the sequence and flow of the Bible. Sometimes students have difficulty understanding how it all fits together, and these pages can help them see it more in the big picture.
The Blueprints are also an excellent resource for your Bible study. You can use them before you dig into a particular book of the Bible to help you get a bit of context (what type of book, who wrote it, and when it was written) as well as an overview of what will be covered in the book.
I could also see them being a lot of fun used in a trivia or Jeopardy-style game with your students. They could help them memorize the authors, the location in the Bible, timeframes, etc., and then answer trivia questions about that information.
We thought this was a great resource. I appreciated how it included the background information at the top to help you better understand the context of the book.
The layout was simple and easy to read while still being visually appealing. The use of different colors helped to make it easier to read.
I think Bible Blueprints would make a great Bible resource for any family, and anyone old enough to read could use them.
I encourage you to click on the graphic below to check out what other Crew Families thought about this resource.
The Healthy Habit Trackers are a set of twelve different trackers designed to help children keep track of various things, including exercise, nutrition, and even chores.
They are creative and visually appealing to help make them motivating for your children.
How Can You Use Healthy Habit Trackers?
These are designed to use a different one of twelve different trackers to be used one per month. However, you can decide what your family needs most, and you might stick with one for several months or use more than one per month.
Some families choose not to do yoga, so you might not even print that tracker. These give families a great deal of flexibility in how they use them.
For example, a family might decide to use the healthy body one every month because it motivates children to brush their teeth, get plenty of sleep, etc. Other families might find that the routines and habits are in place after a month, and they want to move on to a different tracker.
If your children like the trackers, they might want to do several at once, while other students might find that a bit overwhelming.
I felt like starting with one was a good fit for our family because I was using them with my younger sons, and I knew I would be responsible for helping them keep track. We started with nutrition because we had already been working on helping my eight-year-old better stay hydrated and eat well.
What Did We Think About the Healthy Habit Trackers?
I think the Healthy Habit Trackers are an excellent tool for helping children become more consistent with their healthy habits. I love that they are all visually different so that the design works well for the particular habits and keeps things visually interesting for the child.
I also appreciated the bonus blank tracking forms that allow us to track other habits or activities. For example, I am planning to use one of them in the fall to help my son track his music practice and motivate him to be more consistent.
If your children struggle to be consistent with their exercise, nutrition, tooth brushing, etc., these might be a simple and inexpensive way to motivate them. Though our family will not use all of them, they are a great set, and it is easy to pick and choose the ones that will work best for your family.
I encourage you to click on the graphic below to see how other Review Crew families used these in their homes.
My daughter has a rather complicated relationship with writing. She loves the idea and is even working on writing a book. However, she dislikes writing assignments and has complained about writing programs. When the opportunity came to review the Cover Story Cloud Set by Clear Water Press, It seemed like it would be a great fit.
I showed it to my daughter because I knew I would need her buy-in for it to be successful. She loved the idea of writing on her chosen topics and having her magazine at the end of the course.
What is Cover Story?
This set includes Cloud Access to the Video lessons and physical copies of:
The Teacher’s Guide
The Student Book
The course is twenty-four weeks of video lessons plus an additional twelve weeks of optional grammar videos. There are three lessons each week plus five journal entries per week. In addition, there are six unit tests throughout the course.
The videos are about ten to twenty minutes long, and we found them both informative and engaging.
In the journal, they are given a specific task for each day. For example, in the beginning, they are to write five curious questions each day. The video lessons explain what that means. Another section works on details and another on sentences about people, etc.
The course aims to help students in grades 6-9 create the content for their own magazine, including short stories, articles, poems, letters, blog posts, and reviews. The lessons primarily focus on the magazine’s content, not the pictures and layout, and those items are addressed briefly at the end of the course.
The Teacher’s Guide is a great resource. It contains lesson plans so the parent can easily follow each week’s lesson, scoring rubrics, examples, answer keys, and pages to track scoring.
What Did My Daughter Think?
“I like the writing program. The teacher is easy to understand and funny. The workbook is easy to understand and follow. I like how his lessons are easily accessible and are not scattered around. For example, if you are doing week 1, you go and click on week one, and right under it, you get all three lessons for week one, making it easy to find what you need. The lessons are around 10-15 minutes each.”
What Did I Think?
I have enjoyed having a writing program that my daughter seemed to enjoy completing. I appreciated that Cover Story was designed to make it very easy on the parent. My only significant contribution to the program is grading completed work and ensuring my daughter stays on track.
I was particularly grateful that one of the early lessons worked on passive verbs/voice. Passive voice is something that I have always struggled with, and many programs do not address it.
While this program is billed as a middle grades curriculum, I feel it is rigorous enough for my daughter’s freshman year in high school. I hope it will give her the skills and strategies needed to take her writing to the next level.
I am hopeful that I will even be able to publish some of her writing on the blog soon!
Cover Story is a great writing program for middle and early high school students. This might be a great fit if you have a child that needs assignments to have more of a purpose. It is also helpful for parents that want the instruction to be more independent because of the videos.
My daughter plans to continue to work on this program through the summer slowly and then pick back up with a more regular pace in the fall to complete the course. I encourage you to check out the Cover Story Cloud Set website and click on the graphic below to read more reviews!
One of our educational goals for our children is to have a good understanding of our government and grow up to be informed, productive citizens. As a part of that goal, we have been looking for an excellent high school-level government class. We have recently reviewed the Principles and Precepts of Government from Paradigm Accelerated Curriculum (PAC).
What Is Principles and Precepts of Government?
The Principles and Precepts of Government curriculum included three text booklets and three coordinating activity booklets. There was also a teacher’s resource kit with tests and quizzes. You can choose from print or digital versions, and we were able to look over both for this review. The program is worth ½ of a social studies credit.
The text booklets are approximately 60-75 pages in length. Each one contains three sections which are further divided into five topics. The content begins with the evolution of government, going back to historic empires before Christ. Then it moves on to the Roman government before introducing the colonies and the beginning of the US government. The second booklet is an in-depth look at the constitution, the bill of rights, and the branches of government. The final booklet covers state and local government, the election of the president, rights and responsibilities, and parliamentary procedure.
I am somewhat concerned that the paper formatting of the text booklets may not hold up to long-term use.
Each topic is only 3-4 pages in length, making it a manageable amount to cover in a day. At the beginning of each topic, a vocabulary list covers essential vocabulary from within the text. Those vocabulary words are also written in bold format within the text. There are black and white illustrations and maps sprinkled throughout the text. Most sections also include a life principle, an important quote about government from famous historical figures. For example, one of the sections is from Francis Bacon. “If we do not maintain justice, justice will not maintain us.”
The activity books are broken down into the same chapter, sections, and topics as the textbooks, which makes pairing them seamless. Each topic has a page or two of questions that are mostly fill-in-the-blank and multiple choice. Sometimes, there are places to write down quotes or important content, such as the preamble to the Declaration of Independence. I think it is important to note that while these are called activity books, they are more in the style of what most people would consider workbooks. There are no hands-on activities, just the questions.
How Did We Use Principles and Precepts of Government?
I have a rising ninth-grader and a rising high school junior who both need an American Government course, so we are going through this course with both. They are doing the work independently, but then we discuss it as a family. (You need a second set of activity books for a second student as they are consumable.) Since it is broken down into small topics, we can do two to three topics a week and cover the course material in one semester.
What Did I Think?
I liked that the curriculum was straightforward and easy to use. They had the students understand the background of our government and get a good knowledge of our constitution. Grading was simple because it included worksheets and tests. I would like to see a little more time on primary source materials and more hands-on learning, but I appreciate the quality content and ease of use. I also really appreciated this quote on the Paradigm website, “Principles and Precepts of Government is designed to equip students with an understanding of the evolution of various forms of governance, and thereby gain an appreciation of the workings and myriad benefits afforded in their American Republic, the sacrifices to bring it to fruition, and the requirements of involvement to preserve it.”
I just felt like that quote aligned with our family’s desire to teach our children about our government.
Both of my high school students will complete this course and some additional government materials to make a full government credit in the fall. You can also pair this course with an economics course from Paradigm to make a full credit.
What Did the Teenagers Think?
“I like how it is easy to find where you need to be in the text and activity books because Chapter #, Section #, and topic # are given at the top of the page. At the beginning of each section, it gives a vocabulary part, and throughout the section, it highlights all the words in the vocabulary part. I like how the quizzes are formatted with multiple-choice, fill-in-the-blank, or true or false questions. The curriculum covers from about 500 BC to more modern times, which I like because it gives you a good background on how government started and how it works now.” Elizabeth, Age 14
“The government course is a great course on the history roots and workings of the US government and I like the way that the quizzes are set up as multiple choice or fill in the blank.” Matthew, Age 15
Overall, this is an excellent self-paced American Government course for high schoolers. Most high schoolers could complete it independently, or you can add in family discussions. If your student is a more hands-on or auditory learner, you may want to add some additional activities or lectures. I encourage you to check out this course and the other offerings at Paradigm Accelerated Curriculum. You can also click on the graphic below to see what other Review Crew Members thought about various classes.
Disclosure: I received this complimentary product through the Homeschool Review Crew.
My second grader had been asking to learn Spanish, and I honestly just had not made it a priority. When I heard about Whistlefritz, I decided it would be an excellent opportunity to try Spanish with both my second grader and my four-year-old. We received the Educator’s Spanish Collection (with ¡Buenos Días! and La Música) for our review.
What is Whistlefritz?
Whistlefritz is a language program geared towards prekindergarten and early elementary students. The kit includes a teacher’s manual with lessons and activities, videos accompanying the program, and a CD with music. There is also a set of memory matching cards. A downloadable parent’s guide also gives a suggested schedule for homeschoolers. That schedule is flexible and can be adapted to fit the needs of individual families.
During an average week, the parent would lead a lesson that introduces the concept for the week. For example, one week, we learned the colors in Spanish. The program is also cross-curricular and introduced the idea of primary and secondary colors in that lesson.
After introducing the lesson, there is an activity to complete together. There are suggestions for which videos/video segments and songs on the CD to do throughout the week to reinforce the concepts.
For instance, after the lesson on colors, we watched a video about a birthday party that talked about the colors of different balloons. The videos are immersion-style, with everything being in Spanish. There is some live-action with an instructor and young children and some animation.
How We Used the Program
The guide suggests doing Spanish 4-5 days a week, but we usually fit Spanish in 2-3 days a week. However, with the program’s flexibility, that was not a problem.
I would teach a lesson one day a week, and then they would watch the videos on the other days. The classes generally took me about 10 minutes and then another five to ten minutes for the activity. The book appears to be written for classroom instruction, but it was not hard to modify for home use.
They enjoyed the songs, and I am looking to get an inexpensive CD player for the boys to listen to those as they do other activities during the day. We currently have to use a computer to listen.
My four-year-old is on the young side (just turned four) and did not pick up on the language as quickly as my second-grader. However, he enjoyed the videos, and I think the exposure was beneficial. He can repeat the program next year and continue to add to what he is learning.
Our Opinions on Whistlefritz Educator’s Spanish Collection
Overall, we enjoyed the Whistlefritz Educator’s Spanish Collection. My son was hesitant initially but told me that he really enjoyed it and wanted to do more. It was reasonably easy to implement, though you need to look ahead in the book to ensure you have needed supplies and copies. Many supplies were things that were already found in our home, but some, like transparencies, might not be something you already have available.
While there are videos included in this program, it is important to realize that they are supplementary and it still requires parental instruction. They provide pronunciation guides to make it easy for parents to implement.
We plan to continue implementing this program with both of my younger boys at least through the end of our school year and possibly into next year.
Click on the graphic below to see what other Crew members thought about Whistlefritz.
As I looked over the Figures In Motion website, I was excited to see that the Famous Figures of Ancient Times coordinated with Story of the World. We are currently using Story of the World, and so I was glad to be able to add the famous figures to our current history routine.
How it Works
My daughter, seventh-grade, and my son, first-grade, are currently going through ancient history together. I had them work together to complete the Famous Figures of Ancient Times. The book focused on 21 historical figures from ancient history.
For each figure, there were two different paper dolls that could be cut out and put together, the first was full color, and the other was an outline that the students could color themselves.
Once the components were cut out, the student put the dolls together using a hole-punch and metal brads. The hole punch and brads could be purchased from Figures In Motion if you do not have any.
Since the dolls were put together, they were articulated (the legs and arms could move). This made them great fun for my first grader to play with and turn into puppets.
My son always wants to create puppets and make up stories to go along with them. With these, he could make the puppets and then use them to retell what he learned in his history lesson for the week.
You could also put them onto popsicle sticks if you wanted a puppet that you could maneuver in that way.
In addition to the paper figures, there were a couple of paragraphs of historical information about each person included in the book. There was also a suggested reading list of read-aloud books to cover those figures.
This would be a great way to expand on what you were learning or to make the book stand a bit more on its own and not as supplementary material.
Thoughts and Conclusions
Overall, we enjoyed these figures, and my son will continue to use them as we finish up our year in history. My daughter thought they were cute but a little too ‘young’ for her.
I think they would be great for elementary-age students, especially those who love puppets. Some middle school students may also enjoy them or enjoy creating with them.
We would not use this as a stand-alone history, but it paired very well with Story of the World as a low prep hands-on activity. The author also mentions that it aligns well with Sonlight Curriculum, Classical Conversations, and Mystery of History.
Also, be sure to click on the graphic below and see what the other Crew families thought about this product and which era in history they were covering.
Resource Library and Affiliate Disclosure
When you sign up for the Schoolin’ Swag free resource library, you will get a link and password to the library; we are adding to the library each month with new items. You will also get a bi-weekly newsletter email to keep you updated on what we have going on.
This post may contain affiliate or referral links, including Amazon affiliate links. As always, I will never recommend a product that I don’t believe in, and you will never be charged more for purchasing through our links. It does help pay for the costs associated with the blog.
The picture says it all. This is, by far, the best choice I’ve made in homeschooling thus far. The picture shows our son, who has battled with reading disability in the past. Today, his first day of Time4Learning, he asked if he could do extra vocabulary. Extra. Vocabulary. This is unheard of in our home. Anything word-oriented was like pulling teeth for him. In his words, “Mom, I think this is the first time I’ve really liked school!”
If you sign up as a new member of Time4Learning, you can get your initial month for only $9.99! That is for each student…but an unlimited number of students. This is a great opportunity to test drive the program. There is also a 14-day money back guarantee. If you decide it’s just not your cup of tea, you can get a refund. I’m thinkin’ that’s not gonna happen here! 😉 After your initial month, the cost reverts to the original price of $19.95 per month for your first student, and $14.95 for each additional one . There are no contracts, no hidden costs. You can cancel any time.
The site is very easy to navigate, even for our 1st grader. The tutorials and online forums fill in any gaps you may have regarding getting started and using the program. Attendance and record keeping is all done for you. As a parent, I can log in anytime to make sure my kids are completing their lessons, and I can check their progress and grades as they go. School can happen anywhere our laptop can go, and any time we choose, 24/7.
Time4Learning is basic core content, primarily math and language arts, also including social studies and science for most grade levels. There are brief placement tests to determine what level you need for your child. Also, if you find the content is either too difficult or too easy, you have the wiggle room of moving up or down a grade level for any or all subjects. Everything I did was easily understandable for even our 1st grader, and explanations and review are offered for everything. There is a “playground” available (lots of games and education sites and applications to choose from), and you can set the time (which appears in the upper right corner) for how long you’d like your student to work before having access to “recess”. You also determine how long they can remain at the playground, and the timer shuts things down when it reaches 0.
I am adding some reading and writing to do apart from what our kids are doing through this site, but am very happy with it so far! I’d encourage you to try it, if you feel it is time to change things up, or even just use it for review. With the money-back guarantee, nothing is lost if you try it and don’t like it.
If you have further questions, ask away! 🙂 If you’d like a personal invitation from Time4Learning, (and help me out in the process by helping me get credit toward our own schooling) just ask, and I’ll refer you!
Here are a few extra tidbits, in answer to some questions folks asked when I posted this on Facebook:
For kids who are not computer savvy, it might be a little more of a challenge; but both of our kids can navigate well. You can mouse over almost all of the buttons and have a verbal directive, which I like, since Katie is reading well, but perhaps not all the words they may use. Some like to use this for summer, or as an additional supplement. The math and language arts are all by general state standards.
You can use it only for the school year, or all year. You can put your account “dormant” for a period determined by you, for a small fee per month…and this retains all of your grades and records. Or, you can start over fresh each year.
I started out with Easy Peasy All-in-One Homeschool (and still highly recommend it!) but with health challenges, this is so much more doable for us right now. I know there are many dealing with various struggles that sap energy, and this makes Time4Learning even more appealing. The beauties of homeschooling…we can morph as much as we want!
Disclosure Statement: As a member of Time4Learning, I have been asked to review their online education program and share my experiences. While I was compensated, this review was not written or edited by Time4Learning and my opinion is entirely my own. Write your own curriculum review or learn how to use their curriculum for homeschool, after school study or summer learning.