Saturday, August 31, 2013

Homeschool Spanish Academy - Review

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When I was offered to review Homeschool Spanish Academy I was SO excited.

Homeschool Spanish Academy has been so much fun. We have been having lessons with Luisa from Guatemala. You can even sign up for a free trial here. I promise you won't be disappointed. We used the Early Language Program that costs $59.99 for half a semester (1 class a week for 7 weeks), $99.99 (1 class a week for 15 weeks), $104.99 for half a semester (2 classes a week for 7 weeks), $174.99 (2 class a week for 15 weeks). You can check out the details here.

Home school Spanish Academy is an online Spanish program classes are taken via the Internet using Skype. You choose your instructor and the date and time, and after a quick call from tech support to make things run as smooth as possible for your first lesson you are good to go.

There are a few technical requirements.

* You need a Internet connection (Fast enough to video chat - there is a minimum requirement however they can help you with the specifics.)

* A Skype account on your computer. (This is a free downloadable program.)

* Webcam with microphone and speakers (we used the built in one on our laptop because we had a joint lesson but you could use a Skype compatible headset with a microphone).

We already had all of these things because kids have video Skype Latin lessons with their Nana in England. This also made it very easy for my kids to navigate Skype by themselves. This isn't a problem though because it is requested that you be around during your kids lessons (when children are young).

One of the reasons I was so excited by this review was because I actually teach English this way, and I know that real conversation with a native speaker really works to help someone become fluent in a language they are learning.

When I first told Jam (12) and Boo (10) that they were going to take joint Spanish lessons on Skype they were a bit nervous especially when I told them it would be video chat.

We have used a few Spanish programs so Jam and Boo knew basic words and phrases however when we first spoke to Luisa you would think that they had never spoken a single word before. Whether it was nerves or the fact we were conversing with a "real" Spanish speaker, I don't know but it took them a little while to feel relaxed enough to answer even a simple question correctly.

Each lesson is completely customized for each student it goes at the perfect pace.





OK so let me backtrack a little and explain what we did;

First of all we had to register for paired lessons. After you have opened an account with Homeschool Spanish Academy you need to schedule your lessons. We were a little chaotic with our schedule since we were using this program while still on our summer light schedule (You know the kind that let's us run off to the pool on a minutes notice.) We scheduled our lessons one at a time. I don't know if this is would work now that school is back in and they are getting busier, but we were able to always have the teacher we wanted, when we wanted, so it worked well for us.

Before our initial lesson we became 'friends' with the teacher on our Skype account. I also had a phone call from the technical department to make sure that our computer and Skype account were set up correctly to prevent complications and problems that would waste lesson time.

After you book a session you receive an email confirming the date and time you have chosen. Lessons are available Monday - Friday and morning, afternoon, and evening so honestly there is a time that suits everyone. The only thing that I found you can't do is book a lesson for the current day. (So you have to book at least 24 hours in advance). Availability only shows up for the next day and onward. We never had to cancel a lesson (or reschedule one) but from my understanding you need to contact your teacher 24 hours before the lesson was due to take place.

I always set an alarm on my phone to remind me that I had scheduled a class but I love that you get a reminder email 24 hours before each class, just in case.

Boo hates being late and so she would have her laptop set up and ready to go at least 15 minutes before their lesson. Jam and Boo did not always get physical homework to do, sometimes it was a list of vocabulary words to review. However the classes were well thought out and really helped them improve their 'beginner' Spanish.



Homeschool Spanish Academy offer a wide range of classes, and it's not just for homeschoolers I feel that anyone who wants to improve their Spanish skills would benefit from these lessons.


(classes are 25 minutes long)

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One-On-One Pricing

Middle School Program
(classes are 50 minutes long)

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One-On-One Pricing

High School Program
(classes are 50 minutes long)

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One-On-One Pricing

Adult Program
(classes are 50 minutes long)

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Pricing

The only thing Jam and Boo said that was negative about this course is that sometimes they could hear other instructors talking and it made it a little confusing. I had a little difficulty returning a homework assignment. I had printed off a pdf file for Jam and Boo to complete an assignment. To send it back I had to scan it and then upload each page one at a time. It would have made it a lot easier to have homework that they could have completed online and then just submitted. However looking at the benefit and improvement my kids have made in just 6 weeks I am willing to overlook these two minor problems.

Check out what others thought of Homeschool Spanish Academy by clicking on the link below.

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©2011-2013 Chickensbunniesandhomeschool. All rights reserved. All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author Chickensbunniesandhomeschool.blogspot.com

Friday, August 30, 2013

Random 5 Friday

Random 5 Friday...

1. We are having a craze on Fawlty Towers here at the moment. It is hilarious, if you have never seen John Cleese in action you definitely need to check him out. I remember a business convention I attended years ago used one of his training videos. It was the funniest training workshop I have ever attended. It does help if you like British humor.

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2. I hate that the pools will be closing after this weekend. Typical after a cool August it looks like we are set for a steaming September.

3. We are in the middle of some excellent reviews at the moment. Everyone is having fun and learning at the same time.

4.Check out my Easy Canvas Prints Giveaway and you really should try and win the 8X10 it will definitely be worth the few minutes it will take to sign up.

5. It's Labor Day weekend and we are not doing anything this weekend. No bar-be-cues, picnic, nothing. Well my husband would not say that though. We are actually building shelves in the basement. I know sounds like fun - not. However the end result will mean I can maybe unpack a few more boxes.

Happy Labor Day Weekend.

Hop over to The Pebble Pond to see more random fives.



The Pebble Pond


©2011-2013 Chickensbunniesandhomeschool. All rights reserved. All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author Chickensbunniesandhomeschool.blogspot.com

Sunday, August 25, 2013

DoorPosts - Because You Are Strong - A Study of Godly Strength for Young Men Review

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I had never heard of Doorposts before I was given the chance to review Before You are Strong with Jam. I was intrigued by the cover of the book. We love the scripture in Ephesians Chap 6 Verses 11- 13 where it talks about putting on the Armor of God.  In fact Jam had to give a talk in church about the Armor of God and so I thought this would be perfect.
 
11 Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
1For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers     of  the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
 
This book was written for boys ages 10-12 although it could be used successfully with older boys. The book does allow for adaptation so it could be used by girls too.
This book focuses on strength (inward rather than outward) and learning how to study the bible. Which is something I definitely want Jam to learn.
 
The Ten studies include:
  1. Strength for the Race: Meditating on Hebrews 11-12
  2. Strength with no Limits A Topical Study on the Omnipotence of God
  3. Strength and Wisdom: A Topical Study in Proverbs
  4. Strength and Temptation: A Character Study of Samson
  5. Strength to be Valiant: A Word Study on "Valor"
  6. Strength in Our Weakness: A Verse Study on 2 Corinthians 12:9-10
  7. Strength in the Battle: A Chapter Study of 1 Samuel 17
  8. Strength Serving Others: A Study of Jesus' Actions in the Gospel of Mark
  9. Strength and Gray Heads: A Verse Study of Proverbs 20:29
  10. Strength in the Faith: A Book Study of 1 John
Each of these studies focus on Bible heroes like David and Samson. The assignments are split into smaller daily units that vary in length from 5 minutes to 20 minutes. All together there are 74 days worth of assignments. There are more ideas given at the end so this study could take longer if you desire. 

The author recommends that you use Nave's Topical Bible and Strong's Exhaustive Concordance. However we don't own or use these tools. Our KJV of the bible is complete with a topical guide and bible dictionary so Jam used these in conjugation with the book.

We read our scriptures every day as a family, but individual study for Jam has been hit or miss. This study gave him the focus to spend some time each day reading the bible.

When I asked Jam what he thought of the program he said it was OK. However he did mention that he didn't like marking as much as was suggested in his personal bible. When I looked at his work I noticed that he was probably a bit heavy handed with the color. So after a little help with his marking he seemed a little happier. He did however find the amount of writing and copying a little boring at times. So I think maybe this study guide would be more suited to older teenagers. Since Jam is nearly 13 maybe the age group 14-18 would be better. I know that is when we start serious daily study in our church.

Since we use the King James Version of the Bible in our home and church this study guide was very easy to incorporate into our study. However I did have to tweak the assignments a little so Jam did not find them so intimidating. However he loved reading the bible everyday and that's something I want to continue to encourage.

One of my favorite things in this guide is the focus on memorization. I think memorizing scripture is very important as it can be brought back to your mind in situations where it can bring comfort, peace and inspiration.


This book is available Because You Are Strong is available Softcover ISBN: 9781891206443 for $14.00 or a downloadable eBook for $10.00. 
is available as a 104 page softcover for $14.00, or a downloadable ebook (.pdf) for $10.00. - See more at: http://schoolhousereviewcrew.com/doorposts-review/#sthash.pEfJBbJe.dpuf
is available as a 104 page softcover for $14.00, or a downloadable ebook (.pdf) for $10.00. - See more at: http://schoolhousereviewcrew.com/doorposts-review/#sthash.pEfJBbJe.dpuf

Read what others thought by clicking on the link below.
 
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©2011-2013 Chickensbunniesandhomeschool. All rights reserved. All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author Chickensbunniesandhomeschool.blogspot.com

Friday, August 23, 2013

Random 5 Friday August 23 2014

Yeah it is Friday and I am writing this post. It means that we have not been running about as much and school has started.

1. We had our first full week of Homeschool this week. It went relatively well. We actually school year round but this summer with our visitor, water-park pass distractions, and moving house it actually felt like we did a lighter than normal summer.


2. I found a new website today Latter-day Homeschooling. Since I belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints I am very excited.  It looks full of interesting articles and help for everyone not just LDS homeschoolers.


Latter-day Homeschooling

3. We have added Easey Peasy All In One Homeschool as our main curriculum this year. We will supplement with review products and things we can't stop doing. However I love the ease (hence the name) that this brings to our day. In fact my sister has started to homeschool this year because of this curriculum. It really takes the fear out of it.


Easy Peasy

4. My daughter has had two play dates over the last two weeks. She said yesterday that she feels like she has a friend. That made me SO happy.

5. I ordered these totally free homeschool ID cards this week check out Alphacard here before September 30th 2013 to order yours - They are completely FREE.


The Pebble Pond

©2011-2013 Chickensbunniesandhomeschool. All rights reserved. All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author Chickensbunniesandhomeschool.blogspot.com

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Easy Canvas Prints Review and Giveaway

Canvas

I have an exciting opportunity for every one - I don't know about you but I love the new trend of canvas prints. However I have never had one. I was recently given the opportunity to review Easy Canvas Prints. It was a really simple procedure and boom I now have a beautiful canvas photo over my fireplace. We have had this picture since our trip to Disney last year but it seemed such a hassle to get something ordered.


My transaction with Easy Canvas Prints couldn't have been simpler. I literally clicked on the website, chose the size I wanted, uploaded my picture, previewed and ordered. The picture was them mailed out to me. I loved that the program checked the quality of my picture so that we would end up with a good quality result.

Right now (when I wrote this) they are offering 25% off all canvas and free shipping in the continental U.S. They even offer special a Instagram canvas. They even offer retouching services for a fee.

I loved my canvas and they completely lived up to their name Easy Canvas Prints.

If you want to try this company for yourself enter my giveaway. They have offered a free 8x10 to one of my readers. This is definitely a giveaway you don't want to miss.




©2011-2013 Chickensbunniesandhomeschool. All rights reserved. All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author Chickensbunniesandhomeschool.blogspot.com

Monday, August 19, 2013

Hands of a Child - Alamo NotePack Battle of the Alamo - Review

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Jam loves history, especially American History. We have also been using some lapbook products from Hands of a Child. So when we were asked if we wanted to try a NotePack I was very interested.

Jam loved the NotePack for Battle of the Alamo from Hands of a Child. 

 Battle of the Alamo Curriculum

We have done a lot of Lap books before so I was very interested in the NotePacks and the fact that they were for an older age group. This NotePack is designed for grades 7-12.



Jam actually worked on this all by himself. The pack includes a 6-day Planning Guide, Related Reading List, 16 Hands-On Activities, a 9-page Research Guide, and an Answer Key. Jam loved it, and commented that he did prefer it over the regular Lap books we have done before. It was a case of "I think I am too old for all the cutting and pasting." 


Jam already knew quite a lot about the Alamo as he is a history buff and seems to remember anything historical he reads. However in this pack it covers the events leading up to the battle, the history of the San Antonio de Valero Mission, the Texas Revolution, the events and timeline of the siege of the Alamo, Texians who fought at the Alamo, and the aftermath. What 12 year old boy would find all of that boring...not this one.

I printed all the information, including the resource sheets and the six day planner and put them in a folder. I gave them to Jam and gave him a deadline. Everything else was up to him. I figured this was one assignment that I could completely give him control over.

He did a great job and is really proud of his folder. They have download a sample of the NotePack here

While I am writing this Hands of a Child has this NotePack on sale for $5.00 the regular price is $12.00. 



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©2011-2013 Chickensbunniesandhomeschool. All rights reserved. All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author Chickensbunniesandhomeschool.blogspot.com

Homeschool T Shirts for $5.99

I just found out about a really cool website. ShopGreatProducts They are having an awesome sale - their Homeschool and Christian T Shirt Collection are just $5.99 each.This sale is running until September 15th and they have a huge selection of designs.

These are my favorite;






 
The designs offered on the site are so varied there are styles that will match anyone's style. Plus right now they can fit your budget too.

You can find out more about the company by checking out their links;  Website Facebook  or Twitter

I am actually waiting for some items to come in the mail - so I will let you know what I think when I get them. Keep your eyes open for a giveaway too.

©2011-2013 Chickensbunniesandhomeschool. All rights reserved. All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author Chickensbunniesandhomeschool.blogspot.com

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Homemade Maple Syrup recipe

Homemade Maple Syrup

We had a little crazy weekend, and so half way through Church today I realized we didn't have anything out for dinner.
Luckily I remembered that we have some sausage meat in the refrigerator and my children love nothing more than having breakfast for dinner. Then I remembered that we had no maple syrup.
I love the Internet within two minutes I had a recipe to make my own and it couldn't have been more simple.

1 cup of water
1 cup of white sugar
1 cup of brown sugar
1 tablespoon of maple flavoring

Boil the first three ingredients together and then reduce the heat and add the maple flavoring.  When I looked at the list of ingredients the only thing I was missing was maple flavoring. However someone had mentioned that they had replaced it with vanilla and a dash of cinnamon.

We I am glad to say it was a success. It tasted a little like my husbands famous French Toast.

Even though we had about an inch of our regular syrup in the bottle - no one had any. The homemade version was a HUGE hit.

I am going to be getting some maple extract but until it comes this is awesome.




©2011-2013 Chickensbunniesandhomeschool. All rights reserved. All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author Chickensbunniesandhomeschool.blogspot.com

Random Five Friday (a little late again)

The Pebble Pond
Random Five Sunday

1. Friday we spent the day at a water park. The temperature was quite cool but warm enough. The rides were amazing - no lines anywhere. We then went on to the amusement park where the lack of lines continued.



2. I was brave and let Jam ride the 'Rip Cord' with his older cousins. They even made him pull the cord that made them fall. He had a blast.

Before



Anticipation


After






3. Little J bought himself a pocket watch just like his big brother.


4. We love living near the lake now.




5. We have applied for another Houseparty it is an American Girl Doll Bitty Baby party. Boo is very excited she would LOVE to be picked. Keep your fingers crossed for us.


©2011-2013 Chickensbunniesandhomeschool. All rights reserved. All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author Chickensbunniesandhomeschool.blogspot.com

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Reading Kingdom - Review

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Little J was recently given the opportunity to review a brilliant online reading program called Reading Kingdom.

Reading Kingdom is a fun easy, to use reading program suitable for ages 4-10 to help them learn to read to a third grade level. The program uses Dr. Marion Blank's patented "6-SIM" Six Skill Integrated Method that teaches all the reading and writing skills in an integrated fashion so that they complement and reinforce each other while fostering comprehension at every level.

The program is designed for children to use with very limited assistance. Little J loved that from the very first day he could use this program by himself.

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While using the program Little J had the choice of using the online click and point keyboard or the actual keyboard on my laptop. We tried it both ways but Little J preferred the real keyboard. There is also an option to increase the time allowed for the child to answer. We had to do this for Little J because although he knew the letter he wanted, sometimes the program told him he answered incorrectly because of how long it took him to locate it on the keyboard and press the key. Once I increased the time it really increased his confidence.
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When you sign up for Reading Kingdom there is a series of evaluation games (I call them that because that is what Little J referred to them as). After the initial evaluation the program determines the starting level of the child. It is really important during the program to not offer help to the child (unless it is technical in nature) because the program gets progressively harder based on the answers of the child, Therefore they need to be able to succeed at their own pace, however fast or slow that may be.


Little J has done really well with this program. He has completed 18% of the program. Considering he is 4 and only been working a few weeks I think that's great. Little J has been following the recommend 3-4 days a week schedule, although sometimes he doesn't want to play it (he is 4 after all) most of the time he does willingly.

When you sign up for the Reading Kingdom, you receive a free 30 day trial. After that, subscriptions to Reading Kingdom are $19.99/month (with no monthly minimum), or $199.99 per year (20% off). Additional children in your account get 50% off ($9.99/month or $99.99/year). You can cancel your subscriptions at any time

I love it when companies offer a free trial it shows that they really believe in their program.


We have enjoyed this program. I love the fact that Little J has so much control over it. All I do is sign him on. He has even figured out how to pause the program for a few minutes if he needs to have a quick break.

We will continue to use Reading Kingdom. However, Little J does spend quite a while on the computer because of his Amblyopia therapy so I will have to make sure I balance his on and off screen time. All in all this program gets a thumbs up from both of us.

This program can be used by parents and teachers alike find out more by checking out the Homeschooling page or the Teachers page.

Don't just read what I have to say...read the reviews available on the link below and find out what others thought about this program.


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©2011-2013 Chickensbunniesandhomeschool. All rights reserved. All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author Chickensbunniesandhomeschool.blogspot.com

Apple Picking - Field Trip

This week we went on a field trip with a home school Facebook group that we joined recently. I have never been apple picking. Normally I jus...