Wednesday, February 27, 2019

The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls Book #3 and #4 Review

The Great Escape and Journey to Jericho

I have some fun books to tell you about from WorthyKids, an imprint of Hachette Book GroupThe Secret of the Hidden Scrolls - more specifically The Great Escape (Book #3) and Journey to Jericho (Book #4).  These books are Christian chapter books by MJ Thomas geared to ages 6-9.  Both E (age 7) and D (age 9) read them independently and really enjoyed them.  We had good discussions about both books when they were finished.  Both of these books are short, just over 100 pages and they are great for younger readers.

D reading Book #3.

 D's Book Report for The Great Escape

I loved reading D's book report.  I will share it with you!  She is pretty short and sweet when it comes to writing book reports.
Story Summary:  Mary and Peter were exploring pyramids when Princess Shephara found them, took them to her palace, redressed them, and they stayed there.  In class they learned of so many Gods but there is only one true God!
Main Events:  Mary and Peter explore pyramids.  Mary and Peter go to Egypt.  Plagues come.  Mary and Peter crack the code!  God is powerful and will set you free!
Story Conclusion:  Pharaoh let the people go and God protected his people.  But Pharaoh had changed his mind.  He chased them down and God protected his people!
1 Fact and 1 Opinion:  I like this book because it is based on a Bible story!  This book has 12 chapters and 120 pages.

E with Book #3

With E I decided to let her dictate her report to me.  I asked her about the book and here is her response.  She tends to give more detail than D.
     "The book was good.  I really like it.  Peter and Mary were home.  Then, they went into a Bible story through a scroll.  In the Bible story, they met Princess Shephara, the daughter of Pharaoh.  They rode camels back to the palace (although, Peter didn't want to because the camel spit in his face - laugh).  When they got to the palace, Shephara's slaves dressed them in the nicest clothes in Egypt.  And then Moses and his brother Aaron came and asked Pharaoh to let God's people go (God's people were the slaves).  Pharaoh said no.  Aaron dropped his staff and it turned into a snake.  But the evil magician came (Satan) and did the same thing.  Aaron put his staff in the water, the Nile river, and the water turned to blood.  Pharaoh still said no.  Aaron and Moses went away.  Peter and Mary were trying to figure out what the scroll said so they could go back home.  Basically this book is the Bible story of Moses.  There is the frog plague.  Pharaoh still said no.  Then a swarm of bugs came and bite the people of Egypt.  Boils come next.  Oh I forgot to tell you, Mary and Peter have an angel named Michael that protects them when they are in Egypt.  The last plague is that every 1st born son in Egypt will die; God will strike at midnight.  He will skip the houses if they killed a lamb and put the lamb's blood on the doorway.  Pharaoh said to take the people and go after that.  When God's people are crossing the Red Sea God parts the water.  Pharaoh changed his mind and sends the Egyptian army after them.  When God's people get across the Egyptians are trying to follow them but God closes the water while the Egyptians are still in the water.  Mary and Peter solve the scroll after that and go home!  I really want to read book 1 now".

E with Book #4

D's Book Report for Journey to Jericho

After reading book 3, D was ready to dive into book 4 right away.  Here is D's book report for Book #4.  Again, she is short and sweet.
Story summary:  Mary and Peter travel to Jericho with a scroll.  God tells them, "March around Jericho six days, on the seventh day, march around seven times, the wall will fall and my people will overtake this land!"
Main Events:  Mary and Peter travel to Jericho.  The wall of Jericho falls down.  Mary and Peter figure out the secret of the scroll.
Story Conclusion:  Mary and Peter figure out the secret of the scroll!  It is:  God always keeps his promises!
1 Fact and 1 Opinion:  I like this book because it is a Bible story!  This book has 13 chapters and 120 pages.

My thoughts:  These books are fun and I would recommend them.  The main characters are Peter, his sister, Mary, and their dog, Hank along with their archaeologist Great-Uncle Solomon.  If you haven't guessed it yet from the girls reviews, this is a time-traveling, adventure series that brings Bible stories to life.  Peter and Mary must solve the "secret of the scroll" in each book or else they will be stuck in the past forever.  The angel, Michael guides them in their adventure and helps them when in danger.  I really like the discussions you can have about the books.  You can compare the adventures within the books with the Bible.  They really can make for great discussions!  The girls had no problem reading these and I read one aloud to the younger boys.  They appreciated the black and white illustrations every few pages.

D and E are both asking to read the first two books in this series - The Beginning (Book #1) and Race to the Ark (Book #2).  While it was no problem for them to read these books without having read the first two books in the series, they are like me and want to read them in order!  And exciting upcoming news, The Shepherd's Stone (Book #5) releases this December.

Be sure to click on the banner below to visit the Homeschool Review Crew blog to read more reviews of The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls from WorthyKids.

The Great Escape & Journey To Jericho {WorthyKids Reviews}

I haven't decided if I am going to get the other books in this series soon or wait for Christmas.

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Our Sea Monkeys

Sea Monkeys

C and D are both taking a Marine Biology course this year in coop, Apologia Exploring Creation with Zoology 2 Swimming Creatures of the Fifth Day.  At the end of January, they both brought home a sea monkey kit.  We set them up and it has been fun to watch them hatch and grow.

We started our kits with bottled water.  You can also use distilled water but you should try to avoid tap water.

Our kits came with the water purifier.  We added it to the bottled water and waited 24 hours.

24 hours later our tank had numerous bubbles on it

Next, we added the sea monkey pouch to the water.

This made the water a brown, yellow color.

C and D observed their tanks everyday.  They also stirred their tanks everyday to ensure aeration and that the sea monkeys would have enough oxygen in their water.  It took about 2 days for the sea monkeys to hatch and they were super tiny.  It's nice that the tanks have a few magnifying bubbles on them for viewing the sea monkeys as they grow.  Our kits also came with a tiny spoon and food.  Five days after the eggs were hatched the kids began feeding the sea monkeys every few days.  If the water became cloudy they waited an extra day to feed them.  This was a fun experience and the kids are really enjoying them.  I'm not sure how long they will live but we shall see.

In the short video above you will see our sea monkeys ~ 10 days ago.  We have since added water.  As the water evaporates, you need to add water to the water fill line in the tank.

 Here are our sea monkeys now, about 1 month from starting the tank.  You can see a large sea monkey in the bottom magnifying bubble.

 Both kids have a thriving sea monkey colony.  You can see in the photo above 9 sea monkeys from this view.

And here is the photo without all the red circles!

Have you ever had sea monkeys?  I'd love to hear your experience if so.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

IXL Learning Review

Our family was blessed with an annual membership in all IXL subjects (math, language arts, science, social studies) from IXL Learning for C, D, and E.  What's IXL?  It's an online continuous diagnostics tool that assesses what students know and provides practice for them to learn and grow.  Students have access to numerous exercises, awards, and certificates while parents and teachers gain insight on their tracking and progress (immediate stats).  This information can be used to identify trouble areas for each student making it easier to see where they need assistance and extra practice.

C using IXL last night!
An example question from Language Arts - Type the word that fits both pictures.  The answer is pit.

Above you can see the word Fantastic on the screen after the question is answered correctly.

When question are answered correctly, a positive encouragement (Fantastic, Well done, Terrific, etc.) flashes across the screen with a green check mark and the next question appears.

When questions are answered incorrectly, the worked out solution for that question is provided for the student to learn from their mistake.

On IXL students can work on any topic at any point.  Each section is complete when a student reaches a 100 point total.  If a question is answered incorrectly, the students score will go down in order to have the student practice more before that section can be marked complete.

The SmartScore will increase as questions are answered correctly or decrease if a question is answered incorrectly.

Students have access to all grade levels so they can work ahead or refresh their knowledge on topics.  The recommendation wall shows suggestions tailored to each student.  C, D and E have spent a lot of time answering through the questions and topics that are recommended to them.  The questions are adaptive, meaning they adjust to the student's ability, providing the right amount of challenge.

Students are often rewarded with awards and certificates for their continued success.  Every time a section is completed with the 100 point total, the student is rewarded with some kind of award.  They can receive awards for meeting challenges, mastering a skill, amount of time spent, and number of questions answered in a row just to name a few.

C mastered a skill and received a gold medal.

E mastered a skill and received a gold medal.

E earned different keychains for answering questions correctly in a row.

Here you can see D's badge collection for Language Arts.

And here is an example of a certificate, C completed 500 math questions (his favorite subject).

Another certificate example

Overall, I think IXL Learning is a really good, comprehensive practice website and it is helping C, D, and E develop confidence and skill improvement.  IXL Learning is easy to use and there are a variety of problems and subjects.  I like that my kids (age 7, 9, and 11) can use it independently.  Even though E is only 7 (and in 1st grade) she is a fantastic reader and speller which allows her the ability to use this independently.  The kids also get practice typing!  C, D, and E have been using IXL Learning solely on our desktop at home but I look forward to trying out IXL's mobile app for on-the-go learning as well.

Be sure to click on the banner below to visit the Homeschool Review Crew blog to read more reviews of IXL Learning.

Immersive, Adaptive Learning Online {IXL Learning Reviews}

I hope you can see that IXL Learning is so much more than an online Math drill.  I am looking forward to C, D and E growing in their knowledge and skills in Math, Language Arts, Science and Social Studies by using our annual membership to the fullest.

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Monday, February 18, 2019

Timberdoodle Doodle Our Catalog 2019 Giveaway

I meant to give you more warning about this, really I did.  This contest closes in a few hours but it is still worth mentioning.  My kids entered last year and A and B were so excited when they found their doodles in the current Timberdoodle catalog.  Timberdoodle is collecting doodles for consideration in their 2019 Curriculum Catalog.  And if it's not great enough just to be featured, they are giving away a Timberdoodle Curriculum Kit or $800 Timiberdoodle Gift Certificate - totally awesome!  The winner is selected randomly.  Check out some of the kids entries below!

 A's Box of Awesome

 C's Diamond Rocket

 D's Narwhal

 E's pig is so cute!

 B's Map of The World

These were just a few of our submissions.  The kids had a blast.  If you missed it this year, there should be another opportunity next year.  I'll try and give you more of a heads up!

CoOp Science Fair

I have been teaching a Science Fair class at our weekly CoOp and it has been challenging and fun to teach the kids in my class the principles of the Scientific Method.  Last week, we had a mini Science Fair and the kids were able to present their projects.  There were six different project topics:  water evaporation, the rings of Saturn, how shape affects the eruption of a volcano, Diet Coke and Mentos vs Mountain Dew and Life Savers, testing the advertising claims of Flex tape and how changing the amount of baking soda affects an eruption.  Yes, volcano projects are popular.  I'm so proud of these kids!  I think for most of them this was their first experience with a Science Fair project and all that it entails.  I look forward to seeing all that we accomplish the rest of this school year.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Valentine's Boxes and Party

Getting ready for the party!

The kids and I had a Valentine's Day party last Friday after CoOp.  I think we had around 37 kiddos at our house - it was so much fun!  I'm so thankful to have a great community at CoOp and the kids loved seeing their friends and getting so many goodies in their boxes.

 A made an astronomy themed box.  She gave out valentine mazes.

B designed her box with stickers and jewels.  She gave out the 3D printed hearts.

C made a robot box.  He gave out valentine erasers.

D used heart stickers to make her box.  She gave out stretchy owls.

E used heart paper and stickers - she even put her initials.  She gave out gel butterflies.

F's box was similar to E's box.  He gave out bouncy balls.

F's valentine bouncy balls

G wanted Cookie Monster so I helped him make his box.  He gave out valentine frogs.

 G's valentine frogs

Happy early Valentine's Day!

Wednesday, February 6, 2019 Review

Have you heard of  We have been blessed with an Ultimate Annual Yearly Membership!  There are so many perks to being a member.  One of those perks is that you gain access to World Book.  What's World Book?  Great question.  It's basically an online resource library that includes articles, lesson plans, videos, documents, research tools, games and so much more. has organized this resource for you into libraries, grade and subjects.  As a member, I have access to ten different libraries on World Book!  One of these libraries is the student library which is specifically designed for students 5th-8th grade.  B started learning biological systems for her Challenge A program last week.  She went into the student library for World Book and typed in respiratory system and voila, the information was right there to help her learn!

Search on Respiratory System in World Book

Let me tell you about another member benefit of SchoolhouseTeachers, the video library!  There are numerous videos that span several academic areas along with entertainment, marriage and parenting, and Bible study as well.  You will have access to hundreds of streaming videos from providers like, City on a Hill, Discovery House, Drive Thru History, RightNow Media and more!  Some of these videos are parts of the classes that SchoolhouseTeachers offers.  I love that the video library rounds up all the videos in one location so that you could watch them for fun.  I was super excited to find Torchlighters (an animated video series that follows heroes of the faith) videos in the kids section.

Daily Puzzlers Course

SchoolhouseTeachers has numerous elementary, middle school, and high school homeschool courses.  Right now, my kids are really enjoying the Daily Puzzlers Course for 3rd-12th grade.  This course includes 100 word puzzles that vary in difficulty making them perfect for a wide range of ages.  These puzzles are designed to help students understand instruction, practice vocabulary and encourage critical thinking.  There is a great help page that you can print out for your students as a reference.

D working on Puzzle #1
* We are using our brown table as our word mat since it contrasts with the letters so well.

C working on Puzzle #2

A, B, C and D work on some of the puzzles together and some independently.  I really like that the puzzles have them thinking about language arts and learning new words while having fun.  In the first few puzzles they learned the words loch and yew for example.

What about younger kids?  SchoolhouseTeachers has an amazing Preschool Playground where you will find articles, academic resources and learning activities to help guide your preschooler in learning.  It is broken down into sections that make it easy to navigate and find something specific or browse through all the material available.  If you want to use the Preschool Playground as a full preschool curriculum there is a great video that walks you through the steps.   I am just starting to explore this area with F and G and I am enjoying all the great resources available.  F started growing carrots a few weeks ago.  In the Numbers, Patterns, and Cognitive Skills section I found a Color-by-Number Fruits, Vegetables, and Animals activity pack and within this pack was a color-by-number carrot picture!  This is what I mean by great resources!

Color-By-Number Options

 I printed it out.

F with his completed carrots!

Be sure to click on the banner below to visit the Homeschool Review Crew blog to read more reviews of SchoolhouseTeachers.  And you can use the coupon code CREWFOLLOWER to save! Quality Online Homeschool Resources { Reviews} Quality Online Homeschool Resources { Reviews}
I hope that you will see just how valuable this tool can be for your own homeschooling needs.  I am personally excited to dig even deeper into SchoolhouseTeachers and ultilize all that it offers for my family this year.

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