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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Standard Deviants Accelerate- Review

Standard Deviants Accelerate Review

Making learning fun when your children are in the elementary grades can be a lot easier then when they begin to hit the upper grades. It can be difficult to find something that will engage teens. They are at that age where they either like it or they don't. Standard Deviants Accelerate  provides a curriculum supplement for Middle and High school courses. There are classes for Grades 3rd-12th grades but the bulk are for upper levels. The core basis of  Standard Deviants Accelerate are high energy videos that teach every thing you need to know for that subject along with additional online tasks.

For my review I was given a full annual subscription to all the Standard Deviants Accelerate Homeschool Courses You can purchase the course for the use of one student for $99. for a year or $24.95 per month.
AP Courses are available for one student for $14.95 per month. This page reflects the homeschool Pricing.  Below is a list of the courses...

Arithmetic - Grades 3+
Fundamental Math - Grades 4+
Earth Science - Grades 6+
Nutrition - Grades 6+
Algebra - Grades 7+
Biology - Grades 7+
Chemistry - Grades 9+
English Comp. - Grades 9+
U.S. History - Grades 9+
AP Biolody - Grades 11+
AP Chemistry - Grades 11+
AP U.S. Government & Politics - Grades 11+
AP U.S. History - Grades 11+
AP Eng. Composition - Grades 11+

When you get your log in you will be able to load the courses that you have purchased. I loaded all of them to mine and so my child's page looks like the one below. Very colorful and easy to read icons appear for an easy location of courses.  

I took a look around through all the courses and played around a little before we worked in any of them. I managed it in two different ways. One way was to take a look at the guide for that particular course and build a curriculum around the videos and online activities. The other way was to look at the curriculum I was using and match like subjects to the topics and work on those particular links. The courses are generally set up in a similar fashion. So I will walk you through one in particular. 
One of the courses I decided to work through was the Nutrition course. I did this one with my 8th grader, Although it is suggested for a 6th grader.  It was easily modified for his level. We have all been working hard on eating healthier and exercising . So I thought this would be a perfect way to explore this topic. This is one course that I built a curriculum out of what was present in the online session. Below is a list of all the topics that are touched upon in the Nutrition course. You do not need to click them in order if you don't want to . You can click any of the links, enter and complete them. We worked through them in order and I added some worksheets and other activities along with what was present.

Once you click on the link ...below is what you will see. The video on the right is your first stop.  They are energetic and wonderfully made. To the left you will find the transcript of the video and can follow along. At the bottom of the screen your child can take notes and then print them out for a Nutrition Binder. I loved the notes idea.

The next tab in the lesson is a vocabulary tab. You can click and hear the word and read the meaning of the vocab. word.

The next tab is one called "Diagram". In this section students will drag and drop answers on the screen. This screen varies and are not all identical to the one below. It is a simple way to reinforce what they learned in the video and with their vocabulary.

The Quiz section is just what it says. A quiz to evaluate what you got from the video and vocabulary. It is automatically graded by your computer. You can come back later as the parent and check on their scores.

The last section is the "written answer" section. You are giving a rubric for grading the answers that your child writes to help you with grading.

My 8th grader also used it with his Algebra 1. It was a nice additive to his existing curriculum and really helped us solidify the topics that were presented in his books.  I would just match the topics and have him click those specific links and work through the screens. Then we would work together on other problems on an as needed basis.

From the very beginning my son enjoyed the humor of the videos. He is an auditory learner so the videos provided him with that need. My son also does not like long drawn out subjects so he appreciated that most of them were no more than 15 minutes in length. I was not focused on the grading aspect but we did try a few. Mostly we used the videos, vocab section and the Diagram section.

I did also used it with my 3rd grader . He used the Arithmetic section. I found it a bit harder to match with our curriculum. It was missing some of the algebraic concepts we were learning in his math book. It also showed us how to complete larger multiplication facts and in our book we are just beginning to learn our facts. So There were only a few links that we were able to use and match up. I'm thinking that our 4th grade math book will match better to the 3rd grade videos.
My thoughts
I enjoyed the change in scenery for my child. Meaning that the videos provided us with a change to our regular schedule. I was able to match up nicely to my sons Algebra course to the video course but struggled to do so with my 3rd graders math curriculum. Standard Deviants Accelerate is a secular program. The Sciences will teach evolution. However you do have the ability to skip them.

If you would like to read more about this video course click the graphic below to learn more.

Click to read Crew Reviews

Warm Blessings,

Crew Disclaimer
Friday, October 17, 2014

Random 5 Things about Me on Friday

I'm ready to share my 5 Random things about me for this week. It has been a rather relaxing week which is pretty unusual for our family. I'll take it.

1. We live in PA and are experiencing Autumn right now. I love this time of year... Apples, colored leaves, and cooler weather.

2. I'm working on a painting project right now. It's my daughters sign in registry for her wedding. We are making a piece of art for them to sign so she can hang it in her house. I'm pretty excited about it and will share it when its completed.

3. My little one fell on our porch steps and really scraped her leg. She is always doing that because she doesn't pay attention to them. She thinks she can just run down them.  They aren't easy steps though so I completely understand her falling. They are sort of a make shift mixture.

4. I love Rainy days! I have come to the conclusion there is really only one season I'm not a big fan of and that is winter. I like the snow as long as I don't have to go out in it. Me and being cold should be in the same sentence.

5. I have been wanting to make a leaf art journal for some time. I have the perfect little book that I got years ago as a secret sister. I hope this year I can get to do the project. Hoping to get out this weekend to take the kids on a leaf walk. It would give them the project they need for their 4H wildlife project and it would give me my inspiration for my journal notebook.

Warm Blessings,

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Apologia - iWitness Book (Review)

Apologia Review

Recently my 14 year old son and I started working on a study to see if we could find out if the bible is Truth. (Of course I know that answer)  I recommend doing this with all of your teens. They are always questioning at this age. If your child is questioning then approaching it as a detective trying to find the answers works really well. At least it has for us. Just at the right time Apologia Educational Ministries came out with this new series of books called iWitness. There are three in the series and they are written by Doug Powell.  I was so lucky to be able to review all three...

New Testament iWitness- $14.00

iWitness Biblical Archaeology - $14.00

Old Testament iWitness - $14.00

The books are written for children ages 11 and up. I am sure a more advanced 10 year old reader would be fine with the reading as well.
Apologia Review

iWitness Biblical Archaeology was prefect for the study my son and I were doing. Our Bibles are not history books as stated on the back of the cover but they do claim to record real history. As detectives we were searching for real evidence. This book gave my son tangible evidence that these times and dates did exist. What was most fascinating was that we were able to find the real facts in these books. Many times certain websites make claims of untruth . It can be hard to find the real story behind bible teachings. I have heard numerous times that Noah's ark has been found. I always wondered who if anyone had claim to the truth. It was interesting to read the details of what was thought and documented. As we read through this book I was wishing that I could actually hold or see these things for myself. Such amazing finds like old letters, amulets, the dead sea scrolls and many others. I had also found  Jesus Shroud to be the most interesting. I had watched a documentary on it years ago but again found it interesting to share it with my son.

Apologia Review

The Old Testament iWitness is another book in the series. It again looks at and tries to define for students that the Bible is real. You will learn how it differs from the Hebrew bible and who wrote these amazing books. You will learn how the books were collected and so much more. I really like how this book was set up. We did a study last year on the Old testament books. I enjoyed how the book was laid out to explain everything to the student from the scrolls to the books of wisdom. We learned about Covenants and about the prophets. God is just so awesome that He orchestrates such a big project and has it put together into such a meaningful book.

What was really neat was when we came upon the pages about manuscripts and book writing. Although the book is said to be for 10 year olds and up. My 8 year old found these pages interesting since it was just what he was learning in his history class. It just solidified for him what he had learned.

Apologia Review

The new testament iWitness is written again to show proof of God's word. What makes Christianity different from all other religions? How was our Bible handed down? What books were included and who decided? All these questions and more are answered in this book. This book had a lot more for my 8 year old on the copied book and how it was done. So we had another resource that matched his history book.

My Thoughts:
I enjoyed reading through the iWitness books with my son. They have become a nice edition to our growing library.  I was surprised when I got them the old look of the cover for some reason had me thinking they were hard bound but they are actually paper backs. The illustrations in the book are good and seem a perfect fit for a middle schooler.

If you would like to read more reviews on the iWitness books click the graphic below
Click to read Crew Reviews

Warm Blessings,

Crew Disclaimer

Family ToolBox - Review

 has become my favorite go to Parenting Resource. Awhile ago I was able to take a look at the Christian Parenting Handbook, and learned a new way of parenting. Biblical parenting uses  a biblical approach and works toward a child's heart to teach them the character traits that you would like your child to acquire. No longer did I feel like I was talking to myself. I had found real answers to real family issues. It is exciting what this ministry is doing for families all around the world.

The National Center of Biblical Parenting is at it again this time with a video series and a workbook called Family Toolbox for Parents and children ages 10 years old and up.

Download version $79.95
Shipped Product (book & Dvds) $99.95 plus shipping
Church Program Download $159.95
Church program printed / dvd version $179.95 plus shipping

The Family Toolbox is a DVD/Video program that brings the parent and teen together. There are 8 lessons in the toolbox
Lesson 1 - It starts with the Heart
Lesson 2 - Following Instructions Well
Lesson 3 - Handling Pressure without losing your cool
Lesson 4 - Value of Correction
Lesson 5 - The importance of Responsibility
Lesson 6 - Accepting No as an answer
Lesson 7 - Dealing with your own Anger
Lesson 8 - Consider the Needs of Others

and Sixteen Success Principles over the eight lessons. The 16  principles addressed are...

Be Respectful Even When It's Hard.
Develop Internal Motivation
Develop Healthy Habits for Following Instructions.
Look for Ways to Contribute to Family Life
  Solve Problems Instead of Generating Conflict. Instead of Sarcasm Develop the Skills of a Peacemaker.
Learn to Value Correction.
Apologize Well.
Develop a Plan for Being Responsible.
Take Responsibility for Your Mistakes.
Train Yourself to Accept No as an Answer.
Avoid Arguing.
View Your Family as a Team and Look for Ways to Work Together.
Learn Self-Control to Manage Anger.
Practice Flexibility When Plans Change.
Learn to Handle Unfairness Well.

I was given the physical product and workbook as well as the download. When you open the menu on the physical CD you have a row of the lessons on the left for the parent and a row on the right for the child. The parents video is about a 10 minute teaching session on what you are about to view with your child and how you can apply it to your lives. The student videos share case scenario's that are about 1-2 minutes in length. You and your teen will watch the 1-2 minute videos together. Then you can fill in the discussion sheet. Once you have filled in the sheet you can have a nice talk about the principles discussed. There is a worksheet for parents and students to complete. This isn't just a one way street it is about both of you making changes for the better. Your child can talk about what they can do to change and you , the parent, can talk to them about what you would like to do to create better communication in your home. As the week goes you can point out when your child is using the trait you have talked about in the discussion. You do not want to move forward until you thoroughly feel that this trait is acquired.

How we used it:
I sat one day and watched all the parenting videos at one sitting. I felt like I wanted to get an overview first of the program. As I was watching them, my son began doing some chores near me. He quietly worked and then said to me... "Mom that's not going to work for me. " I chuckled at him a bit at that time. He was listening to the talk on motivation. This is one of his areas of weakness.

Later we met this time to watch the short 1 minute videos. I asked him to keep an open mind. I told him the videos were to help us look for behaviors or attitudes in our hearts that maybe we should think about changing. I decided after the video to just move to our areas and fill in our discussion forms alone. After we had some time think about it. We met again and rewatched the video a second time. This time with our discussion questions in hand.  Doing it In this way we were able to relate things to our current situations. It was interesting to give him a little space with the video because he began to really think about it and compare it to what we were doing. (My son by the way is 14) My oldest daughter who is 17 this year did not want to participate with the workbook and video which tells me she needs it the most. However while we were having our talk she came around and joined in on the conversation. It was great to see them interact in this none evasive way.  We ended our time by reading the bible verse and saying prayers together.

Incidentally my skeptical son got the most out of it.

What I liked:

I thought I was getting this product to review for my teen but I soon learned I needed it too. There is always room for growth. I loved the 3 column plan, with it I was able to evaluate the real heart issues and not focus on the behavior. I love that this uses the bible and gives us a biblical approach to parenting. The Toolbox works to the Heart using Character Training. I learned it is not about the reaction but about giving my kids skills that they can use throughout their lives. As always the National Center of Biblical Parenting is an A+ on my list.

Tonight at 8 pm ET/5pm PT there is a Facebook party at the National Center for Biblical Parenting. Stop by you might win some great prizes...Facebook Party

Warm Blessings,


Virtual Refrigerator Art

For the Month of October the Virtual Refrigerator will be taking a special look at leaves. One of my favorite things about fall are the various colors of leaves. I am hoping this weekend to get to the lake so we can do some more leaf investigation.

Today is my Grandmothers birthday. She is in her 80's and we will be going over to her house this evening to celebrate her special day. To incorporate both activities. I printed out a fall photo of the kids with their wagon. I asked them to choose a frame shape for their picture. They both choose a heart. I love how it circle both the little ones.

Then they went outside and collected some small leaves. We printed the leaves in paint to decorate or frames. They came out adorable. The kids decided Grandma gets one and Grammy (my mom) gets one.




Jennifer the Creator of the Virtual Refrigerator Blog Hop has created a pinterest board of our Art. So now you can go and see all of our past art projects. Yeah... Thank you Jennifer !

Check out some of the other Bloggers co-hosting this fun Hop each week.

Now It's your turn. If you have art to share you can blog about it and link up.

Warm Blessings,


Letter A is for Alligator

We started... I get one last time with the ABC's. My kids are growing up so fast and this will be my last preschooler in the home.   However my job is working with preschoolers so I'm sure I will hit the ABC's again.  

Each week I have been putting up the new letter of the week on our pocket chart. We are not a slave to doing a new one each week. We did A for two weeks easing into it. I also do not do the letters in order. There is no real need for it. I found I have acquired all sorts of ABC cards. The plain red in the middle are tactile cards. I have my dear one go and look at the pictures. We name the letter, stress the sound it makes and use our finger over the tactile card to feel the letter. It feels a bit like sand paper. Then we write the letter on the dry erase board.

Next I pull out or ABC Song chart. This is a product from Scholastic's. The  ABC Flip Chart and Songs comes with a CD  and my girl just loves the songs. They are catchy tunes that are easy to learn sung to tunes you may already know.  We sing the song through and at the end of the song these is a little music left... We sing the Ah ah ah ah to that tune to end the song. Sweet Pea also likes to locate the A's in the song with a pointer. I first heard of this book at a preschool job from my past. I Loved how into the songs the kids became and so just had to have this for my girl.

Next we pulled out our preschool handwriting without tears material. I was lucky to find all of the handwriting goodies at our local used curriculum sale for $10. A huge steal and I got her preschool book for $2.50 in perfect condition. Those sales have really saved us this year. First I share with her the A mat that shows how to build the A with her wooden pieces. She likes to build it first on the example mat and then she would build it alone on her blue mat. I then model the letter for her on the Chalk board. We have acquired several of these so she has one of her own and I have one to demonstrate. I use the language form Handwriting without tears. She tries then to write it on her own. I usually get one or two out of her. Her favorite is the Magnet board. She loves the magnet shapes that come with it and can easily make the letter of her choosing.

She had to show off her perfect A...

I found a few A things online that I loved. I sort of pick and choose what I want to use. I hardly ever use an entire package that someone creates. This one below is from Confessions of a Homeschooler. We highlighted the A's from the reading. This is one of her favorite things to do.

1plus1plus1equals1  had this an alligator sheet I did not get a photo . It was perfect to go along with our Alice the Alligator song. The pages is an upper case A and the child cuts out alligators that fit into the A . Absolutely Alligators...

Recently I snagged some Large lowercase a Stamps. I also have Capital A stamps in a smaller size. So I gave her the stamps and she went crazy. I originally was thinking of having her stamp a lighter color ink and then allow her to trace over them but this was not traceable.

Although we wrote in the handwriting without tears book. We did practice writing A's often. This page came from a letter workbook I snagged again at our curriculum fair. I also had her dot pain an A from

These are additional pages I found. The bottom one came from teachers pay teachers. Highlight a Letter Identification  at the moment the price tag is free so you might want to snag it if your interested.

We also read the story A Lady with an Alligator Purse. My little girl enjoyed making a paper version. Our Alligator purse ended up being more fun as a chase my brother around the house making alligator sounds. She had a good time with it.


We also sang the song 5 Monkeys swinging in the tree teasing Mr. Alligator don't catch me. Along comes Mr. Alligator hungry as can be ... SNAP !! Four little Monkeys swinging on the tree... etc...

I found Monkey clip art and printed out 5. Then we made these alligator clothes pins so she could snap and move the monkeys from the table. I love her face in this one.

I hope you enjoyed looking at what we did with A is for Alligator. We also did a mini unit on apples which will be coming soon.

Warm Blessings,








Thursday, October 9, 2014

Fortuigence - Textual Analysis - Review

Writing... The written word can be so descriptive and concise. It can flow like music and create images of beauty and destruction in the readers mind. It is something that all of us should know how to do but don't always know how to go about doing it. Especially , exhibit A my 14 year old son.

Fortuigence  introduces us to writing classes helping us homeschool mom's teach one more tough topic. There are four writing classes offered at this time
Essay Rock Star Personal Statement Writing Course

Essay Rock Star Persuasive Essay Writing Course

Essay Rock Star Expository Essay Writing Course

And the one I was able to review...Essay Rock Star Textual Analysis Writing Course
You can receive one course of your choice for $57.
If you would like all four you would pay $197

This includes 7 lessons. It is a self paced course so if your child works in it 3 times a week they probably will complete it in 3 to 4 weeks, however they are able to go at their won pace.  The course is for children ages 12- 18. My son is 14 but really struggles with writing.

We started out by submitting a sample writing assignment to the instructor. Then we began the first lesson. Textual Analysis is a type of essay typically used in testing for college and some high school students. I have assigned a few to my son recently with his history to get practice writing them. In the past he was to vague and didn't hit many of the key points . Often in a testing situation more is better. We are still working toward a more concise goal. Each assignment is set up so that the child must complete one assignment before going on to the next. I found that my son was afraid to submit what he had done. We worked hard on what we did get to submit. He is very hesitant to share his writing with anyone.  I learned the hard way if you have a hesitant writer you will have to check in with them often.

He had to choose a piece of writing to analyze. It made it easy in that the instructor gave him only a few choices to pick from. Although I have to admit it took him awhile to choose. He choose to look at a painting of Washington Crossing the Delaware. It was great that there was an art option for those hesitant writers. With each assignment you can watch a video of the instructor. Then below it is written instructions. The instructions also on audio if you child does better with hearing rather than reading directions. There are also pdfs and various worksheets and examples available for download. The child then completes the work and submits it via an email system.

The hard part is then the child has to wait for feed back from the teacher. Hard for those nervous about writing.  If there isn't any feedback then the check mark on that assignment will turn red which indicates that the assignment is complete and you can move forward. To begin with he was given four questions to get him started. This really opened up his thoughts but took him awhile to get started. I admit we had to fight over it a bit to get going... He really just doesn't like to write but has a good start here...

This particular writing above was the brainstorming process. It is the first step in the writing process. Step 2 is organizing your thoughts with an outline. Recently we did an outline for a speech he will be doing this weekend. So we are practicing this skill. I have had to move very slow as he is extremely timid with writing but I have hope that this five step process will work for him. This course has given him some confidence. Step three is free writing. Students  write their rough draft. Step four is the revision process and step 5 editing.

Our thoughts:

I love the writing course. I think that it is helpful if you are unsure yourself as to how to get your child started.  I really like that the classes are not scheduled. You can go in anytime and work as you have time for them. The website is easy to maneuver and has a ton of information on it. You might want to go and look around just for that purpose. It is definitely a step toward making the writing process easier .

If you would like to connect on social Media with Fortuigence try one of these...

Google+: and

If you would like to read other reviews on the other three writing course you will find them at the crew website. Click the graphic below.

Click to read Crew Reviews
 Warm Blessings,


Crew Disclaimer

Virtual Refrigerator - Domes and Leaves...

This week in History the kids and I visited Florence. Ok, not in real life you got me. I sure wish I could visit Italy. I have always wanted to visit there. Maybe one day. The kids and I were taking a close look at Brunelleschi's Dome. We took a look at the different parts of the dome and how it was structured. We compared it to our State capital which was modeled from Ancient architecture. Those Romans sure were smart.  I had the kids try to make a model of a dome using shoe boxes and other recycled material.

This particular one is made by Spirit age 8. He added many details. Including an entrance.

This is Sweet Peas age 5 of course hers has eyes. You all know that Domes have eyes right? Hee hee...

Superboy also tried his hand and making a marshmallow dome. It looks easy to do but when you try to actually make one they aren't as easy as they look to put together. He did pretty well with it.

For the Month of October the Virtual Refrigerator will be taking a special look at leaves. If you have any leaf art please link up and share them with us...

The kids and I first took a leaf walk and collected some examples for inspiration.

I told the kids we would use our leaves as examples to draw some of our own. The kids had other ideas. They traced the leaves to their paper.

 Sweet Pea choosing her next leaf.

She found this cute little one.

After they drew them with pencil , then they traced them with sharpie.


We ended by painting them with water colors. My favorite paints for the kids to use because they are easy to clean up and nice to handle.

Spirits age 8

Sweet Pea age 5



Jennifer the Creator of the Virtual Refrigerator Blog Hop has created a pinterest board of our Art. So now you can go and see all of our past art projects. Yeah... Thank you Jennifer !

Check out some of the other Bloggers co-hosting this fun Hop each week.

Now It's your turn. If you have art to share you can blog about it and link up.

Warm Blessings,


Keep in Touch

I would love to hear from you. Feel free to comment or leave a message in my message box. I will get back to you as soon as I can. Thank- you for visiting Angels of Heart.

Rejoice in the Lord Always.