Thursday, April 20, 2017

SpeedyPrep: A TOS Crew Review




The Bentz Test Laboratory has been using SpeedyPrep to prepare for the Introductory Psychology CLEP Test.  Our tester is a Junior in high school this year, with several Dual Credit college courses on his transcript already.  

SpeedyPrep is an online, CLEP test preparation, subscription program. The CLEP is the College Level Examination Program, which is administered by the College Board, makers of the SAT. CLEP tests are a way to help earn college credit on your own by preparing for and passing a standardized test that demonstrates you have college-level knowledge of that subjet. 

SpeedyPrep offers 24 courses that will help your student study effectively to pass the CLEP exam and earn college credit.  CLEP tests are under $100 that's a small fraction of the cost of college tuition.Trust me on this one...we have a freshman in college this year, his credits are over $800 each!


SpeedyPrep courses are designed to meet the College Board requirements, and they even guarantee you'll pass the CLEP test if you get at least a 90-100% proficiency in their study sessions and take the test within 90 days. Pretty impressive.  

This is a very user friendly program.  After logging in, you can choose from many courses, and you can even work in multiple courses at the same time.  The program remembers your progress for you.

This program utilizes a "Flashcard" approach.  Each study section has fill-in-the-blank or multiple choice questions on content that could be included on the test. 

Students are not expected to automatically know an answer, answers can be left blank if unknown (which made my tester stress out a little...) 

 If the answer is blank or incorrect, the program presents a "flashcard" with the correct answer and a short explanation, a picture or diagram, chart or even video explanation.

The videos are short (usually under 5 minutes), blackboard style presentations of the material to be mastered.

The goal is to continue, with repetition, each section until achieving a 90-100% mastery.  Questions are repeated for reinforcement.  The progress bar gives you a visual of where you are at in the course.

 The study sessions are designed to help you review information that has already been learned, in order to study for the CLEP test.

Simply reading the questions, or watching the accompanying videos will NOT be enough to pass the CLEP alone.

My tester "thought" he might know enough to pass the Analyzing and Interpreting Literature CLEP test.  SpeedyPrep quickly showed him...he did NOT.  The questions are very challenging, and very specific to certain works of literature.  This was valuable information for his dual credit and college planning.

He really enjoyed exploring a variety of courses to see what he already knows by answering the questions.  In fact, the entire family got involved in it.  I was disappointed by how many questions I missed in Intro Psych - especially since I have a BA in it!  Shortened answers are recognized, but misspellings are not.  Once again, spelling counts :-)

He spent most of his time with the videos.  He really enjoyed watching videos that covered information he did not already know, and using it to increase his overall knowledge of a particular subject.  He still loves to learn, score one for homeschooling!

I have also been exploring  SpeedyPrep's courses on my own as an outline of information to be sure we cover in future high school classes at Bentz Academy.  This is a very helpful tool for homeschool moms that find themselves worrying they are not covering the right topics in high school.

Overall, my tester and I were very impressed with this program. It's a very useful tool for CLEP test study and preparation. One word of warning though, before investing the time in studying, make sure your student's future college will grant credits for CLEP tests. Not all of colleges do - check a list from College Board here . You can also see the minimum scores a school may require.

Since we were blessed to get a six month subscription, my college kid plans on doing some SpeedyPrep this summer and taking the CLEP exam to earn credits and save on tuition.


Find SpeedyPrep on Social Media:
Twitter:   @speedyprep

Hashtags: #hsreviews #collegeprep #clepprep

College Level Examination Program Preparation {SpeedyPrep Reviews}
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Friday, April 14, 2017

More Animals for India!

My sweet daughters' good friend went to India on a mission trip.

As soon as they heard about her trip, they went into high gear creating their very own, custom, felt animals for her to take with and give to children she will visit in the slums.

They hand sew them, and hand create them.  They are filled with love and prayers too!  They made 30 of them in just a matter of weeks...

I am so proud of their missionary hearts.  They are doing what they can, right where they are with what they have...couldn't we all take a lesson from them?!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Digital Savvy from CompuScholar, Inc.: A TOS Crew Reveiw

CompuScholar, Inc.
CompuScholar, Inc. Digital Savvy

Digital Savvy  from  CompuScholar, Inc.

Technology skills are NOT optional in today's world.  The Bentz Test Laboratory has been getting an education with Digital Savvy  from  CompuScholar, Inc.
This is a one-year, online course that will introduce your 6th-12th grade students to the valuable computer skills they need to know.  It's similar to what is covered in "Information Technology" classes - you can check out the syllabus here.
My tester is 14 and in 8th grade.  We are not huge technology users for our younger students, but by the time they hit high school, we want them to have a good mastery of how to use technology.  This course is a great fit.
This program is super easy to set up and use.  Both parent and student set up logins.  Once logged in, the student and pick and choose the topic they want to work on, or just start at the beginning like my tester did.  It's designed to be completed by the student independently and their own pace, and there is NO prep for mom!
25 chapters an additional supplemental lessons cover a broad range of topics from very basic introduction to computers, using spreadsheets, all the way to careers in computer technology.  Social media and working with digital images are included as well.  This is a very comprehensive program, and could easily count for high school credit. In fact, all of our high school students are working through this program!

Chapters are broken down into lessons.  Each lesson includes a video and text component, plus a quiz.  My tester liked the videos, but is much more of a visual learner, so preferred the text. I like that the program includes both.

 The quizzes allow for multiple tries, so if a concept isn't mastered - they can go back and redo it.   Hands-on activities to complete with a mid-term and final exam complete the course.

 User reports allow the student to see their progress, as well as grades from their automatically graded quizzes and tests.

Overall, my tester was impressed with the program.  The new updated look is very clean and professional.  I was impressed by the volume and quality of the information presented.  This is a well-designed, easy-to-use program that takes the mystery out of technology.
CompuScholar, Inc. offers other must-have technology courses you will want to check out: 

Find CompuScholar, Inc. (formerly Homeschool Programming) on Social Media:

CompuScholar, Inc.Homeschool Programming
Twitter –   @hsprogramming

CompuScholar, Inc

Hashtags: #hsreviews  #computerprogrammingforkids #codingforkids #computerskills

Digital Savvy, Web Design & Java Programming {CompuScholar,Inc Reviews}

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Friday, April 7, 2017

Daddy-Daughter Ball 2017

One of my sweet daughters favorite things to do is to dress up like a princess and dance the night away with their favorite prince...daddy!

This is our first Daddy-Daughter in TX, and it did not disappoint!

Matt is one lucky man.  Future husbands should take notice, these girls have been treated like the princesses they are - and they won't settle for less!

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Shepherd, Potter, Spy--and the Star Namer from Peggy Consolver - Author: A TOS Crew Review

Shepherd, Potter, Spy--and the Star Namer {Peggy Consolver}

Shepherd, Potter, Spy--and the Star Namer from Peggy Consolver - Author

"Just one more chapter...please!"  If you want to hear this, you need to read Shepherd, Potter, Spy--and the Star Namer from Peggy Consolver - Author to your children!

This page-turning, 375 page softcover book tells the story of Joshua 9 & 10 from an entirely untold side of the story - the Gibeonites!  The Bentz Test Laboratory enjoyed this one from the top down (ages 40-something to age 7).

Peggy Consolver
I love it when we can read a book that really brings the Bible to life for us.  This is just that type of book.  The author - Peggy Consolver is a true student of history and archaeology, as well as, a talented author. Check out this fascinating article of her experiences.  She has done plenty of research into this culture and time period, and it really shines in her story.  She brings the people, places and times of the Bible to life on each page.  It's one of the best written books I've read in quite awhile.

The story follows a young Gibeonite shepherd named Keshub as he lives and learns about the true God - the "Star Namer" and meets Joshua of the Bible.

Shepherd, Potter, Spy--and the Star Namer Peggy ConsolverKeshub is such a real character that we all found ways to identify with him.  His questions, his trials, and his triumphs all made us cheer! This story is woven with character lessons that will stick with you and your children.  
The 24 chapter book includes a list of "Characters and Relationships" in the beginning that really helps to get them straight.  We went back once in awhile for help.   The story alternates between the Gibeonites and the Hebrew camp, so it is very helpful.
The book includes some discussion questions in the back that are perfect for small group discussion. They make great conversation starters at the dinner table too :-)

The author has also written - Digging Deeper into HIStory ' which is a 13 unit  study guide of related information to delve into the story even more. 

 From downloadable maps to videos of how to use a sling (just like Keshub) you will find plenty to ignite your imagination as you read!  

Shepherd, Potter, Spy--and the Star Namer Peggy Consolver
Gibeon today
This is a great story.  Be sure to check it out!
Find Peggy Consolver - Author on Facebook

Hashtags: #hsreviews #siblingrivalry #geography #Bible #survival

See what other members of the Crew thought here
Shepherd, Potter, Spy--and the Star Namer {Peggy Consolver Reviews}
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Monday, April 3, 2017

Convention Bound - 2017

This is my first year attending a homeschool convention...with ONLY my teenagers!  No family, no mom friends, just us.  We took a quick getaway to the Great Homeschool Convention in Ft. Worth, TX.

I remember carrying them around in the Baby Bjorn at conventions, and now...they buy me Starbucks.  LIFE IS GOOD!!

We had a wonderful time hanging out with our favorite teachers... Mr. S from One Year Adventure Novel, and THE David Stotts of Drive Thru History® (review coming soon!)

We went exploring the history of Fort Worth.  We stayed in the hotel where John F. Kennedy spent his final night on earth.

Best of all - we got to stop by UMHB and see the missing member of the family, and of course, take him and his friends out to lunch at our favorite Belton BBQ joint.

Last but not least,  I didn't even have to drive!

Iliad & Odyssey Complete Set from Memoria Press: A TOS Crew Review

Memoria Press
Iliad & Odyssey Complete Set

Iliad & Odyssey Complete Set from Memoria Press

The Bentz Test Laboratory has been transported to the ancient world with Iliad & Odyssey Complete Set from Memoria Press.   This amazing resource contains everything you need to unlock the secrets of some of the greatest literature in the history of the world!

This set contains:

The Iliad by Homer
  • Text (translation by Samuel Butler)
  • Teacher Guide 
  • Student Guide 
  • 5 instructional DVDs 

Iliad & Odyssey Complete SetThe Odyssey by Homer
  • Text (translation by Samuel Butler)
  • Teacher Guide 
  • Student Guide 
  • 6 instructional DVDs by Sean Brooks

This set is recommended for grades 7-12, and can be used for a full year course. You can see a sample here.  My tester was a 8th grader.  She was delighted to get a chance to  We were blessed to get the entire set, we chose to start with the Iliad since it happens first.

Homer can be a bit daunting to teach...but, Memoria Press, who is a  favorite provider for our classical studies, has made it painless.  This set is wonderful! 

 The Text is broken down into 24 readable "books" (or chapters).   Each book can be completed in approximately an hour and half (depending on your child).  It has been translated into easily understood text  and they recommend that Homer is "best when read aloud".   The Text  begins with a handy chart of the "Friends and Foes of Homer's Iliad".  My tester loved having this at the very beginning of the book to get the characters straight right away..

The Student Guide contains a 2 page written lesson for each book of  the Text.  Several activities are included to help make sure your student is understanding their reading.
  • Identify Places & Characters - key people and places in the book
  • Comprehension Questions - key questions from their reading
  • Quotations - great quotes
  • Discussion Questions - oral (or written) discussion questions to encourage deeper thinking
The Appendix contains tons of useful information.  Genealogies, explanations of names, descriptions of weaponry and armor, ship terminology and character references.  This appendix really helps unravel all the mysteries in Homer's Illiad.

The Teacher Guide is an absolute treasure!  It contains answers for all of the pages in the Student Guide as well as:

  • Background and Drill - the "insider" info about the Iliad to prep you for teaching it.
  • Discussion Help - notes for discussion.
  • Questions to Mark for Test - the questions your student will be tested on.
  • Teacher Notes - helpful tips for preparing your student
  • Essays & Assignments - mapping, writing, memorization, performances, and more to round out the study
In addition, 2 tests and a Final test are included in the Teacher Guide.  The tests are a combination of fill-in-the-blank, multiple choice, short answer and quotation.  These are excellent resources for your high school student to assess grades for their transcript.

The Instructional DVD's were our FAVORITE part of the program!  Each Book is explained by Sean Brooks, teacher of classical studies and Latin at Highlands Latin School in Louisville, Kentucky.  The videos are engaging and well done, with excellent picture and sound quality. 

 Mr. Brooks is reviewing and commenting on each book's key points.  Behind him is classical art, which makes it more visually interesting as well.   The student should read first, then watch the DVD.

The Odyssey set contains the same well-done resources to follow the exciting adventure story of Odysseus as he returns from the war. We can't wait to unlock it next.

This set can be used independently, or worked on together.  Best of all, you can teach Homer - even if you've never read it before :-)

This set is a wonderful way to introduce some of the greatest books ever written, and Memoria Press has made it easy to teach too!

Other Reviewers have been testing several products you will want to check out as well:

Find Memoria Press on Social Media:

Twitter:  @MemoriaPress

Hashtags: #hsreviews #memoriapress #classicalchristianeducation #classicalyhomeschooling #PRODUCTNAME #classicalchristianhomeschooling

First Form Greek, Iliad/Odyssey and American History {Memoria Press Reviews}

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