Thursday, February 22, 2018

UltraKey Online Family Subscription from Bytes of Learning: A TOS Crew Review

UltraKey Bytes of Learning

UltraKey Online Family Edition

UltraKey Online Family Subscription from Bytes of Learning

Typing and keyboarding are a vital skill for today's world, and we have found a new program to help us master it! UltraKey Online Family Subscription from Bytes of Learning is a online customizable course that can get you up to speed in no time!

This self-paced course includes 12 lessons designed for ages 8 to adult. Sessions are meant to take approx. 20 minutes.

UltraKey Online Family Edition

One of my favorite parts of this program is that it is completely customizable to each user - the UltraKey Online Family Subscription offers options for 3, 5 or 8 users, and the parent account is free (you can use it too - I did, and it's fun!)  The set up is very easy, and you can see everything on your dashboard.

Your student takes an assessment to help with placement.  Both of my testers (grades 3 & 4) are brand new typists, so they started at the beginning.  I took a test and decided I could use some extra practice, so I've been using the program too.  

At first - everyone learns about proper posture and finger placement.  The program uses a combination of short video animations, slides and audio instruction.  Each user can set their own goals or let the program set the goal based on assessment.  The goals can be changed.  

Each user can customize their settings - changing display colors, displaying the hands on screen, practice amounts, and if to allow backspacing. I never realized how much I do this, until I couldn't :-)

The program automatically returns to the spot you left off.  This program is very user friendly, and easy to learn - both of my testers were able to work completely independently.  Lessons focus on teaching a specific key, then letter combos, and finally integrating it into words and sentences.  

Once you complete the lesson, you are ready for a Skill Check.  This will assess your typing to your set goals - both for wpm and accuracy.  I found I had set my goals a bit high, and had to re-do them.  The program will not allow you to move on until you master your goal.  

The "My Reports" section allows me to see their progress.  Which lessons they have completed, skill checks, wpm and accuracy.  Printable certificates can be downloaded.  

In addition to working through the lessons - the Typing Forum allows you to take typing tests or use the free typing tool.  This is an area to practice your skills.

 The Game Zone has several options to incorporate your typing practice into games.  My testers really enjoyed this section - and were please by how the lessons had helped them! 

Overall, I am very impressed with this program.  It is user-friendly, works on any computer - or even on tablets (with keyboards), and is very affordable.   The program includes helpful PDF User Manuals, short videos and solid instruction.  I like that it's not overly animated, or game based.   It's engaging but, offers solid ways to actually improve both your speed and accuracy in typing.

 We have tried other approaches, but this program has really shown measurable results in our typing improvement.  You will want to check this one out!

 Find Bytes of Learning on Facebook

#hsreviews, #typing, #keyboarding, #onlinelearning

UltraKey {Bytes of Learning Reviews}

Crew Disclaimer

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Wulf the Saxon from Heirloom Audio Productions: A TOS Crew Review

Heirloom Audio Productions
Wulf the Saxon

We're back for another year with the TOS Review Crew - and we can't wait to introduce to you Wulf the Saxon from Heirloom Audio Productions.  This is the ninth production of one of our favorites - we have LOVED them all! This 2 audio drama CD set is designed for ages 6 and up.

It is jam-packed-adventure-filled listening with  , true history, memorable characters and vital life lessons.  With over 2.5 hours of listening, your and your children will not want to turn it off.

These audios are called The Extraordinary Adventures of G.A. Henty and are based on the books from GA Henty, the amazing author.  His stories have been family favorites for years, especially with my sons.  However, these stories appeal to all my children - boys and girls.  We listen to them in the van, and everyone - ages 8 to 18 love them!

The fully dramatized audios are professionally done.  They feature a star-studded cast: Brian Blessed, Chris Larkin, Helen George and Patrick Godfre7 (just to name a few!)

 They truly transport us into the time-period.  This is a great way to expand your child's imagination.  Heirloom Audio is passionate about bringing Christian history to life. They get to "see" the entire story as they listen.  I assure you, this alone has made listening worthwhile!

But, there's always more - the story is not only filled with edge-of-your-seat adventure, it contains valuable lessons like courage, honor, honesty, loyalty.  All of this unfolds in the story, and never sounds "preachy".  The characters are true role-models for our children, in an age where finding those can be a challenge.

We are currently studying this time period in our history class. Wulf the Saxon is set in the 1060's in medieval England. We join him in daring escapes, fierce battles and even in learning to love - as he discovers the meaning of "Fortunate are the few who marry for love".

Young Wulf is a character that you can identify with.  Eager, but headstrong, he must learn patience and self-control along with his courage.  As we follow his story - we get a first row seat for one of the conflicts that has shaped history - The Battle of Hastings.

My testers LOVE the sound effects of these audios - the clash of swords, the sounds of the sea (we were almost seasick ourselves), the din of the battles.  Listening to them inspires them to want to read the original books (homeschool mom win!)  My older testers, long time GA Henty readers, were thoroughly impressed at how the audio followed the story plot closely.

They also appreciate how these stories often tell the other, lesser-known side to history.  We all learn about William the Conqueror in history - but, how often do we get the opportunity to see it through the eyes of a Saxon?  This is part of the brilliance in this audio.

We highly recommend them!

Heirloom Audio Adventure Club

In addition, you should consider becoming part of the  Live The Adventure Club.   It's filled with resources to help you make history come alive.  They offer links to many useful articles, projects, recipes, and more in the Parent Resource section. Study Guides for all the The Extraordinary Adventures of G.A. Henty and lots of fun activities to explore!  Check it out - they are offering a free 30 day trial!

 Other Heirloom Audios include:
  • Under Drake’s Flag - the story of Sir Francis Drake 
  • In Freedom’s Cause - William Wallace and Robert the Bruce in their fight for Scottish independence 
  • With Lee in Virginia - the American Civil War 
  • The Dragon and the Raven - the Viking invasions of England 
  • Beric the Briton - the Roman invasion of Britannica 
  • The Cat of Bubastes - Ancient Egypt
  • In the Reign of Terror - the French Revolution
  • Captain Baley's Heir - American West

Find Heirloom Audio Productions  on Social Media: 

Twitter: Tag: @HeirloomStories 
Pinterest: Tag: @heirloomaudio 
Instagram: Tag: @HeirloomAudioOfficial 

#hsreviews ,#HeirloomAudio, #WulfTheSaxon, #LiveTheAdventure, #BringingHentyBack

Wulf the Saxon {Heirloom Audio Productions Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

The Love/Hate Relationship is Back!

You may remember my Love/Hate relationship with Valentine Boxes....Check out my first post - look how much they've grown!

Well, after a few years of reprieve - they are back!  Our dear Coop celebrated Valentines Day with this long treasured tradition.

Here we go again!  Introducing our 2018 collection:

 Princess Castle - complete with "Elsa braid"


 Castle - with battlements and removable storage top!

The Wedding Cake  - no groom in sight...

Our Hot Air Balloon (with my coffee bar tin - we all had to make sacrifices...)

Coca-cola - and a poser!

Yes, you are correct - nothing says Happy Valentine's Day like a Guillotine!

The best part.... this time around - I wasn't needed!!  Okay - I love them.

Monday, February 12, 2018

The Fight starts!

My superhero hubby started the first step in a long journey... his fight with cancer.   His first round of chemo - a very long day.

I wore this to remind everyone (including myself) that GOD HEALS!  I am approaching my 5 year - cancer-free anniversary. 

I'd love for you to join me in praying for his complete healing!

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Invitation to Excellence

Warning - More shameless bragging....

Luke was invited to Baylor University's "Invitation to Excellence" weekend!  This was a special weekend for students with excellent ACT scores to come and experience Baylor and have the chance to write essays for scholarships.

To look the part, he had to let me take him shopping!  He cleans up pretty nice...don't you think!

We both had a great time being away together in Waco.  Of course, the college is impressive - but, time with this one alone is priceless!