Thursday, February 28, 2019

Making the Grade - How to Study at the College Level: A Bentz Bunch Review

Making the Grade - How to Study at the College Level- by Mark Pruitt

What is the hardest thing about college?  Right - the studying part... Are your students ready?  Making the Grade -How to Study at the College Level by Mark Pruitt gives you the tools you need to make sure they have developed the study skills they will need.

Mark Pruitt is the Associate Director of Admissions at Harding University.  He has written this study skills program to help your college students develop great study skill and  "dominate" their college classes with excellent study skills.

The Course consists of three components: 
  • The Book - a 200 + page, softcover guide.
  • The Student Workbook - 10 days of lessons with worksheets, quizzes, and a final exam
  • The DVD - 3 sections.
Let me tell you about each part.  First, the book.  It's really much more than just how to develop great study habits, it's also filled with inspiration on time management and college life skills! A perfect book for your high school or college age student to read.  Mark's book is written directly to the student, broken down into short, easy lessons.  Each short chapter is actually a lesson.  Some lessons are only a page long, making this an easy addition to your student's schedule.  

The basic study skills program is a 4 step system (you'll have to buy the program to learn them).  What I love is how this author relates to students.  His experience with college students shows through in his writing.  Now that I have 2 college students myself, I relate!

The section on time management s filled with bits of wisdom for students.  From daily naps to "spontaneity kills"  these chapters will help your student with practical steps to getting control of their most precious resource and defeating common "time bombs" of stress and discouragement.

The final section - "Pruitt's Course on College Life" is my favorite.  It's basically a pep talk for college - what to expect, how to succeed and an honest look at some "dos" and "don'ts".

The Workbook is a companion with both student and teacher sections.  It takes the lessons in the book and creates a 10 day, self-paced study course with the book and DVD .  This should be a required course for your high school students that are heading off to college! 

The focus is on learning to take great notes, write papers, read effectively, take tests, turn in great projects, manage time, and generally have a great college experience.

The DVD is broken into 3 sections:  How to "Dominate your College Classes", "How to take Great Notes" and "How to Manage your Time so you can have a life".  Mark teaches directly to the student on these recorded lessons.  I enjoyed watching him myself, it's a great introduction to college style learning!

Overall, I was genuinely impressed with Making the Grade.  My two oldest are current college students.  I asked them to read it, and watch some of the teaching.  They both agreed it was filled with practical tips they could easily implement.  Their first semester grades reflected what they had learned... both have 4.0 GPA and made the Provost's List!  

I highly recommend Making the Grade!  It's practical and easy-to-use.  Mark Pruitt generously shares his years of wisdom with your student, it's like getting a personal college counselor.  I think, this book would also make a great graduation gift for those Seniors in your life. If you have students heading off to college, do them a favor and buy them this program!

I was given a complimentary copy in exchange for my honest opinion.  All opinions expressed are my own.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls. from WorthyKids, an imprint of Hachette Book Group: A TOS Crew Review

The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls from  WorthyKids, an imprint of Hachette Book Group

Hold on, you're about to take an adventure!  We have been enjoying the next two titles - The Great Escape (Book #3) & Journey to Jericho (Book #4)  in the The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls series from  WorthyKids, an imprint of Hachette Book Group.    You can read our review of books 1 & 2 here.

These fun stories are designed for your independent readers - ages 6-9.  Or, let the entire family enjoy them together as a read aloud! The author, MJ Thomas wrote this time-traveling series to give his young son an introduction to the Bible that was fun, and biblically sound. Each book is around 100 pages in length, with fun black-and-white illustrations throughout.  The perfect step-up for your new readers.

The stories take your child back-to-the-Bible. Each adventure begins with our adventurers, young Peter and Mary and their dog side-kick, Hank.  Their Great-Uncle-Solomon, an archaeologist, who has magic scrolls, and an old house full of surprises, that take them traveling through time.

This story whisks our heroes straight back to Egypt.  They encounter princesses, pharaohs and even panthers as they race against time to free the Israelites, and solve the puzzle of the scroll.  It's full of fun action-packed scenes that make history come alive.  The children encounter angels, magicians and must stand for the truth.  They end their adventure at the shore of the Red Sea, where they see God's power on display. 

The story takes Peter, Mary and Hank into a secret mission to Jericho. Great-Uncle-Solomon has a surprise and some special supplies for them. The kids must defeat the Man in Black, their enemy Satan,  to solve the puzzle of the scroll.  Along their journey the get help from Michael, the angel, and Rahab. As the walls come down, the children learn that God always keeps his promises. 

Each book includes a short section in the back that lets your reader know where to find the actual stories in the Bible.  It's a great way to introduce them to the real author of adventure, God.

I love how these books teach without preaching. The stories are fun and fast paced, my testers relate to the kids, and throughout they get introduced to God and his character.  My testers are asking for more!

We would highly recommend the entire series!

The Great Escape & Journey To Jericho {WorthyKids Reviews}
Find WorthyKids, an imprint of Hachette Book Group on Social Media:

Instagram: Tag: @worthypub
Twitter: Tag: @worthypub

Hashtags: #hsreviews #SecretoftheHiddenScrolls

The Great Escape & Journey To Jericho {WorthyKids Reviews}
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Friday, February 22, 2019

IXL Learning: A TOS Crew Review

IXL Learning

We are so excited to tell you about IXL LearningWe have been enjoying the Full Annual Membership in all subjects - Math, Language Arts, Science (grades 2-8), Social Studies (grades 2-8) and Spanish.  We have been long time fans of this online, comprehensive learning program (read our past review) and are impressed with how the program has developed!

Let me tell you how this amazing program works.  It's entirely online, with lessons for grades Prek-12 in core subjects, including Spanish learning.  IXL isn't core curriculum, but a very valuable supplement to your studies for review and mastery. This is truly unique to find a program that can work with all my children.  My three testers love it - grades 4,5 and 7.

It's very easy to use, simply set up your family profile and create a unique avatar and secret word for each student.  I love that it is one easy login for all of us!  Here is a quick peek at ours -

Here is where the program gets truly amazing.  IXL has 2 main sections - Analytics and Learning.  Inside Analytics - you can use the diagnostic tools to determine exactly where your student should start, or you can pick and choose what skills and topics you want to work on, even across the grade levels!  This is the perfect tool for pinpointing and developing the skills your student needs most.

Inside the Analytics section,  you can see your student's usage at a glance.

Monitor their progress and improvement.

Even get detailed information on the types of questions your student needs help with.

As a parent, the Analytic section is my favorite.  I can keep up with what each of them is learning, and I'm just a geek for graphs ;-)  In addition, I get weekly progress emails delivered in my inbox.

The main section of IXL is the Learning. When your student logs into their account, they immediately see program recommendations, base on their past use.  But, your student can also choose what skills they want to work on.

For my testers, we set up a weekly schedule with Math and Language arts practice each day, and Social Studies, Science and Spanish three days a week.  My testers were so excited -they did all this with ZERO complaining!  They even asked to do more than I had for mom!

Here is a quick peek at what the lessons are included.  Your child can work in any grade level or by topic.  The program allows you to sort the skills either way, so you can jump around to skills they need most.  The amount of lessons included is mind-boggling. 

I like to give my testers the opportunity to select the skills they want to practice.  Of course, they go right away to things they have mastered...shhh, don't tell them we call it "review".  But, frequently, I will assign a particular lesson that needs more attention.

So let's look at a lesson.  Each lesson pinpoints a particular skill.  Your students answers the questions, and the program keeps track of progress. The adaptive technology adjusts questions to your student's progress.  Meaning, when they get a question wrong, it will be reintroduced until they master it.  Immediate feedback is given for correct and incorrect answers.  Incorrect answers include an explanation for the student.

All the lessons are aligned to your state standards too.

As each skill is mastered, your student earns rewards.  This is hands-down the favorite part of the program for my testers!  Who knew online stickers, and collections could be such positive rewards?

Math rewards look like this -

A checkerboard with stickers that are uncovered as your student masters skills.  So simple, but so effective. My testers will work extra time just to see them.  Rewards are given for mastery, number of questions answered, and time spent.  I like that all my testers can earn rewards, even if they are struggling for mastery.

Language Arts rewards are collections.  What child doesn't like collecting?  Here's ours -

You can also print out certificates for you student, either as a record of what they have accomplished, or as a reward.

We are huge fans of IX.  It is so easy to use, and my testers give it a hearty six thumbs up!

Immersive, Adaptive Learning Online {IXL Learning Reviews}

Find IXL Learning on Social Media:


Hashtags: #hsreviews #ixl #iloveixl

Immersive, Adaptive Learning Online {IXL Learning Reviews}

Crew Disclaimer

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

The Boxes are back!

My Love/Hate continues...

Here are this year's creations - I was mostly "hands-off" - in fact, I may have been told to "go relax somewhere" during this process!  My kiddos are so creative, I hate to get in the way!

 I'm enjoying seeing what they come up with!

Friday, February 15, 2019

For The Temple from Heirloom Audio: A TOS Crew Review

For The Temple from Heirloom Audio

Welcome back!  Our first review of the new Crew year - and one of our favorite companies! For The Temple from Heirloom Audio is a fully dramatized audio adventure.

This 2 CD set is 2 1/2  hours of action-packed excitement, set in the days of Roman occupation of Israel around AD 70.   Heirloom Audio has a star-studded cast of voices including, Brian Blessed, Chris Larkin, George Blagden and more!  In addition, we were sent a 51 page downloadable Study Guide to go along with the audio.

We love taking our learning on the go with us in the van.  This audio was a HUGE hit!  Our protagonist, named John, is a courageous young man that must face deadly difficulties and heart wrenching decisions as he defends the Jewish temple. He must leave his family and finance to face his fears.

This story is part of The Extraordinary Adventure of G.A. Henty series.  G.A. Henty was a prolific author.  He combines historical events with fictional characters.  His books have been a big hit with my boys, and his characters exhibit strong character traits, true heroes for our children to look up to.

In For the Temple, we listen as John learns what is worth fighting for.  Historical figures like Nero, Josephus and Vespasian are interwoven into his story.  John encounters Jesus through his early followers. You will get an up-close view of this time period as you listen.  John must use his courage and cunning to protect the Temple, but he learns that the threats are not only from the Romans.  Themes of courage, friendship, duty and love are brought to life by the characters.

This story kept all of us on the edge of our seats, and we may have actually spent time simply sitting in the van...just to listen!  These audios are professionally produced, the sound effects make the story come to life.

In addition, we were sent a 51 page downloadable Study Guide to go along with the audio.The PDF Study Guide makes this listening adventure a learning adventure too!

Each listening section of the audio has 3 types of questions you can use:
  • Listening Well - Comprehension style questions to make sure they are understanding what they hear.
  • Thinking Further - Questions that make your child think deeper by doing additional research, discovering maps or even using the Bible to answer questions.
  • Defining Words - vocabulary and important words to know.

Throughout the Study Guide - sidebars with interesting figures, art, maps and historical importance are highlighted.   Background information is included to make sure your child understands the historical setting.  Additional Reading Suggestions are included for your older students.


Best of all - 3 Bible Studies are included on "No Other Savior", "Proper Worship" and "Christ, our Temple".

I love how Heirloom Audio takes us back in time, to truly experience events that change history.

These audios are family favorites and we highly recommend them.

Other Heirloom Audio editions you don't want to miss!

For The Temple {Heirloom Audio Reviews}Find Heirloom Audio on Social Media:

Instagram: @HeirloomAudioOfficial

#hsreviews #HeirloomAudio #FortheTemple #LiveTheAdventure #BringingHentyBack #AudioAdventures

For The Temple {Heirloom Audio Reviews}

Crew Disclaimer

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

A day in the life..

I just thought you might like a peek into a day in the life... at my Coop.  We love getting to learn together with our friends...

Marine Biology - photosynthesis experiment with aquatic plants -

Brain training with Balls -

Chocolate Creating with our Literature study -

Measuring out the real size of a giraffe for Science - 

Renaissance art class - with a personal twist - 

Learning about our personal strengths with our Honor Society!

And all that happened on the SAME day!