Thursday, June 21, 2018

White House Holidays Unit Studies from Silverdale Press LLC: A TOS Crew Review

Silverdale Press

White House Holidays Unit Studies from Silverdale Press LLC

We can learn with holidays?  Really! The White House Holidays Unit Studies from Silverdale Press LLC take our American holidays, and turn them into full unit studies that give us a rich education as well.

The White House Holidays Unit Studies have 6 downloadable PDF studies:
Labor Day

  • Veterans Day
  • Thanksgiving
  • Christmas
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Day
  • Valentine's Day

These studies are designed for ages 5-18 with two options in each study, one for elementary ages, one for Middle/High school. It's the perfect way to bring the whole family together to learn!

The author, Jill Hummer is a homeschooling mom and Presidential scholar herself.  However, you will see right away,  that these unit studies are different from the fluffy, craft-filled (there are some optional craft projects) fact-less, activity based unit studies.  These are studies are well-written with plenty of research.  They are truly a course in American History!

Each study contains 3 to 5 lessons.  These studies can be used in a variety of ways.  You could spend a day going through each lesson, or spread lessons out over several days leading up to a particular holiday.  We purchased the Christmas study this past year and used it throughout the month of December as a break from our "regular" studies.

Let me show you what I mean by highlighting a few studies:

Valentine's Day

This 63 page study contains 5 lessons that focus in on different Presidents and the love of their life.  Our favorite was reading about Ronald and Nancy Regan, and their "pet names" for each other.  In our family, nicknames speak, we enjoyed reading about a President who called his beloved wife "Mommie poo"

It's interesting facts like this that make these unit studies stand out from all the rest. They truly make our history come alive in a fresh new way.

Each study is filled with primary source documents, video links, art study, music appreciation, recipes and more.  In this particular study, the author gives helpful tips on how to calculate High school credit when using the study.

 Optional activities are included in each study.  I really liked that they were designed for different levels, or were activities all ages could enjoy doing.  With children in elementary, middle and high school right now, a well-designed unit study that we can all do is a TREASURE!

Martin Luther King Jr. -

This is a 77 page study with 5 lessons that introduce us to the amazing Martin Luther King Jr. and the holiday that bears his name.  I love how these studies incorporate so many additional topics that you can explore more.  For instance, learning about the Freedom songs of the Civil Rights era made us want to learn more about this musical genre.  We had a great time using YouTube, and even making some music of our own.

We spent 5 years living near Little Rock, AR.  My testers were intrigued to read about the part Little Rock played in MLK Jr's story too!

Veteran's Day - 

This 49 page study contains 3 lessons that introduce us to President Woodrow Wilson and the story of Veteran's Day. 

We celebrate this holiday, but really didn't know much about it's history (Did you know it used to be called Armistice Day?)  This study was fascinating.   I finally know what those poppy pins mean!

  A activity that was included was  having a "meatless, wheatless,  or sugarless" day or trying to eat corn at every meal. We failed our attempts to help the war effors with "food conservation" - but, we did get a better first-hand experience of the hardships during this time in history!

Labor Day - 

This study has 53 pages and 3 lessons that teach us about the history of Labor Day.  Since this is a traditional "end of summer" holiday - it makes the perfect study to ease back into school with. 

One feature I really love about these studies is that they reference primary source documents and photographs.  You get the opportunity to read it for yourself, see it or watch actual footage on videos (how did we ever homeschool without Youtube?)

These are MY FAVORITE unit study resource!  You will want to check them out and add them to your plan.

Other members of the Crew got a chance to review their new curriculum - Persuasive Writing & Classical Rhetoric: Practicing the Habits of Great Writers for ages 14-18.  I'll be checking this one out!

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Persuasive Writing & Classical Rhetoric: Practicing the Habits of Great Writers & White House Holidays Unit Studies {Silverdale Press LLC Reviews}

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Persuasive Writing & Classical Rhetoric: Practicing the Habits of Great Writers & White House Holidays Unit Studies {Silverdale Press LLC Reviews}
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Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Reading Intervention Programs from MaxScholar: A TOS Crew Review


MaxScholar Reading Intervention Programs

Reading Intervention Programs from MaxScholar

Summer is the perfect time to work on our reading skills.  We have been exploring Reading Intervention Programs from MaxScholar.

The Reading Intervention Program is an online subscription that features 3 distinct programs your student can work with to improve their reading skills.  It uses an Orton-Gillingham approach that helps improve reading and writing skills.  Each individual program begins with a placement test so that your student is at the precise level for them. My testers are in 3rd and 4th grade, so being able to customize to their appropriate level was a great feature.  My 4th grade student struggles with reading, MaxScholar is great for dyslexic students!

Check out this quick intro video to understand their approach:

The program is easy-to-use, and allows your student to choose where to focus when they log in.

Let me show you how it works.
  •  MAXPHONICS - My younger tester spent more time in this program.  It works on mastering phonemes and letter sounds by using a variety of multi-sensory, online lessons that include videos, practice drills, and games.   In the auditory mode, students can hear the sound and select pictures with the proper sound.  The tactile mode shows the letter being drawn, and your student can draw it on the screen.  The visual mode allows them to see a speaker say the sound, and uses an image to reinforce the sound.

  • MAXREADING - My older, struggling read spent most of her time using this program.  It uses highlighting, outlining, and summarizing strategies that help increase reading comprehension skills.  
They start by reading a passage, and using a colored highlighter to mark Topic, supporting details, and main idea in different colors.  Then, they can compare what they highlighted to the correct answers and get immediate feedback.  This is great for my tester, she needs to see the corrections right away.

After highlighting,  they get to practice outlining skills.  Once again, they get immediate feedback.

Writing skills are also practiced with questions.  You can choose the type - Summary, Open-ended or general questions.

 Finally, general comphrension questions are asked in a multiple choice format.  Immediate feedback is shown on the screen.

They can see a score for the exercise at the end, along with the correct answers and a chance to redo the chapter.

  • MAXWORDS builds vocabulary skills by focusing on prefixes, suffixes, Greek and Latin roots syllabication and spelling rules to improve reading comprehension and fluency. 

Additional sub-programs that work on developing reading skills with extra practice are included in this program as well.
  • MAXMUSIC allows your child to read lyrics, play piano games and focus on reading and auditory skills.  My testers LOVED this section!  They could practice reading with song lyrics, highlight different parts of speech, fill in missing words and even play notes on the piano keyboard.  What a fun way to practice reading...

  • MAXVOCAB is the MaxScholar dictionary and offers definition and vocabulary games that are fun for both students and adults, trust me - the Hangman is addictive!

  • MAXPLACES takes your student around the world to explore 51 different locations as they read selections and answer comprehension questions with the same format at the MaxReading settings.  Bonus, you sneak some geography in too!

  • MAXBIOS introduces famous personalities via biographies on a timeline.  This is great for ordering skills too.

Parents have access to a wide variety of additional downloadable resources including lesson guides, readers, sight words, drills and even workbooks.  A parent dashboard allows you to see your student's progress and generate reports.

This comprehensive program is not just for your student!  They offer a full section of Professional Development including teaching manuals, videos and step-by-step instructions to complete your own Orton-Gillingham teaching certification.

This comprehensive program is a great way to keep reading skill improving during the summer break!

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Reading Intervention Programs {MaxScholar Reviews}
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