Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Sunya - The Magic and Wonder of Math and Science, Adding and Subtracting from Sunya Publishing: A TOS Crew Review

Math and Science {Sunya Publishing Review}

Math and Science {Sunya Publishing Review}
  Sunya - The Magic and Wonder of Math and Science, Adding and Subtracting  from Sunya Publishing

Bentz Test Laboratory got to try a brand new game - still under development:  Sunya - The Magic and Wonder of Math and Science, Adding and Subtracting from Sunya Publishing is a game for 1-5 players.  The word “sunya” is a Sanskrit (from India) word for “empty.” 
Designed for ages 7 and up to master addition and subtraction facts, the object of this game is to be the first player to use up all of the cards in their hand. 
We received a Game book, 60 custom playing cards with the Hindu-Arabic Numeral System and
 & addition, subtraction symbols, 30 math and science fact and riddle cards, and a handy number line, perfect for younger students.

The Game book provides instructions on how to play.  The instructions seemed rather confusing and detailed to us, at first.  But, after jumping into a game - it is really quite simple.  The basic game is played by making equations with the four cards in your hand.  Once you have used up all your cards - you announce "Sunya" as the winner.  Pretty simple, but an effective tool for working with those addition facts.  My main testers are still struggling to master these, so we spent our time in the world of the "plus" and not much time with the "minus".
The Game book offers different variations of the Basic game, which focuses on single digit numbers.  My younger testers used the basic rules for play - but, my older testers enjoyed adding to the challenge (ha...pun intended!  "adding" to the challenge!") by playing with Game I and II variations that work with multiple digits for both addition and subtraction equations.
For younger children, the flash cards can be used for sequencing, matching and hands-on equation building. 
Our favorite part was the math and science fact and riddle cards.  We have been asking these riddles and facts to each other - many of them had all of us stumped!  These are a great critical thinking tool The Game Book also includes some fun "math magic" that you can use to impress your students.  

I am a firm believer that the best way to learn your math facts is by playing games, and Sunya Publishing has made it fun.   They also offer Sunya - The Magic and Wonder of Math and Science Multiplying & Dividing, with all new fact and riddle cards!
Be sure to check them out.
See what other members of the Crew thought here
Math and Science {Sunya Publishing Review}
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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Introductory Science from Science Shepherd: A TOS Crew Review

Science Shepherd Review

Introductory Science from Science Shepherd 

The youngest scientist at Bentz Test Laboratory has been busy exploring Introductory Science from Science Shepherd.  This an online subscription program designed for students ages 6-11. We were given access for 12 months and my tester is in First Grade.  Students can work independently, at their own pace through 35 weeks.  Each week contains 5 lessons.  

Videos provide the instruction, and the physical, spiral-bound 321 page Student workbook is available in 2 levels: A (ages 6-8) or B (9-11).  We worked with Level A,  it contained exercises like fill in the blank, word find, and matching.  Optional video hands-on activities are included as well.

The Answer Key provides answers for each exercise in the Student Workbook.

Science Shepherd ReviewTopics covered in this program include:
  • Science Skills & Tools
  • Meterology
  • Geology
  • Oceanography
  • Plants
  • Astronomy
  • Underwater Creatures
  • Flying Creatures
  • Land Creatures
  • Human Beings
  • Health
  • Ecology
  • Physical Science - matter, energy, motion, magnets
Dr. Scott Hardin, a practicing physician as well as a homeschooling dad of six is the creator and the instructor of this program.  The videos are very short, and feature his teaching, as well as, slides, animations, demonstrations and more.   

My tester wasn't thrilled with "watching" science at first... However, she was quickly won over by the videos!  She even chose to watch more than one lesson at a time.  Dr. Hardin is an engaging teacher, and the videos are very well done, and short- usually 2-5 minutes each ;-)

We used the Student Workbook - Level A, mostly as a basis for discussion.  Our favorite part is the Optional Video Activities that the workbook includes.  All of them use simple household supplies (many just paper and pencils) to illustrate the scientific topic with a hands-on activity.

Here's a few of ours...  Classification and the Creation week.  

I love this program is geared toward younger scientists and is taught from a Biblical, creation worldview.  

The lessons were very easy to fit several into one sitting, for us.  We also focused more on the hand-on and skipped the workbook page exercises.  My tester may have preferred Level B, since the workbook was too simple for her.

The topics are all very high interest ones.  We look forward to completing the entire program.  This is a great science option!  Be sure to check out Science Shepherd's programs for older students as well - Science Shepherd Biology & Science Shepherd Life Science.

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See what other members of the Crew thought here
Science Shepherd Review
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Saturday, May 21, 2016


I promise - I'll blog more about this later...I'm still processing!

But, WE DID IT!  We homeschooled this one K-12 and we are all still smiling, and he is college bound :-)

I didn't cry (much) I'm just so very proud of him!!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

D'Aulaires' Greek Myths from Memoria Press: A TOS Crew Review

Logic, Greek Myths and Astronomy Memoria Press Review
Logic, Greek Myths and Astronomy Memoria Press Review
D'Aulaires' Greek Myths from Memoria Press 

The Bentz Test Laboratory has been exploring ancient history with D'Aulaires' Greek Myths from Memoria Press.  We were fortunate to have received this set to review.  The Set includes:
Designed for Grades 3-6

My tester is my 5th grade daughter.  She has been begging to learn more about the Greek Myths, and this set showed up just in time!  

This set uses the beautifully illustrated D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths By Ingri & Edgar Parin d/Aulaire to introduce your student to the stories of the Greek myths.  The Greeks developed a detailed, imaginative world of mythology. A basic understanding of these myths provides a wonderful basis for understanding art, culture, literature and even science.  

This introduction will give you plenty of great stories to spark discussion with your child.  How are these stories similar to the Bible?  How are they different?  Great character lessons are part of studying the Greek myths.

The Student Guide uses for types of exercises:
  • Facts to Know - the memory work portion.  
  • Vocabulary - new and challenging words.
  • Comprehension Questions  - identifying what they are learning, and practicing writing skills.
  • Activities  - enrichment activities like drawing, research, maps and more.  

The guide also integrates lessons from Bible stories, Famous Men of Rome and the modern world.
The valuable Teacher Guide has all the answers to every exercise in the Student Guide, Tests w/answer keys and a Final Exam.

The flashcards are perforated and provide an easy to use tool for reviewing the characters and what they did.

My tester worked on this very independently, and really enjoyed it.  We listened to the popular Percy Jackson series awhile back, and she was so excited to learn more about the characters.

I know mythology "can" be a touchy subject in some homeschools.  We have decided to teach the myths as MYTHS (made up stories, just like we make up stories) at early ages when we are learning the appropriate historical context.  As they get older we and have found that we are able to have wonderful, teachable conversations by approaching it this way.

Memoria Press has made a very easy introduction to the Greek Myths.  We highly recommend it.

Other members of the Crew were reviewing additional sets from Memoria Press - make sure to check them out.

Traditional Logic I Complete Set

Logic, Greek Myths and Astronomy Memoria Press Review
Book of Astronomy Set
Logic, Greek Myths and Astronomy Memoria Press Review

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Logic, Greek Myths and Astronomy Memoria Press Review
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Monday, May 16, 2016

Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization from Institute for Excellence in Writing: A TOS Crew Review

Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization  IEW Review
Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization  IEW Review

Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization from Institute for Excellence in Writing

Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization  IEW ReviewLinguistic Development through Poetry Memorization  IEW Review

I have another favorite!  We have been exploring Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization from Institute for Excellence in Writing.  Once again, IEW has produced a must-have program to teach communication skills.

This set comes with ninety-six poems and speeches the poems and speeches read on CD for ease of memorization. The Teacher's Manual includes instructions, memory charts, certificates, and poet biographies, as well as a complementary Student Book as an e-book download (I was blessed with a spiral bound edition).

This set includes a bonus DVD of Andrew Pudewa's conference talk Nurturing Competent Communicators(this is worth the cost of the program alone!) In addition - you get access to 7 audio MP3s as well: 

  • Nuturing Competent Communicators
  • Mastery Learning, Ability Development and Individualized Education
  • Ten Thousand Times and Then Begins Understanding
  • On Listening
  • On Speaking
  • On Reading
  • On Writing
 This would make a great summer project for you.  You will learn and be encouraged!

Check out free samples of the manuals, listen to a poem,  and see a list of the poems included in the program here. 

This program can used with multiple children of multiple ages.  My testers ranged from 1st -12th grade. 

Once again, Andrew Pudewa teaches you how and why to teach your children.  This has been so fundamental to our homeschooling efforts.  Putting the effort in up front to learn the program myself, has yielded a bountiful harvest in my children!  This program is very easy to learn!  

"You can't get something out of a child's brain that isn't in there to begin with."  - A quote from the Teacher's Manual.  This is so very important!  If we want masterful communicators, we need to train them in masterful use of our language.  This is where poetry memorization plays a huge role. 

"....but, if we don't provide the content and opportunity for organized memorization kids will let popular culture be their teacher."  Poems are usually fun, easy to memorize, present excellent vocabulary skills and are actually building neurological connections in our children's brains! 

This program will take several years to complete start to finish.  They recommend starting at Level One and proceeding through the five levels in order.  Even though this was our first experience with this program - it was not our first focus on memorization.  I let my older children start at the level they were ready for...

The poems included are all carefully chosen, and you can always substitute with your own choices if you want. 

The Student Manual has copies of each of the poems, IEW graciously allows you to make copies for your immediate family.  Lower levels have a drawing on the poem's page that can be colored, if you choose.  The Appedix features brief biographies of the authors that you can use for introduction and discussion.  The CDs include audio recording of each poem. This is a great way to turn car time into memory time and provide the necessary repetition. 

The Teacher Manual outlines the process of poetry memorization, and gives you all the tools you need to teach this. "Graduation parties" for completion of each level are encouraged. This is a chance for your child to share his recitation with friends and family.

We had the perfect opportunity to show off some of the poems we had been working on at our end of the year celebration for our Co-op.  I was so very impressed with each of my testers!

Level 1 - Who Has Seen the Wind? by Christina Rossetti  and The Swing by Robert Louis Stevenson

Level 2 - The Height of the Ridiculous by Oliver Wendell Holmes and 
Level 3 - O Captain! My Captain! by Walt Whitman

My older children all chose Shakespearean soliloquies to memorize and recite.  Hamlet, Juliet, Shylock and Macbeth.  Not only memorized, but delivered with style.

This is a wonderfully rich program.  It's not hard to include in what you are already doing, and it gives a very satisfying result.  I promise - you will enjoy this as much as your children!

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Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization  IEW Review
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Sunday, May 15, 2016

Senior Celebration

This is getting real....  we had a beautiful night celebrating our Senior.  Just him, and Matt & I.

I managed to hold it together, kinda. We had a nice meal together.  Oak Hills presented him with a beautiful Journal Bible and his first "College Survival Kit".  We wrote him heartfelt letters and presented him with a brass compass engraved with one of my favorite quotes:

"Do not go where the path may lead, instead go where there is no path and leave a trail" - Ralph Waldo Emerson

 I'm so excited for his next chapter on minute, and the next - I'm a basket case.  I am so very grateful to have gotten to take this path with him!

This one makes me cry...

Friday, May 13, 2016

Shakespeare at Shiloh Farm

We are wrapping up an amazing year with several amazing families!  For our celebration, we hosted  "Shakespeare at Shiloh Farm".  All of this was planned by the students...the plays, the music, the costumes, everything.  Very impressive!

The program included:

  • A Ballet
  • Poetry Recitations
  • Shakespearean Monologues
  • A play from "The Secret Garden"
  • A play from "Hamlet"
  • Family Feud - Shakespeare Style
  • Violin music
  • Illusions


A prayer time for our Graduating Senior (my graduating senior...)

It was a beautiful evening, surrounded my beautiful friends.  The perfect topping to a year well spent!