TOS Review: Captain Bayley’s Heir (Heirloom Audio Productions)

Heirloom Audio Productions Have you ever wanted to travel to the Wild Wild West? Did you ever wonder what it was like to travel to unsettled areas and deal with the adventures you would find there? If you have, you definitely want to check out this review of Captain Bayley’s Heir from Heirloom Audio Productions, because it will take you right there!

Captain Bayley's HeirFirst, let me say, we have reviewed for Heirloom before and are always pleased with what they have to offer. In fact, I have a few expectations now whenever I get to listen to their audiodramas: 1. a stellar cast: Yes, they have amazing talent for all of their stories. From Brian Blessed, who features on the majority of their recordings, to others like Jade Williams and Ian Porter, you are getting a top-notch performance from everyone! These people really seem to LIVE their characters, which helps you get totally lost in the story. 2. Amazing soundtrack/sound effects: whoever does the sound recordings for Heirloom should be commended! Their sound effects/music/etc are always on point and perfectly suited to whatever is happening in the story. Like, if you close your eyes, you really feel like you are there!

So, without giving too much away, this particular story, based on a classic GA Henty novel, features the story of Frank, an English lad falsely accused of theft when it comes to his inheritance. He flees to America to escape the charges and encounters the Captain on his journey. In addition, he travels across the country in the heart of the Gold Rush, ecountering raids, stagecoach robberies, buffalo and more along the way. Of course, he alos encounters the Lord and learns a lot along the way.

So, why do we love Captain Bayley (and the other audiodramas from Heirloom) so much?
Mainly because it is pure, wholesome family entertainment. You can listen to this with kids of all ages (the first one of these I reviewd, I think my youngest was 11, now he’s 16) and never have to worry about what is going to be said. We enjoy saving the CDs for road trips when we can all listen together, but you can also put them in a CD player at the house. The chapters are conviently divided, so it is easy to pick up right where you left off each day!

Also, these audiodramas are just plain exciting! I have two boys who are now older teenagers and they have spent many years listening to these, and they always find them entertaining. As a homeschool mom, I appreciate the historical content, because I can see how you could easily use this story as part of a larger unit study/history study if you wanted too.

In additon to the CDs, you also gain access to bonus content which includes a study guide. I always enjoy these study guides, because even though we primarily use the audiodramas from Heirloom for entertainment, I still like to know my kids are getting something else from listening, you know? The study guide includes discussion questions from each chapter which range from basic recall to questions that require a lot of synthesizing information and drawing conclusions. We use these strictly for discussion, but you could absolutely have older students write their answers to them if you wanted.

Helpful vocabulary and background information is also included as well as Bible studies related to the story. On the whole, the study guides help take Captain Bayley from an exciting audiodrama to a real teaching tool. If you want to access the extra materials you need to sign up for the Live the Adventure Club which is a new feature Heirloom offers that allows you to connect with other people listening to the same story you are, gain access to extras and more. I know, sometimes you don’t want to sign up for one more thing, and to be honest, I get that, but it’s worth it.

In short, we totally enjoyed this product! To learn more, connect with Heirloom Audio on social media here:

Heirloom Audio on Facebook

Heirloom Audio on Twitter

Heirloom Audio on Instagram

To see what other members of the crew thought of this product, click here:

 

Captain Bayley's Heir {Heirloom Audio Productions Reviews}Crew Disclaimer 

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TOS Review: Apologia Marine Biology

Apologia Educational MinistriesOne of the things I find complicated about teaching high school is getting in all the elective credits. Sometimes it can be difficult to find interesting courses to fill those needs for your child. However, I do have a kid who loves the ocean, so the Marine Biology 2nd Edition Advantage set with the Audio CD from Apologia Educational Ministries seemed like a good fit for us!

Marine Biology 2nd Edition Advantage SetThe Advantage set itself comes with the student textbook, notebook, and tests and answer keys. We loved the full-color textbook which has a great layout on each page. The pictures/charts/diagrams etc help break up the text, which is great for my son who has trouble focusing when there is nothing but words on the page. This program features 16 modules on topics like: Life in the Sea, Marine Invertebrates, Marine Ecology, Coral Reefs, and much more.

Each chapter includes a few experiments that can pretty much be completed with things you have at home. I like this feature since purchasing a lot of very specific items for labs is often expensive. Directions are clear and easy to follow, meaning you can easily do the labs even if you do not have a lot of science experience. There are questions sprinkled throughout the chapter that help students articulate what they are learning, and each chapter features a review at the end that your child can complete before they take the test.

Apologia Marine Biology is a creation-based program, which I like, and interspersed in the chapter are sections called “Creation Connection” which links what is being learned in the chapter to evidence for creation. If you did not want to focus on this, you could skip this part, but I felt it led to very good discussions between my son and I and helped him sharpen his viewpoint on creation in general.

The appendices offer a glossary, additional study guides, and a list of required lab materials. Basically, my son and I would work our way through the chapter, with him doing the reading and answering the questions, and when we got to the end of the chapter, he would complete his review and take the test. If he did not do well on the test I would have him go back and complete the additional study guide for that chapter.

One thing that helped him complete the reading on his own is the Marine Biology 2nd Edition Audio CD. Read by Marissa Leinart, the CD offers a complete word-by-word reading of each chapter. This is great for reluctant readers like my son who are often intimidated by the sheer amount of reading in a textbook. Ms. Leinart reads at a comfortable, steady pace with appropriate volume and inflection so kids don’t get bored. The CD also offers and introduction and student notes section as well. It is important to note that this is an MP3 CD so you will need a compatible device to use it.

Marine Biology 2nd Ed Audio CDAnother really good part of the Advantage set is the student notebook. Seriously, I cannot stress enough how, whenever you get any Apologia program you should ALWAYS purchase the student notebook. It is so worth it! First of all, the notebook includes a daily schedule with reading/labs/questions all spelled out for you, which is in itself a huge bonus! The notebook also includes all the questions in the chapter, so your child has one place to record all their answers and you aren’t chasing papers around. Lab forms and chapter reviews are also included, so you really don’t need to purchase additional notebooks/binders etc. There is plenty of room for students to write and take notes too.

Marine Biology 2nd Edition Advantage SetThe test book and answer key are also a great component of the program. By high school, kids need to get used to taking tests and I don’t want to have to make them up on my own, it’s just additional work I don’t need. A complete answer key makes it easy for me to grade everything at a glance, so I know if we need further discussion or study on a topic or if we can just move on.

Altogether, we thought Marine Biology was great, and for less than $100 for the main set, it also has a great price! To learn more, connect with Apologia on social media here:

Apologia on Facebook

Apologia on Instagram

Apologia on Twitter

Apologia on Pinterest

To see what other members of the crew thought of this program, click here:

 

Marine Biology 2nd Edition Advantage Set {Apologia Educational Ministries Review}Crew Disclaimer

TOS Review: Apologia Educational Ministries – Internship for High School Credit

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So, high school is all about preparing for the future, right? And what better way to prepare your child for their future than to have them do an internship in high school? Sounds like a great idea, doesn’t it? But, how do you set up said internship? And track it? And assign credits for it? Don’t worry, Apologia Educational Ministries is here to help! For this review, we got to check out their Internship for High School Credit workbook, and it helps answer all of those questions!

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The book starts with a basic introduction to internships and ideas for how to find an internship, how to figure out what to intern in, and how many hours are needed to earn credit (75 for one-half credit). This equates to about 5 hours per week, which is pretty manageable for a  summer or fall internship. I liked the fact that they spell all of this out for you in the beginning because that is the kind of stuff I have trouble figuring out.

Internship for High School Credit also offers sections on writing a resume and introductory letter, with samples, which was very helpful for my son. He learns best when he has concrete examples, and things have changed so much since I wrote my resumes, I like having examples too.

There are two sections in the workbook, one for each semester, in case you wanted to do a full year internship (which is about 150 hours). There is also a wrap-up section at the end with activities for your student to complete once their internship is done. So, you can decide on your own how long you want the internship to be.

At the beginning of the sememster, students set goals for their course, whch they are supposed to set with their supervisor. From there, they have weekly assignments that include a table where they track the dates and hours they worked, and then a series of questions to answer. The questions range from ones that get the students focused on their workplace (like observing the atmosphere and how people interact with each other there) to ones that get them thinking about their future career path (like researching colleges and degrees that will benefit them, thinking about what kinds of technology they will use on the job). At the end, students and their supervisors rate their performance, and there are several writing assignments including essays and writing a thank you note.

My son has been planning to do an internship with the children’s pastor at our church, as he has been interested in becoming a children’s minister himself for quite some time. When he began his internship a few weeks ago, the three of us met to go over what he would be doing and to set goals and a schedule. Since then, my son has been completing the weekly activities with me discussing them with him each week. I also sign off on his hours for the week. Our pastor also signs off on his hours and usually offers some feedback too.

So far, I am very happy with the Internship for High School Credit program. I feel like it has given my son’s internship real direction that it might not otherwise have had. I also feel like the questions have given my son a lot to think about, and it has led to some great discussions about his future both with me and with our pastor as well. If you are interested in having your child complete an internship and don’t know how to get started, I would highly recommend checking this out.

To learn more, connect with Apologia on social media here:

Apologia on Facebook

Apologia on Twitter

Apologia on YouTube

To see what other members of the crew had to say about this program and the How to Homeschool course they got to check out, click here:

Homeschool with Confidence & Internship for High School {Apologia Educational Ministries Reviews}

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TOS Review: Memoria Press (First Form Latin)

Memoria PressI believe languages are important and to be honest, I’ve always been interested in Latin. I find it fascinating how much of our current vocabulary is derived from a variety of Latin roots. Really, knowing Latin can improve your vocabulary over all which is something that can benefit any high school student, but especially those interested in career paths involving science or medicine. So, I was excited to get to check out the First Form Latin Complete Set from Memoria Press for this review.

First Form Latin Complete SetFirst of all, when they say complete set, they mean complete set! I was absolutely amazed by everything that came in the box! There was a teacher manual, teacher key, student text, student workbook, test book, flash cards, pronunciation CD, and instructional DVD! Yes, I know that’s a lot, and I will admit, I was a little overwhelmed at first, just looking at it. However, Memoria Press also does a great job of coordinating all the pieces and parts to make it easy for you to use everything.

The teacher manual for this program is your best friend. It very explicitly lays out the order of each lesson for you. It also explains how you will use each part of the program. Now, keep in mind that First Form Latin was originally designed to be used in a classroom setting, so some of the activities (like games, choral recitations etc.) assume that you have more than one student. However, you can easily adapt it, either by taking on the role of a student yourself (which is what I did because I wanted to learn Latin anyway), having siblings take on those parts, or perhaps using it in a co-op setting.

Memoria Press offers a variety of Latin programs for all ages and I did First Form with my 10th grade son. Not because it is aimed at high school students, but because this is simply where you start with any older student. The good thing about this program is that prior experience with Latin is not required for the student or the teacher! I will tell you that there is a learning curve when you first start using the program, but that is because it is just so meaty! Since the lessons follow a predictable pattern, you kind of get into a groove after you’ve done it for a bit.

There is a suggested weekly schedule, which I followed, and lessons take about 30-45 minutes total, but you could break that up into smaller segments if you needed too. Students take quizzes each week, which I think is a nice feature, and you do quite a bit of review work through the flashcards and games, so they don’t forget what they have learned. You can also use this with the Famous Men of Rome curriculum to add in some history studies too.

My son enjoyed learning Latin with his mom, and while he doesn’t always like all the drills that come with it, he does see how useful they are. The student text and workbook are very straightforward and were easy for him to use. At the beginning we did the workbook together, but after we started moving through the lessons, we would complete some activities together and then he would finish the lesson on his own with me correcting it afterwards. It is really important that you take the time to go over the workbook activities with your child because that feedback helps them to learn.

Overall, we have really enjoyed First Form Latin, and I am seriously considering moving on to Second Form Latin when we are done. If you are looking for a very thorough, yet still easy to use Latin program for your child, we would definitely recommend this one. To learn more, connect with Memoria Press on social media here:

Memoria Press on Facebook

Memoria Press on Twitter

Memoria Press on Pinterest

Memoria Press on YouTube

To see what other members of the crew thought of this program and the others that we got to check out, click here:

Latin, Nature and Trees {Memoria Press Reviews}Crew Disclaimer

TOS Review: The Typing Coach

The Typing Coach

In this day and age, technology is only becoming more and more important. It is very likely that whatever job our children get, computer skills are going to be a must. I want my son to be comfortable with typing on a computer, particularly because he has some issues that make handwriting difficult for him. So, I was excited to try The Typing Coach Online Typing Course from The Typing Coach with him.

The Typing Coach

The course is self-paced, which is nice because you are able to have your child work in the way that best suits them. At first, my son was pretty slow and getting through each lesson took quite a bit of time. However, as he practiced and got more comfortable, he was able to complete lessons at a much quicker pace. Lessons include audio and video learning as well as printable student packets that show the student what to type. These reminded me of the typing book I used in high school when learning to type on a typewriter. You know, the flip books you set up and typed from? I kind of liked this part of the program!

When you first log into the course there is a nice section with instructions for how to use each section as well as a video tour which is great for visual learners like my son. I highly recommend reading these and watching the video with your child. There are only seven lessons in the course, but the idea is to keep practicing each lesson until your child masters that section, so depending on how they are doing, the amount of time you spend on the course will vary. Like I said, in the beginning, lessons could take my son more than a week to get comfortable with, but he started going faster after the first few lessons.

Once you read all of the course information, students start with a practice test of sorts so they can get an idea of where they are at and compare their progress at the end of the course. From there they go into lessons on topics like having good posture, home row keys, number row, top row, etc. For each lesson students will need their student packet (which was over 16 pages, plus the tracking sheet and learning checks). I would say that this might be the only drawback for the program if you do not have an efficient printer.

For each lesson, students are literally “coached” along verbally by the program’s author. My son thought he had a pleasant voice and it was helpful to have him directing the lesson as he worked. Students follow the instruction he gives as they practice typing on their computer. We simply opened Microsoft Word and then my son typed as he listened to the lesson play.

Each lesson offers a very good amount of practice in my opinion. Students stroke the same letters repetitively until it almost becomes second nature. The author reminds students to maintain good posture as they work. During breaks in the lesson, light music plays in the background. I will say that for this part of the program, students really do need to be auditory learners, as they have to follow the verbal instructions, typing each letter they are told to type, and there is no video to go along with this part.

At the end of each lesson, students are given instructions for further practice before they move onto their learning check in the practice and testing center. Here, they will take typing test to see how well they have mastered that section. The goal is to complete the test with zero errors before moving on. I will be honest, my son struggled with this at first, especially since he had to go back repeat the lesson if he got any errors. However, I feel his accuracy is going to be so much better because of that, I think it’s a good feature.

Lessons can range anywhere from 20-30 minutes long, so if you have a fidgety child, you may need to break them up into parts. Overall, I feel like this is a solid typing program for anyone who wants to learn how to type. To learn more about this program, connect with The Typing Coach on social media here:

The Typing Coach on Twitter

To see what other members of the crew thought of this program, click here:

The Typing Coach Online Typing Course {The Typing Coach Reviews}

Crew Disclaimer

TOS Review: CompuScholar, Inc

CompuScholar, Inc.My 10th grade son is a techie, and he particularly loves gaming. At some point, he might like to design and create games of his own, so learning about computers is important to him. I want him to have the ability to write programs, but I am so far from being able to do that, it’s not even funny! For this review, I was excited to have him check out the Java Programming course from CompuScholar, Inc.

CompuScholar, Inc. Java ProgrammingThis course is designed for high school students, especially those interested in taking the AP Computer Science exam. The course page offers study resources to help prepare students for the exam, and the lessons go in depth into topics like getting started with Java, working with strings, user input, debugging, and much much more.

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Worried that you have no idea what any of that means? Don’t be, I don’t either. Fortunately, this online course does all the teaching for you. Of course, if you are already fluent in computer programming language, you could certainly help your child through the program, but experience on the parent’s part, is not necessary! (thank goodness)

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We found the Java Programming course to be very user-friendly. It is divided into roughly 27 chapters, with individual lessons for each chapter. Lessons include instruction (video or text), assignments, and quizzes. When your child logs on, they simply click on the chapter they are working on and get started.

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I appreciated the fact that the video lessons were pretty short, which is good for boys with short attention spans. However, even though the lessons may not be long, they are full of information. That’s why it is also nice to have a text version of the lesson available as well. If my son had trouble remembering something, or didn’t quite get something, he could watch the video again and/or go read the lesson text as well.

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The quizzes were great for me as a homeschool teacher. In high school, I do think it is important to record grades and things like that. Having everything graded for me made it very easy for me to keep track of how he was doing, and also makes it easier for me to track credits for high school. Students have two attempts at every quiz, so if my son did not do well, I had him review the lesson and take it again. Each chapter also features an exam at the end that reviews all the lessons.

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The part my son enjoyed the most was probably the activities. Some of them were complicated, but that’s what I would expect from a course at this level. He did have me read over the directions with him on a couple of assignments, but once he understood the directions, he was able to complete the assignments on his own. I felt like the assignments offered him a great opportunity to practice what he was learning. After finishing this course, I feel like he would be able to move into further computer programming courses at our local community college with a solid foundation to build on.

My son enjoyed the Java Programming course from CompuScholar Inc., and as a mom, I feel like it was a very strong course for a high school student. We are going to review the AP resources and consider signing him up for the test. CompuScholar offers multiple pricing options for this course, from monthly to yearly payments and self-study and teacher-led courses.

To learn more about CompuScholar Inc., connect with them on social media here:

CompuScholar Inc. on Facebook

CompuScholar Inc. on Twitter

To learn more about this, and the other courses our reviewers got to check out, like their Web Design and Digital Savvy courses, click here:

 

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

TOS Review: Memoria Press

Memoria Press

I’ve always loved studying languages, and my son has an interest in language, history, and the Bible. For this review, we got to check out the First Form Greek Complete Set from Memoria Press, which seems like a great combination of all of those! This set is aimed at students in 7-12 grades and comes with so much stuff! You get a teacher’s manual, student text, student workbook, flash cards, and quizzes and tests book, answer key, pronunciation CD, and instructional DVD. There is so much to dive into, I had to take a couple of days to work it out in my head before we could start using it.

First Form Greek Complete Set
Grades 7-12

First of all, I want to say this program is extremely thorough. Beginning with the teacher’s manual, it takes you through each part of a lesson with examples and tips for how to help your students along. I appreciated this because I don’t have a ton of experience in Greek, and it was nice to have everything broken down for me. Lessons are consistent in how they are broken up, so once you get into a rhythm, things flow pretty smoothly. The lessons in First Form Greek are scheduled to take place over five days, but I think you could easily adjust this once you get comfortable with the program.

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The student text is broken into 26 lessons, or five units, covering the declensions and different parts of speech. I found the instruction to be pretty clear, but if something was too confusing, we simply watched the lecture that accompanied the lesson on the DVD. That’s what I mean by saying this a very thorough set, it has multiple layers that you can combine to make the program fit your student.

After completing the lessons, my son would work his way through the student workbook. Sometimes he needed help with some assignments, which was fine. If he needed to review something I let him go back to the book or DVD to figure it out, because I always feel like finding the correct answer for something you are unsure of helps you to learn.  I admit, we did slow down the pace a bit, to about 3-4 days per week depending on the subject. I don’t want to rush my son through this because I want him to really soak it up.

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The quizzes and test book is another nice addition to the program, especially at the high school level. At this point, I do like to have test and quiz grades for my son, since I want to count courses for credit, and it’s nice to not have to make them up on my own. I think First Form Greek is a solid program for a high school student or an advanced middle schooler, or even an adult (like me) who has wanted to further her understanding of an ancient language that played such a big part in the world. As my son has been working through this program, and I have been grading his work, I find myself learning alongside him! This has opened up new avenues for me as I begin to see the patterns in the language, especially when it comes to Bible study, as I often like to look up words or phrases, and many places include Greek translations!

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If you would like to learn more about this program, connect with Memoria Press on social media here:

Memoria Press on Facebook

Memoria Press on Instagram

Memoria Press on Twitter

Memoria Press on Pinterest

To find out more about First Form Greek and the other products the Crew Review team got to check out, click here:

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

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