Browsing Category

Homeschool Product Reviews

0 In Homeschool Product Reviews

Online Accountability With Accountable2You // A Homeschool Review Crew Review

As a mom raising kids in a technology driven world, it’s important that I put measures in place to keep my children safe while online, as well as keep them accountable while they learn to make good choices while using the internet. Recently, Accountable2You offered our family a choice of reviewing one of four plans: Family Plan, Group Plan, Individual Plan and Small Business Plan. We chose the Individual Plan.

Accountability across all your devices {Accountable2You}
 

About Accountable2You

Accountable2You is an online accountability tool for those wanting to be held accountable in their online habits. It’s very easy to use. Simply create an account, install your devices, and set up your accountability partners. Once your account is set up, there are so many features that you can set up to keep those you love accountable in this technology-driven world, such as:

  • simple device management
  • real time text alerts
  • full activity reports
  • GPS location tracking
  • time limit alerts (*available for the Family Plan only)

The different plans offered are:

Family Plan (up to 20 devices) – great for parents wanting to monitor all of the activity on all devices in their household.
Individual Plan (up to 6 devices)
– perfect for someone wanting to add accountability partners to their devices.
Group Plan (up to 6 devices, per user) –  designed to be used by an administrator for a group, such as a church or small group, to provide and pay for their members’ individual private accounts.
Business Plan (unlimited devices) – designed for businesses wanting to monitor activity on devices used within their organization.

It is important to note that  Accountble2You is not an internet filtering software, but rather they provide advanced reporting of computer and device activity as a way of accountability. It is designed to work with any filtering software of your choice.

Plans start at $6.99/month for the individual plan and you can cancel at any time. You can also sign up for a free trial on the website.

How We Used This Product

For the purpose of this review, I received an Individual Plan. Being a homeschool mom of a 13-year old boy who is very into gaming, I decided to use this tool to be alerted to my son’s gaming habits while I was at work during the day. I also decided to alert myself to whether or not he was logging in to online school lessons, as was the expectation, during school hours.

After creating the account, I discussed with my son that I would be intentionally collecting information about his browsing habits while on the internet. We talked about internet safety and the importance of being accountable to someone we trust in our browsing habits, and my son understood that I would be watching where he was going at all times.

In order to make this work effectively, I had to set up some objectionable words around places he visited every day in order for the software to give me the proper reporting of his browsing habits.

accountablewords

As a gamer, my son spends a lot of time in places like Geometry Dash and Steam. He’s been known to visit sites with the words “baseball”, “basketball” and “target”. I also put in Veritas Press as a objectionable word so that I would be notified when he logged in to do his Bible or History.

Because I had set up Geometry Dash as “highly questionable content”, I received instant text alerts every time my son logged into that site.  I was able to catch him when he wanted to go play instead of doing schoolwork. I was extremely pleased with this method of instant report, and at the same time, I realized how much my son was addicted to gaming and we have since given him even stricter time limitations through our Microsoft account.

For his school work, I choose to receive email alerts for when he logged into those sites. I originally set myself up as a user, but realized I had done it all backwards, thus the zero reporting next to my name in the report below.

dailylog

Some of the other reporting options are daily logs, a breakdown of where the person is spending the bulk of their time on line, as well as an activity report chart.

Final Thoughts

Overall, I am very pleased with this product. It is giving me a way to keep my son accountable while online, as well as making sure he’s getting his online school work done. This tool has given me more to think about as far as enforcing even greater time restrictions and has opened up more discussion with my son about the sites he frequents and where he is spending his time on line.

If you are looking for a way to keep yourself our a loved one accountable while online, be sure to check out Accountable2You. It’s working for us, and I am sure it will work for you as well.

Be sure to click on the banner below to read what other Crew members have to say about this awesome software.

Accountability across all your devices {Accountable2You}
 

Crew Disclaimer
 

2 In Homeschool Product Reviews

Personalized Name Meaning Gifts With CrossTimber // A Homeschool Review Crew Review

When I was pregnant with each of my five children, choosing their names was something I spent a lot of time in prayer on. All of their names have special meanings and, as they have grown, it’s been fun to see their personalities and giftings take on their name meanings. I recently had the opportunity to review a Personalized Framed Plaque with Name Meaning and Bible Verse from CrossTimber.

Personalized Framed Plaque with Name Meaning and Bible Verse {CrossTimber} Reviews
 

About CrossTimber

CrossTimber is a family run business, originally started in 1994 with design and graphics printing, with a passion for encouraging others through the meaning of names.  There website is extremely easy to navigate. There you will find countless design possibilities from name plaques, coffee mugs, music boxes, book marks and so much more.

What I Received

For the purpose of this review, I received a 5×7 framed name print. I wanted to focus on my first (and only) grandchild’s name, Eli Christoper. I emailed John over at CrossTimber to find out the meaning of my grandson’s name and he was very quick to respond. (I apologize for the bad picture, but my Dell is having issues and my screenshot feature is not working.)

name

I decided to have the print made with just my grandson’s first name. The print itself is gorgeous, with rich, deep colors. I chose the Ornate frame, which is a dark-brown wood frame with intricate scrollwork designs. The frame measures 7×9 and is very well made. Also included was a 2.5×3.5 name card.

img_1460

Instead of just receiving my review item, I ordered an additional item for my best friend for Christmas. She loves the Names of God so I thought she would be particularly fond of this 8×10 print with Ornate frame. Again, the colors are rich and deep. Very beautiful.

high-tower

Final Thoughts

Because my life is full, I waited until almost the end of the ordering period before placing my order. John was kind of enough to email me and remind me to place my order. I was so grateful because I was having an extremely busy week and never intended to wait until the last minute.

reminder

The ordering process from inquiry to shipping was easy and smooth. John communicated with me every step of the way and the items came very securely packaged. My whole experience with CrossTimber was amazing. Their website is awesome, very easy to navigate and packed with not just name plaque ideas, but so much more. I’ve made some notes for future gifts I’d like to give.

Would you like to win some fabulous name meaning gifts for yourself or to give as gifts at Christmas Time? CrossTimber is having a big giveaway. Click the banner below and enter for your chance to win.

CrossTimber 2016 giveaway
 

If you don’t win the giveaway, CrossTimber is offering some pretty great discounts on products. Click the image below and order today!

Personalized Framed Plaque with Name Meaning and Bible Verse {CrossTimber} Reviews
 

Be sure and click over to read what other Crew members thought of CrossTimber and look at some of the other fabulous products made by this amazing company.

Personalized Framed Plaque with Name Meaning and Bible Verse {CrossTimber} Reviews
 

Crew Disclaimer
 

0 In Homeschool Product Reviews

Learning Spanish With Middlebury Interactive Languages // A Homeschool Review Crew Review

As a middle schooler, my son has expressed an interest in learning a foreign language, and we couldn’t be more thrilled. Finding the right fit for him and the way he learns has been challenging. This is why I was thrilled for the chance to review Middlebury Interactive Languages. My son has been working through the Middle School Spanish 1 (Grades 6-8) course and is beginning to get excited about learning Spanish.

Spanish, French, German or Chinese {Middlebury Interactive Languages}
 

About Middlebury Interactive Languages

Middlebury Interactive Languages is an online resources for classes in Spanish, French, Chinese and German for elementary, middle and high school. This self-paced, immersion style program contains courses that vary from introductory through advanced.  Each middle school and high school semester consists of 18 weeks, or 90 days of content. Each K-2 semester consists of 35 days of content, and each 3-5 semester consists of 45 days of content.

For the purpose of this review, we received a subscription to one full semester (6 months) of content for the Middle School Spanish 1 (Grades 6-8) course. The cost of the course runs $119 for independent learning. There is teacher support available for $294 per course.

How We Used This Product

When you first log in, there is a calendar that lays out the assignments that need to be completed each day in order to complete the course in the allotted time of 6 months. However, we chose to just work on Spanish three days a week, so we basically did three lessons a week, which worked well for my son.

From the Table of Contents, we could see exactly what lessons have been completed as they are checked with a green mark. I love how the Table of Contents is laid out. There were days I forgot to print my son’s school schedule and he was able to do the next lesson in order according to the Table of Contents.

spanish_toc

The main focus of the Middle School Spanish 1 course is listening, speaking, reading and writing, with course elements for each lesson which include:

  • Objectives
  • Warm Ups
  • Matching
  • Speaking Labs
  • Listening & Reading

spanish_objectives

It was very easy to navigate this program and my son was able to move through the course independently. One of my son’s favorite portions of the program were the speaking labs, as he was interested in hearing how his voice sounded as he recorded himself using different words and phrases.

spanish_speaking

He also really enjoyed the matching games in each of the lessons, as it helped him to memorize what he had learned.

spanish-aaron

 

I appreciated the writing and speaking lessons. I believe the speaking portions of those lessons moved very quickly, but thankfully my son was able to pause the audio to catch up.

Final Thoughts

Overall, I believe this is a very comprehensive middle school Spanish course. At times, I think my son was a little lost, especially on those days where I wasn’t sitting with him doing the lesson, and talking to him about it as he did it. On the days where I would follow up with him after he completed the lesson, he often had a hard time explaining what he learned or repeating some of the words he learned. As with any language, it takes constant practice and reinforcement to learn and absorb. I was thankful that we could go back to the listening and speaking portions of those lessons to hear the words as well as practice them together.

I’m not certain we will be able to actually finish the course in the 6-month time period, but we are going to do our best. I feel if we could slow down a bit, even focusing on one lesson each week, my son would be able to absorb the material better.

Are you looking for a language course that is comprehensive and self-paced? Be sure to check out what Middlebury Interactive Languages has to offer. Also, be sure to click on the banner below to read the other reviews by the Homeschool Review Crew.

Spanish, French, German or Chinese {Middlebury Interactive Languages}
 

Crew Disclaimer

0 In Homeschool Product Reviews

Educeri Lesson Subscription Service // A TOS Homeschool Review Crew Review

In our homeschool, we often look for ways to supplement our son’s curriculum, or for ways in which to provide more practice in areas where he needs more help.  Over the last month, we have been working through lessons with Educeri.  Educeri …….  Educeri a division of DataWORKS has over 1000 Ready to Teach Lessons available with their Educeri Lesson Subscription Service.

Educeri Lesson Subscription Service Reviews
 

About Educeri

Educeri is a database of over 1,000 lessons for grades K-12.  Although most of the content are in the areas of math and language arts, there is content for other subjects as well, such as science, art, and P.E., among others. Originally created for use in a traditional classroom, it can be effectively used in a homeschool setting.

How We Used This Product

I was a little disappointed to find out that these lessons were not video based, but rather they are slides. There is no audio, and my son thrives on audio/visual learning. Although they contain the visual component that he excels in, these lessons are not for self guidance if you have a struggling learner.  If your child is advanced and just needs reinforcement or test preparation, then your child may do fine on his own.  However, I needed to sit with my son as we did most of the lessons. This is not a bad thing, but my son is used to working mostly independently so this was something that he had to get use to.

The first thing we did was look through the database of content. Since Language Arts is my son’s weakest subject, we started with a 7th grade lesson called “Provide a Summary of a Text.”

7th_ela_ri_2-2_summaries_dw_ccss-ppt

To begin the lesson, we clicked on a the blue “Teach Lesson” tab and worked our way through the slides. The first slide showed the learning objective and an activation of prior knowledge. We often got stuck there as I had to go back and discuss with him many of the concepts that he was already expected to know in a particular lesson. But we had the ability to choose any grade level, so for Language Arts we often ended up in 5th or 6th grade.

From there, we moved on to concept and skill development, as well as guided practice. As we clicked our way through the slides, the answers would appear in red. I took this time to discuss with my son the answers and determine if he was ready to move forward.

Each slide comes with marker tools, which contain a pen, highlighter and eraser. Your child can use these tools to write on his lesson whiteboard right on the slide. Here are a few of the slides presented in this lesson (without using marker tool):

After working through a couple of Language Arts lessons, my son asked to move on to Math. A couple of the lessons we picked were “Converting Fractions to Decimals” and “Converting Percents to Decimals”.

img_1423

For the math lessons, I took advantage of the downloadable worksheets so that I could give my son extra practice.  These helped a lot to reinforce what was being taught in the lesson and to give him the confidence that he was learning the concepts.

Final Thoughts

Overall, I believe this is a good resource to be used as a supplement for further practice when preparing for testing, or in areas where your child may be weak. My son was missing the “lecture-based” teaching with video, as he is used to with many of his courses. It was a little bit of a challenge for him to grab a hold of some of the concepts for this reason, not because the lessons weren’t well done, but simply because of his comprehension deficiencies.

While I believe this is not the best fit for my child long term, it’s great to know that I have this resource available should I need it. The worksheets themselves are great practice. As the majority of the content is Common Core aligned, if you do not follow Common Core in your homeschool, as we don’t, you may find it hard to teach some of the lessons.

If you are looking for a supplemental resource for Math or Language Arts (other subjects too), check out the Educeri Lesson Subscription Service from Educeri …….  Educeri a division of DataWORKS. They do offer a free trial on their website as well.

For more information, visit:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/educeri/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/teacheduceri   @educeri
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/Educeri/

Be sure to check out what other members of The Homeschool Review Crew thought of this great product by clicking the banner below.

Educeri Lesson Subscription Service

Crew Disclaimer

0 In Homeschool Product Reviews

Pressed For Time? Give Freezer Cooking A Try With MyFreezEasy.com // A TOS Review Crew Review

As a busy homeschooling mom who works full time, it is important that I plan our meals weekly in order to avoid the dreaded, “Mom, what’s for dinner?” question, or overspending at the grocery store while trying to find something quick, easy and healthy to eat. I have always wanted to freezer cook meals, but I just haven’t taken the time to do it yet. Enter MyFreezEasy! The MyFreezEasy.com Freezer Meal Plan Membership from MyFreezEasy makes freezer cooking so fast and easy there is no excuse to not have a meal at home even with our busy schedule.

10-meals-in-1-hour-with-my-freezeasy_zpsybaixa9s

About MyFreezEasy

MyFreezEasy, created by Erin Chase, owner of $5 Dinners, can help the most time-pressed people get fast and delicious meals into their freezer. The meals are not only tasty, but are budget friendly. The concept is simple – Prepare, Freeze, Cook and Serve. You really can make 10 meals in less than an hour that your family is sure to enjoy.

There are eight plans included in both the basic and premium memberships. There really is something for everyone!

MyFreezEasy.com Freezer Meal Plan Membership {MyFreezEasy}
For the purpose of this review, I received a Premium Annual Membership.

How I Used The Plan

I have to first say that things did not go as I had anticipated. Shortly after looking through the meal plans and deciding which one I wanted to do first, I had a flare up of some health issues. When this happens, the only thing that helps my system get back in order is an elimination diet. But all was not lost, as I was able to use the “Swap” feature to move menu items in and out of plans and was able to create my own plans based on my health needs.  I made 4 servings of about everything, but they were more than adequate to serve my family of 5. There were even 2 meals where I planned for 2 servings and actually got 4.

*I was not able to make all of the meals the same day. My health issues prevent me from standing for too long at a time, so most of the meals were prepared and eaten without going into the freezer, except for a couple.

After completing my shopping using the very organized Complete Shopping List by Store Section/Category list, I came home and laid everything out on my table:.

ingredients

From my original five picks, here are the three meals I’ve made so far.

Apricot Chicken

apricotchickenThe only photo I have of this one is after mixing the yummy sauce. Overall, this dish was very good. I found the chicken to be a bit dry, but I blame that on the fact that I overcooked it. My oven cooks hot and I should have checked on it prior to the the timer going off. The sauce was delightful. Just enough “tang” for my palette.

Dutch Oven Italian Chicken and Potatoes

italian-chicken

We loved this dish, especially my husband and I. The only thing I would add is a little bit more liquid. My crock pot also cooks hot so this would have been more moist had I reduced the cooking time.

Slow Cooker Chili Mac

My husband made this on a night I wasn’t home and didn’t snap any photos. My family loved the taste, however the macaroni was a bit overcooked. This recipes calls for you to add the pasta to the crock pot for the last hour of cooking. Even though hubby reduced the time to about 35 mins, the pasta was too cooked.  One fix would be to cook your pasta separately, and then add it in right before serving.

Here is how my 1st October menu is looking so far:

  1. Beef Stew Foil Packets
  2. Apple Brined Pork Chops
  3. Sweet Potato & Chicken Sausage Hash
  4. Chicken & Veggie Chili
  5. Grilled Flank Steak and Tomatillo Salsa

We have already tried the Beef Stew Foil Packets, Apple Brinned Pork Chops and Chicken & Veggie Chili and they were all a hit with my family!

One thing I appreciate so much are the labels. You don’t have to print them on actual labels, as I did. You could use plain paper and tape, Or, you can hand write everything on your freezer bag. The labels are just so easy and serve as a reminder for what’s in the bag, cooking directions and dates of preparation.

freezer-label

Final Thoughts

I am over-the-moon pleased with my MyFreezEasy.com Premium Annual Membership. I appreciated that I could adapt the menus to suit my health needs, while also providing meals for my family. While we have 2 servings of two meals still in our freezer, I am looking forward to feeling better and preparing a freezer full of wholesome meals for my family very soon.

Are you looking for a fast and easy way to learn about freezer cooking and provide your family with a freezer full of meals? Give MyFreezEasy a try. You will not be disappointed!

Be sure to follow MyFreezEasy on social media!
Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/freezeasy
Instagram:  http://www.instagram.com/freezeasy
Pinterest:  http://www.pinterest.com/5dollardinners/freezeasy

MyFreezEasy.com Freezer Meal Plan Membership {MyFreezEasy}
 

Crew Disclaimer