Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Sugar Creek Gang Audio CDs - A Review


Beloved Books Presents:

Sugar Creek Gang Audio CDs

Each Volume - $54.95

Entire Set of Volumes 1-6 - $279.70

Thanks to the great folks at Beloved Books, we have a...
SPECIAL COUPON CODE for my blog readers:  Receive 20% off of your order with this code - "WLTH-20" 


From Their Site:

"In 1939, Paul Hutchens began writing a series of wholesome Christian adventure books for boys and girls.  Several years ago Paul Ramseyer was inspired to dramatize the book series for radio.  Now your family can own and enjoy the complete 36-book audio series... over 100 hours on 72 CDs!

These Sugar Creek Gang "Audio Adventures" are dramatically read straight from the original books.  Christian families LOVE this series because the gospel message is presented in such a simple, easy-to-understand style.  The whole series is, in fact, a discipleship journey... even parents who listen along witness the Holy Spirit working changes in their own hearts!

Families also enjoy the delightfully interspersed segments of nature study, poetry, hymns, and even science lessons... all skillfully woven into the fabric of the stories."

You may also like to know that Paul Hutchens' autobiography, "My Life and I",  has also been put onto an Audio CD.


 If you are undecided, you may wish to purchase a sample CD of the 1st story, "Swamp Robber" for $4.95, with FREE shipping.

If you are still undecided, read these wonderful testimonies from listeners. And I don't know what higher recommendation I can give than this.  One of my fellow crew members mentioned that her daughter accepted Jesus as Savior, after listening to one of the Sugar Creek Gang audio CDs!  Wow, all I can say is, "Wow!"

Beloved Books offers MANY other inspiring books and audio CDs.  What an amazing collection!

Our Thoughts:

I like a good story.  I love a good story that throws in Christian values and the Salvation story. 

I listened to the Audio CD with my entire family: me, hubby, 13 yo daughter, 10 yo daughter, and 3 yo daughter. 

I liked the wholesome feel of these stories: love of God, respect of parents, devotion to friends.  It has so many built-in values, life lessons, and Christian Values, even mentions of accepting Jesus as Savior.  I didn't have to worry that something inappropriate would pop-up in the middle of the story.  I felt that my children would be grow in wisdom and deepen their values and faith, by listening to these stories.

The narrator, Paul Ramseyer, did a wonderful job of telling these stories.  He puts so much emotion, enthusiasm, and feeling into the telling.

These stories are taken straight from the original storybooks.  The story lines and tone of the narration reminded me of the TV show, "Leave it to Beaver".  I'm thinking that if you enjoyed that show (the stories, the values, etc.), you will enjoy these stories.  I loved that show, and I love these stories.

But, sadly, my daughters did not enjoy the Audio CDs.  Why?  I'm not sure.  For one thing, they don't particularly enjoy listening to Audio CDs.  They prefer to read the book, or have me read the book to them.   Possibly, a story about a bunch of boys "doing boy-ish things" doesn't particularly appeal to them.  Whatever the reason, they just didn't get into it.

BUT, I do like them a lot.  I found it entertaining and uplifting.  It was like a "breath of fresh air" compared to a lot of the "fluff" out there passing as children's literature.  And many of the other crew members have children (boys and girls) who love, love, love the stories.  So I encourage you to give it a try.  You may wish to purchase a sample CD of the 1st story, "Swamp Robber" for $4.95, with FREE shipping.  If your children listen to and enjoy these stories, I truly believe it will have a positive impact on their lives and their relationship with family, friends, and God.

I plan to continue to listen to these stories, even if I listen to them alone.  :)

REMEMBER!  Thanks to the great folks at Beloved Books, we have a...
SPECIAL COUPON CODE for my blog readers:  Receive 20% off of your order with this code - "WLTH-20" 


Disclaimer: I received this product free of charge, as part of the Schoolhouse Review Crew. The above is just my opinion. Please remember that opinions may, and do, vary.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Samson's Classroom - A Review

PhotobucketSamson's Classroom

Home Plan for 1 user - $30/year
Family Plan for 4 users - $50/year

Three great programs for one great price:


Sight Words with Samson - For beginning readers



From their site -

Sight Words with Samson is an absolute must for all beginning readers. This software product is the complete package for teachers and administrators looking to give their students the necessary foundation they need to become successful readers. This engaging product is proven to help early readers master the 224 most commonly used words in the English language.

Spelling with Samson - Up to 5th grade



From their site -
With more than 5,000 words and counting, Spelling with Samson is the most comprehensive spelling product on the market. This amazing software package captivates students and provides educators with all the tools they need to improve the spelling ability of their students. Join the thousands of teachers from across the country that have already made Spelling with Samson a part of their classroom.

Reading with Samson - For reading comprehension


 From their site -
Reading with Samson combines everything you have come to expect from the Samson product line with a new patented user feedback system. The end result is a cutting edge software product that helps students analyze reading material and learn how to draw conclusions and answer questions based on that material.

Samson's Classroom also includes teacher resources, including some great printable worksheets.

Try out some of the Samson's Classroom DEMOS .

Or check out this 3 minute VIDEO.

Our Thoughts:

An online learning game with something for all 3 of my children for less than $5 a month.  Sounds like a winner to me.  So what is it all about and how did it work for us?

My youngest turns 4 next month, so I am super excited to start using Sight
Words with Samson with her in the next few months.  It looks like a super fun way to introduce her to reading.

My two older daughters spent a good deal of time working their way through Spelling with Samson and Reading with Samson.

In the spelling section, your student can either pick from a spelling list of your creation or from the provided KNOWLEDGE WAND LIST.  We chose to work from the provided list.  It has tons of choices.  You can choose a list based on grade level up to the 5th grade.  Or you can choose by a common theme, such as "Days of the Week" or "Farm Animals".  Each list is composed of 4 sections.

1. Study Zone - to study and master the words in your list. Each word is click-able.  You can hear the word, hear the word in a sentence, and hear the word spelled. 

2.  Missing Letters - help Samson karate chop his way through the missing letters for each word.  It is very cute.  If you guess correctly, Samson chops through the blocks of wood.  If you guess incorrectly, Samson attempts to chop the wood, fails, and then rubs his hand.

3.  Spelling Scramble - watch out for the tarantula, while gathering the letters to turn them into words. (I will point out that my 5th grader found the Spelling Scramble game to be frustrating.  It is difficult to navigate Samson around the screen and trying to avoid a spider that you can't see until the last minute was not her idea of fun.  But after he catches you, the pressure is off and you can focus on just rounding up the letters.  My hint to you would be, just let him catch you and then concentrate on getting the letters.)

4.  Crunch Time - try to spell the words correctly, quickly enough to keep from falling off the ice chunks, to avoid the walrus.

I found the words to be challenging enough for my 5th grader.  Some of the more complicated, longer words were even helpful for my 8th grader.  It was a fun way to learn and it proved to be effective.  After just a little practice, they would be scoring 100% on their word lists.  And it was great for the parent as well.  With just a quick glance, I could see which word lists they had practiced and which ones they had perfect scores on.  Plus, as I mentioned earlier, you have the option of making your own word lists.  

Crunch Time was their favorite game in the spelling section.  

In the reading comprehension section, your student will read a selected passage and then answer questions related to it.  There are 4 levels of difficulty to choose from.  If you get an answer wrong, it will highlight the relevant passage and give you another chance.  I again appreciate how easy it is for me to see my child's progress.  At a glance, I can see which passages they read, and also how many questions were right, wrong, needed a hint (highlighting selected passage), or were unanswered.  

Reading comprehension is very important to me.  It doesn't matter how well you read, if you don't take anything away from it.  I found this to be a quick and easy way to improve my daughters' skills, with just a few minutes a few times a week.

My 5th grader's favorite section was the spelling.  My 8th grader's favorite section was the reading.  Of course, the articles weren't very challenging for her.  But it reminded her of the importance of paying attention to details...and not just reading to read.  

I am very pleased with this product, as a supplement to our homeschool curriculum.  For less than $5/month, it is a quick and easy and fun way for a student to get a regular review of her spelling and reading comp. skills.   It is also a great way for a parent to get a nice overview of how their child is doing in these areas.  All the printables and resources for the homeschool parent are a definite bonus. 



Disclaimer: I received this product free of charge, as part of the Schoolhouse Review Crew. The above is just my opinion. Please remember that opinions may, and do, vary.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Pilgrim Story from DaySpring - A Review


Pilgrim Story Online Course from DaySpring Christian Academy
Grades 3 - 6

Other online courses are available.

About the course (from their website):

"The Pilgrim Story teaches children about one of the most important times in our nation’s history. It is America’s foundation. This self-guided, interactive history course teaches students the true history of the Pilgrims from original sources. The Principle Approach method of education is used, which holds a providential view of history. Students are taught the importance of Christian character and other biblical principles, such as self governance, hard work, and perseverance. Students also learn the biblical principles of Christian liberty.

Lessons include: King Henry, Geneva Bible, Liberty of Conscience, Leaving Leiden, Conditions on the Mayflower, Building Christian Character, the Mayflower Compact, and much more. Students witness the providence of God in the lives of the Pilgrims and the founding of America. This interactive, self-paced course consists of five units totaling 17 lessons complete with assessments and ideas for further study. Appropriate for grades 3-6.

Activities in the course include crafts, application, live action, map-making, and much more—all designed to get students involved in the learning process. Principle Approach students are taught to think and reason from biblical principles and apply them to every area of life, so reasoning questions are also included."


About the instructor (from their site):

                     "Mary Stauffer has taught third grade at Dayspring Christian Academy since 1994. She has led more than 20 guided tours of Plymouth, MA, and uses the words of our forefathers as found in primary sources to teach the Pilgrim story. She also lectures on the subject to the community and is passionate about teaching and preserving the truth of our nation’s past."

What we thought:
I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this course.  What a great way to learn about history.  I wish we could take more history courses in this format.  It is fun, interesting, interactive, and contains a wealth of information. 

First, I love history.  Second, I love learning about the Pilgrim time period. Third, I hate using textbooks for history.  So...it would stand to reason that this course would be a winner in my book.  And well, it is!

The PILGRIM STORY is an online course, self-paced with 6 months to complete the course.  So, your student can progress at their own pace, as it is convenient for your family.  The course is broken up into manageable bites, covering a different aspect each time such as King Henry or the Geneva Bible.  I think it covers each topic very well, and the added touches of pictures and quotes are very nice.  Activity sheets are included for each lesson, including the notebooking pages.  The answers are underlined in the text of the lessons.  So your child gets the really important details three times.  Once when they hear it, Again when they read the underlined words. And yet again, when they write down the words on their notebooking pages.  I do wish that the underlined phrases would show up AFTER the instructor is finished speaking on that topic.  Because I noticed my daughters reading it and beginning to write it down, while the instructor was still talking and expanding on the topics.  Which means, that they were already zoning out and moving on to writing down the answer.

We broke the lessons down into more manageable sizes.  I am guessing a lesson is intended for one day, but we almost always break it up into two days.  I do wish it was easier to find your place when you log back in.  I had to pull up the table of contents and search for which topic looked familiar, as our stopping place from the day before.

A nice review is included at the end of a lesson and again at the beginning of the next lesson.  At the end of each unit, there is a unit test.  You can choose essay or multiple choice style.  We chose multiple choice.

I am glad to see a course about the Pilgrims for a Christian perspective.  I appreciate that the story starts a ways back before the Pilgrims come onto the scene.  It was interesting to see the events that led up to their decision to start over in a new country.  They were Christians who were committed to living like Christians, no matter the cost.  Their number one priority was to have a clean conscience before God.  

The included printables are a nice addition.  It is up to you to decide which ones you want to include in your lessons.  There are notebooking pages, vocabulary words, lists of important people, interesting charts to fill out, etc.  There are "cool" ones like translating a Bible verse from the original text.  There are "thought-provoking" ones such as listing our external (clothing, food, etc) and internal property (talents, hopes and dreams, etc.) and thanking God for both.  

I am super-excited to see a course like this available.  It is thorough, interactive, multi-sensory, interesting, and informative.  It is a great way to help share our Christian heritage with our children.


 Disclaimer: I received this product free of charge, as part of the Schoolhouse Review Crew. The above is just my opinion. Please remember that opinions may, and do, vary.

Kinderbach App for IPad - A Review

Kinderbach: Simply Discover Piano...an App for IPad

$26.99 for full ad-free Classroom Version

Special!  Special!  Special!

This coupon code gives 30% off any order - homeschool, classroom, online or DVDs.

Coupon Code:  TOS_crew2012
Expires: 12/31/2012

Also the KinderBach App is on sale This Friday, Oct. 19th, 2012 ONLY.  The app will be discounted over 50%, down to $12.99! No code needed just the link to the Classroom KinderBach app in the App store:

An online computer version is also available, if you prefer.  Here are some samples.

by the company Kinderbach


Geared towards ages 3-7

Brief description from the website:
KinderBach's App for iPad or iPhone brings the teachings of Karri Gregor to your device. The KB App features Levels 1, 2 & 3 and offers a year's worth of entertaining music education for 3 to 7 year old children through video, interactive coloring pages and games. Miss Karri introduces preschoolers to the keyboard characters with stories and fun tunes. Kids will enjoy playing simple songs, identifying music direction and pitch, learning rhythm notes and their beat value. Levels 1 to 3 cover proper hand and finger position, as well as note reading by pattern for voice, and keyboard.


Instructor:  Karri Gregor

Karri began teaching her children piano when they were very young.  Gradually she worked her way up to teaching 150 students.  After moving, she decided to begin teaching by videos so that students would be able to learn, even if she were to move again.  You can read the story in more detail on her website.

The Course Syllabus can be seen here.

Kinderbach provides many on-screen activity sheets.  They are a great addition to the program, both to entertain and to reinforce.  They were a big hit with my daughter.

 Before you know it, your little one will be playing songs.


This is the 3rd time that I have reviewed Kinderbach.  The 1st and 2nd times, I reviewed the online program.  You may wish to read those reviews as well. 

I am a huge fan of Kinderbach.  It is such a great way to introduce the little ones to music, piano, and sheet reading.  Karri makes it fun, with the cute little characters like Dodi and the neat little correlations like Dodi's house being between the two black keys.

It teaches how to keep rhythm and time, with things such as clapping to a steady walking beat.    And Karri reminds us that most anything can be used as a musical instrument, to keep the beat value.

Karri's videos are short and sweet and she is good at keeping a young child's attention.  Her voice is pleasant to listen to, which is very important.  Each sesction is broken into 5 sections (an intro and 4 short sessions).  It also includes a game and printable worksheets, if you have the ability to print.  

If your child is just in a playing kind of mood, he can go straight to the game section and choose an activity from there.  It includes a cute little game for teaching children the correct finger numbering.

Of course one neat feauture of the I-Pad app is that it has a built-in piano.  This simplifies matters, so that you can use the app most anywhere without having to be near a computer.  My 3 year old daughter thought this was super cool.

I think the Kinderbach program is a wonderful program.  It is geared directly to the preschool set, with the lively videos and songs.  My 3 year old enjoyed the lessons and the games.  She enjoyed keeping the beat value, preferring to use the built-in keyboard as her instrument of choice.  She quickly caught on to the fingering game, even though this was a totally new concept to her.  She has already begun learning some very invaluable information, and having fun at the same time.

I think the Kinderbach program is great.  Whether you decide to go with the online version or with the Ipad App, I think your prechsooler will not only enjoy it, but benefit and learn from it.           

Disclaimer: I received this product free of charge, as part of the Schoolhouse Review Crew. The above is just my opinion. Please remember that opinions may, and do, vary.


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

ZooWhiz - A Review


ZooWhiz -  brought to you by EdAlive
Designed for ages 5 -15
The site offers a Free Keeper Subscription

and also a Premium Zoologist Subscription - currently $14.95/year (This is the subscription I reviewed)

Many children, mine included, love choosing their own avatar for online games

About ZooWhiz, in their words:
"It’s FREE for you to use with your kids at home. Just create a FREE Keeper Account and they’re away!
  • For even more motivation and learning power upgrade to the very affordable PREMIUM Zoologist Subscription
  • The educational content is drawn from a bank of over 17,000 carefully-crafted, finely-incremented learning activities
  • Comprehensive coverage of maths, punctuation, spelling, grammar, vocabulary, word skills, phonics, phonemics and reading
  • Designed for kids aged 5 to 15 with plenty of scope to assist those finding work hard and opportunity to extend even the most able student." 

From the home page, students choose their activities, including "Learn & Earn"

Difficulty levels are customizable by age range.  You can go up and down as needed and view activity results within each level.

ZooWhiz makes math more fun and interactive.

What a cute way to practice grammar.

ZooWhiz covers most of the basics, including phonics, punctuation, spelling, and vocabulary.

With those hard-earned coins, children can buy animals at the zoo.  They can also play games at the arcade.

So the basic premise is this.  You choose the grade level you would like your child to learn at; you can always change it later.  Your student uses the "Learn and Earn" section to practice math and English skills.  After earning money, they can use the money in the "Arcade" to play games and also in the "Biodome" to buy animals for the zoo.

What my daughters and I enjoyed about ZooWhiz:

1. It makes learning more fun.  It is interactive and colorful.
2. There is an incentive to learn, earning coins for the other activities.
3. They enjoyed the arcade games very much.
4.  Age range levels are adjustable.  If you find the questions are all too difficult, you can go down a level.  If you find the questions aren't challenging enough, you can go up a level.
5. The price is VERY reasonable at only $14.95 a year for the Zoologist Subscription.  This is the subscription level we reviewed, so all my opinions are based on this subscription.

What my daughters and I didn't enjoy as much about ZooWhiz:

1. In the "Learn and Earn" section, you do earn coins for getting questions right.  But you also lose coins, for getting questions wrong.  This was discouraging to my girls.  It made them hesitant to try on questions they weren't sure about.  
2.  Games are 50 coins each and are timed.  I know this is so children will spend more time on the learning and less time on the arcades.  But the time just isn't long enough.  My daughters would choose the coloring game and not even finishing "painting" the picture before the timer would go off.  Then it would cost them another 50 coins to go back into the game and finish.  Thankfully, the game does save your progress.  You don't have to start over on the game.
3. The animals that you buy for the zoo aren't at all interactive.  They are more like trading cards.  Just something to look at and read about (habitat, diet, etc.).  My daughters expected to be able to do something with the animals.  But that isn't the case.
They quickly lost interest in purchasing them and went back to the arcades.


Disclaimer: I received this product free of charge, as part of the Schoolhouse Review Crew. The above is just my opinion. Please remember that opinions may, and do, vary.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Beeyoutiful Prodcuts - A Review

Beeyoutiful Presents:  Berry Well, Miracle Skin Salve, Ow!-Ease, and Lip B.A.L.M.


 Beeyoutiful is a wonderful company.  I have reviewed from them in the past and have also purchased from them.  They are a Christian company, very serious about customer service and quality products.

The BEAUTIFUL company, BEEYOUTIFUL, sent me an assortment of products to review.  I will list them separately and tell you about my experiences.



 Berry Well  8oz. - $19.75

From the site - "Never fear the flu when you keep Berry Well on hand. Each ingredient in this pleasantly fruity syrup holds its own against flu, colds, and a swarm of bacterial and viral infections. This organic Elderberry Syrup contains Propolis, Raw Honey, and Echinacea."

I have read rave reviews about Berry Well, so I was eager to try it for myself. When we opened the bottle, my family all smelled it and no one else volunteered to try it.  But I did and have taken it over the course of the past few weeks.  I find the taste to be strong and it causes me to shiver.  But I don't mind.  I take medicine to feel better, not because I do or don't like the taste.  So anyway, I have been taking it and haven't gotten sick.  But neither has the rest of my family, for which I am grateful.  So I wasn't sure what I was going to say in my review.  But then I watched the included DVD and saw that it can also be used for allergies.  Well, soon after that my allergies acted up.  My nose drove me nuts for hours.  Then I remembered about Berry Well.  I took it and noticed a great improvement within 30 minutes.  This was after hours of being miserable, and then BAM!, it was so much better.


Miracle Skin Salve 2oz - $15.00 or 4oz - $25.00

From the site - "Don’t be rash! Miracle Skin Salve promotes deep healing and restoration using a soothing blend of organic herbs and oils. From sunburn, chapped lips, and diaper rash to painful wounds and burns, apply salve as often as needed and watch your skin smile!"

 I had an allergic reaction on my wrist after weeding in the yard.  It remained there for several weeks.  Then after weeding again, I had a reaction on my other wrist.  Both continued to flare up and itch.  Then I received this product.  I slathered it on both wrists.  And I am not kidding!  It has been about 3 weeks now, and the rashes are completely and haven't bothered me since that day.


Ow!-Ease 1oz - $15.00

From the site - "Ease your pain away. Using a proprietary blend of herbs, Ow!-Ease relieves pain associated with sprains, strains and pulled ligaments and muscles, bruises, and contusions. It works quickly and effectively to help reduce swelling and muscle pain, and is excellent as a rub for body builders, construction workers, and gardeners alike. The amazing qualities of these herbs work synergistically to soothe, restore, and actually speed tissue healing."

One of my daughters had her foot stepped on while wearing flip-flops.  It was very painful and sore.  I put the Ow!-Ease on it and she found it provided relief.  Kind of like a numbed tingling feeling.

One of my other daughters had a bad bruise on her leg.  I had her apply this a few times.  Although she didn't like the greasy feeling, she did find it helpful and soothing.


Lip B.A.L.M. - $3.00

From the site - "Who hasn’t struggled at some point with dry, chapped lips?
Either during the dry winter months, after being outside gardening or during sporting events, or even during a cold. Conventional lip moisturizers can be harsh and even damaging to fragile lip membranes with chemicals and fuel derived bases. Beeyoutiful’s all natural Lip Balms offer you a choice of a soothing, healing lip balm that you can be confident in the ingredients, knowing you are using the very best on your lips!
The convenient size fits in your purse, pocket, diaper bag or gym bag for easy access wherever you may be."

One of my daughters suffers from constant chapped lips.  She is constantly hunting for lip moisturizers around the house to provide relief, when her lips are hurting.  So, receiving lip moisturizer to review is a big hit around our house.  I love that this lip balm is all natural.  I don't have to worry about what my daughter is putting on her lips.  Or if she were to lick her lips, what she would be putting into her system.  No chemicals here. 


Beeyoutiful Views DVD - $3.00

From the site - "In this DVD, Stephanie Tallent shares how she uses some of the most popular Beeyoutiful products in her home with her husband Steve and daughter Noelle."

I thought this DVD would just be an ad to try to sell products.  But it was more than that.  It took us into Stephanie's home and showed us how they used the products in real life situations.  I learned some interesting facts and appreciated her candor.

Overall, I am impressed with this company and with their products.  I love that their products not only work, but that they are also made up of natural ingredients instead of harmful chemicals.


Disclaimer: I received this product free of charge, as part of the Schoolhouse Review Crew. The above is just my opinion. Please remember that opinions may, and do, vary.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Box of I.D.E.As - Pearl Harbor - A Review

World War II - Pearl Harbor
Age Range: Approx. 9 - 16 years of age

Presented by

Box of I.D.E.As. offers several other unit studies are available, including salt and quilting.

A little about Box of I.D.E.As. from their site:
"Box of IDEAs are ideal for teaching multi level students, focusing on age 9 to 16. Designed to get kids off the computer and around the table, Box of IDEAS are great to supplement your current curriculum but can also be used for homeschool group activity, summertime learning and as a break from the normal routine"


A little about the Pearl Harbor box from their site:
" World War Two Pearl Harbor is an in depth look into the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor as well as the events surrounding the United States entry into World War Two, specifically in the Pacific. This box not only deals with the attack itself but everything that came before and after. This detailed exploration of the "date that will live in infamy" will not only expose your kids to a detailed history of events but also to aspects of the big picture that you may have never thought of before. Never before have you seen such a comprehensive overview of this important part of World War Two including all that came before and after."

Our Thoughts:

At the end of the last school year, my family finished up a unit study on Pearl Harbor.  So when the Box of I.D.E.As came up for review, of course I picked the unit about Pearl Harbor.  I had enjoyed the study and was curious to see what else we could learn about it.

Not only did I like the topic, but I also liked the idea of having all the work done and ready for me.  Each topic is bagged up separately, ready for use when you need it.  A list of "extras" needed is listed right on the bag's label...things like a ruler or scissors.  I am thankful to have received the box edition.  I imagine the PDF version would get rather pricey, with all the color printing.

Topics include...
     Before becoming a base
     Beginning of a Naval Presence
     A Week Before the Attack
     Day of Infamy
     Day After the Attack
     Weeks After the Attack
     Six Months After the Attack
     A Year After the Attack
     Victory Over Japan
     Decades After the Attack

There are 10 modules in this box.  The site mentions that the modules can be studied in any order, but I recommend that with a history topic, you start at the beginning...Especially if you have a limited knowledge of the subject.  The first module starts before the bombings, before Pearl Harbor was a military base. 

When you pick up a bagged module, you will notice a list of required items, usually something as simple as a pencil.  You will also see a quote.  I personally am a sucker for quotes; I LOVE them.  This can be used for copy-work or simply to ponder.  On the module about journalism, you will find this quote.

"I don't think a reporter should give advice or make predictions, " Peter Jennings

I found it amusing to read about how journalists should be un-biased and neutral, with "just the facts, ma'am."  If only!  Boy, how far we have strayed from that goal.

Inside the bag, you will find a brief introduction to the topic.  The information was interesting and we did learn things we hadn't learned last year during our unit study. I appreciated that the study began before the attack, giving some background, and that it continued on years after the attack.  It gave us a nice overall look at the attack on Pearl Harbor.  But some lessons were shorter than others, and those left me wanting for more.  I would love to see more details.  However, the info sheet does include web-links for further study.

Along with the lesson is a worksheet.  The worksheet is a nice way to see how much your child learned from the lesson.  It gives us a chance to put the lesson into action.  For example, in the 1st module titled "Before  Becoming a Base," students will measure pictures of pearls.  In the 5th module titled "Day After the Attack," students read articles from the day after the attack and note which ones gave opinions and which ones gave just the facts.  Then they will do some journalism of their own, again some with just the facts and some including opinions.  

Each lesson, or module, also includes an activity.  Putting a deck of cards (featuring noteworthy events during the attack) into timeline order was probably my daughters' favorite.  There were also activities such as a game similar to "Go Fish" using a deck of cards featuring endangered animals. One activity was using copies of actual newspaper headlines to answer a variety of questions.  My girls would have enjoyed this activity and were looking forward to trying it out.  But many of the copies had print so tiny and blurry, that we could barely read more than the headlines.  Since we couldn't read the articles, we weren't able to answer the questions. But just looking at the print copies from the day after the bombing was a history lesson, in and of itself.

The included materials, such as the newspaper copies, truly are a history lesson.  These were some of the most enjoyable parts of the study.  Seeing a copy of President Roosevelt's marked-up speech for Congress.  Looking over articles from across the nation printed on December 8, 1941.  Actual photos from Pearl Harbor on the back of activity cards.  I like that the company included so many visual aids, in addition to the included web-links.

My daughters did mention that a lot of the activities seemed very similar, just being variations of card games.  Although the cards were colorful and interesting, it kind of seemed repetitive.  I don't think this is a big deal.  It is just one part of the bigger picture...including worksheets, web-links, and extra research and assignments.  But that being said, I do think it would be nice to add a few extra hands-on activities (not card related).

Box of I.D.E.As is an interesting idea and a creative product.  It makes history easier to teach and more fun to learn.  The worksheets, the web-links, the activities.  It is very hands-on and user friendly.

Disclaimer: I received this product free of charge, as part of the Schoolhouse Review Crew. The above is just my opinion. Please remember that opinions may, and do, vary.