This blog is my attempt to document our busy but BLESSED lives. A child of God, wife to one, and mom to 6 fabulous kids. We are in our 8th year of homeschooling using a Classical approach.

Come along for the good, the bad & the ugly.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Apologia Educational Ministries: Readers in Residence Volume 1 (Sleuth), full set ~ a TOS review

If you are like me, getting a package of new curriculum is like Christmas! Imagine my surprise when I came home and found a box from Apologia Educational Ministries on my front porch. Yes, I knew it was coming, but still, it's always exciting to get a box of new curriculum to try out! Inside was the brand new homeschool reading curriculum called Readers in Residence Volume 1 (Sleuth) full set.

Apologia Educational Ministries Readers in Residence

I am sure you have heard of Apologia Educational Ministries if you are a homeschooler. If you are not, let me tell you a little about them. Apologia is one of those companies that everybody talks about and for good reason too! When most people hear Apologia’s name mentioned they immediately think of their award winning science programs for elementary through high school. But did you know that they now offer a homeschool reading curriculum too?

Apologia Educational Ministries Readers in Residence
For my review I received the Readers in Residence Volume 1 (Sleuth) Full Set that was written by Debra Bell. This full set is geared towards students in the 4th-6th grades or for students who are behind in reading. Some students with special needs may also find this curriculum beneficial as well. This homeschool readers set teaches the student to learn how to comprehend what they read all the while appreciating the beauty of the novel itself.

Apologia Educational Ministries Readers in Residence

Readers in Residence can be used to complete your language arts curriculum as it includes instruction in reading comprehension, literature, and vocabulary. The complete set includes a big spiral-bound all-in-one Student Text and Workbook. I love that the spiral is a bright green color. It makes it very easy to find, especially when the books somehow get up and walk away. A helpful softbound answer key is also included. This answer key book contains complete answers to student activities from the Student All-In-One Text and Workbook.

Over the course of the reading curriculum your student will cover three genres of fiction: historical fiction, animal fantasy, and contemporary realistic fiction using the novels Sarah, Plain and Tall, Charlotte’s Web, and Because of Winn-Dixie. To round out the school year, you will also select three other novels, one from each of the same genres listed.

The Student Text and Workbook is a huge book like I stated earlier with over 550 pages. Inside there are 14 modules over 6 units in this program. Each of the units in the student book are color-coded for ease of use and a helpful suggested daily schedule for 32 weeks is included. I found the fine details the schedule provides to be especially helpful for pacing and getting things done on our end.

I used this program with my current 4th grader, Montana. She is an avid reader now after initially struggling to learn to read. We worked through the program at a slower pace than the suggested schedule and used the program 3 days a week instead of the four days as suggested.

I love that the directions are crystal clear for each section of the assignment. I was able to go over the assignment with Montana and then turn her loose so to speak to complete the pages for the day. I especially liked that novel suggestions were given for the three books that we were to pick on our own. It made my job easier to not have to narrow down the many great novels out there. Read more about this product and download a sample or check out the FAQ’s.

Overall, we have truly enjoyed using this new homeschool reading curriculum from Apologia and will be using it the rest of our school year. I am sure you know Apologia also publishes K-12 Creation-based science and worldview curriculum for children K-12, inspirational books about homeschooling, and hosts online classes through Apologia Academy, but if not definitely check out the website and explore all their offerings. And be sure to check out what my other 49 CrewMates thought of this product, Readers in Residence Volume 1 (Sleuth), by clicking the banner below.

Readers in Residence Volume 1 (Sleuth) {Apologia Educational Ministries Review}

Format ~ spiral bound books 

 Price ~ $89.00 full set 

 Ages ~ 4th-6th graders, students who are behind in reading, or some students with special needs

Apologia Educational Ministries
Social Media Links:

Facebook ~ Instagram @apologiaworld ~Twitter @apologiaworld ~ Pinterest 

Hashtags:  #hsreviews #readersinresidence #homeschoolreading

Crew Disclaimer

©2008 - 2017 A Stable Beginning. All rights reserved. All photographs, text, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written permission of the author.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

CompuScholar, Inc.: Digital Savvy ~ a TOS review

CompuScholar, Inc. Digital Savvy

My oldest daughter at home this year is Madison. She is 16 years old and has dreams of going to the Air Force Academy. Upon researching admission requirements I found that she needed a year long computer class. But what exactly does that mean? After many hours of stressing out  praying and talking with a friend whose son has just be admitted to the Academy I figured out what she needed and began my search for a class. I kid you not, a few days into my research we were offered to review a new computer program called Digital Savvy from CompuScholar, Inc.! It has been the answer to my prayers!
CompuScholar, Inc.
CompuScholar, Inc. is also the company formerly known as Homeschool Programming and was founded in 2008 by Chris and Andrea Yust, so you may already be familiar with them. Chris and Andrea know that a love of computers begins at an early age so they set out to equip and inspire a new generation of students by creating courses that teach professional programming in a fun and exciting way. At the same time, they realize that most parents and teachers are not fluent in the technical aspects of computer programming so they made Computer Science education easy and approachable for all involved.

The Digital Savvy course we received is a two-semester course that is equivalent to an introductory information technology course. Basic computer knowledge like knowing how to log into the computer and launch a program as well as how to use the mouse and keyboard are all that are needed to start. This may sound trivial in this digital age, but some students and older adults do not know these basic skills.
CompuScholar, Inc.
The Digital Savvy course has enough material to cover 36 weeks of learning. You, the parent need to decide with your student if you will take the course as a self-study course or teacher-led course. Pricing for each option is a bit different yet cost effective for your budget.

 Self-study ~ $15.00/month or $120.00/year 
Teacher-led ~ $35.00/month or $300/year 

*** Choosing the 1-year option allows you to add an additional sibling to the same class for $40 (self-study) or $220 (teacher-led). ***

This course requires a computer running on a Windows or Mac operating systems. Course materials and interactive online systems can be accessed from any HTML5-compliant web browser on standard computers, laptops, or tablets with a solid internet connection. However, to complete the hands-on projects within the course, students will need to use a computer with one of the following operating systems:

 • Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 10 
 • Mac OS version 10.7 or higher 

The course covers the fundamental computing topics and skills students need such as:

 • Hardware, software, and operating systems 
 • Managing files and folders 
 • Basic networking 
 • Online safety and computer security
 • Using Word processors, spreadsheets, and presentation programs
 • Creating simple databases 
 • Image editing 
 • Using social media and email communications
 • Introductory website design 
 • Simple computer programming concepts 
 • Exploration of computing careers 

A detailed course syllabus for all 25 chapters is included online. Each chapter has topics divided into multiple lessons and gives an estimated number of days to complete. Lessons are presented in a similar fashion throughout and contain:

 • Video instruction ~ clearly taught video instruction that includes demonstrations of the computer concepts being taught. Perfect for auditory learners.  
 • Text ~ detailed written texts of the video lesson.
 • Quizzes/Tests ~ an automatically graded multiple choice quiz covering the written text material. Chapter tests are also graded automatically at the end of every chapter.
 • Projects ~ hands-on learning to help students practice what they have learned.

Teachers/parents are given access to their own administrative login account to track the students progress. A Teachers Guide includes a summary of the lesson, teaching objectives, copy of the student text, suggested order of lesson activities, and class discussion questions. There is also a Quiz Answer Key provided in this account feature.

The only difficulty of using this program in our household was actually getting my duaghter started. But that is at no fault of the actual program because it is easy to set up and get started within a matter of minutes. Madison was (and still is) super excited to take this class and get started, however, it was a busy season when we received the log-in info. I thought she was capable of logging in and starting on the material for the class on her own without any handholding from me, so I let her go at it. Big mistake on my part and lesson learned. She is still a young adult and needs my guidance and double checking.

While Madison has not made as much progress as I had hoped she would have, she is making strides now through the program and truly enjoying the class. I am confident that she will be finished with the first semester of the course over the summer so that we may begin the second semester when our school year starts up again at the end of July.

Having access to this course has been a lifesaver for me. Not only does my daughter get to satisfy the “computer class” requirement for the Academy, she gets to have fun in a hands-on online class. I am confident that this Digital Savvy class exceeds the “computer class” requirement and look forward to Madison's successful completion of Principles of Information Technology in January 2018.

Be sure to check out what my CrewMates thought of this program, Digital Savvy, and the other two programs offered for review, Web Design and Java Programming, by clicking the banner below.

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

Product ~ Digital Savvy 
 Format ~ Online course with student-led or teacher-led options. Requires Windows or MAC operating system 
Price ~ Self-study: $15.00/month or $120.00/year OR Teacher-led: $35.00/month or $300/year 
Ages ~ 6th-12th graders
CompuScholar, Inc.
Social Media Links 
 Homeschool Programming:
 Facebook ~ Twitter  @hsprogramming 

 CompuScholar, Inc.:
Facebook ~ Twitter  @compuscholar 

 #hsreviews  #computerprogrammingforkids #codingforkids #computerskills

Crew Disclaimer

©2008- 2017 A Stable Beginning. All rights reserved. All photographs, text, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written permission of the author.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Watch out!

Madison jumped out of the way to avoid getting hit by a pitch in todays double header.

©2008- 2017 A Stable Beginning. All rights reserved. All photographs, text, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written permission of the author.    

Saturday, April 8, 2017

See you in Michigan!

Mikayla qualified to compete at the 2017 Eastern Championships this year! She is also the Region 7 FLOOR CHAMPION with a score of 9.575 and she came in 2nd place on the Vault with a 9.750. She had a personal best AA score of 37.825. Way to go!

©2008- 2017 A Stable Beginning. All rights reserved. All photographs, text, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written permission of the author.