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KidzType Review – Homeschooling Curriculum

It’s a computer dominated world, and we are all living in it. And while typing was once a useful career skill for the workplace, it has now become a must-have for all learners. According to experts, the hunt and peck technique interferes with the natural flow of thoughts, which, in turn, can impede learning. That’s where touch typing comes in and why we’re so excited to share this KidzType review with you! So, what is touch typing? Touch typing is the act of typing quickly without using your sight to determine the keys. It also refers to using all ten fingers without removing them from the keyboard, but rather sliding them. This makes for efficient and fast typing skills.

So what is KidzType? KidzType is an online, touch-typing platform that includes lessons, games, exercises, practice and a finger chart to provide kids with the essential skills of keyboarding. It is geared specifically to the unique needs of young users. At the same time, the program is made simple for parents who are overseeing those educational efforts.

When you first land at KidzType, the homepage is full of Dance Mat Typing activities. You might be wondering what those are! Dance Mat Typing is an interactive game that easily takes you through the introduction, tutorials, and basics of how to touch type. It has different levels and different stages so users can learn how to touch type in a step-by-step manner. It’s great for beginners. The game uses colorful cartoons that interact and communicate with the players, easily guiding them through all the stages of touch typing. The game teaches you how to use the letter keys, basic punctuation marks, and even how to capitalize words, all while touch typing. Kids start by practicing hitting the keys f and j before moving on to asdfg and ;lkjh. The level one activities end with kids writing words using these letters. Words such as sentences like this: dad had a salad. The final level of the Dance Mat teaches the shift key.

What I love most about the Dance Mat typing is you can see the fingers you’re supposed to use next to the keyboard. The fingers and keys are color-coded so kids can easily see which finger goes with which key! The Dance Mat Typing segments are, in essence, interactive typing methods that use colors and eye-catching graphics. The tutorials begin with home-row key familiarity and each of the following segments building on the last, so kids learn letter keys, basic punctuation and capitalization. The games incorporate cartoons that engage students. Students even learn proper posture and hand and wrist positioning to help ensure they are not developing any health issues from hunching over a keyboard.

KidzType also includes typing lessons that move at a slower rate than the Dance Mat games. The first lesson begins with only the J, F, enter, and space bar. And kids can pick their time! You can practice typing for 1, 2, or 3 minutes. And as you’re working, the key you need to hit shows up in blue. The lessons include the home row, top row, bottom row, shift keys, numbers, and symbols.

And if you don’t think the exercises and lessons include enough practice, KidzType also includes a page devoted to typing practice. Your child will begin by practicing the home row keys before moving on to the other rows. This is helpful to create memorization of the keyboard and where each key resides.

The practice exercises continue through the shift key, numbers, and symbols. Then the practice exercises introduce sentences. Finally, kids get plenty of practice writing paragraphs.

Again kids can choose between 1, 2, and 3-minute practice sessions.

One thing I love so much about KidzType is that it teaches touch typing through games, rather than just drills. Because how are ninjas and zombies not a million times more fun than that lame quick brown fox and lazy dog? We all know that when kids are engaged and having fun, that is where the learning magic happens! I saw my kids having FUN while learning and that makes this momma’s heart happy. 

For example, the Type Rocket game provides kids practice typing individual keys on rockets that explode into fireworks on the screen. My older kids loved this game. They found it fun and challenging at the same time.

The younger kids loved popping balloons in Typing Balloon. It’s at a great level for beginning typists as all you need to do is type the letter rather than typing an entire word.

 

Beestar Review – Math, Reading, and English Language Arts

My family had the opportunity to do a Beestar Review over the last few weeks and I can’t wait to tell you all about it!

Beestar is an innovative online math and reading curriculum provider for kids! BeeStar is a FREE online course and lasts an entire semester, or all year long, depending on how often you want to use it. It’s a fantastic way to test your child’s knowledge. There are two weekly exercises that your child completes. Students will receive an immediate score upon completion. Although parts of the site are free, there are other areas that collect a $20-$30 fee for programs such as ELA and Gifted/Talented math.

For any homeschool parent looking for fantastic curriculum-based, online exercises for their children, I highly recommend Beestar. Here’s why:

  • This is a supplementary program (2 exercises/about 20 minutes per week). I find that my kids do well with lots of supplemental programs to engage their learning when I am not teaching them individually.  Beestar is fantastic because it provides an opportunity for practice and allows your children to improve on subject knowledge. I wouldn’t suggest using this as your core curriculum because it’s more of a practice test for your kids, but it’s a great way for your kids to master the skills you are teaching them with their core curriculum. Our family really liked the program a lot for this very reason. You can see samples of exercises here. And guess what?  The Beestar math program is absolutely FREE!  There is a small cost for the other subjects – $20-$30 per semester/per course – a very reasonable price in my opinion.

Here are some of the reasons I love Beestar for our homeschooling journey:

  • The exercises are posted on the student’s home page on Sunday and due at midnight of the next Saturday (CST). The student can work on the exercises any time during the week. Most exercises follow the standard test format with multiple-choice problems. The exercises start with basic content and as time goes by, the exercises get a little more difficult. Each exercise usually has 10 problems/questions and takes about 10 minutes to complete.
  • After the student finishes an exercise, the work is graded instantly – this includes score, time taken to finish, and a review of the answers. Each question is worth 2 points, so the total score for an exercise is 20 points. I love that I don’t need to grade them and that I get a report of what my child needs more help on. It also provides the answers when your child doesn’t answer correctly, helping to teach them while also testing their knowledge.
  • If a child doesn’t finish his/her exercises by Friday, Beestar sends the parent a friendly reminder. This is so helpful!
  • At the end of every week a report is sent to the parents. It includes the student’s exercise details and statistics. Parents can see the areas needing improvement, and can help their child as necessary. This is incredibly helpful and one of the main reasons I love this program. It helps me understand where I need to spend more time on teaching each week. For example, my daughter was having trouble with some of the 8th grade math questions but was a master in her reading program. So, we spent more time on math the following week and we saw a significant improvement in just one week! It is SO IMPORTANT to know where to focus your time as a homeschooling parent.
  • At the end of the week, weekly honor rolls are released for all grades and subjects. Students who answer 80% of questions correctly in a week earn an honor roll ribbon. These students’ placements are determined by the total amount of time they use in the exercises. Students can vividly see their achievement and share their success with parents. Since homeschooling is individualized, I love this aspect of the program because my kids are somewhat competitive (they get that from my husband) and so it really motivates them to do the work and earn their Honor Roll Ribbons!
  • Beestar has a National Competition. The Beestar National Competition (BNC) is designed to bring students nation wide together to solve interesting problems and compete with one another. The problems in BNC are designed to both consolidate fundamental knowledge and inspire students’ desire to explore. By exposing them to more interesting and mind-stretching topics, the competition problems challenge students to wonder and to research. For more info about the BNC, click here.

Let’s dive into the program a little more.

You can use Beestar for printing worksheets to help with supplementing your homeschool math, ELA or Science program. I love having worksheets on hand when we have a busy week because it helps me stay sane. Here are some examples of the math worksheets we used this week. I thought the layout was great and my kids enjoyed working on them.

 

Here are some examples of the exercises my kids did this week as well, through the Beestar program.

The program schedules for Beestar can be found below as well. This is helpful if you want to start at the beginning of each semester so that your student can participate in each week.

 

Beestar Homeschool Program – Conclusion.

I will continue using Beestar as a fantastic supplemental homeschool program for our family. Here are a few reasons I want to continue using Beestar in our homeschooling:

  • It’s a good supplemental program – you can never have too many options/resources for this in my experience. I like the mastery aspect of this program.
  • Beestar work is completed quickly – short time spans, instant results.
  • The weekly outline/program topics page provides a great overview for the parent – especially if you have multiple kids.
  • The student homepage is set up very nicely – your student can access weekly exercises and review exercise results and statistics, honor roll ribbons and score bar charts, and preview future exercise topics.
  • The Parent Home Page lets you check on each of your students – see times spent on exercises, review the exercises, and review stats and see the honor roll/bar chart data.
  • As mentioned, Beestar provides motivational recognitions every week. Accuracy medals and speed trophies – everyone likes being recognized…and it’s something to strive for.
  • Also mentioned previously – the Beestar National Competition (BNC) is open to all students – and held during the Fall and Spring semesters.
  • Free printable math worksheets – Want to practice more after Beestar’s weekly exercises? The website offers FREE printable math worksheets! Provided as a complimentary addition, the printable worksheets complement Beestar’s online programs and are a FANTASTIC resource for any homeschooling parent. It’s a struggle to find quality printables. They seem to be everywhere (printables) but most aren’t very good quality, and I appreciate the quality that Beestar provides!
  • I appreciate the recommended math books by grade level. A great way to make math fun!
  • There’s a Gifted and Talented (GT) program.
  • The site offers referral credit towards fee-based programswhen you have 2 or more successful referrals, you can sign up for one fee-based program.

Interested in Beestar? You can learn more about Beestar here: www.Beestar.org

Did you like the Beestar Math and Reading Review? You can view more of our reviews here: https://www.howtohomeschool.net/curriculum-reviews

Study.com Homeschool Review

Looking for a one-stop homeschool curriculum option that promotes independent learning and requires little preparation from a busy parent? Study.com, with their online homeschool curriculum can help! Keep reading to see how Jessica, a homeschool mom of 4, loved working on the Study.com review and how much she loves this learning platform for her kids!

Hi, I’m Jessica. A Homeschool mom of 4 with over 16 years of homeschooling under my belt. I was really excited when I had the opportunity to do a Study.com review because we’ve used the platform before and I wanted to incorporate it into our homeschooling routine as more of a core study vs supplemental. To give some background, Study.com is a great all-in-one learning platform. With expert-designed, self-guided homeschool courses for grades 3-12, each family can adapt the resources to meet their needs. Depending on the plan your family signs up for, you can also have the capability of building and assigning custom courses for your kids, as well as monitoring each kid’s progress individually. This way, each student can learn at their own pace. 

What’s especially nice about the courses on Study.com is the fact that they’re video based, but also include lesson transcripts, quizzes, and other learning components. That makes it a great fit, regardless of your child’s learning style.

You’re reading the Study.com review that Homeschool Mom of 16 years, Jessica, wrote. Have questions about this Study.com review? Email her directly at Jessica@HowToHomeschool.net.

Study.com Review:

Here are a few reasons we love Study.com for homeschooling.

Study.com Review: Reason # 1Study.com lessons are designed to address multiple learning styles.

Many lessons are based around short, engaging, animated videos. Both auditory and visual learners benefit by both hearing and seeing the lessons.

In addition to the video, a transcript of the lesson is written out below the video. Students can print it out and highlight important facts. For kinesthetic learners, this physical interaction with the text can be a big plus.

Study.com Review: Reason # 2The program helps to develop independent learners.

Besides automatic grading that will help both you and your students keep track of their progress, students can set goals for when they will start and finish courses. The ability to schedule not just what courses they take, but their actual study time teaches them valuable time management skills.

Video explanations for wrong answers help them truly learn the material, instead of just moving on without really understanding it.

And your students will have access to expert instructors 24 hours a day, 7 days a week so they always have someone to answer their questions. A big part of being an independent learner is knowing when you need to seek help! It also helps me as a parent because with 4 kids, it’s hard to provide 1-1 attention and help at all times during the day.

Study.com Review: Reason # 3There is something for (almost) everyone in the family. 

Younger kids (and older ones too!) will enjoy the animated videos. These videos help kids see the concepts they are learning about, as well as hear how the subject’s vocabulary is pronounced.

Older students can take AP classes or earn college credit in multiple ways. They can prepare for taking CLEP tests while still in high school, and through the College Accelerator option, they can actually earn college credit.

Study.com Review: Reason # 4Students can learn anywhere

With Study.com‘s mobile app, you know you’ll have access from almost anywhere. One of the great things about homeschooling is that you aren’t tied to learning from one specific place or time of the year.

So whether you enjoy road schooling or simply need to be away from home for an extended period of time, you can know that you can continue your studies.

Study.com Review: Reason # 5 —  You Can Create Your Own Online Homeschool Curriculum

While it’s pretty incredible that Study.com has more than 4,000 video courses available, it’s also possible that you’ll find yourself needing to create your own course. What happens then?

I created a custom course by adding chapters or topics together. You can quickly create a custom course adding chapters (or topic names), using the search function to find prepared lessons to cover the topics, and saving the lessons to your Custom Course. Then you can share this with your student.

Study.com Review: Reason # 6 — You can tailor it to fit your family’s specific needs.

Whether you want to use the courses as the main curriculum in your home or as a starting point for other types of lessons, Study.com gives you the flexibility. Because there are so many resources on Study.com, it means you can choose how to use it in whatever way works best for your students.

Speaking of that (#6), here’s how Study.com could work in your home. It’s how we used the platform in our home during our Study.com review period:

Meet Jacob. He’s a homeschooled eleventh grader using Study.com for his core academic classes and electives and even to earn college credit! To cover his core academic requirements, he’s taking 11th grade English, Biology, Geometry and World History.

With Study.com‘s flexible learning format, Jacob and his parents can decide how many hours a day to devote to homeschool and when to study. He can also choose to take one course at a time or multiple at once.

Jacob sets up his study schedule on Study.com so that he can map out how long each class will take to complete.

Jacob loves math, so he starts each day with his Geometry course. He enjoys the 5 minute animated video lessons and appreciates the simple, clear explanations. After each lesson, he completes the practice quiz to check what he’s learned and reinforce his mastery. When Jacob gets stuck, he sends questions to their expert instructors for extra help. After each learning session, he reviews what he’s learned with his parent.

Jacob studies every day and tracks his course progress on his dashboard. He can see what concepts he has mastered and what he still needs to learn.

With Study.com, Jacob takes charge of his own learning while allowing his parent to track his progress. He’s able to customize his learning experience while still satisfying his state’s curricular requirements. The engaging video format and study tools make it easy to focus and stay on track.

Jacob is also taking two electives this year: government and health. He wants to get ahead on college, so he decides to upgrade to Study.com‘s College Accelerator plan, which will allow him to take the courses required for his homeschool curriculum while also earning transferable college credit. He starts with his government course. He watches the video lessons on his computer and prepares for his final exam by taking practice exams and prepping with Study.com flashcards. These courses are just like AP courses except that Jacob can take his final exam and earn credit at any time and from home. Jacob completes his courses in just 3 months. By the end of the school year, he’s on track to graduate high school and already has 6 credits he can transfer to his college.

With Study.com, Jacob and his parents don’t have to hunt down curriculum solutions from multiple providers. Everything he needs is in one place, at Study.com. Plus, Study.com is easy to pair with other learning resources that you may be using. It’s a great supplemental resource for textbooks, other websites, and hands-on learning.

As a reminder, Study.com is an entirely online, portable curriculum that can be accessed from a desktop or via a mobile app.

You’re reading the Study.com review that Homeschool Mom of 16 years, Jessica, wrote. Have questions about this Study.com review? Email her directly at Jessica@HowToHomeschool.net.

For homeschoolers, the premium plan makes the most sense since it includes access to all courses and online quizzes, and it tracks student progress, a feature not included in the basic plan. In addition, homeschool subscribers have the option of creating accounts for a family at no extra cost, with a free parent account that can be linked to paid student accounts. This makes it easy for parents to plan and monitor progress. The Homeschool Edition is $59.99/month for the family plsn. If you sign up for a full year, you’ll receive 45% off! Further, if you have a high school student, and want to have them work towards College credit, they can sign up for the College Accelerator plan for $199/mo. Your child can earn College Credits before they even start their College years.

You’re reading the Study.com review that Homeschool Mom of 16 years, Jessica, wrote. Have questions about this Study.com review? Email her directly at Jessica@HowToHomeschool.net.

If you have a high school student, I also really love the option to research schools based on my child’s interests. Study.com has a very comprehensive section of their website that highlights schools based on what your student may want to study.

In short, our family has loved Study.com for all of the reasons I mentioned above. I hope this Study.com review has helped you better understand what capabilities you can utilize in your homeschooling. It’s a fantastic option for parents new to homeschooling, or parents with multiple children in the home. It’s also perfect for parents that want to know how their child is progressing, since it’s all automated through the Study.com platform.

Have any questions about this Study.com review? Reach out to me directly and I would be happy to answer any questions you have about the platform and what we learned! My direct email is Jessica@HowToHomeschool.net.

Robinson Curriculum Product Review

Robinson Self-Teaching Curriculum

Homeschool Curriculum Excellence

Developed by a scientist and his six children

Want to hear something amazing?

The Robinson Curriculum (online or physical product) is all you need to give your children a superior faith-based, politically conservative education. The Robinson Curriculum offers a program of self study that requires almost no teacher interaction – it saves hours of teaching time each day while giving your kids an opportunity to develop superb life-long study habits.

Too good to be true?  Not at all!

Perfect for your family?  You’ll have to take a look-see!

Robinson Curriculum Options:

  • You can choose the Robinson Curriculum physical product – 22 CDs and a set of Saxon math books
  • You can choose RC Online
  • You can choose BOTH,  as the Robinson Curriculum now comes with 2 years of instant access to RC Online. There’s no setup and nothing to install – it works on any computer, any device, any operating system, any time, any where (So, it’s eazy peazy).  AND it’s just $36/yr for existing customers after 2 years (That’s less than 10 cents a day).  WOWZA!

Here’s what I like about the Robinson Curriculum –

  • Robinson Curriculum is uniquely self-teaching (self-taught but with parental discipline).
  • The self-teaching methodology turns kids into independent learners.
  • As students mature, they become even more independent in their learning, and as a result, their homeschool parent’s job gets easier and easier.
  • Students are able to advance at their own rate through the learning of skills and facts – whether or not their parents have the knowledge.
  • The curriculum is not divided by “grade” levels.  Each student simply moves up a seamless road of knowledge at whatever rate of progress his abilities and study habits permit.
  • Phonics is essential.
  • You can use this curriculum to supplement your children’s current schooling or as a stand-alone education using the included self-study methods (I see this more as  stand-alone option).
  • Purchase options! I’m a fan of options.
  • The curriculum is super affordable.
  • The company has a 60-second zero-frustration support policy – GREAT!
  • Same-day delivery (for their online product)!
  • There’s a 5,000 strong support group, that you can always turn to.
  • And I really like this YouTube playlist. I suggest you watch it.
  • There’s a lot of parental guidance.  I really appreciate this.

  • Here’s a list of just some of the books your kids will read

 

6 days a week, 5 hours a day,  math 2 hours, writing one hour, reading two  hours.
 This includes education in math, physical science, history, literature, economics, and general studies.
Kids work about 30 math problems first thing each day.
Each child is asked to write one page each day about any subject that interests him

 

More about what’s included in RC Online and why I like it –

  • My kids love everything online.  And it certainly is convenient.
  • My older teens added RC Online to all of our phones – just like an app.  They like the flexibility this offers.  My youngers don’t have phones yet (part of the Robinson ideology, but are looking forward to having this flexibility in the future).
  • The RC Online community.  I like how parents add to the curriculum by making parent-made tests for select books.  I haven’t done this yet – but I might.  🙂

  • There’s a great vocabulary quiz program.  My olders are studying for the SAT – so this really comes in handy.

  • In addition to existing resources, it seems like new courses/resources  are always being added. RC Online just added a college level course on Christian Education for RC parents who want to take their knowledge and understanding as homeschoolers to the next level. Also, a new book by a RC Online graduate was recently added – The Sleeping Princess of Nulland.  My kids think this is cool.  In fact, one of my youngers is now writing a chapter a day for her independent writing requirement.  She wants to write a book too!  Gotta love that.  LOTS of resources are being added.  This is not a static curriculum.

  • Still want to use physical products with RC Online?  You can! (I admit it – I like materials I can touch.  My kids might want everything online, but I’m a fan of physical materials.)

  • And really, if I were writing this a month from now, I’d have even more things to add – due to the dynamic aspect of this curriculum.  You can check out this link, for info on new and updated RC Online options.

Per Dr. Robinson, steps to an optimum self-teaching homeschool include:

a) Remove your child or children from their group school – public or private. The principal miracle of the modern American educational system is that it can turn out citizens who are more poorly educated than they would have been if they had worked individually with no school whatever.

b) Set aside a room in your home with a large desk for each child.

c) Remove all television sets from your home.

d) Do not allow screen time until 16 years old.

e) Remove all sugar and honey from the children’s diet. At all meals, provide them with an unlimited amount of the most nutritious food that you can prepare. Avoid, if possible, the boxed and canned substitutes for good nutrition that are widely available. Since many of these substitutes contain sugar, they will not be on your list anyway.

f) Purchase a complete set of the Saxon math series of texts and answers.

g) Obtain the best library you can of literature, history, and introductory science books.

h) Give the children a large breakfast, and then consign them to five hours of work as described above – six days per week at least ten months per year.

i) If possible, do your own work in or near the room in which the children are working. Don’t talk to them. Just set an example by working hard yourself. This is probably especially important if there are only one or two children in the home.

j) After their five hours is complete (no breaks except for the bathroom), go on about your personal lives.

k) Formal curriculum consists of “reading, writing, and arithmetic” and nothing more. The brain is never asleep. It continues to work and think 24 hours per day. Each additional subject that is added to the curriculum creates a demand upon the brain’s 24 hours of time. If an unnecessary subject is added, it wastes not only the curricular school time, but also a fraction of the extracurricular time. It is therefore important to be very careful not to add unnecessary subjects.

l) When the oldest child is 15, obtain a set of SAT exams at your local bookstore and have the child take one of these tests every three or four months. This introduces test taking. (The RC Curriculum  includes no examinations or tests.)

m) When each child finishes calculus, continue on with a college level physics text and a college level chemistry text on the same schedule as with the Saxon math. Be sure that these texts include lots of problems and an answer book for self-grading.

n) Children who have not yet learned to read require a brief period of special instruction. They must be taught to read by means of phonics. There are several good phonics programs. These consist of various procedures for teaching the sounds of letters and letter combinations and for gradually combining these into words and sentences.

There’s a Course of Study?

Yes there is! The “Course of Study,” is a book-length document included on the online course of study and on the 22 CD-ROMs, which explains every aspect of using this curriculum in extensive detail – and includes 12 sections in all:

  1. Overview
  2. Introduction
  3. Self-Teaching
  4. Study Environment
  5. Science and Mathematics
  6. Vocabulary
  7. Examinations
  8. Oral Learning
  9. Books
  10. Books to Buy
  11. Ordering and Registration
  12. Newsletter Vol. lll, No.12

This is essential reading … and re-reading.   It takes a concentrated effort to get on a different track for our children and deprogram ourselves from an institutional model of dependent learning.

And ALL the curriculum is online and on the 22 CD-ROMs?

Yes, it is.  The curriculum includes:

  1. Books: More than 250 very high quality books. Academic knowledge is in books – especially books that are carefully chosen.  See ‘Best Books‘ below.
  2. Encyclopedia: The complete 30,000 page 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica with special reading software for its use. The 1911 Britannica is generally acknowledged to have been the greatest encyclopedia ever written. For the 98% of recorded history that occurred before 1911, this is the most definitive source.
  3. Dictionary: The complete 400,000 word 1913 Webster’s Dictionary with special software for its use. This dictionary contains five times as many words as the original Webster’s dictionary and yet preserves the literary beauty of the original work.
  4. Science Texts: All of the required science books and answer keys.  (Current Caltech 101 Science texts.)  Also included are advanced science texts for use by students with unusual ability.
  5. Fast Software: Software that operates very quickly in both the on-screen viewing and printing modes. The on-screen viewing software is the best of its type available anywhere. High quality “scale-to-gray” gives your screen a 300% increase in virtual resolution to look as much like paper as possible. Flying magnifier makes details easy to check out. Maximize mode lets you take full advantage of your screen real estate to display pages by temporarily removing all but the essential page navigation controls. Minimum computer requirements are a Windows OS – Windows XP or greater – running on a PC or a Mac. Actually, you do not need to own a computer at all – you just need access to a computer with which you can print materials from the CDs as needed.
  6. Special:A large number of woodcut illustrations with special emphasis on early American history and geography. Especially noteworthy are over 1,000 detailed woodcuts of civil war events that were produced before 1890 from sketches by individuals, including many famous figures, who actually participated in the war. Study of this collection of illustrations and the accompanying narrative gives the student a very clear understanding and visualization of the events. Also of special interest is a very beautifully illustrated travelogue of the United States published in 1872. This provides an unusual opportunity to see our country – both its cities and its wilderness – in the era before it was extensively populated and developed. Also included is the original King James Version of the Bible – the 1st Issue of the 1st Edition in 1611 (The Great He Bible). This volume is noteworthy for its beauty and historical significance. It is the foundational book of the Curriculum.
  7. Examinations:  Over 50 SAT style examinations with answer keys.   The advanced tests being in essay form.  Tests follow specific books.   Also included are bonus exams for the Chronicles of Narnia series by CS Lewis.
  8. Language Skills:  Penmanship Practice pages by Bethany Robinson,  extensive Grammar Text written especially for the Robinson Curriculum  by Jane Orient with Primer,  Main Course and Reading Passages, Answers to the Grammar Exercises and Basic American English Spelling.
  9. Phonics & Arithmetic: Printable flash cards for phonics and arithmetic (all that is required before Saxon 54). These flash cards are easily made with any computer printer.
  10. Vocabulary:  This 6,400 word vocabulary program assures that the student’s reading produces an active vocabulary (words used spontaneously in writing and speaking) rather than a passive vocabulary (words understood, but not actively used).
    1. Vocabulary list in flashcard format with word-definition and word-sentence for each of the 150 books in the core read order.  On average, about 2/3 of the words and sentences in each list are actually drawn from the books themselves.  The other third are drawn from previous SAT exams.
    2. The flash cards also appear in a second iteration with book numbers printed on each card and both Sentence and Definition appearing on the same card.  The format is more traditional.
    3. The curriculum also includes a complete set of printable Vocabulary Exercises.  Each book has its own set, or sets of exercises.  Each of the words for that book are represented in every exercise and these include: Vocabulary List – a list of the words and definitions – Word Find – containing the vocabulary words as clues – Crossword Puzzle – with clues to words across and down – Word Find – containing definitions as clues – Matching Game – matching words with definitions
    4. For the older student there is an on-­screen vocabulary exerciser that tracks the student’s progress and adjusts his lessons to emphasize those words with which he is having the most difficulty.

     

The Curriculum Contents List includes 120,000 Pages of Outstanding Materials and The Best Books by the Best Authors.  Over 14 gigabytes of information!

 

Give children access to a good study environment and the best books in the English language and then ­ get out of their way! All Curriculum books may be viewed on the computer screen and printed with included software.

 

Did you like this product review? We really enjoyed writing it for you.  You can check out our other reviews at https://www.howtohomeschool.net/curriculum-reviews

 

Study.com Product Review

Study.com provides over 75,000 self-paced, video-based online lessons and other resources.

And Study.com is great for:

  • Parents of home-schooled students who want to supplement instruction
  • High school students preparing for exit exams or college admissions tests
  • College students who want to earn credit-by-examination
  • And more.

Study.com covers a  myriad of subjects. Subjects include:

For this review, we’re looking at their math lessons and worksheets.  These include online math lessons/courses in pre-algebra, algebra, geometry, statistics, calculus, and more.

How It Works – (spoiler alert – it’s easy!)

  • Choose a math course: Study.com offers a wide range of online math classes, including a review of basic math skills as well as higher math courses.
  • Watch entertaining video lessons: Ten-minute video lessons can help you tackle even the toughest math concepts.
  • Try your hand at solving practice problems: There are plenty of practice problems to be found in each course’s lesson quizzes, chapter quizzes and practice final exams.
  • Ask Study.com’s knowledgeable math instructors for help: Instructors are available to answer your math questions and help you work through practice problems if you get stuck.
  • BTW, Study.com offers a fast and affordable way to earn college credit: Plus, Study.com offers comprehensive guidance counseling resources to help students save money and make informed decisions regarding their education and their careers

What We did Today in our Homeschool

My two elementary students worked on the following:

 

One child aced the lesson, the other child needs to go back and review.

FYI – Study.com offers PAGES AND PAGES of Elementary School Math Worksheets, and you can choose by grade if you’d like:

What my middle schooler did today:

This is cool – since we do use Saxon Math!

 

He likes the videos because they’re short and sweet – and easy to follow.  And he likes all the practice opportunities.

FYI – Study.com offers PAGES and PAGES of Middle School Math Worksheets (see below)

AND, Study.com offers PAGES and PAGES of High School Math Worksheets too!

 

Today, I looked for a college Stats class that will meet a pre-nursing requirement.

Why do I like Study.com?  (Can I say EVERYTHING!?!)

  • So many options!
  • Self-paced learning – Like all homeschoolers, I’m a fan of self- paced learning and the flexibility it offers.
  • Practical instruction – In the online math classes, instructors use real-world examples to demonstrate important math concepts, which can help make them easier to understand.  Again, I’m a fan of real-world examples!  They’re just relate-able.
  • I LOVE the lesson plans – Homeschoolers can use Study.com’s math lesson plans to illustrate specific mathematical operations that are part of their students’ learning objectives).
  • I also LOVE the lesson plan templates – Study.com’s lesson plan templates include essential elements like standards, learning objectives, materials, activities, and extensions for learning. The templates help you create effective, engaging lessons and help your students stay on track.
  • I also LOVE the lesson plan templates – Study.com’s lesson plan templates include essential elements like standards, learning objectives, materials, activities, and extensions for learning. The templates help you create effective, engaging lessons and help your students stay on track.
  • I also LOVE the lesson plan templates – Study.com’s lesson plan templates include essential elements like standards, learning objectives, materials, activities, and extensions for learning. The templates help you create effective, engaging lessons and help your students stay on track.
  • The worksheets are pretty sweet too – Study.com’s worksheets are fun and interactive and help my kids practice and master any math concept.
  • Practice problems and quizzes – Students can access practice problems included in the lessons, quizzes and final exams until they feel confident they’ve mastered key problem-solving skills.
  • Study.com has practice tests – They’re short, multiple-choice quizzes that give immediate feedback and results. The lesson paired with the quiz can teach any concepts you’ve yet to master in a way you’ll be sure to remember.
  • Study on the go – My kids use the Study.com Android mobile app and the Study.com iOS mobile app to download math videos and then watch them offline anytime/anywhere.  I like studying on the sofa in my living room – my kids like studying anywhere – so this really works for them.
  • Value – Your family can view all of the Study.com online math classes with just one subscription. Students can go back and review fundamental math concepts to improve their standing in your current course of study or work ahead in more advanced subjects.
  • Study.com has over 160 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.  This really helps homeschoolers.  And it’s helping me right now, as I prepare for a career change. To learn more, you can visit this Earning Credit Page.
  • There are the membership options – I’m a fan of options, aren’t you?

  • Finally, I admit it.  I don’t like teaching Math – I REALLY don’t like Geometry.  It’s nice that Study.com can help me/our family.

FYI – here’s an article specifically about using Study.com in your homeschooling endeavors.

I’m really happy Study.com is available!

 

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Forest Trail Academy Product Review

Forest Trail Academy is an accredited K-12 online school.  The school provides online programs/core courses that are:

  • rigorously academic and vocationally oriented
  • asynchronous (an asynchronous course is a course without a set start date, where students can start at different times and work at their own pace).
  • structured but flexible
  • student-centered
  • attentive to the various learning styles

In addition to the core courses, Forest Trail Academy offers credit recovery courses, AP courses, dual credit courses (I LOVE dual credit!), summer school courses, NCAA approved curriculum (perfect for your student athlete) and more.

Course length can range from 45 days to 12 months. Students can take a half (.5) credit course, or as many as six credits at any given time (a full load is classified as six credits).  If your student needs to take more than 6 credits, s/he will have to get approval from the school to do so.

For info on their elementary program, click here.

Middle school info can be found on this link, and high school info can be found here.

 

For even more info, click on the videos below.

The Forest Trail Academy High School Options

The online school offers two types of accredited online high school diploma options.

  • College Prep Online Diploma Program (24 Credits)

Duration – 12 months for each grade level.
Eligibility – Any student in high school.
Benefit – Upon graduation, students are able to apply to any college/university.

GENERALLY ACCEPTED: all 4 colleges/universities, community/junior colleges, technical/vocational, military, schools, job validation.

Click here to read more about the Online College Prep Diploma Program (24 Credits)

  • General Ed Online Diploma Program (21 Credits)

Duration – 12 months for each grade level.
Eligibility – Any student enrolled in high school.
Benefit – Upon graduation, students are able to apply to any college/university.

GENERALLY ACCEPTED: some 4 colleges/universities, community/junior colleges, technical/vocational, military, schools, job validation.

Click here to read more about Online General Ed Diploma Program (21 Credits)

Forest Trail Academy Product Review – What do I like about Forest Trail Academy?

  • The online school offers curriculum for elementary through high school students – so your kids can grow/advance within their school programs.  This is great for your kids (consistency) – and for you (less shopping around for what you’re going to do next year).
  • I like the overall holistic approach.
  • Their instructional modality is self paced, student-centered, asynchronous, and flexible.
  • It works for all learning styles.
  • I like the two different high school options.
  • I LOVE the dual credit opportunity.
  • And the credit recovery and summer school options.
  • Plus, Forest Trail Academy offers NCAA approved curriculum.
  • It works well for kids that have learning disabilities.
  • The school offers an Advisor system and experienced staff.
  • Official transcripts!
  • I appreciate the payment options and sibling discount (there’s a military discount too).
  • FYI – the school also offers correspondence courses.

Forest Trail Academy might be the perfect fit for your family!

 

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FreedomProject Media and the Dr. Duke Show – Our Product Reviews

Are you familiar with FreedomPoject Media, and their Dr. Duke Show podcast?

FreedomProject Media offers original programming, educational media, and current events-oriented content – geared towards conservative audiences.

A main program on FreedomProject Media is the Dr. Duke Show. These politically conservative podcasts cover the broad topics of modern education and U.S. political current events.

The Dr. Duke show is hosted by Dr. Duke Pesta, along with Katie Petrick.

You can hear the Dr. Duke Show on iTunes.  You can download and subscribe to the weekly podcast.

FreedomProject Media – Who is Dr. Duke?

As mentioned, Dr. Duke Pesta is the host of the Dr. Duke Show podcast.  He is also  the Director of FreedomProject Academy, and a tenured professor of English at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh.

He has taught at major research institutions and small liberal arts colleges on a wide variety of subjects at the graduate and undergraduate levels, including courses on Shakespeare, Renaissance literature, the Bible, Russian literature, Christian Apologetics, and C.S. Lewis. His teaching has garnered seven teaching awards at four universities.  He has published scholarly essays on Renaissance Literature, American Literature, Shakespeare, Spenser, Byron, Michelangelo, and the History of Medicine, Surgery, and Anatomy. His book, The Renaissance and the Postmodern: A Study in Comparative Critical Values, was published in 2016.

Dr. Pesta’s experiences as an educational reformer, university professor, high school teacher, and the administrator of an online classical school give him a unique viewpoint regarding the current state of education in our country.

Because of these experiences/viewpoints, Dr. Pesta is a well-known speaker at homeschool conventions and educational conferences across the nation on topics including homeschooling, the Common Core, the decline of morality and critical thinking in the public school system, and more.

And as you can imagine, Dr. Pesta is anti-Common Core, having delivered more than 700 talks in 46 states on the topic of CC. He has testified about Common Core and educational reform before 20 state legislatures and participated in more than 5000 radio and television interviews on the topic.

His collective videos and presentations top more than three million views online, and much of his work is available at FreedomProject.com and FPEUSA.org.

FreedomProject Media –  Who is Katie Petrick?

Katie Petrick has earned baccalaureate degrees in political science, communication, and secondary education: broad field social science. While completing a master’s degree in political science at Northern Illinois University, Katie taught undergraduate courses in American government and political statistics. Her international experience includes a summer internship in the British Parliament and a study abroad trip to Greece. Before completing her education degree and joining FreedomProject, Katie served as editor of a weekly newspaper, gaining insight into local education and politics.

A smattering of Dr. Duke’s current shows (as of October 2018) are below.

Dr. Duke is not for everyone. If you’re a Democrat or Progressive, you may not agree with much of what is said – even if you agree with his anti-Core sentiments.

I found the podcast interesting – some of his stances surprised me – and I did learn a thing or two (or three).  🙂

You might want to listen to a few – and see what you think. and then subscribe to the weekly podcast.

And what is FreedomProject Academy?

FreedomProject Academy is a fully accredited, Common Core Free, online, Classical school, for kids K-12 – built on Judeo-Christian values. The academy offers:

Check out the video below:

And you can view their program guide here.

BTW – my neighbor uses FreedomProject Academy and really loves it.

 

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Lindamood-Bell Academy Review

Lindamood-Bell Academy is an accredited, private school that helps children in grades K-12 reach their academic potential.  Although accredited in CA, the academy can accept students nationwide and internationally.  Students can attend a physical location or learn from home. Because of the learn from home option, Lindamood-Bell Academy is a perfect fit for homeschoolers.

But the Lindamood-Bell Academy is different from other online options, in that the Academy:

  • Uses research-validated teaching techniques to improve the sensory-cognitive processes and develop the imagery-language foundation necessary for reading, comprehension, and math. Whew – that’s a complicated sentence isn’t it!?! More on this below.
  • Provides a process-based education (again, more on this below).
  • Uses an individualized learning model.
  • Only teaches small group sizes (1-3 students).

Here’s the research part of this

And here is info about sensory-cognitive instruction

 Because Lindamood-Bell is research-based, students do need to be evaluated before instruction begins.

What is Lindamood-Bell instruction?

While traditional reading and tutoring programs focus on content instruction, as mentioned, the Lindamood-Bell instruction develops the underlying sensory-cognitive processing necessary for reading and comprehension. Lindamood-Bell instruction utilizes the programs authored by its founders. The programs include:

To learn more about the Seeing Stars® program for Reading Fluency & Spelling, click here. The Seeing Stars®: Symbol Imagery for Phonemic Awareness, Sight Words, and Spelling Program (SI) develops symbol imagery for reading and spelling.

For the Visualizing and Verbalizing® Program for Cognitive Development, Comprehension, & Thinking program, click here.  The Visualizing and Verbalizing® (V/V®) program develops concept imagery—this is the ability to create an imagined or imaged gestalt from language—as a basis for comprehension and higher order thinking. Did you know that the development of concept imagery improves reading and listening comprehension, memory, oral vocabulary, critical thinking, and writing?

You can click here for info about the Talkies® Program for Oral Language Comprehension & Expression. The Talkies® program—the primer to the Visualizing and Verbalizing (V/V)program—is designed for students who need simpler, smaller steps of instruction to establish the imagery-language connection. The goal of Talkies is to develop the dual coding imagery and language as a base for language comprehension and expression. Talkies is especially helpful for students with a limited oral vocabulary and/or limited ability to verbalize. Research indicates Talkies benefits students previously diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. Talkies is also ideal for any preschool child.

And click here for info about the Lindamood Phoneme Sequencing® Program for Reading, Spelling, and Speech (LiPS®). The LiPS® program teaches students to discover and label the oral-motor movements of phonemes. Students can then verify the identity, number, and sequence of sounds in words. Once established, phonemic awareness is then applied to reading, spelling, and speech.

For info on the On Cloud Nine® Math Program Visualizing & Verbalizing for Math, click here.  The On Cloud Nine® Math Program stimulates the ability to image and verbalize the concepts underlying math processes. Concept and numerical imagery are integrated with language and applied to math computation and problem solving. There is emphasis on both mathematical reasoning and mathematical computation.

In addition, the Lindamood-Bell Academy uses Pearson curriculum for core classes and some electives.

And did you know, there are various instruction options? You can pick the one that works best for your family.

So, are you wondering, who are Lindamood-Bell Academy Students – and if your child is a good candidate?

The Lindamood-Bell Academy is a great solution for all students, including those who thrive in non-traditional teaching environments. These students include:

FYI – you can check out the Lindamood-Bell virtual open house video below – 

And you can download the Lindamood-Bell Academy Guidebook here.

Are you wondering what I like about the Lindamood-Bell Academy?

  • Results! Quantifiable results.
  • It’s research-based (goes along with results).
  • Evaluation occurs before my child begins (again, results-related).
  • Instead of focusing on content instruction, Lindamood-Bell programs focus on the sensory-cognitive processing necessary for reading and comprehension. I have to admit, this seemed a bit complicated to me at first (I think my eyes glaze over when I read sentences like this), but I do get it now. And it’s important!
  • HELP! As a parent, I can get help and understand my child’s learning issues and how they can be dealt with.  So really, Lindamood-Bell offers HELP and RELIEF!
  • Individualized instruction and education. This is especially important for kids that are behind – and for kids that are ahead.  I have a son that’s really bright in math.  As in super-bright/off the charts.  He really benefits from individualized instruction – and honestly, I’m lacking a bit in my ability to do give him this.
  • Small group sizes are really small – as in one-three students.
  • Gotta love options.  Do you want in-facility, or at home instruction?  Four or six hours a day? And more.

Want to contact the school for additional info?

 

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NorthStar Academy Review – an Accredited Online Christian School

NorthStar Academy (NSA) is an accredited, private, online Christian school (with a traditional Protestant biblical worldview) that currently offers students in grades 4-12 a complete academic and diploma-granting education.  Academic and spiritual readiness is achieved through faith-based, student-centered courses led by credentialed teachers. NorthStar Academy’s program emphasizes spiritual emphasis, academic excellence, and personal experience.

  • Spiritual Emphasis – encourages students in their walk with God through Christ-centered, biblically-integrated instruction and interaction
  • Academic Excellence – prepares students for life-long learning through high-quality, college preparatory, interactive, differentiated instruction, which embraces multiple learning styles
  • Personal Experience – invests in students through friendly, supportive, responsive communication and guidance – and provides numerous extra-curricular opportunities

NorthStar Academy – Online Christian School Programs

NorthStar Academy offers a variety of academic programs.

VRP (their virtual program) is NSA’s most widely-used program, and it offers a personalized experience.

  • Courses are asynchronous, meaning students can choose the best time and place to complete their lessons.
  • Students, with their parents’ or supervisors’ permission, have the ability to craft their own schedule from working in a traditional 6-period day to working on one course a day – or another combination.
  • Students have the opportunity to work at their own pace, having 52 weeks to finish a 36-week year-long course or 26 weeks to complete an 18-week semester course.
  • Courses offer several individualized assignments, giving students the opportunity to choose how they want to demonstrate proficiency.
  • Opportunities to Skype, email, or instant message with the teacher throughout the week.

Enriched Virtual Classes are for those students who want a weekly live session with other students and for students or parents who want more accountability and firm assignment due dates.

A webcam, microphone, and stable Internet connection are required for EVP courses.  These courses include:

  • A weekly live class session (live sessions scheduled to accommodate different time zones).
  • Firm, weekly assignment due dates.
  • A cohort of students taking the same course at the same time.
  • Courses for every core high school subject, plus some electives.
  • Opportunities to Skype, email, or instant message with the teacher throughout the week.

The NorthStar Cooperative Program is used by school partners as well as homeschool co-ops.

Organizations can offer a comprehensive blended learning program by pairing their own teachers with NSA’s state of the art online curriculum.

Dual Credit is also an option as is a Credit Recovery Program.

NorthStar Academy currently partners with LeTourneau University, Moody Bible Institute, Bryan College, and Colorado Christian University to allow students the opportunity to earn college credit while also earning credit with NorthStar.

Online Christian School Curriculum

  • Curriculum choice – The school offers over 200 core and elective courses, including 13 Honors courses and 19 Advanced Placement© courses. NSA offers courses in core subject areas such as language arts, social studies, science, math, and Bible and worldview. Elective courses are available in areas of fine arts, foreign languages, physical education and health, computers and electronics, and college and career preparation.NSA also offers an NCAA-Approved Enriched Virtual Program.
  • Curriculum Quality – Most of NSA’s curriculum is written “in-house” by curriculum and subject-area experts. Course objectives and content are based on international and national curriculum standards that reflect the school’s mission, purpose, vision, and expected student outcomes. Specific materials and resources are utilized from a variety of publishers to meet the curricular needs of each course. Integration of a biblical worldview is intentionally included in lessons, activities, and materials for students. In order to maintain high standards, NSA operates on a formal curricular review cycle, whereby all subject areas are regularly reviewed, evaluated, and changed or improved as needed.

You can check out courses here.

I took the VRP Orientation and the Physics course.


 

Below are some screen shots of the Unit 6, Week 12 lesson on Momentum (I want to show you a class that’s well into the course/semester).

I appreciate the real-world example of momentum that students can relate to!  Without real life examples, I tend to lose interest.

 

I appreciate the different assignment choices – and the Engineering Projects are wonderful and fun.  Who doesn’t want to do an Egg Drop experiment?

 

NorthStar Academy Review – What I like In General

It’s faith-based – NorthStar teachers build their courses from a traditional Protestant biblical worldview that neither avoids nor attacks controversial topics or authors, but rather confronts these issues and topics with critical analysis from a Christian perspective.  BTW – I’ve included their faith statement at the end of this review, so you can see if it matches with your beliefs.

I LOVE that a number of courses are centered around VARK – The course I reviewed is centered around VARK and students can choose their assignments based on their learning styles.  Lots of online courses have this option – but I think this is the best way I’ve seen it done.  I’m a fan for sure.

 

More of what I like

Flexibility – I’m such a fan of flexibility.  With our family, what works now, may not work in six months.

  • NSA has rolling enrollment. Students can enroll and start at designated times each month during the school year throughout the year. (The school operates year round.)
  • Students can enroll as a part-time student in one course for just one semester. Or they can enroll as a full-time student taking a full 6.0 credit course load.  As a general rule, students can have up to 52 weeks to complete 36 weeks of lessons or 26 weeks to complete 18 weeks of lessons.
  • At NorthStar Academy, you can do school anywhere, anytime, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.
  • The school’s conferencing and productivity software can be used by both Macintosh and Windows users. We use both in our home.
  • Student activities are available – https://northstar-academy.org/student-activities.php 
  • Diploma options – students can choose to earn a Standard or an Advanced Diploma. NSA also offers courses for a student to earn the AP International Diploma.
  • I LOVE dual credit!

Payment plans are available – plus there is a refund policy.  This tells me the school stands by their products/services.

What I like about the Orientation and the Physics Course

  • I LOVE the Orientation – there’s a very friendly welcome video.
  • Plus, all the info you could possibly need is included, such as info on Digital Citizenship, the Library and more.
  • Also, Physics Equations and Instructions on how to Write a Lab Report, are provided.
  • The Physics course uses the following resources – CK12.org/ – I’m a total fan of CK12 – as are most homeschoolers; physicsclassroom.com; pivotinteractives.com.
  • The content is super. I learned so much!  For instance – Momentum is a vector quantity. From the definition of momentum, it becomes obvious that an object has a large momentum if both its mass and its velocity are large. Both variables are of equal importance in determining the momentum of an object. The momentum equation can help us to think about how a change in one of the two variables might affect the momentum of an object.
  • The interactive opportunities are fun and educational.

  • There are examples and answers.

  • Plus, the course shows students that science and faith aren’t in opposition with one another.

When the course is completed there is a final exam.  But no study guide!  My college professors usually gave study guides/hints.  Still, this is probably good – as not all professors do.

 

NorthStar Academy’s statement of faith –

  • We believe the Scriptures, both Old and New Testaments, to be the inspired Word of God (Exodus 24:4; Psalms 19:7-10; Luke 24:44; Matthew 5:17-18), without error in the original writings (Deuteronomy 4:1-2), the complete revelation of His will for the salvation of man, and the divine and final authority for all Christian faith, life, and conduct (2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:20-21).
  • We believe in one God (John 10:30), Creator of all things (Genesis 1:1), infinitely perfect and eternally existing in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19).
  • We believe that Jesus Christ, without any change in His eternal deity (John 10:31-38; Hebrews 1:3), became man through conception of the Holy Spirit and virgin birth (Luke 1:31-35), that He died on the cross (Mark 15:23-26; John 19:16-18), a perfect and complete sacrifice, in our stead and for our sin according to the Scriptures (Hebrews 9:13-15; Ephesians 1:6-7). He arose bodily from the dead and ascended into heaven (1 Corinthians 15:3-4; Acts 1:6-11) where, at the right hand of the Majesty on High, He is now our High Priest and Advocate (Hebrews 2:16-17).
  • We believe that the ministry of the Holy Spirit is to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ (John 16:13-14) and, during this age, to convict of sin and regenerate the sinner upon belief in Christ (John 16:7-12; Romans 8:9; 1 Corinthians 6:11); at the time of regeneration baptizing the believer into the one body of which Christ is the head (Galatians 3:26-28) and to indwell, guide, instruct, fill, and empower the believer for Godly living and service (Romans 8:26-27 & 15:13; Proverbs 3:5-6).

More of NorthStar Academy’s statement of faith

  • We believe that man was directly created by God in His own image (Genesis 1:27), but fell into sin (Genesis 3). The entire human race is, therefore, lost and only through repentance (2 Corinthians 7:10), faith in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:4-9), and regeneration of the Holy Spirit, can salvation and spiritual life be obtained (Romans 8:13-14).
  • We believe that the atoning death of Jesus Christ and His resurrection provide the only ground of justification and salvation for all who believe (John 14:6; Acts 4:12), and that only such as receive Jesus Christ by personal faith are born of the Holy Spirit and by Him sealed to the day of redemption (Ephesians 4:30).
  • We believe in the personal return of the Lord Jesus Christ (2 Timothy 4:1), and that the hope of His appearing has a vital bearing on the personal life and service of the believer (2 Timothy 1:8-10).
  • We believe in the bodily resurrection of all the dead (Romans 8:11), of the believer to everlasting blessedness and joy with the Lord (Romans 4:7-8), and of the unbeliever to judgment and everlasting and conscious punishment (Matthew 25:46; Hebrews 10:29).
  • We believe that the Church is composed of all such persons who, through saving faith in Jesus Christ, have been regenerated by the Holy Spirit and are united together in the body of Christ, of which He is the head (Romans 12:4-5; 1 Corinthians 12:12-13).

Even More of NorthStar Academy’s statement of faith

  • We believe that water baptism and the Lord’s Supper are ordinances to be observed by the Church during this present age. They are, however, not to be regarded as a means of salvation (Matthew 28:19; Acts 18:8; 1 Corinthians 11:23-29).
  • We believe that marriage is between one man and one woman, that homosexual behaviors or any violation of the unique roles of male and female including traditional, biblically defined and genetically determined gender identity standards and definitions are moral misconduct. (Romans 1:21–27; 1 Corinthians 6:9–20; Genesis 2; Ephesians 5).
  • We believe that all the saved should live in such a manner as will honor and glorify and not bring reproach upon their Savior and Lord, and that it is commanded of God to remain separate from false doctrine, sinful pleasures, practices, and associations (Ephesians 5:25-27; 1 Peter 2:11).

 

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Clonlara School Review

Do you know that there is an online/distance school that embraces  homeschooling values, and has fought for your rights to homeschool? And do you know, this school has done so for DECADES! Yes, DECADES! Read on to learn more about our Clonlara School Review.

Clonlara has been an advocate of homeschooling for DECADES (and that’s why I’m thrilled to do this review):

First, a little history.  (You’ll want to read this because it’s really interesting!)

Clonlara School was founded in 1967 by Pat Montgomery. The Clonlara School philosophy was (and still is) – a school must empower students to participate purposefully and eagerly in their own education (sounds a lot like homeschooling, doesn’t it?).

And there’s more similarities!  The Clonlara philosophy includes the following (which all sound like homeschooling to me!):

  • Learning begins with curiosity and children learn best when their interests guide their activities.
  • The world is the classroom and the learning environment is integral to the learning process. Academic learning and the mastery of skills are not limited by the location in which they are sought
  • Parents have the right and ability to educate their own children.
  • Education’s major goal is to instill a lifelong love of learning.

Clonlara’s off-campus program (more on this program below) was first called the Home Based Education Program.  It began in 1979, after a family asked Pat to help them teach their 9-year-old at home using the same methods she used at Clonlara School.  Pat’s vision for the Home Based Education Program was to foster students’ independence and self-confidence by encouraging them to embrace responsibility for their own education.

So, you can see, Clonlara has always been a homeschool advocate.

Then, in the 1980’s, Pat filed a lawsuit on behalf of Clonlara School and home educating families against the Michigan State Board of Education (Clonlara, Inc. v. State Board of Education). Clonlara contended that the school officials were enforcing public school policies against parents educating their children at home as if those policies were law. Clonlara won its case at the first level, the Michigan Circuit Court. The state appealed. Clonlara won once again in the Michigan Court of Appeals, and the state appealed again. Finally, in 1993, the Michigan Supreme Court ruled that Clonlara’s claim was correct: the State Board of Education was attempting to enforce laws that did not exist.

The decision rendered by the Michigan Supreme Court in Clonlara’s favor set legal precedent, and was a coup for homeschooling families across the nation.  WOW!

Need MORE reasons to appreciate Clonlara?

How about this? Clonlara uses brain-based education methods.

From Executive Director Chandra Montgomery Nicol (Pat’s daughter): “Current research on the brain and learning has illuminated what Clonlara staff and families have known through intuition for generations—the value of putting students at the center of the learning process and letting their interests guide their educational experience. We have taken that knowledge and systematized our practices into a model called Full Circle Learning, which builds a true foundation for learning.” 

FYI, Brain-Based Education Embraces the Following:

1. Curiosity Primes the Brain for Learning
Studies in the field of neuroscience have shown that being curious about what we are learning activates the portions of the brain responsible for experiencing reward and pleasure, as well as creating memories. Thus, not only are curious students more apt to enjoy the learning process, which in turn drives them to take initiative and work harder along the way, they are also more likely to remember what they have learned about topics that spark their curiosity.

That’s why Clonlara crafts an educational plan around their students’ unique interests and goals.

2. “Thinking About Thinking” (or metacognition) Enables Students to Become More Independent Learners

Metacognition—thinking about one’s thinking—enables students to adjust their learning process when necessary to overcome obstacles or to experience a deeper understanding of what they are learning. Research shows that students who use metacognitive strategies experience increased independence and learning success throughout their schooling.

Metacognition is integral to Clonlara’s Full Circle Learning Method.

3. Movement Boosts Learning, Memory, and More

Studies have shown that physical activity brings about both chemical and structural changes within the brain, and as a result improves memory, increases attention, reduces stress, promotes a positive outlook, and boosts creativity.

Clonlara students are not confined to studying at a desk or even in a classroom. They are encouraged to freely engage in play and projects that connect to their academic interests, and they actively participate in decisions about when, where, and how they will achieve their learning goals—incorporating field trips and other physical activity into their daily schedules

Clonlara offers TWO homeschooling programs that might be of interest – an off-campus program and an online program.

In both, students can enroll full time, for a semester or take individual courses.

So, what’s the difference?

Clonlara’s off-campus program does not have a pre-set curriculum and students are not locked into a specific textbook or online course.  Instead, it is a student- and family-led learning program.

The student and the family work closely with a Clonlara advisor to design an educational plan that fits the student’s unique needs.  Students and parents share info regarding the child’s interests, learning style, talents, and goals. The advisor then gives input regarding subjects, ways to approach learning, educational materials, resources, etc. Once subjects and curriculum have been chosen, the parents oversee their child’s learning and submit two progress reports each year.

For grades K-8, report cards can be issued upon request. For high school students,  parents and students complete a credit request form for each course the student completes, which the advisor reviews prior to issuing high school credit. Students receive an accredited private school diploma upon completion of the graduation requirements.

High school students who are enrolled in Clonlara’s off-campus program can take individual courses from the Clonlara School online program.  You can check out the high school course catalog (pdf) for course descriptions.

So, who does this work well for? The off-campus program serves homeschoolers, athletes, artists, dancers, musicians, gifted students, students with learning differences, adventurers, inventors, free-spirits, those needing flexible schedules, and many more.

What do we like about the off-campus program?

  • The introductory/beginning resources are good – each family receives an Education Guide that contains an overview of how the program works, learning styles, types of educational resources, approaches to schooling, and a quick step guide to getting started. This is especially helpful for new homeschoolers that might not be aware that there are different types of learning styles.
  • The initial consultation process is exceptional. During this time, parents and students complete questionnaires about the student’s curiosities, strengths, interests, talents, learning style, needs, and goals. These questionnaires help the Clonlara advisor individualize the educational plan for the student. Again, this is especially beneficial for new homeschoolers.
  • Clonlara provides customized recommendations.  After the consultation, advisors send customized recommendations for learning tools and resources  – based on the student’s learning style, goals, and interests.
  • Students are required to design a course of their choosing – pretty cool!
  • The student/family/advisor interaction is nice – students and parents can contact advisors whenever they feel the need; and advisors check in a couple times each semester to see how things are going.
  • There’s a dual enrollment program so any student in grades K-12 can concurrently enroll in the off-campus program and in another school (and the student can take Clonlara online courses too). Clonlara can grant credit and have the credit transferred to the other school, or they can accept credits toward a Clonlara diploma from other accredited schools. This works really great with dual-credit opportunities (junior college courses in high school).
  • Clonlara is fully accredited –accredited by the following organizations: Accreditation International (Ai), Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools (MSA-CESS), and the National Council for Private School Accreditation (NCPSA). This doesn’t matter to a lot of homeschoolers, but to others, it does.  Again, a new homeschooler might find great comfort in this.
  • Elementary students receive report cards, and high school students receive transcripts and a diploma upon graduation. The school registrar puts approved credits on the student’s transcript and maintains records. This again, might not matter to seasoned homeschoolers – but it’s certainly valuable to newbies.
  • Students are considered private school students and can transfer easily to other public/private schools.
  • Clonlara offers standardized testing, but doesn’t require it.  A plus for any homeschooler (newbie or seasoned) – since parents have the choice.

The Clonlara School’s online program is an educational option for students who are looking for ready-to-go courses.  Clonlara offers a wide variety of self-paced, flexible, teacher supported online courses for students in grades 5 – 12.  In fact, there are 26 middle school courses  and 82 high school level courses.

Full time middle school students choose 4 courses from the Online Program Course Catalog (pdf) for the year. Each middle student also gets:

  • Access 24 hours a day, seven days a week for a full year to the program’s Teacher Supported Online Learning Curriculum Courses.
  • Access to a teacher for each individual course.  Teacher support includes lesson review, grading, teacher comments and answers to individual questions.
  • Full enrollment in the Clonlara School off-campus program including educational guidance and support from a Clonlara advisor.  The advisor will help the student determine his/her learning style, set educational goals, support and monitor the student’s progress, and assist in the design of a course that will be student will create herself.
  • Official private school records and documentation.

Full time high school students choose 5 courses for the year, from this catalog. They also have:

  • Access 24 hours a day, seven days a week for a full year to the program’s Teacher Supported Online Learning Curriculum Courses.
  • Access to a teacher for each individual course.  Teacher support includes lesson review, grading, teacher comments, and answers to individual questions.
  • Full enrollment in the Clonlara School off-campus program including educational guidance and support from a Clonlara advisor. Students create their own one full credit or two half credit courses to fulfill one credit of self-designed coursework.  I think this is very cool.
  • Official private school records, documentation and transcripts.
  • Accredited diploma upon completion of Clonlara’s graduation requirements.
  • Access to the Clonlara Commons — a web portal which contains online forms and enables high school students to view their transcripts.

What do we like about the online program?

Pretty much everything we’ve already stated!

If you have questions, just click on the graphic below for more information.


Did you like this Clonlara School review? You can view our other reviews here: https://www.howtohomeschool.net/curriculum-reviews