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Forgiveness Education Product Review

Young kids can learn the building blocks of forgiveness and develop them as they get older.

 

As homeschoolers, we make sure we teach character education to our kids, and we make a special effort to lead by example.  At our house, we’ve spent time on the importance of telling the truth, doing our best, helping others, empathy, etc.  One subject I like to re-visit over and over again, is forgiveness.  So I was really over the moon when I recently learned about Robert D. Enright, Ph.D., Forgiveness Education, and the International Forgiveness Institute (IFI).

The International Forgiveness Institute believes forgiveness is a choice.

“If you have been deeply hurt by another, you can choose to forgive rather than holding on to anger and resentment. In doing so, an amazing transformation begins. The black clouds of anxiety and depression give way to enhanced self-esteem and genuine feelings of hopefulness. When you forgive, you may benefit the person you forgive. But you benefit yourself far more. By liberating yourself from the pain and sorrow, you can reclaim your life and find the peace that your anger had stolen.”

And the International Forgiveness Institute has developed a Forgiveness Education curriculum for kids preK -12th Grade.

The curriculum guides are comprehensive (most over 100 pages). The guides focus on Dr. Seuss books in the early grades and on other age-appropriate books, DVDs and websites for older students. Each guide is complete and there is nothing else you need to buy because professionally-written storybook summaries are included with each curriculum guide (in case you don’t have access to the actual book). Through stories, children learn about the five moral qualities most important to forgiving another person – inherent worth, moral love, kindness, respect and generosity.

The curriculum encompasses 12 to 16 lesson plans (one-half to one hour or less per week for each lesson) that teach students about respect, inherent worth, empathy, all in the context of forgiveness.

For each grade level the curriculum gets progressively more challenging so that by the twelfth grade the students are encouraged, if they so choose, to bring the principles of forgiveness to their community.

There’s even an an Anti-Bullying Forgiveness Curriculum designed for students in grade 4 (age 9) through grade 9 (age 14).  I know…..none of us believe our kids are bullies…..but sometimes my 10 year old can be a bit mean to his younger brother……

Here’s some basic info regarding the International Forgiveness Education Curriculum

 

 

And here’s more specific info regarding the International Forgiveness Education Curriculum

Below are Descriptions of Each IFI Forgiveness Curriculum Guide Pre-K-Grade 12

Here are sample pages from The Adventure of Forgiveness – Grade 1 Curriculum Guide, Standard Version – and corresponding book summaries

 

Dr. Enright’s curriculum guides have been scientifically tested and proven, in a wide range of studies around the world, to help kids feel better about themselves, strengthen their relationships, reduce anger, develop prosocial behaviors, and improve academically. Dr. Enright’s ultimate goal with the guides is to help kids grow up to be more peaceful and forgiving adults. 

Yes, I realize the above statement is a strong statement, but the evidence to support it can be found:    

     a) As detailed by a developmental psychologist with expertise in parent-child relationships, as she states in this newsletter
     b) In the more than 30 blogs Dr. Enright has written for Psychology Today, especially “Why We Need Forgiveness Education” 
     c) In the many peer-reviewed empirical studies available on the International Forgiveness Institute Research Page

What do I like about this curriculum?

  • The subject matter – and the hope that it inspires.  I want my kids to be able to forgive.
  • HOW the subject matter is taught, the tie-in to kid’s literature – something they’re already familiar with.
  • The use of videos and stuffed animals which add to the fun – I believe fun learning “sticks” with kids.
  • The fact that this curriculum grows with your child – and you can teach multiple ages at the same time. Because of this, it’s a perfect fit for family teaching.
  • Options. You can purchase an electronic version of the guide that will be emailed to you, or hard-copy, spiral bound versions. Just FYI – I like the spiral bound versions.  🙂  You can also choose the Christian or secular curricula.

And FYI – here’s a quick A Family Guide to Forgiveness Education

Want to start off tonight, talking about forgiveness?  The InternationalForgiveness Institute has created a part of their website for busy moms and dads who may not have time to get together regularly to discuss forgiveness. Click here for questions and guidelines for a family forgiveness gathering – and/or consider purchasing one of the Family Guides described below for more formal guidance in discussing forgiveness with your children.

 

A Family Guide to Forgiveness Education

The IFI has created an easy-to-use parents’ guide to help you teach your primary-age (ages 6-9) child(ren) about forgiveness. Through story, discussion, and activities, your child(ren) will learn:

  • What forgiveness is and is not
  • The meanings of inherent worth, moral love, and goodness and the ways to practice them apart from forgiveness
  • The importance of finding balance as we acknowledge the worth of both self and others and offer moral love and goodness to both self and others
  • The ways to practice seeing others’ inherent worth and offering moral love and goodness as part of the forgiveness process
  • How to forgive a person who was unfair
  • The importance of seeking and receiving forgiveness

To see how the guide is structured, click here to read Unit 1.
To order A Family Guide to Forgiveness Education, click here.

Strengthening Families Manual

(an IFI resource guide for families – Guide II)

The IFI has created a parent guide with stories that older children can read and then discuss with others in the family. There are eight lessons in this guide, with no other books to buy. This manual is appropriate for children in grades 5 (ages 10-11) through eight (ages 13-14).

To order the Strengthening Families Manual click here.

 

 

The Forgiveness Education Program is being taught in homeschools throughout the U.S. and in more than 30 countries around the world.

Do you think your children will benefit from learning about forgiveness?

 

 

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


ABC Apps Product Review

FYI –

  • There are approximately 2.2 million apps in the App Store.
  • Educational apps make up the third largest category of apps.
  • That’s A LOT of apps! Because there are so many great educational apps out there, finding them can be like finding a needle in a hay stack.

That’s where ABC Apps comes in. Their  team of educational experts finds, tests, and reviews apps (some are free, some have a cost) – and then categorizes the best of the best, and puts the best into their ABC Apps library.  ABC Apps then categorizes the apps by age group and subject matter, making it easy to find the perfect apps for your children.

You can download or purchase on the spot, or use the “Save” icon to “tag” apps of interest and put them into personalized folders for your children. Then, at any time, you can easily view, add to, and edit your lists, until you feel confident in your selections (sometimes I like to mull over a purchase before I commit to buying).

The site focuses on “fun” educational apps – those with game-like experiences. You can also find other apps as well, including those that have a unique design – and those that have exceptional educational value.

BTW, here are the different categories of apps

And here is an example of what you see when you go to Flashcards and look at specifically at the Quizlet review.

 

You do need to become a member of ABC Apps to have access to all this great info. The first 30 days are free, then the membership cost is $4.99 per month.

You can sign up to get full access to the site here

 

ABC Apps Product Review – What do I like about this site?

  •  With ABC Apps, it’s easy to stay up to date on the newest and best educational apps.  I don’t want to miss out – and I don’t want my kids to miss out on anything.
  • The review process ensures that only the very best educational apps make it into the ABC App Library, giving parents confidence and peace of mind that that the apps will actually make a difference. This saves time & money. How many times have you downloaded apps that look great, but you later discovered they had bugs, annoying ads, or they just weren’t good enough?
  • I really like the alerts when apps from the library become free or go on sale.
  • And I like the Wishlist (so I can wait for the freebies).

ABC Apps Product Review – In closing

There are just too many apps out there!  THOUSANDS!  It’s nice to be able to avoid the stinkers – and download/purchase the best of the best.

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

 

Our Kinder Swimmer Product Review

The Kinder Swimmer Mission: To instill a love and respect for the water through experienced instruction.  Daytime classes available for homeschool families!

The reasons your child should learn how to swim are many/varied. 

The most important reason is that knowing how to swim can literally save your child’s life.

Yes – swimming is an essential life-saving skill.

Other reasons include:

  • It’s fun!

  • Swimming provides loads of health benefits. Swimming keeps your child’s heart and lungs healthy, improves strength and flexibility, increases stamina  – swimming even improves balance and posture!  Who knew!?!
  • Swimming is an incredible workout. Swimming involves moving multiple muscle groups in a high-intensity, cardio workout. And all four strokes involve working different muscle groups. (At our house, we even modify/make up strokes to work the different muscle groups).
  • Another great thing about swimming is that children of any age or ability can take part. Swimming is more accessible for children with additional needs than just about any other sport.
  • And because swimming is low impact – it’s ideal for oldsters as well.  My Mom is in her mid-sixties and hates to exercise (she says she doesn’t like to sweat) – but she’ll swim laps and do pool exercises for HOURS at a time.
  • Swimming is a life-long sport.
  • Because of indoor pools, you can swim year round.  Even with snow outside.  So, it’s a great winter sport when running, rollerblading, etc. aren’t possible.
  • Learning to swim also opens the door to a range of other activities including all types of boating  (we love to kayak); scuba diving; surfing, water skiing, wake boarding, etc. (my kids just took up wake boarding this year); and triathlons (one of my daughters is a runner – and a great swimmer – so I see triathlons in her future).
  • Advantages of belonging to a swim team include learning about personal goals (wanting and striving to beat one’s own record); dedication and hard work; teamwork; and more.

Daytime classes available for homeschool families.

Kinderswimmer.com Product Review – So, how can Kinder Swimmer help your child learn how to swim?  And why do I like Kinder Swim?

Kinder Swimmer can:

  • Help children and adults overcome any fears they may have of the water.  Look at this little guy – he’s certainly not afraid!  🙂

  • Offer personalized instruction (no more than 4 children are in a regular swim class).  That’s a really nice teacher : student ratio.
  • Their students learn up to three times faster, when compared to kids in other community swim lessons. This is because of the small class size, and because Kinder Swimmer uses a float belt method of teaching (which helps kids swim on their own).
  • Kinder Swimmer focuses on safety strokes first – crawl, back, and elementary backstroke and on recovery jumping.
  • Kinder Swimmer lessons are repetitious, which helps kids get the basics down.
  • Once kids get the basic, safety strokes down, they can learn more advanced strokes – including sidestroke, butterfly, and breaststroke.  Speed turns, surface dives etc. are also taught.
  • Kids advance when ready, but Kinder Swimmer doesn’t use leveled classes. This means kids don’t feel bad if they’re in a lower level compared to their peers.
  • Kinder Swimmer offers flexible schedules.
  • Plus, Kinder Swimmer offers additional services beyond swim lessons.

  • They have nice warm pools (92 degrees) in Renton and Spanaway, Washington.
  • The company was started by two moms – about 21 years ago. I don’t know about you, but I like giving my business to female-run businesses whenever possible.
  • In the last 20+ years, the company has watched their students progress from toddlers to proficient swimmers, to Special Olympics athletes, and to members of water polo and swim teams.  In fact, their students have become swim teachers, and parents, and many parents are now enrolling their own children in Kinder Swimmer classes.

On a personal note

I LOVE swimming.  I’ve actually thanked my mom for giving me swimming (That doesn’t quite sound right – but you know what I mean).  🙂  A pool is my happy place.  So is the middle of a clean lake.  I daydream when I swim, I make plans, I think things through – I pray.  I can’t imagine not being able to swim. I’m so glad I have this life-saving skill – that I enjoy it – and that I can enjoy it into my eighties and beyond.  Because I will be swimming when I’m 80!  I know that.

I encourage you to give swimming to your children.  🙂

 

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

Praxis Apprenticeship Program Review

 

Praxis is a one-year startup apprenticeship program and career accelerator for entry-level career candidates, where you gain mastery of professional skills, apprentice at a high-growth startup, and build the network and experience you need to create a great career.

 

Praxis combines a rigorous 6-month bootcamp and a 6-month paid apprenticeship. The company places participants at high-growth startups working alongside entrepreneurs while also completing their online education experience, which includes one-on-one coaching, self-guided projects, skills training, and more.

 

The immersive apprenticeship and coaching program offers more training and experiences than either an internship or an entry level job.  Participants have the opportunity to network with professionals and mentors all around the country and to take on highly valuable professional projects at their business partners.  Praxis is much more than an internship.  And much more than an entry-level job.  Praxis is an opportunity to build a career.

 

Praxis is work experience + a live, vibrant community of learners + individual coaching + project based mastery.

Praxis participants do real work in real startup companies.

 

So, who can participate:

A wide variety of young people can participate, including:

  • high school graduates with no college degree (a great gap year activity)
  • those with a an undergraduate degree
  • or graduate degree
  • or those anywhere along the college continuum
  • recent grads searching for a job – individuals tired of tossing out resumes and waiting for a response
  • those interested in an intense professional development program and startup career
  • those working in a job they hate – individuals longing for a change

So, really, this isn’t an internship?

The short answer is NO – it’s a lot more.   It’s an apprenticeship.  And it’s more than that too.

Apprenticeships are designed around learning by doing, immersing the employee in a level of work that provides meaning and value and also gives the employee an opportunity to learn.  Just like the traditional apprentice model, Praxis participants have somebody from whom they can directly learn, get feedback, get coaching, and be provided resources.  The Praxis advisor fills in for the Master in the old apprenticeship model, while the business partner provides the environment in which the participant can engage in meaningful work.

During the program, Praxis participants have the opportunity to:

  • Get customized job coaching from Praxis advisers and entrepreneurs in their fields
  • Learn transferable skills like sales, marketing, social media, business writing, invoicing, pitching, management and customer service from various departments
  • Lead self-directed projects that create value for their business partners
  • Learn firsthand how to run and grow a successful business
  • Get real-world job experience, sidestep traditional gatekeepers like college, and begin an exceptional career – now

So, really, this isn’t an internship? (continued)

In addition, participants learn how to distinguish themselves from others in the workplace, how to create value and showcase what they have done, how to interact with a wide range of professionals, and more.

Participants leave the program with a portfolio of marketable skills and quantifiable value adds, as well as a host of intangible personal skills.

And Praxis participants are often hired on full-time at their business partners when the program is over.  In fact, 96% of Praxis grads get hired at the end of the program and the average salary is $50,267. WOW!  That’s really impressive.

Tuition for the full program is $12,000 while earnings during the apprenticeship come out to $14,400 or more.  So you can see, participants walk away with a net gain – not with student debt.  And as mentioned above, most walk away with a very nice salary.

 

The graph below shows the Praxis timeline. It’s kind of like 2 years of work experience in less than one year.

Click here to check out what Praxis alumni have to say about their experiences.

 

And, you can apply here.

 

Praxis Apprenticeship Program Review – What do I LOVE about this program?

  • Everything listed below!  Really impressive, right?

  • It provides amazing experiences.  Much better than those found in an internship or in an entry-level position.
  • The education program is custom tailored to the needs and goals of each specific participant. Rather than following a set syllabus, participants work with an advisor to determine learning goals, build a plan, and “ship” those goals in the form of a concrete project every single month.
  • The project-based approach to learning and proving your worth are embedded
    in the Praxis experience.  As homeschoolers we love project-based learning. 🙂
  • The hands-on monthly projects.
  • Participants graduate with a portfolio of these projects and the skills and experiences they need to continue along a path of lifelong learning.
  • Praxis offers so much support during the apprenticeship!
  • The Praxis experience is a real job in a real role creating real value. It lasts long enough so that you aren’t just in-and-out at a company (unlike many internships, which only last a semester or a few months).
  • Amazing results – start to finish.
  • It provides so many options.  It’s a great way for your child to figure out what s/he wants to do in a career.
  • It’s efficient – “It’s kind of like 2 years of work experience in less than one year”.

Praxis Apprenticeship Program Review – MORE things I like about this program

  • Students love it.  Below are some testimonials.

“Praxis not only helped me land an awesome job that I love doing, but helped me develop a mindset of personal growth and value-creation. Thank you, Praxis!”
-Salem Marrero, Data Analyst

“Praxis was a quarter million dollar decision for me. I completed the program and was promptly promoted by my business partner to VP of Business Development.”

-Mitchell Broderick, VP of sales

“Just 1 month in, I already have several promising apprenticeship prospects. I definitely recommend looking into the program to anyone who is curious about it.”

-Jackie Blum, sales development rep

  • It pays for itself!  Tuition for the full program is $12,000 while earnings during the apprenticeship come out to $14,400 or more, so you walk away with a net gain.  No student debt.
  • And 96% of Praxis grads get hired at the end of the program with an average salary is $50,267.  Again – this result –  no student debt.
  • There’s an Alumni Network.  Community is really important in this program.  As a graduate, your student receives invitations to special events around the country in addition to access to the Praxis curriculum and a lifelong network of Praxis business partners, staff, alumni, participants, and advisors.

DiscoverPraxis.com – You can apply here.

 

See below, to read more about each component of the Praxis experience.

 

About the Bootcamp:

The bootcamp is 100% remote, so participants can live anywhere and work during the process. The bootcamp prepares participants to get the most out of the apprenticeship and accelerate their professional development.
Participants meet online with their program advisor regularly, start to build a professional portfolio, and develop skills and mindsets companies appreciate.

 

What Participants Do:

During the bootcamp, participants:
  • Build a valuable personal brand and learn how to market their strengths and skills
  • Complete educational modules that prepare them to be a value creator in any situation and for their specific apprenticeship
  • Work closely with a program advisor to set professional development goals and map out what projects and skills to build throughout the program
  • And more!

Personal Branding & Placement Training

Participants build a professional and interactive personal website, complete a project that develops and shows off their marketable skills, and go through training that prepares them to stand out during the apprenticeship placement process and establish program goals.

 

Placement Process & Building Successful Mindsets, Habits, and Skills

Participants complete an intensive month introducing core mindsets, habits, and skills they need to succeed throughout the apprenticeship and beyond. They complete daily and weekly challenges that improve their professional writing, entrepreneurial thinking, and verbal communication. Participants also prepare to interview with business partners to be placed in their apprenticeship.

 

Industry-Specific Professional Development Projects

Next, participants complete focused projects to gain and demonstrate the skills needed to succeed from day one in their apprenticeship. These projects alone have landed participants great offers right away.

 

About the apprenticeship:

The 6-month paid startup apprenticeship provides an opportunity most people never even realize is available to younger people: a job with a high-growth company and intimate experience learning how to build, launch, and grow a business.

 

Participants live and work full-time where their business partner is located, and Praxis works with participants to find the best possible fit. (most business partners are dynamic, high growth startups with 5-100 employees, and are located in every major city around the country).

 

Participants shadow the founder(s) of the company, complete self-driven projects, and get to see what the real day-to-day of growing a company looks like. The involved companies are not just looking for apprentices; they’re investing in future employees.

 

About the education experience:

Educational experiences include:
  • 1-on-1 Coaching Sessions:  Participants have a personal coach who helps them navigate creative challenges they face on the job and in their education efforts. Participants each have a program advisor who helps clarify goals, spurs self-examination, and brings accountability to achievement of the program outcomes through regular one-on-one coaching sessions.
  • Professional Development Projects:  Participants complete a 30 day professional development project (PDP) with deliverables. A PDP is a short-term set of challenges with the goal of developing new skills, gaining self-knowledge, and building successful personal and professional habits.
  • Curriculum Modules:  Praxis curriculum modules provide participants with an extensive database of resources to help develop critical skills to excel professionally. Module topics range from Philosophy, History & Culture, and Economics, to Business, Finance, and Digital Skills. Participants can choose to integrate modules into their monthly PDP’s and access them any time for as long as they want as part of the Praxis Alumni Network.
  • Group Discussions and Workshops:  Participants engage in bi-weekly group discussions with founders and thought leaders where they hear stories, get advice, and ask questions. Praxis team members also host professional development workshops where participants and alumni receive actionable ideas on a variety of topics and skills.

 

DiscoverPraxis.com You can apply here.

 

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

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.

 

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

TeacherVision Product Review

Do you use teacher-oriented websites in your homeschooling endeavors?  I do!  They have great info, all in one place, that make homeschool lesson planing a breeze.  Recently I found TeacherVision (it’s part of the Fen Learning family of websites) and I really do like it.

 

TEACHERVISION (Homeschool teachers too!)

This site offers a ton of teaching resources – all in one place (think easy) – for early learning12th Grade.

 

Homeschool parents who subscribe to TeacherVision.com have access to over 22,000 worksheets, workbooks, whiteboard-compatible digital books, lesson plans, activities, DK Instant Expert materials, DK Practice Makes Perfect materials, digital books; a library of over 180 printable teacher workbooks; project-based learning in their FutureFit section (more on this later); plus, graphic organizers, bulletin board samples, clip art, special education resources, and much more.  Whew!  That’s a ton! Did I pique your interest?  Want to learn/see more?

You can view TeacherVision as a visitor, a registered user or as a subscribed user/member.

  • As a Visitor you can click on an item that does not have the “Premium” band and then preview the item onscreen. This can be done for as many non-premium items as desired.
  • You can register with TeacherVision by just providing your name, email, and grade levels and then you can save and download non-premium items. You can also  preview three items that are marked with the “Premium” band.
  • A Subscribed user is any user who has selected a subscription plan and provided a payment method (more on this below). This includes users in a free trial status and in  paid status.  Subscribed users are able to view an unlimited number of items, including premium and non-premium content. Also, subscribed users are able to view the TeacherVision site without advertisements.

Not sure which route you want to take?  I started as a visitor, then I registered and previewed three items.  Then I subscribed – kind of thinking I’d unsubscribe during the 7 day free trial. Turns out, I like this site so much, that I didn’t unsubscribe.  That’s right, I’m a bonafide subscribed user!  🙂

Two reasons why I didn’t unsubscribe/why I continued as a member –

1. the super content  

2. the TeacherVision dashboard

Regarding the Content

TeacherVision content is created by curriculum professionals at trusted publishers and curated by TeacherVision’s experts.  Since there are over 22,000 resources, you’re bound to find something great.  And you’re probably going to find it quickly – as their search feature is very good.  All you do is enter a general search term and then use the filters to find exactly what you need.

Regarding the Dashboard

TeacherVision content is created by curriculum professionals at trusted publishers and curated by TeacherVision’s experts.  Since there are over 22,000 resources, you’re bound to find something great.

And you’re probably going to find it quickly – as their search feature is very good.  All you do is enter a general search term and then use the filters to find exactly what you need. When you sign up and fill out your profile, you check off grade levels and subjects you’re interested in, and then like magic, popular and recommended resources, daily ideas for lessons and more show up on your dashboard. There’s an Add to Favorites button to store your finds, which I appreciate.  I can organize my Favorites in folders for quick and easy access (Earth Day is months away but I already have a full Earth Day/Earth Month folder).

Here’s most of my personal page for 10/3/2018 (the bottom is cut off slightly below – my apologies).

BTW- the Concept Map is really cool (see below) – and we did discuss Today In History (East and West Germany being reunited).  Since it’s Family History Month – and I just found my birth family (I was adopted) – we’re also focusing on genealogy and DNA.

What do I like about TeacherVision.com?

  • Again, the content.  See all the specifics below.
  • I LOVE the FutureFit projects. FutureFit is a curriculum enhancement framework designed to integrate social-emotional learning and character education into traditional academic curriculum. With the FutureFit specially-curated resources, project-based lessons, and mini-activities, you can easily add life skills to your homeschooling endeavors.

  • I also appreciate TeacherVision’s daily reading and math warm-ups as well as related information that’s available to coordinate with the warm-ups.
  • The Mini Lessons are fun.
  • I’m a fan of the Monthly Calendars (here is the September calendar). The calendars pair a hands-on activity or lesson with holidays, events, and festivities – every day of the year.  So it’s easy to add a little fun to your homeschool schedule.
  • Plus, you can build lessons around themes.  Here are resources for the theme Autumn.  The site also offers themed printable packets and worksheets.
  • Bulletin board materials – I love a decorative homeschool area, don’t you?
  • Graphs and charts – These templates save so much time!
  • The organization tools are amazing!  Here’s an example of a story pyramid that I’m using tomorrow.

  • And who doesn’t love Awards & Certificates?  My kids definitely do!  🙂
  • There are a lot of resources for Special Needs.
  • As mentioned previously, I’m a fan of the personalized My TeacherVision dashboard.
  • See below – it’s a breeze to sign up and fill out your dashboard profile.

  • There are free and premium versions.  I’m a fan of options.

And I’m a fan of this website.  I think you will be too.

 

By the way, Fen Learning offers other educational sites as well.  These include:

FACT MONSTER

Factmonster.com educates, engages and entertains. Factmonster.com combines essential reference materials and fun facts for kids. From the solar system to the world economy to educational games, Factmonster has the information kids are seeking, in a safe learning environment that parents can trust.

We’ve been using this site for a while.  We like:

  • The monster graphics!  I admit it, I’m a sucker for cute graphics – as are my kids.

  • The games!
  • That so many subjects are included (these include the Women of Influence, the holidays, math, science, and more).
  • The Math Tables and Formula info (see below).

  • The conversion tools (again, see below).

FAMILY EDUCATION

FamilyEducation.com has so much info! From pregnancy – teen – family life – even food/recipe info.  For instance, here’s 8 delicious cranberry recipes for Thanksgiving (in case you’re like me and have trouble coming up with a cranberry dish your family will actually eat.  🙂  I know this is a little thing, but I like that you can scroll through all the recipes rather than have to click onto a new page for each one.

And there’s a School & Learning section – and a Homeschool section!  You do have to click through pages for some Homeschool articles – for instance, the article Responding to Other People’s Concerns About Your Decision to Homeschool is 5 pages.

INFOPLEASE

Parents, homeschool teachers and librarians turn to Infoplease.com for factual information on all types of subjects.  Parents and teachers can confidently point students to this site, assured that it’s a safe place for them to explore.

 

 

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

Creative Steps Magazine Review

 

FYI – I LOVE this parent magazine.  And you will too!

Creative Steps Magazine Review – Creative Steps is a magazine that “helps kids (0-11 years) learn through creative play”.  It is chock full of GREAT info and amazing inspiration. Specifically:

  • Over the years the magazine contributors have devised 4000+ original craft ideas and activities.  I’ll repeat –  4K plus!  Surely, there are HUNDREDS of activities (if not more) that will pique your interest and/or give you great inspiration.
  • All of the projects have been tried and tested in real settings. This is  HUGE (in my opinion).  Because how many times have you tried something that just didn’t come out like the pictures, and was a giant disappointment?  How did it make you feel?  How did it make your kids feel?  I appreciate tried and true. Athough of course, any creation my child makes is beautiful – even if it doesn’t look like a magazine picture!  🙂
  • The projects are cross-curricular.  As homeschoolers, we love this! Anytime I can make one project or assignment have larger appeal, I’m all in.
  • The projects are multi-cultural.  This is very important to me.
  • The projects can easily be incorporated into homeschool activities and lessons.  Again, a huge plus.
  • Plus, the magazine is vibrant. I’m a pushover for visually attractive publications/articles, etc. –  they  totally draw me in.  You too?
  • The magazine is available in both print and online versions. I like options.  And I love physical, in-hand magazines that I can flip through leisurely while on my sofa. That said, the magazine originates in the UK so the high postage from the UK currently makes the digital subscription (at just $18 per year) more attractive.  You can click here for subscription info.
  • I do have a year’s worth of physical magazines – and I have flipped through each one while leisurely drinking a cup of coffee – yes – on my sofa.  It was nice.  It was relaxing.  🙂  I do like the physical copies as they have wipe-able covers (very important), they even have wipe-able pages (extra bonus!) – and they’re colorful/attractive.  My kids have earmarked the pages they’re interested in – which they’ve enjoyed doing.

CLICK HERE TO SUBSCRIBE

FYI – here are some examples of Creative Steps pages.

The first one below shows different art projects – so the pages look like they’re in a frame. Genius!

And here are some cute penguin crafts – because everyone likes penguins!

And another cute page – BTW, the Chocolate Coconut Squares are delish!

I used to work for a site that publishes online magazines – and I have to say – this is one of the best I’ve EVER seen.  EVER.  🙂

And the Creative Steps website is attractive too (remember, I’m a pushover for cute!). It contains info on the most recent magazine as well as prior issues.

 

If you remember, I started this review with the sentence – FYI – I LOVE this parent magazine. And you will too!

CLICK HERE TO SUBSCRIBE

If you need inspiration/ideas, I do think you’ll love Creative Steps.  Let me know, OK?  🙂

 

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

 

bulb Digital Portfolio Review

Do you use digital portfolios?  Do you know what they are?

Let’s dig into them together with our bulb Digital Portfolio Review!

Just FYI – I think digital portfolios are a wonderful tool for homeschoolers.  Here’s why:

  • With a portfolio (think of it as a digital scrapbook), you can document your kids’ education.  This can help you prove you’re doing a good job homeschooling!
  • Your kids can use portfolios to document and enhance their education as well. They can make cool presentations that show off their skills and aptitude and they can use them for assignments/presentations.

My kids absolutely LOVE their portfolios. They peruse and add to their portfolios on a regular basis. Plus, we’ve found that making the portfolio is an educational experience in and of itself.  And portfolios are especially great for high school students. Just imagine two college applications, one with a visually stunning digital portfolio showcasing the student’s interests and achievements and one without.  Or similarly, two kids applying for the same job.  You get the idea – and you know which one is going to make the better impression.  🙂

Now, onto the bulb Digital Portfolio Review!

With bulb you can build BEAUTIFUL (and I do mean BEAUTIFUL), web based digital portfolios – and it’s so EASYReally – it is SO easy!

FYI – here is a 1 minute video overview of bulb.

And here are some examples of how bulb can been used:

An Elementary Example

A Middle School Example

A High School Example

bulb offers lots of great functions/features (so you too, can make amazing portfolios).  These functions include:

  • Private Groups: For co-ops – you can create unlimited classrooms or groups, in which your students can collaborate and publish privately.
  • Google Drive Integration: You can integrate your bulb and Google accounts to pull documents and other assets from your Google Drive to add to your bulb portfolio.
  • Single-Field Page Editing Designbulb’s simple single-field editing allows you to click, type and enter to build out pages, combining multimedia assets: composition, image, video, file attachments and embedded content. bulb offers tools to resize, realign and crop videos and images as well. Users can embed content from over 300 different websites, including Google forms, Prezi, Twitter, and more.  Users can also attach a Powerpoint, PDF, Word, or Excel file, and previews are generated directly on the bulb page.   Really, this is such an simple process – I thoroughly enjoyed it.
  • Presentation ModeThis is one of my favorite features – you can present a single page or collection in your portfolio directly from bulb. Presentation mode automatically translates each scrolling page into single, presentation-friendly slides.  This is super for kids/presentations – and super for parent/teachers too.
  • Asset LibraryYou can upload, organize and edit content directly in one centralized library and easily add any asset to multiple pages. All of the content you’ve uploaded to your existing pages is visible here, and can be organized into folders.

  • Mobile Page EditingYou can create – using all the same tools you use on your computer – on tablets and phones.  My kids use this feature a lot.

All of these features are truly wonderful and they enhance one’s creativity. Plus, they enhance one’s organizational skills! My kids have had to organize their pages and collections and they’ve actually discovered that the simple task of organization makes complex subjects a little easier to understand.  That’s huge!  Thank you bulb!

Want to see some more examples of bulb portfolios?

What does our family like about bulb? Can I just say EVERYTHING and leave it at that?  No, you want a little more detail?

  • The website offers LOTS of help getting started.  I appreciate this, because I usually don’t enjoy learning and starting a new program.

  • There is a free 30 day trial and I’m a fan of one month trials. A month is long enough to truly try out a product and know if you like it and want to continue with it.  I don’t even sign up for week-long trials. I’m glad bulb offers an entire month.
  • When we signed up for our free trial and we received this e-mail:

great customer service

  • The $30/year cost per user is affordable.  And when you think about it, since bulb provides a creative outlet; makes learning fun; helps your kids organize, and gives you educational documentation – $30 per year per user is an absolute steal!

And the site offers discounted bulk pricing for more than 25 accounts (starting at $7.96 per user per year). Think homeschool co-ops.

  • The main, most important, wonderful thing about bulb – it’s REALLY easy to make a polished page. So much easier than other programs/sites I’ve used. For a video showing how easy it is, click here, and scroll down to the sea turtle video.
  • I love how visually appealing the portfolios are and how easy it is to add photos, videos and more.
  • My kids ENJOY making their portfolios and making the portfolio is educational, in and of itself.
  • And what I always knew and it shows, my kids are very creative!
  • I  discovered that I am too, because of course I’m making portfolios for each of my children.
  • And remember, how I said they were becoming more organized, what a great benefit!
  • The end (or more accurately – ongoing) portfolio is SO impressive.  Personally, I love the fact that you can develop a really cool resume on this site!  https://www.bulbapp.com/u/professional-resume~1
  • I love the presentations my kids are making – bulb is enhancing our homeschooling experience.
  • Bulb offers different publishing options and can be private or public or in between. Think group shares.
  • As mentioned, the customer service is great.
  • Visually, I love the site.
  • Contextually, I love the site with humor throughout.

In conclusion, we are really impressed!

Thank you for spending your time with our bulb Digital Portfolio Review brought to you by How to Homeschool!

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Did you like this review? We really enjoyed writing this review for you. Check out our other reviews here: https://www.howtohomeschool.net/curriculum-reviews

HEARD Review

Have you heard of HEARD?  I admit, I had not. So when I had the opportunity to work on a HEARD review, and learn about a new product, I was ecstatic. I love new homeschooling products, don’t you?!

Just FYI –  here are some basics about HEARD:

  • HEARD is a communication tool for homeschooling families.
  • It’s a private, online hub.
  • HEARD is kind of a hybrid – part social media/part planner.
  • HEARD facilitates two-way parent-to-group and parent-to-parent communication and collaboration.
  • HEARD is a private, invitation-only platform, and for adults only. No children are allowed on the platform.
  • It’s a good/great match for your homeschool co-op, homeschool support group, or for any organization you belong to (church, sport leagues, scouts, etc.) – HEARD helps organizations communicate with their members and build strong communities.
  • HEARD integrates communication between multiple groups within an organization (different classes/grades in a co-op, etc.), as well as between multiple organizations (your co-op, support group, and scouts, for instance). Think about it – used correctly, this can put an end to zillions (slight exaggeration) of fliers,e-mails, etc.
  • HEARD was created by two moms – Deena Minwalla and Michelle Magat. They both volunteered to help a new school figure out the best way for 100  families to connect, communicate, and engage – and soon, HEARD was born.

So, I bet you’re wondering, “If I’m already on Facebook, why do I need something like this?”  Or maybe you don’t like social media at all.  In that case, you’re probably asking yourself, “Why would HEARD appeal to me?”

My answer? You can streamline (I’m a fan of streamlining!) all of your activities onto one platform – making scheduling a breeze; and more importantly, your children’s privacy (I’m an even bigger fan of privacy!) – you can keep communications about your kids’ activities separate from Facebook.

(BTW- more of my reasons for liking HEARD are listed below the graphics).

 

MORE of my reasons for liking HEARD and why I was excited to share this HEARD review:

  • It’s intuitive, in that it works like other social networking sites – but better.
  • It’s a combo social/planner platform. You can integrate your co-op’s calendar to HEARD. Whether it’s a potluck, field trip, meeting, etc., you can use HEARD to create an event, enlist volunteers, and manage RSVPs. I have my homeschool, my homeschool support group, scouts, and my Church calendars included – and I haven’t missed a thing yet!
  • You can view and access all included organizations from one place – so no more bopping between Facebook pages, different email accounts, etc. It’s convenient/easy having everything in one spot.
  • Your co-op/support group can create custom groups for classrooms, grades, committees, and more. Also, each member has the ability to create additional groups based on what they need to organize (i.e., clubs, sports team, book clubs, car pools) or their own personal connections.
  • The site is attractive – with a modern, simple design (again, think streamline).  I appreciate clean and simple design.
  • It’s secure – you can control the information you provide. Adding contact and other personal information is optional, and the site uses standard HTTPS protocol for secure communication.
  • Set up takes minutes. Once your co-op/support group is on board, everyone joins via a special invite link or member emails can be added like a traditional mailing list.  I hate when set up/joining is a chore – and this was a breeze.
  • You can select your preferred language from 100 choices. All your messages (private chat or posts) will automatically be translated to other members’ preferred languages.  This is pretty cool.  So far, everyone I communicate with speaks English as their primary language – but I still think this is a great service.
  • The search bar is really good – you can search names, dates, events, a topic or key word.
  • Communication is easy – you can adjust the frequency of email alerts for each of your groups. And with every post you send, you can see who received it, read it, or failed to get it—ensuring no one is left out. Wow – that’s nice!
  • You can access HEARD on mobile, tablet and desktop via your web browser, iOS, email, and push notifications.
  • All content on HEARD is archived indefinitely. And every member has access to the archive.
  • There are no ads on HEARD.
  • I like sharing info about companies started by women – as well as supporting these companies when I can. Don’t women have GREAT ideas?!

As mentioned, I’m using HEARD for a number of my homeschool and personal groups/obligations – and it’s working out well.  Even if I liked visiting social media sites on a daily (or more frequent) basis – and I DON’T –  I’d appreciate the ease of HEARD.  Ease is always good – especially when homeschooling!

If your interest is piqued you can try HEARD for FREE!

Resources and step-by-step instructions make it easy to get started.

And the HEARD iOS app is available for download at       

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/heard-now/id1254407905?mt=8.

More Screenshots –

 

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Did you like this HEARD review? You can see more of our reviews here: https://www.howtohomeschool.net/curriculum-reviews

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VIPKID Review and Online Teaching Opportunity Info

Our family isn’t a one income family – but we’re not quite a two income family either.  I’d say we’re a 1 ½ income family.  That’s because I work from home, when I can; between homeschooling, other mom duties, and my other Church, etc. responsibilities. Although I don’t make a ton of money, our family is grateful for my income – it’s really nice to have the extra funds.

And I’m always looking for additional ways to make extra funds – I’d like to get us up to a 1 ¾ income family (or higher!).  Because of this, I’m ESCATIC about VIPKID.  I think you’ll be pumped too. Read on to learn more about my VIPKID review! I think you’ll really enjoy the online teaching opportunity!

VIPKID provides an international virtual classroom to children in CHINA – so they can learn how to speak English from the comfort of their homes (sounds like homeschooling to me!).  On the VIPKID website, they write that their virtual classroom “streams passionate, qualified teachers into Chinese homes, linking the world through education”.  I love that phrase! It speaks to me.  And here’s the super part – VIPKID is looking for ADDITIONAL passionate and qualified teachers!  In fact, they’re looking for homeschoolers!

Interested?

Want additional info?

Here’s a little 411 about the company.

  • VIPKID is a successful company (growing quickly) – headquartered in Beijing.
  • VIPKID provides an international learning experience to children in China, between the ages of 4-12.
  • The classes are 1 on 1 online, full immersion language and content classes.
  • The curriculum is based on the U.S. Common Core State Standards (I know, I know, you may not like the Core, but Chinese parents appreciate this structure/format).
  • VIPKID also stresses curiosity, creativity and critical thinking – which as a homeschooler you’ll appreciate and can easily provide.
  • VIPKID is currently looking for online teachers for their Chinese students – teachers from the U.S. and from Canada. And as mentioned above, they’re specifically reaching out to homeschoolers.

What does it take to be a VIPKID teacher?

  • You must be eligible to work in the U.S. or Canada.
  • VIPKID requires teachers have a Bachelor’s degree – can be in any subject.
  • You should have one school year of traditional teaching experience or the equivalent in mentoring, tutoring, or alternative education (homeschooling!).
  • They want teachers that are high-energy.
  • Naturally, they want teachers that are great with children. This means using props, smiling a lot – you should make a special effort to ooze personality.
  • You can work with VIPKID from anywhere as long as you have a stable internet connection. You can check here for their full tech requirements (you might need to pay for faster internet).

Do people like working for VIPKID?  The short answer is YES!

  • Here are two main reasons people like working for VIPKID – teachers have total control over their schedules (more on that below), and the pay is good. You can make up to $22/hr.  (Teachers receive a minimum payment of US  $14-$18/hour, and there are incentives for every lesson, so the pay ranges from US  $14-22/hour. )
  • VIPKID gets a 4 star rating on Glass Door – you can see anonymous reviews here. There are over 300 reviews, with titles like The BEST part-time job I’ve ever had, Great for stay at home mom or travelers, and Awesome.
  • At Indeed.com, you can also find anonymous reviews – and again, the company gets a 4 star rating.
  • I spoke to a number of VIPKID teachers and overwhelmingly, they like working for the company. They stressed the pluses of flexibility, the pay, and the experience of working with the kids. After speaking with them, I’m going to apply (maybe we’ll  become a two income family after all!), and I’m going to suggest a teacher-friend of mine apply too – she’s always looking for ways to supplement her income.

Interested in applying?  – https://t.vipkid.com.cn/register

 

If you do apply, here’s some info about the interview process.

  • Since a picture (graphic) is worth 1,000 words –

  • What will you be evaluated on? You can check out this list –  Applicant Performance Indicators, which highlights all areas candidates will be evaluated on when they interview at VIPKID.
  • You can record or book an interview+demo lesson. If you decide to record the demo lesson, you can do so right away. It is the most flexible way to finish the interview step at VIPKID. If you prefer to book an interview, on the day of your interview, you can enter the classroom one hour before the interview to test your equipment before the interview starts. Make sure you test your equipment beforehand, since during the interview, the company will not only evaluate you, they will evaluate your equipment to see if your internet connection is able to maintain a 30-min connection with a server in China. Both interview methods are equivalent.

Once you’re a teacher: Question and Answers

 

 

Will I need to prepare teaching materials?

No, the VIPKID curriculum team has already designed materials for every class. You will need to prepare for class by reviewing the class materials beforehand. Teachers can preview class materials in the classroom on the teacher portal 6-12 hours prior to the scheduled class.

Is there a minimum number of hours a teacher needs to teach per week?

In order to maximize the number of classes you can schedule, VIPKIDS recommends that you be available for at least 7.5 hours (15 time slots per week at 30 minutes per time slot).  These 7.5 hours should be during Beijing peak times.

Is there a maximum number of hours a teacher can teach?

VIPKID sets no limit on how much a teacher teaches during peak and non-peak times (you won’t have many classes during non-peak times as students aren’t usually available at these times).

Teachers have 100% control over their schedule.

It can take up to a month to get a relatively steady stream of classes, as students and parents get to know and try new teachers. VIPKID makes no guarantee that a teacher will have a steady stream of classes.

What are Beijing peak times?

Do teachers need to communicate with parents?

No, VIPKID office staff does that.

 Interested in applying?  – https://t.vipkid.com.cn/register


Did you like reading about this VIPKID review? Check out our other reviews here: https://www.howtohomeschool.net/curriculum-reviews