Queen Girls Inspiring Our Youth One Story at a Time

Some time ago I shared with my readers a series of books for young girls that I found both inspiring and uplifting, Queen Girls. The women featured in these short biographies are amazing – strong, determined, and courageous.

I am now delighted to announce two additional titles in this wonderful series: Junko, Queen of the Mountains and Marie, the Bright Queen.

Each of these books continues in the style of the previously published titles. The women featured in the books are of diverse ethnic backgrounds and their stories are brought to life through engaging stories. The soft, colorful illustrations are done by Denise Muzzio in a simple style that may even inspire your young artist to try to paint her own heroines.

The goal of Queen Girls Books is to teach our children that our diversity makes each one of us unique, equally capable of doing anything we set ourselves out to do. To encourage them to find their happiness, passion, drive and self-confidence from within. 

Marie, the Bright Queen! Inspired by the story of Marie Curie, the first woman to receive two Nobel prizes for her discoveries. She is known for her pioneering work with radioactive materials and the discovery of two new elements: Radium and Polonium. She was also the first female professor at a university.

I have put together a short unit study on Marie Curie which I outlined in my earlier post, Science Milestones: Marie Curie.

Junko, Queen of the Mountains! Inspired by the story of Junko Tabei, a Japanese mountaineer and the first woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest, bordering Nepal and China. She was also the first woman to ascend all the Seven Summits by climbing the highest peak on every continent.

Whether you have girls or boys, these books will warm your heart and inspire your children. I encourage you to share them with your loved ones.

They can be found online at Queen Girls Books.

#queeengirls #childrensbooks #booksforgirls
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Developing Language Skills with New Amigos Board Game

I have always been fascinated by languages. In fact, raising bilingual children is was one of the primary reasons we chose to homeschool. Along the way, we have purposely sought out resources and opportunities to develop fluency in a second language.

Finding materials for Norwegian is not easy (at least where I live) so I was very excited to discover the New Amigos board game. New Amigos makes language learning fun and interactive!

The game has sold over 42,000 copies in Norway where it was developed. In Europe, it is distributed through toy stores, department stores, as well as book stores. Thus far, there are several versions available including: Norsk-English, Norsk-Spanish, and Norsk-Arabic!

Developing Language Skills

You can play either as an individual or on teams, independent of language knowledge or age. By virtue of three difficulty levels, played in parallel, even novices can stand a chance against advanced speakers and learn the basics of the language along the way.

The game works in two directions: native English speakers, for example, but wish to learn Norwegian can play the English-Norwegian version with speakers of Norsk who wish to learn English. The vocabulary is learned by everyone as each player takes his or her turn.

I have compiled a list of my favorite Norwegian Language Resources for families interested in learning Norwegian, Snakker du Norske?

Even players with the same language background and goals can play together. In other words, though both my daughter and I desire to learn Norwegian and are at different levels ourselves, we can successfully play the game together and learn from one another. We do not need to play with someone who speaks the language fluently.

The correct pronunciation of words in foreign languages is no problem, as New Amigos uses a unique phonetic system that doesn’t require any advance knowledge. Unlike the dictionaries, the words are spelled using Latin alphabet letters instead of phonetic symbols.

New Amigos Game Play

The goal of the game is to win cards over three rounds, each new round begins after seven cards have been won. This is accomplished by translating cards in both languages. The winner is the player who, in the final round, translates all of the played cards error-free.

Novices translate simple words, while advanced players translate more difficult words. In addition to vocabulary, there are also sentences and idiomatic expressions. New Amigos also includes geographical information and cards focused on culture, business, and food and drink.

New Amigos is a great game for language learners of all skill levels. Available for purchase online, there are four bilingual versions presently available: Spanish/Norsk, Arabic/Norsk, English/Norsk, and Spanish/English.

Becoming World War II Time Travelers with Home School in the Woods

We traveled to Washington, D.C. a couple years ago and while there, visited the Holocaust Memorial Museum. We took our time in the exhibit halls to absorb the messages communicated through the artifacts and stories. Later that evening as we processed what we had seen, the kids recalled visiting Norway’s World War II Resistance Museum in Oslo many years prior. 

Their continued questions and maturity have now convinced me it was time to look into World War II in more depth. As any parent or teacher can tell you, nothing engages a child in the learning experience like hands-on activities. Home School in the WoodsAmerica in World War II (from the Time Travelers series) provides the perfect resource. 

Teen using Home School in the Woods' timeline figures and notebook to create a visual timeline of World War II
I received access to this product in exchange for a review. I was compensated for my time and was not required to make a positive review.

Time Travelers: America in World War II

The CD includes 25 lessons that cover Hitler and the Nazi party, the Holocaust, Pearl Harbor, the war in the Pacific and Africa, battles and conflicts across the European continent, and so much more. After looking over the material, we decided it was a topic interesting enough and the materials extensive enough to make it into a year long history study. 

Timelines and maps provide the “when” and “where” while 3-dimensional projects, drama or history dress-up, cooking, and living books transport us back through time. These hands-on activities bring history to life for students and engage them in meaningful learning. 

Bring history to life by coordinating a living history museum for students.  Portrayed here are Irena Sendler and Arnold Mærsk McKinney Møller.

There is also a supplement page full of recommended books, videos, audio files, and more to explore the subject to its fullest potential. There are so many enrichment activities, I know we will have a rich and varied unit study all through the coming year. 

WW2 History Timeline Projects & Schedule

Like all the titles in the Time Travelers U.S. History series, a calendar style overview of all 25 lesson plans is provided that lists the activities and projects for each. We decide how frequently a lesson is introduced and how deep we explore each topic. We can do a lesson a day (choosing minimal projects) or a lesson a week (choosing a different project each day). The schedule is very flexible.

The project pages and activities for each lesson vary according to topic but all lessons include penmanship practice, figures for a timeline, and a short writing assignment (newspaper style article). Other project masters include maps, songs, recipes, and historical facts such as culture and people. 

Teen using Home School in the Woods' blackline maps to geographically depict the battles of of World War II
Using blackline maps from Home School in the Woods to visualize the War in the Pacific

Our favorite activities include the timeline and maps which allow us to visualize the expansion of German and Japanese power over the course of the war. Conflicts through battles, conquests, and attacks are displayed clearly and concisely.

It was refreshing to find a unit of study that went into great depth without feeling like we were just skimming the surface. The format also encourages children to explore deeper the parts in which they are most interested. 

The material is well written and affordable. However, I must admit it can be a little confusing at first to organize and print out what you need. It just took a little time to familiarize myself with how everything was organized. Access to a printer and ink is certainly a must, too.  

The US History Time Traveler series has many different historical eras to choose. Other great products include our favorite timeline trio which includes the “Record of Time” timeline notebook (we’ve been using it since my kiddos were in grade school) and Project Passport for world geography studies.

Join their educational community and get a free unit study on famous authors, too!

An Ultimate Giveaway

Enter the giveaway today! This is one you don’t want to miss. One very lucky winner will receive The ENTIRE COLLECTION of both Project Passport (5) and Time Traveler (7) products—$311.90 VALUE! The winner can be anywhere in the world because this is a digital product. 

Using Teaching Textbooks for SAT Prep

My daughter plans to take the SAT exam this summer. However, she feels that she is rusty and needs to brush up on her math skills. We thereby wanted to an SAT prep course to freshen her memory on concepts taught in algebra and pre-calculus.

As most of my readers know, my kids are dual enrolled at the local community college. I thereby spend more time in the role of chauffeur than as teacher. In fact, I do very little direct instruction with either of them anymore.

My daughter has been taking courses full time at the college for two years now and has just completed the first year calculus course. She has done very well and this fall, she will begin tutoring.

It was thereby a surprise when her first SAT scores came back last year. She took the exam twice (once in the fall and again in spring) and yet her math score remained the same. Though she surpassed the benchmark, she didn’t feel it was a true reflection of her ability. After all, math is her favorite subject (next to foreign languages) and she excels in the classroom.

She has thereby challenged herself to take the SAT a third time at the end of the summer. In order to brush up on the skills tested on the SAT, she wanted an SAT prep online program she could use at her pace – to set her own schedule and course plan to help her review and practice. Teaching Textbooks is a math curriculum designed for independent learners – perfect for her! Best of all, the first 15 lessons of any level are free. Try one level or every level with no obligation with this link, Teaching Textbooks.

I received access to this product in exchange for a review. I was compensated for my time and was not required to make a positive review.

Homeschool SAT Prep

One of the main features of Teaching Textbooks is that it provides step-by-step explanations for every single problem in a multimedia form. The lessons are written directly to the student and do not assume the presence of a teacher.

Students can thereby work through the material independently in just three easy steps: watch the video tutorial, do the practice problems, and if you error, an audio tutor explanations the solutions.  The explanations are clear and complete and plenty of practical examples are provided throughout the curricula.

The program is very easy to use. Teaching Textbooks is a particularly good choice for the student who might have struggled with other math programs and needs a less pressured pace and style of delivery. While my daughter does not struggle, she likes that she can move along at her own pace and even skip sections when she is comfortable with the material.

Though it is not considered a specific SAT prep course aimed at testing strategies and SAT question format, it provides practice with the content of high school level coursework. We opted for Pre-Calculus but the high school courses also include Pre-Algebra, Algebra 1, Algebra 2, and Geometry.

Her test isn’t until the end of August so we do not yet know her newest score. However, she is enjoying the program and has expressed that she feels more confident.

At the college, she has alternated between two professors and had become accustomed to their word choice and approach. She states that the vocabulary and the specific wording of the problems in Teaching Textbooks has challenged her to more carefully analyze each question. It has also given her practice with another approach to solving each problem.

Regardless of what her score may reflect, her comfort with the material is what is important. As a tutor, this flexibility and confidence will serve her well.

Online Learning Improved

Teaching Textbooks now works a little differently than previous 2.0 versions. The academic content is the same as always but the course is now delivered online as a 12-month subscription. Also, physical books have been replaced by eBooks. No more discs!

The 3.0 version of Teaching Textbooks course material is easy to access from computers, tablets, or phones. This makes it easy to access from anywhere! If you prefer a more traditional textbook, an electronic textbook is available and includes a printing option.

Because all of the content in 3.0 is available online, the price is significantly lower. With 3.0, you purchase a yearly (12-month) subscription for one child and one course. Large-family discounts (for families with four to eight students) are also available.

Teaching Textbooks Giveaway

You can find placement tests on the publisher’s website to guide you in selecting the appropriate course. The series is a college prep curriculum though it is not as rigorous as some other courses.

NOTE: The Free trial does not require a credit card and does work for the first 15 lessons with no time limit. You may try any level or all of the levels.

Because we were using the course to review for the SAT exam, we were not concerned with the grading options. However, I was intrigued to discover that grades can be accessed anytime from anywhere (even after a subscription has ended).

CTCMath & College Prep

My son started dual enrollment at the community college this past fall. The assessment test placed him in Intermediate Algebra. I felt confidant that all would be well – after all, his sister had forged the same trail two years prior.

Things didn’t go quite as planned however. He struggled to manage his time well and follow through on the homework. We thereby decided that he should repeat the course. He improved the second term, particularly in the latter part of the term.

This term, however, the instructor he wanted to take was not teaching the next course. He thereby opted to wait until Fall. Yet, I wasn’t comfortable skipping two terms of instruction time for fear he would slip back after the gains he has made.

I received access to this product in exchange for a review. I was compensated for my time and was not required to make a positive review.

Teen boy using CTCMath online math program with text overlay CTCMath & College Prep

CTCMath College Prep

When I discovered CTCMath I was immediately intrigued. I loved that the concepts were introduced with video tutorials. My son is a visual learner and excels when material is presented in this way.

CTCMath video tutorials are perfect because as my son puts it, “They are S cubed!” Simple – there is no gimmick designed to entertain which he finds annoying (let’s be honest, he often finds ME annoying!), Short – each video ranges between 4 to 9 minutes, andStep-by-Step – the problem solving method is explained succinctly and clearly.

The CTCMath video tutorials also use synchronized audio and animation which harnesses both audio and visual learning styles simultaneously.

He especially likes to skip forward or speed through the concepts he understands. Often, he’ll jump right to the practice problems and only refer back to the videos when he gets stuck.

We have been using CTCMath for a short time and I’m already seeing his confidence grow. Thus far, he has been skipping around and trying out concepts that he is both familiar with (polynomials and simplifying equations) and even challenging himself with higher trigonometry concepts.

Parental Support within CTCMath

I also like the detailed summary report that is provided. It’s broken down by course and can also be download as a PDF if, for example, I needed to provided documentation to a learning partner or charter school.

I like that there is also an optional worksheet that he can download and print out for extra practice. Upon entering his answers into the online portal, the solutions are shown to help him identify where he went wrong.

My son was interested in the Speed Skills activities. Unfortunately, these skills do not exceed level four, order of operations. As he played around with this, he decided it wasn’t as useful as he had hoped.

As we continue to progress, I am excited to try out the tasks (where I can assign specific problem sets). I want him to review concepts he struggled with previously and then also begin to work through the material he will encounter in the college course this fall. I am confident that his confidence will continue to grow and he will rediscover the joy of math he had in elementary school.

Want to try CTCMath in your homeschool?

If you have multiple children or simply want a budget friendly curriculum, CTCMath is perfect! As a homeschooler, you can receive a massive 60% discount off of the regular price.

Better yet, if you purchase any 12 Month Membership and receive a bonus 6 months for FREE! That’s a total of 18 months of online math instruction for under $7 a month!

Purchase a 12 Month Membership Here

Still not convinced? You can test CTCMath before purchasing. Simply sign up for the FREE CTCMath trial and check it out before you commit.

CTCMath Giveaway!

Right now, CTCMath is also doing a giveaway! One lucky family will have a chance to win a free one year membership for their homeschool. You can enter below. Best of luck!!

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Typesy Homeschool Typing for the Win!

I have vivid memories of sitting in front of an electric typewriter in a room with 36 of my peers typing as rapidly as we could, “The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy moon.” The clack clack clackety hum of the keys would inevitably cause me to develop a mild headache by the end of the class.

I remember asking my parents for a typewriter for Christmas. My parents didn’t see the value of a computer at the time but agreed. As a college student, I would be expected to write many papers and a typewriter would be a tremendous help.

Image of two teens using the Typesy Homeschool Typing program

By the time I chose to homeschool my own children, the presence of a computer and keyboard was common place. It seems they have grown up typing – composing short essays and writing emails to Grandma and Papa. Though they are familiar with the key placement, they have not had formal typing lessons since primary school.

Both teens are now dual-enrolled at the local community college and like myself, they are expected to write a significant number of essays and research papers. When my son claimed he could type faster than me, I took him on. While he is in fact faster, his accuracy is less impressive. I knew it was time to dedicate time to improving our typing skills.

Our family received access to the Typesy Homeschool Program in exchange for our honest review, and I was compensated for my time writing the review. All opinions are our honest thoughts and we have been using the program during our school time. Please see our disclosure policy

What I Love About Typesy Homeschool Typing Program

Cloud-based Program

I love that Typesy is an online program – everything is stored in the cloud and thereby we can log in from anywhere and automatically stay in sync. You do not have to download anything. We can begin training on our desktop at home and continue with lessons when we travel. Students have access to the same account, results, and course content no matter where they are physically located.

Individual Instruction

Typesy can also be used by multiple children – each at their own level. The lessons are adapted for each child; adapting to their individual needs. If a student is struggling with particular letter sequences, these will be repeated. The level of difficulty within the games will also adjust based on student progress.

image of a teen boy practicing typing skills with Typesy Homeschool Typing programThere are over 375 lessons broken into units that focus on specific areas of the keyboard (home row, top row, bottom row, shift keys, punctuations, numbers, and symbols) and many games.

With this program, students have the option to take the typing courses to learn proper fingering and key placement or play games to increase speed and accuracy. The games keep it interesting while the progressively challenging lessons ensure skills are taught correctly.

screen schot of Typesy Homeschool Typing Program

Each of the study units includes a step-by-step video , effective exercises, and fun games. Proper hand positioning is demonstrated and the keyboard strokes are explained – for visual learners, this is huge! I haven’t seen another program that provides this.

Goal Setting

While my teens are independent learners, I still find that I need to check in occasionally and encourage them to stay focused (particularly my son).  I love that I can schedule or assign lessons and keep track of their progress. I can even set word per minute goals and accuracy goals for each child.

Progress Reports

With Typesy Homeschool Edition’s admin accounts, parents can easily see student progress and print reports. Individual students can also see their own progress on their account pages. The stats page shows students several graphs: Typing Competency, Typing Speed, and Typing Accuracy.

screen shot of Typesy Homeschool Typing ProgramThe student dashboard also gives students their current typing speed and accuracy levels, thirty day progress, and their current level. There is even a “Hall of Fame” that lists the top fifty Typesy Homeschool Edition students based on points. If your child is like my son and thrives on competition, this is really great.

Well-Organized and Teen Friendly

I am grateful to have Typesy available for my teens. The lessons are very well organized and thorough – focusing on teaching accurate skills. This is a huge help for us homeschool moms who juggle so much. It is nice to know this skill is covered.

My daughter appreciates that the program is clean and that there are no cutesy graphics to distract from the material. “It’s not babyish and boring like most typing games,” she stated.

Typesy Package Details 

It only takes a few minutes to get started with Typesy. They have several different plans from small family (up to four users), large family (up to ten users), or even co-op! Each subscription also includes accounts for two or three parent-teacher admins.

Perhaps best of all, the entire site is 100% ad free and the subscription package is good for FIVE YEARS! 

I definitely recommend Typesy Homeschool if you are looking for a typing program. Visit Typesy to get started with the best keyboarding program today!  I plan to continue using it myself, also. Maybe I can even surpass my high school PR.