My School Year Homeschool Record Keeping Review

My daughter will be in high school soon so I need to be organized and  keep records more efficiently. MySchoolYear.com has a product that promises to help me do just that!  I was given an annual membership access to My School Year (Homeschool Record Keeping) in exchange for a review through the Schoolhouse Review Crew.

My School Year (Homeschool Record Keeping) is a digital product that helps you plan and track school work. It is accessible by a web browser like Safari or Chrome on a computer or through any mobile gadget.

MySchoolYear.com Review
Record keeping and planning are not my strengths. In homeschooling middle school and high school students, it is important to start tracking what the student has been learning and doing in every school year. MySchoolYear.com knows this  and has provided a platform to help parents become more organized and better planners.  There is so much one can do in this program.

As I created my login and logged into the system, the first thing I did was setup students.

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Since I have 2 kids, I entered both their names. Then I setup our school’s name, the term or the school year dates, the and the subjects that they have. I took time in adding the materials they used for each subject.

 

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I can also set the grading scale to be used. I can choose to use numbers based or letters based or just pass/fail.

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As I navigate through the menu, I noticed the main parts of the program includes Homeroom, Planbook, Reports and Teacher’s Aid.

It is in the Homeroom that I can see the summary of our school year. It shows the classes that I have assigned to my daughter. I have customized the classes and even set how many pages she needs to have read each day. I can also see the summary of my child’s attendance record for the whole school year. Events, awards and reading list can also be seen in this page. The number of extra-curricular activities and the standardized tests can also be seen as charts.

myschoolyear4 Under Planbook, this is where you can see the assignments for the week.

Under Report, this is the report generating section of the program. One can easily choose which report is needed and customize the report. As you click on the view report button, PDF files are generated. This PDF files can be emailed or printed as required by your state or your homeschool provider.

Teacher’s Aid reminds the teacher to complete the information needed to make the program work effectively.
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What I Like About the Program:

I like the simple menu and easy navigation of the system.

This is a simple program that busy moms like you and me can easily learn. Though I believe that one needs to spend a few days to understand and set up the whole system, it is doable and simple enough to do. Once you understand how it works, you will enjoy creating lesson plans for your students. Updating the completion and the grades is easy as you can set the program to automatically compute the grade. The Create-A-Plan lesson generator helps mom to create lessons in bulk and saves time.

I also like the reports generated by the system.

The reports look professional and is flexible. I can print any report depending on what I need. Transcripts, report cards, lesson plans, instructional hours, materials by lesson and reading logs are just some of the reports that can be generated. myschoolyear3

I like the flexibility of the program. I can easily customize the lesson plans and the reports as needed.

The price for monthly membership fee is $5 ad just $40 for annual membership. Both can be used for  unlimited number of students. If you are still unsure, go and try the system first with a free trial.

For more information, please follow their social media accounts at
Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/MySchoolYearWeb/ or at
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/@MySchoolYearWeb or
Google+:  https://plus.google.com/+MyschoolyearWeb

Check out what the rest of the review crew thinks about this product.

Homeschool Record Keeping {MySchoolYear.com Review}

Crew Disclaimer

Progeny Press Mr. Popper’s Penguins E-Guide Review

Our family is not a stranger to Progeny Press. We love reading literature in our homeschool and we’ve been able to use  some of its book study before. My children enjoyed using them and so they were looking forward to using Mr. Popper’s Penguins E-Guide. We were given a downloadable copy as a part of the Schoolhouse Review Crew.

Progeny Press has been producing faith-based book studies on classic literature and popular novels for a number of years already. These study guides are for grades 1-12. The writers of the study guides include the owners of Progeny Press, Michael and Rebecca Gilleland, and other authors who came from varying professional background like teachers, pastors, home-education and writers. The guides pass through peer reviews and are edited by their office staff for literary accuracy and analysis.

Literature Study Guides from a Christian Perspective {Progeny Press Review}
The study guides are meant to help parents and teachers raise critical thinkers and readers. It provides instruction for the readers  to perform activities related to the theme of the book, digging deep into the vocabulary words and analyzing the story and the character profiles.

All guides come as printed workbooks or CDs or downloadable E-books. You would need Adobe Acrobat installed on your computer to access the files. Adobe Acrobat is a free software that you can easily install to your computer.

The study guides are recommended to be used for 8-12 weeks, but it really depends on how fast the student reads and works on the study guide.

There are hundred of study guides available from Progeny Press. They are divided by grade levels:

  • Lower Elementary ( for K- Grades 3)
  • Upper Elementary (for Grades 3 – 5)
  • Middle School (for Grades 5 – 8)
  • High School (for Grades 8 – 12 )

Mr. Popper’s Penguins E-Guide  is best for upper elementary years or those in grades 4 to 6. It is interactive, meaning students can type in their answer to the questions directly on the computer and they can even choose some answers to the questions via drop down choices. The students just need to save their work on their computer to ensure the changes made are saved.

Literature Study Guides from a Christian Perspective {Progeny Press Review}
A 1939 Newberry Honor Book, Mr. Popper’s Penguins is a heart-warming story of a house painter who dreams of traveling to the Antarctic. Mr. Popper dreams big dreams and doesn’t give up easily even if his family’s income is just enough to support them. As the penguins came into their life, Mr. Popper’s family showed resilience and creativity to make their dreams a reality.

My daughter who is currently in 6th grade read the book and used the interactive study guide. It took her a few days to complete reading the entire book. Then she used our MacBook Pro installed with Adobe Acrobat to open the file.

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There are 56 pages in this study guide. Here is the table of contents:

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She worked on the study guide 2-3 times a week for half an hour each time. She answered the vocabulary questions, questions about the story until the end of the study guide. She worked on this study guide independently. We just did the Money Matters section together and it certainly made an impact to her as she learned about inflation and credit. She saw how math is valuable in computation of money. We also discussed the story structure, the character study and the main theme of the book. We used the questions from the study guide as our prompt to have a deeper conversation about all that she has learned.

What I liked about Mr. Popper’s Penguin E-Guide is that it is very easy to do independently for my 6th grade daughter. There is a separate answer key file so I can easily check her work, even if I was not able to read the book yet. I also liked that there are several pre-reading and post-reading activities suggested to make the lesson even more special. It is like doing a unit study based on a book. Lastly, this study guide costs only $17.99. It is downloadable so it means that my daughter can work on the computer or I can print the pages if I wanted her to write. I don’t need to look for a physical product or have it shipped all the way from the USA.

Progeny Press really makes great literature studies which develop critical analysis. I am thankful for their study guides as it helps my children process the books they are reading. Check out our previous experience with Progeny Press Frogs and Toad Together E-Guide and Sarah Plain and Tall Interactive Study Guide. Each of this study guides are from different levels and we have all enjoyed them!

For more information about Progeny Press, please visit their website and their social media accounts at Progeny Press Facebook and Progeny Press Twitter .

The Schoolhouse Review Crew was able to use guides for other levels as well like the Lower Elementary,  Middle School  and High School, so be sure to to read the other reviews to learn the differences between these levels.

 

Literature Study Guides from a Christian Perspective {Progeny Press Review}
Crew Disclaimer

MaxScholar Review

As part of the Schoolhouse Review crew, my family is given a one-year access to MaxScholar in exchange for a review. The MaxScholar Reading Intervention Programs aims to help students with Dyslexia, learning disabilities and those who are struggling to read. Since my son already knows how to read at age 9, we chose to review the program MaxGuru.

MaxScholar Reading Intervention Programs Review

The programs under MaxGuru are developed based on the research based methods of the Orton-Gillingham approach and the the Lindamood-Bell Process. The methodology behind this approach is that it uses the multi-sensory approach to help the student read effectively. It uses the student’s dominant learning mode while using instruction that also strengthens the other learning methods to fully  access all avenues in the brain. In MaxGuru, the Five Pillars of Reading is addressed to help the students reach reading proficiency. The Five Pillars of Reading includes Phonetic Awareness, Phonics, Fluency, Vocabulary and Comprehension.

MaxGuru is an online program and it is accessible through any mobile device or computer that has a browser and an internet access.

Upon login, This is the screen that we saw. My son chose the MaxReading section.

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The vocabulary words are highlighted and used within the proper context in the story.

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MaxReading develops  the student’s comprehension. It uses highlighting, outlining and summarizing. The student will read or will ask the computer to read aloud the chapter book and then he will be asked to identify the topic, main idea and details using the digital highlighter provided.

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After highlighting, the student is given immediate feedback whether he got the answers correctly. Then he will be asked to create an outline based on what he just read. After, the student can choose to work on the writing exercise. He needs to choose whether he wants to write a summary, answer an open-ended question or a general question. After which, he is given a set of comprehension questions. The student only has one chance to answer the question correctly.

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The computer auto-computes the grades and gives the student to choice to play a game or continue on to the next lesson.

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My son likes the game hangman so he had fun playing it! It helped him remember the correct spelling of the vocabulary words.

My son takes approximately 20-25 minutes per session to complete one chapter along with its activities. He only works on one chapter per session.

The stories he read were all stories of other nationality so it was quite interesting for him. He not only learned new words but was also introduced to a new culture and places.

There are 12 levels of difficulty and my son started working in level 2. In level 2, there are 6 different story books, and each book has several chapters each.

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MaxGuru offers other programs aside from MaxReading like MaxWords, MaxMusic, MaxVocab, MaxPlaces and MaxBios.

MaxWords is all about the study of the word like prefixes, suffixes, Greek and Latin root words and spelling rules.

MaxMusic uses the current favorite artists and their songs to help students identify different words from the lyrics.

MaxVocab is a dictionary for all of the levels. You can see the definition of the words, the word used in a sentence, synonyms and antonym.

MaxBios is a collection of biography of influential people. After reading the stories, the student has a set of comprehension questions to check if he understood the story.

The individual license for the MaxGuru pack currently costs $279.

What We Think About the Product

It took my son about 5 chapters before he finally understood how the highlighting works. He hasn’t been introduced to this approach before so it was confusing to him at the beginning. Eventually he understood the system and was able to follow along.

If your children is on summer break, then this program would be ideal to use! It helps develop reading comprehension and exposes the children to different stories that encourages critical thinking. It can also be used as a good reading material during the school year since it is a complete program already.

For more information on MaxScholar, please check their social media accounts:

Facebook: MaxScholar

Twitter: @MaxScholarLLC

Pintrest: MaxScholar LLC,

Google+: MaxScholar,

LinkedIn: MaxScholar

YouTube: MaxScholar LLC

See what other review crew members are saying about MaxScholar!

MaxScholar Reading Intervention Programs Review
Crew Disclaimer

Essential Skills Advantage Review

My 9 year old son loves to read and sometimes, I find it hard to find reading supplements, thankfully he was able to try out the Complete Home Learning Suite from  Essential Skills Advantage.

Essential Skills Advantage Review
We were given a year’s online subscription to all of the programs of Essential Skills Advantage. ESA has different self-paced programs for K to Grade 6 students. They have several enrichment activities for K-6 in Reading, Spelling and Math. They have K-3 Science and Grades 3-5 Geography lessons as well. This is a perfect supplement for summer and online education during regular school days!

Essential Skills Advantage Review
We used MacBook Pro machine and Safari web browser to access ESA’s website. After creating the username and password for my son, he has access to all programs.  It means that my son can use Grade 3 Reading, Grade 4 Math and Grade 2 Spelling depending on his ability and skills.

We decided to use the Reading program for the entire review period since my son loves to read and I wanted him to improve on his spelling skills and comprehension skills. We accessed Complete Reading Program 3. There are several subgroups under this program including Vocabulary Builder, Reading Comprehension and Spelling.

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As my son logs in, he immediately works on Vocabulary Builder. Vocabulary Builder focuses on 5 subjects, it includes compound words, easily confused words, figurative language, prefixes and suffixes.

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Each area has a different activity for the student.

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The instruction for each activity is verbalized and this helps develop the auditory learning of the student. Each screen activity shows a clear and easy to follow activity for the student to complete.

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For the Reading Comprehension part, there are several short stories that the student needs to read and so he can answer the different activities and questions that follow.

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For the Spelling, there are several activities like word search, word unscramble, word wizard, hear and match, complete the sentence and others to help the students remember the correct spelling of difficult words.

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The price of the program is $7.99 per month for 1 student, $12.99 per month for 10 students. You also have the option of paying per 6 months $39.99 for 1 student and $69.99 for 10 students. You can also pay for the whole year, $69.99 for 1 student and $129.99 for 10 students.

Some features I really like from ESA’s Complete Home Learning Suite:

  1. If the student answers incorrectly, he receives an immediate feedback allowing him to choose the correct answer.
  2. Anytime the student logs back in after leaving the program, he continues on the last activity he was doing.
  3. The program is colorful, easy to use and navigate and quite interactive, it encourages independent learning.
  4. The online program can be accessed through the computer and other mobile gadgets like the iPad.
  5. Parents can track the progress of the student and doesn’t need to correct the work of the student anymore.
  6. The flexibility of the program allows the student to work on the grade level above or below his age and they can skip on activities that they don’t want to do at the moment.

For more information on Essential Skills Advantage, please check their social media accounts.
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/skillsadvantage/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/SkillsAdvantage @SkillsAdvantage
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/SkillsAdvantage
Google +: https://plus.google.com/u/0/
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/skillsadvantage
Blog: http://buyesa.com/blog/

Check what other Schoolhouse Review Crew think about this product!

Essential Skills Advantage Review
Crew Disclaimer

Grapevine Studies The Resurrection Review

In the past 6 years of homeschooling, I have seen other homeschoolers write about Grapevine Studies and I ‘ve always been interested to try it so when I got the opportunity to review one of their products, Resurrection: Multi-Level, I was excited to see how my kids ages 12 and 9 would like this homeschool Bible curriculum.

Birth of John to Jesus' Ministry {Grapevine Studies Review}
We are taking a break from our usual Bible curriculum and decided to use Grapevine Studies since February. This review of the study about Resurrection came very timely since there are a few weeks before Easter. I received a digital copy in PDF format of the Resurrection: Multi-Level product. The files I received were:
– Teacher’s Guide
– Student Blank Worksheets
– Student Traceable Worksheets

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Grapevine Studies is the brainchild of John and Dianna Wiebe. Their children are homeschool and college graduates already and John is actively involved in teaching adult Sunday class in their church while Dianna helps John prepare for his lessons. Grapevine offers a tool that is easy to teach and help children process, understand and respond to the Bible.

The method of Bible study is through the reviewing of timeline, reading the Word of God, drawing stick figures from the passage, answering the questions about the lesson, memory work, a bit of Bible geography and using a Bible dictionary.

Aside from printing the Student Traceable Worksheets for my 9 year old son, we also used pens, markers, a Bible and a Bible dictionary. We also used a folder to store all the print outs. For my 12 year old artistic daughter, she opted to use a blank paper and draw her own version of stick figures.

The Resurrection study starts from The Last Supper shared by Jesus and His disciples. As my children listen to me read the scriptures assigned for the lesson, my son traces the outlines from the printout while my daughter creates her own stick figures.

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There is a total of at least 8 passages per lesson and each lesson approximately takes 40 minutes for us to finish. We used the product at least 3 times a week (with my kids begging to do some more each time)!  9 lessons is included for this Resurrection unit study. Here is a view of its contents.

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At the end of the lesson, there are ready made questions which I discussed with them. In the teacher’s guide, the answers are already provided. The questions are all related to the lesson with one question in the end that asks “what did you learn about God form this lesson”. Then the children are asked to draw about their favorite passage and to write down the memory verse.

What I Think About This Product

I loved this product! Here are my reasons:

  1. This is a very conversational and interactive kids bible study. I chose to read the Bible passages to my children even if they can do so by themselves because I wanted to interact with them and ask questions and be able to answer their questions. Through this approach, we had meaningful discussions about Christ and the happenings around His Resurrection more vividly.
  2. The product is Bible-centered. We read the Bible together as a family, and our discussions came from the stories and the situations each character faced. The children also saw how each of the gospels were related as we jumped from one text to the other. I liked it because it allowed us to see the connections in the Bible especially the gospels. It also allowed us to know more about God and His character through the lesson-end questions.
  3. The product is very easy to follow and use. Not much prior preparation needed at all and the teacher’s guide is easily understandable. My children were also able to easily follow and understand the flow of the lesson.
  4. I can use the product across all levels. This product is good for families with multi-level children.
  5. I will recommend this product to our kids ministry too. It is a good bible study material for children’s church too.

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For more information on Grapevine, follow them on their social media accounts.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GrapevineStudies/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/GrapevineStudy
Pinterest: https://pinterest.com/GrapevineStudy

For more reviews on the different Grapevine Studies products, click on the graphic below.

Birth of John to Jesus' Ministry {Grapevine Studies Review}

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