Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Zirrly Super Beads Mega Pack Review

My family had the privilege of trying the Super Beads Mega Pack from Zirrly for this review to use in conjunction with our own homeschool curriculum. This is a Homeschool Review Crew Review. All opinions expressed are my own or those of my family.

Zirrly is a manufacturer of fun and unique arts & crafts and hobby supplies. They sell kits, beads, wood projects, modeling clay and so much more. They sell to crafters all over the world and have all sorts of projects to satisfy your DIY craving. Their products are great for home, homeschool, party, and classroom.

Super Beads are the safer alternative to Perler Beads or any other fuse beads. You don't have to use a hot, dangerous iron or troublesome glue to get the beads to melt together. Instead use only a spritz of water to fuse them. After they have time to dry the designs are flexible, durable, and won't crack. If they come apart you can easily refuse them with a little water. The regular kits are great for ages 5 and up and the 3D kits are recommended for ages 10 and up. Younger kids might still need a little help from someone older. You can make so many neat designs on the boards. Super Beads are fun and creative. These water beads are also non-toxic.

The Super Beads Mega Pack is a wonderful starter set. It includes 4500+ beads. It also comes with everything you need to start making 4 patterns. Just use your imagination for other designs.

The Mega Pack Includes:
  • 4500+ Super Beads
  • 4 Assorted Design Templates (apple, cupcake, turtle, elephant)
  • 2 Spray Bottles
  • 4 Boards
  • 1 Design Tool
  • Instructions

How We Used This and Our Thoughts:
My daughters who are 7 and 9 years old tried these out. Zari decided to make a cupcake and Teela made an apple. I loved how much more freedom Super Beads give my kids. They can do the whole project on their own and don't have to rely on me to finish it for them with glue or hot iron. I also don't have to lug the ironing board out of the closet, wait for the iron to get hot enough, and make sure I am using wax paper between the design and the iron so I won't get a sticky hot mess. I won't burn myself either! With Super Beads there is less worry and frustration.

Cupcake template and board with flaps and tabs that fit together.

I also noticed that these had a few different properties, besides using water, than other fuse beads. Once the water had been sprayed onto the beads they looked shiny and had a more glossy sheen to them. The bead designs are more flexible as well. Since they don't have to be ironed they don't get flattened or too misshapen because of the heat. They hold the bead's shape fairly well even when fused together.

Zari and Teela designing and spritzing with the Super Beads.

I loved how easy this was to do. The peg boards have tabs on the underside that the design template flaps can fit into so it doesn't move. Once you have your template in place it is color coded to show you where to place the different colored beads and you can clearly see the template design through the transparent peg board. You can also fit tabs together to make a larger board from all 4. The beads fit snug on the pegs so they don't move while making a design once they are placed. You spritz the entire surface of the design with water making sure you don't drown the beads. If you do put a bit too much water the beads could have a few plastic strands that you will need to shave off the finished design if you want. This was really no big deal for me. The completed designs take just 60 minutes to set up and dry. Once dry to the touch and not tacky feeling they can be simply lifted off the board with the design tool provided.

Apple and cupcake design.

My daughters had a lot of fun doing these designs. The Mega Pack is a great investment because of all it comes with and Super Beads are such a great craft. I recommend this pack to anyone who wants to try them or those that are sick of dealing with the other fuse bead brands.
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You can purchase Super Beads HERE. The Mega Pack is $18.98.

Read other homeschool curriculum reviews for Zirrly Super Beads...
Super Beads {Zirrly Reviews}

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Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Home School in the Woods Á La Carte Literary Genres Lap Book Mini-Study Review

My family had the privilege of trying the Literary Genres Lap Book Mini-Study from among the Á La Carte products of Home School in the Woods for this review to use in conjunction with our own homeschool curriculum. This is a Homeschool Review Crew Review. All opinions expressed are my own or those of my family.

Home School in the Woods is a family run business that creates Christian based history curriculum for homeschooling. This curriculum immerses your student in the topic. It is very hands-on with lapbooks, timelines, recipes, art, creative writing, notebook projects, dramatized audio theater, maps, crafts, projects, re-enactments, file-folder games, vocabulary to learn, etc.

The Á La Carte Projects are a new category of products that Home School in the Woods is now offering. These hands-on mini-studies include lap booking, creative writing, 3-dimensional art, games, timelines, etc. about different topics to just do on their own. Some Á La Carte Projects are a smaller, more focused pieces from the larger history studies and others are completely original projects that they have created. These you can purchase separately from the larger Home School in the Woods curriculum so you can add them individually to your own homeschool course of study. This menu is being added to regularly with brand new material.

The Literary Genres Lap Book Mini-Study is a completely separate and original short study that helps the student learn the categories of literature. This has a brief amount of text along with lap book projects. It comes in PDF format with an introduction and tips, description of what a genre is and the categories with suggested reading, vocabulary to know, additional activities to do, and the lapbook complete with supplies and instructions for how to put it all together. There are fun lift the flaps, pockets, a writing section, etc. This is recommended for grades 3rd-8th.

Projects Included Are:
  1. Genres Card Catalog
  2. Book Stack Vocabulary
  3. Steps to Story Building
  4. Library of Good Reads
  5. Reading Tablet

10 Literary Genres Covered:
  • Poetry
  • Biography
  • Autobiography
  • Fantasy
  • Fairy Tale
  • Tall Tale
  • Mystery
  • Science Fiction
  • Historical Fiction
  • Realistic Fiction

Teela constructing the lapbook.

How We Used This and Our Thoughts:
Teela my 9 year old put this lapbook together with a little help from me. There was a lot of cutting things out, coloring, gluing, stapling, and taping. The instructions were fairly simple and straightforward. We didn't have any trouble finding where all the pieces went and how to construct it all. We liked the suggestion of placing pieces in a ziplock bag until you start building each section because otherwise pieces could get lost. There were quite a few of them and it was a good idea to keep them organized at the start even though you could reprint if you did loose any.

The completed Literary Genres Lap Book Mini-Study.

The projects are fun to put together. My kids had seen a card catalog in our library and knew how to use one even if they are kind of going the way of the dinosaur. This lapbook had a Genres Card Catalog. I thought that was neat way of showing the descriptions and recommended reading of each genre in a pocket that looked like a drawer to a card catalog. The Book Stack Vocabulary looked like a stack of books that had titles of categories on their spines and lift the flap to see the description of each underneath. The Steps to Story Building has the steps to organize your thoughts in order to write a good story in lift up flaps with the descriptions of each and a place to write under each. The Library of Good Reads has pockets that look like shelves that has small paper books with information you can write inside that can sit in them. The Reading Tablet is a frame that holds the paper to write a short story/book report with.

I think that Teela understands better what the different genres are of literature. We are happy we got the opportunity to do this lapbook together so that she could learn this. This will help her brainstorming, story building and writing, and knowing what genres each book she reads lands in. She loves to read and write stories so I was happy that she now has one more tool to add for this.

I recommend the Home School in the Woods Á La Carte Literary Genres Lap Book Mini-Study to all that homeschool or supplement learning. My daughter learned a lot from it. This is a great mini study and it is a fun lapbook to put together.

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You can purchase the Literary Genres Lap Book Mini-Study for $9.95.

Read other homeschool curriculum reviews for Home School in the Woods Á La Carte Products...
À La Carte Projects - Individual projects designed to enhance your studies! {Home School in the Woods Reviews}

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Tuesday, March 13, 2018

NatureGlo's eScience MathArt Online 4-Class Bundle Review

My family had the privilege of trying the MathArt Online 4-Class Bundle from NatureGlo's eScience for this review to use in conjunction with our own homeschool curriculum. This is a Homeschool Review Crew Review. All opinions expressed are my own or those of my family.

NatureGlo's eScience is a neutral worldview (non-faith based viewpoint) math enrichment (MathArt) and science live and self-paced online courses and curriculum for home and school educators and students. It is founded and directed by Gloria Brooks; a nature lover, longtime RVer, and curriculum writer. She has been teaching since 1997 and holds a BA in k-12 education.

All NatureGlo's eScience online learning courses are live and then recorded for you to be able to view them when ever your schedule permits. Class content is available for up to a year after subscription enrollment. The live classes meet at a specific time and date and uses the Zoom Live classroom platform. Students can access the live classes by Zoom live links and can access these classes by computer, phone, or other mobile device. If you are doing the live classes it is recommended to have access to a microphone and web cam so communication can go both ways. All self-paced classes are pre-recorded and include Slideshows, study guides, lesson enhancing YouTube videos and web resources. The 1-3 week short courses are recommended for ages 8 and up and the 1-6 week courses are recommended for ages 10 and up. Content is appropriate for upper elementary, middle and high schoolers. Each course can be used with multiple students in the same household. These courses could be applied towards middle school and high school credits depending upon your state homeschool requirements. Each class has a study guide and sometimes quizzes (using Quizlet) you can base grades off of also and participation and completion of activities can be recorded by parents. Additionally, each 6-week course has a certificate of completion at the end.

How We Used This and Our Thoughts:

We received the MathArt Online 4-Class Bundle to review. This is a set of four online 6-week courses bundled together. These courses specifically take mathematics to the next level by linking it with science, nature, art, history, culture, music, archeology, language arts/literature, etc. These cross-curricular connections are beneficial to learning and make the curriculum more well-rounded in a more hands-on unit study type fashion. This course helps students realize that math is so much more than just numbers on a page. It is intertwined with all that the world has to offer.

The MathArt Online 4-Class Bundle Includes Four 6-week Courses in:
  • Math Connections with the Real World (Live Classes January-February 2018 Tuesdays)
  • MathArt in Ancient Cultures (Live Classes January-February 2018 Wednesdays)
  • Mathematics in the Arts & Sciences (Live Classes March-April 2018 Tuesdays)
  • MathArt - Patterns in Nature (Live Classes March-April 2018 Wednesdays)

NatureGlo's eScience MathArt Online 4-Class Bundle

We were told to choose one of the courses in the MathArt Online 4-Class Bundle to focus on for this review. We chose the MathArt in Ancient Cultures. It is a 6-week class that focuses on learning about the incredible connections there are between mathematics, art, and architecture in ancient cultures.

When we logged in we had access to our classes under the "My Courses" tab in the member dashboard. Then we clicked on the MathArt in Ancient Cultures picture. This took us to the course.

On the main page it tells you how to access the course when it is live. We did not do this, we only did the course after it was recorded. This I felt made it easier for me and my family to work around our schedules and do it when we could instead of a set time and date. The main page has all the lessons in the course listed along the right side of the page and so we clicked those in sequential order. This gave us access to downloads, videos, slideshows, interactive pages, activities, projects, etc. and once the lessons were done we were able to check them off. Once marked done the check mark beside each turns green from gray, the lesson is crossed out with a line through it, and the words turn gray from red. If we had been to the lessons, but hadn't finished them the words turned yellow from red to indicate you had been there that day.

MathArt in Ancient Cultures 6-week Class Lessons:
  • Lesson #1 – Ancient Babylonians & the Plimpton 322
    • Main Lesson Slideshow and Study Guide Downloads
    • Main Lesson Videos with NatureGlo
    • DK Find Out! – Ancient Babylonian History Interactive
    • Ancient History Connection – Video (2:07): Ancient Babylonian tablet – world’s first trig table
    • Music Connection – Videos: Ancient Mesopotamia and Sumerian Music
    • Going Beyond – Additional Web Resources, Projects, Activities & Videos
  • Lesson #2 – Ancient Greek Math & the Platonic Solids
    • Pre-lesson Activity – History Connection – DK Find Out: Ancient Greece
    • Pre-lesson Interactive Activity – Polygons
    • Main Downloads & Lesson Videos with NatureGlo
    • Lesson Interactive Activity – Platonic Solids
    • History Connection Video (7:18) – Plato: Biography of a Great Thinker
    • MathArt Connection: Making the Platonic Solids & Others
    • Literature Connection: Plato’s Allegory of a Cave
  • Lesson #3 – Pythagoras & the Music of the Spheres
    • Pre-lesson Activity – History Connection – DK Find Out: Ancient Greece
    • Main Lesson Downloads & Videos with NatureGlo
    • Activity – Pythagorean Theorem Interactive
    • Video (5:45): Mini Biography: Pythagoras
    • Going Beyond – Web Resources, Projects & Videos
  • Lesson #4 – Ancient India’s MathArt: Rangoli, Mandalas & the Story of 1 – 9 & 0
    • Pre-lesson Activity – Ancient India & Arts & Crafts
    • Main Lesson Slideshow with Study Guide Downloads
    • Theater Connection – Ancient India Shadow Puppetry: The Gazelle
    • Art Connection – Video (4:48) How to Make Rangoli Using Kitchen Utensils
    • Literature Connection – Video (10:27) Ancient Indian Folk Tale: Presence of Mind
    • Going Beyond – Web Resources, Projects & Videos
  • Lesson #5 – Zellige Moroccan Tiles & Other Tessellations
    • Pre-lesson Activity – History of Moroccan Zellige
    • Main Lesson Downloads and Videos with NatureGlo
    • Math, History & Art Connections – Videos
    • Art Connection – eHow: How to Draw Islamic Art Video (2:31)
    • Literature Connection – The Lion, the Hedgehog and the Donkey (Moroccan Fable)
  • Lesson #6 – Maya MathArt
    • Pre-lesson Activity – The Maya Calendar
    • Main Lesson Downloads and Video with NatureGlo
    • Literature Connection – Gift to the Hummingbird
    • History Connection – Mayan Cities
    • Going Beyond – Web Resources, Projects & Videos
    • Art Connection – Video (3:59)
    • Student Certificate of Completion

We were learning about: Babylonians, Plimpton 322, Cuneiform script, Ancient Mesopotamia and Sumerian Music, Ancient Greece, Polygons, Plato, Platonic Solids, Pythagorean Theorem, Pythagoras, Ancient India, Indus Valley, Rangoli, Moroccan Zellige, Islamic Design, drawing Islamic Art, Mayan Calendar, Mayan Cities, etc. As you can see MathArt in Ancient Cultures covers a lot of ground and we could go into these even deeper with the extra resources they also add to the curriculum in the Going Beyond sections of the lessons. We loved the interactive websites, stories to read, educational videos, and hands-on art projects the course had to offer.

Lesson #2 - Interactive Activity - Polygons

My boys are ages 15 and 17. I had them do the study guides provided besides all the other stuff in the curriculum. This gave me good feedback on what information they were retaining. Some information like the Pythagorean Theorem and polygons we had already covered in previous math lessons, but it was good review for them. My girls who are 7 and 9 (almost 10) also sat in on most of the learning and did the fun art projects with us. All my kids are very hands-on so the projects like building Platonic Solids or creating a Rangoli are very satisfying. This offers them opportunities to do projects offline as well. I do wish though that a supply list for the art projects were provided ahead of time because I did not have colored sand or mirrored jewels for the Rangoli art.

Make Rangoli Design Video Stills

I did like that they gave us the option to watch the pre-recorded version or look at the slides ourselves and just read and discuss the information with each other. We liked doing the later because we found that the pre-recorded version didn't add anything more to the learning experience. I felt that the slides in the pre-recorded video lecture should have been expounded upon by the teacher and not just read word for word by the teacher or the student. We also were not able to watch these lectures live because of previous engagements and so we couldn't interact or ask questions to the presenter.

Most of the curriculum information had been curated from a number of different websites by Gloria Brooks and most, if not all, were outside sources not of her own creation. I noticed stuff from YouTube, DK Find Out!, Brainingcamp, blogs, and other websites. This is both a good and a bad thing in my opinion. On the one hand, the curriculum has been gathered from all over the web for you, the parent, to help teach the lessons so you don't have to take the time to gather all the information together yourself. On the other hand, even though I received the course for free to facilitate this review, I feel that the exorbitant price of this course for other homeschooling families really should reflect more on the content created by the presenter and/or curriculum writer and involve high quality content from them also...unfortunately, I am not seeing this.

This course, in my opinion, would be best used as a supplementary course. While this course did keep my younger kids engaged my older kids did not like the way it was presented to them. They said it was a little juvenile. I felt instead of 10-18 years of age these were more aimed for 8-13. I don't know that I would pay the steep cost to purchase this myself even though this is a 4 course bundle, you do get it for a whole year, and you can use it for the whole family. However; I will have to look at the rest of the content in more depth to really know what this whole bundle has to offer. I am excited to see the Math Connections with the Real World course next because there is stuff about Golden Ratio, Fibonacci, and the Egyptians!

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Purchase it HERE.

All FOUR classes - Single Payment of $597 $536.40, 10% off
All FOUR classes - 3 monthly Payments of $199.00

Read other homeschool curriculum reviews for NatureGlo's eScience MathArt Online 4-Class Bundle...
MathArt Online 4-Class Bundle {NatureGlo's eScience Reviews}

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Friday, March 9, 2018

THE STAR is Coming to DVD & Blu-ray #TheStarMovie #FlyBy

For Promoting this movie I will be receiving either a THE STAR DVD or Soundtrack free. Affiliate links may be in this posting. Thanks for supporting my blog.

THE STAR movie is coming to DVD, Blu-Ray, and Digital! Available on Digital February 6 and
On Blu-ray + DVD + Digital on February 20. This 86 minute animated movie gives an interesting perspective of the first Christmas from a lowly donkey. The voices of some of the characters are none other than: Steven Yeun, Gina Rodriquez, Zachary Levi, Keegan-Michael Key, Kelly Clarkson, Anthony Anderson, Aidy Bryant, Ving Rhames, Gabriel Iglesias, Patricia Heaton, Kristin Chenoweth, Christopher Plummer, Tracy Morgan, Tyler Perry and Oprah Winfrey. The Star: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack features Mariah Carey singing the theme song "The Star" and many other artists. The DVD or Blu-ray includes bonuses: Dance Along, “How-to” Crafts Video and Much More. The animation looks amazing and it looks like a lot of fun. I think everyone of all ages will like this PG film.

Here is a little about it...
"In Sony Pictures Animation's The Star, a small but brave donkey named Bo yearns for a life beyond his daily grind at the village mill. One day he finds the courage to break free, and finally goes on the adventure of his dreams. On his journey, he teams up with Ruth, a lovable sheep who has lost her flock and Dave, a dove with lofty aspirations. Along with three wisecracking camels and some eccentric stable animals, Bo and his new friends follow the Star and become unlikely heroes in the greatest story ever told - the first Christmas."

Here is the Trailer...

Check out some of the online interactive activities...

Get the DVD on Amazon for  $17.96, on Blu-ray for $19.96 or on Amazon digital for $14.99.

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DISCLOSURE/DISCLAIMER: I was provided this promotion information to share with my readers. My thoughts are mine and my family's own opinion and have not been altered by anyone else. For Promoting this I will be receiving either a DVD or Soundtrack free. Affiliate links may be in this posting. Thanks for supporting my blog.