August 18, 2014

Wizzy Gizmo: Fast Track Bible Pack (Product Review)

Do you enjoy doing studies of the books in the New Testament? I have recently been doing whole book studies--focusing on the letters of Paul--and it's a great study. When I'm done however, it can be hard to remember the pertinent details of the books...ESPECIALLY if you've been reading a lot of them! I always thought it would be nice to have a "cheat sheet" of sorts to help remember what each book was about. Enter in the Fast Track Bible Pack: New Testament from Wizzy Gizmo! I was excited to have a chance to review this product and share how it worked for me!

Product Information

The Fast Track Bible Pack: New Testament is a bible study product produced by Wizzy Gizmo. Wizzy Gizmo is a company devoted to creating products to help teach the Bible and do it in a way that is fun and will help the information stick. The Fast Track Bible Pack: New Testament is a set of flashcards--27 of them measuring a nice jumbo size of 5" x 9". Each colorful flashcard is about a book of the New Testament and they are numbered in order with Matthew being #1 and Revelation being #27. 
Wizzy Gizmo Review
The Fast Track Bible Pack: New Testament sells for $14.95 and is geared for ages 2 and up! 

The front of each card has a general summary about the book of the Bible including who wrote the book, when it was written, who it was written for, why it was written,what the general theme was and shares a key verse from the book. 

The back of the card goes into more details, breaking the book down into an outline of the book, key doctrines, key people, key chapters, key passages and a reminder of the theme.

The flashcards were created to help all ages to remember more about the books of the Bible they are studying!

How Did We Use the Product?

There are lists of great ways to use this product on the Fast Track Bible Pack: New Testament product page--breaking it down by ages. These are great ideas and I pulled some from both the ages 2-5 suggestions and the 6-8 suggestions. We started off by just looking through the cards. Little Britches was fascinated to see there was one for each of the NT books. 

The next time we used the product I mixed up the cards and had Little Britches put them in order. Fortunately, he hadn't seen that each card was numbered and instead sang the song he learned for the New Testament books of the Bible to help him.

I plan on using the same mix-up idea for Baby Britches to help him with numbers...only, I will show him where the numbers are and have him put them in numerical order since he can't read yet. 

From here on out we picked a card to read...sometimes doing it in the morning, but usually we read them before bed. I would read the front of the card (the summary) and share what the key scripture was. Sometimes Little Britches recognized them. We spoke about who the writer was and about where on our timeline he was when he wrote it. 

When we would read the card again, I would flip it over and read who the key people were for each book. We then would say the key passage together. 

We didn't do the cards in order--I let them pick the ones they wanted to do. 

Before introducing a new card, we would review the card we had studied previously. The main things I decided I wanted them to know were the main theme, the writer, and the key people. The cards are laid out so clearly that it is easy to find these things.

What Are Our Thoughts on the Product?

I think this is an excellent product for assisting in Bible Study. These ARE "cheat sheets" or rather CliffsNotes (remember those?! LOL!) for each book of the New Testament. For the ages the boys are right now, there is much more information than I really think they need, but it is EASY to pick out the things I want them to remember. As they get older, we will be able to pull these cards out and add more to what they learn.

I like that the cards are colorful and large. The font on the front (where the main writing is) is very easy to read and Little Britches was able to read most of it to me himself. I like that the cards are numbered too. 

The back of each card was interesting to ME! I love the way that they are sectioned out and found that they were pretty accurate to the doctrines of my own faith. I immediately pulled out the cards for the books I most recently studied and compared my bible study notes to those on the card.

I liked the reference page included on the cover card for the pack...
The cover card has each book listed numerically with the theme, date (it was written), author and how many chapters it has. This is a good reference page.

Any cons?
There is a lot of writing on these cards and because of that I can't just "give" the cards to Little Britches to study. Right now I will have to study them with him. 

From what I can see thus far, I've only had to make very minor revisions to the information on the card--and that is just to match what we believe in our faith. Someone else may not make these same revisions--so I don't consider this a major con at all.

The information and scripture was taken from the New American Standard Bible. I always prefer the Old or New King James Version because I think it is more accurate, but I don't think that it's a very big deal on these cards. 

Would I Recommend This Product?

Yes! In fact, I've actually taken them to church with me to show our pastor and some of the members. They are VERY interested in the product and it looks like we will be placing a group order for some. As a little side note, I contacted Wizzy Gizmo about this and they offered me a GREAT discount for a large order--so you may consider this if you want to order some for gifts or for your own church fellowship!

I think these would be GREAT gifts for a bible school or for a graduation gift to teens in your congregation. 

I plan on continuing to use these cards throughout my own bible study and will continue to incorporate them in our studies with the boys. Now I'm wanting a pack for the Old Testament!!

Want to Know More?

I reviewed the Fast Track Bible Pack: New Testament ($14.95) by Wizzy Gizmo. We loved this product, but this isn't the only product for bible study that Wizzy Gizmo carries! Come check out the reviews from my fellow crew members on some of their other products--and see how others used the Fast Track Bible Pack: New Testament in their home!
Click to read Crew Reviews

Stay up to date on Wizzy Gizmo's new products and special sales using their social media outlets:

Aren't those cards great? I think they are going to be an asset for our home for years to come! Tomorrow I have another great product review to share with you, so I hope you will come back and see me again!
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August 15, 2014

Back to Homeschool Blog Hop: Day 5 ~ My 10 Favorite Homeschooling Blogs

It's Friday and that means it's Day 5 of the Back to Homeschool Blog Hop. It's been a great week and there have been so many incredible things that were blogged about! I hope you had a chance to check out some of the other blogs participating in this weeks hop...but if you didn't, here is the anchor post so you can see the other 49+ bloggers.

Looking back on this week I've spoken about homeschool essentials, my five favorite online resources, steps to pick a curriculum, and lesson planning methods. As a close to this blog hop, I decided that I would share links to ten of my favorite homeschooling blogs--the blogs on this list are ones that I regularly visit and I believe they help me out a lot in encouragement, ideas and resources and I hope they will help you out too!
homeschool blogs

The links on this blog and in the posts may be affiliate links

There are so many incredible homeschool related blogs out there. I could easily say there are easily several hundred--maybe even a thousand or more. But there are some blogs which draw me time and time again because of their content and writing style. Some of them I go to for encouragement more than anything else. Some I use as a resource. Others offer regular printables or downloads which are useful to my curricula. 

I have narrowed them down to my top ten choices...not an easy task I assure you! These are the blogs I find myself visiting the most and I hope that you will be able to find them just as valuable as I have.

This blog is a lesser known blog....but I absolutely adore it. Anna, the owner of this blog, is a personal friend and a mom of soon-to-be six. Anna's blog is devoted to sharing about life on the farm up in Michigan, life as a SAHM, life as a homeschooler, her focus on the Charlotte Mason method, sharing recipes to encourage healthy eating, and encouraging moms in general. She has an excellent regular series called Mothering Mondays and has hosted several book clubs. She shares a passion of reading "living" books and regularly hosts small giveaways to share "favorites" with her readers.

Where My Treasure Is is a blog that I turn to for encouragement regularly and I hope that you will consider joining her readership!

This is a fairly well known blog in the homeschooling world--especially if you have ever used the FIAR (Five-In-A-Row) curriculum. But I love this blog for more than that--I love it because #1 Michelle has become a dear friend, #2 Michelle shares her heart in her NON-homeschooling posts, #3 Michelle shares such an incredible glimpse of life in their homeschool that I want to come and homeschool in HER classroom! Did I mention she regularly shares about their meals and with the photos she posts, I just want to lick the screen of my laptop? (ooops, did I just say that out loud?)  

I have pinned many of Michelle's posts because of the ideas she shares, her recipes and just the fun that they seem to be having. If you have yet to visit Delightful Learning, make sure you head on over soon!

Dusty is the author of this blog and she has turned her blog into a must-have for me. She has reviews of so many different products in the homeschool world that I have regularly turned to them to help make decisions. She shares a lot of great recipes--especially her ABC series on Homemade Playdough. (Her playdough recipes by the way makes the best ever.) She is passionate about her walk as a Christian and her faith shines off her blog. She has recently been creating some really useful printable packs that she offers her readers for free.

If you haven't been To the Moon and Back (teehee) I hope you will consider visiting soon! (especially since she's in the Back to Homeschool Blog Hop this week!)

Jill is the author of this fun and helpful blog. Jill regularly features guest posts and provides valuable product reviews. She is also the owner of  E.H.M Members Only Store which I spoke about on Tuesday as being one of my five favorite online resources. She regularly adds new curriculum and printables to her shop and I love that for just $15 you can have access to anything she's ever created and will create--forever. She just created a colorful and fun Back to School Activity Pack. She is passionate about learning and adores books. She is the founder of the Poppins Book Nook book club and host of the Thoughtful Spot Weekly Blog Hop every Monday.

I hope you will pop on over and check out her blog and say hello!

If you are seeking out a host of free printables for the elementary age--especially pre-school and kindergarten, I highly recommend the COAH blog! She has a complete kindergarten curriculum which I have used several things from. If you want something for the older students she has some great unit studies--we will be using her artist and composer lapbook studies this year. We are also going to be using her literature lapbooks with our read-aloud books. She has some incredible stuff that I have always found very useful. She blogs about other things too and I find her blog to be very helpful and encouraging.

I come to the Schoolhouse Review blog when I need more information about curriculum. The Schoolhouse Review blog is devoted to bringing homeschoolers reviews on new and old product and curriculum and have a 100+ team of homeschool moms to make it happen. I also enjoy the guest posts (I did one!) and other extras the blog shares.

I had the pleasure of meeting the owners Wendy and Leann in Cincinnati this past April. This is a must-have blog because of the full spectrum of topics that they blog's definitely NOT just about homeschooling! The bloggers who share here are "real" and share things that are very relevant to life as a homeschool mom. I find a lot of encouraging posts here about just being a mom, about battling the challenges of homeschooling in a public school world and much much more!

If you have a PreK to 3rd grader this is the blog for you! Erin is a genious with creating fun and exciting educational packs in crazy fun themes. One of our favorites is her Zoomin' Moving Alphabet. She also has a very very popular Frozen themed activity packs that your Frozen lovers are sure to enjoy. 

9. 1+1+1=1

Here is another blog that has fabulous free packs for the preschool and kindergarten ages...even tot school! I love her daily binder for the kids as well as her Raising Rock Stars curriculum. She includes a lot of biblical studies including copywork and scripture memorization. I have pulled from her printables many times and planned on incorporating a lot of her stuff into Preschool this year.

This is a blog by a friend named Marcy. I love this blog, because not only does Marcy share homeschooling tips, reviews and product links...but she shares her heart. It's another one of the encouraging blogs that I love to visit. She recently began an adventure into using essential oils which I've been enjoying reading about. This mama adores her family and it shows in all that she shares in her posts. I have pinned a lot of her posts to come back to later. I have met Marcy in real life and she's just as sweet and "real" as she comes across on her blog!
These are only ten of the incredible blogs out there...but these are ten that I feel are absolutely worth your time and attention. I believe all of them have email subscription available so that you never miss a post. I like finding a new post from these blogs in my email because it's always going to be something good!

I hope that you will take the time to visit them--or maybe just ones you haven't visited before--and I hope that they bring you as much joy as they bring me!

Back to Homeschool Blog Hop
There are 50+ bloggers more bloggers in this blog hop---here are a few to to get you started! I've seen some of what is being blogged about and it's going to be a great week!

Marcy @ Ben and Me
Jacquelin @ A Stable Beginning

And don't forget about the INCREDIBLE (and I do mean that in every sense of the word) giveaway that is going on this week--there are two HUGE prizes that are sure to bless two homeschool families for the new school year. You can get the details about the giveaway--and get entered to win here:
Back to Homeschool Giveaway
Well this is the end of a great week! I am looking forward to the weekend and a blogging break...until next week when I am bringing you three product reviews! Enjoy your weekend and I hope to see you back here on Monday!
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August 14, 2014

Back to Homeschool Blog Hop: Day 4~ Lesson Planning

Happy Thursday! It's Day 4 of the Back to Homeschool Blog Hop from the Schoolhouse Review Crew. It's been a great week so far and there have been lots of incredible posts in the hop. I hope you have been enjoying the topics I've been discussing. So far we've chatted about Homeschool Essentials, My Favorite Online Resources and yesterday I shared Seven Steps to Pick Curriculum. Today I'm going to be talking about Lesson Planning
Today I want to share some ideas for how to plan out your lessons...but these aren't just from me! I asked some of my homeschooling friends what lesson planning looks like for their family! To get started I will share what lesson planning looks like for me.

In the last few years, lesson planning has been pretty easy because we've used all-in-one curriculum and those actually come with their own lesson plans. The only thing I've ever needed to add to the schedule was a few extra things like music or art. I have a great post about how I planned last years lessons including the worksheets I used that you can check out. I will be using some of that same method this year with some minor changes.

This year, we are stepping away from all-in-one curriculum for Little Britches. Yes, we are diving into the world of piecing a curriculum together! One of the ways that I started lesson planning this year was to make a list of everything we were going to use for curriculum. Next, I plugged these into a rough schedule for a week with time blocks. I did it all on 3 x 5 cards one day. LOL! 

Nothing fancy here--but it allows me to carry it with me and work on it a lot as I remember things. I do a LOT of erasing on these. LOL! I now have these pinned to the bulletin board on my fridge so I can find them easily and to keep them where I can view them and make changes. I like calculating out time blocks not to stick to a set schedule but to get an idea about how much I can do in one day.

I use this as a rough guide and rework things as I need to. Once I have a rough schedule for Little Britches done, I can see where I will be able to work with Baby Britches. We are going to be using Before Five In a Row this year as our "core" for him, so there isn't much planning needed. I did find some great planning worksheets that I will be using for his lessons just to help keep me more organized. I only plan out about a month at a time, though I sometimes do a quarter year to see what will be covered in that period of time and how any vacations work into it. I haven't made our "final" schedule yet...but I am definitely still using those 3 x 5 cards!

I have set up a Pinterest page where I collect ideas for lesson planning and organization that you could check out for more ideas.
Follow Lisa @ Farm Fresh's board Homeschooling: Planning/Organization on Pinterest.

Now I'd like to shift gears and share what some of my friends have said about lesson planning in their homeschool. I hope you enjoy hearing different ideas and it helps you when making your own decisions!

Meredith is a mom of four (16, 12, 10 and 8) and she's homeschooling the three youngest: We use a modified form of Robinson Curriculum, so we only really have three subjects: Reading, writing, and math. Science, literature, history, social studies, and financial skills are all incorporated into the reading list. We modified the RC reading list to better incorporate all these areas into it. So there isn't much in the way of lesson planning. They each spend and hour or two (depending on the age) reading their current books in the reading list, they write a page about whatever they want (which I check for spelling and punctuation, and they correct), and they do a lesson a math. 

We also have added in what we call “Class Time”, which we do together and can be just about anything. Sometimes we discuss in issue, sometimes we work on memorizing something, sometimes I read a book out loud to the kids (we are just about to go through the book called Hungry Planet that shows and contrasts what foods families around the world eat in a week), and if I don't have anything specific I want to do right then for Class Time, we just watch a documentary from the Homeschooling queue of our Netflix account. 

The only lesson planning I do is to make a note of upcoming Class Time things I want to cover, and the rest is just reminding the kids to do their reading, writing, and math.

Beverly is homeschooling three kids in grades 2, 5 and 8: I do a breakdown of our year and figure out how much we need to accomplish in each subject per week (We aim for a 40 week school year). For example, we use Horizon's Math and it has 160 lessons in the workbook. I divide 160 lessons by 40 weeks and get 4 lessons/week. The kids love to see what they have accomplished, putting a check mark in each box and how much they need to do as the week goes on. Here is one of our weekly lists that are on the bulletin board in front of each child's desk:
Liz shares honestly: I put a pile of books in a cupboard and when it is gone, the school year is done! LOL! 
Megan is a homeschooling mom of seven (15, 11, 9, 7, 5, 3, and 1): Right now we're unschooling except for math, Rosetta Stone and I make them read. So our day is based more around meal/chore times. I have an attendance sheet I keep and we do keep track of math (for those who don't do Khan academy).
Michelle is a homeschool mom of six ranging from preschool to high school: I only lesson plan for FIAR (Five-in-a-row). For all other subjects, I just figure out how many lessons are in a book and divide it by the number of weeks in our school year. Then I know how many to do each week. 
Stephanie is homeschooling grades 2, 7 and 8: I copy Tables of Content for all curricula, textbooks,etc. that we're using for the year. We do six, 6 week sessions. I find our midpoint and mark the date halfway down the TOC and divide each half into thirds. The olders put the assignments weekly into their undated Dollar Store planners. We usually do that together to avoid surprises. I use the dated Dollar General planner for my calendar and whatever notes I need regarding assignments I need to teach or supplies I need to gather for certain days. This is the first year I've simplified and it is by far my most productive and least stressful year yet (as we finish week 6).
Kate is a homeschool mom of three: Well, I usually start out really organized/planned out and then have to make major adjustments (which may or may not be very organized) a few weeks in to meet my child's changing needs. It's stressful. I am a mixture between insane perfectionist and fly by the seat of my pants--it can make my head spin.
Diana mom of one: I plan out some subjects (that are not open and go) by the week. I use google calendar so I can easily adjust which week we are doing things on. I don't do any more than that until the week prior when I write out the next week's stuff (I request the next set of library books a couple weeks before as well).
Eva is homeschool mom of seven:  I do a loose plan for the year at the beginning. Then I plan it week by week after that. It usually takes me an hour on Sundays to plan out the week and print off or gather anything I need. The basics are planned by the curriculum, so that is day by day.
Eva has a post it color for herself and each of her kids on this incredible planning board!
As you can see, there are all different styles of lesson planning. I think you will find that your lesson planning method will change as you go--especially if you start adding more students into the mix. Lesson planning can take you hours or it can take you no time at all--just find a style that works best for you!

Back to Homeschool Blog Hop
There are 50+ bloggers more bloggers in this blog hop---here are a few to to get you started! I've seen some of what is being blogged about and it's going to be a great week!

Marcy @ Ben and Me
Jacquelin @ A Stable Beginning

And don't forget about the INCREDIBLE (and I do mean that in every sense of the word) giveaway that is going on this week--there are two HUGE prizes that are sure to bless two homeschool families for the new school year. You can get the details about the giveaway--and get entered to win here:
Back to Homeschool Giveaway
Thank you for joining me again this week. I hope you will stop by for my last post as part of this blog hop tomorrow. I have a collection of my favorite homeschooling blogs to share with you--could yours be on the list?!
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