Thursday, September 29, 2016

Wordless Wednesday: Comal County Fair 2016

The fair was on our fall bucket list this year. We went with friends and enjoyed catching up. My daughter's favorite ride was the bumper cars. I love seeing her so happy. :)
Photo Opportunity

Arts and Crafts
 Popsicle Stick Horse and Bubble Wands
Friendship Forever
Tea Cup Ride
Bumper Cars

I will link this post up at Tots and Me's Sometimes Wordless Wednesday Linky. Thank you for visiting.

Homeschool Review Crew: Heirloom Audio Productions Presents The Cat of Bubastes

Heirloom Audio Productions ~Cat of Bubastes

Heirloom Audio Productions recently released The Cat of Bubastes which is their brand new audio drama production that we had the honor and privilege to review. The audio theater production is based on one of G.A. Henty's well-written novels. He is a 19th century author who wrote many historically accurate novels. The physical CD set arrived with an assortment of bonus digital components.

I told my daughter that Heirloom Audio Productions was offering the Homeschool Review Crew another audio drama, she immediately asked me which one and headed to the website to hear the trailer teaser. She was hooked! Her favorite animal is a cat so that aspect immediately caught her attention. She also enjoys studying Ancient Egypt so I'd say this audio drama reeled her in hook, line, and sinker. The Cat of Bubastes is suitable for children ages 6 through adulthood. However, Alyssa wanted me to point out that there were a few audio battle scenes that may not be appropriate for younger children. The Cat of Bubastes is jam-packed with excellent voice acting skills, intriguing sound effects, and original melodic music. This Christian audio definitely brought our History lessons to life.
Heirloom Audio Productions ~Cat of Bubastes

Story Summary
The story takes place around 1250 AD. The Egyptians conquered the Rebu nation taking many locals with them to Egypt as slaves. The story centers around the adventures of a teenage prince named Amuba. His father, The King, was killed during the battle. Amuba was held captive and became a servant to an Egyptian high priest named Ameres. His charioteer, protector, and loyal servant (Jethro) followed him. Amuba was assigned to Chebron as a personal servant and companion. Later in the story, Chebron, the high priest's son, accidentally kills the sacred cat with an unlucky shot. His sister's cat was next in line to replace the recently ill and deceased Cat of Bubastes. The locals were angry and sought a punishment of death to fit the crime. Chebron and Amuba are encouraged to flee the country for freedom and safety. Did they decide to flee the country or admit the killing was an accident? If you want to know more you'll need to listen to the audio.

What We Received
  • Physical CD Set
  • Welcome Letter with Link and Password for the Following Bonus Extras (Digital Downloads):
            1.) E-Study Guide and Discussion Starter
            2.) MP3 CD Downloads
            3.) John Campbell's MP3 Original Score Soundtrack
            4.) The Cat of Bubastes E-Book
            5.) Cast and Movie Poster (22" x 34") 
            6.) Printable Inspirational Verse 22" x 36" Poster (1 Chronicles 17:20)
            7.) Behind the Scenes Documentary
            8.) The Live the Adventure E-Newsletter 

Product Descriptions
Physical CD Set
The professionally recorded set included two audio CD's packaged and encased in a tri-fold cardboard case. The foundational verse reminds all of us the importance of worshipping our one and only God. The high-quality CD set provides your family with 2 hours of thrill-seeking suspense, action, and adventure. Accurate historical content is seamlessly weaved into this fictional adventure story. The narrating cast of voice actors and actresses are listed on the inside of the case with all the credits. Their photos are shown on the back of the CD case. There was a referenced Scripture verse in the middle of the case behind the product availability booklet. The Scripture states:

 "O Jehovah, there is none like Thee neither is there any god besides Thee." 

Study Guide
The accompanying 47-page study guide available in PDF format is organized into three main sections: Listening Well, Thinking Further, and Defining Words. The disc number, track number, an length were indicated at the top of each page. The guide encourages family conversations about the story. The Introduction found at the beginning of the guide will explain the layout and features. The Expand Your Learning sections will pop up frequently throughout the study. This section will motivate your learner to dig deeper. The guide contains comprehension or discussion questions. I like to describe the questions types as "thin" and "thick" questions. The guide offers both levels. The "thin" questions are the right there questions you can easily answer after listening to the story a few times. The "thick" questions are more thought-provoking and require the student to research, make inferences, draw conclusions, or refer to a concordance and/or the Bible. They are the deeper questions which may not always have just one right answer. A list of vocabulary words was also provided for each track in the Defining Words section.
Heirloom Audio Productions ~Cat of Bubastes

There are three Bible studies at the back of the guide counting Biblical scripture and truths. We did not utilize this section, but I may lightly touch on the top in the near future.

The Bible Study sections are as follows:
  • God Meant It For Good
  • The Knowledge of God
  • Idolatry and Tyranny.

The study guide contains a short 2-page essay discussing the historical background information related to the The Cat of Bubastes. Additionally, two informative biographies about relevant people such as G.A. Henty and Moses are included. A reading list and short list of websites are listed at the end of the guide to encourage independent research or to further your study as a family.

The corresponding soundtrack of the audio drama is available in MP3 format and contains 33 tracks of beautifully scored music originals. It is written by award-winning John Campbell. I really enjoyed listening to this soundtrack as I worked.
Heirloom Audio Productions ~Cat of Bubastes

This is a 350-page ebook containing 20 chapters. The file is in PDF format. Chapters are indicated numerically using Roman numerals. Heirloom Audio Productions added colorful borders and cat graphics. I wish the cat image was available as a printable color sheet. This is a huge book and will take us several months to read through the contents. The living book adds in more details and contains more fact-oriented history which would further enrich an Ancient Egypt study. You'll feel like you are actually in the story. The story (audio and ebook versions) is fascinating and has captured our attention at every turn whether it be for suspenseful moments, conspiracy, warfare, romance endeavors, adventurous journeys, or historical facts of interest. The book will definitely enrich our studies.
Heirloom Audio Productions ~Cat of Bubastes

Behind-the-Scenes Video
You'll be able to view 18 minutes of Behind the Scenes documentary footage in MP4 format which reveals the passion of the cast.

The promotional cast and verse posters are both printables included in the set I received. They are in PDF format. I ended up printing the Scripture verse poster for my daughter in gray scale. She hung it on her bedroom door.

How We Use The Cat of Bubastes
Audio CD Set
We took a less formal approach during this review than we did when reviewing The Dragon and the Raven. I wanted Alyssa to enjoy and focus on the adventurous plot of the story. First, we listened to the entire production for entertainment or enjoyment purposes. After reviewing the Dragon and the Raven, my daughter asked if she could listen first so that she can focus on the story. I noticed that by doing it this way, Alyssa retained the story's plot better and learned more about Ancient Egypt. The characters were memorable thanks to the superb narrations.

I used The Cat of Bubastes by Heirloom Audio Productions with my 8-year-old daughter, Alyssa. We accessed the audio drama from our MAC 10.9.5 computer and listened to the story together as a family using iTunes. The MP3 CD was added to our iTunes library making it easily accessible at the end of the day. Some days we listened to the CD set using her CD player so that the audio was more portable. She would bring the CD set out 3-5 times a week and listen for about 15-45 minutes each session. Many times my daughter begged to keep it on longer. She listened to several tracks at a time and heard the entire production numerous times. The first listening session was completed quickly. She recognized the familiar voice of John Ryhs-Davies from the other audio drama and from a movie. You will need Adobe Reader to open the PDF files.

We listened to the audio while we prepped our freezer meals one night. We also listened to the audio in the car on the way to piano lessons as a review which was a 30-minute drive. During other listening sessions, my daughter jotted down related project ideas and looked at her Ancient Egyptian God cards. She also colored an Egyptian cat coloring page that I found online.

This set was utilized as a Literature and History supplement to our History and Reading curricula. We are currently using an American History curriculum, but I also wanted to study Ancient Egypt several times a week. She recently started working through an Ancient Egypt lapbook and online study to reinforce the information she was learning about Egyptian culture.

E-Study Guide
Next, we listened to the audio drama in shorter session or segments. I wanted to use the study guide more, but the hands-on projects we loved most last time were harder to find in this guide. I also knew that we wouldn't be able to do everything. I will definitely utilize the study guide in the future when Alyssa is a few more years older. We decided not to print the study guide out. My ink was running low so we viewed the questions on the computer screen.

I read aloud several of the Listening Well questions prior to listening to the audio. I wanted her to listen attentively and focus on her reading comprehension skills. I also wanted her to listen for the story details. We verbally discussed each track briefly after the audio segment. I chose several age-appropriate comprehension questions to discuss rather than discussing all of the questions. A variety of question types were given including both factual and evaluative. She did not respond in written format, because she has many other writing intensive subjects. I could assess her level of understanding based on her verbal responses.

The Thinking Further questions encouraged her to deepen her level of understanding. I thought we would complete  several Arts and Craft projects, but there weren't many hands-on activities suggested this time. Osiris was one God that was mentioned and researched. She visited the library and checked out Ancient Egypt books. She was often asked to identify locations on the provided maps. She identified Egypt on a map and compared atlas pictures. She pointed out other locations that were mentioned in the story.

The Defining Words section offers a list of vocabulary words which were useful as part of our personal word study program. I chose 1-3 relevant yet unfamiliar words from the study guide each week. She defined the words on index cards and used them in the context of a sentence. The meanings were found using online and print dictionaries. Thesauruses were used to find synonyms and antonyms. The words were stored in a mini photo album. She expanded her vocabulary knowledge by occasionally using a vocabulary graphic organizer to analyze the word. She wrote the synonyms and antonyms too. I explained the meanings of several vocabulary words prior to listening to the audio to help her comprehend parts of the story at a higher level. The word selection was a good balance of both basic and advanced words. She recognized several words, but was also introduced to unfamiliar words such as cormorant, garrison, parry, consternation, melee, and circuitous. I'm thankful that there are some challenging words, but not so many that she'll become frustrated.

The Expand Your Learning section contained informative yet interesting blurbs which may inspire creative projects in the near future. I wish they would have added project suggestions to this section possibly in bullet form. For example, after reading about the importance of Dung Beetles your child could create a Dung Beetle Scarab Amulet. Another project suggestion would be to write their names using hieroglyphics. Printable maps could be provided so that students could mark specific locations from the story or draw routes traveled.
Her First Name In Hieroglyphics

The comprehensive study guide contains a variety of resources making it complete for its purposes. The study guide may be more appropriate for older or more advanced children. I was a little disappointed with this particular study guide only because there weren't as many hands-on activities included in the guide which I believe would make them more user-friendly for younger children.

She listened to the soundtrack during her free time, when doing chores, at meal time, or when working on extra projects related to the story. The soundtrack was an MP3 formatted download which opened in iTunes for us. Unfortunately, that means we needed to be in the same room as the computer or the volume needed to be loud. I may attempt to download it to our iPad which would make it more portable. I asked Alyssa to guess which soundtrack correlated with which story event or scene.

Alyssa started reading one chapter a day from the e-book 2-3 times a week after hearing the audio theater drama. She opens the download and reads the book from the computer. Occasionally, we will take turns reading paragraphs from chapters. This is usually on our busy days or days when she's tired, but still wants to hear the story. As we read, we work on improving her read aloud skills, fluency, accuracy, and intonation. She liked all the descriptive words utilized in the book. She said it helped her "paint a picture in her mind." She could visualize the characters and the setting easier. I think she's been listening in on my literature class.

Overall Thoughts
My daughter definitely enjoyed The Cat of Bubastes more than The Dragon and the Raven, which she still thoroughly enjoyed when we reviewed it in the past. We can't wait to see what new audio productions will be released in the future. I wonder if any more American History stories will be added? We hope to listen to more of their audio dramas this year.

The Cat of Bubastes is an outstanding audio drama production jam-packed with action. Themes of love, courage, loyalty, friendship, faith, and family are all evident and woven into this presentation. My daughter could easily visualize the story elements. History was a highlight of her day. I was grateful that virtues such as honesty, grace, hope, courage, wisdom, responsibility, and more were integrated into the story.

My daughter says she will be listening to this particular story for years. Her absolute favorite part of the study guide was the Expand Your Learning section. Her interest was captivated and she easily thought of projects related to the topic. She's been asking me to pick up a bag of beans and sesame seeds so that we can make Ta'amia. She has been doing a lot of cooking and baking this year so I love that Heirloom Audio Productions added a recipe to the study guide. Although . . . I was hoping for a few more recipes.  

I HIGHLY recommend ANY of the audio dramas produced by Heirloom Audio Productions. The Cat of Bubastes is an exceptional story that I hope everyone will get the chance to hear. I've been wanting to read the book for years, but I just couldn't find the time and this audio drama gave me the opportunity to finally hear it. 

If you are a Christian family with auditory learners in your household, then they will benefit greatly from listening to this production. Charlotte Mason, Delight-Directed, Classic, Unit Study, or individuals implementing a living book approach may appreciate utilizing this audio production. You don't have to be a homeschooler to appreciate these audios. If your family enjoys audio books, then you will want to give Heirloom Audio Productions a try. The two audio dramas we've listened to have NOT disappointed us. 

This audio production could be used as a supplement to an Ancient Egypt unit study. Several other subjects such as Literature, History, Geography, Writing, Vocabulary, and more have been addressed. You could also use it as a stand alone product. There are somewhat descriptive battle scenes which mention blood and fighting so parental discretion is advised for use with younger children or audiences as with any audio or movie suggestion.

What We Liked
  • Spirited Voice Narrations
  • Adventure and Action-Packed Plot Brought History to Life
  • Comprehensiveness of the Study Guide
  • Numerous Components Enrich Study
  • Audio Drama Portability
Possible Vendor Suggestions
  • Add More Hands-On Projects and Recipes
  • Include Printable Timelines and Maps in the Study Guide
  • Glossary of Vocabulary Words and Their Meanings
  • Character and Setting Coloring Pages Available for Younger Children
  • Related Activity or Fun Pages to Complete During the Audio
  • Complement the Study with a Corresponding Lapbook
  • Corresponding Notebooking Sheets Offering Ample Writing Space for Questions
  • Differentiated Study Guides with a Focus on a Younger Version
  • CD Soundtrack
The bundled packages range from $19.97 - $99.97. The highest priced package, The Family Four-Pack, includes 4 copies of the audio drama. You could give the CD's as gifts to friends and family members - your History loving friends will thoroughly enjoy it. Visit the website store for more information and to hear audio samples.

Social Media
Instagram @HeirloomAudioOfficial

Many other members of the Homeschool Review Crew reviewed The Cat of Bubastes from Heirloom Audio Productions. Visit the link to find out about their experiences.
Heirloom Audio Productions ~Cat of Bubastes
Crew Disclaimer

Friday, September 23, 2016

Wordless Wednesday: Have You Filled a Bucket Today?

We are MOST thankful today for the surprise we received in the mail. We recently won a box full of special goodies after filling out a "Fill a Bucket" survey.

My daughter devoured the books. We read several together as we snuggled on the couch. Our favorite book was titled, Have You Filled a Bucket Today? which I have read in the past to my daughter and other students of mine.

The colorful books are well-written and will hopefully inspire your little ones to fill buckets rather than dipping in them. This set of books is a great way to encourage helpfulness and the idea of serving others. They teach good character traits and also address kindness, love, appreciation, and bullying. I honestly didn't realize they had so many books on the market. I also just found their FREE Resources online and printed several to use with my daughter.

So . . . today we say, "Thank you very much!" This was a blessing.
Thank you for sending us new treasures to add to our book collection. 
You filled our buckets today and brought smiles to our faces. 
We are on a mission to fill buckets every day. :)

I will link this post up at Tots and Me's Sometimes Wordless Wednesday Linky

Friday, September 16, 2016

Another Late Wordless Wednesday: Toilet Paper Tragedy

This time it is not because there isn't any left on the roll. 

So . . . it's been a rough week. I am exhausted. I rush to the restroom after drinking 2 cups of coffee, a half of a bottle of water, and some tea. I've been holding it in for way too long. 

Okay, so now I am in the bathroom (sorry I had to share) and this is what I find. This was the other day. WHAT IS THAT? 

I look closer and then my mind starts to wonder. Hmmmm . . . my tired mind starts thinking about all the crazy possibilities. Then, I wonder if I should use the toilet paper or not? Do I call my daughter in the room to bring me a new roll, because that was the last roll. Well, what do YOU think it is??????

I finally go ahead and use the stuff - you know . . . braving it up. Then, I slowly unroll the toilet paper and find . . . you'll have to scroll down to see it. I can't believe it. You'll never want to buy toilet paper from this store again.  

Keep Going
Scroll Down!

Almost There!

I find this cute black spider crawling on my toilet paper. 

I immediately start thinking wow, this toilet paper worker sure has a lot of time on his or her hands. Really, how is that even possible Tracey? You need some sleep. Then, it hits me and I walk to the front of the house calling out to Alyssa, "Did you by any chance draw on the toilet paper?"

I had to ask her, because I couldn't wrap my mind around the idea (lack of sleep will do that to ya). I hear a LOUD cackle followed by a roar of laughter. She said, "You finally found it! I was waiting for you to use your bathroom." She said, "I was bored when I was going to the restroom and it was taking a LONG time so I decided to draw a spider to shock you and make you laugh. I saw it in a Highlights magazine." 

Yes, it DID shock me! Ha Ha Ha . . . What a little prankster! She got me again! She totally freaked me out. I was so flustered with the thought of what it COULD have been. We giggled and then finished school work. I love her so much! 


Thursday, September 15, 2016

TOS Review: Help Teaching Pro Subscription from

Help Teaching Pro Subscription {} sent us a one-year Help Teaching Pro Subscription to review and use as a curriculum supplement. This resource gives us 24/7 access to ALL grade levels from PreK-12th grade. All subject area premium content is also available with your subscription. The website is organized into three main sections: Tests and Worksheets, Test Maker, and Test Room. This subscription allows you to have up to 500 student profiles.

The Worksheet and Test area contains a wide variety of pre-made elementary worksheets and printable materials giving you access to a plethora of educational resources at your fingertips. Additionally, this section includes Math and Game Generators. The feature currently includes only three printable game choices: Number Bingo, Word Bingo, and Word Searches. The Math Generator creates worksheets for four operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division). The games and worksheet generators are easy to use. My 8-year-old daughter made a test without any problems. You can search or browse the resources by grade, subject, or common core standard if relevant to your state. I absolutely love that I can save the PDF file or immediately print it. Another favorite aspect that I adore is the fact that all worksheets and tests have answer keys making the grading process even faster.

Not to mention, also offers Online Lessons. These lessons include informative text, videos, and practice questions. One observation we had was that not all videos had sound. If this is the case, then your child must be a strong reader or have someone available to read aloud the content. We also noticed that some practice questions weren't live for several lessons.

The Test Room is an online platform allowing you to send assessments to individual children or students in your classes. The assessments can be sent via email directly to the student or you can share a public link to the test. You can manage classes to track performance. You can add children to a group or delete them if needed. There is also a "practice" mode which enables your child to prepare for the test. I explored the Test Room and was surprised by how much customization is allowed. We did find an error where the wrong answer was given for a question on one of the pre-made online tests. Furthermore, if you hoover over a question on an online tests, then the answers are given if the appropriate setting isn't clicked. The screenshot below shows the results by question. It tells me the number of students who answered a specific question correctly. I also received overall results giving percentage scores.

The Test Maker is the last section. This is the "go to" place for creating customizable tests. Each test can have up to 100 questions with a subscription. Furthermore, you can create unlimited number of assessments. There are over 1,000 images stored and categorized in their database. These images can be added to your test. Several question types were offered such as fill-in-the-blank, multiple choice, open-ended, and true/false. Although you should know that if you add any fill-in-the-blank or open-ended questions, you'll need to manually grade them. Answers are auto generated for other questions.

Subjects Addressed
  • Language Arts (Spelling, Reading, Grammar, Handwriting, Writing)
  • Math
  • Science
  • Social Studies and History
  • Geography
  • Arts (Music and Art)
  • Physical Education
  • Early Education
How We Used Our Help Teaching Pro Subscription
I used this resource as a supplement to my daughter's core curricula. It is not a comprehensive or complete resource, but the number of materials is growing. Alyssa (Age 8) utilized the materials 3-5 times per week. For the purposes of this review, we were asked to focus on the lower elementary grade level content. We aimed to use materials suitable for children in 1st-6th grade. I used this resource to find supplemental worksheets for a variety of subjects. The time spent working on the worksheets varied each day depending on the material being covered. She spent approximately 5-25 minutes on each worksheet. We used the resources as a way to slowly get back into the groove of having a school routine and schedule. I slowly introduced subjects back into her homeschool day after the long summer break. We used an assortment of the educational resources available from Math, Literature, Spelling, Grammar, Writing, Geography, and History.

We accessed the materials on my MAC 10.9.5 computer using Safari 9.1.3 as our preferred browser. You will need Adobe reader for the PDF printable files. Of course you'll also need a computer with Internet service and a printer stocked with ink.

The new school year started off with a bang. She completed a Learning Style Inventory and Goal Setting Graphic Organizer from their website. I wanted to see if her learning style had changed from the previous year and I encourage her every year to set realistic SMART goals.

She also explored several self-paced online lessons which correlated with her studies. I scheduled and assigned the Four Types of Sentences lesson for Alyssa to complete online. The invite link was sent via email. She read the grammar information, watched the video, and attempted the practice questions. Positive feedback such as "Great! You've completed all the practice questions." The lessons really changed up our normal routine making it even more interesting.  

Children's Literature 
The first area we explored was the Literature section found under English Language Arts. We found a conglomeration of tests related to children's literature books. The Literature section is further broken down into smaller categories including children's literature, young adult literature, classic literature, genres, others, literary analysis, Christmas/holiday literature, and chapter by chapter novels. Picture and chapter books were included in this area. My daughter reread and tested on many of the books from this list. She enjoyed reading many classic and treasured books from her childhood. A few of the books she read and tested on were Make Way for Ducklings, Owl Moon, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, BFG, A Bad Case of Stripes, and Click, Clack Moo Cows That Type. The Charlotte's Web test will be utilized next.

I printed off the complete Cursive Alphabet printable set from the Handwriting Practice section. Many months had passed by since my daughter last practiced writing in cursive. We are currently still working our way through this set. She focused on one letter a day and wrote each letter pair (upper and lowercase) 4-5 times in the space provided. This was a short and sweet daily activity which I found useful in preparing her for longer cursive handwriting assignments in the near future.
Cursive Alphabet

We also chose several Daily Writing exercises for her to complete. Alyssa chose the themed topic. Each day a prompt was given to answer. My daughter wrote her response on the line provided. We used these worksheets to encourage daily writing practice and to prepare her for upcoming writing projects. I wanted to start her back slowly and increase the amount of writing she did every single day. Monday's pet themed question asked, "What is the best kind of pet?" Her response was cats.
Daily Writing

I was hoping to use the spelling lists with my daughter, but the words for her grade level were too easy. We ended up using the spelling game and activity worksheets as a way to learn her spelling words from her core curriculum. In the photo below, you will see the Spelling Write It Thrice worksheet and the Spelling Word Breakdown worksheet. The word "sluice" was difficult for her because she kept using an "s." I gave her these two worksheets as practice activities. She could easily spell the word correctly on her final test the next day. The Word Breakdown practice worksheet helped her focus on analyzing the spelling of the word. She saw the word, heard the word, wrote it, and spelled the word aloud.    

The next section we utilized quite frequently were the Math Worksheets. We started with 3rd and 4th Grade concepts. These worksheets were used as a way to review previously learned concepts while we waited for her new Math curriculum to arrive. We reviewed topics including but not limited to fractions, quadrilaterals, prime factorization, expanded notation, multiplication, division, place value, time, and many other concepts. There are numerous resources in this section. This section was our second favorite worksheet section. I started the year with a few weeks of review. I also wanted to assess her knowledge since she takes a month off to be with her father during the summer. I can't wait until the Daily Math printables are available for 2nd-5th grade. These will be excellent daily review resources and will be great on those busy days where you need a quick math worksheet. I can also see these worksheets as morning work. They can be cut and pasted in Math journals.

I wanted to see how much my daughter remembered from out state study. I printed out a worksheet asking her to choose the correct capital for a variety of states. It did not cover all of the states. I would have preferred a worksheet that did include all of the states in order to be complete.

We used the Test Maker features in several ways. I would obviously make and give Alyssa tests I created. My daughter loves book projects so I assigned her a book to read. Then, as her challenge assignment I asked her to create a 10 question test and a Word Search as her culmination project. I asked her to focus on the story elements. I seriously had to pull her off the computer. She felt like such a big girl. First, we reviewed similar questions for books possibly related to her topic. She couldn't find any useful pre-made questions. She chose Option 1 to create a test using her OWN questions. I modeled how to use the assessment feature and then let her diligently work. Each question can be a different type of question. This means that the test can include more than one type of question they can all be one type. It's your choice! She created a test including multiple choice and true/false questions about the book titled, The Three Pigs. The Preview feature enabled her to check her questions before saving them. She had a blast! She said, "I love this! I can make my own tests whenever I want. It helped me focus on the important details of a book." I did ask her to make each question private. She even asked me if she could make more tests for my students. Check out the process below.
Create a Test: Option 1

Add Your Own Questions
Preview the Questions and Answers

Alyssa's Test Creation
She made me take the test and said I passed. :)

What We Liked
We both appreciated having access to the Game Generators and the Test Maker features. My daughter loves puzzles so she constantly asked for Word Searches. She'll also never turn down the chance to play Bingo with her mama. Creating Word Searches for books is her new passion. Alyssa started completing her own The Three Pigs Word Search, but then she assigned it to me.

The My Content feature was extremely helpful, because it saved the tests or worksheets that were created making them easy to find and more accessible if in a hurry. Furthermore, you have the option of modifying your saved worksheets and tests. As soon as I logged in, My Content was visible. There is also an archive feature which allows you to store unused tests. I used this feature to get rid of the assessments I created during my exploratory phase or to set aside the ones my daughter already completed.

I was super excited when I figured out how to utilize the Test Room feature. My daughter doesn't have her own email address which limited our use of this feature, but I sent her an online assessment to my email so that I could see exactly how the platform worked. I went to Alyssa's school computer and logged into my email account. She clicked on the link they provided to take the test. The score was automatically generated and sent to my account. I viewed the results and graded any open-ended and fill-in-the-blank questions. I noticed that she could see the answers which motivated me to further research the Test Room capabilities. When you are sending an online assessment a setting must be adjusted. This process is simple and accomplished with an easy click of the mouse.

After figuring everything out, I created an Addition Pre-Assessment using the Test Maker feature. Then, I emailed the students in my online Elementary Math class. I don't actually have their email addresses, because they are automatically added into the company's system. Imagine my surprise when I noticed the share a public link option. I immediately shared the link to the pre-assessment on their homework board. They earned rewards for completing the test voluntarily, because I wanted feedback from their experience. One of my older students gladly shared his opinion.

Student Feedback
"Everything went smoothly and the site was easy to use. I like the layout of everything and how I could go back and review my answers before the test was over. I also liked how some questions were multiple choice and others were not."

Alyssa's Feedback
"I thought it was weird that I had to take the test through my mom's email account. It made it more difficult for me, because I had to wait to take the test. It was easy to use. I did enjoy answering the test questions."  

Possible Vendor Suggestions
  • Search Feature Needed for Specific Topics Across All Grade Levels
  • Student Password Account for Homeschoolers Wanting to Assign Worksheets and Tests Using the Test Room Feature and Online Lessons. A Specific Number of Accounts Cane Be Designated. 
  • Add More Games and Puzzle Options such as Crosswords, Concentration, Flashcard Games, etc.
  • Website First Appearance is Overwhelming
  • More Elementary and Intermediate Level Chapter-By-Chapter Novels Would Be Greatly Appreciated such as Charlotte's Web, The Secret Garden, Mr. Popper's Penguins,  The Little Princess, Huckleberry Finn, and Robin Hood.
  • Math Game Generator Needs the Option of Spacing Out the Problems When a Smaller Number of Problems are Requested Which Provides Younger Students With More Room to Solve the Problem. 
  • Math Generate Can Offer Regrouping or No Regrouping Option
  • Test Maker needs a "Back" button
I recommend this educational resource for new and veteran home educators who utilize a traditional worksheet-based program. I also recommend it to tutors and classroom teachers of public and private schools. If you enjoy creating tests and printable games for your child, then this tool may also be useful to your homeschool. Individuals needing to report grades in certain states will find this resource beneficial too.

I have mixed feelings about this subscription service. I have a love/like relationship with I will consider renewing my subscription next year based on how useful the content is throughout the school year. I will also decide based on the amount of growth and expansion the company has over the year.

I was disappointed at times, because I wasn't always able to find topical resources to fit the needs of my homeschool and I didn't always have the time to create a worksheet. I do appreciate having the ability to create customized tests. This was definitely my go to resource when wanting to create a test. If this feature is used several times a week, then this feature alone may encourage you to consider the reasonable price offered for a subscription. However, it was not my go to tool when I was looking for specific materials.

The website definitely offers a decent amount and variety of educational materials that could easily supplement into your homeschool lessons depending on your needs.

Help Teaching Pro Subscription will ONLY cost you an affordable $24.95 for a year. Check out the FREE materials on their website as a way to try before you buy.

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