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TruSpark Career Assessment for Teens

TruSpark Career Assessment for Teens

Do you have tweens or teens in your house? Have you started discussing their possible career options? Taking a career assessment can be a great learning tool to help them better understand themselves and what motivations spur their actions and interests.

TruSpark Career Assessment assists teens in finding their 3 core motivations, helping them understand what drives them and how that relates to finding a career. A review from Starts At Eight.

Disclosure: I received this product for free and was compensated for my time in writing this review. All my opinions are my own, honest thoughts and I was not required to post a positive review. Your experience may vary. Please see my full Disclosure Policy for more details.}

I currently have two teens still at home. My son is in his final semester of a two year degree and my daughter is a sophomore in high school.

While my son’s degree is IT specific, he isn’t exactly sure where it will take him or what career path within the IT world he would like to pursue. We have talked about possible career options (as his dad is in that field), but he’s still unsure what that looks like in his life.

Stayed Tuned for a GIVEAWAY Down Below!

My daughter’s first and only true love is horses. While she could pursue a career along those lines, she is unsure that will make a good full time job for her. Or least one she thinks will earn her enough money. She is unsure beyond that what she might be good at or interested in, in terms of a career.

As you can see, two different children, two different places on their journey to adulthood, but both could benefit from a more in-depth look at themselves, their motivations, and some career guidance. To help each child along their path I had them complete the TruSpark Curriculum and Assessment.

TruSpark Career Assessment

TruSpark Assessment & Curriculum

TruSpark offers a curriculum and assessment for helping teens discover their core motivations which will help them discover careers that are geared towards their interests.

TruSpark Career Assessment assists teens in finding their 3 core motivations, helping them understand what drives them and how that relates to finding a career. A review from Starts At Eight.

I had both my children work through both the TruSpark Curriculum and Assessment. (It is recommended that they complete the first two levels of the curriculum before taking the assessment.)

What are Core Motivations?

You heard me use the term core motivations and now you are wondering what exactly are core motivations?

TruSpark Career Assessment assists teens in finding their 3 core motivations, helping them understand what drives them and how that relates to finding a career. A review from Starts At Eight.

TruSpark describes Core Motivations like this:

  • Core Motivations (CMs) are what make you come alive.
  • CMs are a blueprint of why you do what you do.
  • CMs are the origin of a sense of meaning, joy, and fulfillment.
  • CMs spark your interest and show up as intrinsic drives.
  • CMs explain why you are motivated to do some activities and less motivated to do others.
  • Although CMs don’t define you, they do influence your behaviors and decisions.

These Core Motivations are more than just a personality test, TruSpark has created an assessment that helps you discover what really drives you, what spurs you to like or dislike certain things, and why we make the choices we do.

Discovering Your 3 Core Motivations

The TruSpark Curriculum and Assessment walked us through a process to help us discover each of our top 3 Core Motivations. I personally love the act of digging inside ourselves to come up with moments in our lives we were proud of. Things we did that really inspired us and made us happy.

It was easier than I thought, and didn’t need to be some in depth, highly recognized by others moment. In one of mine I used the accomplishment of being able to take our horses just my daughter and I to this big park with water nearby. It took years of prep in big and little ways and it was a bucket list item for me for sure!

TruSpark Career Assessment assists teens in finding their 3 core motivations, helping them understand what drives them and how that relates to finding a career. A review from Starts At Eight.

Using O*Net for Career Exploration

One of the resources the TruSpark Curriculum introduced me to was O*Net.

I had never heard of O*Net before! The O*NET Program is the nation’s primary source of occupational information. Central to the project is the O*NET database, containing hundreds of standardized and occupation-specific descriptors on almost 1,000 occupations covering the entire U.S. economy. The database, which is available to the public at no cost, is continually updated from input by a broad range of workers in each occupation.

My Next Move

THIS WAS MY KIDS FAVORITE PART! Taking the results from their TruSpark Assessment and turning it into a real life career assessment process was so much fun for them. It gave them the chance to look at jobs, and not just titles of jobs, but what it takes to get them, how much they pay, what their outlook is, etc. My kids went way beyond the 3 they were required to do for the TruSpark Curriculum and explored around into many careers, even beyond their suggested careers to see what’s out there.

TruSpark Career Assessment assists teens in finding their 3 core motivations, helping them understand what drives them and how that relates to finding a career. A review from Starts At Eight.

Within O*Net is an application called My Next Move. This career exploration application helps new job seekers, students, and other career explorers investigate over 900 occupations. It is an interactive web-based tool that offers you easy ways to search careers. The TruSpark Curriculum introduces teens to My Next Move and walks them through using it as part of their career exploration process.

My Next Move

In the image below you see the worksheets provided by TruSpark. These are to help your teen use My Next Move to explore careers they discovered might be a good fit for them through the TruSpark Assessment & Curriculum.

TruSpark Career Assessment assists teens in finding their 3 core motivations, helping them understand what drives them and how that relates to finding a career. A review from Starts At Eight.

–>> CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT TRUSPARK CAREER ASSESSMENT FOR YOURSELF! <<–

Giveaway

Discover your Core Motivations wit TruSpark

More Career Exploration Help for Teens

High School Life Skills: Career Exploration from Starts At Eight
Career Exploration for High School Students from Starts At Eight
Mr. D Math College & Career Readiness is an online class (live or self-paced) teaching life skills such as time/money management, college application/resume writing, banking skills and more! A Review from Starts At Eight
Spiral or Mastery Math Curriculum: What’s the Difference?

Spiral or Mastery Math Curriculum: What’s the Difference?

Spiral or mastery math? This is a question that is often asked amidst the homeschool community. What are they? How do they differ? And what curriculum can I use for each one? Let’s talk spiral vs. mastery math!

Spiral vs. Mastery Math Curriculum explores the difference between spiral & mastery math, along with curriculum examples of each type.

What’s the Difference? Spiral vs. Mastery Math

Doing math through the mastery method is sometimes knocked for not reviewing and spiral math for moving too fast. The truth is I see the difference more in how they use review.

The mastery based approach uses review after a concept is learned and practiced until it’s mastered. A mastery math approach teaches a concept, then practices that concept. The intention of this practice is to understand the concept and be fully able to utilize it.

With the spiral approach review is used to master a new concept. The spiral approach also teaches and then practices. The difference being the amount of practice is smaller, and they move on to review quicker.

Mastery Math Curriculum

With a mastery approach the student shouldn’t be moving on until they fully understand the concept. They keep working on the one concept until they have mastered it. Then, and only then do they move on to the next concept. Here are a few examples of math curricula that use the mastery math approach (many of which we have used ourselves):

CTCMath Online Math Learning

CTCMath is a online homeschool math curriculum

Disclosure: I received this product for free and was compensated for my time in writing this review. All my opinions are my own, honest thoughts and I was not required to post a positive review. Your experience may vary. Please see my full Disclosure Policy for more details.}

  • A CTCMath Homeschool Family Membership allows you to enroll your whole family in their online math program, for ONE LOW COST!
  • has math for all levels from Kindergarten through Calculus (high school)
  • video based lessons with audio instructions that allow students to pause and rewind as many times as they need to until they get it
  • Allows student to repeat a lesson
  • Short manageable lessons (even in the upper levels)
  • With a CTCMath Homeschool Family Membership you have access to all grades and lessons. There are no restrictions allowing freedom to move back and forward. 
  • CTCMath is NOT aligned to Common Core
  • Homeschoolers receive a HALF-PRICE DISCOUNT!

Life of Fred

Life of Fred is likely to be one of the most unique math programs you will ever come across. It is a complete (not a supplemental!), math program that relies upon the self-teaching learning style.

The texts follow the life of Fred Gauss—a six-year-old math professor at Kittens University who was born on the slopes of the Siberian Mountains—who has many humorous, unlikely, and zany adventures. Informal in tone and approach, these books are designed to engage students in a fun narrative while also instilling a solid understanding of the principles of mathematics–without an abundance of repetitive drills!

Life of Fred texts are hardcover, non-consumable textbooks with Smyth-sewn bindings; students write their answers on separate paper. Answers are also included in the text – written directly to the student.

Beast Academy (Review Coming Soon)

Beast Academy is an advanced comic-based math program for students ages 6–13. It help kids ages build their problem-solving skills while learning elementary math.

Students learn new topics from the graphic-novel-style Guides, and then master math topics by solving engaging problems and challenging puzzles.

Beast Academy can be used either as a set of physical books, as an Online program (which also offers access to videos and chapter tests), or as a mix of both.

Math Mammoth

Math Mammoth offers full math curriculum and supplemental worktexts and workbooks for elementary and middle school. All of the books are available as downloads—and most also as printed books.

Singapore Math

Singapore Math is a textbook/workbook based math program for the elementary grades. It begins in first grade and has levels through sixth grade. Singapore math calls on concrete math, pictures, and abstract approaches to teach math.

ShillerMath

ShillerMath offers two levels of math kits (along with a few other kits). Their math kits are Montessori Based and cover an age range from preK through 8th grade.

  • Scripted lessons guide you through each lesson, with zero lesson preparation
  • Beautiful, varied, and lifetime manipulatives capture children’s continuing interest
  • Children (and parents!) love the dozens of catchy songs that integrate with lessons
  • Multi-year kits ensure a consistent and money-saving experience
  • Lifetime consumable lesson replacement – 1 kit is all you need for the entire family!

Mr. D Math

Mr. D Math offers Middle and High School Math as well as Testing Preparation curriculum. All the courses are online with both live and recorded courses for your homeschool.

Sprial Math Curriculum

The spiral method is also known as the incremental method. Concepts are taught incrementally with lots of reviews and drills. New material is added all along the way. And it’s within the constant reviewing that concepts are mastered. Here are a few examples of math curricula that use the spiral approach:

Teaching Textbooks

Teaching Textbooks is an app based math programs for students in grades 3-12.

  • Video based lessons followed by on screen assignment questions which are also read to the student
  • Access to the printable e-book text.
  • Every problem comes with a detailed step-by-step audiovisual solution. 
  • Each level has fully automated grading

A Beka

A Beka Math homeschool curriculum provides your students with an academically rigorous, Christian mathematics course.

DIVE into Math

DIVE Interactive Education offers both Shormann and Saxon mathematics courses. Their courses offer daily video lessons, interactive assignments, auto-grading, video solutions, and Q&A support!

Saxon

Saxon uses a very short spiraling approach, combined with a blend of procedural and conceptual.  Saxon ensures students build and retain mastery of mathematical concepts. · It develops a deeper understanding through integration of mathematical strands.

Economics for High School with Mr. D Math

Economics for High School with Mr. D Math

As a family homeschooling in New York State, we have what many would consider some pretty strict homeschool regulations. Everything from a set number of attendance days, to end of year testing, and courses like Economics for High School.

Along with American Government, Economics is required for homeschooled high schoolers in New York State. Each course needs to be a minimum of .5 credit.

How to fulfill a .5 credit of Economics for High School is a frequent question when it comes to homeschooling high school in New York State.

Economics for High School from Mr. D Math is a half credit, online, self-paced course for homeschool high schoolers. A review from Starts At Eight

I have recently found an online, self paced Economics for High School course from Mr. D Math that I think homeschoolers will love! We have had multiple great experiences with Mr. D Math courses and this one is no exception!

Mr. D Math Live SAT Boot Camp
Mr. D Math College & Career Readiness is an online class (live or self-paced) teaching life skills such as time/money management, college application/resume writing, banking skills and more! A Review from Starts At Eight

Economics for High School

Mr. D Math Economics for High School is a half credit, online course for high school students. The course contains 16 lessons and is self-paced so you can spread it out however you like.

{Disclaimer: I received free access to Mr. D Math Economics for High School and was compensated for my time in writing this review.  All views are my own and I was not required to write a positive review. Please see my full Disclosure Policy for more details.}

Economics for High School from Mr. D Math is a half credit, online, self-paced course for homeschool high schoolers. A review from Starts At Eight

Topics Covered Include:

  • supply/demand
  • producers/consumers
  • currency/credit
  • debt/deficit
  • economic recession
  • monopolies
  • taxes

In addition to the concepts of economics included above, students will learn important financial and life skills for their next stage such as:

  • how to open and manage a bank account
  • apply and interview for jobs
  • compare benefit packages
  • understanding paystubs
  • budgeting
  • using credit
  • establishing good credit
  • identity theft
  • purchasing/leasing a vehicle
  • renting an apartment
  • calculating interest

Features of Note in Economics for High School

Self-Paced

Economics for High School is one of the multiple self-paced courses offered at Mr. D Math. The great thing about this course being self-paced is that your student isn’t tied to class times or specific deadlines. Instead your student (and you if necessary) can decide that timeline for which this course is completed.

Take more time, take less, time, either way being self-paced offers a ton of flexibility for your homeschool!

Encourages Independence

Economics for High School from Mr. D Math is a half credit, online, self-paced course for homeschool high schoolers. A review from Starts At Eight

The online platform for this course (and all the Mr. D Math courses) is laid out in such a way that students can be completely independent. In the left sidebar you will find the complete course broken down by lessons, and with those lessons there are tasks such as reading, videos, quizzes, worksheets to print and complete, and more.

Uses Various Learning Styles

Video Lessons – Mrs. Kelli does video lessons for each section of this course. On top of that there are also other videos included to reinforce topics. (YouTube Video on topic, Crash Course Videos, etc.)

Reading – Sometimes students are assigned short readings from various sources to help teach a topic.

Printable Worksheets – These worksheets include worksheets to reinforce the concept that was just introduced with via video or reading, as well as extension activities to get students thinking.

Engaging Activities – Not only does this course include all the basic methods of learning, but it goes one step further and gets students involved in real life examples and activities that demonstrate the topics being covered.

Glossary PDF

Economics for High School from Mr. D Math is a half credit, online, self-paced course for homeschool high schoolers.

At the beginning of the course students are instructed to print out the Glossary of Terms.

While this feature may not seem important to some people, I find that a topic like Economics contains many words and concepts completely unknown to high schoolers. They are instructed to complete the definitions as they are presented throughout the course lessons. Thus encouraging them to hear them, see them, and write them. Using these various methods of engaging with the material greatly increases their chance of understanding the material.

For this reason, I love that students start with a BLANK GLOSSARY and end up with a (completely filled in by them) Glossary of Terms.

Online Graded Quizzes

Economics for High School from Mr. D Math is a half credit, online, self-paced course for homeschool high schoolers. A review from Starts At Eight
Economics for High School from Mr. D Math is a half credit, online, self-paced course for homeschool high schoolers. A review from Starts At Eight

Throughout the course there are online quizzes. They vary in length and include a variety of question types such as multiple choice and true/false.

They are auto graded online with instant results right on the screen so students get immediate feedback.

I like that students get 3 attempts at each quiz. This encourages learning because they can see the ones they got wrong and go back to review those concepts before trying the quiz again.

–>> CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT MR. D MATH ECONOMICS FOR HIGH SCHOOL <<–

More Mr. D Math Reviews

We have also used Mr. D Math courses more than once throughout our years of homeschooling.

Having access to an instructor where the kids can ask questions and get feedback is such an awesome part of Mr. D Math live online courses.

You can check out what our experience was like with two of our children. Just click on the images below.

Tackle Homeschool High School Algebra with Mr. D Math! Mr. D Math offers online live or self-paced courses for high school math, Test Prep, ASL, and more! A review from Starts At Eight
Homeschooling Algebra with Mr. D Math from Starts At Eight

–>>–>> CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT ALL THE MR. D MATH COURSE OFFERINGS <<–<<–

12 Online Financial Resources for Teens

12 Online Financial Resources for Teens

Teenagers find themselves in an awkward “in-between” time. They’re itching for more responsibility but not yet ready for full-fledged involvement in the adult world. It’s a time of dating, school dances, and more specialized classes that can introduce them to possible future careers and part-time jobs.

With the last of these comes more financial responsibility. And that’s something teens need to learn even if they’re still drawing an allowance and haven’t yet entered the working world.

Online Financial Resources for Teens is all the best in help for teaching teens and helping them learn to navigate their own finances.

12 Online Financial Resources for Teens

The good news is that, if there’s one thing teens are good at today, it’s interacting with, and in, the digital world, and there are a ton of online financial resources available to the public, including some that are geared specifically for teens. Plus there are offline teaching tools, like board games, that can reinforce those lessons.

The Big Picture  

Once upon a time, high schools taught life skills. That’s not the case so much anymore, as budget cuts and shifting priorities have led to a bigger emphasis on core academic subjects. 

Unfortunately, that means kids are largely on their own or dependent on parental guidance in areas like economics and personal finance. They can find apps and online resources that can help them learn the basics of budgeting, saving, investing, and planning. Here are a few:

  • Practicalmoneyskills.com, a website created by Visa, offers information on a variety of topics from credit to mobile banking, plus news relating to financial literacy.
  • MoneySKILL is a free online personal finance course designed for middle school, high school, and college students, created by the ASFA Education Foundation.
  • Money Instructor offers a wide range of lessons on topics ranging from taxes to paying for college, real estate to business math. It also features interactive lessons and money games.
  • Biz Kids is a national financial literacy initiative based on an Emmy Award-winning public television series that teaches kids about money and business.

Learning to Budget

Budgeting is an important aspect of getting ready for living as an adult. Young people soon will be responsible for tracking how much money they bring in, how much they spend, and on what. It’s helpful for them to start when mistakes aren’t so costly and the stakes aren’t so high — such as whether or not they can afford to go to the movies or buy a new video game.

Now, they’ll be learning what they can and can’t afford by prioritizing their wish list. Later, they’ll need to distinguish what they need (shelter, transportation, food, utilities) from what they want. 

  • TheMint has a tool that can simulate household budgeting and expenses: Teens can plug in a hypothetical annual income, then build their own budget around it.
  • MoneyFit offers a budget calculator for teens that takes into account education level and allocates portions of a budget as pie pieces in these categories:
    • Be nice: Donations to causes
    • Be smart: Savings for college, internship, training
    • Be patient: Savings for short-term goals like gadgets and gifts
    • Be ready: Savings for impulse buys and splurges
    • Spend it: What to keep as cash on hand

Long-term Planning

Teens are familiar with saving for short-term goals they want, but when they get older, they’ll need to set aside money for other goals that might not seem like as much fun: their own kids’ education and daily needs, eventual retirement, emergencies, and so forth. 

  • Savings — Maybe you’ve put money away for your kids’ education. Involve them in the process by showing it takes patience to save for something you want or build a nest egg. The same thing goes for investing: It’s much smarter to make prudent investments for the long term rather than reacting to markets or chasing the latest hot tip.
  • Credit — Long-term planning requires discipline and resisting the urge to spend impulsively. This kind of discipline will serve young people well when it comes to building credit, too. Instead of racking up big debts (and interest payments) for instant gratification, frame credit as a long-term tool for big purchases and stress the importance of using it judiciously and making payments on time.
  • Retirement — When it comes to retirement, it might seem like a long way off, but the sooner you start saving, the more interest you can accumulate and the less you’ll have to worry in the end. Here are a couple of sites that can help:
    • Teensgotcents.com provides a comparison graph that shows the difference between how much money you can accumulate for retirement if you start early compared to starting late.
    • Teenfinancialfreedom.com offers a calculator you can use to see what it might take to retire early.

A few other sites you may want to check out include:

The point is, there’s a wealth of online financial resources for teens out there to help teenagers learn about how money works, both in the short and long term. Find those that work best for you and your teenagers to give them a head start on full-grown financial responsibility before they’re fully grown themselves.

Written by Ann Lloyd, Student Savings Guide

More About Money for Kids

Money Management for Teens with the CASHFLOW Board Game from Starts At Eight
Money Management For Teens from Starts At Eight
Must Have Money Conversations with your Teen discusses important money topics to have with your teen as well as a FREE Real-Life Finance Worksheet.
3 Must Have Money Conversations with Your Teen

3 Must Have Money Conversations with Your Teen

Having money conversations with your teen can be overwhelming — especially if you’re not sure where to start. However, once you understand some of the basic conversations to have, you may find that it isn’t as difficult as you thought. Setting intentions and outlining what you want to get out of the conversation can also be helpful.  

Must Have Money Conversations with your Teen discusses important money topics to have with your teen as well as a FREE Real-Life Finance Worksheet.

Must Have Money Conversations with your Teen

Before you get started read over the following tips to help you navigate the money conversations with your teen. Remember to take a deep breath,

Below are 3 must-have money conversations with your teen before they’ve left the nest. 

1. How Money Works

When talking about the basics of money, you’ll want to discuss topics like how to earn and save money, as well as what kinds of jobs are available at different ages. You may also want to talk to your teen about how careers help you feel fulfilled, while also allowing you to earn money in future years. 

Consider talking with them about taxes and how they can affect your paycheck, as well as why you need to pay them. Once they understand these basics, move on to deeper conversations about things like inflation, annuities, and retirement. 

When discussing how money works, it’s also important to help them understand how to use their money wisely through budgeting and investing. 

2. How to Set Financial Goals 

Goals give you a sense of direction in life. Once you have a vision of what you want to achieve with your finances, you’re more likely to hit higher benchmarks. Ask your teen questions to help them get thinking about things they want in life, financially or otherwise. Here are a few to start with: 

  • Where do you see yourself in 5 or 15 years? 
    • How will money help or hinder you? 
  • Do you want to go to college? 
    • If the answer is yes, what kind of college do you want to go to? (community college, university, technical school, etc.)
  • What are some things you want to do in your life?
    • Roughly how much money will it take to achieve those things? 
Must Have Money Conversations with your Teen discusses important money topics to have with your teen as well as a FREE Real-Life Finance Worksheet.

3. Credit & Debt 

Helping your teen understand credit and debt is possibly one of the most important financial conversations you can have with them. Credit can be either enabling or destructive, so it’s important they understand early on how it can affect their life. Talk with them about how credit works, how to get a good credit score, and the benefits available to those who do have a high credit rating. 

You should also talk with your teen about debt and the different kinds. Some debt is inevitable, such as debt from purchasing a home or going to an expensive university. However, there are ways to mitigate the amount of debt, like by saving early on or applying for more beneficial loans. 

When talking with your teen about money, be understanding and patient. Some concepts take longer to grasp than others. Don’t avoid having these conversations because they are difficult. One of the best ways to help your teen be financially successful in life is by teaching them early and being there for them when they mess up. 

Use the FREE Real-Life Finance Challenges Worksheet below to help you understand how much your teen knows about money before having these important conversations with them. 

Must Have Money Conversations with your Teen discusses important money topics to have with your teen as well as a FREE Real-Life Finance Worksheet.
Click on image to download this FREE Real-Life Finance Challenges Worksheet

More About Money for Kids

Money Management for Teens with the CASHFLOW Board Game from Starts At Eight
Money Management For Teens from Starts At Eight
Improve Reading Comprehension with LightSail for Homeschoolers

Improve Reading Comprehension with LightSail for Homeschoolers

When my son was little he was a phenomenal reader. He was reading way above grade level and faster than I can read. The problem? His reading comprehension was almost non-existent. He could read all these big words and sentences but couldn’t tell me much about what he had read or answer any questions of the like. I struggled to find something that would help improve reading comprehension. I wish LightSail for Homeschoolers had been available then!

Lightsail for Homeschoolers is an online language arts program for preK-12 that advances skills in reading, writing, vocabulary and fluency.

LightSail for Homeschoolers

The LightSail for Homeschoolers language arts platform is a comprehensive and engaging online reading and writing program for children in grades pre-K through 12. A foundation in the science of reading and writing combined with the experience of a team of home educators creates a family-friendly learning experience advancing skills in reading, writing, vocabulary, and fluency. LightSail provides tens of thousands of ChildSafe books and multimedia resources from leading publishers such as World Book, Baker Publishing and Lerner Publishing.

{Disclosure: I received free access to LightSail as part of this review. I was compensated for my time to give an honest review of this product. All opinions expressed here are my own, and I was not required to post a positive review. Please see my full Disclosure Policy for more details.}

The 4 Pillars of LightSail

Lightsail for Homeschoolers is an online language arts program for preK-12 that advances skills in reading, writing, vocabulary and fluency.

LightSail’s program is based on what they define as The Four Pillars of Literacy.

  1. Reading – LightSail has a library of tens of thousands of books and multimedia content for all ages. Classics, biographies, animals, sports, timelines, audiobooks, and so much more!
  2. Writing – The writing assignments compliment the reading your child is doing. LightSail breaks the writing process down in a fun and easy to manage way.
  3. Vocabulary – LightSail uses a spiral approach to teaching vocabulary that is customized to your child’s Lexile score. Kids work with these words in Spelling Bees and vocabulary assignments, and parents can assign their own Spelling Bees or use ready-made lists. Students will learn things like how to use the words in sentences, what part of speech the word is, the definition and synonyms for the word.
  4. Fluency – LightSail has some really cool fluency tools. These tools allow your child to record themselves reading a portion of a book aloud and send it to you for assessment. Students can play their own recording back and re-record it until they are happy with it. It then allows you to listen to the recording with text on screen, so you can assess what they’ve omitted, inserted, mispronounced, substituted, repeated, or self corrected.

Features of LightSail for Homeschoolers

Lightsail for Homeschoolers is an online language arts program for preK-12 that advances skills in reading, writing, vocabulary and fluency.
  • Extensive Library: LightSail contains an extensive collection of tens of thousands of engaging books and multimedia content from respected publishers such as World Book and Lerner Publishing, as well as trusted homeschool and faith-based publishers. Parents customize this collection to the individual needs of their children and their family values through LightSail’s ChildSafe Content Control Service and reading- and grade-level appropriateness controls.
  • Bookmarks: Curated passages from larger works, like the Bible or Shakespeare, organized into topical groups and with added assessment questions leveled for children of different ages. Watch a video on Bookmarks here that shows you some examples! And, of course, any parent can create their own Bookmarks.
  • Quotations: Similar to Bookmarks but limited to 300 words in length, these passages are perfect to assign for copywork or memory work. Parents can create their own, but LightSail also has hundreds of groups of Quotations chosen by their team of experienced homeschoolers from famous lines of poetry, to quotes from historic speeches, to favorite Bible verses.  See more here
  • Memory Work Tool + Ready-Made Lists: LightSail has harnessed the power of existing features in their Fluency module and created an all new Memory Work Tool, allowing parents to use a Quotation or Memory Work list (or provide their own text) and set a schedule for their child to practice and recite. Plus, they provide all the most popular choices (hundreds of pre-made lists) for memorization that homeschoolers want! Learn more here.
  • Lesson Plans: Beginning with faith-based lessons, and then expanding to other academic subjects, LightSail’s Lesson Plan incorporates their amazing content into structured lessons with teaching notes, activities, games, crafts, quizzes, and much more.  Learn more here
Lightsail for Homeschoolers is an online language arts program for preK-12 that advances skills in reading, writing, vocabulary and fluency.

What’s Not to Love?

Extensive Reading Collection

As I’ve already mentioned, LightSail has an extensive library. Not just books, but timelines, maps, biographies, new and more! This means you have reading and research material right at your fingertips!

Customization

The extensive reading collection comes with amazing customization capabilities! As a parent have the ability to customize to the needs of your children and family values through LightSail’s ChildSafe Content and Control Service and reading and grade level appropriateness controls. This allows you to block the books you don’t want and/or specifically choose what you do.

Then there’s the customization LightSail does automatically. Every 15 days LightSail automatically updates your child’s Lexile score, allowing every feature to be tailored to your child’s reading level!

Along with the Lexile adaptation, there are built-in comprehension assessments that help you determine if your child is absorbing what they are reading.

Extra Features

Lightsail for Homeschoolers is an online language arts program for preK-12 that advances skills in reading, writing, vocabulary and fluency.

One of the features I really liked was the built in cloze activities to help improve reading comprehension. This leaves out a word in the sentence. Kids have to choose the correct word that will go in the blank. Doing this helps to ensure that kids are paying attention to what they read. It helps them to use the context of the story to infer meaning.

Another feature to love is the option to have the book read to you. Check out the video below where I demonstrate a book being read, and the various speed settings to choose from. This is super helpful when your child is struggling and needs help, or if you’d like them to be able to read (listen) to something that is above their reading level.

Teach Teen Life Skills as a High School Elective

Teach Teen Life Skills as a High School Elective

Teaching your teen life skills is a huge part of not only raising your teen but of their academic life as well. Just as we teach our children about history, and help them explore the various sciences, we need to teach our teens the essential skills they need to go out and thrive in the world.

Things like pumping gas, learning to drive, opening bank accounts, cooking, cleaning, taxes, interviewing, and SO much more!

Teach Teen Life Skills such as college & career planning, financial responsibility, and travel with Voyage. An affordable life skills course for teens. A review from Starts At Eight.

Teach Teen Life Skills as a High School Elective

The cool thing about teaching your teen life skills is that you can count it as a high school elective! Yup! You heard me correctly! Life skills as high school electives is a real thing!

Plan Your High School Electives: Free Printable Pack from Starts At Eight

Even from the time they were young, life skills has been something we weave into our daily lives with all of our children. It begins small, with age appropriate chores around the house. Things like putting away their books or toys. Then into things like using safe cleaning products to wipe something down, or vacuuming.

As tweens things like cleaning the bathroom and doing laundry. When they get into their teens the life skills start to step outside the household chores to things like applying for a checking and savings account, getting a license and learning to drive, budgeting, and more.

Thrive Academics – Voyage

Voyage (from Thrive Academics) is an affordable (just $60 for a full year of access) program. that helps teens learn things about themselves and their purpose, and to complete life skills tasks such as writing checks and applying for a driver’s license all while also earning high school elective credit (the course is .5 credit).

{I received free access to Voyage and was compensated for my time in writing this review.  All views are my own and I was not required to write a positive review. Please see my full Disclosure Policy for more details.}

Teach Teen Life Skills such as college & career planning, financial responsibility, and travel with Voyage. An affordable life skills course for teens. A review from Starts At Eight.

Voyage is a dynamic, fully animated program designed as a semester course for high school students. It walks your teens through many life skills they will need as they prepare to enter college, the workforce, and life outside of your home.

5 Modules in Voyage

There are five modules immersed with life skills and lessons to prepare for the next stage of life after high school.

Within each of the 5 modules you will find a Resources Tab (upper right hand corner when you are in the course). This tab contains a multitude of printable pdf activities for the module your student is working on.

Teach Teen Life Skills such as college & career planning, financial responsibility, and travel with Voyage. An affordable life skills course for teens. A review from Starts At Eight.

Beyond the module content itself, and the pdf printable activities, each module also has a 10 question final exam that must be passed with an 80% or higher to complete the module. The quizzes are graded within the module, and you can run a report for the grades.

1.  Who I Am

In this first module teens will identify their purpose, brand, and strengths, and work on setting SMART goals and a vision for their life.

Teach Teen Life Skills such as college & career planning, financial responsibility, and travel with Voyage. An affordable life skills course for teens. A review from Starts At Eight.

Below are the topics they will work through:

  • Purpose and Passion (Includes figuring out your purpose statement)
  • Strengths (Skills profiler)
  • Personal Brand (creating a brand crest that includes values, passions, and traits)
  • Vision (Learn what a vision is; engage in activities to help student think about their own vision)
  • My SMART Goals (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, timely)
  • My Mission (creating an action plan based on the topics above)

2.  Career Planning

Module 2 is all about career planning including: career assessment profiler, researching careers, filling out a job app, writing a cover letter and resume, and attending a virtual job interview.

Teach Teen Life Skills such as college & career planning, financial responsibility, and travel with Voyage. An affordable life skills course for teens. A review from Starts At Eight.

Below are the topics in order with some of what your student will find within them:

  • Career Profile (finding your career path, O*Net Building, and Notetaking)
  • Your Career Profile (job vs. career, comparing careers, career comparison chart, occupational videos)
  • Higher Education (plus student networking)
  • Building Your Resume (essential application steps, resume sections, cover letter, job search, and examples)
  • Virtual Job Interview (walks your student through an interview with step-by-step suggestions)

3.  College Planning

Module 3 contains everything from researching the right schools, applying to college, applying for financial aid to life on campus and setting their school schedule.

Teach Teen Life Skills such as college & career planning, financial responsibility, and travel with Voyage. An affordable life skills course for teens.

These are the topics and activities students work through in Module 3:

  • Researching Schools (College Readiness Fair – provides information about 2-year/community college, 4-year university & tech/trade school based on your student’s career aspirations, selecting your major, in-state vs. out-of-state schools, side-by-side comparisons)
  • Applying to School (tips & ideas, practice application, application checklist)
  • Financial Aid (scholarships, grants, loans FAFSA)
  • Getting Accepted (selecting classes, scheduling classes, reading a map, college transcripts, housing, buying textbooks)
  • Campus Life (clubs and organizations, college sports, transportation costs, getting an internship, socializing and partying – making responsible decisions)

4.  Financial Responsibility

Module 4 is all about financial responsibility, covering topics such as opening a bank account, balancing a check register, online banking, taxes, interest, managing a budget, and financial responsibility.

Teach Teen Life Skills such as college & career planning, financial responsibility, and travel with Voyage. An affordable life skills course for teens. A review from Starts At Eight.

Here are the lessons taught in Module 4:

  • Types of Accounts (checking accounts, check writing, online banking, check/debit card, ATM, balancing accounts, savings account, interest, retirement)
  • Understanding Credit (introduction, FAQs, maintaining good credit, credit scores, credit cards & fees, interest)
  • Financial Responsibility (introduction to taxes, W-4 form, filing deadline, W-2 form, filing options, reading paychecks, tax resources, paying bills, disputing a fee)
  • Budgeting Basics (needs vs. wants, calculating income, create a plan, money saving tips)
  • Student Loans (understanding loans, types, amoritization, repayment)

5. Everyday Living

Module 5 covers tasks of everyday living where students will learn about everyday responsibilities including health and safety, balanced nutrition, renting a house/apt, completing forms for a doctor’s visit, applying for a driver’s license, navigating airports, and much more!

Teach Teen Life Skills such as college & career planning, financial responsibility, and travel with Voyage. An affordable life skills course for teens. A review from Starts At Eight.

Here are the topics covered in Module 5:

  • Personal Health (healthy eating on a budget, activity, fitness, creating a fitness plan, sleep, personal hygiene, health insurance FAQ, doctor visits)
  • Travel (preparing for your trip, at the airport, on the flight, enjoying your trip)
  • Home and Vehicle (driver’s license, getting a vehicle, housing, roommates)
  • Communication (making a good first impression, body language, talking, listening, healthy relationships, social media)

My Thoughts on Voyage for Teaching Teen Life Skills

Teach Teen Life Skills such as college & career planning, financial responsibility, and travel with Voyage. An affordable life skills course for teens. A review from Starts At Eight.

1. It’s not just videos

Voyage goes beyond students watching videos and regurgitating information back. For example when learning about Travel, specifically in the Home and Vehicle section, they are given a sample Driver’s License Form to fill out. Voyage takes them through it and then has them print a sample from the Resources in the top right corner to fill out themselves.

2. Designed for Independent Learning

I think it is important in the high school years that kids take control of their education. We strive for them to be completely independent in their learning, keeping themselves on task and working through their studies with minimal help.

Voyage is designed for students to do on their own:

  • All the information is given in a clear and engaging way.
  • The pathway is clearly laid out for them to follow.
  • All printable resources are within their corresponding lessons so they can easily find what they need.

3. Confidence for Mom

Voyage from Thrive makes it easy for me to feel good about the life skills being taught to my teen. While I could definitly teach my children all of this (and I do still engage them in this skills in real life), this gives me the structure to help me feel confident that we are covering a wide variety of useful topics.

I never would have thought about doing Airport but Voyage covers this too! Including things like navigating the airport, check-in, security, finding your gate, boarding, and even steps for when you are inside the plane.

Freebie & Giveaway

FREE Adulting Checklist - preparing students to thrive

Equip your student with the skills needed to thrive as an adult. This unique e-book contains a series of checklists designed to help your student systematically develop skills that will prepare them for independent living, time management, employment, and more.

Thrive Academics is giving away their Voyage course to five lucky winners. Each winner will receive a 1-year subscription for Voyage! Enter in the giveaway widget below!

More on Teen Life Skills

Fulfilling Homeschool High School Health Credits from Starts At Eight is a how to guide including why to teach high school health, what topics are covered, and an extensive list of both secular and faith based homeschool high school health options.
Life Skills as High School Electives: Cooking Basics for Teens from Starts At Eight. Preparing our teens to cook for themselves will both save them money and allow them to eat healthier. Cooking Basics for Teens will help you, help them learn basics such as how to boil water, cut onions, cook chicken, and more!
Career Exploration for High School Students from Starts At Eight
Careering – A guide for Teens and Young Adults

Careering – A guide for Teens and Young Adults

Young adulthood is the best time to explore, experience, and eliminate possible career paths. Careering will help your student do all three–and get them on the path that is right for them!

What is Careering?

The dictionary may have other definitions for careering, but when you see the word careering in this book, I am referring to the process of taking progressive action in pursuit of a profession or venture.

Tamara S. Raymond

What’s Inside the Book?

Careering is an 8 step process according to Tamara. In this Pocket Guide to Exploring Your Future Career your student will find each of these steps laid out with actionable items to do and places to record their thoughts and findings! All of this in a book small enough to carry around so they can explore and learn as they are on the go!

{I received a free review copy of Careering as part of this review. However, all views are my own and I was not required to write a positive review. Please see my full Disclosure Policy for more details.}

Careering Steps:

Step 1: How to Begin Careering

Step 2: Opportunities to Explore Different Career Options

Step 3: Key Resources to Help Explore Different Career Options

Step 4: The Power of Networking

Step 5: Applying

Step 6: Developing Your Interview Skills

Step 7: Congratulations on Your New Job! Now What?

Step 8: One Final Step

What’s to be Learned from Careering?

  • evaluate your interests, skills, and passions
  • identify jobs, internships, and volunteer positions that align with your personal gifts
  • identify multiple career exploration avenues, from camps to summer jobs
  • put together a resume and references, even if you’ve never had a “real” job
  • learn how to network, apply for jobs, and develop interviewing skills
  • learn how to pursue entrepreneurial opportunities
  • learn how not to use social media if you want to land a job

About Tamara S. Raymond

Tamara S. Raymond, author of Careering - The Pocket Guide to Exploring Your Future Career

Tamara S. Raymond is a certified leadership coach and career strategist dedicated to helping professionals reach their maximum potential; and young people get on the right career path so they can make a difference.

Careering: The Pocket Guide to Exploring Your Future Career is Tamara’s first book. It is available as a paperback, e-book and audiobook. An online course based on the book was released Fall 2020.

In her book, Tamara has woven together her extensive career experience, academic journey and passion for coaching-mentoring youth to share knowledge with teens and young adults. Tamara’s goal is to offer them unique insight into how to excel both academically and in their chosen profession through awareness of their goals, interests and talents, in a purposeful and focused way.

Tamara has appeared on the Inside Personal Growth podcast and The Total Education Hour.
For more information about Tamara and her other projects, including her coaching services,
visit www.imcleaders.com

==>> Click Here to take a peek inside and hear an audio sample <<==

More Career Help for Teens

High School Life Skills: Career Exploration from Starts At Eight
Career Exploration for High School Students from Starts At Eight
Online Homeschool High School Biology with Fascinating Education

Online Homeschool High School Biology with Fascinating Education

Are you looking for online homeschool high school biology options? Looking for something that is visually based and easy to use? Then Fascinating Biology from Fascinating Education might be for you!

Online Homeschool High School Biology with Fascinating Education flips the teaching process by approaching science through the "right-hemisphere" of the brain. Using simple, colorful illustrations, supplemented with attached audio files to teach high school biology concepts. A review from Starts At Eight

Fascinating Education uses an audio-visual technique to teach science in a step-by-step manner using plain English and clear illustrations. This “right-hemispheric” learning approach takes advantage of the brain’s ability to process images more efficiently and more effectively than just reading text.

{I received free access to Fascinating Biology and was compensated for my time in writing this review.  All views are my own and I was not required to write a positive review. Please see my full Disclosure Policy for more details.}

The Fascinating Education curricula focus on scientific facts while eliminating unnecessary complexity. Dr. Margulies (owner and developer) engages the student by bringing a real life touch to all the lessons so that the student understands why the material is important for them.

About Sheldon Marguiles Owner/Developer

Sheldon Margulies - owner and developer of Fascinating Education

Sheldon Margulies is the owner and developer of Fascinating Education. He is a neurologist who has taught over 2500 medical students and residents in his career, and I has since turned his attention to younger students with online courses in Chemistry, Biology, Physics, Anatomy and Physiology, and the Logic of Medicine.

In my curricula, I don’t just teach. I explain, in plain English, one step at a time, using images that I’ve created and narrate. I want students to see exactly what I’m saying, and for today’s students who are so comfortable with audio and visual learning, narrated images are a great way to learn science.

Sheldon Margulies owner and developer of Fascinating Education

Online Homeschool High School Biology with Fascinating Education

Fascinating Biology covers the basic principles of biology, including the components of life: cell membranes, taking in nutrients, creating chemical energy, growing and repairing, reproducing, maintaining a stable internal environment, and adapting to a changing external environment. You can see a full breakdown of the Fascinating Biology Course Content right on their website.

Online Homeschool High School Biology with Fascinating Education flips the teaching process by approaching science through the "right-hemisphere" of the brain. Using simple, colorful illustrations, supplemented with attached audio files to teach high school biology concepts. A review from Starts At Eight

The course consists of 3 major components:

The cool thing is that each one of these components has an online component AND a printable component option. Your student can do it all online, or they can choose to do some of it with pen and paper.

Video Lessons – There are 18 video lessons.

Review – The awesome thing about the review sections is that each question is read to the student, and each answer is read and demonstrated with a corresponding image.

Tests – When done online the test end by giving the students their score, and options to Review, Print, and Retry the quiz. You can also choose to print the tests out ahead of time and have them do them offline.

Key Features of Fascinating Biology

1. A Note About Secular vs. Religious

When it comes to science curriculum the first thing most people want to know is if it is secular or religious, creation vs. evolution. I like that Sheldon tackles this question first before anything else in the biology course. Below you will find a brief video clip of him explaining his view and how that impacts the curriculum.

I really appreciate his point about how understanding different viewpoints does not mean you have to adopt them. In our home we have always tried to talk about both sides of the coin so they can decide for themselves.

2. Great for Visual Learners

Online Homeschool High School Biology with Fascinating Education flips the teaching process by approaching science through the "right-hemisphere" of the brain. Using simple, colorful illustrations, supplemented with attached audio files to teach high school biology concepts. A review from Starts At Eight

The Fascinating Education courses are very visual. All 18 lessons are video lessons with tons of images, diagrams, etc. Plus there are print out options for all the components so your students can have them in hand too if they want.

3. Lesson Scripts

Online Homeschool High School Biology with Fascinating Education flips the teaching process by approaching science through the "right-hemisphere" of the brain. Using simple, colorful illustrations, supplemented with attached audio files to teach high school biology concepts. A review from Starts At Eight

Can I just say that the super type-A in me LOVES these. They are literal replicas of the video lessons, complete with images and text! I like printing them out along with the review printables and tests so that we have a visual representation of the work complete.

4. Review & Tests as Learning Devices

Online Homeschool High School Biology with Fascinating Education flips the teaching process by approaching science through the "right-hemisphere" of the brain. Using simple, colorful illustrations, supplemented with attached audio files to teach high school biology concepts. A review from Starts At Eight

Both the review sections and tests are used as an additional opportunity to teach the material and to ensure the student is progressing appropriately.

The review questions have corresponding full image answers, giving students another opportunity to understand and absorb the concepts taught in that lesson.

The tests give students an opportunity to go back and review their answers alongside the correct answers and to retake them. This allows students to go back and look at where/what their mistake was and learn the material correctly.

My Thoughts

Online Homeschool High School Biology with Fascinating Education flips the teaching process by approaching science through the "right-hemisphere" of the brain. Using simple, colorful illustrations, supplemented with attached audio files to teach high school biology concepts. A review from Starts At Eight

I love the different teaching approach to the Fascinating Education science curricula. The lessons are not too long, I’d say they take anywhere from 45 minutes to 1.5 hours, and they are easy to understand. There is plenty of reinforcement built in with the reviews and tests, giving students plenty of exposure to the concepts so they can more readily learn and understand them.

My main concern when calling this a curriculum is that most would assume it was a full year and thus a full credit course. When looking at the FAQ Page it states, “The lessons differ in length; however, each presentation is about 45 minutes long (on average). If a student does 1 lesson a day in chemistry (assuming about 1.5 hours to complete each lesson and test) – a student could finish in 24-27 total hours. We also have labs for chemistry which are an hour or so each – so you could add those additional hours.  We are in the process of adding additional review material – which will add some time to each course. Each biology lesson could take twice as long, but that’s still only about 30 hours to complete the course.”

This is significantly lower than the standard of a high school course being 120 hours. So my suggestion would be to add labs and extra readings or research on topics of interest throughout the year. OR I also think these make great summer review courses! You could do them before taking a full year to get a head start on the concepts, or take it after as a review/reinforcement.

Free Trial

Online Homeschool High School Biology with Fascinating Education flips the teaching process by approaching science through the "right-hemisphere" of the brain. Using simple, colorful illustrations, supplemented with attached audio files to teach high school biology concepts. A review from Starts At Eight

Click here for a FREE Trial!

You can sample any one (or all) of the following courses:

  • Chemistry
  • Biology
  • Physics
  • Medicine

Discount & Giveaway

Fascinating Education Discount Code

DISCOUNT: 25% off any single or multi-course package with coupon code BACKTOSCHOOL. Valid July 1 – Aug. 15, 2021.

GIVEAWAY: Open to anyone worldwide. 3 winners will get their choice of course (1 year subscription.)

4 Reasons we Love College Prep Science Virtual Labs

4 Reasons we Love College Prep Science Virtual Labs

Do you struggle to teach upper level science? Do you dread having chemicals, beakers, and preserved animals in your house? Then the College Prep Science Virtual Labs may be just what you are looking for!

College Prep Science Virtual Labs for homeschooled students in grades 6-12 offer a solid lab experience without expensive supplies and gross smells! A review from Starts At Eight

4 Reasons we Love College Prep Science Virtual Labs

College Prep Science offers Virtual Science Labs for homeschooled students in grades 6-12. These are realistic, interactive, virtual lab experiments students can perform in the convenience of their own home.

{I received free access to the College Prep Science Virtual Biology/Anatomy & Physiology Lab and was compensated for my time in writing this review.  All views are my own and I was not required to write a positive review. Please see my full Disclosure Policy for more details.}

Two Virtual Lab Options

Option #1: Two Week Online Lab Intensive

This option includes a daily 30 minute online class (each weekday for two weeks) with Greg Landry for instruction / questions. This includes instruction on creating high quality lab reports and background instruction for each of the eight lab experiments your student will conduct. Students can attend the live class or use the recording.

​Students will also have a daily assignment (conduct the experiment and create lab report) to turn in.  

==>> Click here to test drive a College Prep Virtual Lab <<==

Option #2: Self-Paced One Year Family Subscription

With this option all students within a subscribed family have access to the virtual lab experiments for a full year (12 months from whenever you’d like to start) and can work at their own pace.

Students log in to the virtual lab and choose the experiment they want to perform – 10 experiments are available for each subject. Then they watch a video of professor Landry explaining the background information on the topic of that experiment and details on performing the experiment.

Then students use their mouse and keyboard and follow a step-by-step method to perform all the steps in the experiment.

This is the same lab experience as Option 1. The main difference being students have a full year of access, and they watch a video explanation from Greg Landry instead of having a short live class with him before each experiment.

Note: a full school year (two semester) science class should include at least six lab experiments with full (formal) lab reports and a half school year (one semester) science class should include at least three experiments with full (formal) lab reports.

We have been using the self-paced Biology/Anatomy & Physiology Interactive Virtual Science Lab in our homeschool and I can’t tell you how much I love it! Or really, I can, because I’m going to tell you all about why we love it!

Reason #1 Upper Level Labs

College Prep Science Virtual Labs are all upper level labs! Geared towards homeschool kids in grades 6-12, these labs fill a giant gap for homeschoolers, as finding resources for high school science can be hard.

Early on I knew one of the things I didn’t want to do in my home was high school chemistry. I didn’t feel equipped to handle all the chemicals that would be required to complete the chemistry labs. Using the College Prep Interactive Virtual Lab solves that problem!

Reason #2 NO Gross Smells!

College Prep Science Virtual Labs for homeschooled students in grades 6-12 offer a solid lab experience without expensive supplies and gross smells! A review from Starts At Eight

This reason is more about my kids than me. I personally loved biology and all that came with it. Even the smells! But then they were in our school science lab and not in my home! Good news though! Virtual Lab dissections are SMELL FREE! Since it’s all done virtually there will be no gross smells from the animals having been preserved.

Along with this there is no contact with these slimy creatures. (I had one child who tried to wear a nose plug and gloves to avoid all of this!) Instead, students use their mouse to control a scalpel when dissecting a frog in the Biology/Anatomy Virtual Lab.

Reason #3 NO Expensive Supplies

With College Prep Science Virtual Labs there is no extensive list of supplies to purchase, and no expensive lab equipment needed. I have personally spent two to three hundred dollars a year on science supply kits! This virtual lab is instruction and supply kit in one!

For each lab your student begins by watching a brief video where Greg Landry, the owner and instructor, goes over the lab they will be doing. Then students head into the virtual lab where there are step by step instructions to help them complete the lab.

Reason #4 Strong Use of the Scientific Method

College Prep Science Virtual Labs for homeschooled students in grades 6-12 offer a solid lab experience without expensive supplies and gross smells! A review from Starts At Eight

In the very first lesson of the College Prep Science Virtual Lab, Greg spends time going over the scientific method step by step. Greg walks student through competing a five section lab report based on the scientific method that includes an:

  • Introduction
  • Materials
  • Method
  • Results
  • Discussion

He then goes through a sample lab report step by step to show them how to complete a full, thorough lab report. I love that it’s not just the action of doing the labs, but the using of the scientific method to create a solid lab report. This is a skill that will prove to be very important for students going on to college.

==>> Click here to test drive a College Prep Virtual Lab <<==

More on College Prep Science

My youngest daughter, who just finished 9th grade, and I have had the opportunity to utilize multiple classes from College Prep Science. Be sure to check out all my College Prep Reviews:

Homeschool Math with Teaching Textbooks 4.0

Homeschool Math with Teaching Textbooks 4.0

Teaching math, not wanting to teach math, thinking you aren’t capable of teaching math. These are all reasons not to homeschool that often pop into people’s heads. Good news! Homeschool Math with Teaching Textbooks 4.0 makes it doable!

Homeschool Math with Teaching Textbooks 4.0 is math made easy. Online, interactive, independent, auto-graded, and so much more! A review from Starts At Eight.

Homeschool Math with Teaching Textbooks

I have been using Teaching Textbooks products for 11 years now, and with all of my children. While math came easy for my son, it has been much harder for my girls. Math lessons that usually took him 20 minutes to complete would find my girls spending 1 to 1 1/2 hours to complete. That being said, Teaching Textbooks has worked for all of them, struggling, excelling, or otherwise. 

I started using Teaching Textbooks on cd with my oldest when she began struggling with math in 6th grade. Teaching Textbooks is great for Struggling Math Students. One of the big features that helped my daughter was the video/interactive format. Beyond that their method of walking the student though ample sample problems after the lesson, combined with practice problems, really helped her learn each concept in a building block manner.

5+ Reasons Teaching Textbooks Works for Struggling Math Students from Starts At Eight

Homeschool Math with Teaching Textbooks 4.0

Now you have the option of fulfilling Homeschool Math with Teaching Textbooks 4.0!

{I received one year of Homeschool Math with Teaching Textbooks 4.0 as part of this review and I was compensated for my time in writing it. All views are my own and I was not required to write a positive review. Please see my full Disclosure Policy for more details.}

I have owned the cd versions of all but 3 of the Teaching Textbook levels, and my youngest had the benefit of using the Teaching Textbooks 3.0 online homeschool math option. Now she is using the new 4.0 option. While it’s very similar in academic content to the previous versions, 4.0 has some features I think are a real benefit.

Benefits of Teaching Textbooks 4.0

1. Teaching Textbooks 4.0 is Totally MOBILE!!

Homeschool Math with Teaching Textbooks 4.0 is math made easy. Online, interactive, independent, auto-graded, and so much more!

The content is the same but now you don’t have discs, or Flash Plug-Ins. This means Teaching Textbooks 4.0 works with EVERYTHING! {Windows, MAC, Chromebook, iPhone/iPad, and Android phones and tablets} I love that this offers us the flexibility to take Homeschool Math with Teaching Textbooks 4.0 on the road!

  • Got a day full of doctors appointments? No problem! Kids can do it on your phone!
  • Heading out of town? Great, you can take it with you!
  • Had the computer you normally use breakdown? No stress here because you can pull it up on any computer!

Along with TT 4.0 being completely mobile comes the OFFLINE FEATURE. You can do multiple lessons offline (up to 6 lessons at a time), no Internet needed. This is awesome when you are somewhere with no or poor Internet!

2. Built in Scratchpad

Homeschool Math with Teaching Textbooks 4.0 is math made easy. Online, interactive, independent, auto-graded, and so much more!

No need for pencils and paper when on the go! Teaching Textbooks 4.0 has a scratchpad built right in!

Students just tap a button on the interface in order to free up space to work out their answers. It’s a great tool to help encourage kids to work things out instead of trying to do too much in their heads.

3. Improved User Experience Kids Love

TONS of screen wallpapers! There are both animated and not animated options! Kids can choose what speaks to them and have wallpaper they love!

Homeschool Math with Teaching Textbooks 4.0 is math made easy. Online, interactive, independent, auto-graded, and so much more!

Animated stickers! These appear each time they answer a problem, and there are hundreds to unlock in each grade level.

Controlling these features – If you have older kids that aren’t interested in the extra animated features or if they become distracting for your child, you can adjust the settings in your Parent Portal. Students can also turn off stickers and adjust sound and some hint settings.

4. Parent Portal Features + NEW E-mail Feature

Homeschool Math with Teaching Textbooks 4.0 is math made easy. Online, interactive, independent, auto-graded, and so much more!

First of all, I just need to say that I LOVE not having to go to each of my children’s computers to check on their math grades! You can view and print them from any computer! The Parent Portal is online and not only stores current grades but all the grades they acquired using Teaching Textbooks 3.0 or 4.0- in your account.

You can view the Grade Book in list form with a host of Lessons listed and the basic data on your student’s performance.

Homeschool Math with Teaching Textbooks 4.0 is math made easy. Online, interactive, independent, auto-graded, and so much more!

Or you can view an individual lesson with more detailed stats.

Homeschool Math with Teaching Textbooks 4.0 is math made easy. Online, interactive, independent, auto-graded, and so much more!

You can also remove the grade for an entire lesson (I do this when my children score less than 80% on a lesson. This allows them to go back and do it again.) Or you can edit the grade for an individual problem. (This is great when your kid has an oops moment and types something in wrong.)

{Please note these two grade adjustment features are also found in the disc and 3.0 versions. You just have to go to the computer where the program and/or discs are to view and adjust.}

The Parent Portal is also where you can:

  • View all student grades, which includes overall grade averages and information on lessons completed.
  • Manage Your Digital Courses – something of note here is that YOU CAN PAUSE each course for up to 3 months! There is no limit to the number of times you can pause (until all of your 3 months have been used) but you have to pause for at least 1 week each time you pause.
  • Change student settings for hints, second chances, stickers, wallpapers, and the scratchpad.
  • View and print the answer key and ebook.

The Pause Subscription was a feature I honestly thought I wouldn’t need…until this year. We had some life circumstances slow us down this school year, and having the extra time for my daughter to complete Algebra 2 was a lifesaver. Now instead of being stressed about finishing in time, she has the time to complete it over the summer at a less rushed pace.

Homeschool Math with Teaching Textbooks 4.0 is math made easy. Online, interactive, independent, auto-graded, and so much more! A review from Starts At Eight.

**COMING SOON!** New E-mail Feature – Soon you won’t even have to log in if you don’t want to! Instead, you can get a daily e-mail of your students’ progress. The e-mail includes things like:

  • what lesson your student last completed
  • course average
  • course time remaining
  • other info related to course pauses and academic awards the student has won

5. Affordable Pricing and Large Family Discount

Homeschool Math with Teaching Textbooks 4.0 is math made easy. Online, interactive, independent, auto-graded, and so much more!

From the Teaching Textbooks Website: The latest version of the TT product line—the 4.0—is sold as an annual enrollment, but each enrollment is only for 1 child and 1 course. The prices for these enrollments, however, are FAR lower than the prices of our old products (books and discs). Specifically, the price of a 4.0 enrollment varies from around $43 to $67, whereas our old products cost around $120 to $185 depending on the grade level.

Of course, the price drop is great, especially if you have fewer children. The fewer the children, the cheaper the overall cost. But we also wanted the pricing structure to yield new advantages for larger families, those with 4 to 8 children. So we decided to cap the total annual cost to these families at $199.08. This means that large families can now convert everyone over to TT at a cost that is very close to the price of just one of our old TT high-school level complete sets (books and discs). Also, there is no financial penalty as the number of children (within the plan) rises. In fact, the more children you have, the lower the per child cost. Do the math and you will see that for a family of 8, the per child cost is now only around $25 per year!

Homeschool Math with Teaching Textbooks 4.0 is math made easy. Online, interactive, independent, auto-graded, and so much more!

Be sure to check out the Large Family Discount Deal!

Not Sure Where To Start?

Placement Tests

Teaching Textbooks has Placement Tests for each level (Click on each level in the menu bar to find the placement test for that level). This is an important feature because every math program is different and having a placement specific to the program helps you easily place your child where is most appropriate.

Free Trial

Teaching Textbooks offers a FREE TRIAL of EVERY LEVEL! That means you can test run levels to see how you feel they fit your student before purchasing specific level!

Homeschool Math with Teaching Textbooks 4.0 is math made easy. Online, interactive, independent, auto-graded, and so much more!

Each 4.0 free trial is a complete version of Teaching Textbooks up through Lesson 15. Thus the free trial will allow you to experience everything contained in the first 15 lessons, including lectures, audiovisual solutions, ebook, and automated grading feature. Moreover, there is no time limit for completing the trial. It never expires! There are also no limits to the number of products you can try! And if you decide to purchase the full (paid) version, all of your grades will automatically transfer and all of your student’s progress will be saved!

GIVEAWAY

I am happy to say that I have 2 One-year Teaching Textbooks 4.0 Enrollments to giveaway! Enter below!

Homeschool Online Spanish Course with Vista Academy

Homeschool Online Spanish Course with Vista Academy

Teaching a language can be tricky when you are homeschooling. If you are not fluent in one yourself, finding a course that can teach your kids effectively is no simple task. You need something that will teach your children the basics as well as immerse your children in the language.

Homeschool Online Spanish Course with Vista Academy introduces vocabulary and grammar while simultaneously developing a students listening, reading, writing, and speaking skills.  A review from Starts At Eight.

Why should you choose to teach a language?

Two of the main reasons we chose to have our high schoolers learn a language is because they make for good electives in high school and most colleges require 2-3 years of a foreign language.

Benefits of learning other languages:

  • boosts problem-solving
  • critical-thinking
  • listening skills
  • increased creativity
  • confidence booster

Homeschool Online Spanish Course with Vista Academy

Vista Academy Online Spanish Course for Homeschoolers

Vista Academy is a virtual world language school that provides an innovative learning environment with native speaker oversight and instruction.

{Disclosure: I received access to Vista Academy’s Inaugural fall 2021 Spanish courses for homeschooling students for free and was compensated for my time in writing this review. However these are my honest opinions and I was not required to post a positive review. Please see my full Disclosure Policy for more details.}

Founded to revolutionize language learning VHL Central (the platform utilized for Vista Academy’s curriculum) was created specifically for online language learning, and is currently used by almost 2 million students around the world. In addition, over 6,000 educational institutions currently rely on VHL’s technology to deliver their fully online and/or hybrid courses. The platform keeps students academically engaged, challenged, and entertained.

Vista Academy’s curriculum is designed for beginning-level students with little or no previous knowledge of Spanish. Students are introduced to the vocabulary and grammar of the Spanish language while simultaneously developing their listening, reading, writing, and speaking skills. 

Two Tracks to Choose From

Vista Academy offers two learning tracks.

There are two tracks to choose from to provide flexible learning for all students:

  1. ¡Olé!
  2. ¡Bravo!

The foundation for both courses is the same:

  • high quality curriculum in an online setting that provides real-time feedback on your child’s performance
  • Both are flexible, innovative courses for homeschoolers to build skills in speaking, listening, reading, and writing in Spanish
  • All classes are led by experienced, native-speaker teachers

The differences between ¡Olé! and ¡Bravo! are the degree of flexibility and autonomy offered in each.

The ¡Olé! learning track is completely asynchronous and self-paced. While the ¡Bravo! learning track is also self-paced, it requires two weekly 30-minute meetings via Zoom, in addition to other interactive partner work.

Regardless of which learning track students choose, a native speaker teacher will support the Vista Academy student every step of the way. 

==>> CLICK HERE To Learn More from the Vista Academy Website <<==

Things to LOVE about Vista’s Homeschool Online Spanish

We have been using Vista Academy’s inaugural fall 2021 Spanish courses for homeschooling students in our homeschool. I have to say I have yet to find a homeschool online Spanish course that is as comprehensive and immersive as this one!

1. Clear Learning Path for Students

In the Vista Academy inaugural fall 2021 Spanish course for homeschooling students the side navigation bar shows students the entire module so they can see exactly what they have finished, what comes next, and how much they have left to complete.

The Vista Academy platform is designed to optimize student-directed learning. It provides a clear organizational structure that contextualizes the learning experience for students.

Once students are in the program and have selected a module, there is left sidebar navigation for that entire module. Students can see everything that is expected of them and easily navigate backwards and forwards throughout that section of the course.

Large boxes with checkmarks indicate when something is complete. There is also a status indicator or each section marking it as In Progress if it has been started but not completed.

I love this because I don’t get 65 questions every day about what they are supposed to be completing next or where they left off from. Kids can easily see where they are, and can even go back and refresh their memories on previous content if it’s been awhile. (It’s cool that when marked complete, it doesn’t disappear.)

2. Immersion Based Learning

Vista Academy Spanish Vocabulary/Phrase Matching Activity

From the very first vocabulary lesson students are hearing and seeing the Spanish words on the screen along with contextual photos.

This is amazing because it engages so many aspects of learning and using a new language. Plus including contextual photos helps give clues to help students pair the Spanish words to their English meanings. Making it easier for them to form connections in their head.

3. Access to Native Speaking Teachers

While you can listen to someone speak the language to you, rarely is it true to the language unless you have a native speaker to listen to.

I love that Vista Academy keeps students connected to native speaking teachers so they can fully immerse and learn for those that are truly fluent in the language.

You will find your student listening to and engaging with native speakers throughout the course, in everything from the video scenarios they watch to the interactive dialogue they listen to and then record their responses to each question they are asked. (SEE PHOTO ABOVE)

4. Vocabulary Flashcards

Vista Academy Spanish Vocabulary Flashcards

While it’s not an incorporated part of the immersion program, vocabulary lists that includes the Spanish word or phrase alongside the English translation are included for each section.

Along with this students can choose the Flashcard Tab and get online interactive flashcards right there within the program for the section(s) they have selected.

This is an important feature in my opinion because it is another way for students to see and hear the words/phrases to help cement them in their minds.

Purchase Vista Academy’s Inaugural Fall 2021 Spanish Courses for Homeschooling Students

Vista Academy Coupon Code

Head over to Vista Academy and use this 20% discount coupon which can be applied towards registration. Use code SPANISH20. Expires Nov. 30, 2021.

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