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Middle School

Beast Academy Playground: FREE Math Games for Kids

Beast Academy Playground: FREE Math Games for Kids

Playing games is a great way to not only have fun and interact with your kids, but to help them learn concepts in a fun way! My grandson loves anything that uses his hands. Thus he is all about playing board games, manipulating pieces with his hands, etc. We recently came across Beast Academy Playground and we are loving all the screen free, fun math games!

Beast Academy Playground - FREE Math Games for Kids ages 4 & up. Fun, simple to create, screen free, educational games for the whole family! A review from Starts At Eight

Disclosure: This is a Sponsored Post, I 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.}

Beast Academy Playground: FREE Math Games

Beast Academy is an advanced comic-based math program for students ages 8-13. Beast Academy Playground is a growing collection (New videos are released each week) of math games, crafts and activities that Beast Academy offers for FREE! This playground helps kids build numerical literacy and problem-solving confidence.

Beast Academy Playground - FREE, screen free, table top math games

Offline Math Games

All of my children, and my grandson too, have no shortage of screen time. Many of their school subjects are complete online, as well as lots of free time gaming. That is one of the reasons I love Beast Academy Playground! All of their games are offline, screen free, table top games.

Accessing the Free Math Games for Kids

The only screen time used for these games is the time it takes me to pick one, read the directions and/or watch the video they include to explain each game, and referencing it to get the supplies to play.

You can simply scroll through games, or use the filters to help you narrow your search to specific ages and activity types.

Our Experience with Beast Academy Playground

I have to say that not only did my grandson have fun playing these games with me, but so did I! They are simple to create using basic supplies around the house, the instructions are detailed and easy to follow, and they were just plain fun to do together!

Take a closer look below at two of the different games we have played so far:

Cartographer

Fun, FREE Math Games with Beast Academy Playground

I was super excited to Cartographer amongst the math games at Beast Academy Playground because we are working a lot with a map of the United States this year for history/geography. My grandson is learning all 50 states and where they are located on a map.

All that we needed for this game was:

  • a print out of the provided map
  • 4 different colored markers

When he saw it his eyes lit up and he was super confident he had this one in the bag! (It ended up being a little trickier than he thought!)

Beast Academy Playground Cartographer Game

He was so disappointed when he got to the end and realized he didn’t quite complete the map correctly. But we went back through and talked about what he could change to make it work – it only took changing the colors of two states and he was successful! (HINT: If you think your child may have a little trouble with this, you could slip the map in a plastic sheet protector and use dry erase markers so it’s easy to fix and redo.)

Beyond the printable United States map, there are tons of variations you can draw and try out for yourself. This gives the kids a chance to be creative. You can each draw some and then switch to see if you can stump the other person!

Troll Hole

Fun, FREE Math Games with Beast Academy Playground

Truth be told I picked Troll Hole for it’s name. I knew my grandson would think it was silly and would like drawing a troll in the empty circle of the game.

All we needed to play this game was:

  • plain white paper
  • a quarter (optional but made it easier to make uniform sized circles)
  • 2 different colored markers
Beast Academy Playground Troll Hole Game

I think what he ended up liking most was that he beat me! LOL! We did multiple shape variations of this one as well. It’s cool to see if you can figure out a way to give yourself a winning advantage, and they are using valuable adding skills along the way!

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.

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!
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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.

Engaging Summer Olympics Activities & Resources

Engaging Summer Olympics Activities & Resources

While the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo were postponed due to Covid, they are now set to begin on Friday, July 23rd, 2021 and end on Sunday, August 8th.

I have found many great Summer Olympics Activities and Resources that could be used not only for this year, but for any year of the Summer Olympic Games.

Engaging Summer Olympics Activities includes art projects, printables, books, online resources and more for learning about and engaging with the Summer Olympics. From Starts At Eight

Even though we are off from official school during the summer, events like the Summer Olympics are something we try to engage with and learn about as they are happening as that is when they are most interesting and exciting.

There are resources here for students of all ages with many adaptable to use with multiple ages!

Summer Olympics Activities

Here are some of the Summer Olympics activities and resources we are using to help us learn about the games and to keep us more actively involved in this major event in history.

1. You Are An Artist

Summer Games

My daughter has loved using chalk pastels from the moment we first picked up one of the You Are An Artist books. {Note: You will often see us use oil pastels with these as well.}

We have started diving in to the Summer Games  book as we watch the Olympic Trials and follow along on the road to the 2016 Summer Games.

Summer Olympics Chalk Pastel Collage

2. Online Resources

1. Summer Games Online Unit Study

This course has five modules:

  • History of the Olympics
  • Traditions of the Olympics
  • Becoming an Olympian
  • 2021 Summer Games
  • Project: Olympics Puzzle Collection

2. The home of the Olympic Games

This is the official Olympic site with links to the past and future games as well everything you want and need to know to keep up with the action! This is a GO TO RESOURCE!

3. All About the Olympics Power Point

Perfect for whole-class teaching, this colorful Olympics PowerPoint Presentation is packed with illustrations and interesting information to help support your teaching and engage children in the Olympic Games.

By downloading this Olympics PowerPoint Presentation, you will receive informative slides to introduce your students to the history of the Olympics. This includes when the Olympics began, and all about the fascinating Ancient Greek Games. 

Students will then be presented with real-life action shots of various Olympic sports, including long jump, running, shot-put, gymnastics, shooting, and judo. This aims to increase students’ knowledge about the Olympics, as well as inspire children to get involved with new sports and activities.   

Students will also be introduced to Olympics medals, the Olympic torch, and Olympic rings. These are all key elements of the Olympic Games and helps student’s to understand their use, symbolism, and importance. 

This Olympics PowerPoint Presentation also covers the Paralympic games, helping students to gain a wider understanding of the development of sport and inclusivity. 

Finally, alongside recent hosts of the Olympic Games, students will be also introduced to the 2020 Olympic Games, which will be held in Tokyo, Japan, in 2021. 

4. Mathematics and the Summer Olympics

In this Webquest you will explore basic facts about the Summer Olympics and math connections to this international event. You will also engage in several related activities. These tasks will require a computer, access to the web, paper and pencil.

Here are some of the activities:

  • Choose your favorite countries and make a graph of their medal counts for past Olympics. How do you think they will fare this summer in London?
  • Keep track of your favorite athletes. For example, compare your favorite athlete’s performance during the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing to his/her performance in the 2012 Summer Olympic Games. Does the athlete’s performance improve or decline? By how many points? meters? seconds?
  • Keep track of the numbers and types of medals earned by certain countries participating in the 2012 Summer Olympic Games. They can then compare this medal count to those earned in 2008.

5. Olympic Fun Facts

Check out this collection of facts about the Olympics including things like:

  • What do the 5 rings represent?
  • What country has won the most medals?
  • When was the Olympics first televised?
  • And More!

3. Printables

FREE Summer Olympics Lapbook

This lapbook includes:

  • Geography: Mapping the route of the Olympic torch; Flags;
  • Math: Graphing medals;
  • History: Traditions & Symbols of the Olympic games; Olympic Timeline; Ancient Olympic History; Modern Olympics
  • Science: Health & Nutrition;
  • Language Arts: Write an athlete’s biography; other writing exercises
  • Art: Design an Olympic Logo

FREE Summer Olympics Printable Pack

Summer Olympics Pack contains over 100 pages:

  • (Part 1) 3 Part Cards, Which one is Different, What Comes Next?, Prewriting Practice, Pattern Cards, Matching Cards, 4 Piece Puzzles, 10 Piece Puzzles, Clip & Count to 15
  • (Part 2) Beginning Sound, Find the Same, Cutting Practice, Size Sequencing, Sorting, Sorting by Size, Wall Cards, Trace Beginning Sound, Trace the Word, Write the Word, Medal Math Hands on Page (Addition, subtraction, Greater Than/Less Than, Counting)
  • (Part 3) Color the Pattern, Color by Size, Fill in the Missing Pattern, Read Write and Count the Room, 8 page Small Books, Ring Color By Number, Dot Marker Olympic Rings, Stamp Beginning Sound
  • (Tot Pack) Solid Line Prewriting, Counting, Cutting Practice, 2 Piece Puzzle, Color the Ring Book, Matching Cards, 9 Piece Puzzles

The Summer Olympic Games – Tokyo 2020 (2021)

In this FREE Summer Olympics unit study, you and your children will work through an 9-day guide with reading passages (included), printable maps, and notebooking pages.

This free download contains everything you need for a thorough overview of Japan—perfect for the history and geography components of your Summer Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 homeschool unit study.

  • Discover Japan’s active volcano—Mount Fuji, or Fujiyama
  • learn how Japan has become one of the world’s top economic powers
  • meet the people of Japan and explore Japanese culture
  • sketch a simple timeline of major events in Japan’s history
  • create a calendar marking various Japanese holidays
  • create a Japanese-English dictionary
  • participate in a traditional Japanese tea ceremony
  • and more!

Gold Silver and Bronze Medals

4. Book Resources

What are the Summer Olympics?

Learn all about the history of the summer games by reading this Who Was Book… What are the Summer Olympics?

Use these FREE Printable Who Was Notebooking Pages for kids to write what they learned!


Engaging Summer Olympics Activities & Resources from Starts At Eight

~ Originally Published July 2016 for the Rio Games

Homeschool Science Class Online – Life Prep Physics

Homeschool Science Class Online – Life Prep Physics

Every year homeschoolers are afforded more and more learning opportunities as more classes are offered online. However, finding a comprehensive homeschool science class online can still be a challenge.

I think there is a misconception that upper level science courses cannot be successfully completed online. I’m here to tell you that is not the case! You can find a homeschool science class online!

Homeschool Science Class Online with College Prep Science's live science classes for middle and high school. Life Prep Physics is perfect for your non-science kids! A Review from Starts At Eight

Homeschool Science Class Online

One of the wonderful online homeschool science class options I have found is. College Prep Science. They offer Christ-Centered Live & Self-Paced Online Classes for 4th – 12th Grade Homeschooled Students. (And YES there is a lab component option!)

{I received free access to Live Life Prep Physics 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.}

Life Prep Physics

Life Prep (standard) Physics is standard high school conceptual physics class (only basic math) that is specifically designed for “non-science” students.  This homeschool science class online is just one of many offered by College Prep Science (Find out more towards the bottom of this article!)

This homeschool science class online from College Prep covers topics in a typical high school conceptual physics course such as:

  • motion
  • measurement
  • velocity
  • force
  • gravity
  • pressure
  • momentum
  • kinetics
  • rotational dynamics
  • thermodynamics
  • heat
  • gas laws
Homeschool Science Class Online with College Prep Science's live science classes for middle and high school. Life Prep Physics is perfect for your non-science kids! A Review from Starts At Eight

This is a full two semester, one credit, high school course. It’s physics for the “artsy”, “techie”, and other non-science students.

All College Prep Homeschool Science Online Courses (including Life Prep Physics) are taught by Greg Landry (the owner) himself. Greg is a homeschool dad and former college professor. Greg has spent the past 20+ years teaching science.

Inside Life Prep Physics

Let’s take a look inside College Prep Science’s Life Prep Physics

Note Taking/Study/Test Taking Skills

First I’d like to talk about Greg Landry’s method for note taking and learning information called NSSR – Notes/Sketches/Summary/Retrieval.

These skills are invaluable when it comes to high school and college! I love that he takes the time to incorporate these skills into his classes, helping our children build solid notetaking, study, and test taking skills. For more details be sure to check out my review of College Prep’s Young Scientist Anatomy and Physiology  where I talk more about this note taking process.

Individually Oriented

One of the things Greg does that is so unique is that for many of the student assignments and assessments, kids are allowed to choose their own format! I think this is so special! He leaves room for kids to learn and express their knowledge in a way that is true to them!

Some of the options allowed are:

  • artwork
  • video
  • graphics
  • sketches / drawings
  • hand-crafted models
  • graphic novels
  • audio
  • wiki pages
  • game creation
  • graphic organizers
  • podcasts
  • e-portfolio
  • just the simple written word
  • and anything else they can come up with!

Live Interactive Classes offer Connection

I know one thing that many people say a negative to homeschooling is not having a live teacher for their children. Classes like these offered through College Prep Science shatter that reason!

Greg Landry teaches the classes himself. He is friendly and engaging, addressing all questions and concerns as they arise during each class period. All the College Prep courses are taught through the popular course management system called Canvas.

Homeschool Science Class Online with College Prep Science's live science classes for middle and high school. Life Prep Physics is perfect for your non-science kids! A Review from Starts At Eight

If your child is wary of being on camera, or you don’t want them on camera, no worries! Greg only uses his camera, the kids are offscreen using a text chat box to communicate.

Greg opens up the class a little early so kids can enter and chat! You wouldn’t believe some of the wonderful interaction between students happening before class! I have seen connections and relationships built this way!

Can’t attend live? No need to stress! Every one of the live classes is recorded so that if your child is going unable to attend they can watch it later.

Take a Sneak Peek Inside a Live Class!

Check out this video and get a sneak peek inside a LIVE homeschool science class online with College Prep Science. This is a clip from the Live Life Prep Physics course. It give you a look at what the Canvas Platform looks like and how it works.

Online Science Labs Too!

Fulfilling a lab component is another concern when it comes to homeschooling science.

With every live science class purchased with College Prep, you get the interactive virtual online labs at no additional charge. There are 10 experiments for each subject.

The Bonuses of Virtual Labs

  • no expensive supplies needed
  • no prep required
  • no mess
Homeschool Science Class Online with College Prep Science's live science classes for middle and high school. Life Prep Physics is perfect for your non-science kids! A Review from Starts At Eight

The platform is super interactive and uses a simulated lab setting where students even turn on the lights and get into their lab coat and goggles! using their keyboard and mouse they manipulate the lab environment by doing things like stopping and starting timers, moving and filling beakers, etc.

Students also watch a video of professor Landry explaining, in detail, how to write a lab report and they’re shown an example of lab report that they can use as a guide.

NOTE: It is important to note that these are Christ-Centered classes. Greg prays at the beginning of each class and the Christian faith and principles are at the forefront.

Live Online Classes with College Prep Science

Homeschool Science Class Online with College Prep Science's live science classes for middle and high school. Life Prep Physics is perfect for your non-science kids! A Review from Starts At Eight
In this photo Ava has the course up on the left, and Word open on the right. She broke her finger and can’t write so she has to type all her nots.

Note: all of these science classes include College Prep’s interactive virtual online labs ($280 value) at no additional charge

8th-12th Grade Two Semester (Full School Year) Classes

These are 1 credit high school classes that meet for 60 minutes once a week and include virtual labs. The cost is $880.

  • Biology – College Prep (9th-12th)
  • Life Prep (standard) Biology (8th-12th)
  • Chemistry – College Prep (10th-12th)
  • Life Prep (standard) Chemistry (9th-12th)
  • Life Prep (standard) Conceptual Physics (9th-12th)
  • Human Anatomy & Physiology (9th-12th)

==>> GET ALL THE DETAILS HERE! <<==

6th-9th Grade One Semester Classes

These are .5 credit courses that meet for 60 minutes once a week and include virtual labs. The cost is $440.

  • Pre-Anatomy & Physiology
  • Pre-Biology

Note: The two, one semester classes, “Pre-Anatomy & Physiology” and “Pre-Biology,” together, comprise a full school year of what has traditionally been called “Life Science.” The order in which you take these is not significant.

  • Pre-Chemistry
  • Pre-Physics

Note: The two, one semester classes, “Pre-Chemistry” and “Pre-Physics” together, comprise a full school year of what has traditionally been called “Physical Science.” The order in which you take these is not significant.

==>> GET ALL THE DETAILS HERE! <<==

7th-12th Grade Two Semester (Full School Year) Math Classes

These are 1 credit high school math classes.

  • Life Prep (standard) Pre-Algebra (7th-9th, usually 8th)
  • Life Prep (standard) Algebra I (8th-12th, usually 9th)
  • Life Prep (standard) Geometry (9th-12th, usually 10th)
  • Life Prep (standard) Consumer Math (9th-12th)

==>> GET ALL THE DETAILS HERE! <<==

College Prep Science Lab Intensives

College Prep Science also offers two day Biology and Chemistry Lab Intensives nationwide! While parents may issue school credit for these as they deem appropriate – each two day intensive is the equivalent of a full school year of labs!

  • Students receive 11 hours of hands-on high school science labs.
  • Classes cost $380 per student and include all supplies, instruction and lab manuals. (I can’t believe how reasonable that is!)
  • Each session offers a wide range of in-depth college prep labs.
  • Each 2 day lab is equal to an ENTIRE YEAR of science labs! (Can you imagine taking all that work out of your schedule teens for the year!?)

==>>Check out these hands-on high school science labs! <<==

Science Freebies for Homeschool Moms

College Prep Science offers some cool science freebies like:

  • “Muscles” student science infographic lesson and printable worksheet with audio, and.. your palmaris longus? (immediate access)
  • Earth Science student science infographic lesson and printable worksheet with audio (immediate access).
  • A cool ancestry wheel for your children to fill-in. Students love this and it leads to lots of educational activity that they love – with accompanying audio (immediate access).
  • COVID-19 / viruses student science infographic lesson and printable worksheet with accompanying audio (immediate access).

Sign up for their e-mail list and you will receive weekly e-mails with additional freebies, updates on classes and labs, science teaching tips, free science graphic organizers, free science subject teaching guides, etc.

The Juice: Current Events for Kids

The Juice: Current Events for Kids

In an ever changing and politically charged world keeping up with events has become more and more important. But how do we present current events for kids?

The Juice is an online learning platform providing daily current events for kids in grades 5th-12th, delivered through your choice of multiple reading levels. A Review from Starts At Eight

Current Events for Kids

Tackling the subject of current events for kids can be tricky because:

  • we may not want them exposed to certain things
  • news programs are not typically geared toward kids
  • written news is often above their reading and comprehension level
  • we may be concerned about bias not only within a news piece but the overall content of the news being delivered

So Why Teach Current Events for Kids?

  • teaching current events to kids can help develop informed citizens and lifelong news followers
  • doing so can foster an interest in political issues and social issues, stimulating a child to explore and learn more
  • encourages and awareness of local and global issues
  • reading the news can help build language vocabulary, reading comprehension, critical thinking, problem solving, and listening skills

The Juice: Current Events for Kids

Now that we know how important it is to include kids in the study of current events, the next question is how.

How do we incorporate the study of current event for kids?

The Juice Learning Company has created a product called The Juice. The Juice is a learning tool providing current events for kids in grades 5th – 12th.

{Disclaimer: I received free access to The Juice 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.}

” In 10-20 minutes, students read news stories, interact with informational text, practice digital media literacy skills, and answer standards-based questions as they sharpen their critical thinking skills and become smarter about our world. “

The Juice is an online learning platform providing daily current events for kids in grades 5th-12th, delivered through your choice of multiple reading levels
New stories from The Juice

Features of The Juice

1. Multiple Reading Levels

The Juice is offered in 4 different reading levels:

  • Grades 5-6
  • Grades 7-8
  • Grades 9-10
  • Grades 11-12

What’s to love about multiple reading levels?

Multiple reading levels (plus the fact that one subscription gets you access for up to 5 kids) means you can cover the same content with all of your children, without having to find a way to modify for younger and older kids! This means easier accessibility to current events for kids in a wide range of ages!

–>> To see Article Samples of each level Click Here!! <<–

2. Daily News Delivered Right to Your Inbox

The Juice comes daily to the inbox(es) you specify!

What to love about daily news in your inbox?

Of course you can still log in directly each day to see the news but getting an e-mail is a great reminder to take a look at what’s new for the day!

3. Education on the Go

Since The Juice can be used on any device you can easily use it on the go! It’s a great way to offer some educational content to your children while not at home.

The Juice is an online learning platform providing daily current events for kids in grades 5th-12th, delivered through your choice of multiple reading levels
The Juice is perfect to use on the go!

My daughter and I are on the go a lot! We have been using The Juice during our car rides. She pulls up stories and reads them, then we often discuss and even do more research if we want to dig even deeper.

What’s to love about taking The Juice on the go?

Being able to use The Juice on the go is a big bonus. We often have “free time” in the car, so why not spend some of it engaging in meaningful conversations with your kids about current events!

4. Interactive Quizzes

The Juice is an online learning platform providing daily current events for kids in grades 5th-12th, delivered through your choice of multiple reading levels
Each article includes a quiz question to help keep students engaged and offers a trackable component.

The Juice has a quiz section in every story of every issue and is written to the reading level you have chosen. These questions challenge kids to remember, understand, apply, analyze, and evaluate.

What’s to love about interactive quizzes?

These are NOT 25 question quizzes or anything which is nice because it doesn’t feel daunting. With just one question per article the quizzes are a great way to track that your kids are reading..

5. Custom Infographics

The Juice creates their own infographics that are geared towards the kids who are reading them. They create custom, interactive infographics each day along with their articles. This may be in the form of a chart, diagram, or visual aid to help kids understand one of articles or topics that day.

The Juice is an online learning platform providing daily current events for kids in grades 5th-12th, delivered through your choice of multiple reading levels.

What’s to love about custom infographics?

What’ so great about these is that The Juice takes care to think about the audience they are presenting to (kids) and creates infographics that help them to make sense of the information they are sharing.

“The Juice makes current events accessible for kids. Their unbiased and engaging content has opened up so many conversations in our home!”

Heidi ~ Starts At Eight

Purchase The Juice

The Juice is an online learning platform providing daily current events for kids in grades 5th-12th, delivered through your choice of multiple reading levels

Ready to get started? Head over to The Juice Subscription Page to pick a plan. One price = access for up to 5 kids! To save 25% use this Discount Code provided for my readers: JuiceSAET

Connect with The Juice Learning: Like The Juice on Facebook â€“ Read the Blog â€“ Subscribe

Teen Art Project: Tissue Paper Easter Egg Craft

Teen Art Project: Tissue Paper Easter Egg Craft

As Easter approaches there is usually talk of Easter Egg Hunts, Easter Egg dying, and in our house chocolate bunnies of course! This year I found a new egg project to do with my older kids – Tissue Paper Easter Eggs.

During the pandemic our local library starting coming out with fun things the community could do virtually. One of the things they started was Art to Go! For Teens. Every month they provide supplies for a different project for teens. You pick the bag up at the library, take it home, and get to crafting!

This Tissue Paper Easter Egg Craft is what they shared for the March craft, in preparation for Easter.

This Tissue Paper Easter Egg Craft is a perfect activity for teens. With just a few supplies you can make decorative and glittery eggs!

Tissue Paper Easter Egg Craft

These Tissue Paper Easter Eggs are simple to do with just a few supplies, and something my daughters (age 14 and age 21) and I enjoyed doing together.

Tissue Paper Easter Egg Supplies

This Tissue Paper Easter Egg Craft is a perfect activity for teens. With just a few supplies you can make decorative and glittery eggs!

Had the library not provided the supplies, with the exception of the foam eggs, we had all the supplies on hand at home in our regular assortment of craft supplies.

Tissue Paper Easter Egg Directions

Before you begin be sure to find a workspace where the Mod Podge and glitter will be easily wiped up. We sat at our kitchen table.

Tear the tissue paper into small pieces. We found the smaller the pieces, the better they looked on the egg.

Paint a layer of Mod Podge on the egg. We started by only doing the top half of the egg so it was easier to hold without getting sticky right away.

Apply torn pieces of tissue paper. Be careful not to tear the paper. When it gets wet with Mod Podge it is more easily torn. We also found it helped to smooth in one direction to get the tissue paper to lay down flat.

This Tissue Paper Easter Egg Craft is a perfect activity for teens. With just a few supplies you can make decorative and glittery eggs!

Apply another layer of Mod Podge over the entire egg once you have it completely covered in tissue paper.

Apply glitter over the entire egg. If you have the little sprinkler jars they work well, if not just pinch a little glitter between your fingers to apply.

This Tissue Paper Easter Egg Craft is a perfect activity for teens. With just a few supplies you can make decorative and glittery eggs!

More Easter Ideas

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